Archive for the ‘Things on Teh Internets’ Category

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Spotted…I Think

June 10, 2011

- Someone please tell me that I haven’t completely hallucinated that the gentleman in the grey shirt at the right of this photo is a Buffalo Sabre. Or does this Sabre just have an identical twin out there in Buffalo?

This is about the level of hockey blogging that I can handle at the moment. I’m tired of reading about the following:

  1. The Canucks being chokers
  2. The (alleged) classless idiocy of both fanbases
  3. The lack of clarity regarding headshots (you would think that this would be something we all can agree on!!!)
  4. Chris Drury coming back to Buffalo
  5. The whining about having to travel to Winnipeg next year. It’s Winnipeg, not a Siberian gulag.

As much as Twitter & the blogosphere are making me cranky lately, I do have to say that I’ve been enjoying the little vacation snippets that the Twitter-engaged NHLers are sharing. These guys are not only solidifying their popularity with their own fans, but also making many new ones just by being entertaining and open to sharing a small portion of their lives. Of course, it’s all fun and games until someone pulls a weiner (that’s what she said), so we’ll just enjoy things while they last.

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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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Be The Ball. Err…Puck

November 17, 2010

- Add me to the list of people blown away by Ryan Miller’s star re-enactment of Carl Spackler in Caddyshack.

Miller’s deadly accurate impersonation of Spackler shows a true love of the movie. It’s not just memorizing the lines and attempting to recreate them. It shows that he’s seen the movie eleventy billion times and can roll the lines from memory. (I can do that for a lot of West Wing episodes. I can pretty much explain what the virtue of a proportional response is, in addition to knowing that the country is stranger than it was four years ago. LOL)

I applaud ESPN for not going with the cliche move and having Miller re-enact Miracle or The Mighty Ducks or Slap Shot or The Cutting Edge.  Although I do admit that Miller as Gordon Bombay or as Doug Dorsey could be hilarious.

- As of the start of tonight’s game against the Caps, Steve Montador leads the league in plus/minus rating at a plus 13. Goose is second in the league in face off percentage. Nice to see two Sabres leading the league in something besides the growth of nose hair.

- I do not approve of Lindy’s wardrobe choices tonight. The dark green shirt & black polka dot tie coordinate. The shirt & the pinstriped jacket coordinate. The tie & jacket coordinate. However, the shirt, tie & jacket do not work together. That’s a wardrobe fail by Mr. Ruff.

- I also do not approve of the incessant horn blowing in the Washington arena. I’m glad the fans in Buffalo are better than that.

- I do approve of the new, improved & grown-up Derek Roy that has decided to play for the Sabres this season. I hope he sticks around for awhile. And I’m still waiting for the new & improved Tim Connolly to show up, but I think he took a left turn at Albuquerque, so I’m not holding my breath there.

- I do not approve of the Singing in the Rain/Umbrella mashup on last night’s Glee. Singing in the Rain is a classic song that should be left alone. What’s next, Edelweiss crossed with AC/DC?

I do, however, approve of the Guy Gleeks wearing vests & fedoras. That’s such a killer look.

- I do approve of the effort the Sabres put forth after they were down 3-0. The “old” Sabres would have just packed it in, said goodnight and proceeded to play a perfunctory 40 minutes of hockey so that they could just get out of Washington and back to Buffalo. Instead, these Sabres showed heart, effort, a scoring touch and some pretty close chances to win the game. I’m ok with the loss, because they played with fire in the final two periods. The positives did outweigh the negatives, I think.

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Sabres vs Habs Musings

November 5, 2010

Watch the video.

The Sabres are that baby monkey. When life is going great, they’re riding around on that pig, happy as can be. When things get rough, they tumble off that pig. However, unlike the baby monkey in the video, they have yet to figure out how to climb back on that pig.

I can only hope they figure it out soon, because hockey is getting pretty depressing to watch these days. Hockey should not be depressing. It should be fun. I know losing is no fun for the players either, but it seems so much worse for the fans. There’s only so many Buffcon1 jokes one can make before one just gives up.

And really, things seemed to be going well for the Sabres tonight. They had goals. They had pep. They didn’t commit a turnover until midway through the second period. (I don’t know about you, but I’m impressed by that one.) It’s like every bad mistake, every sneeze in the wrong direction, every stupid penalty somehow ends up coming around to bite Buffalo in the arse. When does it stop?

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Fun.

October 14, 2010

I know after last night’s drabalicious Sabres game, we can all use a little fun in our lives. So I come bearing fun. At least momentary fun.

You guys remember Burger King’s subservient chicken campaign? Well, another company is trying a similar concept, but this time, with vignettes. Go ahead, make the bear and hunter do whatever you want them to do. Try and stump it, it’s worth it only for the error message you get.

Linky thingy to YouTube.

I think “plays” is my favorite. “Drinks” might be a close second if only because it’s so completely random.

There will be hockey content soon, I promise.

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Open Mouth, Insert Foot.

September 7, 2010

If you follow Tampa goalie Dan Ellis on Twitter, then you are aware of the comments he made yesterday regarding the financial status of NHL players, specifically stating that the powers that be at the league want players to take a 24% pay cut and that those of us that don’t make a lot of money don’t understand how difficult it is to have money. Fine, I get that. The rich are different from you and me. It’s a fact of life. And I do understand that a 24% pay cut for NHL players is still a significant chunk of change. However, Ellis complaining about this in a public forum like Twitter doesn’t do much to help his (and other players) causes when it comes to currying public favor in the upcoming labor negotiations.

Pay cuts suck. I totally agree with him there. Unfortunately, in today’s economy, pay cuts are a way of life. Many industries have resorted to pay cuts in order to keep staff around based on the logic that a shared sacrifice brings people together and helps prevent layoffs. And yes, speaking from experience, when a pay cut comes down from management, you do have the feeling of just bending over and saying “thank you sir, may I have another.”

But the players have to tread carefully here. Whining and complaining about how hard it is to be a millionaire isn’t going to play well with a team’s fans. When a fan is struggling with bills and other issues, the last thing they want to hear about is how millionaire hockey player living in McMansionville is crying “woe is me.” That’s not to say I’m on the owners side here. Both sides are complicit in letting salaries get out of control so fast.

A small part of me realizes that Ellis was just trying to stir the pot and cause some drama. But there are other ways to cause drama without crying “poor (not really) little me.”

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Bloggers. Teams. Media. Can’t We All Just Get Along?

August 26, 2010

So Greg W. of Puck Daddy fame posted today regarding the NHL wanting to ban bloggers & online based journalists from visitor’s locker rooms. It’s quite a provocative issue, as the growth of online blog conglomerates like SBNation & Bleacher Report has muddied the line between “professional writer” and “blogger.” It’s especially gotten stickier as traditional MSM outlets are now starting to rely on sites like Bleacher Report for their sports content. The thing is, there’s no real hard and fast playbook for how teams need to deal with the rapid growth of social media entities. Twitter & blogs have definitely changed how sports have been covered. Discussion happens instantaneously and teams have to monitor many different entities. It can be taxing role for whomever is assigned that duty by a team.

As has been pointed out by multiple entities, the NHL as a league has embraced social media. They run active Twitter & Facebook entities. They work to organize tweet ups where fans can meet. They “get it.” It’s when the ball is passed to individual teams that things start going haywire. Each team has its own social media effort and way of looking at things. Take the Sabres, for example. Their Twitter feed is especially active and helpful during the season, and if your only complaint is the all-caps postings and the circular links to Facebook and then to Sabres.com, then they have to be doing something right.  Other teams are different and may very well be dragged into the social media area kicking and screaming.

On Twitter earlier this afternoon, Mike Harrington pointed out that teams might be afraid that bloggers will become a substitute for team websites. That’s a valid point and one I hadn’t considered. But how many fans out there come to my blog – or any of the other blogs out there – to find breaking news? Most people still hit up team websites and MSM vehicles first. In my opinion, the MSM is a news destination, the blogosphere is the commentary/opinion/snark source. There’s nothing wrong with either, it’s just that news is news. Player A said this. Player B said that. There’s no room for an opinion in a news article. A blogger can take the words of Players A & B and add their own opinions & comments. Again, neither is wrong. It’s just two different ways of looking at the game and two different ways of consuming information.

If a team wanted to take away the perception that they won’t be the first source for team news (and really, it’s a source for PR), they can just add a newsfeed to their homepage. I’m not just talking about a link to The Buffalo News (which I’m sure their management would appreciate), but reports on the more fringe papers, like those of the players hometowns, the away teams for that week, etc. Adding a newsfeed would turn a team website into a content aggregator very quickly. If my fellow bloggers and I can operate “The Google” and find a link to a story in the Wyoming Tribune Eagle about the summer that Tyler Myers spent herding cattle*, then why can the Sabres website not do the same thing?

*To my knowledge, Tyler Myers has never been in Cheyenne, Wyoming, nor has he ever herded cattle. But you get my point.

As media consumption habits change, the traditional MSM is seeing its audience shift to other sources, whether it’s the traditional MSMs web presence or an independent internet source. We can’t deny that broadcast sports reports and newspaper column inches are shrinking as more and more people get their news from the internet. While the internet can sometimes be a scary place for sports teams, they should also embrace it, using it as a tool to mine suggestions on improvements that can be made (say to the off ice experience, the website, et al). While fans are your biggest critics at times, they can also be your biggest allies. And fans with blogs are the most passionate ones, the ones that take the time to write about their favorite team and sport. Aren’t these the fans you want to court? Or is it the idea that these fans don’t go to the games since they’re firmly indented on mama’s basement sofa so the team doesn’t have to worry about them?

Sorry, old stereotypes die hard.

Now I’m one of those bloggers that wouldn’t know what to do with locker room access. I’d get lost in the fuss in the locker room. If you’ve ever met me, you know I’m reasonably quiet & shy. I don’t burst in and demand attention. I’d probably trip over my tongue (or my own two feet) while trying to ask a question. However, that doesn’t mean that there are Sabres bloggers out there that wouldn’t want the locker room access. I’d love to see what it’s like in the press box, but I realize that my little blog probably won’t get me past the velvet rope up there, and I’m ok with that.

A lot needs to be done on both sides in order to come to a happy medium. Bloggers should have to “earn” their credential from a team, whether its by supplying writing samples or interacting with the media relations staff enough so that they can feel confident that you won’t be a blabbering idiot. Or maybe start with a practice and then work your way up to game coverage. Teams need to realize that bloggers are not the enemy. We’re all reasonable people, except for, you know, when we go on our bi-monthly weekly “fire them all” rants.

I’m looking forward to seeing where this discussion leads. The NHL has some of the most passionate fans, bloggers and media members out there. Getting everyone on the same page in the same book is probably going to be a long, frustrating road, but in the end, it will be worth it.

Moving on, the NFL is having a social media trouble of its own. Mediapost reported today that Ochocinco was fined 25k for tweeting from the sidelines during a preseason game.  That’s almost a “no shit sherlock” thing for me. I mean, these guys are paid to play sports and have their heads in the game. There’s a time and place for interacting with your adoring (or heckling) public, and in the middle of a game is not it. If the NFL wants in game tweeting about what’s going on on the sidelines, send an intern down with a smartphone or netbook and let them have at it. Tell me that Brian Moorman is chatting with Poz about the philosophies of Kant as they wait for kickoff. That’s fine. But players themselves should not have the freedom to tweet from the sidelines. I know football is a little different than other sports where there is a lot of idle time, but as professional athletes, their heads should be in the game at all times. And really, I’ve heard that a professional athlete or two has left the Twitterverse because he was upset that the fans were leveling criticism at him. How would he react to critical statements if he received them in game as opposed to afterward when he’s had a chance to cool off? It would not end well for anyone.

And finally, Drew Stafford wants to be a duck? You only have to watch until the 1:50 mark to get the gist, and there is some language in the video as well. And is it me, or does Mr. Staffy look slightly ticked off in this video?

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