Archive for February, 2009

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Sabres v. Isles – 2.28.09

February 28, 2009

- I really, really, really hate the singing fish in the commercial for McDonald’s Filet of Fish sandwich. It’s simultaneously scaring me and annoying me. Maybe it wouldn’t bother me so much if it wasn’t on during every other commercial break.

- The on-ice game has been almost overshadowed by the off-ice intrigue regarding Bill Guerin. He took warmups and then was listed as a healthy scratch. Kevin Sylvester saw him leaving the arena, but no word on where he was headed. Stay tuned for the exciting conclusion of Where in the NHL is Bill Guerin Headed?

- Can someone tell me what Gaustad said or did to warrant the misconduct penalty? From my vantage point on the couch, he was no more physical or mouthy than any of the other players on the ice at the time.

- It’s cliche, but you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. The Sabres should remember that and shoot the puck more instead of looking for the perfect pass every single time.

- I do like the spunky attitude displayed by the Sabres tonight. They’ve especially been sticking up for Lalime. I wonder if Sully’s column last week hit a little too close to home for some of them?

- A two goal loss against the Islanders. I have no words.

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You’ve GOT To Be Kidding Me

February 25, 2009

- So Randy Carlyle thinks that Goose should be suspended for his hit on Getzlaf last night. Apparently, Goose left his feet, leading his shoulder to connect with Getzi’s nose and break it. Someone needs to point out to the Carlyle that what’s good for the Goose is also good for the Pronger, as Pronger’s done some much, much worse things and only gotten off with a slap on the wrist.

- Any hilarity derived from that is tempered by the news coming out of practice today that Lalime has La Flu and is questionnable for the game against the Hurricanes. If he can’t go, then Enroth gets his first start and Lalime is relegated to La Backup. Is this when the wheels officially start coming off the playoff wagon?

- And just to make you laugh, a column on the Sporting News site mentioned a deal in the Edmonton papers that would have Max, Goose and a pick going to the Oilers for Cogliano, Penner and a top four defenseman. The Edmonton newspaper rightly shot this deal down. Number one, I don’t think Darcy would piss on Kevin Lowe if Lowe was on fire. Number 2, Sabre Nation would riot if Gaustad was traded. (I really think he’s one of the untouchables on the roster.) Number 3, Buffalo makes out like a bandit in this deal. Kevin Lowe cannot possibly be that stupid. And there’s also the idea that if the rumor involves Buffalo and hits the media, there’s probably little to no truth to it.

- I’m not even going to touch the Timmy to Columbus and/or Vancouver rumors that are out there. I think Vancouver used up their “take a chance on a veteran” card with Sundin. And would Columbus really want to send one of their best defensemen to Buffalo for a center who’s held together with duct tape, spit and the grace of god?

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Sabres vs. Ducks – 2.24.09

February 24, 2009

And so begins the Patty Lalime era in Buffalo. See below for game thoughts mixed in with thoughts on Miller’s wonky ankle, “the code” and any other assorted nonsense that crosses my mind.

- I encourage you to go to the WGR Audio Vault and listen to the two Goose-terviews that have been posted. (We interrupt this line item to mention that it’s now 1:10 into the game and the Ducks are already up 1-0. Good job, guys. Way to make the panicky fans come in off the ledge.) The first interview was done on Friday and discussed hockey, the Oscars and A-Rod. It’s noteworthy if only for Goose’s thoughts on movies; that movies are the new art form for our generation; that we grew up with TV and movies are really just an expansion of the TV arena, as the number of people with high quality entertainment systems grows. In regards to A-Rod, Goose mentioned that A-Rod should have just come clean, that the excuse festival is getting a bit old. The “I was young” excuse got absolutely no sympathy from Gaustad, as he pointed out that A-Rod was 25 when he was injecting himself. That’s plenty grown-up in Goose’s eyes.

The second interview was done last night, just before the signing at Dave and Adams (which, by the way, was extremely well run and Goose was extremely pleasant and wonderful with the little kids). The level of indignancy that Goose displays in this interview is off the charts. He manned up and faced a lot of questioning about the whole ” the Sabres are as soft as a sofa” mentality that’s swept through Sabre Nation since Miller was hurt on Saturday night. Goose does point out that there are some things more important that knocking Gomez into the third row. He uses the example that if he had gone after Gomez on the next shift and got a penalty called on him, then the Sabres would be facing a 5-on-3 with a cold goalie. That would be even more of a less ideal situation than the power play they were facing at the time. If the Rangers would have scored two goals, then Sabre Nation would be calling for the heads of Gaustad and Rivet on a plate, as they were the guys in the box. Either way, the players were damned if they did, and damned if they didn’t. Sabre Nation was going to bitch about something (no, really, hold in your shock at that statement) irregardless of what happened on the ice.

- WHOOOO! The Sabres interrupt the announcers rambling (and mine as well) with a goal. Kotalik rips a shot from the point that gets by Giggy, as Gaustad was making like a dancing bear in front of the net. Later on, the scoring is adjusted to award Gaustad the goal.

- If there’s one thing Miller’s wonky ankle has done, it’s prove that the Sabres are intently aware of what’s being said/written about them in the media. Rivet pointed out that the only person who seemed to care about the lack of a retaliation for the Miller hit was Jerry Sullivan, who wrote a particularly blistering column this past weekend. I hate to break it to Craig, but half teh innernets was thinking along the same lines as Sully. Gaustad mentioned to Schopp and the Bulldog that he was listening to WGR during the day, so he was acutely aware of what was being said and who was throwing who under what bus.

- Dear Versus announcers, how is it that one of you can pronounce Kotalik correctly, and yet the other one of you insists on calling him Coatalik?

- The first period ends with a 1-1 tie and Gaustad, Montador and Rivet exchanging business cards just south of the Buffalo bench. According to the Versus broadcasters, Hecht checked Niedermayer and things snowballed from there. Of course, because this is Versus, we don’t get to see a replay of the play unfold. It’s worth noting that this is the second scrap of the first period that Gaustad has been involved in. He was given a fighting major for some roughhousing with Brookbank behind Giggy’s net. Gaustad was well on his way to kicking some ass, as he had Brookbank’s sweater up over his head.

- Miller sighting: he’s sitting up in the press box with who appears to be his father. At least the 3/4 of the face I was able to see made his companion out to be his father. Miller looked pretty snazzy in his little suit and scruff.

- What the heck kind of penalty is “shooting the stick?” I don’t think I’ve ever heard that called before. And it would be called on Corey Perry, who is sitting on the Little Honker bench tonight.

- While Versus uses a stoppage in play to discuss Ovie’s latest goal, my mother just suggests that the league not hold the awards show at the end of the season and just award everything to Ovie. While she was being sarcastic, I’m sure there’s some in the league who may agree with her in a non-sarcastic way.

- While explaining the Regier / Ruff relationship, Versus shows a shot of Darcy in the press box. He looks pretty foxy in his black glasses. During an interview later in the third, Darcy says that Lalime is the goalie for now. It will be interesting to see if this changes in a week, as the trade deadline rapidly approaches.

- So the score is now 2-0 Ducks as Kunitz tips a Marchant shot past Lalime. Patty had no chance on that one. Marchant was later credited with the goal.

- I’d like to request that the broadcasters not use the phrase “the Buffalo goaltender is down.” That’s a phrase likely to send most of Sabre Nation over the edge…that is, those that haven’t already been sent over the edge.

- And the over the edge fan contingent continues to grow, as Mike Brown taps another one past Lalime. I wonder if Mr. Miller the Elder is in the press box tonight to keep his son from limping down to the locker room and suiting up if things go badly?

- The bumper leading us out to commercial shows Sabretooth dressed in his Mardi Gras finery of hat and beads. I love our mascot.

- Versus continues to lure Sabres fans closer to the edge, as they recap Lalime’s exploits with the Blackhawks last year. He was a mix of very, very hot (shutouts) and not (5-goal efforts). Way to raise the confidence of the Buffalo fans there, Versus.

- I’m glad to see Spacek returning to the ice after he blocked a shot off his foot. That just looked painful.

- The natives are getting restless, as the crowd starts to boo with about 6 minutes left in the 3rd. It’s going to be a long day tomorrow if the team doesn’t turn it around. The news columnists, WGR and their callers are all going to be calling for the head of someone on a platter.

- WHOOOOO! Kotalik scores with 1:06 remaining to make it 3-2 Anaheim. I’ll be dipped.

- Somehow, Goose and Getzlaf collide and they careen into Corey Perry. Goose and Getzi are both shaken up and Getzi gets up and spits blood everywhere. Gross. Totally gross, especially when you consider the blood (or “forensic evidence,” as the Versus dudes called it) was left on the ice for the remainder of the game.

- Well, there were good points and bad points to tonight’s game. The physicality displayed early in the game was good. The fact that it seemed to get turned off in the second period was bad. Goose, Kotalik and Roy were good. Lydman was a hot mess. Lalime wasn’t too bad, but he needs to be better. Hell, the entire team needs to be better. They can’t rest on their laurels until Vanek comes back. I’m willing to give them tonight as their clunker, but Thursday’s game against Carolina now became all the more critical.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to watch POTUS give his Not State of the Union. Any bets on how many times he’ll be interrupted for applause and/or a standing O? My money is on 75 interruptions for applause.

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Sabres v. Rangers – 2.21.09

February 21, 2009

Thoughts before, during and after tonight’s Rangers game.

- I didn’t see the Sabres Notebook on Friday morning due to the fact that I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off at the office. However, Mike Harrington mentioned the Notebook in his live blog of tonight’s game. And I have to say, the headline is a bit of an epic FAIL for the Buffalo News. I know the News has put up a clunker or two of a story or headline in the past, but this is a new low. (Sorry, Mike.)

On a lighter note, can anyone else see Marty tromping through the woods to pay a social call on Lindy (or borrow a cup of sugar)?

- I really liked the interview that Craig Rivet did for the Sabres Show. To me, that’s what a proper player interview should be. Roby allowed Rivet to expand upon his answers, and wasn’t in any hurry to get to the next question, unlike some interviews that Maria Genero has done. There was an easy rapport between the two gentlemen, as they both were drawing on the same experience of being professional hockey players.I liked that Rivet said that he’s not afraid to call a player out on the carpet if he thinks that they aren’t playing to their full potential, and that some other guys in the room have stepped up into that role as well. I’d really like to know who the players are that Rivet said hadn’t experienced a public call out before. I have my suspicions as to the guilty parties.

- I’m liking the Paille / Goose combination tonight. They were hitting anyone in a Rangers sweater that moved during their final shift in the first period. That’s the kind of spunk we need to see out of them night after night.

-  So that stupid slag faced whore Scott Gomez tangled with Miller, causing Miller to awkwardly fall and have to leave the game. I did, however, think that it was incredibly telling that Miller crawled back toward the crease, trying to keep up with the play, rather than flopping around behind the net like a dying trout. That tells me that the team and the game is more important to Miller than his own personal status.

I’m surprised that the team let Ryan speak to the media after the game. Usually injured players are squirreled away, never to be seen by the postgame media horde. Also, color me surprised that the team didn’t try to disguise the injury under the traditional lower-body injury classification. I wonder if the team figured that the shitstorm they would get from the media and the crazy internet people (this blogger included) outweighed the benefits of keeping the injury secret.

Miller reported he has a high ankle sprain, but a low one for that type of injury. (A low, high ankle sprain. Isn’t that some sort of oxymoron?) He looked shaken during the interview, but I don’t think it was so much that he was hurt, but more a reaction to the intensity of the media’s questions about the injury and Gomez’s intent. On a shallow side note, I did like the tweed overcoat that Miller was wearing. A peacoat in that fabric would be nice. Then again, I need another peacoat like I need a hole in the head.

If Miller is out for an extended period of time, this wouldn’t be the first time this season that an elite goalie has been injured. Both the Devils and Canucks lost their franchise goalies earlier this year.  Both teams have done reasonably well while Lui and Brodeur were relegated to the press box. The Devils are currently holding onto the number 3 spot in the Eastern Conference, and the Canucks maintained their playoff positioning. The Sabres need to follow these examples and unite behind the backup goalie if they hope to keep a spot in the top 8 in the conference. I may be overly optimistic, but if Scott Fucking Clemmensen of all people can lead a team to the Top 3 of the conference, then the Sabres should be just fine behind Patty Lalime.

- Why was Mr.Held-Together-With-Spit-Bubblegum-And-The-Grace-of-God Connolly the only one to go after Gomez? Why Timmy and not Goose or Mairsy or Kaleta? The fragile shall lead them I guess.

I was also really intrigued by Lalime’s thoughts on opponents running Miller these past couple of games. Lalime has one of the best seats in the house, and if he’s noticing it, you can’t help but wonder why the other 20-something guys on the bench haven’t noticed it and done something about it. Lalime made the point that you would think something would be done about it, since they’re all in this together. If one team notices that liberties can be taken with the goalies, you bet your ass that other teams are going to notice.

- After seeing Miller leave the game, I really want to know now who the team’s emergency goaltender would be. C’mon, you know someone has to be able to strap on the pads and go.

- On the positive side, Jochen Hecht proved tonight that he wasn’t dead, just resting these last couple of games. It’s about darn time he showed up on the scoresheet.

- Stay tuned for a post later this week detailing my experience at the Paul Gaustad signing at Dave and Adam’s. If you behave yourselves, I may even share a picture.

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News of the Weird

February 20, 2009

- So Montreal’s Tits brothers and Roman Hamrlik have been linked to a gentleman arrested last week for allegedly dealing drugs. While initial reports show that the Tits and Hamrlik were not involved with drugs, they were involved with vodka, cars and women. This is just the latest chapter of the wackiness that is the Montreal Canadiens, as reports on the net have surfaced regarding some of the younger Hab’s partying ways. While the fans in Montreal are flipping out, the rest of the league can just sit back with some popcorn and watch another Eastern Conference team spiral away. (The other candidates for the death spiral are the Pens and the Rangers. Both are redefining the term “hot mess.”)

And yes, I realize that the Sabres aren’t a bunch of choirboys, and that a quick search of the internet could find any number of incriminating photos of them. Roy-Z’s appearance on Deadspin a couple of months back is proof positive of this. However, while Buffalo manages to freak out about the Sabres, we somehow manage to have controlled freakouts.  Well, except for that little freakout last winter over Brian Campbell’s performance at the Buckin Buffalo, that is.

- A couple of weeks ago, Bucci posted a list of who he would consider worthy of enshrinement on each team’s version of Mount Rushmore. His choices for the Sabres included Hasek, Martin, Perreault and LaFontaine. I’d keep Hasek and Perreault and Martin and swap Lindy Ruff in for Pat LaFontaine. While LaFontaine is one of the good guys of the game, he spent only 6 years in a Sabres uniform. While I think that he would have spent more time with the Sabres had he not had the concussion problems, I think Lindy belongs on Rushmore more than LaFontaine does. As a lot of blogs have put it, Lindy’s a true Sabre. He played nine years for the organization and served as captain for almost three. In addition, he’s been the team’s coach for 12 years and is the longest tenured coach in the league. He’s spent almost half his life working in some capacity for the Blue and Gold. He’s led the team to a Stanley Cup final, three Conference finals and a President’s Trophy. He’s one of the key faces of the organization, and is beloved by both fans and players alike.

First runner up would be RJ, with Ted Darling a close second.

Discuss.

- Something tells me Father Cooke and the rest of the good Jesuits aren’t going to take this news very well. When I saw the story on the Channel 2 News, I just about snorted a Runt out my nose when I read a reader’s comment that Canisius wasn’t a Catholic college, but a Jesuit one. The stupidity, it astounds me.

- And shut up, Hilary Duff. Faye Dunaway can act circles around you. Please to be enjoying your time in Ottawa with Mr. Comrie.

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Things I Learned Last Night

February 18, 2009

from the Versus broadcast.

- Ryan Miller went to Michigan State. And won the Hobey Baker.

- It was Justin Pogge’s first game in the ACC. Third game in the NHL, but first in the ACC.

- Ron Wilson has a plaaaaaaaaaan for bringing Pogge and Luke Schenn up to speed.

- Jason Blake and Dominic Moore are apparently the linemates with the bestest sense of chemistry ever in the history of teammate chemistry-dom. (And seriously, can Jason Blake be anymore pale? Between the white-blond hair and the pale skin, dude was looking a little washed out.)

- Yesterday was Lindy Ruff’s 49th birthday. Alright, so this wasn’t mentioned during the broadcast specifically, but it was nice that the boys went out and got him a win as a present.

- Pogge is a really fun name to say.

- The plane crashed in Clarence near several Sabres. I thought it was tacky that Chris Simpson asked Rivet about the crash and the emotions of it in her pre-game interview. NOT APPROPRIATE.

- The Versus announcers must’ve gotten a memo in the middle of the first period on how to pronounce Gerbe. Up until that point, it was being pronounced “Gerb,” as in, rhymes with herb.

(Not that Versus repeats it’s talking points or anything during a game.)

- And not only was Marshawn Lynch allegedly in possession of a concealed weapon, that he was apparently high as a kite at the time, too. Wonderful. The News reports that Trent Edwards is using part of his offseason to go back to school and learn about post-NFL careers, and Marshawn is getting high.

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Hot Mess All Around

February 16, 2009

- I think that describes the effort put forth last night from the Sabres, doesn’t it? Lalime and Miller are probably the only two guys in the room who don’t deserve the vicious tongue lashing that I’m sure Lindy will deliver at practice today. Miller got pulled through no fault of his own, and Lalime played well, giving up that wonky goal at the end of the game. Their teammates let them down last night, plain and simple.

I think I showed more commitment to the game than the players on the ice. I DVR’d Amazing Race so I could finish watching the hot mess that was the game.  But at least Amazing Race was so worth it. Please go to cbs.com and watch the episode. Who knew giant wheels of cheese, a hill and a group of tired people could be so damn hysterical.

- And one of my brilliant co-workers just turned the lights off on me AGAIN. Dear Genius, the switch for your side of the room is on the LEFT!

- Someone really needs to tell Marshawn Lynch that the offseason does not mean that one goes out and gets oneself arrested. The Bills and the league may have taken your first brush with the law as a “shit happens” offense, but that this is your second offense in less than a year, and it involves a firearm, you might not get away so easily this time. On the other hand, at least he didn’t almost shoot his bits off like Plaxico did.

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