Sunday, February 17, 2013

Review: 100 Things Sabres Fans ... (2012)

By Sal Maiorana

When Triumph Books went looking for an author to cover the Buffalo Sabres' history for their series of quick team recaps, they found the right man.

Sal Maiorana of the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle certainly is prolific. He is credited as the author of 17 books, with some on Buffalo sports and others on Rochester. That's what happens when you grow up in Buffalo and work now in Rochester. His family must be used to him hiding in the office, working on such projects.

"100 Things Sabres Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die" is another solid professional effort from Maiorana, and ought to spark plenty of memories.

As you might expect, all of the books in the series are made up of relatively short reviews of various points in team history, with a few suggestions on what a fan can do (visit the Hall of Fame, go on a road trip, visit the team store, etc.)

The tough part is coming up with 100 ideas, no doubt, and then ranking them. You probably could argue, a little, that number 39 might be higher than number 38 (taking numbers at random), but it doesn't really matter. In general, the author's judgment is on target. That means the first 50 are longer than the last 50, and deservedly so.

Longtime fans certainly can guess the names and events at the front of the line - Gil Perreault, Dominik Hasek, Lindy Ruff, Punch Imlach, the "no goal" game," the lone Game Seven win, and so on. Maiorana obviously went through plenty of sources to come up with background material. What's nice is that there is plenty of information that was obtained well after the fact. The quotes, therefore, have the perspective of time added, which is a good selling point in a book like this.

Personal note: I wrote a book on the first 20 years in Sabre history, and am listed in the credits. Good to know I contributed to history books. More to the point, though, the facts here are right on target, which is crucial. There might be one non-Sabre item that is questionable (I think Charley Finley named the Oakland franchise the Golden Seals at one point), but the batting average is terrific.

As I said about the Bills' book in the same series, this is designed for the casual fan. The walking encyclopedias out there on Sabre history will zip through this pretty quickly. That's not a majority of the fanbase, though, so most people who bleed blue and gold will get plenty of enjoyment out of "100 Things Sabres Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die."

Four stars

Learn more about this book.

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