OTTAWA -- The job of winning on opening night is officially easier for the Sabres because their longtime nemesis won't play. The teams have just taken the ice for the pregame warm-ups, and Jason Spezza will sit for the Senators with a groin pull.
Gotta admit, it still catches me a little off-guard when the Sabres skate out in the old-school white jerseys. They really are permanent, eh? About time.
Speaking of time, I guess I really have spent a lot of time in Ottawa during the nine seasons covering the Sabres. After having a few sodas Thursday night while watching Tim Lincecum start the Giants on the road to a World Series championship, I walked over to one of my favorite late-night/early morning eating joints. It's 1 a.m. on a Thursday, and the dude behind the counter shouts, "Hi, John!"
Yup, I don't live here, but I get acknowledged like Norm walking into Cheers. Pretty cool, I must admit. So thanks to the "Garlic Corner" for some fine shawarmas through the years -- and see you sometime late at night Jan. 24.
Because of opening-night festivities, opening faceoff in Scotiabank Place won't be until 7:44 p.m.