Archive for December, 2007


Top Sabres Moments of 2007

December 31, 2007

Also known as the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. These are really in no particular order.

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Make a Joyful Noise

December 30, 2007

Tonight’s concert with Ronan Tynan and the BPO was abso-fucking-lutely amazing. The only way it would have been more abso-fucking-lutely amazing if Katebits had been playing in the BPO tonight.

It was a great mix of Irish music, pop music (Springsteen!), show tunes and holiday music. He sang some of my favorite songs:

Hallelujah – he made it upbeat, which I didn’t think was possible with this song.

Smile – which, believe it or not, was written by Charlie Chaplin. I’m just familiar with the Nat King Cole version, which is heartbreaking.

Ave Maria – which always reminds me of the first West Wing Big Block of Cheese episode, Josh asks CJ if she knows the piece, and her response is a simple “I’m Catholic,” with a smirk. I’m not doing it justice, but it leads into a great scene with Bradley Whitford and Allison Janney.

Danny Boy – I can’t hear Danny Boy without thinking of that stupid Saved By The Bell episode where Slater’s lizard Artie dies, and they have a funeral for it. They bastardize Danny Boy as “oh artie boy, the ponds, the ponds are calling, there’s gnats and ants, mosquitoes on the fly.” I can’t remember what I had for dinner last night, but this stupid moment sticks in my head.

The BPO provided the Christmas music, with Greensleeves, Sleigh Ride and Pachelbel’s Canon.

Now onto the important stuff: the performances of Miller and Stafford. Both came out in jeans and boots. Staffy wore a simple black button-down shirt untucked and Miller wore a green striped button down shirt (tucked in, which…NO!) and what was either a grey or brown jacket. Staffy definitely looked more comfortable in his own skin, on the guitar and on the stage. He moved around the stage really well, and was in complete control of his instrument (hee!). Miller seemed rooted to one spot and was carefully going through the songs. I don’t know if Staffy’s got more experience with the guitar or a better ear for music, but he’s got a stage presence. He really was smoking hot. (Side note, I checked the team roster, and Miller and Staffy are the same height, but Staffy has almost 35 pounds on Miller. Can someone please feed our goalie a sammich or something? Poor boy looks like he’s wasting away.)

Tynan admonished Staffy that he needs to take better care of himself, since we need him around for this season and next. Stafford sheepishly took Tynan’s advice. Tynan also brought the two of them souvenirs from his recent USO tour to Bagram, Afghanistan. While Staffy and Miller were setting up their guitars, some yahoo in the crowd started a “Let’s Go Buffalo” chant, which Tynan then proceeded to lead from the stage, and Staffy accompanied on the guitar.

After that ruckus, they were on stage for two songs by U2: I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For and All I Want is You. Tynan did change the lyrics so that we were looking for Stanley and all I Want Is Stanley. He wants to make this into a yearly event, saying how much fun this would be next year with Stanley in the middle of the stage. Miller and Stafford just laughed at that one.

Spotted in the crowd were: Larry Quinn (I was sending him “sign Soupy now and cheap” vibes), former Rep. Jack Quinn, Ed Kilgore of WGRZ (who surprisingly was not working the room on the intermission), the Sabres goalie coach and the Sabres PR guy. I did not see Lindy or Darcy, but they could have been there for all I know.

It was a great show. I really would recommend going to see him if you ever have the opportunity.


“I Like The Kind That’s Good, Dude!”

December 30, 2007

In anticipation of Staffy and Miller’s debut with the BPO tonight, Buffalo News music critic Jeff Miers profiled these two players’ musical tastes and talents. I’m really amused by the fact that Staffy and Lydman can only play their Scandinavian heavy metal music when they’re the only two players at the rink. I had no idea Scandinavia was such a source of heavy metal music.

The below just sounds really adorable:

During a photo shoot at HSBC Arena, Miller and Stafford play a bit while posing with their guitars, and the personality of each comes through, even in this off-the-cuff manner. Miller plays a supportive role with sparse chords; Stafford can clearly play fast runs, and hilariously assumes the rock “power-stance,” or adopts the Van Halen-esque “both hands on the neck” finger-tapping technique while making “guitar faces,” much to Miller’s amusement.

What in the hell is a guitar face? Is that like an O face?

The article in the printed edition of the paper also includes a look at what bands these two are listening to. Crunchy likes the White Stripes and Led Zepplin (can he play Stairway to Heaven?), while Staffy likes a bunch of metal bands. The title quote of this entry is from Staffy, eloquent as always.


Does Crunchy own an entire closet full of hoodies or other zip top jacket/sweater combos? And holy hairy forearms, Staffy. However, the both of them can just carry on with how they look in this photo.

Stay tuned for a review of tonight’s Tynan / BPO / Sabres concert.


Covering the Hip

December 27, 2007

God Bless YouTube (and its parent company Google). Look what came up on the related links for Miller’s NHL Ice Bowl promo.

Words fail me, though Miller looks pretty good up there.

Here’s the actual version of New Orleans Is Sinking by The Hip for comparison’s sake.

Its also been brought to my attention that Stafford is going to be out for a while with a concussion. I hope his concussion does not prevent him from joining the BPO and Ronan Tynan this weekend. I’m going to be at that show and will be disappointed if Staffy does not perform as advertised. Of course, watch his performance just be a “ding” on the triangle or something.

Goose and Afinogenov are also nursing injuries. Goose has a sprained arm that may keep him out of action against the Devils. Max has a groin problem. While groin injuries are never funny, Lindy’s word choices in describing Max’s injury are. He said Max “felt his groin” and “we got him off out there.” Scuse me, Lindy? Run that one by me again.

Yes, I’m twelve.


“Chad Michael Murray Is Such a Made Up Name”

December 26, 2007

Today’s title courtesy of the Goose, tonight’s Mic’d Up player. During a stoppage in play, they showed Chad Michael Murray (henceforth CMM) on the Jumbotron, and Goose remarked on the bench to Yo-Yo that CMM has to be a made-up name. Yo-Yo had no opinion on the subject.

Two of my former co-workers went to high school with CMM, and have attested repeatedly that CMM is his real name. In fact, it would freak out one of those co-workers if we referred to CMM as CMM instead of just Chad Murray.

I never thought I’d be referring to CMM on this blog, so there you go.

Speaking of the Goose, he was hitting everything that moved out there. He’s currently the Sabres hit leader, with 79 hits. Combining his hitting role with his new role as goalie roadblock on the power play really makes Goose a better all-around player. I know Darcy has said he’s not going to let a player like Goose go, but Darcy really needs to sign Goose’s RFA ass before someone makes an offer sheet.

The officiating tonight was horrible. The refs clearly missed a hooking call on Derek Roy. Its a shame that Roy’s reputation as a diver has precluded referees from calling penalties against him. Peters also got called for a 10 minute misconduct when all he did was yap at the Ottawa player (who was doing enough of his own yapping back, thank you very much). There was also the missed interference call on Chris Neil on Crunchy, leading to an Ottawa goal.

Its not Sabres related, but during the Rangers / Hurricanes game, Colton Orr leveled a nasty hit on the Hurricanes Matt Cullen. Cullen was knocked cold, but managed to leave the ice with assistance, rather than on a stretcher. I think it was a borderline hit, with perhaps not the intent to injure, but it still did not look good. Props to Commodore for stepping up and defending his teammate.


Christmas Presents

December 25, 2007

I’m coming out of my Christmas coma to report on a feature I saw on WIVB. They asked the Sabres what were their best and worst Christmas gifts they’ve received. Some of them are better worse gifts than others:

Peters – a muzzle

Goose – peanuts

Spacek – not a gift, but his tree fell over last year while watching cartoons with his son. Its all in Jaro’s delivery and accent, but he had a sheepish “I not do good job to tree” thing going on.

Hank – underwears. He was kind of reluctant to reveal that he received underwear, but the reporter beat it out of him.

Pommers – a Speedo. Pommers also included an explanation of what a Speedo was (for those of us that are clueless.)

So just remember, as you’re opening that hideous reindeer sweater from Aunt Maude, that you too could have received peanuts or a Speedo instead.


Christmas Greetings

December 24, 2007

Since the NHL is in a two-day shutdown for the holidays, Shots Off the Crossbar will be taking a brief break from hockey to share in the Christmas joy (or TV marathons, if you’re a dork like me. I’ve discovered that there’s a I Heart the 80s/90s marathon on today, and a Mythbusters marathon tomorrow. Nothing says happy holidays like blowing stuff up).

While poking around on YouTube for a Christmas video for this entry, I discovered that I was not hallucinating that there once was a Christmas special where the Muppet Show Muppets united with the Sesame Street Muppets for one happy holiday fiesta. For the longest time, I was the only person that remembered this special actually existed. Most of my co-workers and friends are of the same age, so them not remembering really made me feel like I was hallucinating. In case anyone’s wondering, a Muppet Family Christmas was the name of this special.

Before I go, I just want to share one of my favorite Christmas videos.

May all of you have a happy holiday and may all your Christmas wishes come true! Catch you on Boxing Day for a Sabres / Sens rematch.


Shoutout Gone Wrong

December 23, 2007

From this morning’s Buffalo News:

Winger Ales Kotalik took about 20 stitches to his forehead when he was struck by a puck during warmup. Paul Gaustad took a shot that bounced off the crossbar and nailed Kotalik.

“The cut was almost down to my skull,” he said.

Goose, I do appreciate that you were trying to send me a Christmas shout out by having a shot go off the crossbar, but injuring Kotalik while doing so is not a good way to go about it. Please keep that in mind for future shout outs.


Buffalo – Philly: Take 2

December 22, 2007

What an absolutely amazing hockey game. Both teams were not afraid to throw the body, both teams had multiple brain farts that resulted in the other team having scoring opportunities, both goalies played phenomenally, and the game went into a shootout. If more games were played with this level of intensity and drama, hockey would be a more popular sport in the USA.

– Hecht proved once again that he’s worth every penny of the contract extension he signed earlier this season. He scored the game winner last night and the game tying goal tonight. (I did catch that Lindy had four forwards and a Spacek on the ice for the game tying goal. Risky, but effective.)

– What was Marty yapping at Goose about? He went after Goose immediately in the second period. Kudos to Goose for not taking the Marty bait.

– Philly gets a round of applause for getting two shorthanded goals in 55 seconds. Two shorthanded goals in one game is a feat in itself, let alone two shorthanded goals that quickly. Richards’ shortie was an absolutely beautiful goal. He was the trailer on the play, and Miller made the save on the first shot, but the rebound went right to Richards, who half wristed-half slapped it past Miller.

– Miller’s third save in the shootout was the kind of save I love seeing goalies make and be successful at. The total body sprawling-limb-flailing save is one of the wildest out there, but when it works, its a good thing. Miller’s – and the team’s – dance of joy after the game was really cute to see. I don’t think I’ve seen Miller ever smile so wide before.

– Andrew Peters time on ice watch: tonight’s game showed a 300% increase over last night. Peters was on the ice for a whole 1:33. I would be willing to bet that some of his teammates had shifts that were longer than 1:33.

– The intermission feature about what to get Lindy for Christmas was pretty cute. As someone who loves to hear about the inner workings of the team, something like that did shed a little bit of light about Lindy and what his players think of him. They obviously think he has bad taste in ties, needs to lighten up (which was a little ironic coming from Crunchy of all people), likes dry erase markers (and throwing them apparently) and drawing on the dry erase board. Goose’s gift ideas of a mustache trimmer / comb, Patches thought about a car and Peters’ idea of his rookie card were just goofy enough to be the kind of thing you actually do give at a workplace gift exchange. Ok, maybe not so much the car.

– I have to go watch it later, but one of the Sabres message boards said that HNIC’s Satellite Hotstove mentioned that the NHL might be back on ESPN next year. ESPN’s realizing the upswing of the NHL in the USA. Apparently, the NHL section of gets more hits than other sections, including NASCAR. I know that stat doesn’t mean much, since a “hit” isn’t a clear term, and other things like unique visitors, time spent etc, determine popularity, but maybe the sport will finally get off the ultimate fighting-fishing-hunting channel.

Now we all settle into the Christmas break. I hope the Sabres relax, heal (Timmy and Staffy) and have a happy Christmas with their families and/or each other. They next play Ottawa on Boxing Day. Lets hope that holiday name is not oddly prophetic.

And finally…

You know Marty, that’s not a very nice thing to do to Pommerdoodle. Even if he did try to gnaw on your skates. Some pommerdoodles have been known to have a shoe fetish when left unsupervised.*

* I was reading dog ads at and the “shoe fetish when left unsupervised” came from the ad of a very young basset hound. I’ve fallen in love with the phrase.


Keep Your Enemies Close – Buffalo v. Philly Round 1

December 21, 2007

So tonight was the heralded return of Marty and Danny to Buffalo. I have to admit, they – along with their teammates – did put on a heck of a show.

– I will admit to being concerned at the start of the game when Lindy said he was encouraging the team to physically start with the Flyers. That usually doesn’t end well, as sometimes the Sabres have the reputation of playing like a bunch of panty-waisted doilymakers. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised tonight. A graphic put up with about 5 minutes left showed the Sabres and Flyers were pretty much dead even in hits.

I was also surprised by the play of Spacek. Yes, he did take a couple of penalties (which were questionable), but if it wore orange and black, he was hitting it. He had a great hit on Briere, igniting the crowd. And his hit on Upshaw, led to the funny moment of the night: Briere taking on Spacek. It was a bit like Henery Hawk taking on Foghorn Leghorn. Except Foghorn has a Czech accent in this case.

I say boy, I say…

– Poor Thiebault. Not only does he take a puck to the bits earlier this season, the poor dear manages to get injured sitting on the bench. One of the Philly players was shoved into the bench and Thiebault caught the guy’s stick in the snout. He was taken to the dressing room, and was available if Miller got hurt, but RJ said he was “resting comfortably” for the remainder of the game, and did not return to the bench.

– Miller again played a great game. I’m not really sure what else I can say about Crunchy’s play. I’m running out of adjectives.

– Harry Neale must be reading IPB and their thoughts on the one true Marty. At the end of the third period, he called Biron “Brodeur.” While both Marty’s are loveable, the tall, lanky Marty with the amazing blue eyes plays for Philly. The roly-poly Marty plays for the Devils. They are not interchangeable!

– Andrew Peters TOI watch: 20 seconds. Second lowest forward was Adam Mair with just over four minutes. Then again, I hope after that disaster of a fight in the first period, Peters was hiding under the bench, getting Lindy coffee or filling water bottles, necessitating the low ice time. Peters got his ass handed to him because he was too busy trying to get his equipment off to evade the punches. It’s frustrating to watch some nights.

And finally, its not Sabres related, but it’s cool. Sidney Crosby got his first Gordie Howe hat trick last night. Roby pointed out during the Sabres broadcast that today’s star players don’t really have to put up their dukes and fight anymore, that teams make sure they have one or two guys to handle the rough stuff. However, Roby also did say that sometimes a leader needs to step up and take a fist to the nose and drop the gloves to light a spark under the team. I think Sid’s trying to do that right now.

And now, the fighting styles of Sidney Crosby:

ETA: go check out Brad Riter’s blog Buffalo Main Event for photos of Miller’s mask for the Ice Bowl. Its pretty frickin sweet! You have to blow up the pictures to get the full detail, but the artwork is beautiful.