Archive for the ‘Intangibles’ Category

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I’m Feeling Old

May 16, 2010

Want to know why? Jim Henson passed away 20 years ago today. Henson took felt, ping-pong balls and humor and created some of the most endearing children’s programming ever. Here’s a couple of my favorites…

How can you be sad after lalalala’ing your way through this?

The darn crocodiles get me every time.

Big Bird and Swedish Chef? That’s made of win, for sure.

And just so there’s some legit hockey content in this post, the NHL video editing monkeys have already created the Flyers “History will be made” ad.

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I’m Not Dead…Just Been Out of Town

May 11, 2010

I spent the past weekend in Northeast Indiana attending my cousin’s graduation from Trine University. The highlight of the ceremony – after seeing my cousin get his diploma, of course – was hearing Bobby Knight speak. Knight, who was awarded an honorary degree from the university, promptly removed his gown & hood before addressing the assembled crowd. He said that he wasn’t comfortable speaking in such fancy apparel and prefered to speak in a sweater and khakis, since that’s what he works in.

His speech contained a fair mix of basketball stories, mainly about Coach K and Michael Jordan, as well as practical advice for the graduates. My favorite story of all the ones that he told focused on a man and grandfather, walking to town with their donkey. Every person they passed had a different piece of advice about who should walk the donkey and who should ride on the donkey. And the boy and his grandfather listened to every single person. However, because of all the monkeying around with the donkey, the donkey ultimately died before they reached town. The moral of the story is that if you try to please everyone, you’re going to lose your ass.

And really, isn’t that a great piece of advice for new grads, or anyone for that matter?

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We’re #3!

April 5, 2010

Mediapost provided a nice summary of the Brand Keys Sports Loyalty Index. The NHL ranked #3 in terms of fan loyalty (with the NFL and MLB tied for 1st and the NBA running 2nd). The study measures fan loyalty based upon four criteria:

  1. entertainment/excitement level of the team
  2. how they play as a team
  3. level of bonding fans have with players (the puckbunny index?)
  4. team history and tradition

So why does the NHL rank so low on the list? I think we all can agree that the games are exciting and most teams are relatively exciting (except those playing the dreaded trap). Hockey is a total team sport that requires the cooperation of all 6 guys on the ice at the same time. While there are individual stars, no one star is responsible for the fortunes of a team (Do you hear me on that one Sabres? Step up and stop relying on Miller to carry your asses.) The NHL players and fans for all intents and purposes have a good relationship…that occasionally is not dependent upon looks, talent or the amount of alcohol consumed. And with few exceptions, NHL teams have a solid history and sense of tradition.

The president of Brand Keys offers the following hypothesis for the low popularity of the NHL:

“…it isn’t TV-friendly, and because of players’ gear, is not amenable to player-fan loyalty. “It’s very hard to set up a situation where you can bond with players. They all look the same.”

I’m sorry, what? All NHL players look the same? Is he implying that hockey is a predominately white sport – which it is, I won’t deny that – and that’s why it doesn’t appeal? Or is he saying that from the cheap seats – both those at the arena and at home – all five skaters look the same and only the goalies really stand out? I beg to differ on both arguments, as really, the first one is just a bunch of crap. And the second one is easily disproven, considering it can become fairly easy to start picking out particular hockey players once you start paying attention to the game. Using the Sabres as an example, you can start differentiating the Myers/Ennis/Gerbe/Roys of the world because of their height. Then you start weeding out the Mair/Gaustad/Ellis types: the muckers and grinders who are all heart and effort, all the time. And you keep going from there.

I’d also call bupkus on not there not being any fan/player loyalty in the NHL. How many player specific jerseys do you see at any given game? And more importantly, how many “special” player specific jerseys do you see? I’m referring here to the Michigan State Miller jerseys or the Minnesota Vanek sweaters that you see sprinkled around the arena. Also, let us not forget the fan uproar when Briere and Drury left town. Those gentlemen still get booed at the arena. Maybe Buffalo is a special case, but the NHL not being conducive to developing player/fan loyalty is bunk.

So who does this study say are the most loyal fans in the NHL?

  • Detroit
  • Philly
  • San Jose
  • New Jersey
  • Boston

I’m kind of shocked by the inclusion of San Jose and New Jersey on the list. Maybe it’s just my East Coast “old” team bias, but the Sharks are a relatively new team and yet still rank in the top five…playoff chokes and all. New Jersey is shocking because although they have a team that has won championships and has consistent management, they’re often overlooked for their regional neighbors when it comes to media coverage.

I feel like I wandered around a bit in this post, so thank you for bearing with me. What do you all think?

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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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Couple Thoughts

September 6, 2009

- There was an interesting comment made by one of my uncles yesterday during my grandmother’s birthday party. He said that back in the day – you know, like the late 90s – Sabres season ticket holders received a lot more perks from the Sabres then they do now. He specifically mentioned season ticket holder only events like the Sabres Carnival (before they opened it up to the riff raff) as being one of the things the team did to prove to their season ticket holders that they were appreciated by the team. And it’s not like the team had to do these events because they weren’t doing well in the standings, this was in the conference final / SC final era. Now, the team is potentially gearing up to have it’s name engraved again on the Eastern Conference 10th place trophy, and the season ticket holders aren’t seeing these kind of “perks” any more. Is it because the team knows that they have a loyal fan base who will continue to buy tickets even though the on-ice product isn’t that great? Is it because the team is in money saving mode due to the current state of the economy? (Though on the other hand, one could make an argument that if the team is trying to keep a fairly significant part of the fanbase happy, the team would go above and beyond the call of duty, economics be damned. There’s fairly nice events that can be done for not a large expenditure of dollars. Ask college student organizers how they do it.) Who knows, but if the on-ice product doesn’t shape up this year, the off-ice fans will be very unhappy and no amount of “perks” will make that better.

- I was watching the Yankees game this afternoon (mainly just to see how long of a drive my uncle would have back from Toronto with my aunt the Yankees fan) and the broadcasters brought up an interesting point during their in-game, blowout derived ramblings. They said that if a team builds its roster the right way, one grizzled veteran leader could be affecting generations of players on that team. They used Jeter as an example. Jeter entered the Yankees organization at the same time Don Mattingly was on his way out, yet Mattingly mentored Jeter and guided him along the right path in the locker room (off the field antics were another lesson for another time, I guess). Jeter is now doing the same for young Yankees, who someday will do the same for some kid who’s currently in the 8th grade.

We kind of heard a smidgen of a system like this happening in the Sabres locker room. Drury was mentoring Gaustad (leading to the often-told story of Gaustad trying and failing to beat Drury to the rink) and Gaustad has grown quickly into the role of on-and-off-ice leader. Who knows who Goose could mentor that would in turn mentor some kid who’s just mucking around at the Pepsi Center these days?

I had a point there, but I think it ran away before I could finish it off.

- Also, please check out brand new Sabres blogger Amanda at Two Minutes for Roughing.

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The Brotherhood of the Traveling Pigeon

October 20, 2008

- I am way, way, way too amused by the fact that the Sabres players are awarding a stuffed, mounted pigeon to the person they deem as being the best player in a specific game. It sounds like the players are really getting into it, going so far as to haul it around on the road in a little coop. I’d pay good money to see Crunchy or Spacek walking through the airport carrying the pigeon coop; but in reality, I know the equipment staff is probably carrying it around for the players.

- And yet surprisingly, that wasn’t the most ridiculous story of the day. I think Puck Daddy’s post about Mike Commodore’s Facebook photo takes the cake. Seriously, Commodore is making Brian Campbell’s Expletive Deleted Stupid Ice Bowl faux pas look really, really minor. I think the League’s PR divas (and divos) might be giving some talking tos to their players in the next couple of days.

- Even though it probably has a snowball’s chance in hell of happening, how cool would it be to have Lindy behind the bench for Team Canada in 2010?

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Two Quick YouTubes

July 11, 2008

I’ve never seen this Pominville interview before. Its at least two years old (the 06-07 season), as Pommers has the JT hair going on. Anyway, I really like his thoughtful analysis of Miller and Teppo.

Seeing Pommers in this video makes me realize how much he’s grown up since this video was taken. He’s now our fearless leader (who needs to sign a contract extension soon, so the good people of this city will stop having conniptions every five minutes that he’s going to sign with the Habs for a million jillion dollars.)

Private to the ladies that read this blog: if your adorableness quotient for the day hasn’t been satisfied after that Pominville video, go to YouTube and watch the video of Sid and Ovie giving Brendan Shanahan a birthday cake. (No that isn’t a euphemism for anything.) I would link it here, but I wouldn’t want to be responsible for uteri exploding.

I’ve never seen this commercial before, but I love it.

This was quite the pithy post. promise I will have something more to write after this weekend of woofie sitting for 93 pounds of love named Roscoe. Catch y’all on Sunday.

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We Are Not Deadbeats

July 8, 2008

The Sabres have been the MSM/blogosphere whipping boy for the last year now (this blog included.) Waaah! Briere and Drury weren’t signed. Waaah! Teppo has been suspended by the heartless bastards. Waaaah my nachos are cold. Waaaaah! I fell off the team’s Christmas card list.

The point is, while some of the whining has been justified, the team has taken several steps to right some of the wrongs. Then, Greg W at Puck Daddy writes a column where he calls the Sabres one of the ten least desirable teams in the league for free agents. While that may be a perception, its downright insulting to those players that have chosen to re-sign with the Sabres when their contracts are up. I have no doubt that Jochen, Roy-Z, Goose and the rest of the recently re-signed gang could have gotten better money from other teams, but instead, they chose to re-sign with the team. Why is this so? I don’t buy that there’s something in the locker room water that caused these guys to want to magically re-up with the team. Is it the area? Our cheap standard of living? Is it a combination?

While it may be difficult to get FA’s here via their own volition, look at how many times players that have been sent here through trades end up loving the area? Stu Barnes was downright brokenhearted to be leaving when he was traded to Dallas. Jim Lorentz still lives in the area (when he’s not off in remote parts of Canada fishing.) Mike Foligno sent two of his kids to college up here. (Ask me about the time he showed up to daughter #1′s Orientation and the fellow parents went nuts.)

Time out:

Brian Engblom (and his hair) played for the Sabres? Holy hell.

Time in.

Grant Ledyard is currently the head coach of the Junior Sabres. Pat LaFontaine still is active in the community through his charity work.

The point is, it may take awhile to fall in love with the Sabres, and the Buffalo area. But I tend to think of us as a hidden gem. We may look scruffy and nasty to the rest of the world, but give us a bath and polish us up, and we’re a pretty good place.

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Why Google Is Our Friend

June 18, 2008

Or: “how to utilize a search engine to troll the internet for post topics.”

- Google allows us to come across articles like this, announcing that Zach Parise, Jordan Parise and Drew Stafford assisted JP Parise with a development camp to choose the new members of the Des Moines Buccaneers (thats a USHL junior team. Google told me that, too.) The two younger Parises and Stafford were each responsible for coaching their own team of 22 players, while the elder Parise made notes for team selection.

Zach Parise was predicting that there would be a ton of side bets between the three old friends. Is anyone else really curious about who came out on top amongst these three player/coaches? I also wonder if this gave Stafford a new appreciation for what Lindy does behind the bench? I’ve mentioned before – and so has the media – that Lindy and Stafford butted heads a couple of times during the season. Now that Stafford’s put on the coach’s whistle, hopefully he gets why Lindy does what he does.

- I’m guessing that whomever designed Ryan Miller’s new website needs to get a firmer grasp of the idea of search engine optimization. Its not good when the Ryan Miller puckbunny board ranks higher in a Google search than the official Ryan Miller website. Private to the web designer: visit Heather at Top Shelf. She cranked herself to page one of the Google listings with an absolutely awesome Henrik Tallinder post.

- I really did like the article posted on Sabres.com about the draft prospect interview process. It does sound like the Sabres do put a lot of stock in the interview. Maybe this is where they discover so many of the “intangibles” that we hear about. I did like hearing about how Mike Weber gave a fantastic interview, and how a Swedish prospect flitted around the room like a hummingbird on crack before eating all the candy in the interview room. Oh, those wacky kids.

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