Niagara Gazette

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April 23, 2006

Fans fired up about Sabres in playoffs

HOCKEY: Sold-out HSBC roots for the home team.

BUFFALO — The Bahamas can wait until Monday.

At least that’s how Tonawanda native Linda Childress sees it.

Childress, who works the concessions at HSBC Arena, has seen the last four years come and go without a spring bonus as the Sabres consistently languished outside the playoffs.

She’s heading on vacation to the Bahamas on Monday, but she’s ecstatic to be part of the postseason again, as was the sold-out crowd at the downtown arena.

If you ask Childress, it’s been too long.

“It’s so awesome to be down here with all the energy again. This atmosphere I missed,” she said. “I’m going on vacation for a week. It’s hard to leave all this, I know, but it was planned before all this happened.”

The Sabres meet Philadelphia again Monday in Game 2 and will return to HSBC for Game 5, if necessary, next Sunday.

Sanborn’s Bob Milleville has been champing at the bit since the Sabres last made the postseason. He went to 15 games this year and plans on buying season tickets for the 2006-07 season.

Although the team went through a nasty bankruptcy two years ago, Milleville didn’t think the Sabres would leave, but he admits his focus wasn’t on hockey.

“As a guy who loves watching every game, I wasn’t thinking about what lines we had together,” Milleville said. “I was worried about the financial side and other things that weren’t hockey-related.”

Now, he’s surprised the team has resurrected so quickly, but he thinks the Sabres are better than they were when they made the run to the Cup finals in 1999.

“This is a fun team to watch,” Milleville said. “They were a great goalie with a bunch of average lines. Now they’ve got a good goalie with a great team in front of him.”

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