Saturday, January 31, 2009

Shutouts Are Sexy

Wouldn't you agree? Very nice. Just a few thoughts on tonight...

I liked seeing Connolly's effort on the first goal and put the loose puck in the net like that. It wasn't a Connolly-esque goal, which is why it was nice to see him net one like that. Roy's pass to Paille for the second goal was...sick. Loved it. I also loved seeing #36 back in the lineup. Spacek is injured, not sure how severe and if he's going to miss some least Weber is back playing in Portland, we could call him up. It would be nice to see the Sabres try and make a move to acquire a defenseman, who knows maybe they are and we just don't know it. I thought Chris Butler had a nice rebound from the Calgary game, which is pretty reassuring. Miller also had a nice response after a tough night in Calgary (as he usually does). He was great tonight. He had a huge save on a 2-on-1 while we were on the power play. I'm glad that he got a shutout, since he's been playing so great this month, it's definitely deserved. Our PK was great tonight, but the Sabres really need to stay out of the box. Some of the calls were a little questionable, but some of them were just textbook calls and it's unnecessary. Padding your PK stats, boys?

Speaking of Ryan, Amy over at Shots Off The Crossbar pointed me in the direction of a nice interview with Miller in what looks like his home, courtesy of The Buffalo News. He says a lot of nice things about Buffalo and our nice little community we have here. He really said everything that I think makes Buffalo special. The kindness that most people seem to have here (comparable to the friendly vibe that's usually found in the Midwest), the nice architecture, and the unique restaurants. He mentioned the great houses near Chapin Parkway and around Delaware...I always loved those huge mansions. When the weather is nice and I have time to kill between class, I always love strolling up Elmwood and making my way around Bidwell Park/Chapin Park just to admire all the neat houses. The restaurants here never disappoint. My friends and I love going out to eat and we always like switching it up and going to different places. I've mentioned on here before that Mother's is a great bar/restaurant. I've found great sushi bars and Indian food around here too. I loveee Indian food. Anyways, I know I've mentioned a few times on here that I'm going to school for photography, so I always found it extra awesome that it's a hobby of Ryan's. Pretty boss. It was neat seeing all the photos hanging up around his house. If that sunset photo behind him in the interview was taken by him, then I'm pretty impressed. Him being a photographer obviously makes him about ten times cooler than he already was. He knows what's up.

So it's a real nice interview and it's just nice to see how laid back and down to earth he is. He's arguably the most popular professional athlete in Buffalo, and in a sports town like Buffalo, that obviously means he's a huge name here and quite the celebrity. I don't need to remind anyone about that. It's just nice to see that he's just a down to earth guy when a lot of times a person in his situation can be pretty high on themselves and really cocky with a hot shot personality. I've noticed that a lot of hockey players are pretty genuine. I could just be biased because hockey is my favorite sport, but most of the times hockey players just seem a lot more genuine and down to earth than other professional athletes. Just something I've noticed over the years. Another bonus in Ryan's interview is that he's wearing a v-neck!!!!! Ahhh how I love me some v-necks. Work it, Ryan. Oh and when he's talking about Catwalk for Charity they show some pictures from last year's and they use one picture with me in the background hahaha. Love it.

I also want to mention that it's been neat listening to and watching the opposing team's broadcast. Don't get me wrong, I love Rick Jeanneret as much as the next Sabres fun, but it's nice to get an outside perspective on our team. I thought Phoenix's broadcast team was really good. I was impressed with them. I know a lot of the fans in the arena tonight were Sabres fans, but I was also impressed to see such a big crowd at the game tonight after hearing about their financial troubles and especially considering the Super Bowl is tomorrow. So while I've been missing RJ's enthusiasm, it's also been fun getting a different point of view from all the different broadcasters.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Mixed Results in Alberta

Sorry for the lack of updates, everyone. I started school on Monday and I've just been adjusting to get back into the whole "college mode" after being in "lay on the couch and chill out all day" mode for the past several weeks. I still need to get my schedule all figured out and get some overpriced text books BUT that's neither here nor there.

Well, tonight...sucked. I guess we should come to expect that after we gave Edmonton a shelacking. It can't always be happy times in Sabreland. The Oilers game was quite a nice one. After taking a two hour nap from 6-8 and being dazed while watching the game, I wasn't sure if I had fallen asleep and I was just dreaming up the whole blowout. But no, it was the real deal. Drew Stafford even scored a hat-trick infront of his uncle Barrie. Good ol' Uncle Barrie. Drew may or may not have slept with the team pigeon after the game. Between the Sabres playing exceptionally well and the Oilers playing exceptionally terrible, it was a perfect recipe for a blowout. I believe this picture sums up the game pretty well. Atta boy, Goose!

So...then comes tonight. Chris Butler probably had his worst night of his young NHL career tonight. He was brutal. But he's just a rookie and he's been solid for us thus far so you can't get too upset. Everyone's going to have terrible games, especially when they're as young as Butler. Let's just hope that this game doesn't affect his confidence too much and he can just forget about it and move on. I thought the Sabres played a pretty solid first period (aside from Butler's gaffe that lead to Cammalleri's first goal). Things seemed to be going into the right direction going into third after Tim Connolly tied it to make the score 2-2. Man, if Connolly can stay healthy he's going to come up huge for us. Please stay healthy, Tim. We're all pulling for you. Unfortunately, the Sabres could not put the Flames away in the third and they ended up giving up 3 goals. To add insult to injury, Ryan Miller's longtime rival, Mike Cammalleri had a hat-trick tonight. In this article, Cammalleri describes the rivalry between he and Ryan, stemming from their college days. He had some nice things to say about Miller and his career, but I'm sure it felt good (and probably not so good for Ryan) to score 3 against him tonight. What can you do...

Well between the losers that are the New York Rangers and the Buffalo Sabres, the Pittsburgh Penguins are now 3 points behind us along with the Florida Panthers. Although the Rags have looked very unimpressive, maybe they'll take a nose dive and they will drop far, far down in the standings. The best thing that the Sabres can do is just forget about this game and move on forward to Phoenix. These games suck, but you just have to brush it off and move on...overall this team has played some real nice and solid hockey over the past several weeks. Our big names have been stepping up like they are supposed to and it's been nice to see. They just need to keep it up and not let these games ruin their confidence. They also need to stay out of the penalty box...

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Birthday Shenanigans

Good news, everyone! The Sabres West Coast trip is going to be televised! The Sabres and MSG put their thinking caps on miraclously figured out a way to broadcast these games to one of the biggest hockey markets in the USA. I believe this is a sign of the second coming. Even though we'll still be without Rick Jeanneret, we'll at least be able to watch our Sabres on TV...I know, I know. It's crazy to think that in the year 2009 we have the privilege of being able to watch hockey games on TELEVISION. Technology these days never ceases to amaze me.

Well yesterday was my birthday! I celebrated it pretty low-key. My family took me out to Mother's, a really nice bar/restaurant in the Allentown area. I love Mother's. Usually after hockey games I'll be starving (sorry but Arena food does not equal a meal...unless you're in the 200 suites) and I'll pick up some food from there. Their kitchen is always open late, so if you're ever in the area in the late hours and you're hungry and you could kick back a few, I'd suggest going to Mother's...but it will probably be very crowded. But it's always a good crowd, sometimes a Sabre or two will be in the mix (or...Alex Ovechkin when the Caps are in town. Just sayin'). Today is my mom's birthday so it's pretty cool that our birthdays are only a day apart.

Anyways, I had a real nice dinner last night and tonight I'm going downtown to celebrate with my friends. So that will be fun. I start school on Monday so I guess tonight will be a combination of celebrating my birthday and also saying farewell to my several weeks off...which I enjoyed so much. It feels weird that I'll be going back to school again, but I know May is going to roll around before I know it so it's not too bad. I'm also taking less classes this semester so hopefully it won't be as stressful and as crazy as it was last semester for me.

I'm most likely going to watch the All-Star Games Skills Competition tonight before I go out. That's always the most fun for me when it comes to the All-Star Games. The players are just loose and messing around and having fun with each other. The game itself is I don't really watch it in its entirety. I think it's cool when they mic up the goalies when they're on the ice. I remember one year Marty Turco was mic'd up and he was talking to the announcers and he was like, "Hold on...I have to make a save." Good times.

I heard that the NHL is going to suspend a player for one game if they decline an invitation to the All-Star Game without being injured. I'm sorry, but that's just ridiculous. The NHL treats the voting process like a joke (Vote For Rory or cheating Habs fans, anyone?) yet they're going to suspend a player if they decide not to participate? Ridiculous. If they want to take a break and relax during one of the only breaks they get during the 82-game schedule then let them. Some players have wives and children that they don't get to see much during the season and they also just want to rest up so they can prepare for the second half of the season. I mean, I'm sure the All-Star Games is very exciting for a lot of players and they love attending, but for those who would just rather stay home and relax, then they should be allowed to without any consequence.

Alright, enough of me ranting... I mainly wanted to make a post so I can show you my creation! Regardless of your political standings or who you voted for/who you support, I thought Barack Obama's HOPE poster that was used throughout the campaign was pretty cool. I just like pop art and I thought the poster was really neat. So, I went along and I created THIS:

Isn't it fabulous?! Now I think sports and politcs go together like oil and water, but I made this just for fun. Not a political statement or anything like that. Although, if Ryan Miller ever announced that he was running for President I would TOTALLY vote for him. Just kidding but not really. Man, I see everyone walking around with that Obama HOPE picture as a t-shirt...I want to screenprint my creation on a t-shirt and rock that shit around. It would probably sell more than the Obama Buffalo at least.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

All-Star Break

Well last night was a disappointment. After I made a nice little post praising the team's play and how well Ryan Miller has been playing lately and they go and play like a bunch of doofuses the next game. I guess it was bound to happen at some point. The Sabres have like a 54-0-0 record when they play in Tampa Bay and I think Miller has a career record of 573-0-0 against them with a 0 GAA. Sooo you know, these things happen. In all seriousness, I thought the team played much better in the 2nd and 3rd period, but they just couldn't tie it up. I'm not going to get too hung up over the game. They've had a hell of a stretch this month and they've been very impressive. You can't win them all. Let's just hope that they enjoy this break and rest up and get straight back to business.

Unfortunately we are very, very thin at the blueline. Hank Tallinder is now out with a shoulder injury and Lindy wasn't too reassuring when talking about his status. It seems as if we'll be without his services for some time. Although he did say that Sekera may be ready by the end of the break, which is good. I guess the good thing is that this happened right around the All-Star break which gives the Sabres more time to figure out what they're going to do, whether it be calling someone up or making a trade. With the injury problems looming in Portland, it may be time to make a trade and bring someone new in. Who, I don't know... (Max for Pronger or Bouwmeester, totally!!) but maybe Darcy has a few tricks up his sleeve.

The dreaded West coast trip is approaching us. The Sabres have shown that they don't really do the whole different time zone thing. To make matters worse, not only will these four games not be televised, but we are going to be without Rick Jeanneret since he has decided to take his vacation now. Bummer. I'll most likely use an online feed to watch the game, but still it won't be the same without our dear RJ calling the game. Hopefully the Sabres make up for this blasphemy by winning a few for us.

Well since it's going to be quiet in Sabreland and around the rest of the NHL due to the All-Star break, it will be pretty quiet around these parts as well. Perhaps I'll find some shenanigans to write about regarding the All-Star Games. My birthday is also tomorrow! So that's exciting for me. Classes also start up again for me on Monday. So with the All-Star break and my birthday tomorrow along with me getting ready for school again, I might not be posting as frequenty as I usually do.

Take care my fellow Sabres fans and try not to miss our boys (and me, of course) too much while they take this little breather.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Prettaayy Prettaayy Prettaayy Good

So right now the Sabres have me feeling pretty good. Since the New Year rolled around, they've been playing some solid hockey. They started off the 08-09 season pretty well, then they got themselves in a bit of a hole, but they have been playing a lot better. Here's hoping to a better second half. If they can play the way the have been as of late, I think the postseason is imminent.

During the Florida game I thought for a portion of the game the Sabres lacked intensity and they let Florida creep in and take control of the game for a bit. But Miller was ready for the task, as he always is lately. It's good to see him take control and be the goalie that we need him to be. I thought Jochen Hecht had a bad night...what's going on with him? Last year he was pretty solid but this year he's been very disappointing. He looks slow and his passes are sometimes terrible. Could it just be one bad year? I was hoping that after he'd score a few goals he'd start rolling, but that doesn't seem to be the case. I guess we'll see. Another player who had a bad night was Kotalik. But as we all know, he was there in the shootout so I guess I can't be too harsh on him. Wish he'd show up more than in just the shootout though. Roy had some bad giveaways and one lead to Florida's tying goal. But again, he did score in the shootout...even though he kind of got lucky since he lost the puck. I'll take the goals any way they are given to us...including our first one "scored" by Tim Connolly.

All in all I thought it was a solid win. It's so nice to see Miller in the shootout this year. He just seems so much more focused and confident than last year. I'm glad he's back to himself again. There could have been a lot of things affecting his game (especially in the shootout) last year. I'm sure a lot of it had to do with the personal things he was going through with the death of his cousin, and along with the fact that the team had to find a new identity after the departure of their co-captains. It's probably just a mental thing too. Miller's game has improved so much this season and it's just refreshing because it's what we all hoped for during the offseason especially when he signed his extension. The shootout was one of the main issues of his last season, and to see how he's responded is great. I liked that he stopped Booth in the shootout after he had scored on him on a penalty shot earlier in the game. It shows mental toughness. Miller had been perfect in his career in penalty shots before that, and that could have thrown him off during the shootout when he was up against Booth, but it didn't. I also liked what he said in his post-game interview about how he never watches the shooters on our team in the shootout. He just wants to focus on himself and what he has to do. I think that's a real wise approach.

So the Sabres sit in 7th place in the East and they have one more game before the league takes a break for the All-Star Games. If they can beat Tampa then they will be in a very good position going into the All-Star break and they'll be able to enjoy themselves and just relax before getting back to business. Here's hoping we beat Tampa and that Vanek has a bundle of fun in Montréal.

I uploaded my photos from the Carolina game. Here's the link to my Flickr with the photos... here's a little preview:

That's the goofy fan that I was talking about in my previous post...haha

I saw Revolutionary Road was kind of depressing. But Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet both had great performances I thought. It was really neat for me to see them back together again in another movie.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Good Old Hockey Game

Well that was a nice little win! It was a good game to be at. I had a lot of fun. I sat next to a girl from Mississauga, Ontario. She's a Leafs fan but she said that any hockey over the Leafs is better at this point. It was fun to talk to her. But I told her that if I ever bump into her at a Leafs game then we're going to be enemies. Don't hate the player, hate the game.

Onto the was great to see Timmy net two for us. I think we all forget how much of an asset he can be for the team when he's healthy. Oh, if only he can stay healthy. It's definitely a frustrating situation, for all parties involved. But it sure was fun seeing him perform well on the ice tonight. I think if he can stay healthy then he will be a huge difference-maker for us. Teppo scored one for us as well but he also took a puck to the face. On WGR 550 they were saying that they've heard that he may have broken a bone in his face and that he'd need surgery...not good. All of a sudden we're pretty thin on the blueline when just a few games ago Lindy was forced to rotate defenseman into the lineup because there just wasn't enough room for everyone. That means Paetsch will get his turn again to be back in the lineup. I know a lot of fans really want to see Weber up here, but that's going to have to wait as he is sidelined with an injury for a few weeks. The third period was pretty nerve-wracking because the whole period was basically spent in our zone. Miller once again stood tall to help secure a victory. It's good that the Sabres seemed to have turned around their troubles at home, winning all 3 of the home games this month. Granted, 3 home games is not a lot, but hey, they did win them all so what's there to complain about? It's crazy to think that their next home game will be on February 4th...

So I was nine rows up from the glass, and there was this really drunk guy up against the glass in my section. It was pretty obvious that he's never sat up against the glass before. He'd always stand up and press his face right up against the glass to try and get someone's attention. Anyone's attention. Whether it was Miller skating around the zone during commercial breaks, the ice cleaners scooping up snow, or the officials waiting for the play to start. He didn't care who it was, he wanted everyone's attention. At one point during a commercial break Jochen Hecht was hanging around near him and the dude kept banging the glass shouting, "JOCHEN!!! JOCHEN!!!" over and over again. It was pretty amusing. My parents were also at the game but they sat in the different section than I. My dad said there was a guy behind him trying to taunt Cam Ward with that typical taunting chant, but he couldn't figure out how to say his name because it was just one syllable. First he was trying to chant, "Waaard" and then he moved onto, "Caaaam". My dad said he then just settled with chanting, "Gooaaaalieeeee". Funny stuff.

So Ryan Miller updated his blog. I like that he's read Night and that he's interested in the Holocaust. One of my favorite books of all-time is All But My Life by Gerda Weissmann Klein. It's a very powerful book and I've had the opportunity to speak with her and listen to her tell her story. She actually lives in Buffalo and I remember in the epilogue of her book she talks about Buffalo and how great the city and the people have been for her and how she's glad she picked it to be the place where she settled down. It was funny because I remember she was like, "My husband and I thought of either Paris or Buffalo, and we decided on Buffalo." And I loved the part in Ryan's blog where he talks about the dumb jock stereotype. Your wit and sarcasm is not lost on me, Ryan. Gotta love it.

So the game tonight was a very good way to spend my Saturday night, to say the least. I took some pictures that I'll have to upload. I'll post the link to my Flickr once I get all the pictures up there. I decided to try and take more pictures than just of the pregame warm-ups. The pregame warm-ups are just, you know...pregame warm-ups. I try to get some nice individual shots of players, since there's not a whole lot of action going on during the warm-ups. I can't get myself to sit and photograph the game, because I want to watch the game, not photograph it. I tried getting some shots of some interesting things between commercial breaks, and I took some pictures of the crowd when we scored...hopefully my eye for capturing the right moment improves the more I attend the games.

Between the huge comeback in Dallas and winning a nice home game that puts us 4 points ahead of the 'Canes, it's good that the Sabres can head on the road on a positive note. They've got another big game on Monday against the Panthers, as they are now clawing up in the standings (lame pun) and they are only two points behind us. It sure makes for some fun (and sometimes nerve-wracking) hockey watching...

Friday, January 16, 2009

Everything's Bigger in Texas

Including Sabres' combacks. That game sure put Sabres fans in a whirlwind of emotions. We sure didn't get off to a good start with taking two undisciplined penalites (I'm looking at you, Drew Stafford) and allowing Dallas to score both times. When we were down 3-0 I just sat back and thought, "Here we go..." and was expecting a loss. It puts any team in a tough position when they're down by 3 goals, but especially the Sabres considering they had only scored 3 goals in the past 3 games. Did anyone expect them to score 4 goals within the next two periods to earn a victory? I didn't think so. Well color me surprised.

Paul Gaustad was hands down the best player tonight. Not just because he scored two goals, but his effort is just always there. He's not afraid to go in front of the next and take punches from the player's protecting the goalie. And on the other side he's not afraid to stand up for our goalie when players get too close to him. His fight might have sparked the team to play better, which they did in the 2nd period. They were a lot more aggressive and put up a great effort showing that they weren't ready to give up and call it a loss. It seemed in the Chicago game that the team was very quick to give up after giving the 'Hawks life, but last night the Sabres didn't allow that to happen, even after we let Dallas score a quick goal right after we scored to narrow the lead to just 1. We've seen that a lot with this team and it's frustrating. They score a goal to get right back into the game only to allow the other team to score another one right after the fact and then they just sit back and lose. But tonight was different. It shows that the team has enough character to not give up and try their damndest to win. That's reassuring because a lot of times the team's character is questioned a lot by fans when they are losing.

I thought Roy had a very good game too, although I did notice that he tried to do a lot of things with the puck all on his own. He's a very talented player who can sometimes get away with moves like that, but I'd like to see him play a little more simple. Isn't that what they're always preaching? Simplicity? But all in all I thought he played a good game and he was one of our heroes as he scored in the shootout to make sure that the Stars didn't win it. Miller was good, but he wasn't as good as he has been in the past few games. Maybe he was getting back into the groove after having a few days off. But he came up big in the shootout. Looks like he did his homework. He doesn't face those guys a lot considering they're a Western team, but he was right with them in the shootout and he seemed to have a good idea on what they were going to do. I'm always proud of him when I see him come up big in the shootouts because last year he really struggled in the shootout and I knew he was capable of being so much better than that. Towards the very end of the year I noticed he improved vastly in the shootout and I thought to myself that maybe he was back. So far this season he's showed that he is indeed back. Atta boy.

I still can't believe that we won that game. It was almost like my dream I had before the game... except we weren't down by 9 goals. But we did rally to score 4 goals just like in my dream! And the biggest difference from my dream is that we actually won! Since Carolina lost last night to Toronto we now have 2 points on them in the standings. Awesome. We face them on Saturday so that game is going to be huge. I'm going to it, so I'm pretty excited. It's always good to beat the Canes given our history with them, but hopefully the boys will have an added incentive to put them away since they're so close to us in the standings.

Oh and my shopping trip last night was a victorious one! I found the perfect dress for Catwalk and now I'm even more excited than I was before. I can't wait.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Disappointment in Chi-Town

Ehhhh. What a friggn let down. I was all excited for this game, WHY? Beats me. The Sabres started off well and scored the first goal, but then we give up two and the momentum swings the other way. We gave the 'Hawks and their fans life. Especially after that pathetic 6 minute power play. I think the 'Hawks had more shots and chances during that time. How nice. Lalime could have been better, that's for sure...but the loss is not all on him. He's not the reason that the skaters in front of him couldn't bury their chances or score on the aforementioned 6 minute power play. I just hope that Ruff does not lose his faith in Lalime, because we cannot ride Miller for the rest of the season and expect him to continue to play like he has. He needs to be rested if we want him to perform like he's capable of. I hope Lalime plays in one of the games in Florida. So what about Stafford's hit on Duncan Keith? Yay or nay? Dirty or clean? A lot of people think it looks a lot like the Drury hit from Neil back in 06-07. Ben Eager thinks it's a dirty hit. The difference between Stafford's hit and Neil's is that Drury's hit was late and there was a high elbow involved. I don't think Drew's elbow was high.

Sekera is out with a lower body injury and Lindy said that he might be out for awhile. I guess the positive to come out of that is it means that Butler will be able to remain in the lineup without being scratched or having to be sent down to Portland. I really hope that the Sa
bres haven't become too complacent with winning on the road, because then they're going to start to coast and think that they can take nights off.

So tonight the team is facing the Dallas Stars. They've struggled and have faced some adversity this season, between the disaster that is Sean Avery and Marty Turco having a hard time finding his groove. But after the Stars cut things off with Avery, the
y've seem to be a better team...go figure. But Turco is still having a hard time so hopefully the Sabres can exploit that and capitalize on that. Maybe then we won't have to sit and listen to another post-game interview where various members of the team say, "We have to bury our chances." or "We have to be better."

I had a nightmare last night that the Sabres lost to the Stars 9-4. But since it was a dream it was a little more bizarre than a normal hockey game. We were playing at home and we were down 9-0 but we "rallied" to score 4 goals. It was terrible. I was so relieved to wake up and realize that I just had a bad dream. I wonder what the Sabres dream about after a bad loss? Or do they even sleep at all?

Well, what most females do after they're bumme
d over something is go shopping! I'm going to the Galleria in a little bit to do some ~serious~ shopping. And by serious I mean I am looking for a dress for Catwalk for Charity. I've seen a few that I've liked online, but I figured I'd take a look around some stores at the mall before I go ahead and buy one online. Ladies (and gents), you have no idea how excited I am to dress up for this event. 1920s glamour is so fabulous. I am going to try my best to pay homage to my favorite lady, Marilyn Monroe. She played the loveable Sugar Kane in Some Like It Hot. One of my favorite movies. It's a classic. It's considered one of the best comedies of all time. It's about two musicians who witness the St. Valentine's Day Massacre in 1929 and they flee town because they're being chased by the mob. They join an all-female band and they disguise themselves as women. That's where they meet the beautiful singer Sugar Kane and they both fall for her. They try to earn her affection all the while trying to maintain their cover as being two women. It's a very cute and hilarious movie. Marilyn as always looks beautiful and her 20s get ups are beautiful and glamorous. Now if only I could have an Oscar winning costume designer make me an outfit for Catwalk, but that just isn't in the cards now is it, baby? I'll still try my best to represent my homegirl...I have a few tricks up my sleeve.

Beautiful :')

Oh, and it appears that Carey Price will be unable to participate in the All-Star Game due to a nagging ankle injury (take that, you whacky ballot stuffers Habs fans). That means there's a third spot open for a goalie (Tim Thomas and Henrik Lundqvist are the two reserves). Could Ryan Miller get the invite?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

If you don't know by now, I'm talkin' 'bout Chi-Town.

Ah, yes. Chicago. A great city. Now complete with a great hockey team. It's hard for me (and probably a lot of Sabres fans agree) to find much to dislike about the Blackhawks. First of all, they're a Western Conference team so that automatically makes it easier for me to like them and wish them success. Second of all, the most obvious reason is because South Buffalo's Pat Kane is on the team and is quickly becoming one of their franchise players. Also, I think they are reminiscent of what the Sabres were coming out of the lockout. They're young and they're proving themselves to be one of the more respected Clubs in the NHL. They've also inspired a healthy fanbase in the Chicago area. Plus, everyone's favorite red-headed defenseman is now with the team (don't worry Soupy, I won't boo you when you come back to HSBC).

What I am trying to say is that I'm pretty excited for tonight's game. It will be a challenge for the team, for sure. But hey, isn't that what sports is all about? I was pretty excited for the Detroit match-up as well, even though I wasn't expecting us to win...but I was surprised for how long they did hang in Ryan Miller hung in there for. Anyways, it will be interesting to see our boys compete against them. Last year when Chicago came to town it was a lot of fun. It was a perfect scenario for us; our hometown boy scores a goal (the only goal for the 'Hawks) but the Sabres still won and I thought it was a pretty entertaining game. All in all, it was a fun game to be at. We were all Sabres fans, but everyone was there to cheer on Kane as well. I wonder how Brian Campbell will perform against his former team for the first time. Like Ryan Miller said, he's going to have to do better than the spin-o-rama.

Speaking of goalies, Lalime will be between the pipes tonight against his former team. Let's see how he does. Everyone knows that Miller has been phenomenal lately, but if we want him to keep that up then he's going to have to get some rest here and there. Plus, it gives us a chance to get Lalime some action so he doesn't end up getting too rusty. Perhaps having him play against his former team will give him some more incentive to play better and show them how he's doing with his new team.

Continuing with the goalie talk, Puck Daddy has a nice write-up on goalies that come up big when their team is shorthanded and everyone's favorite hippie goaltender came up ontop proving that he's a big difference maker during the PK. I also liked what Miller said the other day about goaltending, how he compared it to a golf swing:

“It’s kind of like a golf swing. That’s how I try to explain things to people. You go to the range and you’re thinking about six different things: Where is the weight on this foot, back hinge, the elbow, all this stuff. Goaltending is a lot like that. My stance, my hand positioning, where I am in the crease, how much I challenge, my glove side not being too low or too high, trying to get dialed in. The last few games I’ve felt good… I’m starting to feel more like where I think I need to be.”
It's a nice analogy because it gives people who probably aren't that familiar with being a goaltender better insight into what goes into being a goalie and all the things that you have to think about at once...pretty interesting. In the words of Mr. Lalime, Miller certainley has been a "treat" to watch. In so many different ways, Patrick, in so many different ways...

In more lineup news, it looks like Chris Butler is scratched tonight with Numminen playing, according to The Buffalo News. It seemed as if Numminen was going to be the one scratched since he was paired with Nathan Paetsch the past few practices, but it appears not so. Butler certainly can use the ice time, and I don't think it would hurt to have Teppo sit out a game or two every now and then considering his age, but what do I know.

And now, my dear readers, I leave you with this stroll down memory lane. How can we ever forget this classic? Brian Campbell is forever immortalized in the Greater Buffalo area thanks to YouTube and excessive sweating:

Thanks for the memories, Soupy.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Slumdog Millionaire

Looking back at the Detroit game, it certainely is frustrating that we came out with zero points after hanging in there for so long, but I guess it is what it is. They're the best team in the NHL and the defending Stanley Cup Champions. And we're...not. To say the least. Those type of losses always piss me off the most, though. But I'm over it now and I am looking forward to Chicago. It makes you wonder who will get the nod. Ryan Miller has been great, and he's had three days off to get some rest. Does that mean he'll start against Chicago or Dallas? Both? I know he's been playing great lately, but if we want him to continue on like this for the rest of the season and hopefully the playoffs, he's going to need some rest. Honestly, I don't know what game I'd play Lalime in. He's a former Blackhawk, so maybe it would be nice to have him play against Chicago. But then again, they're a very good team and you'd want your #1 goalie in against those guys. Does Ryan play against Dallas, so he can get some extra rest after facing 95 shots or so over the past two games? Or is that where you put in Lalime since they're not as dangerous as the 'Hawks. Decisions, decisions.

Anyways, I mainly wanted to make a post completely unrelated to hockey but I thought I should throw some in here, since this is a hockey blog. But I wanted to talk about the new movie, Slumdog Millionaire. I saw it last night and it was spectacular. It's the best movie I've seen in a long time. I especially took an interest to the movie because it's based in India, and I think I've mentioned before on here that I am real interested in the Indian culture. It's a very unique and wonderful story. It keeps the audience in the plot the entire film and it shows a real honest side to India - both the good and the bad. I thought the cinematography was great and so was the soundtrack. Last night I believe the film won Best Picture, Best Original Score, and Best Director at the Golden Globes. I bought the soundtrack last night after seeing the movie and it's great. One of my favorite musicians, M.I.A., recorded a song for the movie and it also features her hit song Paper Planes along with a remix of it. It's a very entertaining and touching story, go see it! Here's the trailer for it, but it really does not do it justice:

I also have to give props to one of my favorite actresses, Kate Winslet. Last night she picked up two Golden Globes for her performances in Revolutionary Road and The Reader. I haven't seen either movie yet, but I really want to. Especially Revolutionary Road. Titanic is one of my all-time favorite movies, and it's exciting for me to see Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio team up again. Plus the story looks very intriguing.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

What A Crock Of Shit

These games are always the toughest for me to take. I guess when the whole team plays like garbage the entire time it just becomes laughable. But when they're in the game for pratically the entire time, yet they still lose, well that's very infuriating. Especially when Ryan Miller makes 45 saves. Miller saved their ass last night, you'd think that the team would want to play better in front of him the next night because of that.

To put it into perspective, we were playing one of the best team's in the league who are the defending Stanley Cup Champions. Thanks to Ryan Miller, the highest scoring team in the NHL only had one goal for pratically the entire game. But with such a talented and smart team like Detroit, it's extremely dangerous to sit on a 1-0 lead or a 1-1 tie. I don't care how good your goalie is playing, you're going to get burned. Ryan Miller was playing phenomenal in front of his home state and his team couldn't have at least gotten a point for him. Unbelievable. Jason Pominville's two missed opportunities was extremely frustrating. Especially the 2-on-1 with Hecht towards the end of the game. When you have a 2-on-1 against Detroit and the game is tied 1-1 in the third then you have to score. The fact that we were in the game the entire game when it could have easily been a blackout is just very annoying. I can only punch a hole in the wall shake my head.

Miller has been playing superb hockey over the past several games. I'm very impressed with him, and I just feel bad for him that the team couldn't win or at least get a point for him tonight. What a shame. Carolina lost today and we could have gained sole possession of the 8th spot. Florida is only one point behind us.

Very frustrating. Rest up and be ready for Chicago, boys.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Ladies and Gentlemen...

I'd like to introduce you to the Buffalo Sabres goaltender, Ryan Miller:

He's saahhh sazzzyyyy. If you don't know much about him, I'll enlighten you a bit. Tonight he made 43 saves in regulation and stopped 3 Rangers (including Chris Drury, lulz) in the shootout and now the Sabres are tied for 7th place with Carolina with a game in hand. Stick around and maybe you'll get to know him some more.

...maybe I'll post a better analysis on the game later.

Ranger Danger

So our favorite Austrian has been chosen to represent the Sabres at the 2009 All-Star games in Montreal. Good for him. I think it was obvious that he was a lock to go. I don't know if I'll watch the actual game, but I'll probably tune in for the skills competition. Pretty funny that only four teams in the NHL will be representing the starting lineup. But with all of the glorious tools that the internet provides us, computer nerds and crazy hockey fans can team up and find ways to overflow the ballots with players that aren't so deserving to be there with cheat codes and whatnot. How special. It doesn't really matter in the longrun...I mean, it's the All-Star games. The only thing I remember from last year's All-Star game is Alex Ovechkin showing off in the shootout skills competition.

I'm sure everyone is aware by now that Tim Connolly is returning to the lineup. We'll see how this goes. At this point I was just convinced that a healthy Tim Connolly was some sort of urban legend, passed down from Sabres fan to Sabres fan. All kidding aside, we can only hope that he'll be an asset. I hope the players don't try to get too fancy with him in the lineup, and I hope his return doesn't mess with any team chemistry. There's always a fear that will happen whenever a player is returning from a long injury. I'm pulling for you, Timmy. But I won't pull too hard, because I know you're pretty fragile. It might cause a groin pull or something.

So tonight's matchup is the New York Rangers. Hmmm. Do we all still hate Chris Drury? Are we going to laugh when Dmitri Kalinin is burned by our offense? Will the Rangers give up 12 short-handed goals tonight? I guess we'll find out. Ryan Miller is in net tonight. I guess it's safe to assume that he'll be in tomorrow night as well, considering they'll be in Michigan. Plus, I think we'll want our #1 goalie in against the big, bad Red Wings.

Ryan Miller's dad e-mailed me the other day. Crazy stuff. "They even bother my poor father cuz he's down with me!" I had to throw in a Run DMC reference in there some how. Tr-tr-tr-trickyyyyyyy.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Jarkko Bit Me

...and that really hurt, Jarkko. And it's still hurting.

Sheesh. Biting in hockey? Give me a break. What a shit show. Ruutu is denying that he bit Peters, but I think it's pretty obvious from the replay that he indeed did bite him. Then again, I would be pretty embarrassed to admit that I bit someone too. Yikes. But let me just say, seeing Peters mouth, "He fucking bit me!" was hilarious. I was sitting there wondering what the hell happened to him and then I see him shout that and I was just like, "...what? Did he just say that Ruutu bit him?!" Good god.

Anyways, biting aside, I'm glad I can sit here and write about another Sabres victory! Talk about being on a roll, how about Matt Ellis? Another goal! Good for him. There's not a better way to start the period off than to score. I liked seeing Roy score that ugly goal. Is there anything more beautiful than scoring an ugly goal? It shows determination. I like it. It seemed that we were in for a night where the Sabres would have a comfortable lead the entire time, but as you know, not a lot of leads are safe in this league. Ryan Miller had two gaffes (and so did our defense on the second goal, giving Spezza a breakaway), and all of a sudden Ottawa is back in it. Miller seemed a little rattled after those two goals, but it was great to see his response in the third. He was very sharp and stopped all of Ottawa's 11 shots and had a huge glove save on Spezza denying him the hat-trick. Nicely done. The team as a whole seemed to have gotten back on track in the third after making some mistakes in the second and letting Ottawa creep back up. It was nice to see Rivet back out there and going after some Sens after they were getting all up in our goalie.

All in all it was a huge win for the team and it was nice to see. Earlier in the season those were the games where the Sabres would have a nice lead and then have a meltdown and lose. It's good to see them take charge after making some mistakes and ensure that they take 2 points out of the game. So the Sabres are on a nice little 3 game winning streak and they are doing all they can do at keeping themselves in a playoff spot. Pittsburgh is right at their heels for that 8th spot, but the Sabres are right behind Carolina as well for the 7th spot. There aren't many points separating the 5th-8th spots in the Conference, so things get pretty interesting around this time of the year. If the Sabres can keep this up, then it can make for some fun months ahead of us.

Oh and I just want to say how much I love Burt's Bees products. I am in love! If I could I would buy every single product that Burt's Bees makes.

Midnight Ramblings

So it's a little after midnight and I'm writing this blog in an attempt to make me more tired. I've been having an awful time sleeping lately. I didn't fall asleep until a little after 4 am last night. I was very exhausted around 9 tonight and I drank some tea that's supposed to help you fall asleep. We'll see how that works...

Anyways, I just thought I'd weigh in on the recent Sabres news. I'm sure everyone's aware by now that our Captain, Craig Rivet is back. This is great news. He was so impressive in the preseason and in the beginning of the season and I was very excited to have him on our team. Then he had his surgery and it seemed that he toned it down after that. Then he had his problem with his shoulder. I'm betting it's been his injuries that have been keeping him from playing the physical style that he likes to play. Let's hope that he's ready to return to that physical form against Ottawa. The Sabres are 7-3-1 at home with Rivet in the lineup, and they are 3-6-1 at home without him. Very interesting. Maybe having him back will improve our home record, but we really won't know that for sure for a little bit considering the Sabres only have 3 home games this month. I guess we'll see what happens tomorrow against Ottawa.

Rivet back also brings up the issue of what to do with Chris Butler. Honestly, I really want to see him stay up with us. Sure he's young and most of the times when you're young you have to wait your turn to stay in the NHL for good, but I believe we are a better team with him in the lineup. You do whatever you have to do to win, and if that means keeping Butler up here with us and scratching and/or waiving certain players in order to do that, then so be it. Some people have suggested that we waive Paetsch and make Numminen our 7th D-man. With Numminen's age, it might serve him well to have him sit out for a few games to take a breather. He'd also be there to help mentor Butler, as Chris has already stated that Numminen has been great in that department for him. It's a tad convenient that Numminen is "sick" right now so the Sabres don't have to send Butler down, don't you think?

Now moving onto the "problem children" on the team. As far as Connolly goes, I don't really know what to say. I want him to be healthy. I want him in the lineup. But we've been dealing with his injuries for what, 3 years now? I guess I'll believe that Connolly is healthy when I see it. Then there's Afinogenov. Max, Max, Max. I feel for this guy, I really do. He's already had enough problems in his game and now he's dealing with a groin injury that Ruff said is probably a long term thing. I just feel sorry for him because he really tries hard. The effort is there, but he can't seem to catch a break. I can only imagine how frustrating it is for him.

So, answer me this...which fight is more embarrassing? Sid's or Semin's? It's a tough call. One can say Crosby's is because of how he initiated it. A guy's head is down, and he's in a vulnerable position and he just pulls his jersey over his head and starts throwing "punches". Nice. Now I know Sidney isn't a fighter, but shit, even I know "The Code" well enough. You let the player drop the gloves and square off first, ya fool. Oh, and take your visor off. But on the other hand, one can say that Semin's is more embarrassing because....well, just watch the video. I think I saw a toddler in Toys R Us do the same exact thing when his mommy wouldn't let him get a toy. Actually, come to think of the Buffalo Zoo the other day a chimp went crazy and did the same exact thing when another monkey took his banana. Hmmm. Maybe Semin was just practicing his bongo technique? Move over, Jack Costanzo.

I know my last post was full of funny search queries, but today I came across this gem when I was pursuing Google Analytics:

"recent photos of sabres goaltender ryan miller with facial hair"

Gotta love it. It just warms my heart knowing there's people out there who appreciate Ryan Miller's facial hair as much as I do. :')

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Hockey Day in Boston?

Hmm, doesn't quite have the ring to it as Hockey Night in... does. There's just something about hockey in the day that seems strange. Plus, the Sabres NEVER seem to win afternoon game-- oh wait, we beat Boston 4-2! This is only Boston's second time to lose in regulation at home, the first one coming all the way back in October. We snapped their 10-game winning streak, very nice. We were obviously the underdogs coming into today's game, and it was a HUGE win for us. The Penguins took a shelacking from Florida today as well, meaning we have now passed them and we're sitting in 7th place as of now. As always, the standings are extremely tight so if Carolina wins tonight they'll pass us and bump us back down to 8th. Can the Lightning help our brothas out and earn a victory over the Canes? I won't hold my breath, but you never know. Number crunching can make me go crazy, but it's still wise to know where your team stands among all the others.

Anyways, what a game by Matt Ellis. I've been very impressed with his game since he's been called up and it's great to see him come up big on the score sheet. 2 goals and 1 assist, very nice. It was a very entertaining game to watch altogether and I was just loving the fact that we were in the lead the entire time. I'm very proud of our boys. It was definitely getting very nerve wrecking after we were up 4-2, though. There was a lot of time spent in our own zone, and several times it seemed impossible for the Sabres to clear the zone. They were playing with fire, allowing a team like Boston spending so much time in our own zone. But Miller held his ground and he came up with big saves during the whole game. Tim Thomas though seemed a little off. He's been very good as of late, but he kept tripping over his own feet and that careless giveaway of his was pretty bad. He was drunk, I tell ya. Overall it was a very nice win for our boys and I hope they enjoy it. Let's see if they can beat Ottawa on Tuesday. Ottawa has been struggling all season, and even though we've only played them once this season, they still beat us in a convincing fashion. Will Ottawa always have our number? We'll see.

Anyways, I think it's time to pull out some of my favorite Google Analytics top search queries! I've got plenty of hits from people who have searched for the whole Ryan Miller-Tim Peel incident. People have searched for it in various ways. Such as:

"ryan miller go fuck yourself"
"ryan miller official go fuck yourself"

and my personal favorite:
"ryan miller penguins ref fuck"

Good times. Coming on the top of my top search queries is "ryan miller blog", looks like a lot of people are curious to see what our dear goalie has to say.

But my all time favorite search so far has been, "caroline mini miller". I don't really know what the person was looking for when they typed that into Google, but I hope they found what they wanted to on my blog.

"hockey night in lindy" is also another one of my personal favorites. I don't know about you, but the only thing that it makes me think of is the classic, "One Night in Paris". It's getting a little freaky over here in Buffalo...

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Years Shenanigans

Well, well, well. 2008 came and went and it's now time to welcome 2009. I hope everyone had a fun New Year's Eve. Mine was pretty low-key. Nothing special. The NHL has a new tradition to help welcome the New Year and that's the Winter Classic.

It's crazy to think about that last year the Winter Classic - or what Buffalonians like to call it, the Ice Bowl was held in our humble city of Buffalo. Right in our own backyard (it seriously was almost in my backyard, considering it was in Orchard Park and I live in the Village of OP). What a special day. Everything was just so great. Watching the game this afternoon brought back memories of that day. It would have been nice if we would have won the game, but just being there was so amazing for me that it didn't even matter. I was so proud of our fans that day. A football stadium full of 70,000 hockey fans chanting, "Lets Go Buffalo!" was amazing. I thought the game today was very entertaining. Although I was pulling for Detroit, I did feel bad for Huet for getting pulled. I guess I just feel sorry for him that his memories of the Winter Classic is him getting pulled. But it was a very good game I thought. Datsyuk's goal was simply beautiful...he's one of my favorite players in the league.

Now onto the Sabres...they may have said goodbye to 2008 in a bitter fashion, but they greeted the New Year with a nice 4-1 win against Toronto. Maybe it had something to do with Lindy playing musical chairs in the locker room. Probably not, considering they were on the road. When I first read that he was switching up the stalls I didn't really know what to think. It can look like a move from a desperate coach, or maybe it's just no big deal at all. You do whatever you need to do to win. I was glad to see the team play more physical and it was nice to see the players who are supposed to be our top scorers net two each tonight. Roy and Pommers have both been in the doghouse at some point this season, so it was good to see. The special teams was definitely a factor, scoring on 2 of the 4 power plays and killing off all 5 of Toronto's power plays. Miller was also very good, stopping a penalty shot and making 27 saves.

BUT UM, speaking of Mr.'ve got some 'splainin to do. I noticed that his face looked um...smoother than I had anticipated. I can't believe he shaved. What a letdown. After working so hard from your facial hair being mere scruff all the way up to a nice beard and you're just going to shave it? Do you not enjoy looking like Jesus Christ himself? Whatever, I guess you can't say anything bad about his performance tonight. You do what you gotta do, Ryan. If shaving means you're going to play strong, then fine. I'll get over it.

Well the Sabres take on the Bruins on Saturday at 1 pm. The dreaded 1 pm puck drop. For whatever reason, the Sabres don't seem to like playing afternoon games and they always have a tough time winning. What can you do. We've beaten Boston twice already this season, even though they're the "Beast of the East", the Sabres still know how to beat them, which is obviously a positive.