It’s Chris Butler Appreciation Day!

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!

16 Responses to “It’s Chris Butler Appreciation Day!”

  1. 1 Heather B. March 21, 2009 at 12:35 am

    Seriously, poor Chris. That totally bites. We totally missed out on the “happy teammate fetches puck out of net for rookie” moment which is one of my favorite things in the world. Next time he scores, I hope he celebrates like it’s 1999. Or… something.

    But Chris seriously has been a bright spot this season. I love that in interviews he sounds like a grizzled, experienced veteran. Totally cute. He’s on the short list for Heather B’s Favorite Player After Hank Gets Traded For Being a Disaster and a Half.

    As much as I can get behind the Kirby Puckett love, I have to disagree. 34 is Bo Jackson’s number forever and always.

  2. 2 Becky March 21, 2009 at 6:28 am

    It was kind of hard to tell (because my son was blasting music on the computer to block out thoughts of the game) but it sounded like the crowd went “BOOOOOOOOOOO yay BOOOOOOOOO” when Butler scored.

    He is a shining example of how a young player can progress properly when he has veteran role models on ice (Numminen, Spacek) instead of trying to teach himself along with other kids (like the offensive end of things).

  3. 3 Katebits March 21, 2009 at 7:26 am

    We did stop booing long enough to cheer the goal, Becky. The goal was surprisingly fun in the moment.

  4. 4 Erin March 21, 2009 at 8:26 am

    yay for Chris Butler!!!! And yay for Xanax!!!

  5. 5 Schnookie March 21, 2009 at 11:42 am

    I think scoring his first career goal this way is a great sign for Butler. Morgan has long joked that at Devils Alumni events in the future, all the of the old-timer Devils will be able to reminisce about how their first goals were scored in 5-1, 6-1, or 7-1 losses. I’m highly suspicious of kids who don’t score their first goals in otherwise dreadful circumstances. This Butler guy is a keeper!

  6. 6 Jaime March 21, 2009 at 12:01 pm

    I was sad that Butler didn’t get his little moment out there. As for the “Stamp of Approval”, didn’t Lindy get that little chick stamp last year? Not to dredge up bad memories but I’m trying to find the good in the middle of all the crap.

  7. 7 Heather B. March 21, 2009 at 12:16 pm

    Kate, I have been wondering, don’t you own Lindy Ruff’s Hockey Reference page? Are you going to change your blurb to FIRE LINDY NOW along with a link to TWC? :P

  8. 8 Katebits March 21, 2009 at 12:44 pm

    Ooh, good memory Jaime! Lindy was the original recipient of the Chick Stamp of Approval. This award is fluid. It can be taken away, but actually Lindy still has the chick. Just because I think he should be fired that doesn’t mean I don’t think he’s awesome. Plus, he looks good with a few chicks hovering around him.

  9. 9 Katebits March 21, 2009 at 12:51 pm

    OMG, Heather. I TOTALLY forgot about that hockey reference page! Wow. That is….dangerous. :P

  10. 10 Katebits March 21, 2009 at 12:59 pm

    Maybe I’ll change the blurb to FIRE LINDY RUFF with a link back to your blog. Heh.

  11. 11 Shelby Rose March 21, 2009 at 1:25 pm

    The first thing I thought when I saw the tweet from SabresDotCom was ‘Cool, he scored his first NHL goal which is basically meaningless in this game. Not fun.’

    But now I can happily cheer him on, so you go, Buts! You deserve it for being classy about that goal and not celebrating like it was no one’s business!

  12. 12 Heather B. March 21, 2009 at 1:48 pm

    Maybe I’ll change the blurb to FIRE LINDY RUFF with a link back to your blog. Heh.

    That’s pretty much the ultimate in classless beyotchness :P

  13. 13 Lurker March 21, 2009 at 5:44 pm

    I’ve been loving Chris Butler’s play and on-ice persona since he got called up over the holidays. He’s definitely one we’ll get to watch in the future & see great progression. Great Post – I definitely agree with this one!

  14. 14 Phil March 21, 2009 at 7:24 pm

    Once the third becomes our primary, and they introduce the white version of it, I’m buying a Butler. And I’ve been saying that since January. This kid looks poised. Real poised. Not “Trent Edwards: Poised but stinks it up” poised. I mean “Look at me, I’m a rookie and I look better than the vast majority of the veterans” poised. Butler deserves his spot he has and WILL be a starter next season, or I’ll burn something down

  15. 15 Patty (in Dallas) March 22, 2009 at 2:20 am

    I’m not a fan of the over-celebrating for a goal that doesn’t help, but a guy getting his first NHL goal probably gets a pass from me. (Too bad I didn’t tell him that before it was too late. Poor kid!)

  16. 16 ElmaGolf March 22, 2009 at 2:18 pm

    Great Post – I only wish the Horn Operator had demonstrated the same level of maturity! It was like confetti at a funeral (which is OK in New Orleans, but generally awkward everywhere else).

    I particularly enjoyed the point about simply enjoying the game and sharing it with your friends. I had some long diatribe about that on Sabres Edge in response to suggestions that Sabres fans are “dolts that are afraid to move on and find something better.”

    But your post captured it all. We love having sports teams in our town to share experiences (good & bad) with our neighbors and friends. I’ll never get those fans who can’t seem to enjoy the ride unless they’re assured of seeing a Stanley Cup.

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