Careful What You Wish For

Small Markets. Big Results

Everything is going exactly as the National Hockey League planned, if not as it wanted. Another arena rocks with the renewed excitement of playoff hockey, and two small-market teams are playing here in late May, a time long reserved for their big-market brothers.
But the energy vibe and broadcast waves emanating from HSBC Arena — home of the rejuvenated Buffalo Sabres, bankrupt and teetering toward extinction three years ago — are not infinite.
The N.H.L., looking for a comeback, is left to wonder: How long and sweeping is this radius of intrigue?

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