Archive for the ‘Life In Buffalo’ Category

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Doing Some Penance

April 10, 2011

In December, I wrote about my new Sabres toaster. At that point, I had stuck the literal fork in the Sabres playoff chances. It was right after Derek Roy’s season-ending injury was announced and the team was finding new and different ways to consistently be terrible. It was not a good time to be a Sabres fan.  However, at the end of my post, I also made the note that if by some small miracle the team did make the playoffs, that I would eat my words.

Well, this morning, I did eat my words. I had a piece of toast and acknowledged that I was wrong and the fork was prematurely stuck in the Sabres playoff chances.

I can’t wait for the playoffs to start. The birds are chirping, the sun is shining and there’s the smell of springtime in the air. It’s perfect playoff weather. I feel much more optimistic about this year’s playoff success than I did last year’s. We have two excellent goalies on the roster, a scoring line that is finally clicking, a surprising 3rd line combination in Gerbe/Gaustad/Mancari and a somewhat solid defense (provided one overlooks those rare lapses).

Is it Thursday yet?

Let’s Go Buffalo!

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Miscellaneous Stuff

December 14, 2010

- The Sabres visited Children’s Hospital recently for their annual Christmas visit with the kiddos. (Watch the video here.) There’s several things about this video that are blatantly adorable:

1). Lalime did not cut the tag off his Santa hat.

2). Sabretooth. Because really, when isn’t the cat adorable?

3). Tyler Ennis looked like he was playing the role of Tyler Myers elf.

4). Tim Connolly actually smiled. Like an honest-to-goodness smile, not a “how you doin, meet me later” smirk.

5). Jordan Leopold seemed genuinely affected and happy to be spending time with the kiddos.

- I watched Miller’s episode of The Game 365 on MSG and it was your fairly standard Miller interview. It recapped how he got his start as a kid playing goal (negotiating with his father), how he plays the game (analytical) and his family history with Michigan State. What I thought was interesting was that he admitted that he committed to MSU solely for hockey reasons, that if he would have picked on the academics, he might not have been a Spartan. MSU didn’t have the types of programs he’s interested in like architecture and others. Don’t get him wrong, he’s proud of his MSU business degree, but the school choice was solely based on hockey.

What else? The lockout helped his career in that he got to spend the full season in the NHL playing solid hockey with a lot of great young players. He discussed his stance changes from college to the pros (almost fully upright in college, but more of an athletic focus and wider stance in the pros).

Also interesting was the interviewer’s (Fran Healy) attempt to compare hockey goaltending to catching in baseball. Miller disabuses that notion, as the pitcher is intentionally trying to get the ball to a catcher, while in hockey a shooter is trying to get the puck past a goalie. I know Healy is a baseball guy, but this question seemed almost like a “duh” on the “of course, they’re different” scale.

Regarding the Olympics, they were a lot of fun, but a balancing act afterwards, as he had to juggle his professional commitments versus his “media” star obligations. I’m sure going from the glare of the Buffalo media (such as it is) to the glare of the national media has to have been quite the adjustment for the goaltender. It’s not every day that he gets asked to shoot photos for Vanity Fair, you know? It’s a long way from interviews with Channels 2, 4 & 7.

- Last week, WNED showed a retrospective of Buffalo broadcasting’s glory days. I watched it with my parents and cannot believe that back in the day kids were entertained by a gentleman wearing a cardboard box and calling himself a “robot.” The retrospective is also worth watching just for the 70s fashions alone.

- Thanks to a link on Twitter, I watched the Misery Bear Christmas video.

I’m sitting here alternating between laughing and crying, and wanting to go get my old teddy bear out of the closet and give him a great big hug. I’m sure the range of emotions generated are probably what makes the video so effective.

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Uh Huh, This is Costing Me How Much?

August 21, 2010

Most of this post was written while sitting for 5.5 hours in the waiting room at Transitowne, waiting for Roy the Car to get fixed. (If only it was that easy to fix my car’s namesake, LOL.)

- If you saw the article concerning Buffalo’s prep for the world juniors in the hard copy of today’s paper, you would have noticed in the accompanying image that there were large yellow dots on the floor of the Sabres locker room. (For some reason the image is not in the online edition.) Is management expecting a twister game to break out pregame? (“Right foot yellow! Left hand yellow! Right hand errr yellow!”) Or are they meant to give the players something to chuckle about as they watch the media try and avoid stepping on the yellow dots in the middle of the floor during the post game media ruckus? Of course, watch them be something as innocuous as patches over freshly sewn carpet, or something like that.

- Kudos to the Bisons for getting involved with the WJC fun downtown and wanting to host a winter wonderland at Coca Cola Field in between hockey games. What a nice diversion and a way to keep people downtown.

- I was watching PTI yesterday and Dan LeBatard was talking about the Bills in Toronto, and how he can’t say anything bad about the city of Buffalo because every time he does, his inbox fills up. Is PTI really that popular amongst Buffalonians / Bills fans that he gets that much “hate” mail? Poor little LeBatard . And speaking of PTI, where the heck have TK and Willybuns been lately? It seems like they have been on vacation forever. I enjoy LeBatard, but Bob Ryan is a little too dry for my tastes. But then again, as long as Reali is there, it’s all good.

- I finished reading Ken Dryden’s “The Game” while at the dealership. If you haven’t read this book, and you’re a hockey fan, you need to put it on your reading list. His thoughts on what makes the game of hockey great, the different roles players have on teams and the chemistry generated by having the right mix of these players is incredibly insightful. Sure, Dryden’s playing career was a bit before my time, so I was not as familiar with the great Canadiens teams as someone who is a bit older would be, but the book is still a great read nonetheless. I was particularly amused by his musings on why goalies are considered nutty and it’s not just because they’re willing to step in front of a speeding rubber disk every night.

- And finally, if this Geico commercial does not make you smile, well…

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This and That

August 14, 2010

- I saw a cow being born today! For a city girl like me, seeing something like that at the county fair is a completely amazing thing. And they really are not lying with those little signs above the mama cow pens that say that the cow may give birth at the fair, LOL.

- Do you think the Cup handler assigned to supervise Lord Stanley and Patrick Kane yesterday was in need of a medicinal cocktail by the end of the day? Stanley was in some pretty precarious positions yesterday from Cave of the Winds to the steel girders behind Buffalo General to getting stuck in a fire truck.

- Zach Parise was in Buffalo on Thursday for a signing at Great Skate. I’ve heard through the grapevine that Roy-Z was in town this week as well. Please tell me that the hockey gods went all Freaky Friday on us and swapped these two number nines. It would be a win-win situation for all!

- Jersey Shore is back! The sequence of the boys playing with a “chicken cutlet” that had floated loose in the hot tub was one of the most genuinely hilarious things I’ve seen on TV in a long time. I’m still shocked that they didn’t know what exactly they were dealing with, especially since they’re supposed to be such notorious ladies men.

- Judging by the release announcing Puck Drop, it sounds like the Sabres are mimicking the format of Puck Drop from a couple of years ago, rather than the “hey, watching paint dry is more entertaining than this” format of last year. Good move. Yes, I realize the jersey reveal has a lot to do with it, but if you’re going to promote something as an event, it has to be something that people want to attend.

If you’ve visited Sabres TV recently, then you’ve noticed that there is a new look & feel to this portion of the site. If this is going to be the template for a redo of sabres.com, then I like where they are headed.

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We Are the World

May 19, 2010

Earlier today, Adfreak (the official blog of Adweek magazine) tweeted about Cleveland’s “We Are LeBron” effort to help convince King James to remain a Cleveland Cavalier. I know Cleveland is taking this more personally than other high profile athlete contract discussions because LeBron is the hometown boy, but this video officially takes the cake. The NY Times dug into the story a little bit more, and it turns out that the video came together relatively quickly, and that all parties involved were happy to participate. I’m gobsmacked that the creators managed to get political figures to participate. Local officials are one thing, but to get the Governor of the Great State of Ohio to participate is a major coup d’etat.

Could you imagine if Buffalo had put together such a video? First, we’d need to find a local sports figure who’s worth it. Apologies to any Bills and Sabres out there in the audience, but right now, Ryan Miller is the only “name” dude that Buffalo has on a roster. And since he’s under contract for the next four years, this is all just a pipe dream, but roll with it. (However, the annual Miller-to-Detroit rumors have stirred themselves up again. I’ll just let you all go read Detroit Reporter A smacking Down Detroit Reporter B on this one.)

The copywriting for the video could be done by one of the many talented writers we have in Buffalo. Shoot, I think some bloggers would do it for a couple of beers and a pizza. We’d have to make sure to hit all the high points, snow, weather, the fans, Wegmans, puckbunnies, chicken wings, Olmsted parks, the Elmwood Village, etc.

However, the real fun would be in the casting. Imagine the local celebrities that could appear:

  • Radio personalities like Shredd & Ragan, Janet Snyder and Clay & Dale. Note that I picked one personality from each radio ownership group in town to avoid anyone screaming about bias.
  • TV personalities like Don Paul & The Why Guy. We’re leaving Mario Genero off this list after her kinda-sorta-cougar-ish performance during the Sabres weekly show two seasons ago. I’ve consciously avoided any sports related media personalities just because it might be considered a conflict of interest. It would be funny as hell, but probably not in their best interest.
  • Local personalities like Billy Fucillo, Ivano Toscano & Goldie Gardner.
  • Of course, we’d have to shoehorn Mayor Brown in, but I think he’d be easy to convince. There’s cameras and microphones there, after all. (And on a sub-bullet, when is Miller going to get a key to the city? I’d hate for anyone to think that VH1’s cameras were the only reason TO received a key. Meanwhile, Miller was Captain America this past season and what has he gotten for his efforts? Nothing! Not even a laurel & hearty handshake.)
  • I don’t think we could get the governor, sadly. Unless there was a very large donation made to a Democratic party organization. We might get Senator Schumer; he seems to have a pretty good sense of humor. And he’s another one who never met a microphone he didn’t like.
  • Local mascots Sabretooth, Buster Bison, Billy Buffalo, Petey Griff & Victor Bull can be in the back row doing a wave or holding up lighters & swaying to the beat. On second thought, maybe furry mascots with lighters isn’t the best idea. How about them holding up cell phones & swaying?
  • Those guys with the “Let’s Go Buffalo” signs & wigs from the 100 Level at HSBC Arena.

Anyone or anything else that I am forgetting?

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How Far We’ve Come

December 31, 2009

We’re heading into a brand new decade tonight. A lot has changed on a personal, professional and sporting levels since the year 2000.

When the clocked flipped to midnight on January 1, 2000, I was a freshman at Canisius. Use of the internet was growing, but e-mail and AOL message boards were still king. The internet wasn’t even considered in ad plans, except for those annoying pop-up ads. Blogs were still relatively unheard of.

I graduated in 2003 and was hired into a job in my field. (Huzzah!). I’ve survived three promotions and some downsizing, but still love what I do and work with people that I adore. And the constantly changing ad environment makes every day a learning experience.

The Sabres entered the decade in a less than spectacular fashion. Michael Peca was engaged in a prolonged contract dispute that eventually led to him being traded to the Islanders for Timmy and Taylor Pyatt. Can you believe Timmy has been in the Sabres organization for over 8 years? Have we really had eight years of the boy in the plastic bubble jokes?

Then all hell broke loose with the Rigases and the Adelphia and most Buffalo fans thought the Sabres would be toast, but Mr. Golisano stepped in to save the day and keep the team in town.

After the lockout, there were those two magical seasons where the team seemed unstoppable. Who doesn’t remember Pommers shorthanded goal in Ottawa that sent the Sens packing (and one could make the argument that it’s the source of the team’s current bad juju against the Sens)? And later that year, if not for one delay of game penalty, one defenseman not looking down and a litany of other events, the Sabres could have made the Cup Finals.

The following season seemed to be even more magical than the last. The Sabres returned to the blue and gold color scheme, was ditching the raging goat head for the sluggalo their best decision? On a business side, it probably was, as Sabres merchandise flew off the shelves. Blue and gold became the colors around town. The team got off to a 10-0 start and won the Presidents Trophy. There was even a little line brawl against Ottawa. The entire town united behind them as the playoffs started. The Party in the Plaza became the place to be. Who can forget those scenes of the crowd going absolutely bananas outside the arena after Afinogenov scored that goal in Game 5 against the Rangers? Sure, that season ended with a whimper instead of a bang, and it still causes most of us to twitch involuntarily when hearing the Goos version of Better Days, but that team took us on one hell of a ride.

There was the day that Sabres hockey died…at least if you believe half of what you read on message boards and in Bucky Gleason columns. Briere and Drury both left for much greener pastures, where they’ve had mixed levels of success. Sure, there were issues on both sides and people flipped their shit when neither of them re-signed, and there was a level of  “they signed for *how* much?!”  but, in hindsight, those two were not the be-all and end-all of Sabres hockey.

Yes, there were the two seasons where the team didn’t make the playoffs. But the 2008 season did have the amazing Winter Classic. Who could forget seeing  72,000 screaming fans jammed into a snowy Ralph to watch a hockey game? It was quite a sight. And all the players had this sense of joy and wonder on their faces, that you could tell that they were proud to be part of the experience, that for one shining moment, the end result of the game might not have mattered as much as it normally would have.

And then there’s this current season. The Sabres start has a lot of people wondering “what if?” Miller is playing like a man possessed, and Lalime has regained his form and is proving to be a perfectly cromulent backup again. Gaustad has been kickass in the face off circle, Pat Kaleta found a goal scoring touch, and there’s been some amazingly entertaining games so far. If the Top 6 can pull their heads out of their asses, there’s a lot of potential for a good end to this season. The 2009-10 Sabres seem bound and determined to end the decade on a high note. And if a couple of them manage to work in some Olympic hardware as a part of this season, then more power to them.

And the growth of the Sabres internet community has been huge. The Sabres have embraced blogs and Twitter. Sabres fans have created a large number of blogs that house some incredible writing. Hopping onto a blog after a game to read postgame thoughts or see what the writers saw that I missed has definitely made watching hockey more enjoyable.

We’ve said a temporary goodbye to some longtime Sabres this decade; guys like Stu Barnes, Marty Biron, Brian Campbell and those two idiots that shall not be named. But when those guys left, new ones stepped up to fill the void in our hearts. Guys like Gaustad, Miller, Myers and even little Kennedy and Kaleta have gotten the fans attention.

Some things haven’t changed. The Bills still haven’t found a solid successor to Jim Kelly and they still haven’t made the playoffs. The Sabres haven’t won the Stanley Cup. Buffalo still equals joke on the national sports scene.

I think we can agree that the past decade was a hell of a ride. Let’s see where we go from here.

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Merry Christmas!

December 24, 2009

I hope all of you out there in bloggy-land have a very, very, very Merry Christmas. Eat, drink, be merry and have a blast with friends and family.

Catch you on Saturday for Sabres vs. Sens!

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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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How Does Your Garden Grow?

July 19, 2009

Since there’s been little to no hockey news lately,  I might as well talk about how my garden is doing.

P7190614An up close look at one of the hollyhocks in the front garden. I had no idea what color these flowers would be when they went in the ground, and am completely over the moon with this burgundy color.You can kind of see where we had to tie them to the porch railing, as they were starting to fall over.

P7190623My pepper plants are bearing fruit, but it’s becoming a giant tangle of peppers. And there’s still more buds on the upper leaves. I better start looking for pepper recipes. Heh.

P7190625The male offshoot of my hens & chicks plant is trying to make time with my green onions. I think the hens & chicks plant is confused.

P7190626The basil plant that ate my backyard. The marigolds are horning in on the shot on the right and I adore the purple and white striped flowers on the left. I do admit that the basil is really good in mashed potatoes. I can’t wait for the tomatoes to start coming in so I can attempt to make sauce with the tomatoes and the basil.

P7190628What’s a Buffalo garden without a pink flamingo?

P7190627My neighbor’s flowers peeking through the backyard fence.

And finally…

P7190609The first two cherry tomatoes of the season were picked this afternoon. (Along with some dill and parsley for the roasted potatoes I was making with dinner.) Both the tomatoes and potatoes were delicious.

It looks like things will continue to be quiet in Hockeyland for the next little while. I mean, unless MacArthur’s arbitration hearing results in a wacky contract, Ryan Miller surfaces from wherever he’s disappeared to, or Martin Havlat decides to spew more gossip about his time in Chicago.

Welcome to summer.

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*Headdesk*

July 10, 2009

- Pictures from this year’s Camp Good Days Gala are up.

1. Gaustad looks good in a tux. Between him and Edgar from Deadliest Catch, this week has been full of yum-in-a-tux.

2. Gaustad looks happier to be with the kids than with the adults; the smiles are more genuine. Could it be that the kids aren’t asking him the usual questions the fans ask? Like “why do you guys suck so hard,” “should Lindy/Darcy/Sabretooth be fired,” and “which of your teammates would you trade / get rid of via free agency / drop kick into Lake Erie without a life preserver in order to make the team better?”

- I’m glad that Jay Mckee found a home in Pittsburgh. He’s a good, hard working guy, but the last thing the Sabres need is an injury prone defenseman. As we all know, the Sabres defense is somewhat injury prone, and since this appears to be the year of the Baby D, the veteran leadership that Jay would have brought would have been outweighed by his injury streak.

I still have a feeling Darcy is trying to make a deal of some sort to improve the team. I find it incredibly hard to believe that this team would enter the new season with the same bunch of guys that they finished the last season with, the exception of the Montador for Spacek swap, of course. There’s optimism that these guys have yet to reach their full potential, and then there’s delusion. Or maybe I’m just becoming even more jaded and cynical than usual.

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