Something that has been a popular point of contention these past few seasons is the mausoleum-esque atmosphere inside the F’N Center.
I don’t fancy myself to be a game presentation guru, I like to leave that expertise to Eric at 3rd Man In as he has a much better grasp on what it takes to put together a successful game presentation approach. However, I do enjoy spitballing ideas and seeing if they make any sense (this is how I come up with all of my brilliant patent pending ideas.
One thing that I’ve maintained for some time is that the atmosphere in that building does not rest solely on the shoulders of the game presentation staff. While some things they do could certainly be improved, I strongly believe that the fans carry a great deal of the responsibility. Most of the time it seems like the fans are just waiting for something bad to happen so they can jump down Tyler Myers’ throat or boo the players off the ice. Perhaps it is because of their overflowing #hockeyIQ that so many fans act like this. I’m not quite sure. But that’s not the point of this post.
One thing I picked up on this season at the few Sabres games I attended is that there is simply too much going on during pre-game. There’s just too much substance for the fans to pay attention to and, ultimately, to get riled up with. On an individual basis these are all quality ideas. The flag, the kids skating over to the bench doors, pump videos. Each one of these ideas works in their own right. Unfortunately there are too many of these things happening at once for them to have their desired effect. Perhaps, in this case, simpler is better.
What I’d like to see is the team to scale back on a few of these ideas – I’d probably begin by cutting the big flag and I’d probably replace the kid flag bearers too. Basically I’d want to bring the sole focus of the fans on one singular entity. And 350 words later I’ve finally gotten to my main point.
I am a huge fan of the Capitals’ Unleash the Fury video it just works on so many levels. I’d like to see the Sabres try to take a page out of that book – and since that press conference told me money isn’t an issue (or something) I want to pull out all the stops. I’d love to see the Sabres roll out a single pump video for next season that will be the singular focus of everyone in the arena prior to the game beginning.
First step would be to find a solid, hard rock song to set the video to. No more fiddling with the Alt Nation lineup. Find a fast-paced, energetic song that is good to set hockey highlights to. I don’t even care if you backtrack to songs that might be considered “typical” based on their use at every level of the sport. If it works, it works.
The second step is where this gets loopy. I’d find a way to get Kurt Russell to come to Buffalo to reproduce the Miracle speech in the Sabres locker room. As ridiculous as that sounds I don’t think there’s a more goosebump-inducing speech in a movie that I’ve ever seen.
It wouldn’t be completely necessary to have him do the entire speech, but maybe setting the full speech over highlights and piecing the song into that mix could carry some serious clout. Personally, I think it would be cool to start him in somewhere around the “…this is your time…” portion through to the end of the speech. I envision the final portion of the highlights fading to Russell in the locker room, standing over the Sabres logo, giving an ad-libbed version of the closing line that would sound something like “tonight the Buffalo Sabres are the greatest hockey team in the world. Now let’s go out there and take it.”
My train of thought here is to have the video come to its zenith just as the team takes the ice, thus creating the opportunity for a more explosive moment for the fans and team. I also think it would be cool to go with the college football look and have a single skater emerge from the tunnel with a large team flag just as the Sabres are about to emerge. This way the team flag thing and the flag bearer theme remains but with a more intense, vigorous look and feel without distracting anyone from the video, which should be the primary focus for all in the arena.
Maybe this is a horrible idea, I’m not sure. Obviously getting Kurt Russell to come out to Buffalo to redo a speech that’s owned by Disney is possibly the most unrealistic idea I’ve ever come up with, but I think it would be pretty awesome if they could pull it off.
Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section.
UPDATE: When I first came up with this idea I threw it out on Twitter. Kevin Snow said it would be better to just use Kate Beckinsale. I approve of that message.
re: In-Game presentation. It always seems, without fail, that every time the crowd gets pissed about a call or there's a fight and everyone's seemingly getting into the game for the only time all night, they show the fucking BLOOPERS AND BLUNDERS videos, the goddamn kiss cam, or the "cheesiest smile" thing. That arena is way too good at killing whatever momentum the crowd is building.
They need to tap into the underground for a great fight song for the Sabres. There are so many great punk bands that write fight songs all day. How about "We are the Boys" or "Warriors" by Blitz, or "Hang Em High" or "Spirit's Alive by Dropkick Murphys, or "Stand Up" by Street Dogs. Step away from the corporate rock and find some real talent to represent the team spirit.