DUNDAS, Ont. -- The Sabres have finally taken up residence in Hockeyville, a soaked suburb of Hamilton, Ont., that nonetheless is ready for the NHL.
Fans and children were lined up outside tiny JL Grightmire Arena by 8:30 a.m., eager for the 9 a.m. arrival of the Sabres and tonight's opponent, the Ottawa Senators. A steady rain joined the fans, with yellow rain coats and black umbrellas covering the yellow "Gotta Be Dundas" jerseys.
The Sabres' bus finally arrived at 9:42 a.m., and the folks who had been creating mock applause for the cameras for this made-for-TV event burst out with genuine delight as the rain began to fall even harder.
A chant of "Let's go, Buffalo," broke out as coach Lindy Ruff and goalie Ryan Miller walked past the fans and into the rink, which has just three rows of seats along the boards and five rows behind the nets. The fans with drenched hair who'd been waiting for autographs and a greeting with the players got their wish from Tyler Myers, Steve Montador, Nathan Gerbe and Mike Weber.
Myers and Montador were especially attentive, walking the entire line with Sharpies in hand as rain fell onto their coats and dripped off their noses. The team is scheduled to skate at 10:30 a.m.