That really is the million dollar question. As a hockey fan in NYC I've always struggled to find a place where I can watch the game in a non-sports bar environment, i.e. where there is a fun vibe, nice food and people are friendly.... (my apartment notwithstanding). Particularly hard to find places that show the game and aren't a stone's through from MSG (and that crowd).
I have heard of a place called Kelly's which has only been around for a year or so. I haven't visited but am told its a good time despite limited food menu (they actually let you bring your own, or order in from neighboring restaurants!).
Anyway they're in the east vill so better location overall and they also advertise some affinity towards the Sabres which warms my heart.
Now that you've gotten me thinking about it i might just check it out tonight!