Archive for March, 2009

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Rob Ray: Master Thespian or Not?

March 31, 2009

All the cool kids are talking about this video.

So what could Rayzor have seen that caused him to react like that, while Miller barely batted an eyelash?

- Was Teppo caught drinking Jobu’s rum? I know it’s very bad to drink Jobu’s rum, but the way Miller reacted made me think it’s a fairly regular locker room occurrence.

- Did Pedro Cerrano just sacrifice a live chicken instead of a bucket of KFC?

- Was Goose practicing his Ned Braden impression?

- Were Lindy and Darcy off in the corner giving Bucky a wedgie in retaliation for his comments about their job status?

- Did Jaro Spacek just take a bite out of the trifle that Patty Kaleta brought in; the trifle made with meat, peas and jam?

- Did Rip Simonick just announce that he was writing a tell all book about his career with the Buffalo Sabres?

- Did Adam Mair remove his shirt to bear his superfluous third nipple to the world?

- Were angels dancing on pinheads?

- Was Lindy practicing his dance moves for a potential role on Dancing With the Stars?

- Did Sabretooth walk through the room with just his head attached to a normal human body, ruining the myth of the ‘Tooth forever for Rayzor?

I know Ray said that it was the behavior of the Canadian press that caused his reaction, but that seems like something awfully ordinary that caused such shock, dismay and the “I just threw up in my mouth a little” face.

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Monday Medley

March 30, 2009

Not a lot going on right now, so here’s a few links to tide you over.

- The rehab of Sean Avery continues, as the NY Times profiles Avery’s off-ice goings on, including a movie tentatively titled “PuckFace.” Dollars will get you donuts that Puckface will translate into Eff-Face very, very easily. Seriously though, I wish Puckface no ill will and continued success in his anger management control. That said, I wouldn’t mind if old Fatso went up Avery’s creek with his goalie paddle tonight.

- This column effectively summarizes who Sabres fans need to root for this week. I think I just gave myself a migraine trying to keep it all straight.

- If you haven’t already, go read Heather B’s interview with Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News.

- Not hockey related, but these photos showing the decline of Detroit are both heartbreaking and yet stunningly beautiful.

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Sabres vs. Canadiens – 3.29.09

March 28, 2009

First Period

- Like the Sabres, I spent today in Canada. I went to Ikea in Burlington, and then on the way home, did the touristy thing and walked around Niagara Falls, ON. I’ve said it before, but the Canadian side of the Falls is so much cooler than the American side. It has the better view and the totally cheesy tourist attractions that make it so much fun. I walked up Clifton Hill (which, between the Hill and the 7 flights of stairs walk to my car, means that my legs are screaming at me now) and walked along the Falls. The weather is still cold enough that the water coming over the Falls has caused ginormous blocks of ice to form at the base of both the Horseshoe and American Falls. The ice formations were absolutely gorgeous, and the ones at the base of the Horseshoe Falls were home to a number of seagulls. Also, why are the Timbits so much better in Canada than they are here?

- I’m liking that the Sabres crease has again become a no-touch zone for the opposition. Gaustad and Kaleta prove on the first Montreal shift that they will not tolerate any liberties in or around the crease. What made the situation funnier was that Miller was trying to sneak out of the crease and away from the fists of fury.

- The two minute penalty on Lapierre was bullshit. That was a nasty hit that could have seriously injured Kaleta. Lapierre should have been given a minumum four minutes, if not thrown out of the game.

- Holy hell, the Rivet / Kostopolous fight was hot. Remind me to cross the street if I see an angry Craig Rivet heading my way.¬† Kevin Sylvester interrupts to tell us that Rivet was screaming at Kostopolous that ‘this was Round One.’ Oh lord, this game is going to get out of control quickly.

- There was a shot of three Sabres lined up in the penalty box after the Rivet fight. With Rivet, Kaleta and Moore in there, things were kind of tight. But we were at least treated to shirtless Rivet, so thank the broadcast gods for that.

- Hank takes a deflected shot off of his forehead, so while he’s off getting checked out and Rivet is in the box, the Sabres play with only four defensemen.

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Ryan: “Oh shit, he’s bleeding. What do we do?”

Toni: “Usually with the kids, I kiss it and make it all better. I ain’t kissing Hank.”

Ryan: “Don’t look at me. I don’t do owies.”

- WHOOO! Mair tips a shot past Carey Price to make it 1-0, Buffalo. Someone forgot to cover Mair, as he was wide open to the left of Price. Memo to the Habs: just because he’s not a scorer doesn’t mean he should be ignored.

Second Period

- I often wonder if Harry Neale’s repeated use of “the Buffalo player” during a call is him honestly not knowing who is involved in the play or if he’s just trying to be generic and leave the details to RJ?

- WHOO! Timmy rips a bullet past Price for the Sabres second goal of the night. And a power play goal, no less.

- RJ: “These guys have got to get off, but they can’t do it.” I think they have medicine for that now.

- Harry Neale mentions that Timmy’s goal earlier tonight gives Timmy 17 for the season, which is a career high. It’s kind of sad that he’s such a talented player and has only ever had 16 goals in a season. I know the concussions and crap have hindered him in the production department, but I had no idea his numbers were that low. I want to see him get 20 by the end of the year.

- Higgins rips a shot from the dot past Miller to make it 2-1, Buffalo.

- Rivet somehow gets hurt during a flurry in the Buffalo zone. He skates off the ice, doubled over, and we’re treated to several shots of him on the bench shaking out his right hand and applying ice to it. In addition, RJ notes that Kaleta has not reappeared on the Buffalo bench for the second period. I wonder if he got his bell rung after that hit in the first and his better angels talked him out of returning for the rest of the game,.

- In the dirty play department, Butler was cross checked in the back of the head, and Roy got a stick tap in the face. It’s all fun and games until someone gets seriously hurt, boys.

- RJ tries to inject a little levity into the game, as the Sabres and Habs tussle after yet again another stop by Price leads to a tussle in front of the net. RJ wonders how many times he’s said “and here we go’ during the game. Not that the chippy is getting out of control or anything.

- The Bell Centre PA System is playing “99 Luftballoons” during a stoppage in play. Awesome.

- Shit. Montreal ties it at two on a wraparound by Koivu.

- Double shit, Montreal takes a lead on a Kovalev power play goal. Stupid fucking Hecht takes a retaliatory cross checking penalty as he was removed from the puck on a breakaway. Meanwhile, Derek Roy is off for repairs after taking a stick to someplace where sticks should not go.

- I knew I should have picked up some alcohol at the Duty Free on my way home from Canuckistan. I’m not liking where this game is headed.

- During the intermission, Timmy kind of gives Kevin Sylvester an “are you fucking kidding me” look during their intermission conversation. Kevin Sylvester brought up the fact that tonight Timmy scored his career high in goals, and will he think about that now or after the game. Timmy pissily (and rightly so) replies that all he’s thinking about is the next 20 minutes, and how it’s the most important 20 minutes of the season. I liked seeing the fire coming out of Timmy, but do want to point out that we wouldn’t be hinging an entire season on one fucking period if the earlier parts of the season hadn’t been such a hot mess.

Third Period

- “Ambition without determination has no destination.’ – Reportedly Lindy’s game quote for the day.I’m surprised that perspiration or some other -ation didn’t appear in the quote as well.

- WHOO! Clarke MacArthur scores his 15th goal of the season to tie the game at 3. If he would have missed the wide open net, I might have thrown my shoe at the TV.

- Sweet German on a bratwurst, Hecht continues his suckitude tonight by flipping the puck out of play. Real good, Jochen. Real good. Well, at least this penalty didn’t cost the Sabres as the PK performs admirably, including a nice shorthanded chance by Timmy.

- Whoever decided that the song with the annoying “put your hands up in the air” lyrics needed to be a part of any arena rotation should be taken out back and shot. Thank you.

- Harry reports that Sekera hasn’t played a shift in the third period, but doesn’t know if he’s hurt or just in the doghouse. My vote is for doghouse. Sekera was brutal earlier tonight.

Overtime/Skills Competition

- RJ shares the comforting stat that the home team has won every game in this series so far. Great, just great.

- Bob Gainey looks like he’s in need of an enema or something. Dude looks uptight.

- Four-on-four blahblahblah. The game will be decided in the skills competition.

- Timmy’s the first Buffalo shooter and there’s a brief delay while the refs sort out the paperwork. Timmy looks like his pissed at the delay. The mom unit cracks that every minute this game is delayed is one less minute the boys can spend at a bar when they get back to Buffalo.

- Miller stops Kovalev and Price stops Staffy.

- Next up Tanguay is biffed by Miller, who deflects it over top of the net. Pommers whiffs his shot off the fucking crossbar.

- Miller stops Koivu point blank on the final regulation shootout.

- And I beg to differ with Harry Neale. The shootout is not exciting. Hockey is a team sport and should not be decided on an individual effort.

- Price stops Roy and Miller stops Markov to complete Round 4.

- Price stops Vanek’s attempt for the top corner and Miller stops Plekanec to finalize Round 5.

- Holy flirkin schnitt. Toni Lydman scores in the shootout. Turns out its the game winner as Miller makes the save on the Montreal player. I was kind of having flashbacks to Hank scoring on Marty Brodeur last year. It’s amazing what happens when you put the less conventional players out in the shootout, eh?

- So, as it stands right now, the Sabres are four points behind Montreal for eighth. Things just got a heck of a lot more interesting. Never a dull moment in the Buff, right?

- Ooh, commercial for a free chicken wrap snacker at Timmy Ho’s on 4/1 between 1130-2. Sweet. And Wednesday is also free medium coffee day at Dunkin Donuts.

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Sabres v. Leafs: The Return of the Crunchy

March 27, 2009

howyoudoin

- Glad to see ya back, Ryan! (Seriously, this is a nice shot of him. Lot of emotions running across his face.)

- CuJo looked rough tonight. Four goals on nine shots is not a good stat for any goaltender. On the other hand, Buffalo had four goals on only nine shots. How many nights have they struggled to get 2 goals on 40+ shots? Having such a high goal/shot percentage has to be morale inducing for the Sabres.

- Tonight’s interesting stat is courtesy of Greg W. at Puck Daddy: Ryan Miller was 10 years old during Cujo’s rookie season. I can’t believe that CuJo’s been in the league for 18 years already. Crikey. I’m feeling old, and I’m a year nine months younger than Ryan Miller. I can only imagine how CuJo feels.

- The first Toronto goal looked like it bounced off of Spacek’s knee. No wonder Miller looked so befuddled after it went in the net. He thought he had it.

- I spent a good chunk of the first period explaining to my mother that his name is Luke Schenn. Not Lou Chen.

- I hope the Rivet family has already gone to Sears Portrait Studio to have their Easter photos taken, as Mr. Rivet took a puck off the snout early in the third period. Even though it wasn’t bleeding too badly, he looked a little rough when he came back to the game with 8:00 left in the game.

- I think the Sabres got their bits out of storage tonight, especially where defending their goalie is concerned. Every time a Leaf so much as looked at Miller the wrong way, a Sabre was there to throw his two cents in. The biggest example was in the third period when Lori Peckorovsky Alexei Ponikarovsky stumbled over Miller. While Miller got a whack or two in with his goalie stick, Gaustad went after Ponikarovsky and eventually fought Kubina at center ice. I wonder if Lindy put a “do not let them touch Miller” edict into place for the remainder of the season?

-Tonight’s Sabres Trivia Question dealt with which Sabres have won the Masterton Trophy (Don Luce and Pat LaFontaine). The Sabres nominee will be announced Tuesday, and unlike last year where Teppo was a virtual lock to be nominated, I have absolutely no clear idea as to who would make a good nominee. Any thoughts?

- The Leafs made it a close game through sheer dumb luck (their second goal bounced in off Miller’s back and derriere) and mistakes by the Sabres (their third goal was a result of Miller making some great saves and his teammates not being able to clear the puck while he was down). They certainly kept the game interesting, that’s for sure.

- So Gaustad responds to his call out from Lindy the other night about being a -3 by picking up a Gordie Howe hat trick. Nice. Very nice. And once again, Gaustad and Kaleta continue to hit everything in an opposing sweater that so much as moved.

- And continuing with the “responding to a call out” theme, it seems that Stafford has removed his head from his sphincter and has started to play hockey again. Stafford was more physical tonight than we’ve seen in awhile, and he wasn’t hesitating to drop down and block shots. Where the heck has this Stafford been all season?

- I’m distracted from Ryan Miller’s postgame interview by Rob Ray’s antics in the background. First, he starts off by leaning nonchalantly against Peters’ locker. Then he starts fidgeting around like a five-year-old that needs to find a potty and quickly. I don’t know if Ray didn’t realize that he was on camera or what, but it was pretty comical. I did put the listening ears back on in time to hear Miller share some pretty positive thoughts about Gaustad, that Goose has been playing pretty well all season and is developing into a leader on the ice. Lindy also seconded these comments during his postgame press conference.

- Lindy also said during his press conference that Miller will play tomorrow, the only exception being if Miller is dying of death. Contrast this with Miller himself who said that Lindy still had to make the decision tomorrow morning. Memo to Crunchy: the decision’s been made. Get a good night’s sleep, some Tylenol and a healthy meal or two tomorrow and come out fighting.

- It’s not hockey related, but I’m really amused by the instafriendship that’s developed between Steve Wozniak and Steve-O on the Dancing With the Stars set. Talk about two polar opposites: the Jackass and the Techie.

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Yee-Haw!

March 25, 2009

- I was all set to write the 2008-09 Sabres eulogy after the Panthers went up 3-1. However, the Sabres surprised the heck out of me (and probably the rest of the Sabrelogosphere) by scoring four unanswered goals to win the game 5-3. This was one of the most complete games I’ve seen in awhile. The Sabres figured out that if you get pucks to the net, they’re actually going to go in. Teammates were sticking up for each other and Tellqvist put in a solid effort in net.

- Kaleta and Gaustad were once again hitting everything in sight. During one shift in the late second period, Gaustad had two monster hits on two Panthers at opposite ends of the ice. In addition to the hits on the Panthers, Gaustad took out two goalposts; one with his arm and the other with his face. Thankfully, the pretty wasn’t too damaged from the post.

- I wish we would have had subtitles for the Lindy/Max discussion after Max was out on the ice for 2:04. That looked like it was not a happy discussion on either side, but knowing who said what may very well have just made it funnier. While Lindy explained in his postgame press conference that the two had a meeting of the minds where each thought that they were in the right, Lindy thought the discussion ended moreso on his side of the fence. The press room cracked up at that one.

- Judging by Yahoo’s box score, it looks like Stafford may have moved into Lindy’s doghouse for the night. He was the forward with the lowest amount of ice time.

- I said it after the last game, but I like Dominic Moore. Can we keep him? I’ll water him and feed him and take him for walks. Please Darcy, please? Seriously though, I like Moore’s work ethic. He’s been a solid penalty killer, and there was one stretch in maybe the second period, where he seemed like he had the puck for for-fucking-ever in the Florida zone and the Panthers could not get it away from him. He’s also sticking up for his new teammates, and he’s Harvard educated. And Ryan Miller likes that there’s another college guy in the room. While he may not be worth the $3 million that he was allegedly looking for from the Leafs, Miller would be a solid addition to the team for next year. He’s got to be better than Max or some of the other dead wood chilling out on the roster.

- What in the wide world of sports happened after Max scored the empty net goal? Was it really necessary for the Panthers to attack him? On the other hand, I did like that the Sabres all jumped to Max’s defense. Does anyone else get kind of twitchy seeing Timmy jump into scrums like that? However, the Rivet/Ballard fight was HOT. I haven’t seen a Sabre stick up for a teammate like that in a good long time. Rivet kicked the ever loving snot out of Ballard. That was refreshing to see. And what did C-Mac do to deserve the 10-minute misconduct? I just saw him being escorted off the ice.

- I really hope that with Miller returning on Friday that the stick-up-for-your-teammate-ness continues. You know darn well that the Leafs are going to run Miller and run him hard. I want to see heads roll if Miller so much as gets sneezed on by a Leaf.

- I don’t know what was funnier, Clarke MacArthur high-fiving Sabretooth as C-Mac left the ice after being involved in the scrum after the Sabres 5th goal, or Lindy high-fiving ‘Tooth after the game was over.

- I fully admit to watching the last five minutes of the game in a state of suspense, half thinking that the Sabres were going to do something monumentally stupid and lose the game despite roaring back from a 2 goal deficit.

- I really liked Lindy’s tie tonight. The black-and-white design was striking and very lovely.

- What happens to Tellqvist/Lalime when Miller comes back on Friday? Does the team keep Lalime as a backup and send Tellqvist to the press box? Or would Lindy send Lalime to the press box and keep Tellqvist as the backup based on a solid performance tonight?

- I liked that Lindy came out and praised the boys after tonight’s game. He pointed out that the energy in the 3rd period came from the guys in the room. Rivet, Pommers and Vanek were all mentioned as bringing the energy. Kaleta and Gaustad were praised for having a solid, energetic stretch and not giving up despite being -2 for the night. (Both finished with a -3 for the night.)

- The Sabres are 5 points out of 8th place. The Habs continuing their slide and role as “Late Season Hot Mess: Eastern Edition” could benefit the Sabres as the final nine games of the season approach. Karma would be a bitch for the Habs if they didn’t make the playoffs, as they – and their fanbase – had pretty much engraved their names on the Cup at the beginning of the season. And if the Habs don’t make the playoffs, do you blame Gainey? The slide really didn’t start in full effect until Carbonneau was biffed.

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Monday, Monday

March 23, 2009

What’s new in Buffalo sports these days?

- TO’s a no-show for VOLUNTARY workouts at the Ralph. How is this news? They’re vol-un-tary workouts, meaning the player can choose whether or not to participate. If it was a mandatory workout, I’d be a little more concerned. But let’s just chill for a bit and see if he shows up later in the week. From the little bit I saw on the news, looking good, Poz. Looking good.

- The Bills are going to start their season with a Monday night game in Foxboro against the Patriots. If Brady is back and healthy, can you say ass kicking? Then again, the Bills have performed well on MNF the past two years, so who knows? They could pleasantly surprise me.

- I’m not even going to talk about the idea of playing more Bills home games in Toronto. All I want to point out is that the Packers played home games in both Milwaukee and Green Bay for how many years and no one stroked out over it.

- Ryan Miller updated his blog. Three posts in a month is a nice change of pace from the once-a-month plan that he was on for awhile. I particularly enjoyed his comments on Ovechkin and Don Cherry. I don’t think many people would have thought to write out such a detailed analysis comparing the styles of Ovechkin and Cherry. It’s an interesting way of looking at the situation, that’s for sure. But I bet Don Cherry’s head is probably going to explode over the fact that someone has compared him to a person that he spends the better part of his Coach’s Corner segments trashing.I’d laugh if Miller’s opinions were brought up on Coach’s Corner on Saturday.

In addition, Miller pretty much tells the Buffalo fans to chill the fuck out regarding the end of the season. He would have gone up another notch in my book if he had told us fans to chill the fuck out, but I understand that his website is supposed to be family friendly. Anyway, Miller does point out that there’s still 20 points left to be gained and they have the chance to do something memorable. And it’s his preference that things be kept interesting down the stretch. (So he’s the one that we should be sending the alcohol and therapy bills to based on how these last 10 games turn out? Heh.)

I may be falling for the smooth talk at the right time, but his post is pulling me out of the little hockey funk I was in earlier today. That’s what happens I suppose, from visiting Sabres Edge, where the big to-do earlier today was about whether the Sabres allegedly should have been out and about at the St. Patrick’s Day Parade a couple of weeks ago. I can’t believe the collective hissy fit that was being had over there on this topic. But I digress.

- This Devils / Flyers game is mildly entertaining. It’s nice to be able to watch a hockey game that I’m not 100% completely invested in, both in the on-ice action and the off-ice running of differential calculus to figure out what the current scores are doing to the Sabres playoff chances. But based on the chippiness shown so far in the first period, I’m going to be seriously pissed if I don’t see a little Marty vs. Marty brawl.

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Sabres v. Flyers – 3.20.09

March 20, 2009

Or, The One Where the Wheels Officially Came Off The Wagon.

I had to watch tonight’s game on a bit of a DVR delay, as I had to go and make like a grownup and socialize at an industry event. Midway through cocktails, the score was still 0-0. By the time I got to my car, it was 2-1, Sabres. When I got home, it was 2-2. Fine. Since I’m a complete spoiler whore, I kept peeking in the picture in picture to check the live score while watching the recording of the game. As the live game pulled away from the Sabres, I couldn’t stop watching the DVR’d version. It’s like I had to know how the team went from winning to losing so pathetically. I even thought that it might be me that’s bad luck, and even debated whether or not to watch tomorrow night’s Rangers game. (I decided I will, mostly because I’m a glutton for punishment.)

- Tonight is the first game I really want to blame Lalime for the loss. At times, he looked shaky, but other times he looked confident. The team doesn’t need a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Spastic Goalie playing in net for the Sabres. While Miller is skating and taking shots again, I doubt he’ll be back any time soon to try and help the team out.

- What the hell was up with Pommers knocking the 5th Flyers goal into the net. There’s “helping your goaltender by crashing the crease when he’s out of position” and then there’s “not helping the goaltender by hitting the puck into the net while the goalie is out of position.” Guess which one Pommers demonstrated.

- Pommers was asked during the post-game press conference why the Sabres can’t keep leads. He almost looked like a deer in headlights while answering the question. I really think they’re overthinking this. Don’t think about the lead, which means a win, which means help in the playoff chase, etc. Just think about the next second on the ice and the next shift. Don’t get too far ahead of yourself by trying to make it fancy dancy. Not to be cliche, but just play the damn system! It’s THE SYSTEM for a reason. It works. To paraphrase Nike, just do it already. Don’t make me and the assorted wheaty bitches come down to HSBC Arena and slap some sense into you.

- Roby brought out a good point, that it’s alright for the fans to lose hope and go to their bad place (per Goose), but if the players lose hope, then you might as well not even take the ice for the game. It sounds like the players still believe, but they’re losing the big room that is Sabre Fandom.

- At least Chris Butler got his first NHL goal. He probably would have liked it better had the goal come during a game that the Sabres actually won.

- The Sabres put 43 shots on Marty and he stopped all but four of them. Marty was especially spectacular at the end of the second period, point blank stopping Roy, I believe. 43 shots and if they can’t beat Marty, who has had his moments of mediocrity this season, then there’s no way that they can beat other, better NHL goalies (Prawn, Tim Tom and the other Marty B. come to mind).

- The power play went 0-7 tonight. When the other team gift wraps  you scoring chances, you better convert on them.

- I fully support the fans booing the Sabres at the end of the game. Giving up a boatload of odd man rushes, lots of shots but few conversions, and some defensive breakdowns do not a successful, winning game make.

- What exactly happened to send Carcillo off for a 10-minute misconduct in the second? I kind of missed that while getting a beverage.

- I’m now fully ready to book my ticket on the good ship World Championships. It sucks that the Sabres are most likely not going to be playing hockey in the spring, but at least some of them can go put on their country’s sweater and extend their season a bit.

- I noticed after the 6th Flyers goal that there’s a large Gatorade, scuse me “G”, jug on their bench labeled “ice bags.” Do all teams keep ice bags on their bench in G containers or is that a Philly tradition?

- I’m not going to wade into the Ovie: To Celebrate or Not To Celebrate discussion, but seriously, Don Cherry’s head is going to explode during Coach’s Corner. The potential to top the discussion from a couple of weeks ago is huge.

- I got a kick out of reading what Pat Kaleta put in his auction basket for the Aces and Blades event.

- And on a light note, check out the rapping flight attendant. Skip ahead to the 1:00 mark for the real fun to start.

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