For better or worse, Sabres fever is setting in as the NHL season draws to a close, and local restaurant-bars are creatively embracing the tank.
With Buffalo sitting five points behind Arizona with a game in hand, the clash at 7 tonight between the Sabres and the 'Yotes has serious implications on which team will have the better odds at landing Canadian megaprospect Connor McDavid or American prodigy Jack Eichel. [For more hockey chatter, read Tim Graham's take on the ethics of tanking]
While the actions of tonight's crowd are certain to be bizarre -- Oliver Ekman-Larsson will certainly be shocked at how popular he is in Buffalo -- two local eateries have drawn customers by promoting tank-specific offerings.
First, as highlighted by Yahoo Sports' Greg Wyshynski on Wednesday, Amherst Ale House is offering McDavid and Eichel cocktails, colorful, vodka-based drinks that are priced based on the players' numbers. For example, the "McDavid Drink #97" is a 16-ounce green drink with orange vodka ($4.97), while the "Eichel Drink #9" is a 16-ounce red cocktail with cherry vodka.
The best part? If a customer orders a McDavid or an Eichel, Ale House owner John Bona III has given his bartenders permission to serve the alternate drink instead, as finishing last in the NHL this season means there's an 80-percent chance you'll end up with your second-choice pick. In other words, because there's no guarantee the Sabres will land McDavid, there's no guarantee you'll get a green drink if you order it. (But you're bound to either get the green or the red one.)
Over on Elmwood Avenue, Coles Restaurant will offer a $2 discount on the McEichel Burger from 6 p.m. until the final horn of the hockey game. Stemming from the World Juniors, where McDavid's Team Canada won the gold medal and Eichel's U.S. team fell to tournament runner-up Russia in the quarterfinals, the Coles burger blends American and Canadian ingredients.
Whether you're all-in on McDavid or utterly dissatisfied with the Sabres' thinly-veiled tanking philosophy, it's hard not to appreciate the creativity of local restaurants getting behind this weird sports phenomenon.