As the year 2020 comes to an end, I think most of us are glad to bid farewell to this year. What a wild year it was. Although it was filled with its ups and downs, including the global pandemic that forced us all to change how we live our lives - including the shutdown of pro sports - there were certainly some memorable moments to look back on, especially for Buffalo Sabres fans.
Here’s a quick look at the year that was and some of the moments we’ll look back on.
NHL Season on Pause
It’s hard to talk about 2020 without referring to the pandemic. The NHL season was going on full steam ahead, and then in mid-March, it wasn’t. Games were cancelled and everything was put on hold. Eventually, the league returned with playoff action in bubbles in Toronto and Edmonton, but the Sabres season ended unceremoniously and suddenly.
Sabres Sign Hall
I’ll never forget the day the Sabres signed Taylor Hall. I was sitting there, scrolling through my Twitter feed when the first report popped up. I was in shock - was this really happening? I triple-checked to make sure the account reporting it was legitimate, and sure enough. Taylor Hall is a member of the Buffalo Sabres organization. Although we haven’t seen him play a game for the team yet, it’s an exciting acquisition and provides a spark for the future.
Royal Blue Returns
A great move by the Sabres this year was their return to royal blue beginning with the 2020-21 season. Buffalo is returning to its roots and giving many fans what they want with this decision, and although it doesn’t actually impact the on-ice performance, it’s still a good move. Whether the team is raising the Stanley Cup at the end of this season or fails to make the playoffs, well.... at least they’ll look good doing it.
Adams Showcasing His Skill
Sabres fans were understandably nervous when the team promoted Kevyn Adams to its general manager position in mid-June, ousting Jason Botterill in the process. However, Adams has done an excellent job thus far and has made some moves that certainly appear to be brilliant. He signed Taylor Hall, brought Eric Staal on board, and traded up in the draft to select J-J Peterka, who’s been one of the best players in the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championships.
Pilut Heads Overseas
Hey, I never said all of these moments would be positive. One of the negative moments of 2020 for Sabres fans was seeing promising youngster Lawrence Pilut sign in the KHL. Pilut was set to be a restricted free agent, and let’s be real - the Sabres mishandled the situation. It’s no surprise that Pilut decided to play for a team where he was going to actually get to play, rather than be stuck in a press box or demoted to the minor leagues.
The Hope of Hockey
Finally, the NHL announced its intent to return for regular-season play in early 2021. Amid much uncertainty and a lot of questions - will there be a season? A bubble? Hub cities? - we finally got an actual concrete plan, with a schedule, to look forward to in the new year.
Here’s to hoping all are safe, healthy & happy in 2021!