Archive for June, 2008

h1

The Calm Before the Storm

June 30, 2008

Edited to add the bottom paragraph.

Noon tomorrow marks the beginning of one of the wackiest days in hockey: UFA Day! Its a chance for fans to break their F5 buttons, wondering if their team is going to sign a big name free agent or let some big names walk out the door. The Sabres could be players in the UFA sweepstakes, as they need a defenseman and a backup goalie. There’s some interesting rumors out there, including but not limited to:

- Soupy signing with Nashville for $41 mil over 8 years. Yeah, that’s pretty f’ing ridiculous. I really think that Soupy is going to be the winner of this year’s “Most Overpaid Player” award. He can pick up the tiara and sash on his way to wherever he signs.

- Max and Stafford being traded to Florida for Bouwmeister. Ok, so this one might not be so farfetched. Max has been rumored to be on his way out, and Stafford has been mentioned in a few places as trade bait.

Irregardless of what happens, sit back, have a nice beverage and a snack, and watch the ensuing insanity.

- On a happier note, the Sabres announced today that they have started contract talks with Ryan Miller. Yippee! Maybe this announcement will put those “Miller to Detroit” rumors to bed for awhile. And at least Darcy started talking to Miller before he disappeared to take part in the annual month long “Ryan’s Birthday Celebration.”

- I really want a peanut butter cookie right now. When I was in Michigan, I had some awesome peanut butter cookies from this one German bakery. I’ve tried to find a decent cookie here, but am having little luck. I’ve tried Timmy Ho’s peanut butter cookies, and was turned off by the actual peanuts in them. Blech. My next stop may be actually making my own cookies, heaven help us all.

- WHOOO! The Sabres have signed Goose to a 4-year contract. I feel relieved, as I was afraid my dear little Goose would have been sent an offer sheet by Podunk Tech and would have left the Buffalo behind. I’m now decorating the place in Goose colored bunting, and am making sure to put the Crunchy colored bunting on order.

h1

Reasons To Love Hockey

June 28, 2008

#3 – The Internet

The internet has dramatically changed how I view the sport of hockey. Before I really discovered the hockey internet landscape, my primary sources for information about the Sabres – or even the NHL – was The Buffalo News, USA Today or ESPN. The former was great for local Sabres coverage, while the latter two dealt more with league matters, when they dealt with the NHL at all.

Then, I stumbled into the message boards. And I feared for my sanity. Hockey message boards make auto racing boards look like beacons of sanity. And Buffalo Sabres message boards really take the cake for drawing out their fair share of crackpots. (Crackpots…on the internet? Hard to imagine, right?)

After getting really pissed off at the message boards, I tripped over the blogosphere. And I’ve found nirvana. The blogosphere contains some of the wittiest and most intelligent hockey related discussion out there. Reading these blogs has expanded my knowledge of other teams (you mean there’s a conference out west? Surely you jest!) as well as educated me about some of the more quirky rules of the game and line items of the CBA (per diem and mortgage payments after trades? Hot damn!). I also like that more and more teams – especially the Sabres – have hopped onto the blog bandwagon. Pommers’ blog this season was a joy to read, as it allowed us to see what kind of a person he was both on and off the ice. Tim Kennedy’s blog during prospect camp gives us a look at what the youngins are up to. (I just wonder how many of these youngins are begging Kennedy, Kaleta and Orpik for invites home to dinner.) And of course, Miller’s wonderfully candid blog during the playoffs showed that even the biggest stars are figuring out this internet thing.

Outside of these two realms, Google friggin rocks. Google images is always good for that picture of Paul Gaustad in a tux or Jason Pominville looking adorably doofy. And Google News is always good for that completely random article from a player’s hometown paper. For example, I would like to submit this article to the Sabres as a reason to definitely give Gaustad a contract extension with a very nice raise.

And when I really need a laugh, “those boards” with the latest “extracurricular gossip” are a quick pick-me-up. Not only just because of the content posted, but because people actually feel the need to post such intimate details. Has no one any shame anymore? (Well, if that last sentence didn’t make me sound like my grandmother, then nothing will.)

On a completely unrelated note, Crunchy and I are no longer FIHTING. I sent a  wonderfully calm, yet complain-y email about my visit to the Refinery, and received a response yesterday. Apparently the store is closed on Sundays during the summer months due to the closure of MSU. As a make-good, I was offered a 25% discount coupon. My inner negotiator is happy with the make-good and will probably put it towards the one Sabres shirt offered on the site. (I don’t buy “real clothes” through the internet, as a general rule.)

h1

Campy Goodness

June 26, 2008

Through next Tuesday, Sabres youngins will be participating in prospect camp (Camp Junior Morningwood) at Dwyer Arena on the Niagara University campus. Judging from some of the comments made in the media by the prospects, this is a hard core camp.

Tim Kennedy reports on Sabres.com that some days they’re even starting sessions at 6 or 7am. I realize that these guys are (reasonably) grown adults, but I would love, love, love if Lindy and JP were responsible for waking these guys up in the morning. They would completely be my new heroes if they woke up the littlest Sabres the same way the Canisius ’01 and ’02 Orientation Staffs used to wake up their darling freshmen charges. (That would be a wiffle ball bat / lacrosse stick to the door, and loud music blaring in the hallways. It was great fun. Heh heh heh.)

Why do I find it really amusing that Sabretooth is attending Camp Junior Morningwood?

I guess this just shows you that even mascots need some reinforcement of their techniques.

- I’m really glad that the Sabres extended qualifying offers to all of their RFAs. Although this is just a formality, its just one step closer to getting C-Mac, Paille and Goose under contract. I personally expect Goose to be the hardest negotiation, since he is the RFA with the most experience and really stepped up to the plate this past season. But on the other hand, I do remember the story of his last negotiation, where he called his agent on a Friday to get the deal done, and he was signed by Monday.

- Also, I’ve been reading a very interesting thread on Sabresfans.com, regarding Darcy Tucker’s agent’s appearance on WGR this morning. While Tucker has been bought out by the Leafs, he would prefer not to move his family far from the GTA. His agent admitted that Tucker has considered Buffalo as a destination (whether Buffalo has considered Tucker, is of course, another story). What’s interesting to note is that Tucker and Gaustad share an agent. The agent noted that it wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibilities for Gaustad to call Tucker and discuss the organization. Veeeery interesting. I wonder if this will develop into anything?

- And for all of the Sabres PR gaffes, at least they haven’t thrown any former players as far under the bus as the Florida Panthers did to Olli Jokinen. What they did was way harsh.

h1

Hell Hath No Fury Like a Pissed Off Blogger

June 23, 2008

Or…my trip to The Refinery.

This past weekend I was in Frankenmuth, MI. It’s a really cute, quaint German town halfway between Saginaw and Flint. The entire town is focused around German food, German history and little shops selling every sort of chotchke available. It’s a total tourist area, but the townsfolk acknowledge it and move on. As part of our weekend, the mom unit and I decided to drive down to East Lansing and visit The Refinery, which as we all know is the clothing store owned by our very own Ryan Miller.

(I would have posted this earlier, but I was without internet access this weekend, as my cheap little self didn’t want to pay $9.95 per 24 hours of access at the hotel. Hotels should have complementary internet, damn it. It was very disconcerting being without access to the Buffalo News, especially during NHL draft weekend. I wanted to find out who the Sabres drafted and whether Darcy traded Max for a 10-pound catfish and a bag of pucks. ESPN was completely useless in this regard, for what it’s worth (shocking, right?). I can however, tell you the complete saga of Evgeni Malkin’s contract offer from the Russians, and Marian Hossa rejecting the Pens 7/$49 deal.

Now that I’m back amongst the civilized, I can’t wait to see how our new 6’7″ draft pick drastically adjusts the height alignment of the team. I’ll bet that Derek Roy magically grows to 5’10″ by the start of training camp.)

But I digress. Onto the real reason you’re reading this post…

Read the rest of this entry ?

h1

Why Google Is Our Friend

June 18, 2008

Or: “how to utilize a search engine to troll the internet for post topics.”

- Google allows us to come across articles like this, announcing that Zach Parise, Jordan Parise and Drew Stafford assisted JP Parise with a development camp to choose the new members of the Des Moines Buccaneers (thats a USHL junior team. Google told me that, too.) The two younger Parises and Stafford were each responsible for coaching their own team of 22 players, while the elder Parise made notes for team selection.

Zach Parise was predicting that there would be a ton of side bets between the three old friends. Is anyone else really curious about who came out on top amongst these three player/coaches? I also wonder if this gave Stafford a new appreciation for what Lindy does behind the bench? I’ve mentioned before – and so has the media – that Lindy and Stafford butted heads a couple of times during the season. Now that Stafford’s put on the coach’s whistle, hopefully he gets why Lindy does what he does.

- I’m guessing that whomever designed Ryan Miller’s new website needs to get a firmer grasp of the idea of search engine optimization. Its not good when the Ryan Miller puckbunny board ranks higher in a Google search than the official Ryan Miller website. Private to the web designer: visit Heather at Top Shelf. She cranked herself to page one of the Google listings with an absolutely awesome Henrik Tallinder post.

- I really did like the article posted on Sabres.com about the draft prospect interview process. It does sound like the Sabres do put a lot of stock in the interview. Maybe this is where they discover so many of the “intangibles” that we hear about. I did like hearing about how Mike Weber gave a fantastic interview, and how a Swedish prospect flitted around the room like a hummingbird on crack before eating all the candy in the interview room. Oh, those wacky kids.

h1

Darn, Darn, Double Darn

June 17, 2008

As some of you know, I will be in the wilds of Michigan this weekend. Well, not so much the wilds as the town of Frankenmuth. Since I will be in the area, a trip to a certain clothing store owned by a certain Sabres goalie is on the agenda for the weekend. Yes, there will be a writeup of that experience. But I haven’t figured out whether my hotel has free internet access yet, so it might not be posted until I’m back home Monday.

But I digress.

Katie at Muckers and Grinders has a link posted to an interview that Gaustad did with 97 Rock. After listening to the interview, it is clear that there will be no sightings of said Sabres goalie during my trip to the clothing store. Do you know why? He’s going to Europe with Goose! The two of them are heading over to London, Rome and Prague.

Private to Miller and Gaustad: when in Rome, make a side trip to the Vatican. A holy blessing or two couldn’t hurt your play for the upcoming year. Bring along an extra sweater. I’m sure the Pope would love to have a Benedict XVI Sabres jersey.

When in Prague, our intrepid travelers going to hook up with Spacek, who’s going to show them around. Why does the thought of Spacek playing tour guide give me the giggles for some reason?

On the negative side, I’ll miss a chance to potentially see Miller in his fashionista glory. On the plus side, at least I won’t have to worry about Miller overhearing me mutter “you want me to pay WHAT for THAT?” Or my mother muttering something about how certain corners of the blogosphere refer to him as Crunchy (followed by me melting into a puddle of goo on the floor.)

Oh, well. It will still be a fun trip anyway.

h1

Redemption, Thy Name Is Drew Stafford

June 16, 2008

If you remember, Drew Stafford was scratched for the last Sabres game of the year against Boston. There were quite a few theories put out as to why Stafford sat out (injury, too many guys not enough spots, in Lindy’s doghouse, etc). After reading today that Stafford is going to be attending Sabres prospect camp, I’d be inclined to think that the latter reason was the reason behind Stafford’s benching and maybe young Staffy is trying to mend some broken bridges.

The 2008-09 season is going to be Stafford’s second complete season in the league. His intro to the league was in 2006-07, when he became one of the “Buffchester Saberks” during the Sabres seemingly neverending injury streak. The time has well passed for Stafford to be considered a “prospect.” He was drafted in the same year as Kaleta and Sejkera, and you don’t hear about them making the trip to camp. (I don’t even consider Kaleta and Sejkera “prospects” anymore, as both of them acquitted themselves very well this past season.) Stafford also played for Team USA this past year and by all accounts played very well. Is he trying to make amends for a shitty 2007-08 season? Is he holding auditions for a new road roomie, as according to what he said on Power Play, he’s had quite a few of them.

According to the Sabres, prospect camp (Camp Junior Morningwood) will be held at Niagara U’s Dwyer Arena, and players will be housed together. There will be on and off ice sessions, with the off ice sessions focusing on conditioning programs necessary to be a successful NHL player, NHL rules and the “successful techniques a player must possess to become a professional athlete.” (I’m ignoring the awkward use of the word “technique” in that quote, but I’d be willing to bet that lecture contains the “hugs not drugs” and “no love without a glove” speeches.)

The last off-ice session mentioned will focus on an introduction to the Sabres system. I wonder if they will call in Pommers to illustrate how to successfully work system mentions into media interviews? We all know that Pommers mentioning the system is one of his key talking points, along with sunshine, kittens, puppies and bacon.

h1

Pointless Post For The Pretty

June 15, 2008

- While perusing Sabresfans.com, I found this thread detailing Goose’s appearance at the Camp Good Days gala. Goose in a suit is rivaling Pommers in a suit for sheer yumminess. Please visit the thread to see these pictures and read about the event.

- While you’re still coming down off the pretty high, head over and read Bucky’s end of the season column. Its not too bad (no 5/$25 mentions and the dead Briere/Drury horse doesn’t get a mention), until we get to this point:

The Winter Classic. There’s no telling how many new hockey fans jumped aboard after watching the outdoor spectacle at The Ralph. I’m not into gimmicks and had my doubts going into the event. That changed after watching fans get bundled up to celebrate the game they played as kids. The stadium looked like a giant snow globe. And the fact that Crosby scored the winner in a shootout made the event that much better.

I find it hard to believe that Bucky isn’t into gimmicks [/sarcasm].

I also find it hard to believe that he thinks Sid winning the game in a shootout is a better ending than if the Sabres had won the game.

h1

Requiescat in pace

June 13, 2008

Tim Russert – one of the biggest, if not the biggest – supporter of Buffalo sports, has passed away at the age of 58. I liked watching Russert on NBC News just because he made politics so accessible. With his dry erase board and wit, he explained the often complicated and wacky side of politics. I’m watching the NBC News right now, and Tom Brokaw recounted a story how Russert had already done the math to show how the electoral college could end up tied at 269 in this upcoming presidential election.

One of my favorite Russert moments occured during the 2006 Stanley Cup playoffs. Russert closed out the show with the Cup next to him on set. He proudly showed off a Sabres jersey with “Russert / 06″ on the back. He closed out the clip by saying that the next time Stanley appeared on the show, it would be escorted by members of the Buffalo Sabres, as they celebrated their Cup win.

Its sad that Russert will not be around to see that happen.

Requiescat in pace. Unless you feel like having an argument with Jimmy Griffin. Then go forth and enjoy.

h1

On With The Show, This Is It – The NHL Awards 2008

June 12, 2008

- Much like my friends over at IPB, I will be liveblogging the NHL Awards show. The local news has already treated us to a glimpse of Pominville in a suit and tie, and he looks good.

- Its 701pm and Versus is currently showing us the CBC feed of Coronation Street. Its the great TapOut debacle all over again. Is it really that difficult to sync up the broadcast feeds? Hey, what do you know, Versus shows up while I’m typing. Oh, its the NHL Draft show from a couple of weeks ago. We already know that Stamkos is going to Tampa. Do we really need to see this again!? I want to see NHL players in tuxes, bad comedy from Ron MacLean, and interesting musical performances. I’m not asking for much, am I?

Read the rest of this entry ?

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.