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01-20-2013, 10:01 AM
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I think it's always been the same story for both the Sabres and the Bills. Players in both the NFL and NHL trash talk Buffalo because it's not a hip city with a top-shelf nightlife scene. It's a rust belt city with boarded up buildings and ugly suburban sprawl.

However, even players who are mortified to be sent to Buffalo via trade or draft end up falling in love with it because it's more of a close-knit community than most of the big-market towns. The neighbors are nice, the traffic is manageable, and everything is more laid back than a place like NYC or Boston. Many athletes end up settling in Buffalo after their playing days are over, and many players go out of their way to recruit free agents by explaining why they love it there so much. Buffalo has always been particularly attractive to the more mature players with families, etc., who just want a quiet home life away from the game.

Pegula's money has obviously made the Sabres a more attractive option to any free agent, but Buffalo always has been a draw for players looking to focus on hockey and family over partying and womanizing.

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