Archive for the ‘Things on Teh Internets’ Category

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This, That and the Other Thing

July 12, 2010

– I’ve been mainly staying quiet on the LeBron James saga, as I felt that as a non-basketball fan, sitting back and enjoying the insanity is better than being a participant in it. However, today’s odd turn of events has changed my tune a little bit. Just when you think that this whole saga is over and we all can go back to not giving a flying fig about the NBA again, the Reverend Jesse Jackson steps up to the plate. In a news release from the Rainbow/PUSH coalition, Jackson compared Cavs owner Tom Gilbert’s comments regarding LeBron’s departure to those of a slave master lamenting the loss of a runaway slave.

This is certainly one for the WTF files. Let’s think for a minute. LeBron made a big hoopla (a 1-hour purchased show on ESPN) of his announcement that he was abandoning his hometown team. Whether there was some master plot between James, Bosh and Wade is irrevelant at this point. You cannot make the comparison of a wealthy (VERY WEALTHY) professional athlete to a slave. Last time I checked, slaves do not get paid for their labor. They also don’t have the opportunity to have practice schedules and flight departures catered to their every whim. They don’t have ladies throwing themselves at them 24/7. Slavery is drudgery, the glamorous professional athlete lifestyle is not.

It’s just a bad comparison on Jackson’s part, and one that really didn’t need to be made.

– Continuing on with LeBron for one more moment, Ad Age did a behind the scenes look as to how LeBron’s ESPN special actually got on the air. The who talked to who and when and where stuff is kind of fascinating.  (Certain sponsors declining to run ads, but make charitable contributions instead is also interesting.) The comments from media professionals are kind of hilarious and definitely to the point. I think more people are throwing LeBron under the bus for this whole thing than actively cheering him on.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer also analyzes the who said what to who and when, but this time focuses on the relationship between Bosh, Wade & James. The basketball side of things is just as fascinating as the marketing side of things. All in all, this was a massive coordinated effort from many angles. Will this be the new way that free agents announce their deals, or will common sense prevail in the future? I hope its the latter, but I do reserve my right to throw a shoe at the TV the next time someone pulls a stunt like this.

– So Thomas Vanek is having twins, due in November. Many congratulations to him, his wife and soon-to-be big brother Blake. I’m sure some are wishing that Vanek would have timed the arrival twinsies for the off-season, but better to have a baby arrival in the relative doldrums of November than in the midst of a playoff chase.

– If you haven’t already, stop over to The Goose’s Roost and read Ryan’s excellent reflections about being in the press box and interviewing players.

– When the Blackhawks announced that they matched San Jose’s offer sheet on Hjalmarsson, it made Chicago’s cap situation even more perilous. Someone(s) else on the roster will have to move in order to make way for ducklings the remainder of the active roster. Speculation this afternoon focused on Soupy as the most likely to move, but is there a team stupid enough willing enough to take on his mammoth contract? Even more important, is there a team that can afford to take on his contract that also falls onto the list of teams that Campbell would have to approve a trade to? It’s going to be very interesting watching Chicago figure this out.

– I currently have an episode of NHL Network’s “Off the Ice” sitting on my DVR. I only recorded it because it was featuring Ryan Miller. When I watch it, I might have to diarize the experience. Dunno. It depends on what he has to say and how enthused I am while watching it.

– Speaking of Miller, he announced that the 5th Catwalk for Charity will be in November. The event this year will have an 80s theme. (PS – Memo to Crunchy, the website for The Refinery is down. Get one of your talented people on that, please. Don’t make me pull out the marketing lecture on you.) Since we saw how the boys dressed up for the 50s theme last year, there’s several good ideas that they could use to dress up as outside of the traditional Madonna, Michael Jackson, et al (and this is expanding beyond the music genre, but bear with me):

– Luke & Laura

– Diana & Charles

– The Breakfast Club

– Alex P. Keaton (c’mon, if he’s with the club by then, Gerbe could totally pull this one off)

– After watching his interview on NHL Network last night (during the goalie mask documentary), I have definitely moved Ken Dryden’s “The Game” to the top of my summer reading pile. It is coming with me to Michigan in two weeks. If the style of the book is as good as Dryden’t interview style, I’ll be very happy.

– And finally, Dilbert’s pointy-haired boss wants to blog. Oy.

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Quick Hits From Locker Cleanout Day

April 28, 2010

– I’m still upset that the Sabres were bounced so quickly by the Bruins, but when you look at the big picture, this season was a definite improvement on the last two. When you look back at the preseason predictions, most people in the know had the Sabres fighting for the final playoff spot in the East. Fifth place was considered overachieving for this crew. But then – due to heads being removed from behinds and some epic collapses by their divisional rivals – this team actually won the division. That blew everyone’s mind, but still didn’t stop those in the know from saying that the Sabres were ripe for upset. Sadly, this prediction was correct.

I’m excited for next season. Ennis, Gerbe and Myers showed a ton of potential (and heart…and effort) and I’m sure some of the core have to be worried about those little spitfires breathing down their necks and challenging them for playing time. That might motivate them even more…provided they’re still here and haven’t been traded for a Sports Night DVD set and a box of microwave popcorn.

– I’ve been pondering this for most of the day: would a professional hockey team’s locker room be just as gross on locker cleanout day as the locker alley at an all girls high school was on locker cleanout day? I know hockey equipment comes with its own special brand of stink, but high school comes with its own personal level of stuff finding (“Hey! That’s where that skirt went!” as you pull your spare uniform skirt out and give it a shake to return the polyester to its unwrinkled glory. And the skirt was usually just the tip of the iceberg  of crap residing in the locker.)

– I’m falling into the non-surprised, surprised camp regarding Rivet’s injury. He was not playing up to a veteran’s standards during the season, so an injury seemed to be a likely reason for his play. I still am amazed that hockey players suck it up and go out and play even when there’s broken bones involved (Timmy) missing teeth, pucks to the head, etc. I turn into a whiny baby when I’m sick (and just ask my parents how I was while I had shingles) so their resilience and stubbornness to play amazes me. I’m not dumb enough to think that it’s without medicinal aid, but unless their getting horse steroids (which I’m pretty sure is against the law), these guys have to just be mentally strong to deal with what body breakdowns they have during the year.

– I’m incredibly amused by Timmy color coordinating his green Yankees hat to his gentle sea foam green polo shirt. I can’t help but wonder if this was an intentional decision on his part or just an “I’ll pull whatever hat I want out of the closet and roll with it” thing.

– Speaking of hats, the less said about Miller’s chapeau, the better. Male hats should not be gaudy. Ladies hats should be gaudy. Kentucky Derby hats should be gaudy. Goalie hats…not gaudy. However, I can give a thumbs up to how Miller’s skates do look like Chuck Taylors. That’s a neat look and I know it’s probably unintentional, considering the bottom of his pads are white and the white skate tips make everything very matchy-matchy.

– I’m also amused by Paul Hamilton’s peeking around the locker wall while interviewing Timmy. Every so often this little Hamilton head pops around the corner and into the frame.

– Goose still looks pissed off. Like rage-y pissed off. His voice may be calm, but his facial expression is betraying what he’s saying.

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Mascots On Ice

November 23, 2009

While perusing the internets, I found this video from this past weekend’s Canadian Mascot Games in Toronto.

I’m impressed that the Toronto Raptor managed to stay upright while playing hockey without wearing skates

Also, Peter Puck’s waggling eyebrows may replace Drew Stafford’s and Peter Gallagher’s as the most impressive set of brows to ever grace the screen.

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We Skate With ‘Em

September 25, 2009

I’m impressed that this kid has so much of this speech memorized.

Also, four year olds saying “Screw ’em” will never not be funny.

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There’s Real Hockey on My TV

September 23, 2009

Or, a semi-live rambling blog of the of Sabres/Leafs game tonight.

First Period

– I don’t care if it’s the Leafs feed on NHL Network, I will watch it. Somehow, this feed is coming through for me I wonder how many pissed off emails the league/Sabres/MSM received (I know the News and WGRZ were aware of the situation) from Sabres fans. I don’t understand league blackout rules. I mean, yes MSG has the rights to Sabres games, but if MSG isn’t going to be showing the game, why should they give a flying fig that the NHL Network is going to be showing the game? Also, it’s incredibly misleading that the Sabres site advertised the game as being offered on NHLN tonight, when it in fact was not. League website template or not, a team should be able to update its own site with the proper TV coverage information and not have to post the corrected information in a release three clicks into the site.

–  I realize I work with ads all day and should be relieved when I see an unsullied space, but I really miss the dasher board ads. I know it’s time consuming to install them, and all the deals probably have yet to be completed, but the boards look really naked. And there’s too much white on the screen, what with the white boards, white ice and white Leafs uniforms. We could have the abominable snowman frolicking on the ice and no one would notice.

– McCormick and Rosehill interrupt my diatrible about ads by having a nice little fight. I miss fighting. And it was a good, solid fight. Not a let’s tango around each other with our fists raised in the air kind of fight that we’ve often got used to seeing. (Sorry, Petey. Them’s the breaks. But I do hope you make the Devils. You’re a good egg.)

–  When I’m not busy typing, I’m trying to rank the players for my fantasy hockey team.  The Two Eyed Pea Brains draft tomorrow and I realized that there’s like jack defensemen in the Western Conference outside of Lidstrom. At least the moral and ethical battle of drafting Pronger and his Elbows of Doom moves to those peeps drafting from the Eastern Conference.

– Is Miller wearing a camera on his head or is he just making like the Great Gazoo with his headgear?

– Do we really think Luke Schenn can outmuscle Goose and Grier in the Toronto zone? (Does Grier have a nickname? Griersy? Mikey? Fred? Bob?) And Goose is wearing the C tonight. While I have a feeling Rivet will remain the Captain for this season, I really want to see Gaustad wearing a letter this year.

– As the Leafs TV announcers are waxing poetic about the Sabres penalty kill this preseason, Miller makes one hell of a diving, pivot-y save. Score one for the Gazoo.

– And at this point, those bastards at Time Warner realize the feed should be blocked and I lose coverage. I pick up the internet feed on the commercial so I don’t think I’ll miss much. I’ll stick with the Leafs TV announcers, since they’re really not that bad…yet.

– The mom unit is wondering why there isn’t an alternate game offered on the NHL Network while the Sabres game is blacked out. Right now, it’s the black screen of death on the regular channel and “no service available” on the high def one. That’s not good customer service on the part of NHLN/TWC. According to NHL.com, there’s three other games that the league could slot in so their flagship channel isn’t dead air for three hours.

– The ice sounds on this internet feed are incredibly crisp. You can hear every puck receipt and every zhush of the skate blades.

– The final shot count at the end of the first period is 18-5, Sabres. While there’s no score yet, I think the Sabres have done an incredibly good job at pressuring the net, making chances and playing a solid game. Of course, there’s still two more periods for the wheels to come off the wagon.

Second Period

– On a delayed penalty against Exelby for knocking the snot out of Pommers, Paetsch rips a one-timer past MacDonald. 1-0 Sabres. WHOOO!

– The Sabres Twitter feed is reporting that Stafford is now wearing a cage after taking a stick to the face in the first period. Poor Staffy, but the show must go on. He takes a stick to the face and comes back to the game. I drop a full bottle of hair conditioner on my foot and I’m whining for twenty minutes and thinking I broke my foot.

– WHOOO! Gaustad Hecht (status changed in the 3rd) is credited with the Sabres second goal.

– Is Rob Ray doing the radio broadcast? I spy him ensconced between the benches in his Sabres track suit.

– My inner 12-year-old is coming out, but can we please not use the word “streaking” in reference to Jiri Tlusty, especially after those photos came out.

– Miller’s flopped embarrassed reaction to his whiff on the Tlusty penalty shot was pretty funny. Miller had his legs together, but not all the way. You could tell he wanted that one back. Now I laugh. If that happened in March, I’d probably cry.

– The mom unit is watching DWTS on the TV. Why, oh why, is the Miley Cyrus music video for “Party in the USA” debuting during this show? It has nothing to do with either “dancing” or “stars.”

– I come back from a feed crapout to find that Cody McCormick has scored to make it 3-1, Sabres. WHOOO! McCormick (shall we call him Pepper, Saffron? Seasoning Packet?) is just an assist away from the Gordie Howe hat trick.

– More from DWTS. I can’t decide whether to be freaked out by or in awe of the costumes from the stage version of The Lion King. They’re alternately cool and detailed, and yet terrifying.

As Sabres fans, we all need a little hakuna matata in our lives.

Third Period

– Mitchell scores while I’m reading my neighborhood newspaper’s crime blotter (unlike the Amherst Bee, this blotter contains actual crime). The score is now 3-2, Sabres.

– Sensory overload night continues as Glee is now on the TV. And within the first two minutes, they manage to top last week’s Crohn’s shoutout. This Beyonce thing is even more timely and relevant in light of the Kanye debacle, even though it’s probably a very large coincidence.

– Miller shuts down Lori Peckarovsky who somehow got in on a little shorthanded breakaway. (Toronto is a man down due to the puck over the glass delay of game rule.) On this penalty kill, the Leafs allowed no shots. It feels good to once again want to scream “shoooooot” during a power play.

– A scrum breaks out in the Toronto end, as Gaustad gets a roughing penalty, leading to all sorts of chaos. I liked seeing Grier jump in to help Gaustad, even though Gaustad was taking on not only the Maple Leaf player, but also the referee. That takes talent (and a mighty big bit of pissed-off-ness).

–  The Leafs broadcast shows a picture of Stafford with the cage and his grotesquely swollen lip with the caption that he won’t be kissing anyone tonight. That’s snarkily brilliant for a broadcaster. I would also caution the broadcasters to never underestimate a hockey player when it comes to extracurricular activities.

– This is Lindy’s 12th season as Sabres coach. Crikey, I’m old.

– The broadcasters enlighten us with what a typical Sabres third period is like when they have the lead: they clog up the neutral zone, forcing the opposition to work harder to get the pucks in. I’d like to add that they forgot to mention that Sabres third periods generally include the lead being given up at some point in combination with the offense taking a holiday.

– A Leafs player makes one hell of an effort to keep Pommers from scoring into the empty Toronto net. I guess the population of Pominville will have to wait to grow until another day.

– Oh, come on. Two icing calls with less than twenty seconds left in the game? That’s a joke. Can’t the game just end in peace?

– While the Sabres pulled out a win, they played two good periods and one decent period. It’s not bad for preseason, but it’s not good for the regular season, either.

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Stuffapalooza

May 19, 2009

– Patrick Kane has been all over the media today. Bucky Gleason did an excellent profile of him in today’s Buffalo News, and ESPN profiled him via stories and other embarrassing information provided by his parents and sisters. I’m sure after reading the ESPN article, Kaner will be hearing no amount of grief from his teammates over dance parties, karaoke and still sleeping in his childhood bedroom when he goes home. After reading both articles, I kind of want to carry Kane around in my pocket. At times he sounds like a grownup and yet, there are other times he still sounds like the 20-year-old kid that he is. Irregardless of where he goes and what he does, it sounds like he’s still grounded in South Buffalo. And I do like that he addresses – somewhat indirectly – the perception that he can be an arrogant little shit. Heh.

– Favorite search term of the day: “the stick that Sidney Crosby youses.” I can honestly say that this is the first time I’ve ever seen that word spelled that way. Where has our educational system gone awry?

– I’ve been looking at the weather report all day trying to figure out whether hell has actually frozen over, since I enjoyed both Bucky and Jerry Sullivan’s writings in today’s paper.

– The Toronto Star had an interesting article the other day, ranking North American cities based on the winning percentage of their sports teams since 2000. For this purpose, “sports teams” is limited to NBA, NHL, MLB and NFL/CFL organizations. The #1 city was Indianapolis, with Boston at #2 and Vancouver at #3. Of the 37 cities ranked, Buffalo fell in the 29th position. Since the Bills and the Sabres were at varying levels of mediocrity throughout this decade, I was curious as to what the team’s actual records were and how this ranking could have been achieved.

Since 2000, the Bills record is 60-84. By my rough math, this gives them a .416 winning percentage in eight seasons. The Sabres record in that same time frame is 330-245-33-48, with a points percentage somewhere around .565 or so (I took an average of the percentages in the seasons under question for sake of simplicity.)

So what does this all mean? Who knows. It’s open to interpretation, especially since a city so rich in good/decent sports teams like Boston is falls second to Indy, which only has the Pacers and the Colts. In closing, I want to paraphrase something my research methods teacher once said: 25% of all research is crap. You make the call whether this study is or not.

– Joke time: In France, why do they only eat one egg for breakfast? Because to them, one egg is un oeuf. (Thank you, thank you. No applause. Try the fish.)

– This Bob Cole parody is absolutely brilliant. The writer has all of Cole’s verbal ticks down cold.

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Oh Say Can He Sing

April 5, 2009

WIVB ran a story tonight about Sabres anthem singer Doug Allen, who has entered the USA Weekend Anthem singing contest. Singers nationwide are invited to submit video of themselves singing the national anthem. The top 15 videos (as judged via their YouTube stats) will be graded by judges based on originality, lyrical accuracy and popularity on YouTube. The winning singer will be invited to sing the anthem at the Smithsonian and a Baltimore Orioles game on Flag Day.

Unsurprisingly, Allen’s submission is from his singing at a Sabres game. His submission can be viewed on YouTube, by searching “oh say can you sing doug allen.”

Here’s wishing him the best of luck.