Okay, I know that this is a rough time to be a Sabres fan, and lord knows I haven’t been lightening the mood with my four day I-WANT-THE-MOST-POPULAR-MAN-IN-BUFFALO-TO-LOSE-HIS-JOB-athon, but tonight, I ask you to join me in setting aside our petty Sabres frustrations. Tonight, we must celebrate Chris Butler. We must do it with genuine enthusiasm, and we must do it with joy and love in our hearts.
It’s Chris Butler Appreciation Day! *tosses confetti*
To explain: This evening, along with 18,690 of my closest friends I trudged into HSBC Arena to watch the team I love take on the Flyers. You all know the results. It was pretty brutal. I attended the game with Heather B, who is always good company, so in spite of the game, I still managed to have a good time.
One interesting side effect of my resent Sabres-related disgust is that I seemed to have reached some type of tipping point. I think it happened after the Atlanta game. I just don’t have any more rage, or frustration, or sadness to devote to the Sabres this season. I’m all tapped out. I really don’t think these guys can hurt me again until October.
BUT, as it turns out, I still have a little joy in the tank. I know! Weird!
I had a genuinely good time tonight. I had fun when the Sabres scored, I groaned when the Flyers scored, and Heather and I had a good time ragging on the team. It was fun. (And it really wasn’t until the third period that the Sabres fully tanked, so we got two solid periods of entertainment before things got ugly.) Anyway, it was a relief to realize that I can still go to the arena, and enjoy hockey, and hang out with my friends without taking every single game so effing seriously. I’ve let go, and I feel so much better as a result.
So, there we were, fifty-nine and a half minutes into the game with our good spirits intact. The Sabres were losing 6-3, and as the final seconds ticked away, out of nowhere, they scored. Obviously, this was a totally meaningless goal, and to their credit, the Sabres on the ice barely reacted. There were no triumphantly raised arms, there were no fist pumps. Heather and I actually couldn’t figure out who scored the goal from the replays on the jumbotron, and because of the lack of reaction on the ice, we couldn’t tell from the players either. We just figured that it was nothing goal.
Well, as I’m sure you all already know, that was not a nothing goal.
That goal, scored at 19:58 in the third period was Chris Butler’s first NHL goal.
That. Sucks. So. Hard. Just when I think think I’ve escaped any further Sabres pain….they suck me back in.
POOR CHRIS BUTLER! His first NHL goal came in the final seconds of THIS game?! The fans, were literally BOOING the team at the time that he scored his first ever goal.
The fact that his first goal occurred in these circumstances is NOT COOL, and Chris Butler deserves better.
One of the things I have meant to do literally all season, is write a post in praise of Chris Butler. I really like this kid. He’s so bright and articulate in interviews, and for a rookie, he’s really done a nice job this year. No, he’s not perfect, but in a season brimming with dull hideousness, I really think Butler’s been a bright spot.
For MONTHS now I’ve been meaning to sing his praises, and to encourage my younger readers to adopt him as a possible crush-worthy Sabre. He’s a little dopey looking, but in a cute way. Plus, he’s got Kirby Puckett’s jersey number which probably means very little to you, but to me, #34 is a good sign.
I FULLY endorse Chris Butler, and I give him the coveted TWC, “Cutie Pie Stamp of Approval.”
After he scored, he had to do the mature thing. He couldn’t celebrate, he couldn’t even raise his arms in surprise. Nothing. He had to continue skating forward, emotionless. (And for the record, I give him a lot of credit for pulling it off. Mark that down as another reason to love Chris Butler: “Has the maturity not to make an ass of himself celebrating personal accomplishments while in the context of a team failure.” Check.)
So, today is Chris Butler Appreciation Day! Today we honor this fine young gentleman who was cheated out out of a celebration that he truly deserved. Let’s forget about the game, and Lindy, and the playoffs, and focus on Chris Butler. A first NHL goal only comes along once. Chris Butler may not have been able to celebrate on the ice, but we can now, on his behalf.
Chris Butler, we salute you!