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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What I’m Thankful For – The Day After Edition

November 23, 2007

I meant to post this yesterday, but time got away from me.

My family – its been a rough year for me and they’ve put up with a lot. They haven’t killed me yet.

I’m also thankful that although Kendallcar is pretty smooshed after Wednesday’s accident, that I’m not smooshed. On a lighter note, my bruised knee will look lovely with my holiday party dress.

My job – I love what I do, and I adore my co-workers. Even though we drive each other batty sometimes, we all know we can rely on each other when the chips are down.

OC – Off Camber‘s been the one place I can go for reliable auto-racing news and commentary. Plus a healthy dose of pop culture snark, recipe sharing (mmm chili), and techno-help. The people on there are some of the funniest, yet most cynical people I’ve ever met. Meeting them in person is the icing on the cake after talking to them online for so long.

Champ Car  – I’m thankful that Champcar’s still around. It’s been a rocky past couple of years, but I really, really hope that the series has its collective head on straight and can improve on 2008. Its not the on-track product that’s the problem, its the off-track nonsense. I’d be sad if there was no Champcar in 2008.

The hockey blog world: I didn’t really enter the hockey blog world until this year’s playoffs, when I stumbled across HLoG and then IPB / Top Shelf / The Willful Caboose, etc. I’ve been able to read some of the most insightful commentary on hockey that can be found on the internet. Its analytical, yet light-hearted, whimsical and often times downright hysterical. We commiserate in our team’s mediocrity, share in our team’s successes and poke fun at the ridiculousness of the hockey world. Its a total community. I’ve been able to meet three people since I started this blog, and they’ve been just as great in person as they are in the blog world.

Bucci and Bucky – believe it or not, I’m thankful for these two yahoos. They’ve provided me with endless snarking opportunities, plus an outlet to distract me from the insanity of life. I feel deprived when I’m not able to utter “shut up Bucky” or “shut up Bucci” after reading one of their columns.

Stay tuned for thoughts on tonight’s Montreal / Buffalo game, brought to you in HD by the fine folks at “avoiding my family” corporation. :)

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Live and In Person Thoughts from Buffalo / Ottawa

November 21, 2007
  • Peters and McGrattan were clowning around in the pre-game skate, trading end-to-end shots as they were the last two players off the ice. Peters finally settled it once and for all by going top shelf on the Ottawa net from behind the Buffalo blue-line. The crowd went nuts.
  • Miller had a good game. Sure he gave up some big rebounds (the Alfreddson goal for one), and should be kissing his goalposts for bailing him out on the Chris Kelly breakaway.  Miller also got an assist on Kotalik’s goal and a penalty for interference. I kept hoping he would get a goal, just to complete the unusual-for-Miller stat night.
  • Timmy continued the fine Buffalo trend of missing wide open nets, hitting the post early in the first. My dad remarked that its because Timmy was seeing four nets. Yes, there’s never not a good time for a Timmy head injury joke.
  • I like when we score the first goal. It sets the tone for the entire game. After Ryan punched in the first goal, I really felt like the energy in the building changed. The crowd was more into the game, and it seemed like the players were more into it as well.
  • During the post-game, WGR mentioned that Afinogenov wasn’t his usual detrimental self. Then again, he wasn’t doing much on the positive side, either. I almost wish Lindy would send him to the press box for a game or two. Its never good when you’re biggest accomplishment from a game is not being a detriment for your team.
  • Staffy scored on a beautiful pass from Vanek. But if the pass wouldn’t have gotten through, Vanek would have been lambasted in the media. But at least Vanek’s setting up goals at this point. I’ll take a player who’s setting up goals consistently, rather than one who’s just out there for thrills and giggles.
  • I love how 18,000 people chanting “Emery” in unison can make the heckling sound almost lyrical. I don’t know why, but I really like the name Emory or Emery for one of my future children. But then again, I would be damning her to a life of being called Emery Board.
  • Whoot! A two-game winning streak. Which as Lindy pointed out post-game is better than one, but not yet three. He also said that Timmy’s first period miss was his best Derek Roy impersonation. He’s here all week, folks. Tip your waitress.
  • And the best part of the night – Ronan Tynan sang God Bless America before the game. Which brought tears to my eyes, though I’m blaming the stress of the day for doing that. Then during the game, they interviewed Tynan about his concert in December. He mentioned that members of the Sabres will be performing at his show, specifically Stafford and Miller. I’m pommerdoodling over this one; not only will I be seeing a great tenor in concert, plus a great orchestra, but I’ll also have the added value of two musical Sabres. Then again, I’ve heard Staffy sing, and am aware of his musical preferences, so I’m not sure now it’s going to mesh with a tenor and an orchestra. I’ve seen Miller on the guitar, but never heard him play. Its going to be great!
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Brought To You By The Letters WTF?

November 20, 2007

Moving away from hockey for a second, I was perusing yesterday’s NY Times, and found this review of “Sesame Street: Old School” featuring episodes from the early years of Sesame Street. What’s so unbelievable about this review is that the DVD box mentions that these Sesame Street dvd’s may not be appropriate for today’s pre-schoolers.

I’m sorry. Sesame Street. Not appropriate for children. What kind of alternate universe did I step into?

Apparently, its the universe of today’s child rearing. Where everything has to have some sort of underlying meaning, and can’t exist simply to exist. For example, the above NY Times review states that Sesame Street stopped doing the Monsterpiece Theatre sketch because first Cookie Monster smoked a pipe, and then later ate it. Apparently, this is wrong behavior for children to emulate. Which it is, but how many children out there are smoking pipes and then eating them because the big blue furry monster on the TV did so? (Don’t even get me started on the fact that they’ve made Cookie stop gobbling up his cookies and made him switch sometimes to healthier snacks).

How is this sketch objectionable to anyone?

Classical music? Cellos, honkers and dingers, oh my! (and this is where The West Wing fan in me says “Yo Yo Ma rules!”) Skits like this require a warning? I would think kids would love the combo of puppets and music, but what do I know? 

One of my favorite Sesame Street songs. I added it just because I could.

I’m surprised people haven’t had conniptions about The Muppet Show. We had an ADD animal, a scientist with a speech impediment, a narcissist as the female lead, and two grumpy old men in the balcony. Not to mention the content of the skits. Pigs in space, a swedish chef running around trying to kill half the cast so he could cook, not to mention the guest stars, some of whom were quite cutting edge for their day.

The crocs singing harmony kill me every time.

I’m just shocked that something that was such an integral part of my childhood isn’t considered good enough for kids these days. I watched Sesame Street in the early 80s, and I turned out alright. At least, I think I did.

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