Archive for September, 2007

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Pictures from Saturday

September 30, 2007

I really hope these work. I may have more later, depending on how some more editing comes out.

Clean Ice

  • Happiness is a clean sheet of ice.

Pre-Game

  • Everyone milling around, behaving themselves. This was before it was announced that Sid wasn’t playing.

Clean Up

  • Goose cleans out the net while Miller meditates or something.

Roy stretching

  • Derek Roy tries to avoid being the poster-boy for 1-800-owmygroin

Attack

  • Practicing crashing the net on Miller in the pre-game.

Scrum

  • Goose looses his hat while crashing the net on the powerplay.  Interesting to note that Goose was playing on a line with Afinogenov and Paille.

Soupy

  • He didn’t get the memo about wearing his jersey, but oh well. He cleans up nice.

Patches

  • Note the pink shirt on Patches, which contrasts nicely with the owie by his left eye.
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Oh, Sid

September 30, 2007

My cold, dead, cynical heart is melting for you.

As posted here last night, he was a scratch in the Sabres/Pens game. Yet, he still made the road trip to Buffalo. Why? Because its a Saturday night, and he had nothing better to do.

http://buffalonews.typepad.com/sabres/2007/09/pens-captain-su.html

Oh, Sid. Come to Buffalo. There’s plenty of people waiting to show you what to do on a Saturday night.

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We Are Sabres!

September 29, 2007

That’s the theme for the 2007-08 edition of the Buffalo Sabres. It works, kind of. I wonder if someone in the promotions office happened to be watching “We Are Marshall” when they came up with that slogan.

But I digress. I was at the Sabres/Pens pre-season game tonight. It was an absolutely amazing game. The hockey was fantastic; though Sid did not play. The Sidbot must’ve been in for a lube, oil and filter before the season starts next week.

I almost thought that I would need repairs after going to the Sabres store before the game. There were people everywhere. I wanted to get a CCM jersey (or have my mother buy it for me as my “surprise” birthday gift since the Ice Bowl ain’t happening), but there were too many people to get near those racks. I did end up buying a Pominville t-shirt and a Sabres 06-07 dvd (which will be reviewed by me later this week. Stay tuned for that).

I’m absolutely gobsmacked at the amount of slug merchandise that is out there. For a town that bitched and moaned about how the slug was blasphemy and the worst thing out there since new Coke, there sure was a lot of slug gear in the crowd.

During pre-game, I played the “who is wearing a letter tonight” game. The winners were Hank (C) and Goose and Timmy (A). I noticed that Goose was the leader of the “lets all stand in a horseshoe and fire pucks at Crunchy” drill, where his main role was to keep the puck moving and clear the net.  He was also the last person off the ice after warmups. Goose must’ve changed sweaters after the first period, as the sweater he had on for the rest of the game was letterless. Either that, or AC Moore needs to make glue-on letters that are slightly more durable.

The start of the game was delayed 15 minutes because there was such a demand for walk-up/will-call tickets, there were too many people in the lobby.  The crowd was a little unhappy with the delay, but they sure perked up when it was announced that Timmy was going to play. The crowd also booed Briere during the highlight package showed on the jumbotron. I can only imagine how ridiculous its going to be when the slag-faced whore himself shows up in the building, not just a video.

Doug Allen sang the anthems as usual, and nothing says national pride like singing along to the national anthem with 17,000 of your closest friends.

The new jumbotron is up, and it is eleventy-seven thousand times better than the one they had up. Its just so crystal clear and snazzy. The best part, is that hanging down below the board itself, are the Sabres slug logos, supported by crossed swords. The way the swords handles are designed and positioned under the slug makes it look like the slugs are wearing Chuck Taylors.

Derek Roy is on fire. I don’t know if Lindy had a come to jeebus meeting with him, or he got the memo about a contract equalling performance, but he has been amazing these past few games. He’s got good supporting players in Staffy and Vanek as linemates. Staffy’s also a beast. He forced a turnover late in the game in the Pittsburgh end that almost resulted in another goal. Timmy’s game-winning goal was brilliant. The man shot the puck into the net when he was falling to the ice.  Amazing. Beautiful. Superb. Pick an adjective. I can’t.

Speaking of Timmy, there was one moment where Timmy was jostling along the boards, and I muttered that he needs to keep his head up, and next thing, Timmy’s on the ice. All you saw were his little skates flailing above the boards. My mother muttered that maybe Timmy needs to concentrate on keeping his body up, not just his head. But Timmy got up. No headache, no foul.

I do have to say that my enjoyment of the game tonight was doubled because of all of the fun that I’ve been having reading the hockey blogs this summer. Whether its pommerdoodling when Pommerdoodle scores, or wanting to yell “Buy Sod” at Jordan Staal, seeing a Jumbotron feature called Crunchtime and being disappointed that its not all about Crunchy, actually noticing changing on the fly and the little bench shuffle, etc; all these things make the game that much more enjoyable.

After the game, the team had a fan-appreciation autograph session. They had the players spread out around the arena, and didn’t announce who was where until after the game ended, so people could not camp out for one player. Our seats were right near where Soupy was stationed, so we went to his line first. He was pretty amused that the first people in line were having him sign Briere jerseys. I had him sign my copy of the Sabres 06-07 dvd, and he said he needed to get a copy of that, since he hadn’t seen it yet. Note to Sabres Management: get them a copy! (Heather, I think he took your advice on the beard thing, since he was rocking one rather well). He did however, lose fashion points for wearing light-cocoa colored pants, camel colored shoes and black socks.
Then we went to the Paestch/Mair line. Pictures of Patches do not do him justice at all. The man is fine [/end puckbunny]. He steals away the fashion points Soupy lost, as Patches had on a pink shirt, which matched the light pinstripes in his brown pants. I don’t have much to say about Adam Mair, as his watchdog was giving me the evil eye for wanting to take a picture. Hank was the only other person on our level, and his line was cut off already.

Those were the only autographs we could get, since both the 100 and 300 levels had been shut down to additional autograph seekers at that point, as the lines were so long. Miller, Afinogenov and Vanek total had somewhere around 4500 people in their lines. Yikes.

I will have my pictures uploaded tomorrow, once I get some of them cleaned up and either uploaded here to to flickr. Some of them definitely require captions, so they may end up here after all.

Peace out.

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The Times, They Are A Changin’

September 28, 2007

You might have noticed that my blog has a new title today. As the wonderful Katebits of The Willfull  Caboose pointed out, there already is a hockey blog called The Puck Stops Here. In my pommerdoodling of setting up a new blog, I forgot to actually do a google and see if that name already was taken. Bad blogger!

Shots Off the Crossbar is not taken, however. So we shall be sticking with that for awhile at least.

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Random Stuff

September 27, 2007

Where to begin. So much has happened in Sabre-land lately, its kind of hard to know where to start. So, please bear with me if this is all jumbled.

Jim Lorentz announced his retirement on Monday, citing the inability to deal with the travel schedule anymore. The guy’s 60 years old and has been on the road since he was 17, so this is a completely valid and understandable reason. As a fan, I’m sad that he won’t be in the booth with RJ. They had such a fluid style together, and really made watching/listening to Sabres games a joy. Right now, the team is trying out Matt “The Rat” Barnaby, John Tucker and Roby as potential replacements.

I heard a bit of Barnaby on the radio this morning. He was a little shaky at first, but kind of grew into it. It might be nice to have a younger person in the booth, someone who just stopped playing recently, and also has some history with the coaching staff and upper management from his playing days. I have no opinion on John Tucker, since I don’t think I’ve heard him broadcast before, but Roby has filled in for a few games, so that has the potential to be interesting. But if they move Roby out of the studio, there goes the pre and post game entertainment of watching Kevin Sylvester have to prevent Roby and Rob Ray from killing each other.

Moving on, since the Sabres don’t televise the pre-season, I was relying on the Yahoo stats to keep me abreast of the Sabres/Leafs game last night. I was impressed by Roy’s hat trick (a regular, short-handed and power-play goal) and the effort put forth by the team. The power-play was even working. Of course, this means that by the time the season starts, the power-play will be back to its usual, ineffective self.

What was even more impressive about last night’s game is the fact that Toronto was playing with pretty much its regular lineup. The Sabres still had a good mix of Rochester kids in the lineup, as Goose, Timmy, Afinogenov and Kalinin were all out with injuries.  I hope the four of them get healthy, as they’re all a key component of the Sabres lineup.

I was also impressed at how Yahoo had one player for each team serving the penalties, irregardless of who they were called on. Even more impressive is the fact that the gentleman serving the Sabres penalties wasn’t even in the lineup, as he had been returned to his German team yesterday. Congratulations, Yahoo. You managed to break the space/time continuum. Very well done.

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Now Guest-Starring on Heroes…

September 26, 2007

Scott Niedermayer’s playoff beard!

After getting itself an agent, and a good coat of just-for-men, the Cup-winning beard hopped a plane to the sunny shores of LA, and started looking for work. When it heard that Heroes star Adrian Pasdar was in need of some quick growing facial hair, it auditioned for the role and won.

One can only hope that the beard is as much luck for Pasdar’s character Nathan as it was for Niedermayer.

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I Got My Tickets

September 24, 2007

My tickets for the Sabres/Sens and Sabres/Flyers came in the mail today!

Pommerdoodling!

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Oh, Poz

September 24, 2007

And the hits just keep on coming. Not only did JP Losman get hurt during yesterday’s Bills/Pats game, the Poz (Paul Posluszny) broke his arm later in the game. That’s the 5th starter the Bills have lost on defense this year, and about the 82nd player they’ve lost to an injury this season. I’m not too concerned about JP’s injury, since he seemed to be going for the Oscar on the sidelines. He was walking around, and grimacing, clutching the leg while taking snaps, etc. And if the coaching staff can calm down Edwards’ rookie jitters, he might be a pretty good JP stand-in.

The Poz’s injury sucks. Rookie year, doing a pretty good job, and his arm snaps. The following Poz quote came from this morning’s Buffalo News, and pretty much cemented my love for the guy:

“I can’t believe this happened,” said the second-round draft pick. “We’re playing the Patriots, a great team. You want to be out there. I don’t care about the arm. The worst part about it is they brought me here to do a job, to play middle linebacker for the defense, and now I’m not [going to]. . . . That’s what hurts the most. Those guys are going to be out there, they’re fighting hard, doing everything they can to win and to not be able to help the cause is the hardest part.”

For a rookie to have that kind of work ethic, to be worried not about himself and his health, but instead to be worried about the team and his job, is pretty amazing in this day of overpaid, spoiled athletes. His reaction reminds me a lot of Gaustad’s after his injury last year, in that Goose was pretty upset not about his season potentially being over, but that he wouldn’t be able to be on the ice helping his teammates and that he felt like he let the fans down by getting hurt.

Sigh. You didn’t let me down. Just have a good surgery, recover well, and drink some damn milk so more bones don’t snap.

ETA: Poz was placed on injured reserve today. Damn. Oh well, at least he’ll still be doing those insanely adorable TWC commercials.

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If I Was In Charge

September 23, 2007

There’s been a lot of fan outrage over the new Reebok jerseys the NHL has introduced. Sure, they may be stronger, higher, swifter, drier than the current style of jerseys, but they’re messing with tradition. Hockey sweaters are meant to be like that old, comfortable sweatshirt that you put on when you’re PMS’ing: loose and worn-in; not tight and form-fitting.  Many fans wish the league would have just left well enough alone. So that got me thinking, what would I do if I were NHL Grand-High Poobah Overlord  Commissioner for a day?

Well, first off, I would chuck the new sweaters and uniform re-designs that followed. There was no need to add piping and completely eliminate horizontal stripes, redo perfectly serviceable logos, add random colors, add color blocks to only one side of the uniform, tailor the edges of the uniform, and the rest goes on. There was nothing wrong with the old uniforms, so why fix what’s not broken?

Second, I would adjust the NHL schedule so that every team plays each other at least once a year. The East Coast teams should have to make a two week road trip out to play the West. Why should the West Coast teams be the only ones that have to travel all over the place? I’d rather let a rivalry develop naturally from good hockey than a forced rivalry from seeing each other so much.

Third, I would find a way to reduce the size of goalie equipment. There’s no reason that Crunchy should be so scrawny off the ice, and then magically transform into the stay-puff marshmallow man once his gear is on. There has to be a way to do it to allow the goalies to stay safe against harder shots, but also make the equipment smaller.

Fourth, I would make sure that NHL teams made sure to promote the heck out of their players. All of them, not just the chosen ones for each team. Have merchandise ready for people like Lydman, Roy, Gaustad, not just the Pommers and Millers of the world. Also, humanize the players! They’re not just stats. Sure its great that we can statbitty hockey to death, and that its all accessible on the internet, but the players are real flesh and blood people, not just statbitty generators. Use that. Tell us about them. Make their bios entertaining (Sykora and his chinchilla, Parise and his turtle, etc) , and fans will appreciate it. In addition, we know that 99% of hockey players are entertaining in front of a mic. Work with it. Mic up players during the game and use the footage to narrate some of the broadcast.

Which leads me into my next point. Get NHL the heck off of Versus. The NHL is already seen as a niche league. Being on a niche network doesn’t help that perception. Bring the league back to ESPN, where more than 0.4 ratings points will see the game.

And finally, I would formally apologize to the good people of Buffalo for the blown call on Brett Hull in 1999. Yes, Colin Campbell kinda-sorta-but-not-really did already apologize, but that doesn’t mean much unless it comes from the guy in charge.

So that is my pipe dream.

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Sigh.

September 20, 2007

According to the Buffalo News, WGR fired Brad Riter this week, for allegedly not showing up to work.

The little bit that I listened to WGR, I liked Riter. He was one of the few jocks that wouldn’t act like an insufferable ass to callers just because the callers disagreed with his point of view. And, he hosted the Paul Gaustad Show, which always made for a few good clips from the WGR audio vault.

Without hearing both sides of the story, you never know who is in the right (and Buffalo media is notorious for only reporting one side of the story). I do find it suspicious that a WGR jock got fired the same week that John Murphy was done at Channel 7. Of course, it could be difficult for Murph to work on WGR, considering his role as “Voice of the Bills” on a competing radio group.

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