Archive for November, 2007

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Teddy Bear Hockey

November 30, 2007

Nope, not about me checking the Build-A-Bear website if Sabres stuff is available, so I can create Bearoslav Spacek.

Instead, this is about the Teddy Bear toss.

I saw this video on WGR’s site and its pretty darn incredible. Fans at the Portland Winter Hawks game were encouraged to bring teddy bears to the game, and toss them on the ice when the home team scored their first goal, with the bears going to needy kids this holiday season. What’s absolutely amazing is that over 20,000 bears were collected in one throw.

Apparently, this is quite the tradition in the minor leagues (at least Wiki tells me so). Remind me again why we don’t do something like this in Buffalo?

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The Boys Are Back In Town

November 29, 2007

Last night’s Sabres / Blues game marked the return of two players with Buffalo ties: Jay McKee (played here for 10 years) and Lee Stempniak (a West Seneca native).  There’s always a charge in the air when former players return to their old stomping grounds. They want to put on a good show for the fans, while their former teammates take a “not in my house” attitude.

McKee was the original slag-faced whore – before we even qualified them as such – as he left Buffalo for the greener pastures of St. Louis. I was upset when he left, but there was a tiny part of me that felt the Blues and Jay got their cosmic comeuppance when Jay spent 90% of last season on the IR for various reasons. I have no ill will towards him now, especially since I’ve heard that last season he took the entire Sabres team (including coaches) out to dinner when the Sabres played in St. Louis last year. That’s class. What are the odds our new slag-faced whores will do the same this year?

Anyways…

Last night’s game was fast-paced, with what seemed like few whistles in the early going. I’ve said it before, but I love games with multiple consecutive end-to-end rushes. It keeps not only the fans, but also the players, on their toes.

Miller played a phenomenal game, at least in the first two periods and third of the first period. He was hung out to dry on the game-winning goal, though Paille did stop the first attempt. (Which reminds me, I wonder who the Sabres emergency goalie is? If god forbid, Miller and Thiebault both get hurt in the same game, who straps on the goalie pads? I know it was McKee when he was in town, but I’ve never heard who the new guy is.)

I was happy that Sekera got his first NHL goal last night. The kid’s been dogged online lately for his play (I know, stop reading the message boards), so it was nice to see him get some kudos for a change. However, whenever I hear Sekara’s first name, the Project Runway fan in me can’t help but think “what happened to Andrej?”

Oh, and Soupy, that blue line across the ice, its painted on. Its not a physical obstacle. Tripping over a painted line takes talent.

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When Good Ads Go Bad

November 27, 2007

Online advertising has some of the best opportunities for unique creative applications. You can do roadblocks, tearaways, bellybands, and my favorite, rollovers. I like them the most, but they’re also the ones that annoy the hell out of me the most. Go figure.

So I was one Sabres.com today at the end of the work day, reading about Clarke MacArthur. I go to exit my browser and am hit with the following ad for the new Reebok jerseys:

creepymiller.jpg

Is the NHL trying to give me a heart attack? The left and center of the ad are alright, but the image of Miller is seriously creepy. (Not to mention, he looks like Milo V, and Milo’s not creepy!) And the tagline about his crease being the coldest place on earth. There are so many places that I could take a comment like that, but I just can’t go there right now. I should not be coming up with dirty jokes while reading an online ad!

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Versus, Schmersus

November 27, 2007

If I were to compare Versus HD against MSG HD, MSG HD wins hands down. The Versus HD feeds distorted and pixelated the Capitals jerseys. It was like watching stop-motion hockey. Hockey’s a fluid game, with movement and grace. All the pixelization kept taking me out of the moment. It made my head hurt after awhile.

And Versus, I get it. Hecht is German. Goose is from North Dakota. No need to keep telling me these things. I kept waiting for the “Ryan Miller, 26, Michigan State, Hobey Baker” comment that always seems to pop up in a Versus telecast.

I read in the paper this morning that Mair and Staffy both took part in a hard practice with the team, and Staffy’s a few days away from returning.  That’s great news, since the Roy / Vanek / Staffy line was really clicking before his injury. Selfishly, I hope he keeps himself healthy, since I do want to see the musical stylings of Staffy with the BPO.

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Trans-Siberian Musings

November 26, 2007

Last night I went to the Trans-Siberian Orchestra concert at HSBC. As someone who wasn’t too familiar with their music outside of that one Christmas song that seems to get played to death, I was pleasantly surprised by the show. The music was outstanding, including some great interpretations of Flight of the Bumblebee, The Charlie Brown Music, Joy to the World and Angels We Have Heard on High. I could have done without some of the narrative bits, but it was definitely a great concert.

However, based on last night’s show, I would like to make it mandatory for all Buffalonians to be given a lesson on how to get in and out of HSBC Arena with a minimum of fuss and bother. It took 15 minutes to get the car from the corner of Swan and Washington to the parking ramp next to Dunn Tire Park, which is all of half a block. And this was 45 minutes before the concert!

Then, inside the arena was like lemmings to a cliff. People had no idea where they were going. Its not that hard to find seats in the arena. I don’t understand what the difficulty was. It also took 15 minutes to get out of the arena after the show. It doesn’t take that long to get out of the arena after the hockey game, and there’s 6,000 more people at the game! And hockey fans are more lubricated after a game than concert fans.

Moving back to hockey, Brian Campbell has a radio show on Star102.5. Since I’m never listening to the radio when his show is on, I usually catch the podcasts on the Star website (once I figured out how to download them, that is). Soupy revealed that MacArthur’s nickname on the team is Griswold (as in Clark W). While that’s a great nickname in and of itself, the Star DJ was trying to get Campbell to push “Screech” as a nickname for C-Mac in the locker room. While C-Mac does look like Dustin Diamond, I wouldn’t want to be known as Screech. Number 1, because its Screech, and #2 because Dustin Diamond is creepy as all get out now. Not exactly a great connotation for a rookie player.

The Buffalo.com photo galleries are usually a great source of that great random photo (yes, I do say random a lot. It dates back to high school). The site has up a gallery of the WGR Whiner Awards / Thurman Thomas roast. While some of the photos are of unknown people, there are a few good ones…

Why does Roy look like a deer in headlights here?

So did Petey and Goose call each other and coordinate the striped shirts?

I can’t figure out the connection between Petey, Goose, Soupy, Roysie and Thurman Thomas at this event. Suggestions are welcome.

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Sabres vs. Montreal – Take 2

November 24, 2007

I like home – at – home series. I know this isn’t something that’s unique to hockey, but it seems like hockey does them more frequently than other sports, especially within a division. You’re almost guaranteed to have two nights of really great hockey, or if one team has an off night, the “we’ll get ‘em next time” aspect only has to wait 24 hours to come to fruition.

Which brings me to tonight’s game against Montreal. I was surprised to see Thiebault in net, thinking that since Miller’s the hot goalie, Lindy would start him tonight and maybe play Thiebault against Washington on Monday. I guess that’s why I’m not an NHL coach. Congrats to Thiebault on the shutout. Montreal threw everything at him but the kitchen sink, and he stopped it all. He made some fantastic saves, proving that he’s a capable backup for Miller (who gave him the hugest hug in the post-game celebration. I like seeing happy Miller. Sometimes it feels like we never get to see him happy.)

Couple random moments:

- During the first period, Vanek got a few cheap shots thrown at him behind the net. Afinogenov comes racing over to defend Vanek. It was like the little chicken hawk from Looney Tunes coming in to take on Foghorn Leghorn (put up yer dukes, let me at ‘em!)

- I know we joke about Timmy’s head being fragile, but we may have to add Tallinder’s upper body to this list. His arm was hanging limply at the end of the second period. I guess we’ll know more tomorrow, but how many arm / upper body injuries has he had in the past couple of years?

- Vanek and Mike Ryan were adorable playing bubble hockey during the first intermission. I love that Ryan’s trying to use the game to make money off of old moneybags Vanek. I also get a chuckle out of Mr. Golisano taking on members of the staff in bubble hockey.

- Note to self: get Sabretooth as ring-bearer at wedding. Although a priest might look at me funny for wanting to have a 7 foot tall giant cat in the wedding party.

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Sabres vs. Montreal – Take 1

November 24, 2007

- If I didn’t heart Timmy Connolly already, I would definitely heart him after his reaction to scoring his second goal of the season last night. In the midst of the goal huddle, he screams “fucking finally!” We read lips, Timmy. But hey, you can’t be a hockey fan and not know that profanity will show up at the randomest times.

- Max Afinogenov must be reading the internets. Every message board and blog has been taking him to task for his play lately. However, last night he was quite the beast. His play was consistent (minus an ill-timed penalty), and it seems like he might have gotten a message from the coach.

- Harry Neale: how do you not know who U2 is? RJ’s aghast reaction at your mention of this fact was priceless.

- The Sabres have been promoting the heck out of Miller and Staffy appearing with Ronan Tynan and the BPO. The press release on Sabres.com indicates that more players may be added later. Might I suggest Sabretooth playing The Little Drummer Boy using the drum he plays “Lets Go Buffalo” on?

- Brad Riter (formerly of WGR) has a great Miller quote on his blog. While I’m glad to see Miller not worrying so much about being a leader, I still think this is his team. As he goes, so go the Sabres. He may not be wearing the “C”, but he’s still the most recognizable name on the team, and there’s the perception that name=leader. I hope this doesn’t mean that Miller’s keeping his mouth shut in the locker room, just that he’s choosing his battles a little more wisely.

- I caught the Devils highlights after the Shootout on MSG. I think I might finally get the Brodeur love that Interchangeable Parts has been spouting. Marty was completely self-depricating, relaxed and gave a great interview. He doesn’t look like your typical goalie – compared to Miller, Marty’s the Stay-Puff Marshmallow Man – but that appears to be part of his charm.

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