Archive for November, 2008

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Saturday Surprises

November 29, 2008

- I went to the Radio City Christmas Show at Shea’s this afternoon. The show was absolutely amazing. I really feel in the Christmas spirit tonight. The train ride to the theatre was comical, as we were on the train with a group of about 30 senior citizens who had never been on the train before. They were amazed at the little things, like how the ticket machine worked, how the train coming down the tunnel towards the station made the station get colder, etc. These senior citizens were really having a good time.

And attending a show at Sheas is always a fun experience. The theatre lobby is absolutely gorgeous with all the marble and wood and the Christmas decorations only added to the splendor. I think the main staircase would be a gorgeous place to have wedding photos taken. The inside of the theatre house is just beautiful, with all the hand painted decorations and trim.

My favorite number of the entire show was The Nutcracker medley. The traditional holiday music featured a cast of dancers in bear costumes, bears dressed as ballerinas and cossacks. I love the Nutcracker music, and the dancing bears brought just the right whimsical touch to the routine. It was hysterical and adorable at the same time. And surprisingly, no children melted down at the sight of the dancing bears.

I really, really recommend that you see this show if it comes back to Buffalo next holiday season. It’s well worth the money for the tickets.

- I’m excited there’s a new Sabres Green Team commercial playing Not that I was tiring of seeing Gaustad in that spiffy grey jacket, but I already know about turning my thermostat down. I’m ready for some new fun environmental facts, please!

- Why does this feed out of Montreal look like its being shot at the bottom of a fish tank? It’s making me feel like I need to get my eyes checked and my glasses adjusted. I also feel like it’s well on its way to giving me a migraine.

- Memo to Jaro Spacek. Killing Pat Kaleta with a slap shot may seem like a good idea in theory, but in execution, it’s not!

- Someone on the Montreal defense is going to be fired after letting Vanek remain unmolested behind them, leading to the Sabres first goal.

- After re-seeing the Paul Gaustad interview with Maria Genero, I’m still struck by how aware Gaustad is of the local area. He mentions the art gallery and our great mom-and-pop hole in the wall restaurants as pluses. It’s such a contrast to an interview Willis McGahee gave last year where he only mentioned Buffalo as being known for its Applebees and TGI Fridays.

- Speaking of football for a moment, the word coming out of New York is that New York Giant Plaxico Burress shot himself in the thigh accidentally while at a club. While the poor dear should be thankful that he didn’t shoot his bits off, inquiring minds do want to know why he had a gun on him at a club in the first place.

- Clarke MacArthur is not inspiring confidence in me with his comment during the intermission that it may take the Sabres until the very end of the game to pull out a win. Can someone tell these guys that a hockey game is a full 60 minutes, and a complete 60 minute effort is required? I’m getting tired of the cardiac kid routine. They can’t keep going to that well.

- That 2 minute 5-on-3 penalty kill by Buffalo in the third period was outstanding. Toni Lydman’s three blocks toward the end of the kill were superb.

- It’s sad that the aforementioned penalty kill was the highlight of the third period.

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Sweet Staffy and Goose

November 28, 2008

- Did anyone a) expect the Sabres to beat the Pens tonight and b) expect the Sabres to beat the Pens on goals from Stafford and Goose alone?

- Glad to see Stafford finally find his scoring touch. More score, less punk, Staffy.

- I think its sweet that Goose is still given 10 cents per goal by his grandfather (20 cents for game winning goals). From what Kevin Sylvester said, it’s a family tradition dating back to Goose’s youth hockey days. According to Sabres.com, this little tradition has cost Gaustad’s grandfather $3 since 1998.

- How adorkable were the Sabres celebrating after the win? Their little dance, coupled with the shoving of Miller almost fully into the net, showed that these guys really wanted this win.

- The officiating tonight was horrible. A Sabre sneezed on a Penguin and got called for a penalty. Yes, those penalties were rightfully deserved, but the same types of offenses were committed by the Penguins and not called. There was absolutely no consistency to the officiating tonight.

- I asked my uncle who was going to the game to pick me up an ornament at the Sabres ornament surprise table. Details tomorrow or later this week on who I got.

- Please check out Wrap Around Curl for anothe chapter in how some hockey teams aren’t quite understanding the concept of blogs, the internet and how not to piss off your fans.

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Cooking with Jaro?

November 27, 2008

After watching the video found with the story about how the Sabres and Bills spend their Thanksgiving, I kind of want to see Jaro Spacek get his own cooking show. He sounds like he knows his way around fowl, and Spacek’s accent and delivery make anything hilarious. It would be the perfect mix of entertaining yet informative.

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What I’m Thankful For

November 26, 2008

In honor of the Thanksgiving holiday, I present a list of what I’m thankful for this year (in addition to the usual health, home and family, that is).

- I’m thankful that Brian Campbell still manages to find a way to put his foot in his mouth. In an interview with the Chicago Sun Times, while discussing his return Wednesday night to San Jose, he made the following comment about the Buff:

Buffalo will be a little tougher,” he said. ”I’m glad we’re not going there this year, and hopefully a year from now if we go there, they won’t know who I am. That’d be fine by me.

Soupy, Soupy, Soupy. You played here for seven years. We’ll never forget you. Have you learned nothing from the returns of Danny Briere, Chris Drury, Michael Peca, Miro Satan and Dominik Hasek? We never forget!

- I’m thankful that pardoning a turkey doesn’t mean you’ll get a reputation as being soft on turkeys:

- I’m thankful that the NHL is still around 91 years after its inception.

- I’m thankful for each and every single one of the Buffalo Sabres. Oh sure, there are times I’d like to give each and every single one of them a good smack upside the head, but most of the time, I’m thankful for them.

- I’m still thankful for Mr. Golisano stepping up and rescuing the Sabres from oblivion a couple of years ago.

- I’m also thankful that the Sabres all genuinely seem to like each other and get along. We saw that this past offseason during the flurry of contract extensions, that each guy mentioned that he was glad to be in town, staying with the same group of guys.

- I’m thankful that the Sabres don’t have a locker room cancer. Or, if they do, he’s exceedingly well hidden.

- I’m thankful that the Vancouver Canucks put Roberto Luongo on the IR, allowing me to pick up another player for The Little Honkers.

- I’m thankful that I live in a great city with great people.

- I’m thankful that I work at a job that I love, with people that I adore.

- I’m thankful that the Sabrelogosphere contains some of the most witty, intelligent, observant and clever writers out there.

- I’m thankful for Darcy Regier. The fact that he runs one of the tightest ships in the business may make it maddening for fans during trade deadline day and UFA day, but the end result of that tight ship is that we can be pleasantly surprised by whatever deal results from Darcy’s quiet machinations.

- I’m thankful that Paul Gaustad looks good holding a puppy. Alright, so I’m not really thankful for Goose and puppies, I just felt the need to link to the post with the picture. (And was that puppy the runaway star of last year’s Catwalk for Charity, or what?)

- I’m thankful for the quick laughs offered by the Jeff Dunham Christmas Special. I especially enjoy Jeff Dunham and Achmed’s attempts at cracking up Guitar Guy.

- I’m thankful that Lindy Ruff has a sense of humor, even when things aren’t going right. RJ made a comment during tonight’s game that during a trip to Atlanta, they drove past a billboard that announced there are 200,000+ houses for sale in the Atlanta area. Lindy cracked that there would be one for sale up in Buffalo if the team didn’t start winning some games soon.

- I’m thankful for the complete insanity that is Semi-Homemade Cooking With Sandra Lee. Some of the stuff that Sandra Lee comes up with is just so out there and bizzare, that all one can do is just drop one’s jaw in horror. It’s truly appointment TV with my TiFaux.

- I’m also thankful for spell check, gel pens, wrist braces, clicky pencils, e-mail read receipts and FedEx.

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Pointless Post

November 24, 2008

I’m uninspired and dreadfully lazy today, so I have only this to post…

Ryan Miller and anonymous rugrats from last night’s Tree Lighting at Fountain Plaza. More photos at Buffalo.com.

What is it about men and babies that turn me into a ball of goo?

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Good Things

November 23, 2008

- The Bills win today helped salvage this Buffalo sports weekend for me. After the Sabres let me down, the Bills pulled through and completely trounced the Chiefs.

If they wouldn’t have won, could you imagine what WGR would have been like tomorrow morning? The station probably would have had to have East Side Eddie and Lackawanna Louie on suicide watches. I was listening to the postgame show while doing the dishes earlier tonight and thought it was pretty funny that Bulldog had to specifically mention that callers today don’t necessarily have to be negative when they call in. There were plenty of things that went right today for the Bills, no need to nitpick to find the bad stuff. And I agree! They won for pete’s sake. Let’s not slit our collective sports fan wrists over a win.

And at least the football related talk at most Buffalo Thanksgiving tables will be happy. The hockey related talk…well, depending on what happens on Wednesday night, could still go either way.

- I was glad to see Leodis McKelvin finally show up today. He had 67 yards in kick returns, and two interceptions, including one for a touchdown.

- I also liked that Trent Edwards also seemed to get his mojo back. He had a 75% completion rate, threw for two touchdowns, ran for two more and seemed more confident in the pocket. I hope this means Old Trent is back, and New Trent has been banished to the deep recesses of his psyche.

- Speaking of Trent, wow, is he looking sharp in his postgame interview. Screw that, the entire team is looking sharp. Was there a group field trip to Napoli’s, M.Wile or Riverside Men’s Shop? The past couple of games have seen the guys giving postgame interviews in nothing more than jeans and sweaters. Did someone crack the dress code whip? If so, I wholeheartedly approve.

Moving on…

- Timmy spoke to the media last night and revealed that he had been suffering from a broken rib. (And not disassociated man boob, endometriosis, a bit relocation or a head injury, as had been speculated at various points around teh internets.) I give Timmy a bunch of credit for even playing through something as painful as an undiagnosed broken rib. I just have to wonder what’s going to break next on the guy? His hip was repaired in the offseason, his vertebrae just healed and now he broke a rib. What’s next?

Private to the Hockey gods, DON’T ANSWER THAT!

- I’m really amused that Ryan Miller thinks that he’s getting old, as his iPod choices have recently seen him revisiting some of the bands he listened to in high school (Smashing Pumpkins and Counting Crows, if anyone is wondering.) And as much as Miller is trying to be cool about what music he listens to, isn’t Counting Crows like the least offensive band ever? And I say that having ABBA and Neil Diamond on my iPod. (But at least ABBA and Neil Diamond have a kitchy cool factor associated with them. I don’t think you can say that about Counting Crows.)

I can certainly empathize with wanting to revisit the high school years, as it seems like every so often I have this massive urge to listen to the RENT soundtrack, which along with boy band music, played a really big role in my high school years. I remember getting stuck in a car one night with my friends doing laps around Gates Circle, but it was alright, because we were singing “La Vie Boehme” at the top of our lungs. I also remember the endless BSB or N*Sync discussions that seemed to dominate the conversations at school. You could either like one or the other. You couldn’t like both. (For the record, I liked N*Sync better.)

I also got a good laugh at Miller’s subtle dig on “Kiss FM” trying to steer music tastes by telling their listeners that “OMG THIS SONG IS THE BESTEST ANYTHING EVER IN THE HISTORY OF ANYTHING WE’VE EVER PLAYED ON THIS STATION!” One of my co-workers listens to Kiss at his desk, and I can hear it pretty clearly. For example. I think Kiss plays “Womanizer” at least 5 times during my 8 hour workday. It’s enough to make you want to bang your head against your desk and then turn your iPod up louder.

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Semi-Live: Sabres v. Isles

November 22, 2008

PreGame

- Tonight’s broadcast starts with a recap of the Isles injury problems. Their issues all start and end with DiPietro. Pretty Ricky is out with a knee injury, which is on the heels of the first knee injury, which is on the heels of the hip injury. And there may or may not be a head injury in there somewhere. So, in other words, Pretty Ricky is the Isles version of Timmy. Nice to look at, but being held together with spit, duct tape and bubble gum.

- Roberto Luongo left the Canucks game today with a groin / leg injury. Why is this important? Luongo has been singlehandedly carrying the goalie portion of The Little Honkers fantasy team (thanks a lot, Marty Turco). Hopefully, Lui’s injury isn’t too major. (Update: The Canucks coach says it’s likely Lui won’t be playing hockey for awhile, but the severity of his injury won’t be known until he has an MRI in the morning. Crap. Crap. Crap.)

First Period

- The game has started and the fine folks at Blime Blarner haven’t yet pushed the button on the HD channel. I’m not a happy camper, as the SD picture is fuzzier than heck.

- The Isles head to the power play as Rivet heads to the box for two minutes to feel shame.

- I’m really amused that someone found my blog via “drew stafford asshole” as a search term. I don’t think I’ve called Staffy that (yet).

- And Teppo now joins Rivet in the box after committing a hooking penalty. The brief five-on-three passes with no goals by the Isles.

- Praise Jeebus, the HD feed is now active. I guess HSBC Arena and Blime Blarner are in two different time zones.

- Lindy’s irate as Kaleta gets sent to the box for boarding Campoli as the two are striding towards the puck on an icing call. Lindy’s using some very creative vocabulary as he’s expressing his points to the ref. Sure, Kaleta may have bumped Campoli, but Campoli did some very nice acting as he flopped around on the ice like a dying trout. Lalime saves his teammates bacon by making two very quick saves at the start of this latest PK.

- No penalty is called as MacDonald trips Mancari on a rush to the net. Meanwhile, Paetsch and some Isles player drop gloves, tap each other a couple of times and move on with their play. It would’ve been nice to see what exactly started that one.

- James Patrick is spotted on the bench talking to the coaching staff in the press box. If you didn’t know he was wired for sound, you would think that his necktie was some super secret Maxwell Smart spy doodad, and JP was hatching a plan to overthrow Lindy.

- RJ and Harry Neale give Rob Ray some grief for being out on the empty ice before the game firing pucks on the net. Ray remarks that he just wanted to be ready in case Lindy needed to put him in the lineup after what’s happened the past couple of games. Zing! to Rayzor.

- As Peters and Fritz are sent to the box for yapping at each other, the Arena PA is playing the Jump On It song. If you’re of a certain age, you know it from The Fresh Prince of Bel Air.

How did Will Smith and Alfonso Ribiero get through this sketch without cracking up?

- I miss the Isles goal while moving laundry from the washer to the dryer. Some blogger I am, eh? I do catch the replays while the play is under review by the home office in Toronto, and in my lowly opinion, it should count…and it does.

- Holy mackerel, Peters is taking on Fritz. No big deal right? Well, Fritz is 6’8 and is kicking the snot out of Peters. Peters heads toward the locker room and exhorts the crowd to pump it up already.

- What in sam hill is the Arena Music Dude (AMD) on tonight? Britney’s Womanizer was playing during the goal review, and Ice, Ice, Baby was just heard during the last stoppage in play. Eclectic does not even begin to describe the music mix tonight.

- Mark Mancari, aka “The New Guy,” finally scores for the Sabres. This is the Sabres first goal since the middle of the first period of Wednesday night’s game against Boston. That’s entirely too long to remain scoreless if a team wants to remain competitive.

Second Period

- Ray chimes in with his recap of his intermission conversation with Brian McCutcheon. Nothing remotely earth shattering, it was all “the team didn’t retreat, blah blah blah positive cakes.”

- Gaustad and Streit are exchanging cookie recipes after Streit takes offense to Gaustad being too close to MacDonald. The Gaustad / Paille / Mancari line has been pretty effective tonight. They’ve been forechecking well and have been an annoying presence in front of the net. A quick look at the Yahoo stats show me that they’ve had 7 of the team’s 18 shots on goal so far. Not bad for your third line, eh?

- Now the AMD is playing the Jimmy Soul song “If You Want to Be Happy.” That’s the one that goes “if you want to be happy for the rest of your life, never make a pretty woman your wife…” That’s not exactly your typical arena rock song. Is AMD now offering marriage advice to the Sabres and their fans?

- We’re treated to a brief look at Lindy and the coaching staff working out this morning with the Depew Saints, who won ice time with the staff at a charity auction. They showed the kids doing a drill that involved them sprinting to center ice and then belly flopping onto the ice. That drill looked like a lot of fun, if not a little painful.

- Sim scores a power play goal on Streit’s shot from the point, as Lydman had been called for hooking.

- Rob Ray reminds us that the Sabres too often try to get too fancy when playing at home. Exhibit A is Hecht’s drop back pass to Pommers that was intercepted by the Islanders. Just play hockey and forget about the bells and whistles already.

- The Sabres head to the power play, as Gaustad is interfered with on the face off. After much passing (and a little bit of shooting), the power play continues to work with the futility theme that the team is pushing.

- Here is the second period gratutitous YouTube video. Thanks to the Ookies for pointing out that this thing even existed.

Could Staal be anymore wooden? [/chandler bing].

- The intermission report includes a brief look at the players meeting with NHLPA head Paul Kelly. The meeting with Kelly looked like it could have happened at my workplace. The attendees were eating lunch at a U-shaped set of tables, and there appeared to be a powerpoint presentation of some sort on a screen. The only differentiating factor is that the Sabres are all male and my workplace most definitely is not. The lunch even looked like it was catered by Panera, as they were all chowing down on sandwiches and chips.

Third Period

- Fucking A. Bill Guerin makes it 3-1 and the boo birds come out at HSBC Arena.

- These guys are playing like they’ve already checked out and are headed to Roy-Z’s little shindig at Level.

- The Sabres have outshot the Islanders 31-20 so far tonight.

- Make that 32-20, as Mancari shoots one point blank low on the short side of Macdonald.

- Ray reports from benchside that he is sensing a leadership vacuum on the players’ portion of the bench. That no one is really stepping up and saying “let’s turn this thing around.” There’s 6 minutes left in the game, and pending a miracle, I don’t feel good about it.

- Ray again reports that Lindy is running a short bench, mainly using the Top 2 lines, with the third line in for a breather now and again. I still think that the alleged third line of Paille / Gaustad / Mancari has been the best performing one tonight.

- The third period gratuitous YouTube video is brought to us by The West Wing

Richard Schiff and Bradley Whitford are amazing when they freak out. I also appreciate the use of the phrase “schmuck ass.”

- Praise Jeebus. Roy-Z launches a bullet from the top of the left face off circle and squeaks it past the goalie. Huzzah!

- Rivet gets awarded the save of the game as he flops through the crease to save a puck from heading in the net while Lalime is down and badly out of position.

- Fucking Vanek gets a penalty as he’s fighting for the puck behind the net.

- The Islanders put the fork all the way into the Sabres by scoring an empty net goal with 4 seconds left.

- RJ says that the Sabres malaise continues. I think we need to look for a stronger word than malaise. How about pain? Agony? Soul killing? And if tonight’s fun and frolic wasn’t enough, we get to play Boston on Wednesday. Boston. Again. Oh, goody.

PostGame

- I normally wouldn’t write about the postgame stuff, but I want to see how the players and Lindy spin this game.

- Roby stresses that the only way the Islanders won the game was by outworking the Sabres. The Islanders played the perfect road game. They mucked. They grinded. They beat the Sabres – a higher paid, higher talented – team at their own game.

- Pommers is the team’s first sacrificial lamb to the media. He basically says they weren’t competing, and they weren’t winning those one-on-one battles. They’ve got a couple of days of practice before the next game, and they’ll work it out. No mentions of The System. Guess that’s still on holiday.

- Mancari reports that he, Gaustad and Paille agreed that if pucks were going towards the net, that they were going to go after them. Novel concept there, isn’t it? Why can’t the rest of the guys grasp this? Mancari also goes on to praise Gaustad and Paille as smart players. In case I haven’t mentioned it before, I really, really like this line. Which of course means that Lindy is going to muck around with it and it will be broken up before long.

- I really like Lindy’s choice of suit tonight. He’s wearing a nice doubled breasted charcoal grey coat, black shirt and a purple and white swirled tie. All he’s missing is a nice pocket square. While his threads are nice, his words are not so much. He mentions that the penalties early on killed them, as it took key guys out of the mix.

Lindy also indirectly throws a couple of players under the bus, saying that there were some efforts early on that were subpar. While he didn’t name names to the press, I have a feeling some people are going to get a stern talking to or a nice ride in the press box.

- I fully expect a negative Bucky column tomorrow or Monday.

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