Archive for the ‘All-Star Game’ Category

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Oh Photographer, You So Clever

January 30, 2011

Getty Images has the official NHL All-Star portrait gallery up and I honestly think these photos are SO MUCH better than the traditional “stand here and hold the stick and look awkward” photo theme that the NHL will usually resort to. The sparkles add an extra reminder that these guys are All-Stars (see what I mean by the photographer being clever), while I have yet to figure out the reason for the jersey nightlight in the background.

I really don’t have much to say about All-Star weekend. The draft was a new concept and seemed to be well received by the players. I’d like to see it stick around. The best part of the weekend was the goalie race between Cam Ward and Tim Thomas in the fastest skater competition. Goalies trying to skate fast in all their gear will never not be funny. Goalies falling down (but not getting hurt) while skating fast in their goalie gear will also never not be funny.

The actual game was nothing more than a game of shinny played between grownups who know what they’re doing. It will never be more than that, since there is nothing on the line but pride, and no one wants to get hurt. It’s all fun. It might not do much to attract new fans, but should it have to?

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Potential All Star Break Activities

January 29, 2011

So with the NHL on break until Monday (and the Sabres off until Friday – what kind of malarkey is that?), most players have departed for places far and wide for assorted debauchery good clean fun. So what is there to do for those players still left in town? We here at Shots Off the Crossbar have brainstormed a list of both physically and mentally stimulating activities that will allow a player to relax and recharge his batteries before coming back to engage in a playoff push (or high draft pick push).

- Participate in their child’s education by acting as a room dad at school – handing out juice boxes, participating in story time, reminding the kids that eating crayons is bad, lecturing little Timmy that violence is never the answer unless you can avoid getting sent to the penalty box for it.

- Tackling the “honey do” list.

- Reading the Buffalo News archives and making a list of how many times Bucky Gleason references the following: “Kennedy,” “Briere,” “Drury.” This activity should be done over the course of a year’s worth of columns, as any longer may cause the player’s head to spontaneously combust from the sheer volume of content generated from the exercise.

- Firing pucks at a tiny circle on their garage door so that they can keep their aim steady for the “shoot the puck through the photographer’s hole” contests held during practice.

- Shopping for the perfect Valentines Day gift for the wife, girlfriend or favorite lady friend(s).

- Reading “War & Peace.”

- Catching up on their favorite blogs, both of the hockey & non-hockey types.

- Educating themselves on the American political system by watching The West Wing.

- Making notes on how to enact an Aaron Sorkin “walk-and-talk” with a teammate while wandering around the arena.

- Writing the Great American Novel. They will receive more credit if they continue the story past “It was a dark and stormy night.”

- Taking Sabretooth for a trip to the groomers for his mid-season fluff and fold.

- Concocting a fiendish plan to lure the opposing goalie out of the net so that Rob Niedermayer can score a goal.

- Making sure that they have an emergency suitcase packed in case they are traded to points far flung upon the arrival of the new overlord, savior, owner.

I promise there may be hockey content and discussion on this blog at some point soon.

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Sabres vs. Flyers

January 11, 2011

I haven’t blogged a game in a while and figured I should try something different around here.

- The Versus announcers get a cookie for mentioning that Lindy won his 500th game on the Sabres last road trip.

- The NHL released it’s list of players eligible for the All-Star teams at the end of the month. No Sabre was represented on the team, save for Ennis, who only gets to compete in the skills competition. I’m not really surprised that no Sabre made the final team, considering their play as a cohesive unit has been decidedly un-All-Star like. However, a small case could be made for Leopold (and a pre-injury Roy) to have made the team. Oh well, our guys will get a few days off to rest and recover from any upper/outer/inner/lower body injuries that we may not be aware of.

Looking at the list of players named, if I were picking a team and this were a perfect world, I would go with the following players:

  • Crosby – I’ve fully hopped aboard the Crosby bandwagon, but at least I brought snacks!
  • Kesler – He scores goals, is a defensive forward and looks good in his underpants.
  • H. Sedin – He’s a good assist maker. Every team needs someone who can pass and share the puck.
  • Duchene – He can teach the rest of the team the bangity-bang-bang dance.
  • Kane – I even have change ready for cab fare, so we won’t have to worry about any pesky cabbie punching incidents.
  • Nash – He has an Oscar the Grouch on his kitchen table so he won’t be lonely eating breakfast. It’s an old video, but it’s still adorable.
  • Corey Perry – See, even I just can’t call him “Perry.” The boy has performed well for my fantasy team this year.
  • St. Louis – Every litter needs their runt.
  • D. Sedin – Having only one Sedin on the team would be like having peanut butter without jelly. They’re a matched set.
  • Sharp – I like Chicago. And he’s pretty.
  • Erikkson – My fellow Dallas blogger friends can’t be wrong about this guy and what he brings to the table.
  • Elias – Because I refuse to have both Ovie & Crosby on my team. There’s not enough room for that much ego around here.
  • Byfuglien – He’s been pretty kickass this year.
  • Letang – Crosby needs a friend on the team.
  • Burns – The beard in his roster photo is an all-star on it’s own
  • Weber – His shot is killer.
  • Lidstrom – A solid performer worthy of the title all-star.
  • Chara – He can be the Schwarzenegger to St. Louis’ DeVito.
  • Fleury – Crosby cannot travel without his airplane seat mate.
  • Hiller – Again, another sturdy performer for my fantasy team this year.
  • Thomas – After disappearing last year, he came back this year with a vengeance.

- While I was writing the above list, Gaustad and McCormick score for the Sabres. I know that our big name guys need to work on their scoring issues, but having the muckers & grinders like Goose & McCormick step up definitely helps things out. Especially Goose. I mean, this is his first goal since December 9th. He needs to score more often than that.(Get your heads out of the gutter, please!) According to the stats, Goose is at one-quarter of his goal performance from last season (4 now, 12 last season).

- Tonight’s in-game snack is hummus chips from Target. They’re good, but I feel like they need to be served with some tzatziki or some other dipping sauce in order to get the full effect.

- After the first period, McCormick was a fight away from a Gordie Howe hat trick and set his career high for shots in a game. Damn, if this guy isn’t the first star, I don’t know who would be. A goal, an assist and six shots is more than our top six sometimes accomplishes in one game and this mucker goes ahead and does it in one period.

- The Versus crew describes one of Miller’s sprawling saves as a “flying V.” I’m sorry, if you are of a certain age, a goalie save is not a flying V. This is a flying V.

Ducks fly together!

Sorry. Where was I?

- I’m so glad that we missed a Gaustad/Hartnall fight to go to a commercial. Really, I know advertisers pay the big bucks to be included in games, but darn it, make sure that all the players are peacefully going about their business before heading off to sell some widgets.

- I understand why the Flyers third goal counted, but at the same time, it’s still a bullhonky rule. Just make any and all goals that go in off skates illegal and we’ll eliminate any ambiguity.

- The Sabres appeared to shift into “don’t give a flying fudge” mode for most of the third period. Sadly, this is a mode that we have seen all too often this season. And it makes little to no sense that it appeared, considering that the first period and a good chunk of the second was a pretty decent game. I would say their give a damn is busted, but that’s an insult to Jo Dee Messina and her song by the same title.

- I’m really beginning to have doubts about utilizing “The System 2: Electric Bugaloo” (aka “Ride Miller Like a Prized Thoroughbred” ) for the remainder of the season. Miller has not looked like himself for a while now. Give him a night off, a good massage and a steak dinner. Let Lalime play for one night. Can we all survive one night without Miller? Can Lalime really be worse than how Miller is playing right now?

- The third period was absolutely brutal, not only because the Sabres blew their lead, but also because the Versus crew turned the Flyers tongue bath up to “Hoover” levels. I know Versus tends to focus intently on whatever team that the Sabres are playing against, but I don’t recall the “analysis” being this bad and one sided before.

So how long until Pegula takes over?

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Not Dead, Just Resting

January 24, 2009

- I apologize for my absence around here the past couple of days. My Crohn’s is being a real bitch these days, and usually the only thing I can think about doing when I get home from work is falling face first onto the couch and hiding under a blanket. No offense to you, my loyal readers, but sleep and rest are outweighing blogging these days. So if you notice me posting a little more infrequently for the next while, have no fear that I’m not dead, I’m just resting. I’ll let you know when I’m dead. :)

- I may become twitchy over the next two weeks, as there’s no Sabres hockey on TV until February 4th. This radio-only thing for the West Coast road trip sucks all kinds of monkey balls. I know that the team and MSG think that the West Coast games won’t draw ratings, but how many people would just put the game on and drift off to sleep while watching it? Those TVs still count as ratings points, even if the people watching them are asleep.

Updated to add that Bucky just posted that LQ and MSG struck a deal to televise the games after all! Yay! And the villagers rejoice!

- After reading Kevin Sylvester’s interview with Curtis Brown and Jeremy Roenick, I’ve decided that Jeremy Roenick is good people.

- Some of the photos that have been released from All Star Weekend are absolutely hysterical.

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Thomas looks very nice in this photo, but can’t we get the poor dear some ProActive? I know the redness on the nose is from the game the other night, but the rest of it can be easily handled with meds.

What is with the All-Stars sporting cardigan sweaters this year? I don’t like Kovy’s old man sweater here.

However, Vinny completely rocks the heck out of the cardigan in this photo.

And this is just a gratuitous photo of Soupy. He looks good.

I’m ready for my closeup, Mr. DeMille.

This photo does not do Zach Parise any favors.However, he kind of looks like Zachary Quinto in this photo. Which is not a bad thing, but ZQ and ZP are different animals.

Tooth! Although what is going on with SJ Sharkie’s skates? They’re like ginormous in relation to the little shark legs.


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Is There Real Hockey Yet?

January 28, 2008

- During last night’s ASG, I was hanging out at IPB, and one of the topics that came up was Buffalo hosting a future ASG. The group pretty much agreed that the city has a snowball’s chance in hell of that ever happening, since our city doesn’t have enough swanky hotels, restaurants and cultural attractions for the people that require swanky hotels, restaurants and cultural attractions. (I don’t want to see the fights that would break out over who would get to stay at The Mansion and who would be relegated to the Hyatt or a No-Tell Motel. )

However, in reading the Buffalo News site this morning, Bucky writes that Buffalo is on the list of contenders to hold the World Junior Championships in 2011. The tournament has been awarded to the USA, but USA Hockey needs to make the final decision on who the host city would be. Bucky rationalizes that the city’s proximity to Canada, plus having satellite sites in Rochester and Jamestown, make the area a natural fit.

Buffalo can put on a show, as we just proved with the Ice Bowl. If your looking for tournament credibility, check out what Buffalo’s done for the NCAA Basketball tourney and The Frozen Four. (I only remember the Frozen Four because some kid named Vanek was the star of the show. Wonder what happened to him?)

- Continuing with the Bucky writings, he gives Bettman a written BJ. All that aside, Bucky does bring up an interesting idea to make the All-Star game more relevant: put a prize on the table, a cool couple million. Winning team takes all. Losing team gets nothing but the swag they picked up over the weekend. It might give players an additional incentive to stay on the All-Star roster, and would make the game have some meaning. If the NHL doesn’t want to pony up the cash, then give the winning team’s conference home ice advantage in that year’s SC Finals.

- Surprisingly enough, Bucky only mentions Soupy’s contract in his blog, not in the actual paper itself. And there’s nothing new to add, nothing that no one with half a brain couldn’t figure out.

- Am I the only person who didn’t know the All-Star uniform pants were worn over the player’s regular team uniform pants? See here for an example.

- Flipping channels last night, I stumbled across Snoop Dog’s reality show on E! Its not my cup of tea, but what made me stop and watch was Snoop and his kids on ice with the Anaheim Ducks. It was pretty hilarious watching Snoop try to skate and Getzlaf encourage him (I think this show kind of cemented my Getzi-phiphany, which started with the Home Depot commercial of him just jammed in the back of an SUV. He really was quite adorable with Snoop, though the camera did get a rather unfortunate look at his bald spot.) The only other Duck mentioned by name on camera was Pronger, talking to Snoop about the penalty box. Even though he wasn’t called out by name, I did see Baby Crunchy floating around in the background. I guess this is another thing he can lord over his brother.

- Poking around on one of the message boards this weekend, it looks like Crunchy has a new mask. Its a similar design, but there’s more blue in it than before. And, the back of the mask features a halo over the bulldog representing his cousin Matt. Aww.

- Not hockey related, but New Kids on the Block are getting back together. It will be interesting to see how they sound after so many years of being apart. Will they try to be that cutesy boy band (like the Backstreet Boys were when they reunited), or will they sound a little more grown-up (like Hanson has managed)?

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All-Star Mishmash

January 26, 2008

- For those lucky few named to the All-Star squads, its four days of hockey related fun and frolic. For those luckier players not named All-Stars, its a chance to be away from hockey for four whole days. Its also a chance to reflect on the games already played and look ahead to a playoff push or a high draft pick push.

The Sabres have definitely been an up-and-down team this year. Lately, they’ve had more ups that downs, more un-dependable players than dependable players and less bounces going their way. I still think they have an outside chance at making the playoffs, but there needs to be a serious amount of removing heads from sphincters if they want to have a chance of making it.

- Speaking of removing heads from sphincters, this gem came from Jerry Sullivan’s blog today:

But it amazes me sometimes how little some people understand about the sports writer’s role. Heck, a lot of athletes don’t get it, either. I’m told one of the Sabres actually thought the reporters would get their names on the Stanley Cup if the Sabres actually won it all.

Now I don’t know if its a current or former Sabre that said this, but shouldn’t a hockey player have a pretty decent idea about who gets to be on the Cup? Or even that Cup names are usually limited to people that work for the team, not journalists that do not work for the team? Maybe the player was mixing up PR people and journalists, I don’t know. Its just very bizarre.

- I’ve been watching the Skills competition. There’s been a few good moments: Pronger’s delicious face plant, Jarome Iginla almost killing Corey Perry, Getzi and Ovechkin’s performances in the shootout exhibition, just to name a few. The only complaint is that the same 8-9 players are participating in the events. I get it, they’re the name players, but its got to be pretty boring for someone like Campbell to compete in the first event and then be out for the rest of the night.

- I was poking around on different corners of the internet, and stumbled across a Canadian article about what the Sundin would be worth to the Leafs in a trade. The reporter posed the question to a bunch of different former GM’s around the league. One of them suggested that Sundin would be a good fit for the Ducks. The Leafs would then get the Ducks first round pick in 08, next year’s first round pick AND Drew Miller. Why is Miller so important here? The rationale being that Baby Miller in Toronto could be used to lure Ryan Miller up to the Leafs when his contract expires at the end of 08-09.

Scuse me, while I try and stop laughing. I really can’t see Miller going to Toronto. First, the Buffalo fans would totally melt down. Second, I don’t know if he has the mental fortitude to be playing in the media fishbowl that is Toronto. When your own family expects you to melt down after your baby brother wins a Cup before you, the Toronto environment might not be your cup of tea. Third, if Miller bolts anywhere, I could see him bolting to Detroit. He would be able to play for his “hometown” team. (I know Detroit currently has Osgood, and spent boatloads of money developing their next goalie, but stranger things have happened in this NHL). Some of the other scenarios provided for Sundin are pretty out there, including shipping Sundin to the Devils. Something tells me Mats would not fit in with Lou’s vision of an orchestra.

- This has to be probably one of the nicest shots of Soupy I’ve seen in a while:

Soupy at ASG

I wish I could post the actual picture, but doing so has been throwing the formatting of the blog off.

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