Archive for the ‘Hockey Games’ Category

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That New Season Smell

October 9, 2011

1. Yay! Hockey’s back! The Sabres are safely back home in Buffalo, tuckered out & jet lagged, but victorious over the Kings & Ducks. I was pleasantly surprised by Luke Adam’s play while in Europe. He seemed to click well with Vanek and Pominville. I know Lindy likes to muck with his lines the same way someone mucks with a Rubix cube, but I hope he leaves this line alone for the time being. 

2. I was pleasantly surprised that Pominville was named the Sabres new, permanent captain. I know most people were hoping for Vanek or Gaustad; but when you think about it, Pominville has that steady, dependable quality that is needed in someone that carries the leadership mantle. It’s also a big deal that the new captain (and the assorted assistants) are the guys that came up through the organization together. The last time the Sabres named a captain, they picked the new guy to the organization, just because he seemed to be the most grown-up  guy in the room. Now, Pominville and the assistants are the grown-ups. It’s their job to keep the team on an even keel. It begins and ends with them, there’s no one else to pull their butts out of the fire. It’s going to be fun to watch how this group develops, that’s for sure.  

And thus ends the cliche festival regarding leadership. 

3. If you haven’t looked at the Sabres.com photo galleries from the Griswolds’ European Adventure, then I suggest you do. Highlights of the many galleries include: 

  • Tyler Myers reading a newspaper. Granted, it’s a copy of USA Today, but it’s still an actual hard copy newspaper. (Gallery: Tuesday Morning Practice)
  • Lindy Ruff’s BAMF-y expression while wearing a pair of sunglasses. This photo feels like it has future internet meme written all over it. (Gallery: Off the Plane & On The Way)
  • A Disney movie (of all things) on the in-flight movie. Someone help a girl out with what the movie is. (Gallery: Leaving Heidelburg)
  • Sabres working out with weights. I know every player has their own specialized workout regimen, but it’s kind of comical to see Pominville and Myers working out with the hardcore weightlifter weights while Miller & Leino are using the “lady-sized” dumbbells. (Gallery: Monday Practice at SAP Arena)

Thank you to the Sabres staffers who took these photos and worked hard on the team’s media coverage while on this trip. Your hard work is really appreciated by those of us here in the cheap seats at home. 

4. The October issue of Buffalo Spree magazine focuses on the Buffalo sports scene, with articles on Ryan Miller, Pat Kaleta, Buffalo mascots, the WNY Flash, Buffalo Soccer Club and more. There is a lot of quality writing in this issue, so I do recommend that you pick up a copy. However, what was most intriguing was the article on Ryan Miller. One paragraph had two bits of info that jumped out at me. First…

Several members of the local sports media told me off the record that they admire Miller’s charity work, and that this makes it harder, at least on a subconscious level, to criticize the guy for letting in the occasional bad goal.

Oh really? The (supposedly) impartial media admits (off-the-record) that they’re soft on Miller because he’s such a good guy off the ice? If this is the case, by making this sort of statement, these media members are admitting that they would have no problem calling out Miller if he was a complete and total bastard off the ice. (On the other hand, that might explain a lot of the Timmy hate. But that’s another story for another time.) 

Secondly, Miller claims that the media by trade are designed to be pot-stirrers and focus too much on one point that they know nothing about. He might have a tiny, bitterness-coated point here. And I’m not saying that just because 5 for 25 is still a local joke. How many times have some media members gone to the same well for commentary topics? However, that doesn’t mean that players have to be hostile to the media in the locker room. All the players have to do is smile & nod, answer the questions, wish the media a nice evening and then go about their business. If players are getting this out of sorts about media coverage, perhaps they should stop reading/listening/watch said coverage. It is entirely possible to watch the news and read a newspaper without hearing/seeing/reading sports stories. I work with people who prove this fact true every single day.

5. Finally, I cannot stop watching this clip of bear cubs in a hammock. Enjoy and catch you back here later in the week for the “official” home opener. 

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Vancouver

June 16, 2011

It’s a hell of a first world problem that we have when we riot over the results of a sporting event. Other nations riot over things like democracy & human rights. We riot over the end result of a seven game series that at its essence is nothing more than grown men running around on ice, fighting over a little rubber disc. We’re a lucky lot, and need to do more to remember that.

I know the people that rioted last night are not representative of Canucks fans and the good people of Vancouver. I feel so bad for those Canucks fans that not only have to deal with their personal angst over watching their team lose Game 7, but also have to deal with being painted with the world’s widest brush and seen as nothing more than a bunch of rabblerousers and spoilsports. They are not like that, and they deserve better than that.

I have been tremendously impressed by the social media response to what happened last night. Vancouverites are fighting back and letting people know that they will not tolerate actions like that and are working to find and label those responsible for the damage. They are also working to clean up their city. You know what, they shouldn’t have had to. Neither should the municipal government for that matter. If it wouldn’t have hindered city life, those people responsible for the damage should  have cleanup & repair as a major part of their punishment in addition to whatever confinement/monetary penalties the court system hands down.

I hope that if the Sabres ever win/lose the Cup, that Buffalo fans remember our shocked reactions to what happened last night. We are Buffalonians. We are hockey fans. We are better than that.

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Miscellaneous Mutterings

March 24, 2011

- Color me impressed with Nathan Gerbe lately. He’s one of those guys who doesn’t rely on talent alone to get him through, he works hard and mixes that hard work with talent and tenacity to make plays. He completely outworked Subban at the end of the Montreal game. Even though the Sabres were about 99.9% assured of the win at that point, Gerbe didn’t turn on cruise mode. He kept working. I feel like that’s something that the Sabres as a whole sometimes forget to do during games. Once they get that magical two goal lead, they sit back and turn on cruise mode and then stand there and watch stuff happen around them or make dumb mistakes. Exhibit A was the Nashville game on Sunday. That game should have been locked down after the Sabres went up 3-1. Instead careless mistakes were made, the team lost and had no one to blame but themselves. And they did, but they rebounded well from it.

But back on the Gerbe topic, I still adore the Gerbe, Gaustad, Mancari line combination. Lindy found something special with them. I hope the line still continues to work out.

- I’m COMPLETELY SHOCKED that a fight broke out on the ice during a hockey game. Completely shocked. I mean, who knew that hockey included fighting? However, the way some of these parents were carrying on, you would think that these hockey players were having a group fornication with goats at center ice rather than just engaging in normal fisticuffs that are associated with a hockey game. I understand that fighting is in no way acceptable in “real” life, but you cannot take kids to a game where fighting is a part of the game (for better or worse) and then act all holier then thou when a fight breaks out in front of your precious snowflakes. Maybe I’ll feel differently when/if I ever have kids, but hockey can be one of the most family friendly sports out there. That seems to be getting lost in the pearl clutching going on in Portland.

- If this photo from Tuesday night’s Sabres game doesn’t make you smile, then I don’t know what will. It’s such a perfect mix of joy, tiredness & relief all rolled into one. What a great moment captured by the photographer.

- I hate that we’re now into the scoreboard watching, “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” portion of the season. While it does give me an extra incentive to watch additional hockey games, it becomes maddening that I’m forced to root for teams that normally turn my stomach, like Ottawa. And Philadelphia. That’s just not right.

- I’m not a San Fransisco Giants fan, but this new Showtime documentary about the team looks like it could be really good TV. It stinks that we have to wait until July for it to begin. I know Showtime wants to do a good job with it, but if HBO can turn around their 24/7 series on a dime, why is Showtime waiting so long to debut theirs?

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Ramblings: Sabres vs. Thrashers Edition

March 19, 2011

- How great was it to see Hasek back on HSBC Arena ice tonight? Aside from a touch of grey (which happens to all of us), he still looks like the same lean, mean goaltending machine that played for the Sabres. If the Sabres and Hasek can bury the hatchet (and not in each other’s backs), I have hope that the Sabres and other former players can bury their hatchets.

- I love the addition of the 7 on the ice behind the nets. It’s a nice touch and a good way to honor a Sabres legend. (Even Sabretooth’s 7 on his sweater is a nice accent.) Does anyone know if the Sabres will be webcasting the Martin memorial service on Thursday?

- I was at the mall this afternoon and noticed that Laux is already selling Brad Boyes Sabres t-shirts. I approve of that. I do not approve of the Pegula/4 shirts that were for sale at T-Shirt University. I know we’re all excited about T-Pegs, but it seems wrong somehow to be wearing the owner’s name and number on your back.

- I was disappointed that the “Swords of 1,000 Men” song did not come clearly through the TV set after the Pominville goal. After all the ruckus on Twitter regarding the song, I want to hear it during a game for pete’s sake.

- I have no idea what to make of the Thrashers first goal. It looked to me like it went off Miller’s stick (which was on the ice) and then bounced over Miller’s shoulder. I’m pretty sure there’s no way Miller would have been able to contort himself that fast to catch the puck from going behind him.

- I liked Craig Ramsey’s red shirt & patterned tie combination; however, the brown houndstooth coat that he is wearing doesn’t work so well with the vibrancy of the tie & shirt.

- The Sabres second goal just illustrates the unintentional humor that comes from watching Sabres games. The power play unit consisted of Myers, Gerbe, Leopold, Gaustad and Mancari. Gerbe looked like a fun sized candy bar amongst a bunch of king-sized candy bars out there. (I want chocolate, can you tell?)

- I spend way too much time trying to figure out the answer to the Cellino & Barnes trivia question. I knew that the question was easier than I was making it, and it still took me for-freaking-ever to figure out that the answer was Michael Peca. I think I was having a mental block where I was stuck on Rhett Warrener and Jay McKee as the answers, but then I remembered that Warrener was later on and McKee was drafted in 1995.

- I miss a good chunk of the second period while searching online for instructions for the exhaust fan/light in my bathroom. I know the whole fan housing comes off for maintenance, but there is a way that the light cover thingy comes off and I need to find that out to replace a bulb. But enough about my troubles. The Sabres left the period with the lead, that’s all that matters.

- The third period was quite fun, once I abandoned my search for the fan instructions. Niedermayer scored his second goal of the night, the Sabres scored their eighth goal of the game, the crowd chanted “we want nine,” and Evander Kane tried to fight Tyler Ennis (after trying to scrap with Gerbe earlier). That’s a lot to take in.

- I’m pretty sure that the Sabres official Twitter account was as shocked that Connolly scored, as their announcement of his goal used several exclamation points. We’re talking a teenage girl level of exclamation point usage here.

- Cody McCormick’s reading PSA was kind of adorkable. It’s nice to see the team’s designated tough guy reminding kids to use their noggins and read a book. Also, Sabretooth reading to Perrywinkle was a nice touch. I just hope Cody is re-signed next year, I really like this guy.

- So that’s all she wrote until tomorrow’s game against the Predators.

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Sabres vs. Canes: Live and In Person

March 15, 2011

I was at tonight’s Sabres/Canes game. Because I don’t have one of those smartyphones (tm Dan Stark on The Good Guys), I was not able to live blog tonight’s game from the arena. I do however have a few comments on the night.

- First, Montador was blessedly brutal in the third period. I’m still not sure whether the falling down without a Hurricane in spitting distance of him or the penalty in the last four minutes of the game was the worse offense.

- Montador was not the only Sabre to randomly fall down tonight. I know Myers fell and there was at least one other stumble. Carolina had no problems, so I think we can rule out cruddy ice as a factor. Do they all need skating refreshers or aids of some sort to prevent from falling down? Speaking of skating and falling down, the little Timbits shooting on Sabretooth during the first intermission were adorable. I also thought that the Timbits animation on the scoreboard was a nice touch.

- I really liked that Pegula was sitting amongst the people tonight. Being named Mayor of Pegulaville while sitting in that section was really cute.

- I was keeping an eye out for Jersey Fouls tonight. At first, I thought my only contender would be a Zach Parise Devils vintage red and green sweater, but then I saw the following on the walk out to the parking lot. There was a nice young gentleman wearing a sweater with the name/number combination of “Jizzbot 13.” What does it mean and why does this sweater exist? (Or do I really not want to know?)

- I can honestly say that tonight was the first time that I heard “Centerfold” played on the pipe organ. (And was “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” slipped in there as well? I definitely noticed a difference in the music tonight versus the game that I attended back in December. Although I do have to ask, who slipped the “We Like to Party” song in there?

- I’m pretty sure that tomorrow we will be hearing an announcement from the Sabres that Sabretooth has been put on the disabled list with a torn rotator cuff. That cat was really working his shoulder while leading the crowd in the towel waves. (Note to the Sabres: the animated Sabretooth on the scoreboard for birthday announcements still wears a slug on his sweater.)

- Speaking of towels, the first synchronized towel wave of the night looked really cool.

- I might have missed the announcement, but was there no serviceman/servicewoman attending tonight’s game courtesy of the Sabres?

- The water in the ladies room by Section 110 was a coldish version of lukewarm, but not the ice cold that has been reported in other areas of the arena by other lady bloggers.

- Can someone get Pominville some non-breaking sticks? Or at least ensure that the Pommerdoodle has some other chew toy available in the locker room? This stick breaking nonsense is for the birds.

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Not Just Another Game

March 5, 2011

- Remind me again why Tim Connolly is still a part of this team? I know, I know, Tim is the top center we have, blahblahblahfishcakes.

- How did that high stick on Myers in the first period not get called? He went down, stayed down and was bleeding. It sounded like RJ wanted to hop out of the booth and head down to the ice and argue the call himself.

- The warm and fuzzy first intermission feature on Pominville and the Make-A-Wish kid is exactly what has been missing from games in the past. It’s a total human interest story, but it’s something other than K-Syl & Roby blathering on and on and on. I’m sure the dead horses that have been beaten repeatedly on intermissions appreciate the break, LOL. And the warm and fuzzy feelings generated from this feature are exactly what was needed on this cold, dreary Saturday afternoon, especially since the game was featuring a 2-0 Sabres loss at that point.

- Have I mentioned how much I hate the Boomer and Carton commercials? I hate them about as much as the fact that Kathering Heigl is going to play Stephanie Plum in the movie adaptation of Janet Evanovich’s “One for the Money.”

- On a positive note, glad to see Stafford finally score again.

- Did The Fourth Period really need to use this image of Mr. Biznasty for their story about him? I really don’t want to think about anyone “twooping” for pete’s sake, let alone be confronted with an image of (faux) twooping in action. And yes, I do understand that people do use their phones and Twitter while visiting the loo. I just don’t want to be reminded of it.

- I’m completely enthralled with this video of a Briard riding a scooter. My aunt had a Briard, and his sole achievement was not getting electrocuted while eating the refrigerator cord while it was still plugged into the socket. He was nowhere near the coordination level needed for scooter riding.

- The Flyers third goal is a clusterfuck of epic proportions for the Sabres. First, it’s a shorthanded goal during a four on three. Second, four forwards completely forget about the third Flyers skater in their rush to head up the ice. If Vanek held onto that puck, their puppy-like exuberance could be excused. But because Vanek whiffed, they needed to switch into defensive mode and they didn’t quite do it quickly enough. I’m not even going to mention that Miller needed to make that save, because that’s just obvious.

- I did like seeing Morrisonn take offense to Versteeg poking at Miller long after Miller covered the puck and the whistle blew. Too often, Sabres players have acted ambivalent about the opposition going after Miller. If the team is going to play a style of hockey where Miller is going to be required to consistently bail them out, then they need to treat him like the sacred cow that he is and protect him.

- The fourth Sabres goal is a textbook example of how going to the net can and will often lead to goals. Keep it up, Sabres.

- Where the heck has the refreshed Sekera come from? Where has this guy been all season?

- I’m glad that Boyes is fitting into the lineup so seamlessly. Four points in his last three games is certainly nothing to sneeze at and makes Regier’s past trade deadline acquisitions look like dead fish.

- MSG and the Sabres really need to work on their technical issues. Mike Harrington reported on Sabres Edge that Paul Hamilton had to do the radio play-by-play of the game, as the WGR/MSG link broke (and the SD feed broke at the same time). My father sprinted up the stairs to my apartment just as the Gerbe goal crossed the line at the end of the game, as the SD channel made the switch to college basketball. I know that the Sabres are the redheaded stepchildren of the MSG family, but the team needs to ensure that such technical issues do not happen again.

- I was poking around on the NY Times site (before that infernal pay wall goes up), and this article about NFL players managing their finances is fascinating. It’s refreshing to read about athletes being wise with their money and not spending it all on bling and Bentleys and mansions that go into foreclosure.

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Notes and Thoughts

February 5, 2011

I know, I know, I haven’t written a lot around here lately. I’ve been alternately sleepy & grumpy when I’ve come home from the office, and there are times I feel like I’ve said all I have to say during the day on Twitter. But then, a big news week happens and you just feel the need to blog.

- Thursday’s press conference was quite entertaining once I got the sound on my work computer figured out. The bittercakes expressed by Golisano and Quinn were off the charts. I can understand how they might be frustrated with the fans and media, since public opinion of them changed so radically after The Day that Hockey Died Drury & Briere left town. Up until that point, they were still operating under the perception that they were seen as the saviors of hockey in Buffalo and could do no wrong. Once Briere & Drury changed sweaters, the fans saw Golisano and Quinn for what they really were: shrewd businessmen focused on the bottom line, who may have been hockey fans on their down time. It might be a horrible reality check, but it happened. We – both fans and Golisano/Quinn – just need to move on. And hopefully, Pegula moving into the owner’s suite will all allow us to do so.

- I know injuries are never funny, but only Rick DiPietro could manage to injure his knee while getting punched in the face.

- Did anyone else notice the comedic awkwardness of Gaustad’s postgame interview last night? First, K-Syl needs to have a box or a stool to stand on when interviewing the really tall guys. It would make the shot look so much better. Second, Goose’s high beams were quite obvious in the neutral colored UnderArmour shirt he was wearing. It made for an awkward camera positioning, as the camera guy was trying to avoid the high beams and yet keep Goose and K-Syl in the shot, which was made all the more difficult due to K-Syl and Goose being on two different height planes! It’s a vicious cycle, and I don’t blame K-Syl for being short (lord knows, I live in heels to compensate for my lack of height), but when the interviewer is “yay high”, and the players are “yay-yay high”, there has to be a way to level the playing field.

- I enjoyed seeing Gaustad/Grier/Niedermayer as the dominant scoring line last night. These guys have all kind of faded into the woodwork from time to time , so seeing them step up and lead the team was a nice change of pace. Now if only the Sabres can get their muckers and grinders firing at the same time as their top lines. Then they might be a dangerous team.

- I can attest that there are plenty of Toronto & other Canadian residents in town for tonight’s game. They were all over the Galleria mall earlier today. They way they were carrying on at Lord & Taylor, you would have thought they had never seen shoes on sale before, LOL.

- Conan O’Brien has come up with what may quite possibly be the most adorably disturbing concept ever: the Lingerie Puppy Bowl.

- The pre-game spiel contained the title of “Leafblower” in regards to Ryan Miller. For the love of everything holy,why does no one run these things past a 12-year-old to avoid any innuendo or awkwardness? Why not call him “The Rake?” Oh wait, that might be awkward too. (See: here.)

- K-Syl dissed canned spaghetti during the first intermission break. I know what he meant, but there is nothing wrong with the occasional can of Spaghetti-O’s. Nothing wrong at all.

- I’m never, ever one to criticize ads (stop laughing!), but I’m confused as to why Ellen Pompeo was chosen as the spokeswoman for the Huggies/NHL PSA.? Google tells me she’s a member of their “Diaper for Every Bottom” campaign, but why not choose a “real” hockey mom? You could really have some fun with it. Imagine Mama Crunchy or Mama Niedermayer or Mama Staal giving that speech. It would add an aura of realism to the commercial. And I’m not saying this just because it’s a good idea, but also because I can’t look at Ellen Pompeo and not see Meredith Grey. The idea behind the PSA is a good one, it’s the talent I’m having a problem with.

- Goose’s goal tonight was scored off a nifty drop pass from Grier. This is the second consecutive game where the Goose/Grier/Niedermayer line has been one of the best for the Sabres.

- I may be one of the few people out there who doesn’t “get” Tumblr. I don’t mean to be all fuddy-duddy-ish, but I’ve never found it very user/reader/audience friendly.

- I know a lot of people mentioned it on Twitter, but it takes a real tough hockey player to pick fights with and target the littlest guys on the ice. The Leafs were especially guilty of it tonight, going after Gerbe, Ennis & Byron. The only problem with that strategy is that these guys have fire and will fight back if provoked hard enough.

- I’m sorry, but Rob Niedermayer giving Rob Ray a love tap with his stick during the third period was funny. I know Ray was kvetching about it messing up his suit, but it’s still fun to see the guys on the ice interacting and having fun with the broadcasters.

- Speaking of fun times, RJ informed us during the game that the upcoming Florida roadtrip is the Sabres annual trip with their fathers. Altogether now, awwww. I love that NHL teams promote these family bonding moments.

- I know it’s the Leafs, and the Leafs haven’t won in Buffalo in dogs years, but a win is a win. I will take the two points and go about my business.

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