Archive for the ‘Media’ Category

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Stop The Presses

November 9, 2009

I’m cutting and pasting  this Bucky Gleason quote so that when January comes and the “Fire Lindy” columns start coming, we all have this on record.

Ruff is both a good coach and the right coach for Buffalo.

I also find it slightly hysterical that Lindy was reading a parenting book in order to become a better coach. Does that imply that he’s coaching a group of children?

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Lazy Random YouTube Post

September 9, 2009

I am in love with this State Farm Commercial.

I think my favorite part is the kid’s expression after the jack-in-the-box pops open. That’s a definite clean up in aisle 27 expression. The kid chasing the dog is a close second.

- And that sound you hear coming from my house tonight is probably going to be my DVR exploding. The 2-hour premiere of ANTM, Glee, SYTYCD, and Top Chef are all on tonight. So is Toddlers and Tiaras, but I DVR the late showing of that. It’s such a bad show, but after watching it, I’m thankful that my parents never approached the level of BSC (that’s batshit crazy) exhibited by those on this show.

- Has it been determined what time practice actually starts at Puck Drop on Saturday? The Sabres site lists what times the extracurricular activities will be happening, but there’s nothing about what time the actual hockey stuff will be happening. Clarity is much appreciated.

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Roundup.

September 3, 2009

- Who says Bucky Gleason isn’t inspirational? After reading his column regarding the NHLPA follies, I was inspired with a name for my fantasy hockey team. The Two-Eyed Pea Brains will be striving for their third consecutive 5th place finish in the IPB Super/Amazing League.

Since house rules limit me to Western Conference players only, I have to decide whether to again pick Luongo for the third consecutive year. Lui has been a solid performer for me, but I can’t help but think he’ll fall prey to DiPietro Syndrome and be injured a lot now that he’s signed a super-long term deal. At least this year, the battle over Pronger and his Elbows of Fury moves over to those picking from the Eastern Conference.

- With the current labor situations in both the NHL and the NFL, is it possible that both leagues could be on a lockout during the same year? Whatever the heck will Buffalo fans have to bitch about if this is the case? There’s only so many “those greedy players/owners/fans/mascots/bastards” posts that one can write.

- Speaking of the NFL, they are apparently cracking down on live-blogging during games from in-stadium locations. Bad NFL. At least the NHL hasn’t stooped to this level, but the NHL has been more receptive of social media venues than other sports.

- I’m glad to see that Sabres Edge is doing well, but do they realize that in the world of interweb advertising, a “hit” is often referred to as “how idiots [measure] traffic.” Just saying…

- Yay! Darcy’s alive! I’m willing to give our motley crew of Sabres ANOTHER chance, but if I start seeing half-assedness on a repeated basis – Roy, Hecht, Tallinder, et.al, I’m looking at you – I will not be a happy camper. Here’s to hoping that the “leaders” in the locker room can help lead some of the younger, more impressionable Sabres along the right path. Oh, who the hell am I kidding, you can lead horses to water, but you can’t make them drink.

- Alright, I read about Adam Mair’s potential hip issues at least a month ago on a message board. Just saying.

- Gauntlet…thrown. Gerbe is reporting that he is NOT going back down (east?) to Portland this year. Good to see a little bit of spunk out of Gerbe, but at the same time, he has to play [ahem] within the system and not try to do it all. He worked hard last year, but whether it was rookie jitters or being overwhelmed by NHL defense, he didn’t do well with the Sabres. The little button has to step it up this year with the glut at forward.

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Some of Them Are Still Alive…

August 21, 2009

Or, a brief roundup of some recent Sabres media appearances.

- Ryan Miller did an interview with Schopp and the Bulldog during the Hunter’s Hope Radiothon.

Ater spending the past couple days at Camp USA in Chicago, Miller is back home and was out chasing his godson Riley – all of age “not even 3″ -  around the “big boy golf course” (his words, not mine). They talked briefly about Hunters Hope and screening newborns for different diseases and how not all states screen for the same diseases. Miller was definitely emphatic that passing legislation is tough (like duh…makes me wonder what side he’s falling on in the health care debate), but that every American has the right to have a strong healthy family in these United States.

After the obligatory Hunter’s Hope talk, they moved on to discussing Camp USA. Miller reported that he had fun at camp and it really wasn’t about getting on the ice and showing off for the coaching staff, it was more about starting to come together as a group, having meetings and starting to develop that patriotic feeling before the February games.

Now this is where the interview got a little funny. They had to take a break so that Miller could go off and make a birdie putt. As Schopp and Bulldog pointed out, it wasn’t just any putt, it was a birdie putt. When Miller got back on the phone, it turns out that he missed the putt. That really didn’t matter, as the day wasn’t so much about golf, but more about teaching his godson golf etiquette. Schopp and the Bulldog did mention the irony of trying to teach someone golf etiquette and then talking on the phone during a round of golf. I’m willing to cut Miller a pass on the phone thing, as cell phones are an essential part of my company golf tournament, as gossip spreads throughout the course (who fell off a cart, who made a hole in one, who’s got the snacks, etc) and, when we’re lucky enough to have hockey in May, hockey score updates.

And now for the actual hockey talk. Miller launched into what seems to be his standard talking points these days: management believes in the group of guys that are assembled, Miller believes in the guys that are assembled. They’re going to miss Spacek, but really, they’re a group of guys who are growing together blahblahblahsamestuffdifferentdaycakes.

They talked about Grier coming back, and Miller was positively gushing (for him) about what Grier brings to the team and how much respect he has for him. Miller also made a comment about the “fan sites” speculating about the reasons Grier left Buffalo originally. Hmm. And what fan sites could those be? Inquiring, and slightly paranoid, minds want to know.

The interview came to an end here, as Schopp and Bulldog wanted to return Miller to his golf game. And it’s less than a month until the preseason starts. Yay!

- And Paul Gaustad hasn’t been hiding his light under a bushel lately, either. This article from Portland, OR discusses Gaustad’s recent involvement in promoting youth hockey in the Portland area. He’s excited to be involved with the group, as it not only will help introduce more kids to the sport, but also help develop a fanbase for his former junior team, the Portland Winterhawks.

He also had some nice things to say about the Sabres.

“I’ve been with the organization for seven years, and I’ve had the same roommate on the road (Jason Pominville) all seven years,” he said. “The Sabres have been a class act, and they showed a lot of trust in me to give me a long-term extension.”

I wouldn’t call it trust. I know what he’s trying to say, but that seems like the wrong word.  I see it as the team recognizing that the guy works his ass off day in and day out and holds himself and his teammates to a high standard and isn’t afraid to call himself and his teammates out if they don’t meet those standards.

- Craig Rivet was on the news this afternoon, participating in an event at the Fair with Home Depot and Stone’s Buddies.

- What’s the deal with the “Sabres Road Crew” tab on the new and improved splash page on Sabres.com?

- I’m still undecided about hitting the Tent Sale on Sunday. Sure, there’s some good stuff available, but at the same time, there’s kids and parents to battle at the street hockey tourney, streets closed due to parking, and general chaos. Is it really worth it, is the question?

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Thinking Time

July 20, 2009

Today on Puck Daddy, Greg W. posted an entry about the waning role of print journalism in today’s environment. He ends his entry with two questions:

1. Where do print newspapers fit into your consumption of hockey news?

I’m a dedicated reader of the Sunday Buffalo News. I look forward to reading the game summaries and Bucky’s Inside the NHL column, as it usually contains tidbits of news about teams that I only tertiarilly care about. (Yes, I did just make up a word.) I also read the Sunday NY Times, but they’re usually a day behind on the news. I will scan the comics section of the Buffalo News each day, but generally catch the rest of my hockey related news on the pub’s website. I like that the website version of the news stories can be updated as information changes or is clarified. And now with the News offering comments on the stories, a dialogue can be started. The reporter/columnist blogs offer inside information that may not always make it into the printed edition for space or relevancy reasons, but is still newsworthy and interesting. And the game blogs are always entertaining, as the reporter either bitches about the on-ice action, press box food, crowds or needs to step in and referee the people in the comment section.

I realize I’ve digressed a little bit, but more and more newspapers are moving more and more content online. Online is a revenue generator. The “death of newspaper” shouldn’t be seen as a reason to scale back reporter’s travel schedules just because they are writing more for the web and less for the snapper wrapper.

2. Do you feel the reporting on an official team Web site is, or can be, objective enough for it to be your primary source of news for that team?

Hell no. Come on, a team’s website serves solely as a PR vehicle for the team. Look at the articles recently posted on Sabres.com. There’s the announcement of MacArthur and Sekera agreeing to deals, development camp features and assorted other puff pieces. There’s no negativity and nothing written from an outsider’s point of view. Sure they have news on the team, but everything is written and prepped by Sabres and/or NHL staffers. If they really wanted to be a true news source, they would post pieces written by those not receiving a paycheck from the Sabres or the league.

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On a lighter note, please also visit Puck Daddy for videos of the Blackhawks singing karaoke.*

* Shots Off the Crossbar is not responsible for any glass that shatters, eardrums that bleed or any other physical ailments that may happen after hearing these videos, particularly Sweet Caroline.

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Sports and Social Media

July 14, 2009

One of today’s big stories in the internet hockey world is Martin Havlat’s Twittering about all of the ish that allegedly went down with the Blackhawks while he was there. Obviously, he can’t talk about it, but it’s major stuff, you know. I personally think he’s being a tease about it. If you can’t talk about it, don’t even dangle the “I know something you don’t know” carrot. You’re just going to piss a lot of people off.

At the office, I subscribe to a plethora of Mediapost e-newsletters. For every five that are duds, I get the occasional e-newsletter that piques my interest. Today’s “Marketing: Sports” e-newsletter was especially interesting. It talks about something that everyone is becoming increasingly aware of in the sports world. Whether the MSM likes it or not, fans, athletes, teams and leagues are now a part of the media. Teams are increasingly adding video and audio to their sites, fans are twittering from their seats at the arena, fans, media and players alike are all blogging. It’s one giant content generating machine. No longer does one have to wait for the morning sports section or the 11pm news to see who won the game and what the commentary on it is. Often times, commentary is happening as the game is being played.

Is this a good thing? Yes. By increasing the amount of content generated, you’re seeing more information exposed and allowing more people to have a voice. The blogosphere/message board arena went nuts during the Buffalo/Ottawa brawl game a couple years ago. Could you imagine how much more crazy it would have been had Twitter been around at the time?

On the otherhand, is this a bad thing? Yes. Athletes almost have no privacy now. Every move they make can be Twittered out into the world without a second thought. Get a little slushy on Chippewa one night? You’re blog fodder the next day. Previously, you just had to worry about whoever saw you telling their little circle of friends. Now, that little circle of friends is the entire freaking world. I mean, look at what happened last season with Mike Commodore and that unfortunate picture of him rolling in dough after winning a Super Bowl bet. An innocent Facebook posting turned into a “scandal.” An admittedly mild scandal, but a scandal nonetheless.

I also don’t want to see players Tweeting from the bench during a game. In the case of hockey, I think it’s physically impossible to text with hockey gloves on from the bench, but that doesn’t mean our enterprising band of little snots couldn’t find a way to do so. I also think they shouldn’t be tweeting from the locker rooms during intermissions. Those should still remain the domain of potty breaks, snacks, equipment adjustments, pep talks and scathing lectures.

Personally, I still recognize the value and necessity of the mainstream media. They have the credibility and access that a lot of bloggers don’t. And while some bloggers do get access to different press boxes (depending on the sport and team), there’s still a lot of bias against blogs and social media by the teams. Every blogger is assumed to be like Ek, making ish up depending on which way the wind is blowing. While I do get tired of the attitudes displayed by some members of the MSM, they still provide a valuable service to fans everywhere.

That thud you heard was just me falling off my soapbox.

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All Quiet on the Locker Room Front…NOT

April 20, 2009

Just when I think that there’s a lack of stuff going on in the Sabres internet world, two gems show up today to make me think otherwise, courtesy of John Vogl and Ryan Miller. Please excuse my rambling, I’ve tried to make it as coherent as possible.

- Vogl’s article regarding the eerie quiet in the Sabres locker room was an interesting read.

I can understand why those Sabres that spoke with Vogl regarding the locker room atmosphere wanted to keep their comments off the record to preserve team harmony. But on the other hand, why aren’t they speaking up within the room to make their points? It’s also interesting that MULTIPLE Sabres spoke on this topic. If it were just one or two, you could chalk it up to a couple of disgruntled malcontents, but if there’s multiple people confirming the quiet, it’s a problem.

The Washington game in late December is brought up as an example of a game where speaking up wasn’t appreciated. A little detective work shows that after this game, the only two Sabres to speak up regarding accountability were Miller and Gaustad. Vogl points out that there was at least one Sabre who didn’t take too kindly to the constructive criticism offered after the game. I’m really curious as to who has the soft outer shell and can’t handle the feedback of their peers. I know in my job peer feedback is really valuable. Granted, my peers don’t give me feedback in front of the media, but as I recall, neither Gaustad nor Miller specifically threw any one player under the bus. While they were mad, they were very careful to keep their comments general and applicable to the entire team.

I guess this summer will be the one where a lot of players look at themselves in the mirror and see what they’re made out of and whether they really can handle being a Buffalo Sabre.

- Ryan Miller’s postseason wrap up was an intelligent look at the good, the bad and the ugly for the season. He did compliment the Buffalo News for being reasonably fair in their coverage of the team. (Color me shocked on that one. Sorry News writers, you can make the argument that sometimes your commentary beats the same drum over and over again.) I like that he pointed out that the players that we as fans hold up as the epitome of the great Sabres teams – Briere, Drury, McKee, Dumont, Briere and the rest of the cast of thousands – had to grow and develop and find themselves before they became “stars.” Who knows if in our current group of muckety-mucks we have the next Briere, Drury, McKee, etc. I also wonder if this is Miller’s parting shot that they players are tired of being held up to the players that are no longer here? It’s tough to forge your own identity when you’re constantly being compared to those that have come before.

Now onto the part that really caught my eye:

The catch is some people don’t ever get to the point where they are fuming mad, so we have to evaluate that and I want to see who in our organization shows up in September with that motivation… Because this has to be all together, all for one and one for all, team first, it’s not about what is on the back of the sweater, no man left behind, no “I” in Team, the whole is greater than the sum of it’s parts… I had a few more quotes to drive the cliché spike home but it ended up being annoying.

You honestly cannot tell me that the first part about teammates getting mad is not in response to Vogl’s article today. This definitely proves that the players are keenly aware of what is said about them in the media. Look at how angry and pissy they got when the News called them out as soft for not retailating after Gomez injured Miller.Which brings up another interesting question: why do they seem to respond well to getting called out by the media but cower when one of their teammates do it? And how would they feel if they hopped on the internet and checked out what’s being said about them in the Sabrelogosphere?

Miller is essentially issuing a challenge to his teammates. Are they going to take not making the playoffs seriously and work hard at bettering themselves this summer, or are they going to spend the summer golfing, drinking and whoring it up? Also, which players need to go watch “Network” to remind themselves that they’re mad as hell and not going to take it anymore. (If any of them do go watch “Network,” I have a study guide from my senior seminar available on a disk somewhere, in case they need some interpretation assistance.)

And if Miller is worried about resulting to cliche to prove his point, maybe he needs to check out some of the demotivators and hang them around the locker room? I’m personally fond of the arrogance, cluelessness, ignorance and idiocy ones.

Also interesting was this thought:

part of the development process is about falling flat on your face… And then recovering, learning, adapting and remaining motivated.

They say there’s not a lot of similiarities between the hockey world and the corporate world, but you learn by falling flat on your face, picking yourself up, not scraping the ice from your shoulders or dirt from your knees and figuring out how to do the same thing again but with a different result. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger (now who’s resorting to cliche), but it’s a painful learning experience to get stronger.

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