Mike Harrington: A weird backdrop was fitting for slipshod Sabres opener

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The opening faceoff between the Buffalo Sabres and Washington Capitals at KeyBank Center on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. 

Harry Scull Jr. /Buffalo News

Mike Harrington

Life itself is just weird. Has been for months. So no reason to think the first game of the Sabres’ new season – 10 months after we last saw them on the ice for real – should be any different.

But to give this night a framework, you have to start before even entering KeyBank Center. It was hard to believe what you saw on Washington Street around 5:30 Thursday night. There was a whole lot of nothing. 

(Cue the joke that the 6-4 loss to the Washington Capitals was a whole lot of the same much of the night as well, but just roll with me here).

Turning left off Swan Street, there was nary a car or pedestrian around the darkened Sahlen Field. It felt like those September nights when the Yankees were here to meet the Blue Jays and the only way you knew something was going on inside was that the light towers were blazing.

You headed south and there were no pedestrians anywhere wearing the Sabres’ stupendous new royal blue sweaters. No requisite numbers of Caps fans rocking Alex Ovechkin’s red. No stream of folks down the street past The Buffalo News building or the Courtyard Marriott. No one coming in and out of (716)…

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