Archive for the ‘Current Sabres’ Category

h1

Sad Goalies Not Always So Sad

March 7, 2011

Yesterday, the awesome Carole Browne shared a link to the very creative Sad Goalies Tumblr. While there are some legitimately sad goalie photos posted on the site, there are a few that a borderline sad or not sad at all.

For reference purposes, this is a sad goalie. Heck, this is a “make sure the goalie doesn’t have any sharp implements or shoelaces or bedsheets in the immediate vicinity for the next twenty four hours”, sad goalie.

This is not a sad goalie. This is a pissed off, in need of a clean pair of jammies, a nap and a juicebox goalie. (I may or may not have wanted to act like this sad goalie this afternoon due to events out of my control at the office. But I did not, because that is not appropriate office behavior.)

This is not a sad goalie, either. This is a dead goalie. Or one that’s just resting. Or one that’s contemplating the end of his career, which might actually make him legitimately sad. Then he remembers that he is getting paid a lot of money to be a glorified assistant coach/doorman. Then he is happy again.

Finally, this might not actually be a sad goalie in the traditional sense of the word, but sad in that he’s become nothing more than a punchline.

And it’s not on the site, but a sad goalie stick tap definitely has to go to Jose Theodore of the Minnesota Wild for his valiant performance in giving up Rob Niedermayer’s first goal of the year. Buck up sport, you’ll go down in history on that one.

Advertisements
h1

What’s Next?

February 24, 2011

– If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you know that I am a fan of The West Wing. One of Josiah Bartlet’s favorite things to ask on the show is “what’s next?” Terry Pegula answered that question for us on Tuesday: what’s next is winning a Stanley Cup. Before that (or to aid in that), the immediate “what’s next?” is to attract players to Buffalo. We all know that players fall in love with Buffalo once they get here, it’s the getting them here that’s been the hard part. Gossip about how previous management treated the players ran rampant throughout the league, and no matter how much current players talked up the organization, players were reluctant to come here. I have a feeling that Pegula’s true enthusiasm for the team, the sport and the city is going to shine through and that we may be seeing free agents start wanting to come here during free agent season.

– I said on Twitter last night that Pegula must be feeling like a kid in a candy store. He’s met his hero Perreault, was surprised at center ice by the French Connection, and had an entire arena full of fans chanting his name. Where else can you go from there?

– According to Thomas Vanek’s official blog, Pegula is throwing a party at the arena for not only the Sabres players & staffers, but also their families. I really do think that is a nice touch, as the families are just as important as the players themselves. And if you continue reading Vanek’s blog, it seems that his mini backyard rink is the site of quite the ruckus when Leopold & Lalime bring their kids over. I really like hearing warm and fuzzy anecdotes like this one, as it stresses how close some of them are off the ice. We rarely hear stories like this from the media because warm and fuzzy generally doesn’t sell papers or gross ratings points. I’m not saying I want an entire sports report or sports section full of warm and fuzzy, but the occasional bit would be nice. And can someone tell me how the Sabres can have a no-Twitter policy, but yet Vanek can still blog? A blog is still social media. Just saying…

– The decision to waive Rivet was shocking on one hand because he’s the team captain, but yet not shocking because the guy has had his rear permanently glued to a seat in the press box for a good chunk of this season. It’s going to be fascinating to see whether another team picks him up on the re-entry wire, or whether he just fades back into the press box for the remainder of the season if Darcy can’t pull a trade out of his hat.

– I’m decidedly not a fan of Pegula calling out local sportswriters for being tough on players. By their play – or lack thereof – players help sportswriters make the case that they are soft, fragile, clumsy, lazy and whatever other adjective has been used to describe some players lately. Writers write what they see. They aren’t paid to be the team’s spin doctors (that’s what PR guys are for*). Sports writers are meant to be objective news reporters, or in the case of commentary, present their arguments in a logical and hopefully fair manner. It’s not the owner’s job to plead the case for his players. The players should be able to handle a little criticism from the media. They’re professional athletes and grown ups. They shouldn’t be running to PR/management every time the media has a negative thing to say about them.

*I know PR isn’t spin. Put your rotten tomatoes down.

That’s not to say that the media is blameless in its somewhat contentious relationship with the team. There are times that issues have been hashed and rehashed until they’ve just turned into a talking point that seems to be included because it’s expected. I think that both sides need to move on and just start with a fresh slate now that there’s a new man in town. What’s in the past is in the past. Move on.

– Finally, and this is completely not hockey related, I watched the launch of Space Shuttle Discovery before I left the office today. There’s always something exciting and awesome about a space shuttle launch. I mean, it’s 6 very brave men and women sitting on top of a rocket getting hurtled into the great unknown. There’s a lot that can go wrong (and has).  The fact that the shuttle program is winding down and there is no viable replacement in sight makes me kind of sad for what this current generation of kids is going to miss. My parents, as most baby boomers, grew up in the midst of the Cold War and the space race. As kids, they lived through JFK promising a moon landing and the growth of the Apollo program. They encouraged their kids – my peers – to study math and science so that they could be astronauts some day. Game shows targeted to kids regularly gave away trips to space camp. The way things are going, my generation is going to be the last one to grow up with space travel as a “regular” thing. What’s next after there’s no shuttle to hurtle people into outer space? Do we not strive for the moon or further exploration because there’s budget difficulties and cuts have to be made somewhere? Who knows. I feel like this scene from the West Wing encapsulates why space is still so important:

What’s next, indeed.

h1

Notes and Thoughts

February 5, 2011

I know, I know, I haven’t written a lot around here lately. I’ve been alternately sleepy & grumpy when I’ve come home from the office, and there are times I feel like I’ve said all I have to say during the day on Twitter. But then, a big news week happens and you just feel the need to blog.

– Thursday’s press conference was quite entertaining once I got the sound on my work computer figured out. The bittercakes expressed by Golisano and Quinn were off the charts. I can understand how they might be frustrated with the fans and media, since public opinion of them changed so radically after The Day that Hockey Died Drury & Briere left town. Up until that point, they were still operating under the perception that they were seen as the saviors of hockey in Buffalo and could do no wrong. Once Briere & Drury changed sweaters, the fans saw Golisano and Quinn for what they really were: shrewd businessmen focused on the bottom line, who may have been hockey fans on their down time. It might be a horrible reality check, but it happened. We – both fans and Golisano/Quinn – just need to move on. And hopefully, Pegula moving into the owner’s suite will all allow us to do so.

– I know injuries are never funny, but only Rick DiPietro could manage to injure his knee while getting punched in the face.

– Did anyone else notice the comedic awkwardness of Gaustad’s postgame interview last night? First, K-Syl needs to have a box or a stool to stand on when interviewing the really tall guys. It would make the shot look so much better. Second, Goose’s high beams were quite obvious in the neutral colored UnderArmour shirt he was wearing. It made for an awkward camera positioning, as the camera guy was trying to avoid the high beams and yet keep Goose and K-Syl in the shot, which was made all the more difficult due to K-Syl and Goose being on two different height planes! It’s a vicious cycle, and I don’t blame K-Syl for being short (lord knows, I live in heels to compensate for my lack of height), but when the interviewer is “yay high”, and the players are “yay-yay high”, there has to be a way to level the playing field.

– I enjoyed seeing Gaustad/Grier/Niedermayer as the dominant scoring line last night. These guys have all kind of faded into the woodwork from time to time , so seeing them step up and lead the team was a nice change of pace. Now if only the Sabres can get their muckers and grinders firing at the same time as their top lines. Then they might be a dangerous team.

– I can attest that there are plenty of Toronto & other Canadian residents in town for tonight’s game. They were all over the Galleria mall earlier today. They way they were carrying on at Lord & Taylor, you would have thought they had never seen shoes on sale before, LOL.

– Conan O’Brien has come up with what may quite possibly be the most adorably disturbing concept ever: the Lingerie Puppy Bowl.

– The pre-game spiel contained the title of “Leafblower” in regards to Ryan Miller. For the love of everything holy,why does no one run these things past a 12-year-old to avoid any innuendo or awkwardness? Why not call him “The Rake?” Oh wait, that might be awkward too. (See: here.)

– K-Syl dissed canned spaghetti during the first intermission break. I know what he meant, but there is nothing wrong with the occasional can of Spaghetti-O’s. Nothing wrong at all.

– I’m never, ever one to criticize ads (stop laughing!), but I’m confused as to why Ellen Pompeo was chosen as the spokeswoman for the Huggies/NHL PSA.? Google tells me she’s a member of their “Diaper for Every Bottom” campaign, but why not choose a “real” hockey mom? You could really have some fun with it. Imagine Mama Crunchy or Mama Niedermayer or Mama Staal giving that speech. It would add an aura of realism to the commercial. And I’m not saying this just because it’s a good idea, but also because I can’t look at Ellen Pompeo and not see Meredith Grey. The idea behind the PSA is a good one, it’s the talent I’m having a problem with.

– Goose’s goal tonight was scored off a nifty drop pass from Grier. This is the second consecutive game where the Goose/Grier/Niedermayer line has been one of the best for the Sabres.

– I may be one of the few people out there who doesn’t “get” Tumblr. I don’t mean to be all fuddy-duddy-ish, but I’ve never found it very user/reader/audience friendly.

– I know a lot of people mentioned it on Twitter, but it takes a real tough hockey player to pick fights with and target the littlest guys on the ice. The Leafs were especially guilty of it tonight, going after Gerbe, Ennis & Byron. The only problem with that strategy is that these guys have fire and will fight back if provoked hard enough.

– I’m sorry, but Rob Niedermayer giving Rob Ray a love tap with his stick during the third period was funny. I know Ray was kvetching about it messing up his suit, but it’s still fun to see the guys on the ice interacting and having fun with the broadcasters.

– Speaking of fun times, RJ informed us during the game that the upcoming Florida roadtrip is the Sabres annual trip with their fathers. Altogether now, awwww. I love that NHL teams promote these family bonding moments.

– I know it’s the Leafs, and the Leafs haven’t won in Buffalo in dogs years, but a win is a win. I will take the two points and go about my business.

h1

The Onion Sportsdome Uncovers a Nefarious Plot

January 26, 2011

I don’t think I’m too late to the party on this one, but go watch this video from the Onion Sports Dome.

(In case you don’t have a great connection, the Onion Sports Dome uncovered a nefarious plot in which Gary Bettman paid Tallinder, Miller & Brendan Morrow $800 each to fake kidnap him for publicity reasons.)

Who cares whether the plot makes sense. It’s hockey! Getting national attention on a satirical sports show!  And for once, there’s no Crosby or Ovechkin presence! Please join me in a Snoopy dance as someone in the “media” realized that the NHL exists outside of these two!

That’s progress, my friends.

h1

Sabres vs. Islanders: A Story in Pictures

January 16, 2011

There were some really good photos taken at last night’s Sabres/Isles game. Please click on the captioned link to go and see the photo in question on ESPN.com.

Won’t someone be Lalime’s friend and save him from the oompa-loompa-y looking lady standing next to him?

Oh F*$#! I just killed Miller. Now they’re going to send me back to Portland. I’ll never see the NHL again.

Instead of a teddy bear, Miller sleeps with a goal stick. I wonder if he was actually knocked out or was he just taking a moment to catch his breathe and re-orient himself again?

Please tell me someone else sees the humor behind a flight of stairs being labeled “No Exit.” Where else would a staircase lead you?

No Tyler, I don’t think holding your breath until the Sabres win is a viable strategy.

Sweet Jesus at the craft store, how difficult is it to spell Niedermayer correctly? This is the second game that the spell check has failed for Rob. If I were him, I’d be worried that this was a sign that I would be shipped out of town soon for a manatee that could play the third line.

h1

Miscellaneous Stuff

December 14, 2010

– The Sabres visited Children’s Hospital recently for their annual Christmas visit with the kiddos. (Watch the video here.) There’s several things about this video that are blatantly adorable:

1). Lalime did not cut the tag off his Santa hat.

2). Sabretooth. Because really, when isn’t the cat adorable?

3). Tyler Ennis looked like he was playing the role of Tyler Myers elf.

4). Tim Connolly actually smiled. Like an honest-to-goodness smile, not a “how you doin, meet me later” smirk.

5). Jordan Leopold seemed genuinely affected and happy to be spending time with the kiddos.

– I watched Miller’s episode of The Game 365 on MSG and it was your fairly standard Miller interview. It recapped how he got his start as a kid playing goal (negotiating with his father), how he plays the game (analytical) and his family history with Michigan State. What I thought was interesting was that he admitted that he committed to MSU solely for hockey reasons, that if he would have picked on the academics, he might not have been a Spartan. MSU didn’t have the types of programs he’s interested in like architecture and others. Don’t get him wrong, he’s proud of his MSU business degree, but the school choice was solely based on hockey.

What else? The lockout helped his career in that he got to spend the full season in the NHL playing solid hockey with a lot of great young players. He discussed his stance changes from college to the pros (almost fully upright in college, but more of an athletic focus and wider stance in the pros).

Also interesting was the interviewer’s (Fran Healy) attempt to compare hockey goaltending to catching in baseball. Miller disabuses that notion, as the pitcher is intentionally trying to get the ball to a catcher, while in hockey a shooter is trying to get the puck past a goalie. I know Healy is a baseball guy, but this question seemed almost like a “duh” on the “of course, they’re different” scale.

Regarding the Olympics, they were a lot of fun, but a balancing act afterwards, as he had to juggle his professional commitments versus his “media” star obligations. I’m sure going from the glare of the Buffalo media (such as it is) to the glare of the national media has to have been quite the adjustment for the goaltender. It’s not every day that he gets asked to shoot photos for Vanity Fair, you know? It’s a long way from interviews with Channels 2, 4 & 7.

– Last week, WNED showed a retrospective of Buffalo broadcasting’s glory days. I watched it with my parents and cannot believe that back in the day kids were entertained by a gentleman wearing a cardboard box and calling himself a “robot.” The retrospective is also worth watching just for the 70s fashions alone.

– Thanks to a link on Twitter, I watched the Misery Bear Christmas video.

I’m sitting here alternating between laughing and crying, and wanting to go get my old teddy bear out of the closet and give him a great big hug. I’m sure the range of emotions generated are probably what makes the video so effective.

h1

Best. Game. Ever.

December 3, 2010

Tonight’s Columbus vs. Buffalo game was the first Sabres game I attended in two years. I made a comment on Twitter earlier today that if the Sabres played like a lackadaisical bunch of sots tonight that I would have no choice but to pull out the Keyboard of Fury. Well, I’m pleased to report that the Keyboard of Fury has been put away for the night in favor of the Keyboard of Awesomeness and Goal Scoring.

My seats tonight were three rows from the top of the arena on the bench side, so I had a fantastic view of the action. I love the new Columbus sweaters, but for some reason, the blue doesn’t translate well on the ice. It appears black to the naked eye from a high vantage point. I did like the nice touch of the Sabres using the cannon emblem for the Blue Jackets on the scoreboard rather than the team’s traditional logo. And I really loved that the Sabres were wearing white sweaters on home ice. Can we please, please, please go back to that? Both teams had a very Olde Tyme Hockey feel to their look tonight and I liked it.

Anyway, sitting in the row immediately behind us were two boys about eight years old who were attending their first hockey game. They were adorable until the blimp showed up in the second intermission and they started howling about wanting pie. Let’s just say that the “adorable” turned to “obnoxious” REAL quick. Seated behind them were two girls who spent the whole game yelling “Let’s Go Buffalo” and managing to rhyme it with something about a rock & roll. I dunno, they were having fun. However, the crash from their sugar high was bound to be painful tonight.

Onto the on-ice action. Who the heck were those people on the ice tonight and can we have them show up every night? My god, the physicality. Can we please sign Cody McCormick to an extension, like now? Dude took care of Commodore for going after Kaleta. I had a feeling that once the response to Commodore’s hit was delayed, that our usual bunch of softies would show up, but was surprised to see old Pepper Grinder taking care of his boy and exercising a little frontier justice for Kaleta.

Montador wasn’t too impressive in his fight, but he tried. Bless his heart. He can still come sit by me anytime.

Moving on, for the second game in the last three, Patrick Kaleta engaged an opposing player in an actual fight. And again, Kaleta acquitted himself quite nicely. He also riled up the crowd afterward, which apparently, the Columbus bench wasn’t too happy about. If Kaleta were on any other team, I would hate him. But as a Buffalo fan, I embrace his d-bagness. He may have a d-bag playing style, but darn it all, he’s our d-bag.

There were two sickening thuds from players colliding into the boards in the third period. The first occurred when Stafford took out Garon and the goalie’s head bounced off the boards. However, the goalie was a tough nut and returned to the game. The second sickening thud occurred when Boll elbowed Morrisson’s head right into the glass. I have a feeling that Boll will be getting a call from those in the league office to discuss that little play. I did notice Lalime gesticulating madly at someone or something during the ensuing discussion of the penalty for Boll’s hit. I’d love to know what was he was engaged with to warrant that kind of reaction.

Speaking of Lalime, he’s really quite the little busy bee on the bench. He’s got that door opening thing down to an art and he collects old sticks and hands out new ones just as well as soccer moms hand out orange slices and sports drink. To think that the team pays him $600,000 for that. (Oh, you mean he’s supposed to play goal, too?) I know, I know, he’s Chief Morale Officer, Goalie Division for the Sabres and that’s his value.

And speaking of goal, how nice was it for Ryan Miller to finally get a shutout and not a “Ryan Miller Shutout?” Miller really didn’t have too difficult of a night, with the small exception of him getting dumped on his arse in the second period. At least the refs were smart enough to waive off that goal. I could see the arena flipping out if they had let it stand.

It was nice to see Stafford bounce back from his shoulder injury tonight with a goal and an assist. Vanek had a three point night and Pommers, that sneaky little thing, increased the population of Pominville in one fell swoop. If these three gentlemen – and wee Tyler Ennis – continue their scoring touch, this team might just turn around. Might. With a capital M. I know these guys will soon return their heads to their arses and forget how to score, but I will enjoy tonight for what it was.

During the second intermission, there was quite the coffee klatch going on in the press box on the left hand side (press box right, if you were in the box). I was trying to figure out what was going on: cookie delivery, Darcy finally trading Timmy for that 10-pound catfish,new scoop on the new owner, but the klatch broke up reasonably quickly.

I did get a giggle from the nice young ladies that were shown on the Jumbotron holding a sign that says “Sabres Hit It.” While I would hope they were innocently referring to the action on the ice, for the love of everything holy, that sign has quite the puckbunny subtext, does it not?

And what was up with the groups of young boys taking their shirts off and waiving them around for Jumbotron time?

And now to show my crankypants side, the nice lady sitting next to me spent the entire game texting. While she had a thorough knowledge of the game and of the team, it was incredibly annoying to see her phone attached to her like an appendage all night. If you pay $60 something dollars for a seat to watch the game, why not do something outrageous and watch the game. It’s annoying to those sitting next to you when your fingers are flying away all type-y type-y and your phone is beeping incessantly. And get off my lawn while you’re at it.