Archive for July, 2009

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Oooh, Shiny

July 31, 2009

Since the Sabres appear to have been sucked into the great beyond (seriously, are they live, dead or memorex?), let’s talk football. I’m usually gung-ho about the first couple of games, then, once the Bills start going downhill, I give up. But for some reason, I’m feeling unusually optimistic about this season.

- Can Trent find his cojohnes if needed to tell TO to STFU about not getting the ball enough or tell Lee Evans to STFU that TO is getting the ball too much? He showed a little bit of ballsiness on PTI yesterday, when he told TK and Willybuns that he’s got to balance getting the ball to both TO and Lee, and Lee is just as good a player as TO.

- I love the throwback unis.

shinybills

Looking sharp, boys. Looking sharp.

- Has anyone else noticed that things have been strangely silent from Marshawn Lynch during camp? It’s almost like the dude doesn’t exist.

- I really think Paul Pozlusny’s neck has a bigger circumference than my thigh.

- Do I really want to brave the idiots at Tops in search of a box of TO’s? I hate going to the Tops by my house. Hate with the passion of the fire of a thousand nuns. Rude people, rude staff and just a generally unclean store do not make for a good shopping experience.

- I’m kind of enjoying the TO Show on VH1. Even though it’s obviously staged at a lot of points, TO manages to pull it off. He comes across as both charming and a high maintenance pain in the rear, like it would be totally draining to be around him all the time. I was dying when he showed up in last Monday’s episode in the footie pajamas. That replaced the oogie boogie feeling I got when I saw his agent appear on the screen earlier in the episode.

-

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Thinking Time

July 20, 2009

Today on Puck Daddy, Greg W. posted an entry about the waning role of print journalism in today’s environment. He ends his entry with two questions:

1. Where do print newspapers fit into your consumption of hockey news?

I’m a dedicated reader of the Sunday Buffalo News. I look forward to reading the game summaries and Bucky’s Inside the NHL column, as it usually contains tidbits of news about teams that I only tertiarilly care about. (Yes, I did just make up a word.) I also read the Sunday NY Times, but they’re usually a day behind on the news. I will scan the comics section of the Buffalo News each day, but generally catch the rest of my hockey related news on the pub’s website. I like that the website version of the news stories can be updated as information changes or is clarified. And now with the News offering comments on the stories, a dialogue can be started. The reporter/columnist blogs offer inside information that may not always make it into the printed edition for space or relevancy reasons, but is still newsworthy and interesting. And the game blogs are always entertaining, as the reporter either bitches about the on-ice action, press box food, crowds or needs to step in and referee the people in the comment section.

I realize I’ve digressed a little bit, but more and more newspapers are moving more and more content online. Online is a revenue generator. The “death of newspaper” shouldn’t be seen as a reason to scale back reporter’s travel schedules just because they are writing more for the web and less for the snapper wrapper.

2. Do you feel the reporting on an official team Web site is, or can be, objective enough for it to be your primary source of news for that team?

Hell no. Come on, a team’s website serves solely as a PR vehicle for the team. Look at the articles recently posted on Sabres.com. There’s the announcement of MacArthur and Sekera agreeing to deals, development camp features and assorted other puff pieces. There’s no negativity and nothing written from an outsider’s point of view. Sure they have news on the team, but everything is written and prepped by Sabres and/or NHL staffers. If they really wanted to be a true news source, they would post pieces written by those not receiving a paycheck from the Sabres or the league.

*~*~*~*~*

On a lighter note, please also visit Puck Daddy for videos of the Blackhawks singing karaoke.*

* Shots Off the Crossbar is not responsible for any glass that shatters, eardrums that bleed or any other physical ailments that may happen after hearing these videos, particularly Sweet Caroline.

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How Does Your Garden Grow?

July 19, 2009

Since there’s been little to no hockey news lately,  I might as well talk about how my garden is doing.

P7190614An up close look at one of the hollyhocks in the front garden. I had no idea what color these flowers would be when they went in the ground, and am completely over the moon with this burgundy color.You can kind of see where we had to tie them to the porch railing, as they were starting to fall over.

P7190623My pepper plants are bearing fruit, but it’s becoming a giant tangle of peppers. And there’s still more buds on the upper leaves. I better start looking for pepper recipes. Heh.

P7190625The male offshoot of my hens & chicks plant is trying to make time with my green onions. I think the hens & chicks plant is confused.

P7190626The basil plant that ate my backyard. The marigolds are horning in on the shot on the right and I adore the purple and white striped flowers on the left. I do admit that the basil is really good in mashed potatoes. I can’t wait for the tomatoes to start coming in so I can attempt to make sauce with the tomatoes and the basil.

P7190628What’s a Buffalo garden without a pink flamingo?

P7190627My neighbor’s flowers peeking through the backyard fence.

And finally…

P7190609The first two cherry tomatoes of the season were picked this afternoon. (Along with some dill and parsley for the roasted potatoes I was making with dinner.) Both the tomatoes and potatoes were delicious.

It looks like things will continue to be quiet in Hockeyland for the next little while. I mean, unless MacArthur’s arbitration hearing results in a wacky contract, Ryan Miller surfaces from wherever he’s disappeared to, or Martin Havlat decides to spew more gossip about his time in Chicago.

Welcome to summer.

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Sports and Social Media

July 14, 2009

One of today’s big stories in the internet hockey world is Martin Havlat’s Twittering about all of the ish that allegedly went down with the Blackhawks while he was there. Obviously, he can’t talk about it, but it’s major stuff, you know. I personally think he’s being a tease about it. If you can’t talk about it, don’t even dangle the “I know something you don’t know” carrot. You’re just going to piss a lot of people off.

At the office, I subscribe to a plethora of Mediapost e-newsletters. For every five that are duds, I get the occasional e-newsletter that piques my interest. Today’s “Marketing: Sports” e-newsletter was especially interesting. It talks about something that everyone is becoming increasingly aware of in the sports world. Whether the MSM likes it or not, fans, athletes, teams and leagues are now a part of the media. Teams are increasingly adding video and audio to their sites, fans are twittering from their seats at the arena, fans, media and players alike are all blogging. It’s one giant content generating machine. No longer does one have to wait for the morning sports section or the 11pm news to see who won the game and what the commentary on it is. Often times, commentary is happening as the game is being played.

Is this a good thing? Yes. By increasing the amount of content generated, you’re seeing more information exposed and allowing more people to have a voice. The blogosphere/message board arena went nuts during the Buffalo/Ottawa brawl game a couple years ago. Could you imagine how much more crazy it would have been had Twitter been around at the time?

On the otherhand, is this a bad thing? Yes. Athletes almost have no privacy now. Every move they make can be Twittered out into the world without a second thought. Get a little slushy on Chippewa one night? You’re blog fodder the next day. Previously, you just had to worry about whoever saw you telling their little circle of friends. Now, that little circle of friends is the entire freaking world. I mean, look at what happened last season with Mike Commodore and that unfortunate picture of him rolling in dough after winning a Super Bowl bet. An innocent Facebook posting turned into a “scandal.” An admittedly mild scandal, but a scandal nonetheless.

I also don’t want to see players Tweeting from the bench during a game. In the case of hockey, I think it’s physically impossible to text with hockey gloves on from the bench, but that doesn’t mean our enterprising band of little snots couldn’t find a way to do so. I also think they shouldn’t be tweeting from the locker rooms during intermissions. Those should still remain the domain of potty breaks, snacks, equipment adjustments, pep talks and scathing lectures.

Personally, I still recognize the value and necessity of the mainstream media. They have the credibility and access that a lot of bloggers don’t. And while some bloggers do get access to different press boxes (depending on the sport and team), there’s still a lot of bias against blogs and social media by the teams. Every blogger is assumed to be like Ek, making ish up depending on which way the wind is blowing. While I do get tired of the attitudes displayed by some members of the MSM, they still provide a valuable service to fans everywhere.

That thud you heard was just me falling off my soapbox.

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*Headdesk*

July 10, 2009

- Pictures from this year’s Camp Good Days Gala are up.

1. Gaustad looks good in a tux. Between him and Edgar from Deadliest Catch, this week has been full of yum-in-a-tux.

2. Gaustad looks happier to be with the kids than with the adults; the smiles are more genuine. Could it be that the kids aren’t asking him the usual questions the fans ask? Like “why do you guys suck so hard,” “should Lindy/Darcy/Sabretooth be fired,” and “which of your teammates would you trade / get rid of via free agency / drop kick into Lake Erie without a life preserver in order to make the team better?”

- I’m glad that Jay Mckee found a home in Pittsburgh. He’s a good, hard working guy, but the last thing the Sabres need is an injury prone defenseman. As we all know, the Sabres defense is somewhat injury prone, and since this appears to be the year of the Baby D, the veteran leadership that Jay would have brought would have been outweighed by his injury streak.

I still have a feeling Darcy is trying to make a deal of some sort to improve the team. I find it incredibly hard to believe that this team would enter the new season with the same bunch of guys that they finished the last season with, the exception of the Montador for Spacek swap, of course. There’s optimism that these guys have yet to reach their full potential, and then there’s delusion. Or maybe I’m just becoming even more jaded and cynical than usual.

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The Summertime Blues

July 7, 2009

- With today’s news that Philly signed Chris Pronger to a seven year contract extension, could this spell the end of Danny Briere in Philly? Right now, Philly has almost $19 million invested in three guys (Briere, Pronger and Timmonen). Briere has been injury prone in Philly and has not been worth the contract to the Flyers. Stay tuned, I guess.

- After reading Bucky’s “Free Agency Winners and Losers” column in Sunday’s News, I was mildly surprised to see him call out the Devils as one of the losers of this initial free agency period. Not many people call out the Devils, especially people in these here parts. Not to mention that the Devils GM, Lou Lamoriello, looks like he knows where more than a few bodies are buried, and how to dispose of nuisances. (He’s a master conspirator in the Devils recent strain of coach killing, is all I am saying.) Anyway, I just have this mental image of Bucky curled up under his desk* muttering “can’t sleep, Lou will get me. Can’t sleep, Lou will get me.”

* I chose a desk, because as a professional, that’s where Bucky supposedly writes from. Unlike us bloggers who write from their couches, chairs, offices, decks, porches, etc.

- Thomas Vanek’s official Austrian site has up a two-part interview in which Vanek discusses this past season, his injury and a range of other things. The link is to part one of the interview, with the link to part two at the bottom of part one. It’s a very interesting and candid interview, and about the only first hand information we have proving the Sabres are still alive.

- And finally, as we head deeper into the doldrums of summer, the Hockey Hall of Fame is posting the Penguins Stanley Cup Journal. See pictures and read stories of the players’ days with the Cup. The stories are usually pretty entertaining and the pictures are fantastic.

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Happy Birthday, America!

July 3, 2009

So I’m a day early. But after seeing video of the BPO playing Sesame Street music on the Ch. 2 news, I was looking up classic Sesame Street clips on YouTube and stumbled across this little diddy explaining how the Declaration of Independence was written.

Gotta love Grover.

And because I don’t like fighting the crowds at the 4th of July Fireworks displays, I usually stay home and watch the Macy’s show from NYC and then watch A Capitol Fourth on PBS. I love that the fireworks always go off to the 1812 Overture.

And so there’s some hockey related content on this blog, yay for the Sabres making some sort of move and signing Montador. While I don’t think he’s an exact replacement for Spacek, I think that he’s going to bring some much needed grit and toughness to the blueline. Rivet can’t clear everyone out of Miller’s crease all the time, and it’s been awhile since the Sabres have had a snarly defenseman working the blue line.

I still think there’s more changes to come. Remember, it was the 4th of July time last year when Darcy pulled off the Bernier and Rivet deals. I think Darcy likes to fly under the radar and then pull off the occasional WTF move that will end up shaking up the roster and making the fans all hepped up again.

And I also see that Ryan Miller appears to be back on the “once-a-month-if-that” plan in regards to updating his blog. His last entry was on 5/25. We know he’s been busy at the NHLPA meetings and competition comittee meetings, but with those and the announcement of his appointment to Team USA Olympic Training Camp, you would think he would have something to say. Is he live? Memorex? Dead, or just resting?

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