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This Day in Buffalo Sports History: Happy holidays, Mike

      December 17, 1990 -- The Buffalo Sabres were staging their annual holiday Christmas party this weekday afternoon. After practice, the players' families came down to Memorial Auditorium for a skating event. This one, though, wasn't too festive.

     The team discovered that Buffalo traded popular Mike Foligno to the Maple Leafs for Lou Franceschetti and Brian Curran. You might say that put a damper on the festivities.

     It's always a bit of a shock when a longtime veteran is traded, and the feeling can be multiplied in hockey when the captain is involved.

     Sabres general manager Gerry Meehan said to The News' Jim Kelley that "the team had lost five straight and something had to be done." Coach Rick Dudley agreed with that assessment.

     For his part, Foligno said that after five straight losses, he expected some sort of move to be made. Buffalo had dropped to 10-15-7. However, Foligno added that he didn't think he was a big part of the problem.

     Franceschetti and Curran didn't help the Sabres, who exited quickly in the first round of the playoffs that season. Foligno turned out to be close to the end of his career.

---Budd Bailey

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