Archive for December, 2008


They Really Can’t Be Serious

December 30, 2008

– And Dick Jauron lives to see another season as Bills coach. I really think the respect of the players is what saved him. All the mentions of “continuity” in the Bills release make me think that management realized that they would have a player revolt on their hands if they canned Jauron.

TSN is reporting that the NHL is considering moving their annual awards show to Vegas in the hopes of drawing more attendees and sponsors. The Palms has reportedly shown an interest in being the host venue, which…ew. I really hope that any players considering staying at the Palms get flea dipped afterward. There’s quite a history of debauchery at that hotel. I mean, that hotel was the site of the infamous hot tub threesome on Real World: Las Vegas. There could still be Trishelle cooties floating around that hotel.  Not to mention that Playboy has quite the presence at The Palms. Aren’t there enough “NHL Players Are Manwhores” stories out there without dangling Playmates in front of them?

Not to mention that Vegas brings up connotations of gambling, and the league did have that pesky Rick Tocchet gambling ring thing a couple of years ago.

Use some smarts for once, NHL!

– Continuing in the “what the…” mode, Barenaked Ladies have written and recorded lyrics to “The Hockey Song.” (aka the old HNiC theme). I didn’t realize that the song needed lyrics. Is this just adding something to the song for the sake of adding something to the song? It’s an instrumental piece for goodness sake.

– Is it really a big deal that Ovie chews tobacco? There are worse “drugs” he could be using after all. Let’s keep that in mind.

And now for some notes from tonight’s game…

– The Sabres really need to work on clearing people out from in front of Miller during a penalty kill. Laich was standing unmolested in front of Miller, leading to an easy tap-in for Washington’s first goal. Tallinder and Lydman should have done some quick math and realized that only four Capitals players were in front of them and noticed that Laich was just chilling out in front of the net.

– The first period was not the most inspired period I’ve ever seen the Sabres play. They were constantly beat to the puck by the Caps, and while there were some flashes of brilliance, more often than not, the team appeared one step out of sync with each other.

–  The second period was not fun to watch either. However, Gaustad gets a gold star for trying, as he leveled two Caps in one shift. He even dared to check the wonderful Ovechkin. I don’t think he got the same memo that the rest of his teammates got about Ovie being untouchable due to his status as a “superstar” (insert your best Mary Katherine Gallagher pose here).

– What. The. Hell. It’s like an entirely different Sabres team has taken the ice after Mair scored to end the Caps shutout. Why do they insist on teasing us like this?

– The little box between the two benches looks so sad and lonely without Rob Ray and his camera dude in there. Speaking of Ray, did anyone else try to figure out the layout of the arena as Ray suddenly went from the Zamboni entrance  during the game to standing just outside the Sabres locker room in the intermission?

– The camera lingered on Miller seated on the bench at the end of the game. Dude had a very intense look on his face, almost like he was praying into his catching mitt. And as I’m writing this, the Caps scored into the empty net. Guess those prayers didn’t work so well.

– Wow, Jose Theodore is short. He just disappeared into the Caps congratulatory postgame huddle.

– I’m watching the postgame show and Goose looks like he’s going to kick ass and take names later. He said about 14 times that the game tonight was embarrassing, especially in front of the home crowd. I also like the subtle dig about how it’s everyone’s job on the team to make hits, not just his or Mair’s. We’ve all noticed that there are certain players on the team who are a little wimpier than others when it comes to hitting. It makes me think that it’s being noticed inside the room, too. Did I mention already that Goose looked pissed? Just want to get that across.

– Somehow, Vanek’s post game interview – while saying the same things as Goose’s (minus the hitting part, of course) – lacked that pissiness and frustration that I wanted to see. Vanek sounded almost whiny, like he’s tired of getting asked these questions from the media. Guess what sunshine, you wouldn’t get asked these questions if y’all hadn’t sucked worse than a cheap hooker tonight.

– It’s never a good sign when Miller starts his interview by crossing his arms over his chest. That’s a classic example of defensive body language. And it’s really not good when Miller throws the media under the bus by making a comment about how media members don’t show up to get their own quotes and instead rely on other people for quotes and then write their articles based on this secondhand comment. Anyone else curious as to what media members Ryan is referring to?

– And Lindy continues the bus throwing theme, by throwing all the forwards except for Gaustad, Mair and Ellis under the bus…backing it up, and driving over them again. Lindy also mentions that wimpy play is not going to be tolerated and people will get pulled from the lineup. Though Lindy says it’s not an idle threat, I will really believe that when I see it. If Jochen or Roy-Z is riding the pine on Thursday, I’ll issue a mea culpa post.


Making Music

December 29, 2008

Last night I went to the Ronan Tyan / Buffalo Philharmonic concert at Kleinhans. I love going to Kleinhans. The building has this odd mix of rickety charm and history to it. And maybe it’s because I have no musical ability whatsoever, but I do like going to orchestra concerts. I like seeing the musicians wander out on stage and each start warming up individually, leading to what seems like a mass orchestral warm-up that summons Falletta on stage.

I went back and looked at what I wrote about Tynan’s concert last year, and this year’s show did include a lot of the songs he sang last year. “Hallelujah” was still uplifting (as much as that song can be) and the requisite Shrek jokes were cheesily funny. “All I Want Is You” by U2 was beautiful, as was Springsteen’s “Into The Fire”, which was dedicated to the 5 Buffalo firemen who died 25 years ago in a propane explosion.

The BPO had a chance to shine on “Danny Boy” and “The Last Rose of Summer.” In the second act, they really shone on “Sabre Dance.” You couldn’t expect a concert in Buffalo and featuring a Sabre to not have this awesome song played.

Drew Stafford showed up in the second act of the concert to play the Metallica version of “Whiskey In The Jar” and U2’s “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.” The Metallica really highlighted Staffy’s guitar skills and Staffy’s enthusiasm for the guitar, but the U2 seemed to be pretty basic for him (and it was one of the songs he played last year).

The U2 song with Staffy was supposed to be the last song of the night as Tynan made a comment that they were running close on time. However, the crowd’s standing ovation and some gentle prompting from Falletta caused Tynan to come back and sing two more songs. He finished with one Irish song and “God Bless America” which also included an audience sing-a-long at the end. Thank heavens Tynan came back to sing “God Bless America.” After he left the stage at the end of the U2 song, this woman in the next section over started shrieking in the world’s shrillest voice “God Bless America…God Bless America.” And she kept at it until Tynan came back on stage. I was ready to crack her upside the head with my purple NY&Co satchel, that’s how annoying she was.

In terms of the “celebrities” in the crowd, I only saw The LQ and Ed Kilgore. And of course, The LQ made it a point to stop by and schmooze The Kilgore.

Now, onto the important part of the evening…the fashion review. Let’s start with Stafford. He was wearing a white button front shirt, untucked, and a pair of extremely well fitting jeans. I was four rows from the back of the hall and even I could tell that the boy knows how to wear a pair of jeans. As I mentioned before, Staffy seemed confident while playing the guitar, but turned almost bashful when the crowd started applauding and he was entering/exiting the stage. He did this really cute little half-wave and bashful smile thing. All he needed was a “who me” to complete the bashfulness.

In terms of the audience members, there were really only three bad faux-pas that I saw:

– a satin dress three sizes two small. As we’ve all learned from Project Runway, satin is one of the most unforgiveable materials ever! Don’t try and jam ten pounds into a five pound bag is all that I am saying.

– a short sweater, leggings and Uggs, all topped off with a beret. I know it’s a trendy look, but it’s not one of my favorites and seemed out of place in the concert environment.

– denim capris worn with hooker boots (why? just why?)

If you want to read the professional review of the concert, Mary Kunz Goldman of the Buffalo News offers her two cents here.



December 28, 2008

– While Lindy was rocking a very dapper cantaloupe colored shirt last night, the color was doing nothing for him as the game went on and his face was getting increasingly redder.

– I especially appreciated MSG’s replays of Lindy’s end-of-game tirade towards the whole bench after the team gave up two goals in the last 1:30 of the game. Thank heavens Miller came through in the shootout, or I would have been forced to throw something at the TV had they lost.

– And the Tim Kennedy experiment is over. At least he got to give his parents a nice Christmas present.

– Eesh. Jay McKee is in danger of losing a finger. Man, is he snake bit. First it was the staph infection during the Playoffs of My Injured Defensemen, then the injury litany during his first season with the Blues and now this. The poor guy really does have the worst luck. I wish him well, and really hope that he doesn’t lose the digit.

– I think I’ve exhausted my “shut up Gumbel and Dierdorf” quotient for this Bills game. Yes, it’s windy. We get it. No need to keep mentioning it every 30 seconds. Though the bent goalposts are pretty neat to see.

– And shut up, Duke Preston. It’s (mainly) your fault that the Bills weren’t able to get a play off at the end of the first half. And yes, I do understand that the Bills poor clock management played a role in how the half ended. And yes, I do understand that it was a bullshit call by the ref to say that the whistles were to break up the skirmish and not end the play. I thought a whistle ended the play irregardless of what’s going on, not that there’s whistles for play ending and whistles for skirmish ending. But Preston shouldn’t have given in to the Patriots heckling and just gone about his business.

– Tonight I’m off to the Ronan Tynan concert (with special guest musician Drew Stafford). I hope to write about it tomorrow (or even later tonight), provided I’m not blown into next week by these winds.


If Lil’ Timmy’s In…

December 27, 2008

Then who’s out?

With the announcement that Tim Kennedy has been called up from Portland for tonight’s game against the Islanders, who rides the elevator to the press box? Does this mean that Vanek is suffering some post-Ovie shot block effects? Is Yo-Yo going to sit? Reading Lindy’s post game comments about Hecht’s performance made me think that Jochen is in the Ruff doghouse.

I guess we’ll have to see when the puck drops tonight.


Letters to St. Nick

December 23, 2008

We here at Shots Off the Crossbar recently came into possession of some letters to St. Nick written by some of Buffalo’s best athletes. So what do these guys want from Santa? Let’s take a look…

– Jaroslav Spacek: pigeons. Lots and lots of pigeons.

– Goose: a wish for wings that work.

– Trent Edwards: that Jason Peters figures out how to stop the speed rush more often than once every three times it happens. Trent is getting tired of being chased from the pocket and driven into the turf.

– Andrew Peters: that Augie the dog would at least eat the cheap shoes and not the expensive ones.

– Drew Stafford: a record deal for Invisible Children. Some good fake mustache glue and a new mullet wig.

– Timmy: he really would like if that special healing power he saw Peter, Claire and Sylar use on Heroes was real and not the figment of a TV writer’s imagination.

– Jason Peters: a new, fat contract. Negotiated and signed before the old man in charge kicks the bucket.

Ryan Miller: skinny jeans, skinny T’s and a new toque. And a wish for another successful Catwalk for Charity.

Lindy Ruff: that his guys would understand the concept of putting together a solid 60 minute effort every night.

Jason Pominville: that The System would finally reveal her true feelings for him. Pommers has been nothing but devoted to The System and has received nothing in return.

And lest we forget…

The Buffalo Fans: that most of us get to see a football or hockey championship in our lifetime.

The Buffalo Bloggers: continous inspiration for posts, good traffic stats and lively comment threads.

I hope you all have a nice, safe, happy and joyful holiday season!


Let It Snow, Let It Snow

December 21, 2008

Yea, we can stop with the snow thing already. I’ve been trapped in my house since I got home from work on Friday (with the exception of a brief trip to Wegmans and Starbucks this morning). I’m going a little house happy, and the crappy football game I’m watching isn’t helping matters. (A Bills game? Crappy? Hard to believe, right?)

Since I’ve had some time on my hands, I’ve been playing with my camera and Picasa. Here’s what’s resulted.


Blowing snow. Drifting snow. Isn’t it fun?


Alternate side parking has been kind of thrown out the window in this storm. I don’t think anyone could park on the street even if they wanted to.


Is this not the most ridiculously adorable holiday wreath you’ve ever seen?

And since we need some hockey talk in this post, Sabres Edge is reporting that Lindy made the boys skate this morning. Goose is still out with the heinous upper body injury and Kaleta has been fitted for a neck brace again. The walking wounded report is getting longer and longer, as the two of them have joined Timmy, Rivet and Gerbe on the sidelines. Hopefully the Christmas recess will allow for a little bit of healing for these guys.


Sabres vs. Kings – 12.19.08

December 19, 2008

I’m quite happy to be sitting on my couch right now. I survived the move of my workplace during the middle of a snowstorm, the intensely high pucker factor of the ride home, and getting stuck at the foot of my driveway. There’s never a dull moment in my life, let me tell you.

So without further adieu, here’s tonight’s live(ish) game blog.

Sabres Show

We’re treated to a brief feature on Pommers and his blog. Pommers is quite the Two Fingered Louie when it comes to typing. He’s not going to be setting any typing records with the keyboard. He would not do well if he had to do a live game blog. Or type a term paper. I wonder if Crunchy’s a Two Fingered Louie typer as well and that’s one of the reasons for the delays in his blog entries?

– Doc Emrick is quite the funny guy. During a conversation about the Winter Classic, Doc mentions that he half expected all the biblical plagues to descend on Ralph Wilson Stadium during last January’s game, that’s how crazy the weather was. He shared that the broadcast crew is going to be on a scaffold in the second base area for this year’s Classic at Wrigley Field. That’s going to be quite the adventure for the broadcasters, as they’re going to be stuck out in the elements. At least at the Ralph, they had a semi-warm(ish) press box to retreat to.

– According to my Sabres Insider e-mail, Drew Stafford will once again be joining the BPO for their concert with Ronan Tynan. I will be attending that concert again this year. No, my tickets weren’t bought because of this announcement. Yes, I am a dork, but my mother wanted to go to the concert, and who am I to say no to my mother?

– I love that Mike Robitaille keeps insisting that Derek Roy is 5’6 or 5’7. My question is: on what day and in what shoes?

– During the “You Asked For It” segment, Nathan Gerbe settles the score on the pronunciation of his last name. Its Ger-Bee, not Ger-bay. While Gerbe was explaning the proper pronunciation, Sabretooth was completely hamming it up for the camera in the background, and was completely unnoticed by either Maria Genero and Gerbe. I’m sure the camera dude was chuckling, though.

First Period

– Lineup changes for tonight include Matt Ellis and Chris Butler in, Paul Gaustad (upper body injury) and Nathan Paetsch / Max Afinogenov (crappy play) out.

-Seriously!? Pommers just got nailed with a viscious check to the side long after he got rid of the puck. No penalty called, however. Which sucks, considering even my couch surfing rear knew that was penalty worthy.

– 10 minutes left in the first period and there’s still no score, but the Kings are the slightly more dominant team at this point.

– Roy breaks into the Kings zone with Stafford trailing, but Roy shoots the puck wide. I swear, the boys are going to need some practice on hitting things other than the broad side of the barn.

– On a completely whackadoodle play, Derek Roy centers the puck from behind the net, flings it through the goaltender’s legs, and off of LA Defenseman Kyle Quincy. Score: 1-0, Sabres.

– And in some other whackadoodle news, Firefox recognizes whackadoodle as an actual word. Will wonders never cease?

– Miller is credited with an assist on Roy-Z’s goal. I like when goalies make the scoresheet for something other than goalie stats.

– Kaleta and Ivanans are sent to the penalty box for roughing after Kaleta gets facewashed and doesn’t take too kindly to it and retaliates. Kaleta’s reaction is completely justified. Who wants a stanky hockey glove shoved in their face, anyway?

– Checking the TOI stats on Yahoo!, it looks like Paille has had his ass nailed to the bench, as he’s only played just over a minute-and-a-half this period.

First Intermission

– Snack time. Ben and Jerry’s Cake Batter Ice Cream. Yes, it’s 19 below with snow on the ground and I’m eating ice cream. I needed something sweet.

– I really get a kick out of the Molson Canadian commercials focusing on Molson as an honest brew. Every time I see the commercial, I notice something different in it. This time, it was the curling on the TV in the background.

Second Period

– The  period starts off with the announcement that the Miller and Lydman assists on Roy-Z’s goal have been removed.

– Pommers and Mair break into the zone, and Mair just can’t reach the rebound from Pommers shot. If he could have, it totally would have been 2-0 in favor of the Sabres, as Mair was facing a wide open net.

– Adam Mair atones for missing that rebound and pokes in a Chris Butler shot. That’s Butler’s first NHL point.

– We’re being treated to a bit of a goaltending clinic by Miller tonight. So far, he is playing a very strong and consistent game.

– Clarke MacArthur picks up Stafford’s rebound and taps it past LaBarbara. 3-0 Sabres.

– Kaleta takes a run at Gauthier, which we hear moreso than we see, and as the camera follows the puck up ice, Kaleta gets sucker punched by Gauthier in retaliation. It was a completely shitty move by Gauthier, as Kaleta came nowhere close to hitting him. As a result, the Sabres are granted a four-minute power play as Gauthier is in the box feeling some shame.

– That four minute power play kind of sucked. The Sabres had absolutely no momentum to get plays set up in the Kings zone.

– We’re doomed. As the period comes to a close, Harry Neale mentions that the Sabres have a stranglehold on this game. We’re so doomed.

Third Period

– The Sabres are back on the power play as Greene is sent to the box for hauling down one of the guys wearing blue and gold. Let’s see if the power play can improve on it’s lackluster showing in the second period.

– And they do! Staffy backhands the puck past LaBarbara. That goal allowed Staffy’s five game point streak to continue.

– LaBarbara is pulled and replaced by Johnathan Quick. LA responds by promptly commiting a slashing penalty.

– While waxing poetic about Dustin Brown’s smarts, Harry Neale mentions that he was once a high school teacher. I wonder what subject he taught?

– Either Miller is sweating like a pig, or he’s spent a lot of time on his back this game. The back of his sweater is completely soaked.

– Neale mentions that getting shots through to the goaltender is half the battle. I thought knowing was half the battle?

– Miller continues to put on a goaltending clinic, with two spectacular saves in a row.

– RJ intones that Kaleta has not been seen on the ice in quite awhile, and is not on the bench? Could he have reaggravated that neck injury that keptQ&A him out for a couple weeks?

– Matt Ellis shoots, Peters misses the rebound, and Ellis gets the second chance as he recovers Peters missed shot and performs a nifty bouncing wraparound. While I’m happy that Ellis got his first goal, I kind of wanted Peters to get his first. His goal celebrations are the best.

-While it looks like there are a fair number of empty seats in the arena tonight, the crowd is still pretty loud.I just heard the “we want six” chant. Love that chant. It’s so uniquely Buffalo.

– It’s not Sabres related, but it’s still an interesting  Q&A with Sean Avery.

– And Miller gets the shutout. 40 saves to earn his third shutout this year and 10th of his career. Good job Crunchy!


Hockey Players Are People Too

December 18, 2008

– At least that’s what Ryan Miller implied during the announcement of the Third Annual Catwalk for Charity. He mentioned that the event is a chance for fans to see what players are like off the ice. If I were at the CfC, I doubt I would be able to keep a straight face if I saw one of the Sabres dressed up like a 1920’s gangster. (This year’s event is focused around the idea of a “roaring speakeasy party.”) I’m having a hard enough time not giggling at Kaleta, Mair and Miller dressed in their best gangster get-up.

– And our beloved Crunchy updated his blog with his thoughts on the holiday season, including a lament that he’s going to miss all the fun holiday parties back home where someone has a wee bit too much egg nog and makes a fool of themselves. You mean to tell me that at the Sabres holiday party, no one gets smashed and is talked about the next day? I thought it was a rule that every party had one of those people. Even my work party at Dewey Addem and Howe has had that person make an appearance….every year. And it’s never the same person, either!

– And it looks like our long national nightmare is over. Mats Sundin signed with the Canucks. “Sundin and the Sedins,” while probably being a tongue twister for a play-by-play guy, sounds like a great name for a band.

– After reading this article, I kind of get how Drew Stafford is friends with Zach Parise. Parise seems very high strung, while Stafford gives off the chill vibe. They complete each other!

– While I missed most of last night’s game due to the need for sleep beating the crap out of the need for hockey, I did wake up briefly in the first intermission and saw the feature on the Sabres trip to Childrens. Tim Connolly in a Santa hat looked more human and less sleazy than I think I’ve ever seen him. Both the kids and the Sabres looked like they were having a ball during this visit. I just wish the Sabres would show more of the warm and fuzzy features during their intermissions.


What Is Going On At The Arena?

December 15, 2008

What kind of practice is Lindy running these days? There should not be two injuries to two relatively key players during one practice. First, Patches somehow loses a tooth. (No word on whether the tooth was recovered for Patches to leave under his pillow as an offering to the Tooth Fairy.) Then, James Patrick tries to dump in a puck and ricochets it off of Paul Gaustad’s chin, causing Goose to leave the ice bleeding and in need of X-Rays. I guess someone forgot to tell Goose to duck.

:::ba dum bum::: Thank You. Thank You. I’m here till Tuesday. Try the fish.

Anyway, Lindy predicts that Gaustad will be fine, but is just a little sore. (Ya think!)

At least the puck didn’t ricochet in off Timmy. That would have probably scared the poor dear into giving up hockey altogether. If it didn’t kill him first.

Today’s practice also revealed what Rivet’s exact upper body injury is. His shoulder is a bit out of whack and he will be evaluated in two week chunks. After reading about Patches, Goose’s and Rivet’s injuries, I half expected the next bulletin out of HSBC Arena to be that Ryan Miller threw out his back while putting on his peacoat after practice.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to watch the Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade holiday special. Cocktails, seasoning packets and tablescapes for all!


Lazy Sunday Post

December 14, 2008

– Last night was corporate merrymaking time. We broke bread and toasted the past, present and future. And while a good time was had by all, the good time was definitely bartender assisted. He was a member of the Sandra Lee school of cocktails: the more booze in the glass, the better. My vodka cranberries were definitely more vodka than cranberry. That definitely slowed the drinking pace a bit for me.

Corey Griswold’s blog of last night’ s Sabres / Devils game is pretty darn funny. I especially liked this comment:

2-1 Devils. Holik scores because the only Sabre who would take the body was Paul Gaustad. Spacek and Sekera were too busy waving their sticks at full extension. If a Sabres defenseman were to ask my daughter out on a date I wouldn’t worry about funny business because there is no way any body contact is happening.

Sad but true. Our defense lately has been a little soft. Gaustad, however, has been hitting anything and everything that moves. That fight with Craig the other night is still one of the better ones I’ve seen this season.

– Speaking of hitting things, why doesn’t the Bills defense try something new and different; you know, like hitting Brett Farve before he runs half the length of the field?

– I would love to know what Lindy and the boys think about Staffy and his metal god ambitions.


It’s still funny two days later.

– Yesterday I was at the Sabres store attempting to holiday shop. (That didn’t work so well. So Dad, if you’re reading this, you’re not getting anything from the Sabres store). I was pleasantly surprised to see a rack of Portland Pirates gear. I ended up buying a Gerbe t-shirt (also available were Weber and Kennedy). This is the first time I can recall seeing AHL merchandise at the Sabres store. There never was any Amerks gear around during the Sabres long affliation with them. New team, new location, new enthusiasm, I guess.

– So now that Sean Avery has been shown the door by the Stars, where does he go from here? Is there an NHL team crazy enough to take him on (hi, Tampa!) or will he be destined for the AHL or even Russia?

– At least JP Losman’s appearance on Deadspin is slightly less scandalous that Derek Roy’s.

– Why do I continue to watch Bills’ games? First, Losman fumbles the ball while the Bills have the lead, leading to a Jets touchdown. Then, on the next possession, he throws a fucking interception. That’s not good on two levels. First, if the Bills running game is kicking ass and taking names, why did Jauron decide to throw the ball? JP hasn’t exactly been confidence inspiring lately (neither was Trent for that matter). Marshawn’s been running his ass off, and yet on a third down, with the lead, when all the team needs to do is kill the blessed clock, we throw the ball. The mind, she is blown. Not to mention that a fumble and an interception in consecutive series aren’t doing JP any favors in putting together his “Best Of” reel in order to find a new team next year. It’s going to be a long week on Buffalo sports talk radio, as the Sabres are silent until Wednesday, and thus unable to serve as a distraction.