By Allan Muir
It's become a popular bit around the NHL. Somebody finds a hideous piece of clothing -- an old jacket in Boston, a battered fedora in New York -- and it becomes a badge of honor in the dressing room, awarded by the players to a teammate who puts in an honest night's work at the rink.
They do it in Buffalo, too. There, the game's star is honored with a particularly gamey fur coat emblazoned with the team's logo. It's a good gag that promotes team unity.
Except PETA didn't quite see it that way.
The animal-rights organization, infamous for its attention-grabbing stunts, got wind of the bit and fired off a letter to Sabres' owner Terry Pegula asking him to end the practice immediately.
"On the heels of the Buffalo Sabres' decision to fire head coach Lindy Ruff, PETA is calling on the team to earn back the trust of its fan base by doing away with something else: the logo-embroidered fur coat that the team recently started awarding to its "player of the game," PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman wrote in a press release. "There's nothing less sporting and more grotesque than wearing someone else's skin. PETA is telling the Sabres that if they want to move forward and leave the past behind, they need to stop draping their top-scoring players in cruel caveman couture."
Cruel caveman couture. That's some olde world wordsmithery there.
The letter didn't generate much buzz until Buffalo center Steve Ott fired off a couple of tweets earlier today:
That's right. The fur is fake.
The Sabres Observer did a nice job following up with PETA and got this response:
"We would be thrilled if the fur coat was in fact faux, and if the Sabres would like to continue the player of the game tradition, PETA would be happy to supply the team with a faux-fur coat."
Sounds like the Sabres already have that covered. But mission accomplished on the publicity front, right?