Archive for the ‘Drew Stafford’ Category

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Since When…

May 9, 2009

– When did Hamilton become the latest new place to move a hockey team to? Couple years ago, the Predators were all but packed and on their way. Now, Balsillie wants to move the Coyotes there and a group out of Vancouver wants to move the Thrashers to H-town. There’s no way in hell that Bettman lets either team move. He’s bound and determined that hockey remain ensconced in the southern part of the US. It would be admitting failure if he let a team leave the south. The recent success of the Caps and Hurricanes is proving that hockey can succeed south of the Mason Dixon line. But then again, for every Washington and Carolina, you have an Atlanta or a Florida. It’s not good for the league as a whole when reports constantly surface that rich people want to move less successful teams to any area that waves a bright and shiny arena at them. (And that’s not even taking into account the rumors of Wang moving the Islanders to Kansas City if he doesn’t get his new arena on Long Island.)

– The photo accompanying TSN’s article about Gonchar’s injury is absolutely stunning. It completely shows the pain, anguish and heartbreak running through Gonchar as the trainer tends to him. I’m constantly in awe of the high quality of photos put out by NHL related photographers.

Puck Daddy has a scathing indictment from Gonchar’s agent of the double standard potentially exhibited by the league in regards to the Gonchar/Ovechkin contact. Good read, as JP Barry has the balls to actually say what a lot of us have thought occasionally regarding the behavior of Crosby, Ovechkin and other “stars.”

– I’ve had Indy 500 qualifying on in the background while doing some work for a presentation, and the network is doing a pretty good job of promoting its hockey schedule. However, I do want to give Indy announcer Bob Jenkins a brief  pronunciation guide to the word “Canucks.” It’s pronounced “Ca-Nucks.” Not “Ca-Nooks.” Please work on this before I throw something at my TV set.

– We know that the NHL is one of the more savvier leagues when it comes to the use of the internet and electronic communications. However, I bet most of us had no idea just how in-depth the NHL’s email efforts are. Mediapost reports that the NHL has an email database of nearly 1 million names and sends 62 e-newsletter versions per week. That’s pretty darn impressive, but the media geek in me wishes there were some stats in there like open rates and click throughs.

– While poking around on the internets, I discovered that Derek Roy was a participant in Buffalo Spree’s bachelor auction that was held in February. I’m dying to know just how much our little Roy-Z was auctioned off for.

– And speaking of Roy-Z, here’s wishing him and Lindy the best of luck in the Gold Medal game at the World Championships. And best of luck to Stafford and Team USA in the bronze medal game. I just hope that when they come back to town, they don’t show off their medals in the locker room. Otherwise, they may have to keep sharp implements away from Vanek. Dude sounds extremely down about what happened at the WC’s, that it was just the icing on the crappy cake that was his past season.

– I really kind of want this USA Hockey T-Shirt.

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Sabres v. Leafs: The Return of the Crunchy

March 27, 2009

howyoudoin

– Glad to see ya back, Ryan! (Seriously, this is a nice shot of him. Lot of emotions running across his face.)

– CuJo looked rough tonight. Four goals on nine shots is not a good stat for any goaltender. On the other hand, Buffalo had four goals on only nine shots. How many nights have they struggled to get 2 goals on 40+ shots? Having such a high goal/shot percentage has to be morale inducing for the Sabres.

– Tonight’s interesting stat is courtesy of Greg W. at Puck Daddy: Ryan Miller was 10 years old during Cujo’s rookie season. I can’t believe that CuJo’s been in the league for 18 years already. Crikey. I’m feeling old, and I’m a year nine months younger than Ryan Miller. I can only imagine how CuJo feels.

– The first Toronto goal looked like it bounced off of Spacek’s knee. No wonder Miller looked so befuddled after it went in the net. He thought he had it.

– I spent a good chunk of the first period explaining to my mother that his name is Luke Schenn. Not Lou Chen.

– I hope the Rivet family has already gone to Sears Portrait Studio to have their Easter photos taken, as Mr. Rivet took a puck off the snout early in the third period. Even though it wasn’t bleeding too badly, he looked a little rough when he came back to the game with 8:00 left in the game.

– I think the Sabres got their bits out of storage tonight, especially where defending their goalie is concerned. Every time a Leaf so much as looked at Miller the wrong way, a Sabre was there to throw his two cents in. The biggest example was in the third period when Lori Peckorovsky Alexei Ponikarovsky stumbled over Miller. While Miller got a whack or two in with his goalie stick, Gaustad went after Ponikarovsky and eventually fought Kubina at center ice. I wonder if Lindy put a “do not let them touch Miller” edict into place for the remainder of the season?

-Tonight’s Sabres Trivia Question dealt with which Sabres have won the Masterton Trophy (Don Luce and Pat LaFontaine). The Sabres nominee will be announced Tuesday, and unlike last year where Teppo was a virtual lock to be nominated, I have absolutely no clear idea as to who would make a good nominee. Any thoughts?

– The Leafs made it a close game through sheer dumb luck (their second goal bounced in off Miller’s back and derriere) and mistakes by the Sabres (their third goal was a result of Miller making some great saves and his teammates not being able to clear the puck while he was down). They certainly kept the game interesting, that’s for sure.

– So Gaustad responds to his call out from Lindy the other night about being a -3 by picking up a Gordie Howe hat trick. Nice. Very nice. And once again, Gaustad and Kaleta continue to hit everything in an opposing sweater that so much as moved.

– And continuing with the “responding to a call out” theme, it seems that Stafford has removed his head from his sphincter and has started to play hockey again. Stafford was more physical tonight than we’ve seen in awhile, and he wasn’t hesitating to drop down and block shots. Where the heck has this Stafford been all season?

– I’m distracted from Ryan Miller’s postgame interview by Rob Ray’s antics in the background. First, he starts off by leaning nonchalantly against Peters’ locker. Then he starts fidgeting around like a five-year-old that needs to find a potty and quickly. I don’t know if Ray didn’t realize that he was on camera or what, but it was pretty comical. I did put the listening ears back on in time to hear Miller share some pretty positive thoughts about Gaustad, that Goose has been playing pretty well all season and is developing into a leader on the ice. Lindy also seconded these comments during his postgame press conference.

– Lindy also said during his press conference that Miller will play tomorrow, the only exception being if Miller is dying of death. Contrast this with Miller himself who said that Lindy still had to make the decision tomorrow morning. Memo to Crunchy: the decision’s been made. Get a good night’s sleep, some Tylenol and a healthy meal or two tomorrow and come out fighting.

– It’s not hockey related, but I’m really amused by the instafriendship that’s developed between Steve Wozniak and Steve-O on the Dancing With the Stars set. Talk about two polar opposites: the Jackass and the Techie.

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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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Pigeons

January 28, 2009

– I’m really amused by the fact that Drew Stafford kept his pigeon perched on his shoulder during his interview after last night’s Sabres/Oilers game. But that he mentioned he would probably be sleeping with it was enough to give me pause. Who knows where that pigeon has been in the Sabres locker room?

– While I wasn’t terribly impressed with the Edmonton announcers during last night’s game, they did seem to have a really good understanding of and appreciation for the Sabres. They pointed out that Miller was playing some of the best hockey of his career, that Roy was coming on at just the right time and that Vanek was finally living up to the massive expectations put on him by the community. I can’t wait to see what’s in store from the Calgary dudes tonight. And here’s to also hoping for a less blindingly white ice surface tonight.

– Did anyone else notice last night that the cameras were positioned on the same side of the ice as the benches? That was the first time I’ve noticed this set-up in a game. It took a little getting used to seeing the players coming off the bench right in front of me, rather than from across the ice, as is the usual position in HSBC Arena.

– I cringed when I saw Rivet lying on the ice last night, but was happy (is that the right word?) to see that he only took a skate in the CraigBits and that it wasn’t a serious injury. The last thing the Sabres need is another defenseman succumbing to injury.

– Earlier today, Puck Daddy posted a great look at Tim Connolly. We all joke about Timmy’s fragility, but the guy is honestly one knock upside the head away from ending his career. The article also makes a good point that Timmy is tough, as he has played through a cracked rib, nausea and who knows what else that we in the cheap seats don’t know about. That takes a set of cojohnes the size of Syracuse.

– So the Red Wings signed Zetterberg to a 12-year contract. Eesh. Here’s to hoping for a long, injury free career out of Mr. Zetterberg. Otherwise, that’s a lot of money to have to finangle around in this fun salary cap environment.

– And to end on a lighter note, the Steadfast Foundation has posted the list of the auction items available at the Catwalk for Charity. I can’t decide what’s more awesome:

  • the black lab puppy named Capone (early prediction that this puppy is again the hit of the event)
  • the “take Andrew Peters to show-and-tell” experience
  • Catwalk Cookout Challenge between esteemed Buffalo chefs and Ryan Miller and a teammate
  • a Saved by the Bell DVD set autographed by Mr. Belding. (Seriously, all that cool stuff and you could win a DVD signed by Mr. Belding. But then again, there are those of us of a certain age who can quote Saved by the Bell episodes chapter and verse. So there is that quirky nostalgia factor there.)
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What Was That?

January 15, 2009

It was entirely too cold in my house to even think about leaving the comfort of my warm blanket to blog during/after last night’s Sabres game. (Alright, the cold was more of an excuse to cover the “during”, and “sleep” is the excuse to cover the “after”.)

– Why did it seem like Derek Roy was the only forward out there who seemed like his give a damn wasn’t busted? Timmy would also fall a close second in this category. Both of them were extremely noticeable in a good way last night. I will also admit to being concerned every time Timmy went flying across the ice, as I envisioned him injuring himself while doing so. It’s going to take awhile before the Tim Connolly Cringe Factor calms down to normal hockey player levels.

– Let’s not even discuss the travesty that was the 6 minute power play. Six minutes and only one shot. One god damn shot (and yes I can say god damn on my blog, even if you can’t say it on the radio) in six minutes. Sheesh. A team of Timbits could have probably done better.

– Which also brings me to the debacle that was the four-on-one last night. Goose was leading the rush up the left side of the ice and can’t get the blasted pass off. I’m thinking that non-pass trumps any good that may have come from his scrappiness last night.

– I will also admit to wishing that I had my laptop open to play Pominville Bingo during Pommer’s intermission interview last night.

– At least the intermission feature on Tallinder was nice. Mrs. Tallinder and the Lil Tallinders looked absolutely adorable in the photos shown. It’s almost enough to make you ask why he almost threw that all away during his little third man in deal a couple of years ago.

– Stafford did have a nice clean check on Duncan Keith last night. About darn time the little punk hit someone. I also noticed that Chicago seemed to make it their personal mission to target Stafford after that hit. Where was the same spunk and determination out of the Sabres after Mair was cross checked into the bench on a line change? I realize Mair was giggling about it afterward, but where were his teammates to stick up for him? RJ was more incensed about it that some of the players on the ice.

– It may have been my poor eyesight, but was Miller not seated on the Sabres bench last night? Does the United Center require visiting backup goalies to be exiled to backup goalie purgatory? Based on what I read pre-game, I was half expecting Miller to pull a Marty and start trash talking from the bench.

I hope an entirely different team shows up against Dallas tonight. If not, the good people of Buffalo may revolt against this team.

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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.

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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!