blog by Ben Tsujimoto • April 01, 2011 @ 10:03am
The playoffs look more and more likely for the Buffalo Sabres; they’re tied for 7th with the suddenly-struggling New York Rangers and stand three points ahead of ninth place Carolina. Only five games remain. And, while the energy and revenue generated from at least two first round playoff games would be a stark contrast to pre-Pegula expectations in February, does Buffalo have enough offensive firepower to keep pace with Philadelphia or Boston? At this point, no.
There’s an answer, however—a solution that you’d never expect. (Well, you might expect it, since I may have slipped in the title). Last week, Uncle Taro Tsujimoto phoned me, revealing his secret discussions with owner Terry Pegula. Through Pegula’s deep reverence for Sabre history and Tsujimoto’s phenomenal fitness for a player drafted 36 years ago, it’s a match made in heaven, setting up a miraculous ending that you can’t even imagine.
Where does Taro, the lone holdover from the Punch Imlach era, fit in? Since he’s been training aggressively with Jaromir Jagr and Peter Forsberg—and in his time off, helping with Tokyo Katanas practice—he’s ready to center the Vanek-Pominville line. Tim Connolly’s occasional effort and even more infrequent production has him lodged in the city doghouse; there’s a gaping hole at center. The svelte, 6’3 Tsujimoto brings a heavy slapshot, a deft wrister, and the ability to speak fluently in three languages (an underrated NHL skill!). The Tokyo Terror will make his return for Sunday’s game against Carolina.
Why am I an authoritative source? After all, I am his nephew (he’s my father’s brother, for those of you who hate genealogies). Tim Thomas, Sergei Bobrovsky, Michael Neuvirth: be scared.
Don’t hate on his satchel in the picture above, either. You’ll be greeted with a vicious high-stick.