Archive for the ‘Thomas Vanek’ Category

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Trade Deadline Reflections

March 5, 2009

Well, now that we’ve all calmed down after the rush that is NHL trade deadline day, it’s a good time to sit back and reflect on what happened yesterday.

– Ales Kotalik was shipped to Edmonton for a 2nd round draft pick. While the team will miss Kotalik’s mad blasts from the point and wicked backhands during the skills competitions, he probably wasn’t going to be re-signed at the end of the year and so better to send him somewhere and get something for him.

– Tellqvist was acquired by the Sabres in exchange for another draft pick. Everyone needs to take a step back and realize this isn’t a sign that Ryan Miller’s injury is more severe than first thought. It just means the team needed to bring in some goalie depth, a proven veteran to spell Lalime on occasion. (And according to Miller himself, he’s still keeping active while on the DL. I do appreciate that he calls himself a wimp when it comes to tattoos. I’ll make no bones about joining him in that boat. The needles thing is what does me in.) Let’s give Tellqvist a chance before we automatically throw him and the team off the SS Playoff Chance.

– Dominic Moore was acquired from Toronto for a 2nd round draft pick. From what I know of Moore, his style seems like it would fit in with the Sabres, a mix of mucking and grinding and solid dependable play. While he may only be a rental player, let’s give him a chance before we write him off as gone at the end of the season.

– And in probably the most shocking news of the day, the Sabres signed Tim Connolly to a 2-year, $9 million contract extension. It wasn’t the fact that he was re-signed that was the most shocking, it was the dollar amount and length of the deal that caused many an eyebrow to be raised. Most people – yours truly included – thought that Timmy would be signed to a one year deal at a pretty significant discount. The fact that he was given a raise despite playing less than half of the games in his current contract. Darcy has to know something we don’t or Timmy has to have pictures of LQ at the company Christmas party with a lampshade on his head, that’s the only reason for such a wacky deal. Right? I wish Timmy nothing but the best, and pray that he remains healthy for the next two-and-a-half years.

– It will be interesting to see whether Calgary implodes with the addition of Olli Jokinen to its roster. General perception around teh internets is that Jokinen is a locker room cancer. It seems that Calgary is also slightly distressed that Lombardi was sent packing in this deal as well. If the room is already tempestous, how will adding such a volitile player affect the chemistry of the team?

– Just what Philly needs: two more rock-em, sock-em robots in McLaren and Carcillo. And it looks like that Marty to Buffalo rumor didn’t quite come true. Guess we’ll all have to look elsewhere for quotable material.

– I hope that the news that Kotalik is playing with Hemsky and Horcoff results in an uptick in production for all three. I would be quite distressed if Hemsky’s production suffered, as he is one of the leading producers for The Little Honkers. Yes, it is all about me, why do you ask?

– And in other news, sounds like Vanek is in the market for a new road roomie, as Kotalik was his roomie for the past three years. I wonder if Lindy will slot one of the new guys in, or break up an existing combination? And in other roomie news, while at Barnes & Noble last night, I was reading The Hockey News and Andrew Peters mentioned that Kaleta is his road roomie. Peters likes Kaleta since Kaleta lets him control the remote.  Heh. Would you want to go up against Peters over the remote control? I don’t think so.

– Last night’s game against the Habs was beautiful to watch. Gaustad set the tone early with his crushing hit. The team responded and took shots, and charged the net. Gaustad’s excellent tip of Rivet’s shot and his breakaway goal definitely put him as the second star of the game in my book. First star was Lalime for obvious reasons. Sure, he pulled a Miller and let in a goal with less than a minute remaining in the game to give up the shutout, but he was solid as solid could be for the entire game.

– I liked that the broadcast pointed out Rivet’s absolute happiness with Danny Paille during one of the goal celebrations. Joy like that for a teammate is something nice to see every now and then.

– Sometimes I think that Harry Neale exists solely in the broadcast to announce inane trivia like “on the second Tuesday of each month during the full moon, Patrick Lalime has let in two goals against the Montreal Canadians when playing at HSBC Arena.” Alright, so that’s slightly exaggerated, but you get my point. Harry tries to be a font of knowledge, but sometimes it’s not inserted at the right moment of the broadcast.

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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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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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Not Dead, Just Resting

January 24, 2009

– I apologize for my absence around here the past couple of days. My Crohn’s is being a real bitch these days, and usually the only thing I can think about doing when I get home from work is falling face first onto the couch and hiding under a blanket. No offense to you, my loyal readers, but sleep and rest are outweighing blogging these days. So if you notice me posting a little more infrequently for the next while, have no fear that I’m not dead, I’m just resting. I’ll let you know when I’m dead. 🙂

I may become twitchy over the next two weeks, as there’s no Sabres hockey on TV until February 4th. This radio-only thing for the West Coast road trip sucks all kinds of monkey balls. I know that the team and MSG think that the West Coast games won’t draw ratings, but how many people would just put the game on and drift off to sleep while watching it? Those TVs still count as ratings points, even if the people watching them are asleep.

Updated to add that Bucky just posted that LQ and MSG struck a deal to televise the games after all! Yay! And the villagers rejoice!

– After reading Kevin Sylvester’s interview with Curtis Brown and Jeremy Roenick, I’ve decided that Jeremy Roenick is good people.

– Some of the photos that have been released from All Star Weekend are absolutely hysterical.

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Thomas looks very nice in this photo, but can’t we get the poor dear some ProActive? I know the redness on the nose is from the game the other night, but the rest of it can be easily handled with meds.

What is with the All-Stars sporting cardigan sweaters this year? I don’t like Kovy’s old man sweater here.

However, Vinny completely rocks the heck out of the cardigan in this photo.

And this is just a gratuitous photo of Soupy. He looks good.

I’m ready for my closeup, Mr. DeMille.

This photo does not do Zach Parise any favors.However, he kind of looks like Zachary Quinto in this photo. Which is not a bad thing, but ZQ and ZP are different animals.

Tooth! Although what is going on with SJ Sharkie’s skates? They’re like ginormous in relation to the little shark legs.


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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.

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Getting To Know You

November 4, 2008

– The Hockey News posted a “Getting to Know Him” interview with Patrick Kane. I am speechless at the fact that he drives an aquamarine Hummer. Alright, I’m speechless that he called it aquamarine instead of blue.

– Be extra kind to your neighborhood Devils fans for the next couple of days. Marty Brodeur is going to be out for the next 3-4 months after having surgery to repair a torn biceps muscle. Does this mean that the NHL is going to have to take its tasteful, yet Blingy Bob-esque, Marty record breaking tracker down?

– Aren’t the Portland Pirates just the best bunch of team builders you ever saw? I did like that Dineen went through the course with the guys as well. I would expect Lindy to do the same thing, too.

– And congrats to Teppo, Vanek, Roy and Miller for making the All-Star ballot. When the ballot goes live, remember to vote for these guys, plus your favorite write-in candidates. Those write-in votes for Goose or Paille have to come from somewhere. 🙂

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I’m Baaaaaaa-ck

October 18, 2008

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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