Archive for September, 2010

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Preseason: Sabres vs. Sens

September 28, 2010

I’m slowly working my way back into this blogging thing. Baby steps, you see.

- The new white sweaters look sharp, but like a lot of people have said, the gold band on the bottom just seems off somehow. It’s like they pulled the wrong PMS color or something. (Speaking of PMS colors, did you know that Tiffany Blue is a copyrighted color? You cannot take a Tiffany box to the store and get the color matched. PMS 1837 is limited only to Tiffany use.)

- I love the picture used in the online edition of today’s Buffalo News for the article discussing Lalime’s goals for the season. It really works nicely with the headline calling out the Sabres need to lean on Lalime.

- I can’t help but giggle when I hear the name “Bobby Butler” for the Sens. Another Bobby (well, Robert) Butler was one of my profs in college (and head thesis reader) and if you’ve ever met Bobby Butler from Canisius, you will understand why I am chuckling.

- It’s incredibly weird to be hearing the old HNiC theme on TSN. I do like the music that the CBC got to replace the old theme, but to me, the babababa theme will always be HNiC-related.

- The Double Stuf Oreo mascot appearing in the new Oreo commercials looks like he could be Peter Puck’s long-lost little brother. And while I’m thinking about the Oreo commercial, Apolo Ohno really is a little guy compared to the rest of the athletes he’s appearing with.

- Stafford and Connolly are both wearing letters tonight. No leadership pressure in a contract year boys, nope, none at all.

- The season hasn’t even started yet and I’m on Center Ice commercial burnout. I will be thrilled to order CI as soon as I  jump through TWC’s hoops that are required before they will come out and install a cable line to my flat. Then there’s the mishegas of them actually coming out to install and bringing the DVR and all that jazz.

- It was kind of shocking to hear the number of concussions that Peca & Barnaby admitted to having during their NHL careers. (Peca: 3 reported, 6 total. Barnaby: 6 reported, 12 total.) Barnaby’s candor during this segment is refreshing. To admit that he played a chunk of a game with no vision in his left eye as a result of a fight just proves that these guys are of a different mindset than a “normal” human being. I want to curl up and whimper when I have a headache, these guys want to be out on the ice.

- I could live without this Pierre/Gary Bettman interview. Pierre just creeps me out, and Bettman is just to PR-speaky for me. Not to mention that I keep hearing the Charlie Brown teachers “whaa-whaa” voice as Bettman is prattling on with his usual talking points on the Olympics, salary caps, circumventions, and other topics.

- Not NHL related: I simply cannot fathom a $55,000 dinner. Mind…blown. It’s moments like this that don’t do much to rehab the image of professional athletes as spoiled brats. The fact that they spent $55k on dinner (not that the rookie stuck with the bill couldn’t afford it), when people are struggling just to make ends meet on $55k a year is astounding. I guess the rich really are different from you and me.

- After one aborted fight, the refs finally let Cody McCormick and a Senator go at it. McCormick is one tough cookie. The Sabres need that “don’t mess with me, bro” attitude.

- Earlier tonight the broadcast crew said that Gerbe was 5’7. Right. He’s 5’7 in the same way I’m 5’7 – when I’m wearing heels and standing on a footstool. Dude is tiny, but according to the media guide, has some weight on him. He apparently weighs more than Miller despite being 9 inches shorter!

- Leopold has an undetermined injury and was scratched from tonight’s lineup. Sekera replaced him. Isn’t it a little early for all these injuries (Rivet, Kaleta, etc)?

- My cousin had a rugby crossbar fall on him today and ended up with four staples in his head. I guess you could say that he took a shot off the crossbar? (groan)

- I do like the “questions will become answers” theme that the NHL is utilizing for their ad campaign. It’s nice that they can tailor individual spots for each team. If they carry it through the season (say updating at the halfway point and the playoffs), it could be a winner.

- On Pommer’s goal, I’m pretty sure that I could have made the shot through that large gap between the goalie’s legs. And I have no athletic ability or skills whatsoever.

- Neil gets an extra whack in on Miller while running the crease, and Vanek, Connolly and Pominville rise to their goalie’s defense with a little bit of pushing & shoving. Miller just calmly skates away, like “you people deal with this nonsense, I’ll just be over here watching.”

- How funny is it that an Ottawa player heads off the ice and to the dressing room only to be stopped by local constables for some autographs? I’m sure that doesn’t happen at Scotia Bank Place.

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Things & Stuff & Guys

September 27, 2010

- So the pre-season has started and we Sabres fans can’t see any of the games being televised on NHL Network due to some backwards issues between MSG & the NHL. Yay! Way to piss off one of your biggest markets! I’ve only seen bits & pieces of the first two games due to internet feed issues (and the whole being in Pittsburgh thing), but it sounds like Kassian is impressing many. I hope he’s atoned for his past misdeeds and the Sabres give him a fair shot. Whether it means a contract this year or not, he’s gotten a lot of fans past their summer apathy & misery and talking hockey again.

- How adorable is Chris Butler admitting that his grandmother gave him a pep talk regarding getting out of the press box and back onto the ice? Between his common sense, low key Twitter postings and this recent article, Butler is slowly getting back into my good graces. He’s just so refreshingly normal for a professional athlete. There’s no bitching, whining or comments about making panty soup (which is a phrase I just learned, thanks to the Twitter.) He appears to be what my aunt would call “just plain folk.” I love it.

- Ryan Miller is a very nice photographer. He could have a lucrative career capturing moments at weddings, baptisms & bar/bat mitzvahs if that whole hockey player thing doesn’t work out for him. And if I may wade into the shallow end of the pool for a moment, has Drew Doughty always been that attractive?

- And in case anyone is looking for a nice, nostalgic time waster, Entertainment Weekly has provided a list of the 25 or so most memorable Sesame Street guest appearances.

- I wasn’t expecting the Bills to cut Edwards today. Since Trent was a perfectly nice gentleman, he deserves a classy send-off.

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Oh My God, They’re Back Again!

September 18, 2010

Yes, I did use a line from a Backstreet Boys song in my title. Deal with it.

I went to Puck Drop today. Hockey is back my friends!

Excellent graphics!

- Got to the arena at about 930 and found seats in Section 105. I know it’s supposed to be cold in the arena, but holy moses, it was cold in the arena. I was wearing uggs, jeans & a sweatshirt and I was still cold. I wish I would have brought gloves as my hands were freeeeeeezing.

- The seats in this section (or maybe just my row) looked like they could use a good steam cleaning. They were kind of spotted and gross looking.

- For every one well behaved and considerate child I saw, there had to be at least three hellions. The worst offenders were the woman who sat in the row in front of me and let her three children (all under the age of 6 or so) use the two rows as their own personal jungle gym. She was trying to keep them under control, but it really wasn’t working. Thank god she left before the jersey unveiling or I would have been angry with her little monsters.

- During the practice session, Lindy called huddles repeatedly to explain plays in the whiteboard. The players all look like Lindy is attempting to explain nuclear physics to them rather than basic hockey plays.

Uhhhhh…

- The Adult Street Hockey tournament was going on outside the arena. The best team uniform that I saw was worn by a group of gentleman who called themselves the Buffalo Rangers. Each of their sweaters had a departed Sabre on the back: Kennedy, LaFontaine & Drury. These guys get the award for both creativity & snark.

- I saw a woman wearing a number 28 jersey with Goose on the nameplate. Is that fair or foul? (Or is that fowl? :::rimshot:::)

At one point, Gaustad and Myers (I think) were standing at the bench entrance in their undergear and watching the practice. One word from Lindy and they turned tail and ran back into the locker room. It was pretty funny, like they got scolded by dad and were headed to their room to serve out their punishment. Another player briefly came out, munching on a banana, but soon left.

At least I THINK this is Goose and Myers. Suggestions welcome on whom else it could be. Updated to say that I’ve been told that it’s Kassian. Thanks Mike!

- Lindy was quite vocal during the drills, with Roy-Z, Montador and Gerbe getting some name attention.

- There was Pominville graffiti in ladies room. I’m sure whoever thought it was a great idea to write Pominville’s name in a heart in a ladies bathroom stall clearly never thought it through, that the object of her affection would never get to see her adoration for himself.

- The smell of pizza & hot dogs at 10am is kind of repulsive. Same thing with the overly yeasty smell of beer fresh from the tap. But if that’s your thing who am I to judge?

- Montador blocked a shot and stayed down on the ice on all fours for a bit, then moved to the bench to shake it off. That shot looked like it hurt.

- Can someone please tell me who was the other player skating in the red practice sweaters with Gerbe & Grier? My eyes are horribly bad and not having numbers on the back of the practice sweaters was NOT helping matters. Whoever it was had nice chemistry with the other two. (On a random note, I was typing notes on my iPod, and Apple consistently wants to change Gerbe’s name to Herbert. I feel like that’s a nickname in waiting.)

I know the red guy is someone completely obvious, but it’s annoying me that I can’t figure out who it is!

- Has Lindy always made players do push-ups on the ice after drills?

At one point, there were four or five different players doing push-ups on the ice.

- While the Zamboni was prepping to come out, the coaches were “helping” to remove the pucks from the ice by flipping them into a bucket with their sticks. Their aim…not so good.

They looked to be having a great time doing this, until the Zamboni appeared and ruined the fun.

- The new sweaters look sweet. It’s so good to see the white sweaters back out on the ice this year. I hope this isn’t a one year only thing, and that the slug is dead and buried for good.

New duds. Same dudes.

Even the ‘Tooth got in on the fun!

Staffy! He better come down with a massive case of contractyearitis, or his time in Buffalo could be coming to an end.

None of my other sweater reveal photos came out that great,  so if you want to see more, visit the gallery on sabres.com. (And someone please explain why Pommers always has a “where am I” look on his face.)

- Watching the scrimmage after the reveal was fun. It was actual hockey played by actual hockey players! Who cares if nothing but pride and a spot on the team is on the line. For the fans, it was great to see.

Hockey!

- Nice nod to history with the names of the two teams for the scrimmage.

I think they would be proud.

Here we have species Crunchious Goaltenderous in his natural environment.

- All in all it was a good day. I did buy a new t-shirt at the Sabres store (the blue one with the logo script) and a set of fridge magnets. The cynical part of me knows that the team is making money hand over fist today because of the new gear, but the stuff does look great.

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Open Mouth, Insert Foot.

September 7, 2010

If you follow Tampa goalie Dan Ellis on Twitter, then you are aware of the comments he made yesterday regarding the financial status of NHL players, specifically stating that the powers that be at the league want players to take a 24% pay cut and that those of us that don’t make a lot of money don’t understand how difficult it is to have money. Fine, I get that. The rich are different from you and me. It’s a fact of life. And I do understand that a 24% pay cut for NHL players is still a significant chunk of change. However, Ellis complaining about this in a public forum like Twitter doesn’t do much to help his (and other players) causes when it comes to currying public favor in the upcoming labor negotiations.

Pay cuts suck. I totally agree with him there. Unfortunately, in today’s economy, pay cuts are a way of life. Many industries have resorted to pay cuts in order to keep staff around based on the logic that a shared sacrifice brings people together and helps prevent layoffs. And yes, speaking from experience, when a pay cut comes down from management, you do have the feeling of just bending over and saying “thank you sir, may I have another.”

But the players have to tread carefully here. Whining and complaining about how hard it is to be a millionaire isn’t going to play well with a team’s fans. When a fan is struggling with bills and other issues, the last thing they want to hear about is how millionaire hockey player living in McMansionville is crying “woe is me.” That’s not to say I’m on the owners side here. Both sides are complicit in letting salaries get out of control so fast.

A small part of me realizes that Ellis was just trying to stir the pot and cause some drama. But there are other ways to cause drama without crying “poor (not really) little me.”

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