This summer Die by the Blade is discussing the Buffalo Sabres biggest rivals. There will be a total of five teams discussed and than a poll at the end of the features.
Today we talk about a very heated rivalry between the Buffalo Sabres and Toronto Maple Leafs.
This is a rivalry because of the close proximity of the cities. For Buffalonians, a short drive over the Peace Bridge (hopefully there is no wait) and a hop-skip and a jump up the QEW takes you to a whole new world. A vibrant city with large downtown buildings and tons of people. For Torontonians the same trip except they enter a much smaller and quieter city that obviously doesn't have the same resources of their northern neighbor.
The rivalry may brew from the fact that people in Buffalo may have a little jealousy towards Toronto, especially with the Bills making Toronto a second home. As for the people in Toronto they feel far superior to the people of Buffalo but they are jealuos of our hockey team. The Sabres have been a far better team over the past 10 seasons and even more important is the Sabres victory over Toronto in the 1999 Eastern Conference Finals.
This rivalry takes full affect when the games are played at the HSBC Arena in Buffalo. It's nearly impossible to get a ticket to a game in the Air Canada Centre in Toronto so Leafs fans make the trip to Buffalo and flood the HSBC with Blue and White. It's virtually impossible to tell who is the home team when these teams meet at HSBC Arena because it's virtually a 50-50 split. It could become even more lopsided with the institution of platinum games. The Leaf fans come in with the "We're better than you are" mentality creating a hostile but electric atmosphere at "The Bank". There have even been players who have commented on the electric atmosphere during these games.
If this isn't the Sabres best rivalry it is certainly the most noticeable. In the Carolina Hurricanes post I talked about the fans hatred of one another but it may be even more noticeable in this series.