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Thirteen Years of No Playoffs



Buffalo Sabres playoff drought thirteen years

The Buffalo Sabres will not qualify for the NHL playoffs for the thirteenth straight season. Thirteen years of no playoffs ties the New York Jets for the longest active streak in major professional sports. It extends the longest postseason drought in NHL history.

Must Read: Sabres Eliminated With 3-2 Loss to the Stars

I’m a 34-year-old Buffalonian. I grew up a Sabres fan and know how good playoff hockey is in Buffalo. The longer this drought has gone on, the more I’ve realized that many Sabres fans have not had the experience I have had.

I was in the building at 10 years old when Brett Hull scored the game-winner in Game Six of the 1999 Stanley Cup Finals. I went to parties in the plaza during the playoffs. My high school friends and I went to the arena to watch away playoff games.

The younger fan has been robbed of these experiences for thirteen years. Some fans don’t remember facing the Philadelphia Flyers in the 2011 playoffs. Some fans weren’t even alive for it. The more I talked to other Buffalonians about it, the more these thoughts formed in my head as an idea for an article.

One day recently Five for Fighting’s “100 Years” played on a radio station I was listening to on Spotify and suddenly everything clicked. These thoughts aren’t just words in an article – they’re lyrics for all of Buffalo and Sabres fans around the world to hear.

We’re all of different ages. We’ve all seen distinct sides of this franchise forming our perspective of the drought. Most importantly, despite how long you’ve been following the Sabres, every fan is rooting for the team’s success.

Hopefully, it won’t be another thirteen years. When they deliver, I promise you downtown Buffalo will be buzzing again.

Here I present my attempt at singing in the same key as John Ondrasik. You’ll find a relatable message if you can get past the fact that my voice is not nearly as good as his. Below the posted video are the lyrics, including a “Genius”-type breakdown of their meaning.

Without further ado, here’s “Thirteen Years”.

Thirteen Years

by Jason Moser

[Verse 1]

I’m thirteen for a moment

Caught in between being a Sabres fan

I’m just dreaming

Counting the years of the drought

I’m twenty-two for a moment

This beer tastes better than ever

The Sabres did

Leino was signed when I was nine


Thirteen there’s still time for you

You only know what it’s like to lose, thirteen

No one has missed, longer than this

But when they’re going there’s no better place to live

[Verse 2]

I’m thirty-three for a moment

Becoming a man in the heyday

Briere and Drury made me

Then left me high and dry

I’m forty-five for a moment

Slinky described Hasek’s spine and

Hull’s skate crushed me

No goal still plays in my mind


Thirteen there’s still time for you

You only know what it’s like to feel burned now

But look what the Bills have done

Thirteen playoff lies to rue, thirteen

No one has missed, longer than this

But when they’re going there’s no better place to live


All this time goes by

Buffalo gets dry

Why are you telling me lies?

Hockey Heaven is gone

I’m done with this, I’m moving on

[Verse 3]

I’m ninety-nine for a moment

I’m dying for a Stanley run and I

Keep dreaming

I’ve seen the whole way since Perreault was spun

[Second Chorus]

Thirteen there’s still time for you

Twenty-two hang in there too

Thirty-three we’re with you here

Every year’s a new year



Thirteen there’s still time for you

You only know what it’s like to lose, thirteen

No one has missed, longer than this

But when they’re going there’s no better place to live

Verse 1

The poor 13-year-old is entering high school next September without ever seeing the Sabres in the playoffs. Those older, think of your formative years and which Sabres you loved to watch growing up. 13 years have seen Ryan Miller, Jason Pominville, Ryan O’Reilly, Jack Eichel, Sam Reinhart, and more swiftly leave Buffalo.

The most iconic players were all traded by the organization.

Then there’s the 22-year-old, who is old enough to drink but not old enough to remember a playoff series win by the Sabres. Buffalo last won in the 2007 Conference Semi-Finals against the New York Rangers when a 22-year-old was five.

Four years later, Ville Leino was signed after he tortured the Sabres in their last playoff appearance. Leino was Buffalo’s first big free agent signing under new ownership and was supposed to signify a new era of management with an open pocketbook.

He recorded 46 total points in 137 career games with the Sabres.

Verse 2

We’ll leave the breakdown of the chorus for the conclusion, but the second verse is one I can relate to. Daniel Briere and Chris Drury became co-captains of the Sabres, leading them to two amazing post-lockout seasons. This was only a few years after Tom Golisano swooped in to save the team from having to relocate after team owner John Rigas was indicted for fraud as the CEO of Adelphia.

Golisano had to run a tight ship, and, combined with a little mismanagement of Buffalo’s star players, Briere and Drury left the team in free agency following the 2006-2007 season. 17 years later, the Sabres have never recovered from their departure.

Then there’s the 45-year-old crowd, who witnessed arguably the greatest goaltender ever to play the game, Dominik Hasek. Hasek won six Vezina Trophies as the NHL’s best goalie and two Hart Memorial Trophies as the league’s most valuable player.

Thanks in large part to their world-class goaltender, the Sabres made two impressive playoff runs in the late 90’s. The 1998 run ended in the Conference Finals to the Washington Capitals. The 1999 run ended on one of the most controversial goals in NHL history. Hull scored with his skate in the crease, appearing to violate a then-rule that was not enforced.


In Terry Pegula’s opening press conference upon purchasing the team, he alluded to Buffalo becoming “Hockey Heaven”. It seemed like a bold yet feasible proposition at the time. The playoff drought started the very next season, and any sign of Buffalo being a hockey town fades with each passing year.

Verse 3

We finally come to the 99-year-old, who’s seen it all. Well into adulthood when the Knox brothers brought the Sabres to town, at 99 one has only seen two Stanley Cup Finals appearances by the team in 54 years.

The Sabres were awarded their first superstar in Gilbert Perreault by a wheel spin. The beloved Rick Jeanneret has come and gone. A once consistently mediocre franchise can’t even manage to stay out of the bottom of the standings.

Time is ticking, but the dream is still there.


If I had to say one thing to a 13-year-old Sabres fan, I would say to wait until you see this city on an NHL playoff run. There’s nothing better.

You can feel it in the air – there’s something different about hockey as the weather is turning in Buffalo.

The arena gets rocking, the plaza and surrounding area gets packed, and it’s the talk of the town. Like the Buffalo Bills breaking their long playoff drought in head coach Sean McDermott’s tenure, a craze overtakes Western New York.

You haven’t experienced it yet, but you will. And when you do, it will be incredible.