Puck Drop ReportSeptember 20, 2008
WARNING – PHOTO HEAVY, WORDY POST AHEAD!
I just got back from Puck Drop, and it was so nice to see actual hockey being played. Even though it was just a scrimmage, and there was no hitting, it was good to see the scoring, the skating and the creativity on the ice.
Hockey, Its Good To See You Again!
I fully admit to having edited the above photo in Picasa. The flash of my camera was having a blast catching the reflective stripes on the jerseys. Making the photo black-and-white really made the stripe pop.
I arrived at the arena shortly after 10, so the scrimmage was well underway already. Unlike Mike Harrington of the News, I managed to avoid getting hit with an errant street hockey ball while walking into the arena. I headed up into the 200 level and found a seat on the players bench side, and was just about even with the face-off dots. The one thing I regret not getting before I hit my seat was a list of who all the players were on each side of the scrimmage. I was able to pick out some of my favorites based on appearance (ie: Staffy was Blue 21, Goose was Blue 28, Miller was Blue 30, Roy was Yellow 9, Hank was Blue 10 and Pommers was Yellow 29.) I was lost on most of the rest. Thankfully, the scoreboard did announce when there was a goalie change, as Lalime and Enroth replaced Miller and Not Miller. (I missed Not Miller’s name. Again, I was lamenting the lack of a player list.)
Here we see the NHL Goalieous Fussieous in his natural habitat. These creatures are known to be picky in terms of habitat layout, enjoy their personal space and have a unique fashion sense.
One of the first things I noticed was that center ice was blank. Could this mean that the slug isn’t going to be at center ice anymore? Are we going to be seeing a return to the original crossed swords logo?
Hmm. Even when the slug was revealed, center ice still wasn’t blank.
When a “regular” Sabre scored, his black-and-white glamour shot photo flashed up on the scoreboard along with his pertinent stats. While Stafford did score a pretty nice goal, I didn’t need to see his hairy forearm in HD, thank you very much.
The Yellow bench was run by James Patrick, and I couldn’t see who was running the Blue bench. The rest of the coaching staff was holed up in one of the luxury boxes, taking notes and drinking coffee.
On one of the breaks I headed to the 100 level to get a pop. Guess who I see coming out of the elevator when I’m coming back to my seat? Mr. Golisano and Mr. Quinn. LQ was dressed pretty casually in jeans, while Mr. G. was in a sport coat and yammering quite emphatically into a cell phone. That was my brush with greatness for the day.
The Blue team won the scrimmage quite handily over the Yellow team. I refuse to call them the gold team. Those yellow jerseys were in no way, shape, or form anywhere close to the color gold. The team did a few skating drills before heading off the ice to change for the sweater reveal.
Who’s the poor dear who looks like he’s tripping over his own two feet?
While Pommers appears to be doing a good job of leading them in the stretching drill, he does lose some Captain points for not making sure that the players are not lined up in an alternating blue-yellow pattern.
After a pretty sweet intro invoking Sabre greats of the past and resurrecting the seldom heard “Sabre Dance,” each “regular” Sabre player was introduced to the crowd by RJ and got to skate out from the Zamboni entrance. Miller was the first one out, and then the rest of the players were introduced in numerical order. Teppo, by far and away, received the largest round of applause from the crowd. Gaustad received a hearty chorus of “Gooooooooose” during his introduction, and Stafford was greated with a slightly less enthusiastic “Dreeeeeewwww.” I did like that Rivet and Lalime both received a warm welcome from the crowd.
Saluting the fans after a lap around the ice.
This is probably my favorite photo of all the ones that I took today. They really do look like a team that’s happy to be back and playing hockey. And they’re also in some pretty snazzy looking new jerseys.
Its a Teppo sighting! I missed those last season.
Just judging from what I saw on the scoreboard during the player intros, and from the above two photos, it looks like the bald or severe buzz look is in this year on the Sabres. You can really see it on Tallinder in the above photo. Is Timmy leading a bald is beautiful charge on the team?
I decided not to hang around for the autograph session, realizing that I could be waiting in line for over an hour and a half, as lines were forming before practice was over. I don’t do lines very well. So I headed down towards the Erie Canal Harbor next door to the arena. Can I just tell you (tm Sandra Lee) that I was really glad I did? The area is absolutely gorgeous, and I now get why every other word out of Congressman Higgins mouth is “waterfront.” If they can get some restaurants and shops down there, the area could really be a popular summertime recreational destination. Right now, it just serves people who want to walk and poke around the historical area. Once that’s done, there’s no incentive to stay around. But, this area is just a start, and a heck of a good one at that.
Looking out at the new Naval Park museum building.
Holes in the side of The Aud where they’re removing insulation and other stuff before demolishing the building this fall.
The original canal slips.
The USS Little Rock, as seen from the harbor area.
I had a blast today and can’t wait for the season to start. Go Sabres!