Archive for June, 2010

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The Night Before

June 30, 2010

- So tomorrow is either the happiest day in all the land or the most frustrating day in all the land (depending on your point of view, whether you have any free agents to deal with or have a comically frustrating general manager). That’s right, it’s UFA Day! WHOOO! (Or not). So there are some things we know: someone will leave the Sabres, someone will join the Sabres, and Darcy Regier will be damned no matter what he does. The day is predictable in its unpredictability. We’re just all destined to sit back and enjoy the ride. We will welcome the new guy(s) to the team with open arms, and we will bid those that leave a fond farewell, wishing them well in their new endeavors. We will also sit back and exclaim “WTF is Team X doing” when the inevitable 15 year, bazillion dollar deal is signed. We will also breathe a deep sigh of relief over the fact that we will not have to freak out over a Ryan Miller UFA deal this year, since the powers that be got that out of the way last year.

And that’s my hard hitting analysis of UFA Day.

- I tweeted the link to this article yesterday, but Ad Age discussed how blog conglomerate sites like Bleacher Report and Huffington Post generate so much content from an unpaid staff of writers, and how such content has even made its way into the MSM (mainstream media) through assorted partnerships. From the MSM side, it’s good that they can potentially get access to free content for probably much less than it would cost to pay a writer or two, and from the readers side, the “voice of the people” is heard. Whatever. However, an MSM site relies on its credibility to draw traffic. People visit an MSM site to read professional writing, done by those with access, knowledge, and sometimes, even a little thing called fact checking (Exhibit A being BR’s recent kerfluffle over a post that said Gonchar was traded to San Jose). If there’s too much rumor mongering, incorrect reporting or bloviating, then both the content provider, MSM vehicle and audience all suffer.

- I wonder how I’m going to make it through the next couple episodes of Deadliest Catch. We all know how Captain Phil’s story ends, but my god, getting to the end is going to be hard as hell. I do have to give Discovery a ton of credit for how tastefully they have handled this entire story. They could have sensationalized the hell out of it, but instead are treating Captain Phil and his sons with dignity & respect.

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Crazy Bout a Sharp Dressed Man OR SOTC’s Recap of the NHL Awards

June 23, 2010

-  I f’love this photo of Mr. Miller. The man can wear a suit. And cock an eyebrow like no one’s business. When he has kids, that speculative eyebrow is going to be one heck of a parenting tool.

- I hit a dead link on NHL.com earlier, and this was the error message I received: This page may have moved, is no longer available, is in the penalty box, or we have a problem with our web site, sorry.

Cute, NHL. Very cute. I mean that in a good way.

- The show opens with a performance by Snoop Dogg. I know when I think of the link between NHL & music, Snoop is the first artist that comes to mind. Snoop’s performance is backed up by a montage of great hits and plays from this past season. Travis Barker appears to be backing Snoop up on the drums. Whatevs.

- Jay Mohr’s monologue makes a “Phoenix Coyotes as booby prize” joke within the first minute-and-a-half. That’s excellent. I also enjoyed his comment about Ovie going off into the Pacific Northwest to scare some campers. Crosby must have his laugh chip installed tonight, as he was cracking up at Mohr’s joke about two minutes in the box not meaning what you think it means when dealing with a lady of the evening in Vegas. Sadly, this monologue is the high point of the night for Mohr.

- The first award of the night is the Calder award, given to the NHL’s Rookie of the Year. Mom speculates that this is the first award because all of the little ones have to go to bed early. Tyler Myers is the winner. Yay! He endearingly pulls out a sheet of paper (8.5 x 11, typed, double sided) to give his acceptance speech. Aww. Myers speech focusing on thanking his friends, family, the WHL, Hockey Canada, the Sabres coaches & management & his teammates. What a sweetie.

- In the “water is wet and puppies are cute” moment, Pavel Datsyuk wins the Selke Award. His speech is borderline hilarious, but his pink shirt and tie combo is the scene stealer.

- Ooh, I just noticed that the banners hanging above the stage change to the number of whatever player is winning the award. Nice touch, NHL.

- Hank Sedin is presented his Art Ross trophy on the red carpet. You read that right. We’re now presenting awards outside and showing them on videotape.

- Patrick Sharp and Pat Kane are off to the side being interviewed by the resident roving reporter, and Kane has his arms wrapped around a Playboy bunny. Oh Pat, you’re so suave. :::roll eyes:::

- Cirque du Soleil Beatles edition performs one of the numbers from their show. Think one of these guys would like to be a backup goalie? They look kind of bendy, and you never know when the opportunity to do a back handspring while breakdancing could come in handy on a killer penalty kill. All joking aside, I’d love to see the Beatles Cirque show in Vegas, but this bathroom renovation has tapped me out for a good long time, so no Vegas for me.

- Ron MacLean and Ted Lindsay present the Ted Lindsay award, which is given to the best player as voted on by his peers. It’s like a badass version of the Miss Congenialty award. Ovechkin wins the award, but, in the words of @LindyRuffsTie, WEAR A TIE YA BUM! Seriously Ovie, this is an awards show, not the airport lounge at McCarron as you’re flying back to Washington after visiting a trade show. My mom wants to know why you also haven’t gotten your teeth fixed yet. If Duncan Keith can get seven teeth fixed, you can have one fixed.

- Getzlaf & Bobby Ryan do this pretty hilarious skit to settle the differences between them due to Getzlaf’s superiority complex since winning gold in Vancouver. That video really needs to be put on a website somewhere for those that missed it. We know hockey players are pretty good at making fun of themselves, so hopefully the league is aware of the positive reception this video has received and starts to make more like it.

- The presentation of the Rocket Richard Trophy is also handled on the red carpet. I’m not a fan of these outside little presentations. Bring them on stage and give them their due like all the other awards.

- John Slattery presents the Jack Adams Award to Dave Tippett. Tippett gets huge, huge credit for turning a pile of sh*t in Phoenix and turning it into a playoff  making rose.

- Kudos to Versus & the league for making sure the nominee & winner names are in a large enough font on the screen to make blogging easier for us at home.

- DB Sweeney (toe pick!) and Jamie Kennedy are up next to present the Vezina award. Kennedy muffs the pronunciation of poor Vezina’s name during the schtick before the presentation. YAY! Miller wins the Vezina and gets big hugs from Brodeur and Bryzgalov. He also pulls a Tyler Myers and pulls out his speech. (Aww.) After thanking the friends, family and girlfriend, Miller thanks his teammates and even makes a special thank you to Patty Lalime. I think the little Lalime impersonation (“ipipip hey buddy” in a french accent) was probably the highlight of the speech.I really hope the league puts Miller’s speech online, since that bit was seriously adorable. Several people on Twitter are speculating that Miller’s love for Lalime tonight indicates that Lalime will be back with the Sabres next year. It might be that, but it also might be a sign of  Miller giving his buddy an ultimate shoutout after the Buffalo fanbase has thrown Lalime under the bus, driven over him, scraped him off the pavement and done it again.

Also, I like Miller’s acknowledgment that the players are going to go out and have a grand old time after the ceremony is over. I mean, it’s 6pm in Vegas when the show ends. It’s not like they’re going to hit the early bird dinner and then head into their hotel rooms to be in bed by 10. (Well, the latter part might be true. Please reference Mohr’s bit at the beginning.) They’re going to go out and live it up. What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. Unless you’re caught by TMZ, Deadspin or a stray blogger or tweeter, that is.

- The NHL just tweeted that Miller won the Vezina in a landslide. He had 126 votes, Bryzgalov was 2nd with 79. That’s an ass kicking of epic proportions.

- Brodeur wins the Jennings trophy in a red carpet presentation.

- Shinedown performs. I take a powder. Not my cup of tea.

- Theodore wins the Masterton award. I have to give my mother the Readers Digest condensed version of Jose’s story. It has to be heartbreaking for him to be accepting the award on what would have been the day after his son’s first birthday.

- The King Clancy award is given to Shane Doan by representatives of the US Army. Give all of them a round of applause and a standing ovation, please. Doan gives a plea for any free agents to come to Phoenix, since they’re going to be there another year. Is that tampering, or just a lighthearted plea?

- Nate Ewell, the Caps PR guy, reports on Twitter that Miller carried his Vezina into the press conference, telling the reporters that he’s not letting go, that it’s his trophy. I wish he would deposit his Vezina in the middle of the locker room on the opening day of training camp, challenging his teammates that this is not the piece of silver he wants.

- And here’s Myers with his Calder, grinning like a fool.

- Same thing with Miller and his new friend Vezina.

- Martin St. Louis wins the Lady Byng for gentlemanly play. Water wet, puppies cute. St. Louis a gentleman. NEXT!

- Crosby wins the Messier Award for leadership. I call shenanigans on this one. Crosby won the Cup last season, Mess. You shouldn’t be able to use it as justification for this year’s award. Miller was the leader of our ragtag bunch of players, carried the team on his shoulders, and wasn’t afraid to tell it like it is to either his teammates or the media. Doesn’t that count for something?

- This awards show diary is temporarily interrupted as I have to go play grumpy old lady and yell at some kids to get off my lawn and out of my flower bed. Kids these days…

- The Norris trophy is awarded to Duncan Keith. (Also, Mike Green, listen to the same advice that I gave Ovie. Wear a damn tie like a grownup.) Keith makes a crack that Ovie better keep his hands off his fiancee, as they are seated next to each other in the audience.

- Miller is presented the Foundation award on the red carpet. He wins a crystal trophy and a $25,000 check. Way to go, Ryan!

- The Goos sing their single, “Home.” Tonight’s musical performances are brought to us by Verizon. Hey Verizon, how bout taking that sponsorship money and dropping it off at Buffalo City Hall so I can get FiOS here in the city?

- Guy LaFleur presents the final award of the night, the Hart Trophy. (Random aside, I wonder if the producers of Lost used LaFleur as Sawyer’s alias as a tribute to Guy?) Henrik Sedin wins the Hart. Good. I was going to flip something if Ovie or Crosby would have won. Let’s get some new names on these trophies. Hank makes a subtle dig at his brother Daniel, saying that there’s no way Daniel can say that he is a better player than Henrik now.

- Well friends, this brings us to the end of the 2009-10 season. The draft and UFA day are ahead of us, but really, we’re heading into the doldrums of summer. Enjoy the nice weather and know that hockey is just around the corner.

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News & Notes

June 22, 2010

- Is Miller the chaperone for the NHL draft picks attending the Twilight Eclipse premiere? Is his attendance required because he has a Hollywood starlet girlfriend? Is he secretly a member of Team Jacob? Is he going to be required to explain the plot of the movie to his teammates at some point? I have no idea, but there has to be a good reason for him attending this movie. I know when I think of sparkly vampires pining for their true, pure love, the first thing that pops into my mind is Ryan Miller.

- And speaking of red carpets, what kind of bull is it that the red carpet pre-show for the NHL awards is only going to be broadcast on nhl.com? I have a perfectly cromulent TV set with NHL Network that is perfect for watching pretty men on the red carpet. Why should I have to hunch over my laptop’s 17″ screen and deal with a buffering feed? Boo, NHL. Boo to you on this one.

- The prevalence of back-to-back games on the Sabres schedule for next season illustrates the Sabres need for a perfectly cromulent backup goalie to give Miller a night off here or there. The Sabres need to find a goalie that Lindy will have faith in to play a number of games, and not just sit on the bench wearing a touque, opening and closing the bench door. I’d like to see Marty back here. He’s a good goalie, and a decent guy. There would be a minimal breaking-in period between Marty & Ryan, and Marty already knows enough of Lindy and The System to be dangerous. (On an unrelated note, Lindy and The System would be a great name for a band.)

- However, the goalie situation in the league just got a lot more interesting with the news that the Sharks are not tendering an offer to Nabokov. The goalie pool is deep this year, and watching where the various free agents land is going to be interesting.

- Sabretooth appears to have fallen off the face of the Twitter earth. He wasn’t fired like the Pittsburgh pierogi, right?

- Late edit to add that Goose was the celebrity chair of the Camp Good Days Gala this past Saturday night. Video of him being adorable with the kiddos is at the link.

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Defining Moments

June 14, 2010

Greg Wyshynski from Puck Daddy asked on Twitter this afternoon what (if any) moments fans would put into their mental scrapbooks that chronicle this past season. There’s a couple Sabres moments that stick out for me…

- Ryan Miller looking like someone drove over his puppy after the gold medal game against Canada. Dude was ready to cry, but sucked it up and wore his silver medal with pride.

- Another Miller moment: after the Boston series ended, Miller standing at the Sabres blue line, hands on hips, with a beeyotch, please look on his face, waiting for his teammates to stop carrying on and just shake hands with the Bruins already.

- The photos and tales that came out of the Sabres encounter with the furry convention in San Jose. You could completely tell that the players had no clue what was going on, but just rolled with it anyway.

- Tyler Myers playing over 28 minutes in ice time despite being one of several players worshipping the porcelain god on a road trip to Ottawa.

- Myers scoring in the shootout against Tampa on my birthday.

- The wonder that was Drew Stafford on Twitter. Come back Drew, come back! Then again, I’d rather you show up on the ice than in the Twitterverse.

- Vanek’s horrible injury luck. Did anyone have an idea that his injuries were THAT bad? It’s only a flesh wound my arse.

What else?

*~*~*~*~*

So in April I spied Gaustad and Miller wearing the same shoes during locker cleanout. It looks like we have another member of this shoe club: Brian Campbell. Check out photo #11 of the Blackhawks parade gallery. Coincidence or random shoe shopping trip at some point? You make the call.

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I Came. I Saw. I Blogged

June 9, 2010

- Is it hypocritical of me to be offended by last week’s Daily Beast article but not be offended by the ‘shop job of Pronger in an ice skating dress? Should I be offended? I know female hockey players are nineteen kinds of kickass, but I can see how they would be demeaned by it. How is it any different than any of the editorial cartoons or satire that any newspapers produces on a daily basis? Is it because the Pronger photo appeared on the front page instead of buried deep in a black-and-white page in Section C? Is it because the Tribune is a “legit” news source and not a tabloid, like the NY Post? Who knows. Maybe the Tribune was just suggesting Pronger reprise the Kate role in a remake of The Cutting Edge.

Byfuglien, you are stem. Pronger, you are petal. Together, we make flower.

Brain bleach is available in the lobby on your way out.

- After watching Glee, I really wish Sue Sylvester’s book “I’m a Winner and You’re Fat” was in production. I’m going to miss my weekly dose of Sue Sylvester during the summer.

- While looking through the Getty archives to see what exactly set Mark Salling’s Twitter off, I found this photo of Ryan Miller. Let’s all keep this image of happy, smiley Miller in our mental filing cabinets for when November comes around and the dude is ready to shank one of his teammates after the game.

- After reading the press release announcing the Sabres draft party, I have just one question: what exactly constitutes a hockey-themed arts & crafts project? Will we be able to knit our own stick cozy? Crochet our very own Sabretooth? Mold a mouth guard out of play-doh?

- The NHL Awards ceremony is two weeks from tonight. Will Miller & Myers bring home the hardware? Will there be out of date music and unfunny comedians? I predict the answer to both questions will be YES!

- Speaking of bringing home the hardware, go Blackhawks! Let’s bring the Cup to Buffalo for a day! (Can you imagine how insane South Buffalo is going to be if that happens?

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First One That Calls Me a Puckbunny, Pow. Right In the Kisser.

June 2, 2010

So the Daily Beast posted a column discussing why the NHL has seen such a dramatic increase in the number of female fans. They provide some pretty compelling stats backing up their claim. Female viewership for this year’s playoffs is up 8%, the highest level that it’s been since 1997.  This normally would be a good thing, right? Yes, but the argument used to support this increase is completely out there.

So what exactly is the author’s justification for this increase? The game is exciting and easy to follow? Nope. Female fans probably grew up in the game or watching the game with their fathers? Not even close.   The  increase in women’s hockey programs has grown interest in the sport? Sorry, please try again.

Instead, the author claims that it’s because the hockey players are hot and are now suddenly tabloid darlings due to the relationships that Comrie and Fisher have with Hilary Duff and Carrie Underwood and the tabloid/fashion antics of Sean Avery.

Really? You’re kidding me, right? I know that US Weekly and the other tabs are the first place I go to check out hockey news.

Do I deny that hockey players are hot? No. In fact, they’re quite nice to look at both on and off the ice. But that’s not why I watch the game. I watch the game because it’s easy to follow. It’s just pass, shoot, score. Doesn’t get much simpler than that. Add in some fantastic goalie play and you’ve got a great back and forth sport that keeps fans on the edge of their seats. Throw in historic rivalries, tradition and a set of teams that seem to understand how to connect with their fans, and it’s a win/win situation. Hockey fandom shouldn’t have a gender, but it sadly does. Exhibit A is the popularity of the “pink” line of  ladies apparel and the NHL’s introduction of some uh…interesting products for the ladies (Does anyone really need a Sabres print thong?).

I guess what also has my irish in an uproar is that the NHL re-tweeted this story. Is any publicity good publicity? To a certain extent, yes. But at the same time, the league needs to be careful about alienating a significant chunk of its fanbase. Labeling female hockey fans with the “they just watch the game because they think the players are hot and want a sparkly diamond ring from one of them” is a dangerous path to take.

Thoughts?

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