Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

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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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Books Off The Crossbar – Saved

March 15, 2009

I cannot find the words to adequately express my thoughts on the Sabres collapse last night. So far, I’m working off of different variations of “I hate them all” and “Goodbye playoffs, hello golf course.” That’s not enough to base an entire entry on, so please enjoy a brief book review.

Since late last year, John Buccigross’ column has regularly featured snippets of writings by the late Jack Falla. I was intrigued enough to pick Saved up at the library a couple of weeks ago and finished it the other night.

Saved is told from the point of view of JP Savard, Boston Bruins goalie. On the ice, he’s trying to put together a Cup winning season before heading into his big free agent contract year. Off the ice, he’s trying to find the right woman, dating a string of women who are mainly identified by their name and occupation (Sherri the Equestrienne, Julie the Account Exec, etc). It is only until Cam Carter, Savard’s best friend and teammate since college, re-introduces him to Faith, their old friend from college, that Savard’s off-ice life begins to even out. On the ice, we follow the ups and downs of a typical NHL season: injuries, losing streaks and the wackiness perpetrated by front office bean counting. It also details the struggle a player undergoes to come back from injury, both the physical rehab aspect and the mental struggle to know what to do with yourself while you’re hurt.

There were a couple of moments out genuine out loud laughter while reading this book. Savard notes that the Bruins third jersey looks like it contains the image of “Winnie the Pooh’s stoned grandfather.” In making this observation, he rightly states that third jerseys are nothing more than money grabbing schemes by the front office (and that the people who fall for them are idiots). Savard also notes that his girlfriend’s wardrobe could double as the Montreal Canadiens power play, as it consists solely of French designers.

Any hockey fan will appreciate this book. Falla, who covered the NHL for Sports Illustrated in the 80s, has an intimate grasp of the details of the game. The writing is rich and detailed and Falla includes a lot of hockey history to flesh out some of the characters’ thoughts and actions.

There’s one quote from the book that has stuck with me. “The first rule of life, love and hockey is the same rule – you’ve got to play hurt.” Ain’t that the truth?

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SOTC Reads-Brodeur: Beyond the Crease

January 6, 2008

I was going to write about today’s Sabres / Thrashers game, but there’s only so many different ways you can say “this sucks” before things get repetitive. So I present a review on the Marty Brodeur book – Brodeur: Beyond the Crease.

This was one of the books that Santa brought me this year. I had heard good reviews about it before reading it, and went it with pretty high expectations. I was not disappointed. Since Marty’s been in the league for so long, he’s really able to provide a great perspective on how the league has changed since he entered it. I realize that he had “help” writing the book, but I really feel Marty’s voice coming through the pages.

While the entire book is interesting, there are a few things that stand out:

- The total escalation of salaries since the beginning of the 90s. When Marty entered the league, he made $80,000. Now, the minimum salary is $450,000. That’s almost a 500% increase. What’s incredible is that Marty was perfectly happy to be making that $80,000 as a kid (then again, I would be too!), just because he was playing hockey.

- It was also informative to read a non-whining personal account of how the players were affected by the lockout in 04-05. Whether some stayed home, played in Europe or just bummed around, all of the players had different reactions to being out of work for a year. He also shares his thoughts on the new CBA, including the 24% salary roll back. I just computed what 24% of my weekly paycheck is, and I would not be happy if I lost that, so I could only imagine how players feel losing 24% of what is a much, much larger paycheck than my worker bee one.

- He mentions that hockey players are nothing more than overgrown children. They have someone telling them where to be, when to be there, what time to go to bed, and when to wear a tie. Why is this so important? For awhile, my friends and I have hypothesized that hockey players – and other professional athletes – seem more grown up than us, even though we’re in the same age range. We thought it had something to do with the fact that a lot of these guys have been on their own (relatively speaking) since they were teenagers, while most of us “normal people” most decidedly have not.

However, when you think about it, Marty does have a point. Sure, I have to work my 830-5 cubicle job, but when I’m out of the office, I pretty much control what I want to do. My days off are my time, not thinking about my job. These guys live and die by the white boards in the locker rooms (the what to wear and when to be there), plus even their off days are consumed with hockey (practice, video, signings, etc). If you think about it, this adherence to a schedule and routine is probably what made the lockout so hard for some guys.

- I have to respect Marty for admitting that he acted like a model idiot regarding the situation with his wife and now-girlfriend.

- I really liked the insights into how the Devils operate as a “team first, individuals second” organization. Its also clear the respect that Marty has for Lou Lamoriello. If you think about it, Marty’s probably going to retire having played for only one organization in his career. That’s extremely rare in today’s NHL, and a sign that both player and organization respect each other, and realize the value of the other. Of course, now that I said this, watch Lou get hit by a bus, and the new GM trade Marty for a young prospect, a Zamboni battery and tickets to the Ice Capades. Kidding. I wish no ill will on Lou.

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Wrayzor Writes

November 13, 2007

Today’s Buffalo News features an excerpt from Rob Ray’s new book Rayzor’s Edge. Based on the excerpt from the paper, it could be an interesting read. Today, he details getting drafted by the Sabres, and sharing a hotel room with Tie Domi (including the fact that they got into a fight, leading to Domi cracking his head on the nightstand) at the draft. Tomorrow, the paper is going to excerpt his first game with the Sabres.

The writing style is very much Rayzor’s speaking style, if that makes any sense. Lots of short, staccato bursts of words and feelings. He has the opportunity to provide some insight into those Sabres of the early 90s. It would be worth reading just for that alone, since I was all of 8 years old when Rayzor was drafted.

I think I’m putting this book on the Christmas list. It’s one of those things that I would never buy for myself, but would make a good gift for me. I also have the Brodeur book on my list, along with Searching for Bobby Orr. (I’m off for eleven days over the holidays. I need something to do!)

Also from The News this morning

Forwards Daniel Paille and Michael Ryan were challenging Pratt, with Paille carrying the puck. He was going full speed and, after getting too close to the net, tried to jump over the bent defenseman. Paille soared into the back boards with a thunderous racket.

“He hit as hard as I’ve seen anybody hit,” Ruff said. “He’s lucky in that situation he didn’t get hurt.”

Paille, who took a brief respite before continuing practice, already has taken his share of body blows, including a flattening last month in Florida while skating across the middle.

“The hit in Florida, at least I could hit him back,” Paille said. “You can’t hit the boards.”

I’m glad to see these guys are going hard in practice, but its never a good move to jump over a defensemen, especially one that’s just coming back from injury. And kudos to Paille for recognizing that hitting an inanimate object in retaliation won’t end well.

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I posted the above happy post before checking my iGoogle page this morning. One of the feeds I have is the CBC hockey news feed. A headline on the feed this morning indicated that the NHL is investigating Sean Avery, and what he allegedly said to Jason Blake in Toronto on Saturday. Come to find out that Avery allegedly belittled Blake and his battle with cancer. If that is the case, then what a fucking douchebag (pardon my french). I’m sorry, but it takes real courage, guts and dignity to keep playing NHL caliber hockey while undergoing treatment for cancer. For Avery to mock that, is just rude, crass and classless.

Some of you might be saying “wait a sec, Adam Mair allegedly called Dany Heatley a murderer last year” and got away with it. How is that any different from what Avery did? I didn’t condone Mair’s words then (and I  don’t condone them now.) However, Mair admitted he was wrong to do it and apologized immediately after the game. He didn’t wait for the shit to hit the media fan and then try to deny it.

I’m not sure the league has the authority to suspend Avery for something like this, since it was just a very tasteless form of trash-talking, but at the very least, they should make him do community service at a cancer center or something.

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