Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

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Some of This, Some of That

November 22, 2011

- Did anything further ever come out of Sully’s comment on Twitter last week about Miller remarking that the media is lucky that the Sabres let them in the locker room? Was this just a teaser comment, an airing of dirty laundry or something said publicly that shouldn’t have been?

- If the Buffalo media thinks Sabres players can be difficult to deal with at times, would they like to trade places with the NASCAR media that deals with Kurt Busch? During the course of this past NASCAR season, Mr. Busch has accused an AP reporter of fabricating a quote, ripped up the transcript of said quote when confronted with the actual words, and called noted ESPN reporter Jerry Punch a mother-effer (NSFW).These antics make Cranky Miller or Angry Lindy look like a Sunday stroll through Forest Lawn.

- Is Vanek’s ‘stache part of the Movember movement, or is he just growing it for kicks and giggles? Does he feel the need to start growing some facial hair so that he can be the Sabres player with the most talked about facial hair? Vanek doesn’t appear to be one of those guys that shaves at 8am and has a 5 o’clock shadow by 10am, so I really want to see where he’s going with this.

- I think it’s awesome that Biznasty scored a goal on the night where his mother was in the audience for the first time. That’s really not bad for a hockey player that has more Twitter cred than hockey player cred. It’s also cute that Mama BizNasty doesn’t mind the topics of her son’s Tweets, but minds that they have bad grammar.

- I would rather the Sabres take two points against the Bruins tomorrow night than have some massive retaliation or stupid fight result in a Shanaban. Call me a wussy, but the big picture is what matters.

- And because this post isn’t completely random enough, here’s one of my favorite Thanksgiving clips:

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An Opinion on an Opinion

November 11, 2011

So by now I’m sure we’ve all read or heard about Bucky’s column in today’s paper. I don’t disagree with the News’ decision to publish a column about Pegula & Penn State, nor do I disagree with the need to ask Pegula about his thoughts on what’s happening in Happy Valley. This is a story that transcends whether one is a college football fan or a graduate of the school. This story is no longer just a sports story, it’s now a “real” news story.

What I do disagree with is the apparent need for Pegula to immediately be all fire & brimstone in public, immediately revoking his donation, burning his PSU diploma, wearing sackcloth & ashes or whatever else he needs to do to show his hate and rage. While Pegula has spoken openly & warmly about his love for Penn State, I don’t doubt that he is even more shocked and horrified than non-alumni by what has happened at his beloved college. However, is it any of our business who he talked to, when he talked to them or whatever? I’m sure conversations have been had ($88 million is a lot of money for PSU to gamble with), but who am I to judge T-Pegs reactions as appropriate or not?

As much as he may be hurt by what happened at PSU, I can understand why Pegula is not reneging on his financial commitment to the school. The hockey kids had nothing to do with the football team follies & mismanagement. Why punish them for the indefensible actions of a few? On the other hand, if Pegula would have requested the money back, I can only imagine the word artistry & legal shenanigans that would ensue.

With all of that said, I’m stepping off my soapbox now and moving on to much more lighthearted fare. You know, like this photo gallery, where Cody McCormick’s hat and Derek Roy’s tastefully arranged scarf battle for the title of most surprising accessory found in the Sabres locker room. (If the photo link doesn’t work for you, head to the Sabres Facebook page. It’s the photo gallery labeled “Veterans Day.”) The scarf is artfully draped around Roy’s neck, but McCormick’s hat has that certain je nais se quois that makes it truly special.

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Marketing to Women Sports Fans

June 26, 2011

I was catching up on some of my e-newsletter reading at the office when I came across this MediaPost column in my queue. In case you don’t feel like clicking through and reading the whole thing, the gist of the article is that women remain an untapped market for sports teams, that teams are often just scratching the surface of what it means to get females involved with their particular sport.

However, do females really need special marketing tactics? The advertising/marketing side of my brain says they absolutely do. But the sports fan side of my brain says no. The game should be what sells or creates fandom, not special marketing techniques. For example, ladies should be able to appreciate the finer points of a 5-on-3 penalty kill without having to be talked down to or reminded that the players are pretty when their helmets are off.

I do have complaints about three things the writer mentions (or doesn’t) in his column.

1. He neglects to mention the NHL as a major sport. I understand that for 95% of America, the NHL is just the sport played by some crazy Canadians with a few, good, honest Americans and no-good Russians thrown in. (And if this Nielsen poll is to be believed, America really doesn’t know it’s ass from a hockey puck when it comes to the NHL. Take a look at number 6 on the list to see what I mean.) However, I would think the most recent ratings from this year’s Cup Finals would have shown that the NHL is still alive and kicking.

2. Using Alyssa Milano’s apparel line as an example of connecting with female fans. While I do commend her for trying to make sports apparel more lady-friendly, it appears to lack some mass market appeal. Baby tees and form fitting shirts only appeal to certain ladies who can fit into them. If you don’t have the perfect body type, most ladies sports apparel is off-limits to you. And don’t even get me started on pink apparel, LOL.

3. Suggesting that women will pay more attention to the sport if we’re given more human interest features. This idea is both bad and good. On the bad side, everyone complains during the Olympics when we’re told the sad tale of woe of the athlete from Tralalalastan who survived brutal beatings, the death of his parents, the loss of a beloved dog and a cross country run barefoot to make the games. We all just want the story to end so we can watch the action. The stories will write themselves. What’s the old adage? Show not tell? Show me the competition so I can determine who to root for. Don’t tell me who to root for.

On the other hand, I know I have advocated that intermission breaks during Sabres games should include more of the human interest stuff. Will seeing team members visiting sick kids or palling around with Sabretooth create new fans? Probably not. But it does bring forth the personality of the players on the ice. And most of these players do have personality & character in spades. It’s a very fine line, I guess. You don’t want to alienate people by forcing them to root for the guy with the biggest sob story, but you also need to promote the guys on the field/ice.

I can completely sympathize with teams as they tackle this marketing conundrum. You don’t want to be patronizing, ignore women completely nor turn your players into pieces of meat for women to ogle. It’s situations like this that make you almost wish the product on the field/ice was enough to sell itself.

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The Greatest Spectacle in Racing…and Viewing: The Indy 500

May 29, 2011

I’ve been fairly blunt about the fact that I like auto racing. Today marks the 100th anniversary of the Indy 500. Aside from a brief interruption for WWII, the race has been run continuously since 1911. It was great to see a lot of the old winning cars driven around the track in today’s pre-race ceremonies.

This year was also unique in that there were four women in the field of 33, which is the most ever for an Indy race. It’s no secret that I am not really a fan of Danica Patrick. I get annoyed by her whining, sense of entitlement and quite obvious willingness to trade on her sex appeal (and ensuing complaints that she really is more than just a pretty girl.) But I digress. I would have been thrilled to see a woman win today’s race, especially if that woman was Simona deSilvestro. She is quite the BAMF, driving this race with 1st & 2nd degree burns on her hands after this wreck earlier this month.

I turn into a baby if I accidentally touch a hot pot. I can’t imagine what it feels like to drive a racecar for hours on end with severe burns on the hands. That takes (lady) balls to do so.

This year’s race also had some added drama during qualifying. At Indy, the rule is that the fastest 33 CARS qualify, not the fastest 33 DRIVERS. I know what you’re thinking: how can that work with how driver & sponsor contracts are structured? Well, trust me. It somehow does. And usually, the fastest 33 cars qualified by the fastest 33 drivers do take the green flag on Memorial Day weekend. However, this time, we had a bit of a situation. Ryan Hunter-Reay – an American driver with a fully funded, sponsored ride at Andretti Autosport – failed to make the field. If this was any other race, RHR would be a good teammate and spend the race schmoozing in a hospitality tent somewhere. But since this is INDY and RHR has PAYING sponsors, his team owner (Michael Andretti) pulled out his checkbook and made a deal with fellow team owner (and Indy legend) AJ Foyt. Foyt kicked out his driver, Bruno Junquiera, and replaced him with Hunter-Reay. The car’s paint scheme was a combination of the two team’s sponsors.

This deal – while technically legal within the letter of the law – violated the spirit of the law. The Andretti team should have accepted their fate and learned from it. Instead, they caused a lot of ruckus and upset feelings both within the Indycar driver/team family and with the fans. Twitter this past week had been an enlightening source of discussion regarding this situation, as many drivers & fans have taken their 140 character allotment to discuss their displeasure with Andretti & Foyt’s actions. Neither Andretti nor Foyt won themselves any new fans with this maneuver.

- From the fun stats file, Graham Rahal competed today on the 25th anniversary of his father Bobby winning his only 500 race.

- After watching today’s race, I’m more convinced than ever that Scott Goodyear is the racing equivalent of Pierre McGuire. No, I don’t mean the designated short, kind-of-creepy Canadian. I mean the “hey, I’m going to say something completely redundant and obvious now” kind of broadcaster. This point was driven home when Goodyear mentioned that the cars that drove in the first 500 were vastly different from the cars that are racing today. Umm…duh? Who wouldn’t know that? That’s like me saying a Ford Focus is drastically different than a Model T. I think we’re all aware of that.

- I’m officially hating that I was subjected to a Weezer song (that I like) approximately 87,000 times during the course of this race because the song is a background of an Izod commercial. (Izod being a series sponsor, mind you.)

- The start of the race is supposed to be all cars rolling in rows of three. Well, they come close. If by three you mean two cars, then one car, then three cars. In other words, their competitive spirit got the best of them and they all forgot how to freaking count.

- I spent a lot of the (very frequent) commercial breaks reading this article from ESPN regarding the last days of Derek Boogaard. It’s a beautiful piece of writing, and really does summarize Boogaard’s troubles without venturing too far into salacious tabloid territory.

- During the first series of pit stops, a miscommunication between crew members at the front & back of the car allowed Will Power to leave the pits before one of his rear tires was fully secured. As a result, Power pulls away and the tire goes bouncing down pit road, thankfully not seriously hitting any other crew members or cars. Power is forced to limp back around the track and get a new tire. Everyone sing with me: “you picked a fine time to leave me, loose wheel.” Yea, I know that’s not an original joke at all. Deal with it.

- Poor KV Racing: the first two cautions of the race were caused by their cars wrecking. This scenario is not a new development for KV, as their drivers tend to crash more often than your average driver. I believe last year they ran through something like 40 wrecks through four drivers in a 17 race season. In other words, they rack up quite a bill for parts, chassis & tires.

- Speaking of wrecks, the drivers were darn lucky there weren’t more of them today. This race utilized a different restart procedure. Normally, any race restarts at Indy are done single file. This year, the series altered the rules to make double-file restarts the norm. This led to many drivers trying to take things 3-4-5 wide at some points, including one special snowflake who almost bounced off a stanchion that starts the wall that divides put road from the track. Things could have gotten ugly very quickly, but thankfully, they did not.

- During a long series of green flag laps, we’re told that one of the drivers in today’s race, Charlie Kimball, is a diabetic. His insulin is constantly monitored during the race, with the readouts appearing on the steering wheel. If his insulin level reaches a certain threshold, Kimball receives an insulin shot on the next possible pit stop. His tire changer, after finishing his tire changing duties, stabs a pre-set insulin needle into Kimball’s leg (through the firesuit and everything) and Kimball then goes back about his business of driving the race car. Raise your hand if you started wincing after hearing that. I hope the adrenaline from driving the car deadens the pain of the needle, as this just sounds like it would hurt. Thankfully, we did not need to see this procedure carried out in the pits today.

- Poor JR Hildebrand. He’s going to be the headline on Sportscenter tonight and for all the wrong reasons. He was leading the race, and on the final corner, while avoiding a slower car, he got out of the main racing line and took it into the wall. While he was plenty angsty on the track while waiting for a ride back to the pits, by the time he spoke with the media, he had completely regained his composure. You could tell that he was upset, and disappointed for his team, but at the same time, he took 100% full responsibility for overdriving the car right into the wall. I guess we can say that while Dan Wheldon won the Indy 500, JR Hildebrand won the Indy 499.75.

And finally, on this Memorial Day weekend, to all that have served, will serve or are serving now, I say thank you. This is the land of the free because of the brave.

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You Know…

April 13, 2011

- If Miller was THIS EXCITED about just making the playoffs, can you imagine how freaking excited he’s going to be once this team actually WINS something in the playoffs?

- The fake Butler & Stafford Twitter accounts that were set up within the past 72 hours are just completely repulsive and taking things way too far. Parody or satire accounts are one thing, impersonation and cruel/inappropriate/disgusting remarks are not. Shame on whomever pulled that stunt.

- If you haven’t read ESPN’s list of the 75 reasons the playoffs are great, please go and do so right now. Nice work by all involved in capturing why this sport is so great at this time of year.

- In case you’re wondering, in Round 1, I’m pulling for the following teams: Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Montreal, Rangers, Coyotes, Ducks, Canucks and Sharks. Regardless of who wins each series, I hope that we have some good, clean, exciting hockey to look forward to with no to minimal shenanigans by the players or the fans.

Go Sabres!

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Well, Finally

October 21, 2010

I knew those little stinkers would finally win a game. Despite the excitement of a winning hockey game, I fell asleep shortly after Vanek’s goal. Did I miss much? Yeah, didn’t think so. Now here’s a couple quick thoughts:

- You must look at the photo accompanying the game story in the hard copy of today’s TBN. Staffy looks like you just told him that he won the Stanley Cup and a Grammy on the same day, while Vanek appears to be passing a kidney stone.  It’s quite the ridiculous photo, but it’s making me smile.

- The empty seats in Atlanta were quite disheartening to see as a hockey fan. I’d still bet that the only reason the team is still around is because the league makes money off all the “Yankee” transplants coming to see their hometown team.

- I was quite saddened to see the Yankees win yesterday. I am not a Yankees fan (that’s what having a Mets fan for a father does to you) by any means, so I do delight in seeing them struggle. The ad geek in me knows that media buyers & advertisers would salivate over a Yanks/Giants World Series just because of the size of the media markets involved (not to mention the notoriety of the aforementioned Yankees), but I always root for the underdogs. So go Rangers! And that shall be the last time those words are even written on this blog.

- And I’m betting 5 games in the “how long will Rypien be suspended for” pool. Manhandling a fan – a paying customer – must rank slightly higher on Colie Campbell’s Wheel O’Justice that mimicked fellatio and head injuries, right?

 

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Happy Birthday USA

July 4, 2010

I have a hockey post in the hopper, but it needs some serious tweaking. So in the interim, please enjoy the Muppets on this Fourth of July.

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A Picture is Worth 1,000 Words

May 3, 2010

Zdeno Chara is so good that he tries to take Briere’s head off with Briere’s own stick.

As seen on ESPN’s homepage a couple of minutes ago.

Moving on,

And I know that Timmy’s not 34, but at some point, Lindy Lassie is going to stop fetching him from whatever well he falls into during the playoffs. If that happens, the threat of getting sent to a farm downstate is going to look like the least of Timmy’s problems.

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Quick Hits From Locker Cleanout Day

April 28, 2010

- I’m still upset that the Sabres were bounced so quickly by the Bruins, but when you look at the big picture, this season was a definite improvement on the last two. When you look back at the preseason predictions, most people in the know had the Sabres fighting for the final playoff spot in the East. Fifth place was considered overachieving for this crew. But then – due to heads being removed from behinds and some epic collapses by their divisional rivals – this team actually won the division. That blew everyone’s mind, but still didn’t stop those in the know from saying that the Sabres were ripe for upset. Sadly, this prediction was correct.

I’m excited for next season. Ennis, Gerbe and Myers showed a ton of potential (and heart…and effort) and I’m sure some of the core have to be worried about those little spitfires breathing down their necks and challenging them for playing time. That might motivate them even more…provided they’re still here and haven’t been traded for a Sports Night DVD set and a box of microwave popcorn.

- I’ve been pondering this for most of the day: would a professional hockey team’s locker room be just as gross on locker cleanout day as the locker alley at an all girls high school was on locker cleanout day? I know hockey equipment comes with its own special brand of stink, but high school comes with its own personal level of stuff finding (“Hey! That’s where that skirt went!” as you pull your spare uniform skirt out and give it a shake to return the polyester to its unwrinkled glory. And the skirt was usually just the tip of the iceberg  of crap residing in the locker.)

- I’m falling into the non-surprised, surprised camp regarding Rivet’s injury. He was not playing up to a veteran’s standards during the season, so an injury seemed to be a likely reason for his play. I still am amazed that hockey players suck it up and go out and play even when there’s broken bones involved (Timmy) missing teeth, pucks to the head, etc. I turn into a whiny baby when I’m sick (and just ask my parents how I was while I had shingles) so their resilience and stubbornness to play amazes me. I’m not dumb enough to think that it’s without medicinal aid, but unless their getting horse steroids (which I’m pretty sure is against the law), these guys have to just be mentally strong to deal with what body breakdowns they have during the year.

- I’m incredibly amused by Timmy color coordinating his green Yankees hat to his gentle sea foam green polo shirt. I can’t help but wonder if this was an intentional decision on his part or just an “I’ll pull whatever hat I want out of the closet and roll with it” thing.

- Speaking of hats, the less said about Miller’s chapeau, the better. Male hats should not be gaudy. Ladies hats should be gaudy. Kentucky Derby hats should be gaudy. Goalie hats…not gaudy. However, I can give a thumbs up to how Miller’s skates do look like Chuck Taylors. That’s a neat look and I know it’s probably unintentional, considering the bottom of his pads are white and the white skate tips make everything very matchy-matchy.

- I’m also amused by Paul Hamilton’s peeking around the locker wall while interviewing Timmy. Every so often this little Hamilton head pops around the corner and into the frame.

- Goose still looks pissed off. Like rage-y pissed off. His voice may be calm, but his facial expression is betraying what he’s saying.

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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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