Archive for the ‘Drew Stafford’ Category

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Bloggers. Teams. Media. Can’t We All Just Get Along?

August 26, 2010

So Greg W. of Puck Daddy fame posted today regarding the NHL wanting to ban bloggers & online based journalists from visitor’s locker rooms. It’s quite a provocative issue, as the growth of online blog conglomerates like SBNation & Bleacher Report has muddied the line between “professional writer” and “blogger.” It’s especially gotten stickier as traditional MSM outlets are now starting to rely on sites like Bleacher Report for their sports content. The thing is, there’s no real hard and fast playbook for how teams need to deal with the rapid growth of social media entities. Twitter & blogs have definitely changed how sports have been covered. Discussion happens instantaneously and teams have to monitor many different entities. It can be taxing role for whomever is assigned that duty by a team.

As has been pointed out by multiple entities, the NHL as a league has embraced social media. They run active Twitter & Facebook entities. They work to organize tweet ups where fans can meet. They “get it.” It’s when the ball is passed to individual teams that things start going haywire. Each team has its own social media effort and way of looking at things. Take the Sabres, for example. Their Twitter feed is especially active and helpful during the season, and if your only complaint is the all-caps postings and the circular links to Facebook and then to Sabres.com, then they have to be doing something right.  Other teams are different and may very well be dragged into the social media area kicking and screaming.

On Twitter earlier this afternoon, Mike Harrington pointed out that teams might be afraid that bloggers will become a substitute for team websites. That’s a valid point and one I hadn’t considered. But how many fans out there come to my blog – or any of the other blogs out there – to find breaking news? Most people still hit up team websites and MSM vehicles first. In my opinion, the MSM is a news destination, the blogosphere is the commentary/opinion/snark source. There’s nothing wrong with either, it’s just that news is news. Player A said this. Player B said that. There’s no room for an opinion in a news article. A blogger can take the words of Players A & B and add their own opinions & comments. Again, neither is wrong. It’s just two different ways of looking at the game and two different ways of consuming information.

If a team wanted to take away the perception that they won’t be the first source for team news (and really, it’s a source for PR), they can just add a newsfeed to their homepage. I’m not just talking about a link to The Buffalo News (which I’m sure their management would appreciate), but reports on the more fringe papers, like those of the players hometowns, the away teams for that week, etc. Adding a newsfeed would turn a team website into a content aggregator very quickly. If my fellow bloggers and I can operate “The Google” and find a link to a story in the Wyoming Tribune Eagle about the summer that Tyler Myers spent herding cattle*, then why can the Sabres website not do the same thing?

*To my knowledge, Tyler Myers has never been in Cheyenne, Wyoming, nor has he ever herded cattle. But you get my point.

As media consumption habits change, the traditional MSM is seeing its audience shift to other sources, whether it’s the traditional MSMs web presence or an independent internet source. We can’t deny that broadcast sports reports and newspaper column inches are shrinking as more and more people get their news from the internet. While the internet can sometimes be a scary place for sports teams, they should also embrace it, using it as a tool to mine suggestions on improvements that can be made (say to the off ice experience, the website, et al). While fans are your biggest critics at times, they can also be your biggest allies. And fans with blogs are the most passionate ones, the ones that take the time to write about their favorite team and sport. Aren’t these the fans you want to court? Or is it the idea that these fans don’t go to the games since they’re firmly indented on mama’s basement sofa so the team doesn’t have to worry about them?

Sorry, old stereotypes die hard.

Now I’m one of those bloggers that wouldn’t know what to do with locker room access. I’d get lost in the fuss in the locker room. If you’ve ever met me, you know I’m reasonably quiet & shy. I don’t burst in and demand attention. I’d probably trip over my tongue (or my own two feet) while trying to ask a question. However, that doesn’t mean that there are Sabres bloggers out there that wouldn’t want the locker room access. I’d love to see what it’s like in the press box, but I realize that my little blog probably won’t get me past the velvet rope up there, and I’m ok with that.

A lot needs to be done on both sides in order to come to a happy medium. Bloggers should have to “earn” their credential from a team, whether its by supplying writing samples or interacting with the media relations staff enough so that they can feel confident that you won’t be a blabbering idiot. Or maybe start with a practice and then work your way up to game coverage. Teams need to realize that bloggers are not the enemy. We’re all reasonable people, except for, you know, when we go on our bi-monthly weekly “fire them all” rants.

I’m looking forward to seeing where this discussion leads. The NHL has some of the most passionate fans, bloggers and media members out there. Getting everyone on the same page in the same book is probably going to be a long, frustrating road, but in the end, it will be worth it.

Moving on, the NFL is having a social media trouble of its own. Mediapost reported today that Ochocinco was fined 25k for tweeting from the sidelines during a preseason game.  That’s almost a “no shit sherlock” thing for me. I mean, these guys are paid to play sports and have their heads in the game. There’s a time and place for interacting with your adoring (or heckling) public, and in the middle of a game is not it. If the NFL wants in game tweeting about what’s going on on the sidelines, send an intern down with a smartphone or netbook and let them have at it. Tell me that Brian Moorman is chatting with Poz about the philosophies of Kant as they wait for kickoff. That’s fine. But players themselves should not have the freedom to tweet from the sidelines. I know football is a little different than other sports where there is a lot of idle time, but as professional athletes, their heads should be in the game at all times. And really, I’ve heard that a professional athlete or two has left the Twitterverse because he was upset that the fans were leveling criticism at him. How would he react to critical statements if he received them in game as opposed to afterward when he’s had a chance to cool off? It would not end well for anyone.

And finally, Drew Stafford wants to be a duck? You only have to watch until the 1:50 mark to get the gist, and there is some language in the video as well. And is it me, or does Mr. Staffy look slightly ticked off in this video?

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What I Did On My Winter Vacation

February 24, 2010

Remember when you were in grade school and you had to write essays about what you did on your summer vacation? What if our favorite Sabres had to do the same thing for this Olympic break, just to prove to Darcy that they were behaving themselves? Here’s a small sample of what would result, gathered through SuperSecretSpy methods.

By “The Goose”

HONKHONKHONK HONK HONKHONKHONKHONK OH HONK HONK HONK HONKHONK HONK OH HONK HONK HONK!

(Editor’s Note:  Google Translator says “Instead of stewing in my bitterness over not making Team USA, I decided to re-dedicate myself to saving the planet, and watched old episodes of Captain Planet. He’s a hero. Gonna take pollution down to zero.”)

By “Drew Stafford”

I went home. I needed to spend more time refining my hybrid Minnesotanadian accent….and have mama do some laundry. Do you know how much laundry has piled up since I was last home? My ride back to Buffalo was diverted to Newark when some little mutant started screaming and its mother wouldn’t shut it up. Since I was already in Jersey, I tried to find that chick from Jersey Shore that looks like Littlefoot. No luck there. Since I was mad, I toilet papered Parise’s front yard to make me feel better. And just so you don’t think I’m a total ass, I fed his pet turtle. Can’t let the pets die while he’s off chasing glory.

By “Derek Roy”

I went to NY Fashion Week. The clothes, the glamour, the lights, the stars. Ooh, it was just the best! I got to meet Michael Kors and Nina Garcia and Heidi Klum! Kors is nearly not as orange in person as he is on Project Runway. I also saw Tyra and the Jays. They were fierce. Tyra told me that I need to work on my smizing. She says smizing is an essential skill. I can already see the signs at HSBC: “Smize for me, Roy-Z!”

Editors Note: I’m sad that Miss Jay will not be at panel on this season of Top Model. Whatever will we do without his giant gimmicks to count down the number of hamsters remaining?

By “Nathan Paetsch”

I updated my resume. I’m not stupid. I’m the eighth defenseman on a seven man rotation. I’ve spent more time this season getting to know the press box staff than skating on the ice.

By “Thomas Vanek”

I spent time playing with my young son. Who knew kids toys had so many parts? And who knew that little parts hurt when you stepped on them. My wife just says be thankful they’re not Barbie shoes. Can someone please tell me what is this Yo Gabba Gabba? And how can a kitchen sponge live under the sea with a squirrel?

By “Chris Butler”

I wanted to make a recipe I saw on The Barefoot Contessa. But was thwarted by not being able to find The Good Vanilla at the grocery store. Why does no one carry this brand? Can I substitute another brand of vanilla? I want to bake, damnit!

By “Tyler Myers”

I grew three more inches and my feet bust through my bedroom wall while I was sleeping. Mairsy and Patty came over to see if they could help me fix the wall, but Mairsy misfired the nail gun and shot a nail through his foot and Patty had to take him to the hospital. Does anyone know a good contractor?

Editor’s note: On a serious note, does anyone know a good contractor in Buffalo? SOtC Estates needs a bathroom reno and needs a quality trustworthy contractor that can install a shower, upgrade some electrical, add an exhaust fan and potentially do some tile work. Drop me an e-mail if you’ve had the good, the bad or the ugly.

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Sabres vs. Flyers – 11.14.09

November 14, 2009

Pregame

- No Stafford tonight, as he apparently has some sort of hip injury. No word on if its due to his scuffle with Pocohontas and some buffalo. Tyler Ennis – that would be the short Tyler of the 2008 draft – has been called up from Portland to replace Stafford. Anyone want to make bets as to how many Ellis/Ennis mixups Neale will have tonight? I’m thinking at least three, as Neale was mixing up MacArthur/McKinley/McIntire during last night’s game. So what if one’s a hockey player/general, one’s a president and one’s a New Kid. They’re all interchangeable for dear Harry.

- Anyway, thanks to the wonder that is The Google, I found this article regarding Stafford’s expectations for this season, including a comment from Lindy regarding Stafford’s potential:

If his career keeps progressing, Stafford could become the Sabres’ supreme leader one day. Ruff believes Stafford is a “captain-type person.”

I hope that the era of Supreme Leader Staffy does come after the eras of Supreme Leader Rivet and Supreme Leader Goose. As I re-read that sentence, I realize that it makes them sound like they’re leading their own little versions of the communist party and not leading a hockey team. But I’m not the one that used that phrase first, I just picked up the ball and ran with it. Heh.

First Period

- There’s a kerfluffle in front of Miller and Myers and Carcillo start going at it. If anyone is going to try and take on Myers, they’d have to hit up rather than across in order to land any punches. When the bodies are sorted out, Carcillo is in the box for cross checking Myers.

- The Sabres get crotchety (well, most of the time) when one of their opponents tumbles into Miller. Chris Pronger, on the other hand, shoves Sabres into Emery. That makes no sense.

- WHOO! Vanek takes a MacArthur pass and ships it past Emery. 1-0, Sabres.

- Can I still refer to Briere as a slag-faced whore or has that statute of limitations expired? Either way, he gets a shot past Miller, but it clanks with a thud off the post. That goalpost was Miller’s best friend and gets a cookie from this blogger for it’s heroic effort in preventing that goal.

- Gaustad and Pronger decide to go after each other as a result of Pronger shoved Gaustad into the crossbar. RJ takes this opportunity to make a Mrs. Lauren Pronger joke, which while kind of low, is still funny. Gaustad was all hepped up over the hit and honked mightly at Pronger while trying to chase him around the ice. Apparently, HONKHONKHONKHONK HONK HOOOOOOONK translates into “don’t effing touch me again, you dirty rotten arsehole.”

- Roy deflects a beautiful pass from Vanek off the goalpost. That’s the second Sabres shot in the past five minutes that went off the post and/or crossbar. Emery’s posts and crossbars do not get cookies from this blogger.

Second Period

- On intermission, we’re treated to a recap of Ryan Miller’s visit to the Grand-Am race at the Glen this past summer. I give him credit for doing a gently understated version of  “Gentlemen, start your engines.” I’ve seen entirely too many versions of it that are just so ridiculously over the top. When Miller mentions that he had previously been to the Detroit Grand Prix when it was on Belle Isle, my mother and I then try to figure out whether Miller was there when it was a CART/Champcar event or an IRL event, as both series raced at Belle Isle.Why is this important? Because the IRL represents the downfall of American open-wheel racing, and I’d really like to not think of my beloved goalie attending an IRL race…even if he was comped admission or a member of the red hat brigade. I realize that statement makes sense to only about three of you in the audience, but Tony George’s egocentric asshat-ness ruined the greatness that was American open-wheel racing.

- What’s the hit count from Kaleta tonight? We hear RJ talking about them, but we don’t seem to be seeing them.

- Something happened to Rivet and he’s bent over in two on the Sabres bench. His body language is screaming “fuck…..owwww…mommmmmmmyyyyyyy.” Or words to that effect.

- Emery gets caught out of the net but scoots back in time to stop Timmy from firing the puck into a wide open net.

- And now it’s Miller’s turn to get caught out of the net as Richards tries a wraparound, but luckily the Sabres skaters team up to force Richards to go wide and give Miller enough time to get back in the crease.

- Oh dear, Tallinder gets leveled by Laperriere and heads off to the bench. I hope that hit doesn’t cause Feisty, Competent Hank to retreat and cause Shy Scared Hank to come back out.

- Holy hell, that was an ugly shift by the Sabres. There’s shots flying, bodies tumbling and Miller remaining the lone line of defense against the Flyers. Luckily, the Flyers do not score.

- WHOOOO! Tyler Ennis gets his first NHL goal as he’s in the right corner of the crease at the right time to put the puck past Emery. Not bad for a kid who got off the plane an hour before the puck dropped. 2-0, Sabres.

- The period ends with a flurry in the Sabres end, as Miller does everything but a Rockette kick line to keep the puck out of the net.

Third Period

- In person, Gaustad is a solid, yet skinny, guy. When he’s in his full hockey gear and standing next to K-Syl, he’s a freaking giant. And again, Sabres broadcast people, can’t K-Syl have a box to stand on so that interviews aren’t so awkward?

- Pronger lets a shot go from the point and it gets past Miller. 2-1, Sabres.

- I’m feeling the wingnuts slowly coming loose on this wagon. Vanek gets a slashing penalty for chopping Richards stick out of his hands from behind in the neutral zone. That kinds of sounds like the solution to a game of Clue, heh.

- Way to be classy there, Philly fans, booing Chris Butler as he hauls himself up off the ice after a hit from the slag faced hobbit whore. When all is said and done, Butler is in the box for cross-checking and Briere gets a 4-minute penalty.

- Gaustad is a one man wrecking crew, as he not only wins the face off, but tips a Myers shot past a clueless Emery. 3-1, Sabres.

- Carter scores a shorthanded goal as the Sabres power play turns into one giant fustercluck. Four Sabres could not handle two Flyers. Unbelievable. 3-2, Sabres.

- Kaleta manages to catch up to Carcillo and back check the puck away from him. What’s so surprising about that? Kaleta was two strides behind and appears to be the only guy with some vim and vigor left in him at this point in the game.

- Miller’s gotten run over a few times in this period. Are his teammates blaming distraction by low flying pelicans for their inability to keep the Flyers out of the damn crease and away from their goalie?

- That was an ugly third period, and the boys may be tired and/or in need of a refresher on the “hockey games are 60 minutes long” lecture. But that should be overshadowed by Miller’s good night, Gaustad’s one man band on the game winning goal, and Ennis’ first career goal in his first career NHL game.

- Also, the Sabres and the Devils remain tied for the league lead in least number of goals allowed. Is this a product of their systems or because of their stellar goalie talent? Discuss.

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Candid Camera

October 23, 2009

H/T to Sabres.com for posting the game night intro video on Sabres.com. I’m going to wade into the shallow end of the pool for a moment.

gooseandganderLook at their matching injuries – Stafford’s lip scrape and Gaustad’s beak scrape. It’s pre-season and these guys are already beat up.

- The #KyleWellwoodIsSoFat meme that broke out on Twitter was cracking me up for most of the afternoon. Could you imagine some of the ones that could be done for the Sabres?

  1. Derek Roy is so fashionable that…
  2. Tim Connolly is so injured that…
  3. Ryan Miller is so skinny that…
  4. Paul Gaustad is so environmentally conscious that…
  5. Jason Pominville is so adorable that…

I promise some actual hockey content tomorrow as I recap the Battle of the Crunchies live from my very own sofa. (On a somewhat related note, it’s pretty hilarious that Tampa has pronunciation guides on their player roster for names as simple as Drew Miller. How the heck would you mispronounce that?)

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Couple of Thoughts

October 11, 2009

- When Mike Grier and his hands of stone score your only goal of the night, you know you’re having trouble scoring. While it’s not for a lack of opportunity, as the Sabres have had plenty of shots, the lack of finish is what’s bothersome. I wonder if putting cardboard cutouts of foxy ladies in the net during practice sessions would help with scoring, as we know the Sabres do not suffer from a lack of hitting that.

- Check out this quote from Ryan Miller after last night’s game.

“Mike Grier, you are my hero,” Sabres goalie Ryan Miller said. “Mike does a lot of things really well on the ice. He kept on telling us to trust the system and that we would get a breakthrough.”

The quote is noticeable because I think this might be the first time Miller has ever referenced The System (usually that’s everyone but the goalie’s fallback comment) in an interview. Also, with Grier stepping into that on-ice leader role,  could it allow the Pommers, Roys and Vaneks of the world to just chill out, stop trying to do too much and just play some good old-fashioned hockey within The System?

- Timmy looks incredibly relaxed during this interview with Kevin Sylvester. And mother of pearl, Timmy’s gracing a smile at a couple points during the interview. Timmy smiles are incredibly rare, which makes them all the more special when they do come out.

- Please tell me that you all saw Stafford goofing around behind Kevin Sylvester during K-Syl’s postgame report last night. While I did Zapruder the footage of the moment (why yes, I am a dork), and am fairly certain that Staffy was shaking and choking Paille, I hope fun and frolic like that is exhibited after wins. If I ever see / hear about things like that happening after a loss, I will not be a happy camper.

- Continuing with the Staffy theme, he was the first guest of Kevin Sylvester’s new interview series held in the penalty box. Stafford again expresses his admiration of Zach Parise (c’mon, we all know they’re BFF) and shares that Chris Neil is the player he would most like to see take a stick to the bits. (Personally, I’d go with Ovie, but I think Goose took care of that a couple of seasons ago.)

- There’s a couple of 10-12 year olds outside playing with a football and I think it’s incredibly sad that they have nicer cell phones than I do. Why a 10-year-old needs a cell phone is another story, I suppose.

- With The Buffalo News confirming that Andrej Sekera felt shooting pains in his side, can we classify his boo-boo as a middle body injury rather than an upper body injury? I know his injury is north of the Maxon-Dixon line, so it technically is an upper body injury, but middle body is at least a little more descriptive. Also, can we cut the upper/lower/outer/inner crap until the playoffs come? Just say what the injury is an move on.  And if Sekera is going to be out for some time, do the Sabres play Patches or call up Weber? (I’m ignoring for now what’s going to happen when Lydman and Mair are ready to play again. The speculation and fan theories are making my head hurt.)

- Tyler Myers has been pleasantly surprising. I know he’s due for a speed bump in his career trajectory at some point, but management is going to have a very tough decision in six games.

- Check out the images on Getty from the Blackhawks red carpet festivities. I give Dustin Byfuglien a lot of credit for being able to pull off a suit in that shade of red.

- Who lit a fire under Tim Kennedy’s ass last night? He was all over the place and not afraid to take the hit or punch in order to make the play or drive the net. He’s proving he belongs up here.

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Look! It’s Real Hockey(ish) Played By Real Hockey Players

September 12, 2009

I went to Puck Drop today, and this wordy, photo filled post summarizes my day. Carry on at your own risk.

Read the rest of this entry ?

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Another Miller Interview

August 27, 2009

Ryan Miller did a call-in this morning with Janet and Nick of Kiss 98.5 fame. Some of the highlights:

- Miller and Kaleta are doing an “Iron Chef” competition tonight with two local chefs. It was one of the prizes offered at last year’s CFC, with a gentleman from New Era placing the winning bid. Miller hopes to not be a hindrance to his professional chef and hopes to pick up a tip or two in the process. Really though, his main goal for the night is to just not set himself on fire. I’d also like to add a secondary goal of not chopping off a finger, but that’s probably quite obvious.

- The portion of the interview dealing with the Olympic drug testing process was the most interesting part of the entire feature. He said that players on the protocol have to account for their whereabouts for a certain period of time each day from October on and if they don’t, they’re in a metric shitload of trouble. It sounds like a ton of work for the athlete, remembering to be responsible, but if that’s the price you have to pay in order to wear the USA on your chest, then it’s really kind of worth it, in my opinion. It’s this kind of insight and inside information that I appreciate during interviews, and you could really pick up on Miller’s slight feeling of overwhelmed-ness about the whole thing.

- The Catwalk for Charity is being held on November 8th this year and will have a 1950s theme. Ryan is thinking more “American Graffiti” 50s and not “Grease” 50s, for what it’s worth. I would love to see the guys Hand Jive down the runway, but that might be asking for too much. Then again, if Timmy can break out The Worm, I don’t think the Hand Jive is too far out there.

(I’m not going to tell you how much of a timeout I took on YouTube at this point to go watch some Grease clips. I got sucked into “Beauty School Dropout” and “Greased Lightning”)

- Apparently Derek Roy does one hell of a Soulja Boy dance, and Janet and Nick made the comment that Ryan has to stage an intervention with Roy. Ryan replied that there’s too many things that Roy-Z needs help with. ZING! (But he said it with real affection in his voice, which was nice).

- Gaustad and Miller went to Spain and missed a Kings of Leon show due to high winds canceling the show. In what was probably the stupidest question of the day (topping by a smidgen the question asking Paul Posluszny what he thinks of Dick Jauron’s hats),  Janet & Nick asked if he & Goose ran with the bulls during their trip, and Ryan SMARTLY replied that the bull running is probably in violation of an NHL contract. (Like, duh to the nth degree.) It sounds like they had fun on their trip, but I kind of wonder who would be more fun to watch frolic around Europe: Miller and Gaustad or Mario Batali and Gwyneth Paltrow?

- Miller took a training break in mid-summer, because if he spent every day in the gym, he’d probably beat his head against a wall. Hah. Along a similar vein, they also asked him if he takes any special nutritional supplements. He only occasionally throws protein powder into a shake at the end of the day, but tries not to do too many weird things, especially as the drug testing is so stringent, and so many supplements aren’t careful about their labeling. And the last thing you want to do is blow a positive on the drug test, especially so close to the games.

- Miller drives a 500hp car of some sort, as he did the interview while behind the wheel and on the way to a workout with the boys.  Hopefully he was using a hands free device so as not to be in violation of the laws of this fine state.

While that concludes the summary of Miller’s interview, I do have one more question.

Has there been any word on what is going on with Stafford? Sweet hockey playing deity, can Darcy and Staffy’s agent really be that far apart on terms? Like it or lump it, Stafford is a big part of the team, and the team is going to hurt without the uni-browed wonder in the lineup.

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