Archive for the ‘Things That Make Me Sad’ Category

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The Month of October

October 24, 2011

The  month of October is great for so many reasons: the crisp fall air, the return of pumpkin spice lattes, apples, my birthday, the start of hockey season, the baseball playoffs, Halloween and so much more. However, the month of October downright stinks for many other reasons.

If you’ve been a reader of this blog for any length of time, you know I’m a racing fan. The month of October has just been a brutal month for the racing community. Last weekend, reigning Indy 500 champion Dan Wheldon perished in a spectacularly violent crash during a race in Las Vegas. (I’m not going to link the crash footage here because it’s been all over the mainstream media. If you’re so inclined to watch the wreck, it’s easily available on YouTube.) This weekend also saw the passing of a MotoGP (motorcycle) racer during a race in Malaysia. In addition, the 6-year old son of a IndyCar team staffer lost his fight with leukemia. It’s impressive that some of these racers haven’t gone completely cuckoo for coco puffs after this past week.

And that just scratches the surface of the brutality of the month of October. Seven years ago today, 10 members of the Hendrick racing family were killed in a plane crash in Virginia. Twelve years ago, racer Greg Moore was killed in a wreck at California Speedway. As a race fan, you start to dread seeing the month of October show up on your calendar just because there have been so many horrible, terrible, no good, very bad events that happened during this month.

The loss of Wheldon was particularly brutal because it was such a violent wreck that happened on live network television. For the drivers, he was everyone’s younger brother that they never asked for. For the fans, he was that nice, charming British guy with the adorable children who always stopped and made time for everyone. He was also a talented, experienced driver, not this naive, inexperienced racer that some postmortem articles tried to portray him as.

For many of the drivers on the track with Wheldon last Sunday, this was the second time they’ve lost a friend on the track, as they were competing the same day Greg Moore passed in 1999. (Unlike this past Sunday, when Moore passed, the race continued on. The drivers were not told of the death until they exited the cars at the end of the race. The fans at home and at the track were made aware of his death. The team owners wanted the drivers to finish the race.) I feel like this death hit many of these guys harder than Moore’s in 1999. With age comes wisdom, families, kids and whatever else that makes these drivers turn inward and wonder if the need for speed is really what it’s all about.

It was also tough watching the broadcasters cover the waiting period between the wreck and the official announcement of Wheldon’s passing. Just listening to their voices, you could tell that they knew the worst was coming and were trying to manage their own emotions while keeping a stoic face for the public. This is one time where media detachment and impartiality went right out the window and it was completely warranted.

During yesterday’s NASCAR pre-race show, ESPN paid tribute to Wheldon. The tribute was led by ESPN anchor Nicole Briscoe, whose husband Ryan was one of the drivers on track with Wheldon last week. While Mrs.Briscoe was clearly emotional during the segment, her professionalism compelled her to finish paying tribute to her friend. No one would have blamed her for handing off that segment to one of the other people in the booth, but she chose to continue on and carried herself with class & dignity.

Speaking of class and dignity…One thing that happened in the immediate aftermath of Wheldon’s passing was the tremendous outpouring of support for Wheldon’s two young sons, Sebastian and Oliver. Fellow driver Graham Rahal announced he was going to auction off his race worn shoes, helmet and gloves. That snowballed into the rest of the Indycar community throwing items into the auction pot. Then the NASCAR drivers started contributing memorabilia. Then the NFL teams showed up to the party. Then Hollywood came a’calling with their donations. As of Saturday, quite the list of memorabilia had been accumulated with more coming in every day. (I’m totes in love with the Paul Newman signed “Winning” movie poster.) I’m really impressed that Rahal has continued to manage this whole fundraiser even as it takes on a life of it’s own. His parents did a quality job raising him into a fine young man.

Thank you for bearing with my rambling tonight. I promise there will be some hockey talk around here again. I have tickets for Thursday’s game, so there will be some thoughts on that at some point.

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They Won One for Rico

March 13, 2011

- It was a tough day in Sabreland. The news of Rick Martin’s passing weighed heavy in many fan’s hearts. I know that those fans who got to see Martin play are really feeling the loss, but since Martin had been an active member of the Buffalo community, the loss is really felt by all hockey fans and Buffalonians tonight.

- The stick raise by the players at the end of tonight’s game was an incredibly classy gesture. Kudos to whomever organized that opportunity. (I’ll admit to being completely clueless that something was going to happen, even as I saw Miller skating out to the postgame snuggle huddle carrying a stick. I just thought Miller was carrying his equipment so someone else didn’t have to.)

- The Sabres handled a difficult situation as well as any organization could have. The Buffalo News confirmed the story about two hours and twenty five minutes before puck drop this afternoon. When you consider that in this time frame the team managed to print helmet stickers, coordinate a press conference starting an hour before puck drop and then update their website with a memorial splash page within a few minutes of puck drop, their PR/web/broadcast departments definitely get an A for effort and execution. Well done, team. Well done.

And hey, reclaiming seventh place in the playoff race isn’t too bad either.

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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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Sabres vs. Stars: Deep in the Heart of Texas

October 30, 2010

I was considering adding the Pee-Wee Herman edition, but that’s a little overused. And besides, Dale Evans is one classy lady.

Tonight’s game blog is in a letter format. Enjoy.

*~*~*~*~*~*

Dear Nathan Gerbe,

I don’t recommend stepping in front of any more of your teammate’s slap shots. But perhaps if Tyler does get benched for his atrocious play of late, you can make him fetch you smoothies as you sit in the press box. It’s only fair.

Feel better soon,

Shots Off the Crossbar

*~*~*~*~*~*

Dear Ryan,

I do commend your choice of a blue toque while sitting on the bench. Blue suits your skin tone much better than the bright gold hat that Lalime favors.

Peace Out.

Shots Off the Crossbar

*~*~*~*~*~*

Dear Sabres,

Stop taking f*cking stupid penalties.

That is all.

Shots Off the Crossbar

*~*~*~*~*~*

Dear Sabres,

Your fans are not a bunch of Charlie Browns and did not deserve the rock you gave them tonight. Make it better. Soon. Please. For all of our sakes.

Shots Off the Crossbar

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Sabres vs. Bruins – Game 6

April 26, 2010

Pregame

- Yo, Bucky, unless you’re trying to get the team to unite AGAINST you (which my gut tells me they are already), then it might not be a good thing to imply that the their star player is a better player (and human being), now that he’s getting laid on a fairly regular basis. And that is the last I want to think about that topic. Ever.

- I would hope that the Sabres weren’t too distracted by the blessings put forth on Boobquake Day. (Seriously, I love that it’s WOMEN that are encouraging boobquake and the display of our blessings. Girl power, FTW!)

-  I’m still not sure that a gimpy Vanek is better than a 100% Stafford, but I’m a cautious sort in my daily life. And the substitution of Vanek for Stafford completely threw off my prediction from earlier today that Stafford would play an important part in tonight’s game after the change at both breakfast and lunch was 21 cents. All that was blown to hell in a handcart when I came back from Charlie the Butcher to find out that Stafford was scratched.

First Period

- I’m taking Sturm’s shorthanded shot off the crossbar as a shoutout.

- I’m beginning to think that rather than ladies and their blessings causing an earthquake, that a Sabres power play goal would cause the earth to move. For pete’s sake, our power play is dreadful.

- Miro Satan goes after Myers and RJ is incensed that Satan even goes after someone, considering he was quite a softy while in Buffalo. RJ’s indignation (“Myers is six-foot, four-thousand!”) is coupled with Rob Ray’s defense of Satan. (“It’s Game 6!”)

- Well, poop. Krejci scores from the power play in front of the net. This is the first time that the Bruins have scored first in this series. 1-0, Boston.

- There’s a large divot in the ice at the foot of the boards behind Miller. I love how the ref uses nothing fancier than Miller’s water bottle, some ice shavings and a hockey puck to fix the crevice. Simple things for simple minds over here.

- Has anyone seen Timmy or Pommers? Calling Timmy or Pommers! If you can hear me, please pick up the puck and put it in the net.

- I’m giggling like a twelve year old over the fact that an upcoming show choir on Glee is going to be named “Aural Intensity.” If the Puckerone doesn’t make a joke about the name, I will be highly disappointed.

Second Period

- Yo, Timmykins. When I was wondering where you were, I didn’t need you to make an appearance by taking a stupid penalty, leading to a power play, leading to a Boston goal. 2-0, Boston

- WHOO! Patrick Kaleta is the final Sabre on a gorgeous tic-tack-toe scheme with Kennedy and Mair after the Sabres come off another putrid power play. 2-1, Boston.

- I’m still waiting on Roy, Pommers & Connolly to show up. If you find them, please let them know they will be given clean jammies and an Oreo cookie once they do something noteworthy on the ice.

- How the hell did the Sabres power play get so putrid? Did they all forget the basic math behind a one man advantage?

Third Period

- Vomitous. The Sabres spend four minutes on the penalty kill as one of the Bruins gets high sticked and manages to bleed on command. Sabres Edge reports that the Bruins are 6 for 20 on the power play in this series. How the heck did the PK, which was previously so reliable, become so disastrous? It couldn’t have been all Jochen Hecht, could it?

- Oh eff. Krejci puts the proverbial fork in the Sabres as Derek Roy is late to cover Krejci, who puts the puck past Miller. I don’t care if it was Roy that was responsible for the goal. What the hell else has he done this series? Go ahead, think about it and get back to me. 3-1, Bruins.

- Hold the phone, Boston makes a horrible mistake and Gerbe is the benefactor, putting the puck past Rask. That Gerbe kid has spunk. The one thing we’ve learned from this series is that the little ones from Portland have talent and are leaving it all out on the ice. 3-2, Bruins.

- Pommers at least tries something off of a face off, but that doesn’t work well when the puck ends up in Rask’s glove.

- Mother of god, if I hear in the postgame the usual platitudes about the system, unfinished business and all that crap, someone will be cut.

- Mother of pearl, Satan puts the fork in the Sabres for real this time. It would have to be Satan, wouldn’t it? 4-2, Bruins.

- Did someone on the Sabres drink Jobu’s rum before the game or before any other game this series? It’s very bad to drink Jobu’s rum. I can’t think of any other reason why they were so horrible.

- Remember the series’ back in the day where two goals in two minutes at the end of the third period seemed like child’s play? I miss series like that.

- So…just as I write that, Vanek snaps the puck into the net. 4-3, Bruins. (I vote that this is too little too late.)

- I suppose it’s a good thing that I won’t be a twitchy beeyotch on my trips to Indiana and Pittsburgh, having to worry about what the Sabres are up to. I’ll catch playoff hockey when I can, but I’m not going to hurt myself trying to find out what’s going on. Then again, maybe hockey will have to be a distraction when my family is driving me up a bleeping wall.

- Some of the interesting things from the handshake line:

  • Miller standing at center ice, the first Sabre on the line, ready to greet the Bruins as his teammates were carrying on behind him. His facial expression was somewhere around “bitch, please” and “can we get this over with already? I have murder to commit in the locker room.” (It was Crunchy in the locker room with the goalie pads. Thighs of steel and all that jazz. Heh.) And really, I’m so disappointed FOR him. When a team that he was with for seven months has a shittier result than a team he was with for two weeks, I call foul. The silver medal wasn’t supposed to be the highlight of his season. I know he still has a pretty good shot at picking up the Vezina, but I know that’s not the piece of silver he was referring to in his earlier comments about playing for silver.
  • Paille seemed to be getting a lot of extra hugs from his teammates.
  • What the heck was up with Chara hugging all of the Sabres? He seems to genuinely like these guys.

-I’m now looking for a new Eastern Conference playoff boyfriend. I like Pittsburgh. Sid is infinitely more tolerable that that dude in Washington and Jay McKee and his shot blocking skills are pretty awesome. On the other hand, Boston did beat the Sabres, but that’s a raw wound. And on the third hand, the enemy of my enemy is my friend, so I could always just root for whomever is playing Boston? Meh. I’ll think about it. I need a nap. And a cookie.

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An Open Letter

April 22, 2010

Dear Ryan,

Thank you for playing your scrawny little bum off last night. Your effort was definitely appreciated by those of us at home who were glued to our sets watching, and our computers/phones talking, pepping each other up and then consoling each other. I know that our words don’t mean much, but really, you were the reason that the Sabres were even able to hang on as long as they did. I know you probably want the final two Bruins goals back (and quite frankly so do I), but that won’t happen. So pick your chin up and know that the fans are behind you. And if you wanted to cut a teammate or two between now and then, I think most of us might look the other way.

Dear Steve,

Keep up the good work. You pleasantly surprised me.

Dear Lil Timmy,

It was great to see you get the monkey off your back by scoring that first Sabres goal, but you still seemed to be moved off the puck rather easily. I don’t get it. Don’t let the big bad Bruins intimidate you.

Dear Drew,

Sigh. I strongly encourage you to spend some time with Count Von Count if only to reinforce that there are five! five! hockey players allowed on the ice at any one given time. I know you were probably tired and hungry, but that’s no excuse.

Dear RJ,

I’d like to add “nipple” to the list of words that are banned from Sabres broadcasts. It should join “diddle” on the permanent injured reserve.

Dear Fellow Fans,

If Friday is the last game, lets at least be classy and send the boys out with some dignity, eh?

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Buffalo vs. Boston – Game 3

April 19, 2010

- Before we head into hockey coverage, has anyone ever wondered what a mascot does all day? Well, Maxim shadowed Mr. Met for a day, (note: slightly NSFW) and it turns out life isn’t all wood carving in the dugout.

- We’re treated to a skim down the bench and the lineup on the blue line, and it appears some of the Sabres are definitely better at growing playoff beards than others. The wee baby Tylers appear to be fresh faced, but the fact that they both have blond hair might be counting against them. Miller is rocking a pretty good beard, and Gaustad has a good start to one already. On a random note, does Timmy stop shaving his head for the playoffs, leading to curly headed Timmy, or is the beard it.

- Miller has had some fantastic stops early in the game.

- So looks like that internet rumor regarding the Sabres wearing the old home whites was fake after all.

- WHOO! Mike Grier! Mike Effing Grier scores over Tuuka’s shoulder. 1-0, Sabres.

- Well, eff. Sekera gets caught in a pinch gone wrong and Wideman scores a dandy of a goal on the ensuing odd-man rush. We’re tied at one.

- After hearing for the past week and a half that tonight’s game was going to be on Versus, I tune like a good little NHL fan to Versus, only to find out that the game is blacked out locally and we’re stuck watching the game on MSG. In this case, the good of RJ, Harry, Rob Ray & K-Syl are slightly outweighed by the bad of an SD broadcast. Is it really that difficult to “borrow” the Versus HD feed and lay RJ & Harry’s vocals over it?

- Ellis gets caught by Boychuk with his head down and is smushed pretty hard core. Why haven’t one of the pansy Sabres hit Boychuk with his purse yet? If they’re in need of a purse, I can lend them one. My Vera Bradley satchel has enough stuff in it that could cause some serious damage.

- Lindy’s expression on the bench is a combination of “I hate these guys” and ” I’m going to cut someone.” I fear for the locker room.

- I’m beginning to think Timmy fell down the well, what with how absent he’s been from games lately. Speaking of Timmykins, I really want to know why “Tim Connolly K-Mart” is one of Google’s suggestions when you type “Tim Connolly” into the search box.

- Ellis is back on the ice after that killer hit from Boychuk. Good, but that still doesn’t excuse his teammates for not doing anything after Boychuk took out his second player. Is it going to take Miller getting run…oh wait, that happened last year and nothing happened.  Maybe Sabretooth getting run over would snap them out of it.

- Random: why do so many people insist on placing an “s” on the end of the word “math?” As in, “I have to do my maths homework?” And while I’m on my grammar soapbox, there is a slight difference between the words “breath” and “breathe.” They are not interchangeable.

- Remember when the Sabres had offensive firepower? Remember when they didn’t make you want to bang your head against a wall? Remember when hockey was fun?

- Wait, The Hoff is going to be on The Young & Restless again? Crikey, I hope that CBS has some extra money saved up to replace all the scenery chewing that The Hoff and Eric Braeden are going to be doing. You can tell I’m not paying much attention to the game if I’m reading Entertainment Weekly, heh.

- Alrighty then, Bergeron scores to make it 2-1, Boston.

- Remember when Ryan Miller wasn’t trying to do it all and was a sturdy rock in the crease? Remember when the rest of the Sabres played with passion and fire? Remember the fun that was Game 1? Remember when I wasn’t writing “Remember Whens?” (That last one actually was a “Remember When…” in my high school yearbook.)

- Well, friends. If it turns out there’s only two more games left in the season, what can you say? I’ll come up with words when they come up WITH A FULL 60 MINUTE EFFORT! I’ll even bet that we’ll hear the same platitudes after the game from the same usual suspects. And really, these same platitudes have been delivered so often that I’d be willing to bet that most of us can deliver them verbatim. (Although we might lack Ryan Miller’s eloquence and bitch please, eyebrow.)

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