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At this time of year, we are faced with a difficult choice: Which team to cheer for now? Columnist Jan Snyder finds herself facing an Eastern Conference grocery store aisle with only two products on the shelf: The Senators and the Sabres.

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Game One

by Jan Synder
May 10th, 2007

Life is full of choices.  You go to a restaurant, study four pages of yummy choices and make your decision.  But then the waitress/waiter has more choices for you bleu cheese or Italian, bread or rolls, fries
or baked potato?

The same thing happens in grocery stores.  Cheerios or Frosted Flakes?  Provolone or Romano?  Coke or Pepsi?

As we get to the halfway point of the post season, I'm torn between who I want to see go on.  Sabers or Senators?

I've liked Buffalo all year.  They are so fast, so skilled and Ryan Miller has been a pillar in goal. Chris Drury is the "X" factor here.  He wins everywhere he goes from the Little League World Series to the Avs and now Buffalo.

With someone like that who knows how to win (see scoring to tie the game with 7 seconds left), I have to believe that he passes that intensity and persistent passion along to his teammates.

Briere is such a pure goal scorer. Afinogenov is such a risk-taker. Lindy Ruff, the coach, is cool and calculating.  And their depth, playing four lines, is awesome.  I love the puck support the Sabers exhibit too.  But their power play has lost some of its pizzazz in the last few weeks.

On the other hand, the Senators have such potent scorers in Spezza, Heatley and Alfredsson.  And Emery in goal has done the job, but hasn't really been outstanding. Beating Brodeur will give him much more confidence going into this series though.  Chris Phillips made Sidney Crosby miserable during their series and undoubtedly will do the same against the Sabers. He is a big, intimidating presence.

The Sens beat the Pens.  As a Pens fan, I would like to say that the eventual conference winner beat us that's something, anyway.  But the Sens are trapping - I hate that!  I think Buffalo's speed can beat the trap.  Still I find it hard not to hope that the one remaining Canadian team gets through.  Hockey is Canada's game - yet only one of their six teams is left in the competition.

I even like both teams uniforms.  The yellow - creature - on Buffalo's jersey has grown on me during the season.  The Roman soldier on the Sens' uniforms takes me back to Ben Hur and the chariot race!

I like that the teams are close geographically so neither team can cry about how much they had to travel.  And fans of each team are wild, crazy and passionate with a capital P!

So, I hope the series goes seven, good, hard-checking, goal scoring games.

In the end, I'll choose Cheerios, Provolone and Pepsi - and, oh yeah, Buffalo in seven.

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