Archive for February, 2009

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Let’s Go Buff-a-lo!

February 13, 2009

Just some rambling thoughts about last night’s events…today’s events and a hockey game.

– My thoughts, prayers and best wishes go out to the friends and family members of those killed in the crash of Flight 3407. I also want to send a special wish out for those first responders who have worked tirelessly since last night to both put out the fire and secure the scene. It’s got to be the worst feeling being there and knowing there’s nothing you can do.

I used to work in Clarence and the area where the plane hit is quite the quaint little area. It’s near the Clarence Center Coffee House and The Perfect Gift, both of which are amazing locally owned businesses. It’s just eerie knowing that I’ve eaten at and shopped at these places and they’re right in the middle of a disaster area. However, it really is a miracle that the plane only hit one house. This situation had the potential to be a LOT worse.

I’ve also been amazed at the outpouring of concern from across the nation. In my job, I deal with a lot of people from outside the Buffalo area. Those that knew my employer used to be located in Clarence especially were concerned about us and how we were all doing.

I was also pleasantly surprised at how quiet the Arena was for the moment of silence before tonight’s game. I know they’ve done moments of silence before, but there was always this undercurrent of energy behind them. Tonight, you could have heard a pin drop in the Arena. About the only thing that the moment was missing was a “Let’s Go Buff-a-lo” chant when it was all over.

– WHOOOOOO! Mair tips a shot from the point past Nabokov. My happy at the goal overwhelms my regret at moving Ryan Clowe to the Little Honker bench due to an internet report that he was suffering from the flu and wouldn’t be playing. Guess who’s currently on the ice for San Jose?

– I just realized that the blanket I’m knitting is in San Jose colors. Despite that, it does look nice.

– WHOOOO! Spacek scores to make it 2-0 Sabres. I have to say that I’m liking the spunkiness I’m seeing in the Sabres so far. If they keep it up for 3 periods, I foresee a good night.

– Roy-Z scores his 100th career goal to make it 3-0. And it’s another power play goal! I guess spending all of practice on Thursday working on the power play is paying off. Harry Neale points out later in the first that the assist on the goal is Stafford’s 100th career point.

– I highly encourage everyone to bop over to Sabres.com and watch the portion of the Sabres show that deals with the CfC. It’s worth it just for Chris Butler’s modeling poses in the dressing area. Bonus coverage before the CfC feature shows Derek Roy intently reading “Z is for Zamboni” to a group of youngsters in Cheektowaga. He really looks like he’s getting into the book!

Anne pointed out that Ryan updated his little bloggity. I think it’s great that he’s kind of self conscious about being on the once a month update plan, because seriously, how many of us freak out if we don’t update our blog fairly regularly? Also, I like that he’s put thoughtful analysis into dog ownership, and recognizes that the single, bachelor, hockey player lifestyle isn’t the best environment to bring a dog (or two) into. I do want to point out that double the dogs you own means double the potential for doggie trouble. What one dog won’t think of, the other one probably will.

– At the end of the first period, it’s 3-1 Buffalo. Marleau ripped a wrister from the point past a screened Ryan Miller. At least the goal was scored by a Little Honker.

– Moving into the second period, San Jose is showing a little more toughness than they showed in the first, but the Sabres are answering them with some pretty neat play in the Sharks end.

– I really don’t need to keep hearing about how Rob Ray still looks as good now with his shirt off as he did when he fought Claude Lemieux back in the day. Can we stop talking about that now, k? thx.

– Hey, did y’all know that Joe Thornton was traded from Boston to San Jose?

– Kotalik rips a rocket from the point and it’s now 4-1 Sabres. Guess what…he did it on the power play. Guys, try not to use all the power play juju up in one game, k?

This kind of made me giggle just a wee bit.

– Speaking of Miller, he comes up big with two huge saves on a Mike Grier breakaway. Shots so far are 25-24 in favor of the Sabres, but the Sabres have the goal advantage.

– Boyle whips one past Miller to pull the Sharks to within one as the second period comes to a close.

– Oh, good grief. Derek Roy is now in a commercial with Cellino and Barnes. There’s entirely too much smug and bad cue card reading in this commercial for my liking. And it’s for a charitable promotion, too. Charitable promotion and smug do not go together.

– Rivet gets sent to the box for allegedly high sticking Joe Thornton. Turns out Rivet was innocent and Thornton was poked in the snout by his own teammate.

– Son of a bitch. Setoguchi scores to tie the game at 4. Good job there, Reggie, losing your stick and making it oh so easy for the goal to be scored.

– Pavelski scores to make the score 5-4, Sharks. This is not how this game is supposed to go, gentlemen.

– Interesting: the league gave the Sabres the option of cancelling the game tonight. The LQ explains why the team decided to go ahead with the game. I think LQ and Darcy made the right call. People needed the distraction from “all crash, all the time.” And speaking of “all crash, all the time,” has Scott Levin of WGRZ slept at all? He was on the 11pm newscast last night when the story broke, and was on the internet feed of WGRZ throughout the day AND showed up on the 6pm news tonight. Please tell me the guy took a nap at some point. And while I’m at it, Jody Johnston looked like hell at the end of the day. It looked like she just kept applying the pancake makeup, the blush and the eyeliner to cover the bags and the paleness. Hopefully she also gets a good rest tonight.

– Gerbe taking on Thornton along the boards is quite the sight. The kid is not afraid of players almost twice his size.

– WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Craig Rivet pulls a Captain Fuck This Shit (TM the Ookie sisters) move and rips a shot that makes it past Nabokov with 3.9 seconds left in the third to tie the game. It’s later determined that Pommers tipped the point shot, but whatevs. We’re now going to OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH-VERTIME.

– Private to Mr. Erhoff: You may be a Little Honker, but a knee-on-knee hit on Nathan Gerbe is in no way kosher. I may have to suspend you for this one, especially if the Gerbe is hurt.

– After a really entertaining overtime period, including some scuffling between Roy, Vlasic, Spacek and Blake to wrap it up, we head to the skills competition. Goody, goody, gumdrops.

– So in the skills competition, Nabokov stops Kotalik and Miller stops Boyle in Round 1. Round 2 sees Nabokov stop Staffy and Miller stop Pavelski with a smack. Round 3 sees Timmy get stopped by Nabokov and Miller stop Setoguchi. Round 4 sees both Pommer and Marleau score for their respective teams. Round 5 features Roy-Z doing a nifty backhand past Nabokov and Miller stopping Michalek cold, complete with his own “fuck this shit” puck toss after he made the save.

– I love the postgame celebrations when the team acts like a bunch of overgrown five year olds. Sure they could have put the game away several times, but a win is a win.

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A Quick One

February 11, 2009

There’s going to be a new video debuting before tonight’s Sabres game. It’s a 2.5 minute look at the relationship between the Sabres and hockey in Western New York. Once again, it will use a Goo Goo Dolls song (“Real”) as background music.

However, what struck me the most about the article was the following comment from the Sabres producer, Matt Gould:

Paul Gaustad and a couple of the guys who have been around a few years commented that the younger players didn’t grasp the depth of the community’s relationship with the team

We all know Goose called out the boys for their lack of on-ice performance after that dreadful Washington game in December. Now he’s calling the boys out for not getting the relationship the fans have with the team? That’s called being a leader, that character guy in the room. (I also have a nagging feeling that Miller may be one of Goose’s cohorts in the comment making. Just a hunch with no concrete proof at all.)

I’ll be intrigued to see how this video plays out, as well as see if it ruins another Goo Goo Dolls song for me.

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A Picture’s Worth a Thousand Words

February 9, 2009

Buffalo.com has posted their gallery of photos from last night’s Catwalk for Charity. It really does look like a good time was had by all.

Ryan Miller and a puppy. Altogether now: awwwwww.

– Please, please, please tell me that Sabretooth is not getting a lap dance in this photo.

Timmy! Happy! The grin works well on him.

– Why am I not surprised to see that Roy-Z’s sporting a boa? He is looking a little less than fierce in this photo, however. Tyra would be disappointed.

– It may be an unfortunate photo, but the first nominee for the “Drunk as a Skunk” award sadly appears to be Goose.

– I’m glad Staffy cleared up that he is not, in fact, Joey Ramone. But the expression on his face is PRICELESS.

Bemusement, thy name is Ryan Miller.

– And the second nominee for the “Drunk as a Skunk” award appears to be Jaro Spacek. He’s either alcohol flushed or about to come down with some sort of flu or other ailment.

– The Pat Kaleta cutout would make a wonderful addition to my office environment. Our library needs a librarian. Patty’s pretty threatening, right?

– It’s not related to the CfC, but Tim Kennedy was on the news tonight. If it wasn’t for the unfortunate lack of front teeth on the one side (thanks SO much, Gauthier), you would peg him for a graduating senior at St. Joe or Canisius. I wouldn’t even peg him for a college freshman, he looked that young. He really does not look like he should be a professional hockey player.

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How Do You Say “We’re Screwed” in Austrian?

February 8, 2009

Eeek!

Vanek is out 3-4 weeks with a fractured jaw. If all goes according to plan, he should be back in time for the end of season push.

At least Vanek will have Goose to keep him company in the press box. Those two seem like they could be fun to watch a game with.

Here’s to hoping that Timmy and Roy-Z and Staffy all stay healthy. And that Pommers resurrects himself from whatever little slump he’s in. We need all hands fully on deck now.

Will Darcy call someone up from Portland? Will he make a deal? Will he re-sign Timmy?

(Seriously though, where did that Timmy article come from today? Talk about a little bit of a shocker when I opened the paper this morning.)

Stay tuned, Sabres fans. We’re in for one heck of a ride.

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We Won. They Lost. Film at 11.

February 7, 2009

– Hopefully that headline will work for tonight’s game against Ottawa as well.

– The crowd sounded like it was a pretty even split between Sabres fans and Montreal fans. I heard a few “Ole Ole” chants and a few “Lets Go Buffalo” to counter, but judging from the goal reactions, it seemed like the crowd was evenly split. I realize that a lot of Canadiens fans come down here for the games, and I’m not going to fault Sabres season ticket holders for selling their tickets to Leafs and Habs games (if selling 6 games out of their package pays to keep them in the seats for the remainder of the year, who am I to judge), but this is HSBC Arena. This is our rink. Not theirs. Then again, Sabres fans are guilty of doing the same thing as Habs fans when we invade Washington and Carolina and Columbus, so I really should exit my soapbox gracefully before I tumble off. Moving on…

– Ryan Miller is playing out of his mind. At the end of the first period, I half expected him to take his teammates to task in the locker room for their crappy play. For most of the first period, it seemed like he was the only Sabre out there who gave two shits about the game.

– Timmy is also playing out of his damn mind. The on the knees goal was definitely worthy of rolling the highlight film for. I’m also really enjoying the series of Buffalo News columns discussing whether or not Timmy should be traded, re-signed or sent to live on a farm downstate. While trading Timmy is an entertaining idea (might as well get something for him while you can), I’d really like to see the Sabres hang onto him until the end of the season. We don’t need another player worrying about whether their suitcases should be packed just in case they get summoned to Coach’s office with the request to bring their playbook.

– I did get a good giggle out of Rob Ray calling Pierre McGuire a chicken for failing to block a shot that entered their little office last night.

– Continuing with the Pierre theme, ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun has a nice look at the Sabres and how they’re one of this season’s biggest surprises. This paragraph stood out to me, as it really nails our core group of players.

Vanek has grown comfortable with the pressure of a $50 million, seven-year contract and has found the back of the net about as often as anyone in the league not named Alex Ovechkin. Roy is looking the part of a No. 1 center. Pominville is the reliable two-way winger you can count on in the clutch. Stafford started slowly this season but is finally evolving into the offensive force the Sabres had envisioned. Gaustad is the feisty tower of strength who oozes character.

Alright, so we can argue that lately Pommers hasn’t been clutch so much as invisible. I’ll grant you that. But these guys are all part of the team’s core and need to keep playing their roles in order for the Sabres to be successful.

– I may be tempting the wrath of the whatever from high atop the thing with this next statement, but I really want to see the Sabres make the playoffs just to see what kind of playoff beard Rivet can pull off. When he was interviewed post-game, his growth was impressive. He looked like the kind of dude that you would cross the street to avoid. The Sabres haven’t had the potential for a playoff beard like that since JP Dumont left town.

– How in the bluedilly fuck did I initially miss this shirtless Goose interview on sabres.com? Since Goose is on the DL for the next little while, this is as much of him as we’ll get to see. (Unless he’s spotted at the grocery store or at Wine Theif.)

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The Boys Are Back In Town

February 5, 2009

– Who amongst us didn’t think that last night’s game had the potential to be a massive blowout? The Sabres were coming off the longest road trip ever in the history of road trips (if the media was to be believed) and Toronto games always have the potential to get out of hand in a hurry. However, the boys pleasantly surprised Sabre Nation by quickly getting off to a good start against the Leafs.

Timmy had a nice deflection off of the Rivet pass/shot to put the team up 1-0. (If someone can offer me proof that it was clearly a pass or clearly a shot, I will update with what it is, but to me, Rivet’s attempt at putting the puck on the net could go either way.)

And I agree with Miller. Staffy’s goal was just sick. Watch it on the game highlights here. That was a nifty move no matter how you slice it.

And Vanek just closed the door repeatedly on the Leafs having any chance of coming back. Not only was his hat trick his fifth in his career, it was his fourth consecutive natural hat trick. Only one other person in the league has accomplished that feat and he did it in the 1920s. (Thanks to the News for that bit of inane trivia.)

I’m really liking the Vanek / Stafford / Timmy line. They’ve clicked well these past couple of games, and Timmy has shown that when he’s healthy, he’s worth his salary. Then again, last time I liked a line together, Lindy broke them up the next game. That was the Ellis/Gaustad/Pommers line. Maybe Lindy needs to reunite them as well? Pommers has been all but invisible lately.

– Someone just turned the lights out on me. How nice. Thank you, friendly co-worker. Please to be putting them back on now.

– Why is it Lalime always looks happier than Miller post-game when Miller gets a shutout or has a kick ass game? Their little celebrations at the end of the game are absolutely adorable, though I do half expect Lalime to tackle Miller one of these days in a post-game hug gone awry.

– Lately I’ve been noticing that Gaustad has been dropping to his knees on face offs. Is he trying to shove the opponent off the puck? Look at last night’s opening draw for an example of what I mean? I don’t understand why he’s doing that. Anyone have any thoughts?

– And the lights are back on. Yay. Hooray for brightness!

– So glad to have RJ, Harry, K-Syl, Roby and Ray back for last night’s game. It really is true that you don’t know what you’ve got till its gone. (And in Buffalo, we probably will be paving paradise and putting up a parking lot.) Ray did not look happy about having to share his little office with Pierre McGuire during last night’s game. Then again, I wouldn’t be happy about having to share an already tight space, especially with a windbag like Pierre.

– I was also amused that Kevin Sylvester had to explain that Staffy likes to have fun with the media, especially after the little head shaking and sarcasm bit with the media horde in the locker room.Seriously though, who hasn’t realized that Staffy can come across as a bit of a wise ass?

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Mixing It Up

February 2, 2009

– The call up of Mike Weber from Portland means that the Sabres have hit the 11th person on their defensive depth chart. It’s like the 2006 Eastern Conference finals all over again. If another injury happens, who is the 12th man? Forget it…I don’t want to know, because I don’t think the team even knows (or wants to contemplate it). Can we cajole James Patrick into suiting up again? Maybe get Lindy to be a player/coach? He’s feisty. He can deal with some of the young whippersnappers out there these days.

– Congrats to Ryan Miller on being named the NHL’s Third Star for the month of January.

– If the Ducks website is reliable, tonight’s game should feature the most boring brotherly hockey matchup ever in the history of brotherly hockey matchups. With Lalime scheduled to start for the Sabres tonight, Ryan Miller will be spending the better part of his night on the bench wearing a ski cap. His brother Drew, recently recalled from Iowa by the Ducks, may very well be spending the night in the press box as a healthy scratch (as he did the other night against Colorado). Yawn. It’s more fun when they can actually play against each other.

– Not that I’m bitter or anything, but I was :35 away from winning $100 in my office’s Super Bowl pool. Nope, not bitter AT ALL.

– Speaking of the Super Bowl, I was a little underwhelmed by the ads. Some of them, like the Potato Head and Doritos ads, were pretty good. Others…not so much. And does the world really need remakes of GI Joe and Land of the Lost; not to mention ANOTHER Fast and the Furious movie? Although, Paul Walker still brings the pretty. So at least the F&F movie has that working for it.

– The caption Yahoo provides for this photo indicates that this is a faceoff.

Why do I feel like they’re doing it wrong?