I have to say that I was quite shocked that Maxim Afinogenov got booed last night. Both shocked and very disappointed. Rick Jeanneret said on WGR 550 before that game that he expected Max to get a warm welcome from the fans because Max had been a Sabre for so long. He said he wouldn't expect him to get quite as warm as a welcome as Marty did, just because everyone absolutely adored Marty, but he expected some sort of welcome nonetheless. So did I. When I heard the boos when Max touched the puck I was just really surprised and quite frankly it pissed me off. Everyone seemed to have a strong opinion on Max...but I would have thought that the fact that Max was a Sabre and a Buffalonian for 10 years would hold some sort of respect amongst fans... I'm not afraid to admit that I was a Max supporter while he was here but at the same time I also acknowledged his shortcomings and I realized that Max leaving the team would be beneficial for both Max and the Sabres. I wasn't expecting Max to re-sign with us and I was glad to see that he landed a job in Atlanta.
Over the past few seasons Max's production declined and many people got frustrated with him. It seemed as though Max needed a change of scenery, but while Max's production was extremely dissapointing, his effort surely wasn't. Max gave an honest effort every single night that he played. All he wanted to do was play hockey and help his team...and it was unfortunate for everyone that it didn't work out the way he intended it to. But regardless, Max worked his ass off every night. I'm sure everyone can recall a game where it seems as though all of our players just completely took the night off and let the other team win...and is there anything more frustrating than that? That's why I always respected Max...he never took nights off.
And while I am a Sabres fan through and through...as soon as I heard the boos from the crowd all I wanted was for Max to score a goal. It was strange for me because when Stafford scored with 3 minutes left in the game, it got me a little excited and I thought to myself, "Hey, maybe we can tie it up." But then when Max scored directly afterwords, I was just real happy for him. Poetic justice, if you will.
This quote from Max just made me sad...
"When I was here I tried to play for the fans," he said. "I appreciate them. They come to the games, and I try to put my best into the game. Hopefully, they still like me, and I love them, too."
Aw shucks, Max...well I still like you.
On a lighter note...the other day at work I helped Drew Stafford find his lost iPhone. I'm proud to report that it was successful.