Archive for October, 2008

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Mouse Potatoes?

October 22, 2008

– Oh, Staffy, just when I was starting to like you again, you have to go and make a comment like this:

“This game is for all the mouse potatoes out there that don’t think we can stick with it in a 2-1 game and come back,” Stafford said. “It’s definitely a big win for the guys.”

The season is only five games in. I don’t recall reading recently a lot of negativity in the mouse potato world about the team and how they all suck and need to be thrown overboard for a team of skating catfish. That usually hits the internet around December, and the MSM around January. Is Staffy ahead of his time?

But this comment also brings up an intriguing question: is Staffy trolling teh internets trying to get a grasp at what the fans are saying about him? I recall one board recently did have a “Stafford: Player or Punk?” thread, so is this his way of shooting back at the fans? I know there’s inherent curiousity about what people are saying about you online (admit it, you’ve Googled yourself), but still, he’s throwing the internet fan community under the damn bus and we haven’t done anything to deserve it…yet.

Its fine that he has an opinion, but he just needs to be careful about how he expresses that opinion. Remember sunshine, us mouse potatoes pay good money to see you play and buy your merchandise. Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.

– Last night’s game with Boston was a soul killing affair for the first period-and-a-half. The only real saving grace for this time was the amazing play of Ryan Miller. He had some absolutely fantastic saves and really kept the game from becoming a rout. And, it also looks like we’re back to Original Recipe Miller in the shootout. Maybe last year’s flaky, flippy shootout Miller was just an abhorration?

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Farewell, Old Friend

October 21, 2008

Today marked the last official time that Buffalo Memorial Auditorium would be opened to the public (well, the media and politicians at least) before its demolition next month. Its really sad to see what was such a great old building reduced to a vandalized mess of a shell. The sight of the crowd standing at what was center ice with the sun streaming down on them is a very haunting photograph.

Not that HSBC Arena isn’t a great building to watch a game in, but it lacks that character that the Aud had. I remember going to Sabres games as a kid, riding the train to the Aud with my parents, getting off right in front of the arena. I remember the walls of the lobby painted deep Sabre blue and gold with the marble floor and accents. The actual ticket turnstiles clicking as they recorded you entering the arena, the clicking sound mixing in with the din of the crowd and the program sellers grasping to gather people’s attention.

And c’mon, who can forget the Earl of Bud?

I remember seeing the “Niedermayer: Dead” sign for the first time in the Aud, and not really getting what it meant, wondering why someone wished ill on a hockey player. And since the Aud closed down 12 years ago, that should tell you just how long a blasted Neidermayer has been hanging around. (And yes, I did catch on to what Niedermayer: Dead sign referred to, in case you were wondering.)

A couple of really great galleries from today’s tour have been posted online.

This one is from The Buffalo News.

Yet another one is from Buffalo Rising, and is found on Flickr.

And of course, time for the gratuitous YouTube embeds. The first one is from the WGRZ News the night the Aud closed. Its a nice look back at the different NHL, soccer, lacrosse and basketball moments that happened at the Aud. Though I will warn you that you will be humming Simon and Garfunkel after watching the video.

This one was just linked by the boys over at Goose’s Roost a couple of weeks ago. Its the final part of the closing ceremony after the last Sabres game at the Aud. I’m just linking it because the final lap skate captures the history of the team, as well as the passion of the Buffalo fans. If you don’t have goosebumps listening to the “Let’s Go Buffalo” chant in the darkened arena, then you’re probably watching this dull as dishwater Sabres/Bruins game.

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The Brotherhood of the Traveling Pigeon

October 20, 2008

– I am way, way, way too amused by the fact that the Sabres players are awarding a stuffed, mounted pigeon to the person they deem as being the best player in a specific game. It sounds like the players are really getting into it, going so far as to haul it around on the road in a little coop. I’d pay good money to see Crunchy or Spacek walking through the airport carrying the pigeon coop; but in reality, I know the equipment staff is probably carrying it around for the players.

– And yet surprisingly, that wasn’t the most ridiculous story of the day. I think Puck Daddy’s post about Mike Commodore’s Facebook photo takes the cake. Seriously, Commodore is making Brian Campbell’s Expletive Deleted Stupid Ice Bowl faux pas look really, really minor. I think the League’s PR divas (and divos) might be giving some talking tos to their players in the next couple of days.

– Even though it probably has a snowball’s chance in hell of happening, how cool would it be to have Lindy behind the bench for Team Canada in 2010?

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I’m Baaaaaaa-ck

October 18, 2008

Question: what do Jochen Hecht, Paul Gaustad, Tim Connolly and your adorably adorkable blogger have in common?

Answer: we’ve all been placed on some form of injured reserve recently.

However, unlike the three gentlemen, I’ve been tentatively removed from the IR. After a 13-hour emergency room visit, three days in the hospital and tomorrow to recuperate, I can go back to work Monday. Who knew one simple intestinal blockage could cause so much darn drama? I’m better now, but do have some medicinal help in keeping me so. But in all seriousness, the staff at MF Suburban Hospital are some of the nicest people out there who do a lot while caring for a lot of patients. (As a sidebar, if you ever have to go to the ER in the Buffalo area, I really reccommend the new ER at Suburban. Each patient exam area has a TV in it, which is great for killing time while you’re waiting for a cat scan to be read. Wednesday night, I watched the hockey game, the debate, the post-mortem on the debate, the post-mortem on the post-mortem, and who-knows-what else on ESPN while waiting for a radiologist to read a result. If there was no TV, I might have cut a bitch.)

While I was in the hospital, I left management of The Little Honkers in the capable hands of my parents. Do you know how difficult it is to explain the ins and outs of the Yahoo Fantasy Hockey game to someone over the phone? I’m tied in my game this week (even though I’m DFL in the league so far), so they didn’t do too bad of a job.

– Now that the personal drama is out of the way, I’m really impressed by the Sabres this year. Even though this team is comprised of 80% of the same guys that were here last year, they’re not playing like the same guys that were here last year. Its like the switch has been flipped, the memo has been read and comprehended (and acted out with sock puppets for those that can’t understand big words), and the team is playing with some spunk and vigor. Did the return of Teppo and the addition of Rivet bring some much needed veteran leadership to the team? Did the longer offseason give the guys more time to think about what they wanted to accomplish this season? Were there some secret off-ice sessions conducted at training camp regarding playing a tighter, more defensive style while not letting go of the run-and-gun? Who knows? I know it’s only four games in, but they’ve been four fun games to watch.

– I don’t remember much of the Rangers game, but I did get a chuckle out of hearing Kaleta’s comments to Mara about whether his face was alright after last year’s hit. I realize that eventually Kaleta is going to have to drop the gloves at some point, but right now, he’s playing a key role as a professional pest. If you make your opponent’s white board (as Vigneault pointed out after last night’s game) and the opposition completely ignores their coach’s instructions and runs you, then you’re doing your job.

– Sidebar, I think it’s completely cool that the Canucks are letting little kids compete to design the team’s holiday card. I really am interested to see what results.

– Double sidebar. How cool is it that the kid from Clarence was named SI Kid of the Year?

– How in sam hill did Derek Roy end up under the Vancouver bench? That was a definite W.T.F moment.

– The Stafford/Sanford thing on the ice last night was a bit much to handle. I kept waiting for RJ to slip up and say that Staffy was in net for the Canucks.That could have been comical for many reasons. But seriously though, how many different times did Staffy have a shot on net and missed or couldn’t get the stick down or whatever? I don’t think its for lack of trying, but boy needs to score soon or he’s going to get into a funk.

– I know its been on the air for a bit now, but holy-new-Goose-save-the-planet-PSA. While it lacks some of the warmth and cheesiness of the original (nothing will beat the tin can tied to the cartoon-y looking TV set), I do like that the team is continuing the save-the-planet message. If I may be shallow for a moment, Goose was rocking the heck out of that grey coat in the PSA.

– Thomas Vanek, great to see you again. Are you getting regular nookie now that you’re married? If so, as Tim Gunn would say, please carry on. Anything to help you continue the great pace that you’re on. 🙂

– I’m really amused that the hug-turned-tackle between Thomas Vanek and Ales Kotalik turned into the Carubba Collision last night.

– The look of intense concentration on Adam Mair’s face in this photo is kind of endearing.

And that’s all for now. More after the Atlanta game (or tomorrow).

I know I said I was signing out here, but seriously, if you haven’t already, please go and read Miller’s latest blog entry at millertime30.com. In addition to the game analysis, there’s some very beautiful and touching words from Miller regarding his cousin Matt, and the one year anniversary of his passing. I really think this entry shows us a heck of a lot about what makes our goalie tick. We’ve read the professional writers takes on Miller’s relationship with his cousin, but to really hear it out of Miller’s own mouth (keyboard, whatever), takes it to a new level. If you’ll excuse me, its a little dusty in here.

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Just a Little Bit Behind

October 13, 2008

Like the Bills, I was on a bye weekend of sorts these past couple of days. The real world, plus a lack of motivation, conspired to prevent me from posting this weekend. So, with that aside, here’s a couple quick tidbits.

– Toni Lydman gets a hardy “that’s what she said” from me for his comments on his amazing save against Montreal:

“I didn’t see it right away because it was on Ryan’s other side,” Lydman said Sunday. “I was standing on his left side, I saw it rolling towards the net and I guess thank God I have a long stick.”

Yes, my inner twelve year old is coming out to play today. I think its a coping mechanism in preparation for my 401k meeting this afternoon.

– It wasn’t until I read about it in yesterday’s paper, but I didn’t notice that Lindy was shaking up the PK units. I was surprised as all heck to read that Kaleta was on the PK for a couple of shifts. Maybe the lack of the penalty clock on screen during the broadcast made it harder for me to keep track of that stuff? Who knows. But I do like Lindy’s willingness to experiment.

– During the player intros of Friday’s game, did no one clue the cameraman into the fact that Goose, Timmy and Patches were being introduced from the bench since they weren’t playing? For that matter, why didn’t they let the three of them dress in their sweaters and breezers and skate out with the rest of the team? Last time I checked, a broken thumb couldn’t inhibit skating and someone could’ve pushed Timmy around the ice if his back was still bothering him.

– While I wasn’t at the game, I did read in the Buffalo News gameblog that the population of Pominville sign now reads 26.5 million. Hee. That gave me a good chuckle.

– I watched the pre-game show on Friday night. I think the show is definitely off to a good start. I liked the Teppo feature, as well as the Ales Kotalik interview. The Darcy and Lindy joint interview was fun to watch because you can tell that they really like each other, in addition to just respecting each other. The only thing I didn’t like was that some features were replayed during the game’s intermission. Don’t waste my time like that, Sabres!

– If I wasn’t a fan of Poz already, I would really be one after reading Bucky’s (I know!) absolutely fantastic article about the guy in yesterday’s paper. Poz sounds almost too good to be true.

– I don’t have the best eyesight, but is Miller organizing a deck of cards in this picture?

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So Close

October 9, 2008

– The News did a bang-up job with their Sabres/NHL preview section. My favorite article in the section (after the one about Katebits and Heather B., of course) was probably the one focusing on the core six guys. I liked the insights about what its like in the minor leagues in regards to living arrangements, getting a cell phone and other stuff. You know, stuff that you and I take for granted. I also got a chuckle out of the image of Miller and Gaustad being stoic in front of Lindy when they were told that they’re permanently making the big show, and then jumping around like two idiots when Lindy left the room.

After reading the section, I’m just happy that I didn’t have to break out the first “shut up, Bucky!” before the season even began. I’m thinking it will be about 8-10 games before that happens.

– Rueben Brown has been announced as the replacement for Matthew Barnaby onThe Enforcers. The Barnaby/Ray combo was successful because their bond off the ice allowed them to riff on each other a little bit while still getting their point across. I’m not sure how Brown and Ray will come across on the air, but only time will tell.

– Why would a girl wear a shirt that says “Cross Checker“? I don’t get it. And especially with the cross checker wording in that position, too.

– I listened to the Derek Roy show on Kiss’ website. And surprisingly enough, I don’t feel dumber for it, as I sometimes do when listening to Janet and Nick. Roy-Z mentioned that Rivet is a 15-year-old trapped in a 34-year-old’s body, and that there is a prank waiting for Rivet at some point this season. After hearing about some of the pranks that these guys have pulled before, I’m a little worried for the team’s new captain. Janet and Nick also went through the entire roster, and had Roy name whether the player was single or married. I’m sure his teammates are going to be thrilled that their marital statuses (statii?) have been broadcast throughout the WNY area, especially when Janet and Nick argued that guys with girlfriends are still single. Way to give the puckbunnies hope, Kiss. Good job.

The players do not know whether they will be wearing the throwback sweater or the sluggy for opening night. I’d love to see the throwback, especially if the throwback logo is still painted at center ice.

During the listener supplied question period, Roy-Z shared that his favorite pizza is taco pizza (Which, ew. Sorry, Derek). And the worse pick-up line that he’s ever heard is “how much does a polar bear weigh? Enough to break the ice. Hi, I’m [name]”. Har. Har. Har. He admitted that he doesn’t use pick-up lines. Then again, why would you use pick-up lines when you’re one of the most recognizeable Sabres due to your height and fashion tastes. Then again, there are some girls that would just fall for “Hi, I’m a Sabre” as a pick-up line, which does trump the polar bear line for cheesiness by a mile.

– I think I’ve mentioned on here that I knit during hockey season to keep my hands occupied during the game. I got an early jump on the season’s knitting by starting this season’s blanket about three weeks ago. Here’s where I am so far.

The photo doesn’t really show that its wide enough to be a blanket, as the stitches are all crowded together on the needle too keep them from falling off. Believe me, it’s blanket size. And quite warm to have in your lap, by the way.

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Check.

October 8, 2008

Sabres Management Off-Season Checklist.

– Evaluate roster and allow no longer needed players to depart. Check.

– Make big trade that shocks the heck out of fan base (and the players involved in the deal). Check.

– Open up checkbook to sign potential free agents to new contracts. Check.

– Make note to buy bug spray to fend off moth infestation that happened after checkbook opening. Check.

– Introduce new third jersey to great fan reception. Check.

– Make final roster moves. Check.

– Name a new captain. Check.

– Enjoy fanbase reaction to captain announcement. Check.

– Enjoy last couple of days before season starts. Currently ongoing.