Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Round 2

So it's surprisingly difficult to update a Buffalo Sabres blog when the Buffalo Sabres aren't playing. Shocking, I know. So it's pretty obvious that my posts are going to be few and far between and they most likely won't really being focusing on the Sabres at all, but more about hockey in general...and myself. I'm a narcissistic bitch if you haven't noticed already. Only kidding...

I've already said that I'm not really going to do an analysis of each and every game played in the playoffs, so I wanted to hold off on updating until round 1 was over. In a previous post, I put in my thoughts on certain match-ups and for the most part I am pretty satisfied with what went down. I was a little disappointed to see the Blues get swept by the Canucks. Just because I really admired how they worked really hard to climb up in the standings and earn a playoff spot, so it was a little disappointing to see them get swept. Same goes for the Blue Jackets, but I'm sure the experience of being in the playoffs will be beneficial for the organization, even though they got swept as well. I'm glad to see the Ducks win over the Sharks, and that only might be because I find some amusement out of the Sharks always having an early exit in the playoffs after a promising regular season. Sorry Sharks fans. I actually really like watching the Sharks, but come's funny. For me at least. It's just downright frustrating for many other fans. But Anaheim played strong and they deserved to move on. They proved that it doesn't always matter what seed you are in the playoffs, just play strong hockey and anything can happen. The 'Hawks-Flames series was great to watch. I found myself rooting for both teams depending which game it was. It was just a fun series to watch and it didn't matter to me who prevailed, so congratulations to the 'Hawks for winning.

Onto the East...I suspected that the Boston-Montreal match-up would be pretty unbalanced, and although I wasn't expecting a sweep, I still wasn't surprised. It can be a circus up in Montreal, with the media and the rabid fanbase, and sometimes they can do more harm than good when things aren't going their way. Not a pretty way to celebrate the team's centennial season. I wish things would have been different for the Devils-'Canes series. It was a very exciting series as I expected it to be, but I wish the it was the Devils who prevailed and not the 'Canes. But the Hurricanes got it done by scoring very late third period goals in two games. I am glad that the Capitals found a way to win the series. That was a treat for me. They were down 3-1 in the series but they kept working hard and it paid off. When they won Game 6 at MSG I knew they were going to win Game 7. Well I mean I wasn't convinced and I didn't think it was going to be an easy win, I just knew that the momentum was completely in their favor. I felt bad for Lundqvist, he was very good for the team, but even though strong goaltending is essential in the playoffs, they can't do everything to secure a win.

So now it's onto round 2...and the series I am most excited for is the Detroit-Anaheim series. I'm not sure who I am even rooting for, but I'm sure it will be a great series. I'm hoping the Bruins can take care of those pesky Hurricanes because I don't want to see them in the playoffs for much longer. As for the 'Hawks-Canucks series, I'm going to have to with Chicago. You know, the Buffalo ties and all that. And I'm sure the NHL is just ecstatic over the Capitals-Pens series. Ovechkin vs Crosby. How's hoping the Caps can take care of the Pens.

So I was doing some browsing on team's message forums and I find it so amusing how whacky fans can be sometimes. I understand that emotions are running high during the playoffs, and not everyone can think objectively. But after the Devils got eliminated, some fans were calling for Brodeur's head. Saying it's time for a new goalie, his pads are too small, he needs to be a butterfly goalie, and it was just a bunch of fans with a plethora of goalie knowledge giving advice to Marty on how to be a better goaltender. I'm sure he will be open for suggestions on how to improve his game. I guess Devils fans sometimes forget that they have argurably one of the greatest goaltenders in the world playing for them. That's not to say he's going to be play like the world's greatest goalie every single night, but it's just amusing to me to see that even Devils fans can find a way to blame it all on the goalie. I guess it just comes with the job as a goaltender, even when you're as established as Martin Brodeur. That also brings me to how Habs fans were treating Price after they got swept. I admit that I have a soft spot for goalies so it always bothers me when they take so much of the blame, although I realize that it's always going to be like that. But booing and taunting your own goalie in his own rink is unacceptable I think. Sometimes booing your team as a whole in their own rink is warranted, but I've never been big on singling out specific players. The bottom line is that Carey Price is only 21-years-old and relatively inexperienced. He needs time to mature and he's still learning how to deal with the pressures of not only being a starting goalie in the NHL, but the added pressures of being a Montreal Canadien. The Habs have invested a lot into Price and fans should try and get behind him instead of trying to ruin his confidence and/or run him out of town. Perhaps his sarcastic Roy-esq salute to the fans that he did during Game 4 will remind Habs fans of this.

The weather in Buffalo has been giving us a preview into the's been beautiful out. I tried to take advantage of this and I have been wearing the cute summer dresses that I bought a few months ago. I also took my dog for a walk on Elmwood on Sunday and it was really nice. I saw these little girls riding pink minature mopeds and they were so cute. I want one. The nice weather has put me in a good mood and it's making me look forward to summer. I only have one more full week of classes before exams and all that and then I'm done! Thank god. School-related issues have been stressing me out lately so the semester ending couldn't come at a better time. I have a lot planned this summer but I also have to work a lot over the summer to get them Benjaminzzzzzz so I can do everything that I want to do. I've also been wanting to start a garden. I think it would be neat to grow some fruits, vegetables, herbs, and pretty flowers. I just like doing hands-on activities and being outdoors so gardening is ideal. I've also been getting into making my own tea so growing my own herbs would be a lot of fun in the process. I went to UB's Spring Fest last weekend with my friends and it was great. I haven't been to a concert in a long time which is a shame because I love live music. Brand New is one of my favorite bands and although I have already seen them twice before, it was nice to see them again. My friend's roommate is also in a band and his band won a battle of the bands so they got to play at the show too which was neat for them. I already know I am seeing No Doubt in June and hopefully I'll be able to attend Lollapalooza in Chicago in August. I'm eager to see the Thursday at the Square lineup as well.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Playoff Buzz

Watch out...I'm about to state the obvious. I'll try not to harp on it for too long, but this is my own blog damnit...I say what I want! Okay, here it goes...I wish the Sabres were in the playoffs. At this point you're probably saying, "No shit." Yeah, yeah I know. The whole, "I wish the Sabres were in the playoffs." just goes without saying. But watching the playoffs so far has been pretty fun and enjoyable, and I can't help but stop and think to myself, "Imagine how much more fun and exciting this would be if it were the Sabres." Everything just changes when your team is in the playoffs. There is a buzz around this city that is very tangible. Everyone's a fan. Even if you aren't so familiar with hockey or the team as a whole, that's ok. People get behind the Sabres because they represent our city and it gives us a sense of togetherness and something to cheer about. Hearing the excitement of the crowd and seeing the aesthetics of them all wearing their team's primary color to create a sea of one, big color is fun to see. Makes me wish I could be apart of it instead of just sitting in on other team's fun.

If last night's Flames-'Hawks match-up was any indicator of how the previous two games were, then I've been missing out on one hell of a series. I really enjoyed watching both teams last night and it's been hard for me to choose what team I want to prevail in the end. It's kind of nice that way, because either way you're just enjoying a good series no matter what the outcome is. It was also nice to see the Capitals come back and shut out the Rangers at MSG. They have a tough task ahead of them, but last night they showed that they are up for it. Maybe it's all thanks to Ovechkin's espionage during the morning skate. Only kidding. I'm sure Capitals fans are breathing a sigh of relief over Varlamov as he's showing that he can compete in the far. He only surrendered one goal in his first outing and he shut out the Rangers in his second start. Impressive. I hope the Capitals take game 4 and head back to DC with some confidence and a tied series. I mentioned in a previous post about the Ducks giving the Sharks some trouble and I was right. I really don't have anything against the Sharks at all and I like watching them in the regular season when I can, but I have to say that I am rooting for the Ducks to take this series. Okay, I admit that it is partly because I do find it a little amusing how the Sharks always seem to fizzle out in the playoffs after a promising regular season. What's with that. I don't know. Hockey is funny.

And of course, if I can't watch my favorite Miller compete in the playoffs, I might as well root for another one. So hopefully Drew Miller and the Ducks can keep on keepin' on and take the series. It would be considered an "upset" I guess, only not to me or many other hockey fans I'm sure. Continuing on with the Miller trend (I think my whole blog is a continuous "Miller trend"...sahh sahry), Ryan gives a little more insight into the Sabres and what they have to do to get back on track again. I liked how he made points about certain former Sabres such as Briere, Campbell, and Dumont and how it took them some time to develop into the players that they are today. As a fan it's reassuring to be reminded of things like that because it makes you more optimistic heading into the future knowing that some of our guys are still developing and learning, and soon enough they will mature into a hockey player that we can rely on night in and night out to help win some games. I know it's frustrating to always be looking towards the future instead of "now", believe me...I'd rather win the Cup sooner rather than later, but we have to take into account that while a lot of these guys do have playoff experience, they still are young and they still have a lot to learn. Another thing Miller mentioned was how reporters craft their questions so they can get the answer they want from a hockey player. It's one of the reasons why a lot of athlete's answers are always so generic and bland. Sometimes I hear a reporter ask a question and I already know what the athlete is going to say just because of the question that he was asked. That's why I like Miller's interviews because he always finds a way to analyze the question and make it his own so his answers are what he intends them to be, rather than what the reporter intended it to be.

I also liked Ryan's tongue in cheek jab at clichéd quotes and motivational posters. It made me think of demotivational posters. I tried to think of my favorite demotivational posters but there are too many out there to think of any specific ones really. Gotta love what the internet has provided for society. It's where snarky and snide comments reign supreme. Love it.

Oh, and have you guys heard the news that the Dominator is back? Well, in the Czech at least. I have to say cool. Hasek is da bomb (that was me trying to stick to the 90s theme because Hasek was the coolest human being in the universe in the 90s). I know a lot of Sabres fans are a little bitter towards Hasek, but I will always love him. Do you guys realize that we had the argurably the best goalie in the world in his prime playing for us? Sure, he didn't win a Cup for us but then the year after he ditched us he finally won one, BUT let's not get into specifics here, people. Let's just remember the good times and the crazy times. Like the time when Hasek tried to kill Jim Kelley (the reporter, not the quarterback). How can you not love this man? In all seriousness I wish him the best of luck at his attempt to get back into hockey.

Now completely unrelated to hockey, the Lollapalooza lineup for this year's festival is sick. Depeche Mode, The Killers, Kings of Leon, Snoop Dogg, Beastie Boys, Santigold, Bon Iver, of Montreal, Peter Bjorn and John, and Vampire Weekend are just a few of the acts that I am most excited to see. It's just a little slice of heaven. Musical heaven, at least. There's even a band named Hockey on the list. I have never heard of them, but with a name like that, they are promising in my books. Good music, good people, and a great city. Chicago is always a great place to visit, and what better reason is there to go to Chi-Town than for a 3 day music festival? I love everything that music festivals represent. It's the summer, it's hot, you're surrounded by people, music, food, booze...I mean could you really ask for anything else? So at the moment I have zero plans on how I am going to get to Chicago, but that's exactly how I started off last summer. My brothers and my cousin really wanted to go, and we found a way. Thanks in large part to my parents helping us out...have I mentioned that I have really cool parents? That's why I love the summer so much. A lot more freedom to do what you want.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

About Time

That I update this. I've been really busy lately with the semester winding down. I am still a little stressed over registering for classes for the fall semester, but I think I have things figured out somewhat. There are still some questions that I still need to ask myself and decisions that I have to make, but right now I am just focusing solely on the fall semester and not quite looking beyond that in an attempt to not get too rattled.

But who wants to hear about that? Let's talk about much more exciting topics, such as the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Well to be honest, it's hard for me to talk about them because I haven't watched much. It's really frustrating. Between school and work, it's been real hard to watch any TV. I just watched The Office from last Thursday and I still need to watch SNL from last week. But anyways, it's been hard for me to watch any playoff games, but I've been keeping up with the reports and checking the scores whenever I can. But obviously that is not the same. Last night I tried to make up for it as I planned on heading out to watch the games with my friends. But when I got off work, my feet were throbbing and I laid on the couch to give my feet some R&R and I didn't really leave the couch for the rest of the night. I was content watching the playoffs in the confines of my own living room.

I have to say that I feel bad for Columbus. I just thought that it was pretty neat that it's their first playoff berth in the history of their franchise, but unfortunately for them they have to face the Detroit Red Wings in the first round...not an easy feat for any team. Detroit never ceases to impress me. Just seeing how much space they create for themselves amazes me. Players like Datsyuk are just so entertaining to watch. Seeing Detroit manhandling Columbus is sort of expected but a little would at least be entertaining to see Columbus win a few games to make the series interesting.

I've gotta say that I thoroughly enjoyed the Bruins-Habs game as well. I have a lot of respect for the Canadiens, and you can't question the passion of their rabid fanbase, but I am kind of enjoying watching them fall. This year the fans thought they had some sort of entitlement to the Cup above any other team due to the fact that it's their centennial year. It was annoying, and it's nice to see Boston put them in their place. Seems like Montreal is going to have a little trouble in the goaltending department. Price hasn't really been the same since he missed some time due to an ankle injury. I remember during his rookie season, Habs fans were projecting that he'd be the next great goalie and that he was already miles above plenty established goalies in the NHL who have been around for several years. Gotta love those Habs fans... already knowing that their team would be the 2009 Stanley Cup champs before game 1 of the 2008-2009 regular season began and they thought that their 12-year-old goalie was destined to be the next Patrick Roy. Way to jump the gun, guys.

I haven't watched any of the Caps-Rangers series, but I have to say that I am disappointed that the Rags have taken both games. First and foremost because I strongly dislike the Rangers. And secondly, the Caps are an exciting young team and I hope they live past the first round so I can watch them compete more. Like Montreal, it looks like the Caps may also have a little trouble with their goaltending. I don't know how much confidence Theodore is going to have going into MSG after being benched after game 1. So will Boudreau go with Jose or rookie Varlamov? Not an easy decision. You have to give credit to Henrik Lundqvist though. I can't really comment on his play because I haven't watched the games, but from what I've gathered, he's really been spectacular. Goaltending is always important, but it's so crucial in the playoffs.

So in Sabres news, Sabres brass have announced that both Darcy Regier and Lindy Ruff will be here next season. This has been such a hot topic to discuss in Sabreland for the past several months and I have remained pretty quiet about it, and I intend to remain that way. Firstly it's because it's a topic that's already been beaten to the ground, and I'm sure it will continue to be in the forthcoming months. Secondly, I just think people are being too dramatic about it and it's really annoying me. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of fans out there who have a strong opinion about this and they know how to express it in an intelligent, level-headed manner. But then there are people out there (as there always is) that are just kind of disgusting me with their shortsidedness and their lack of knowledge. I read on a Sabres message board where one fan was trying to compare the day that Larry announced that Ruff & Regier would be staying to the day that we lost Briere and Drury. Really? Get a grip, people.

There's a good handful of fans who believe that Lindy is not the problem and shouldn't be fired, while there's also a good portion of fans who believe that it's time for a change and Lindy needs to move on. I have to say that I believe that Lindy is not the problem and I have no issue with him remaining here. He's a great coach and I don't like speculating on certain things such as what type of relationship he has with specific players on the squad just because frankly I have no idea. How would I? I'm just a fan. I am not sitting in on the team meetings. I am not in the locker room. I am not practicing, traveling, or playing under Lindy Ruff. So it's hard for me to judge. Lindy has been here for over a decade and I have seen how he's coached the Sabres throughout all the roster changes he's seen over his tenure. Sometimes a coach can only do so much, and I honestly don't think it's all on Lindy for this past season. No one is exempt from taking some of the blame, but I think most of it has to be on the players. They are all professionals, and a lot of these guys have seen the playoffs and know what it takes to get in the playoffs and be successful in them. They've also been dealt with a lot of adversity and I just don't think they have learned enough from that, since they yet again failed to make the playoffs.

Then there's Regier...I have a real hard time having an opinion on him. It's just because I lack a lot of knowledge and insight into what it is to be a GM. So I don't feel as though I have a place to sit here and pretend I know more than him (like the media and so many fans do). I'm not saying that it's not okay for fans to be critical of him, and I'm not saying that fans always have to agree with every move he makes. It's just that I can't stand fans who play armchair GM and truly believe that they would know how to run a sports franchise. Please. I think that it can sometimes be a thankless job...the smart moves that Darcy makes will go unnoticed over time, while his shortcomings will never be forgotton. Same goes for Lindy.

So I know I kind of danced around that topic, but I am just going to go ahead and play the Switzerland card and remain pretty neutral on it. I'm sorry that this post lacked a lot of insight, but I can't really give a proper analysis on any of the playoff series because I haven't watched much. I just figured that I should update this so I don't forget about it.

Oh by the way, I finally uploaded all of my photos on my Flickr. I got some real nice shots of Ryan Miller doing his little zen meditation routine before the Red Wings game. I also uploaded some other shots that I've taken around the city recently, but the recent Sabres photos can be seen here.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

No One On The Corner Has Swagger Like Us

That lyric was what first popped into my mind when Miller repeatedly used one of my favorite words, "swagger". The lyrics are from M.I.A.'s most popular song, Paper Planes, incase you didn't know. Great song, great musician. She's one of my favorites. You should check her out if you haven't. I digress. After listening to some of the player's interviews from the locker room cleanout and reading articles and write-ups about it, Ryan Miller's words were the most insightful and I understand the message he is trying to put out. Maybe this team needs to go see a sports psychologist. The most frustrating thing for me is that I really think this team is capable of being contenders. Yet here we are, on the outside looking in, just like last year. I know a lot of people just say, "Face it...this team just isn't that good." but I don't buy that. I'm not saying that the organization shouldn't try and maybe look for help from outside the organization, but I also don't believe that this team isn't talented enough to get the job done. I just think that the team has showed numerous times over the season that they can compete with top teams, but for some reason they lose focus and that's what kills them. As a fan I can only speculate, and to be honest I don't really have any theories which is probably because I can't fully undertand, as I am not apart of the team. But Miller's theories are very compelling.

I don't see how this team can move forward if people are going to keep harping on Drury and Briere. I'm sick and tired of having everything always going back to them, but maybe the Sabres put that on themselves as they have not had a playoff berth since those two left the team, so it makes it easier for the media and the fans to go back to Drury and Briere. I just want fans to forget about's fun to look back and reflect on the better times, but I just can't stand it when people go into "What if?" scenarios and discuss where this team would be if they somehow managed to keep one or both on the team. I even hear some people refer to Martin Biron after we've lost a game with our backup goalie in net. Nevermind the fact that Marty made it clear he was unhappy being a backup goalie... unless fans would rather have Martin Biron instead of Ryan Miller as our number 1 goalie. So I don't understand when fans bring that up.

I guess it's obvious that this team is still searching for their own identity, as a few players and Lindy have mentioned that. Miller referred to it as growing pains. Unfortunately while the team is going through their growing pains they are also missing the playoffs, which is an experience that some of the young players on the team don't have yet.

In other news that came from locker room clean out day, it seems as though Pominville has an undisclosed injury and he was pretty vague about it, but he did say that he might have a procedure done over the summer which might prevent him from participating in the World Championships. Miller also said that he declined an invitation so he can have an entire offseason to rest his ankle. Not really surprising. Maxim Afinogenov also implied that he will not be here next year. I know most fans knew that already, but still...I cannot help but feel a sense of attachment towards Max since he's been with the Sabres for so long. I'm not advocating that the team keeps him, but it's still a little sad to see him go. All in all, he was a very exciting player to watch but he also could be very frustrating. I think a change of scenery will do him well and I wish him success wherever he ends up. You could never question Max's effort, and that's something that I've always appreciated from him.

So unfortunately the Sabres season is over, but the playoffs are right around the corner. I'm not one to make predictions, but I do have certain teams that I'll be keeping a closer eye on than others, and hoping that certain teams have more success than others. As the East goes, the Capitals are an exciting young team, and maybe they have what it takes to go all the way this year. I really hope they take out the Rangers. And that's not just because of the whole Gomez-Miller incident, or the fact that they essentially knocked us out of a playoff spot...but for as long as I've followed hockey I have always had a dislike for the Rangers. A dislike that has developed over the years. So I really hope they get knocked out in the first round by the Caps. The Devils-Hurricanes match-up will most likely be an exciting, hard fought series...I am hoping the Devils prevail as a Sabres fan it's pretty hard to root for the Hurricanes. Plus I like Brodeur. I know a lot of fans don't like the trap, but whatever. I'll still root for the Devils over the Hurricanes any day. Montreal and Boston have a lot of history with one another, which could make for an exciting series, but I'm not sure how evenly matched the series will be as Montreal has had their fair share of struggles and Boston has really been on a tear for essentially the entire season. But it's a whole new season once the playoffs roll around.

Onto the West, it's time for the Sharks to prove their critics wrong by not making another early exit in the postseason. They are a tricky team for me because they always seem to have a strong regular season, but then seem to struggle and disappoint in the offseason. Anaheim is a tough team with recent playoff success, so I can see them making it hard for the Sharks. I think I'd like the see the Blues prevail over Vancouver, just because they were bottom dwellers in the league and they worked hard to earn a playoff spot. You have to admire that, and what can I say, I am a sucker for the underdog. Must have something to do with me being a Buffalo sports fan. I guess I should root for Chicago since there are Buffalo ties there with Pat Kane (and Brian Campbell I suppose), but I've also always admired the Calgary Flames and I think Jarome Iginla is one of the best players in the league. So either way, I wouldn't mind who comes out on top...I just hope to see some good hockey.

For the teams I didn't mention, it's just because I couldn't care less what the outcome is. Or I can't decide. Like the Flyers-Penguins match-up, I pretty much dislike both I don't really care who wins. I guess I could chose the Flyers because of our good pal, Marty...but honestly I don't care.

I also promised that I'd keep people up to date if I happened to see any Sabres out and about during the offseason. But now I am sort of regretting that I said anything. I don't want the players to feel as though their entire lives will be documented whenever they take a step outside their front door. But at the same time, there's no harm in discussing an innocent encounter. As long as there's no vicious gossip involved because that's never any fun. Okay, maybe it's fun sometimes. All I'll say is that there may or may not have been an encounter late Saturday night/early Sunday morning around 4:30 AM and a certain sassy goalie may or may not have been spotted by a certain someone. Alcohol may or may not have been involved. But hilarity was definitely ensued. That's all I'm sayin'.

The weather is going to be really nice this week, go out and enjoy it!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Season Finale

Well it's hard to say that the 2008-2009 season is finito for the Sabres. Another season cut short, and another long offseason. I was looking foward to today's game in a way because I knew it was going to be the last time I would watch Buffalo Sabres Hockey for a long time. But honestly, watching the game today just made me more depressed. I think this goes without saying, but I'm going to say it anyway...this just flat out blows. While I was watching the game I was just thinking to myself, "Wow, the Bruins have an exciting few months ahead of them, while the Sabres and their fans...don't." I just want the playoffs so bad. There's nothing like the feeling that goes around this city once the playoffs roll around. There's always room on the bandwagon and everyone hops on and supports our boys while they compete for the Cup. It's just a lot of fun to be apart of that.

So while nothing will make us feel any better about missing the playoffs for the second straight year, at least the Sabres gave their fans who attended the finale an entertaining game. I have to agree with Rob Ray, that Paetsch-Ellis-Paille line was great. I've mentioned this a few times on this blog before, but I wish that Paetsch got more playing time. He and Ellis seemed to provide great energy for one another today. Maybe next year he'll get more opportunities. There's that phrase again, Maybe next year... Ellis is a player that I've always liked. I like those "energy players" and the grinders like Ellis. No they aren't going to put up 30 goals, but I think they are very important parts to the team and I've liked his game. It was nice to see Butler score another goal, and I believe that Lindy said Butler will be assigned to Portland so he can get some playoff experience down there. Butler is a huge bright spot at the blueline for us and I've been more than impressed with him, especially considering this was his first time up in the NHL. He's definitely a player whose got tremendous upside and I look forward to seeing what he can do for us in the near future. A lot of people are speculating that today was Teppo Numminen's last NHL game. If that's the case, I just have to say how much I've appreciated Numminen and he's really a classy guy. It really is an amazing story how he had major heart surgery and then returned to play in the NHL. Good for you, Teppo. Did anyone see Thomas Vanek's post-game interview? He pratically started crying at the end. Poor really made me feel sad. I know he's gotten a lot of criticism and sometimes it's deservingly so, but it just never makes me feel good when I see someone upset. Especially when they're so upset it brings them to tears. Aww...poor Thomas. :(

I knew that the Sabres would go to center ice after the game and salute the fans. It was nice to see but it also made me sad for obvious reasons that I've already mentioned. It's just not right...

My babies! :(

Yes I just referred to a group of men who are all older than me as my "babies". Hey, look. I've watched a lot of these guys grow up. From when they were just little teeny prospects, to competiting in the AHL as baby Sabres with either the Amerks or the Pirates, to finally going up to the big league and being NHLers. My little babies...

Well anyways, my favorite bb, Ryan Miller, updated his blog today and went more in depth about his new mask. Why did I get such a kick out of him explaining the characters behind his mask? I don't know, just the way he described them cracked me up. He did give us a little more insight into what the phrase means that's written in Japanese on the mask. Although he did say he doesn't know what characters the phrase is written in, I know a little bit about the Japanese writing system and to me it looks like it's written in hiragana. Back in high school I had some Japanese exchange students write my first name in kanji calligraphy and my last name in katakana calligraphy. Anyways, Ryan also said in a few days he'll update his blog with a season wrap up so I'm interested to read that once he posts it.

So now that the season is over, I'm sure my updates will be few and far between. Of course I'll post my thoughts about the playoffs, but after that, it's just a long summer with not much hockey to discuss. But you can be sure I'll cling onto anything slightly hockey or Sabres related. I'll post a lengthy entry if I happen to see a certain Sabre in public getting coffee or something. It will become pretty pathetic. In all seriousness though, the entries that I do happen to post will probably be more related to myself and what's going on in my life with a little hockey stuff thrown in there. Sorry if that sounds a little boring to you, but by the time July rolls around I don't know if there really will be anything else for me to blog about. So I figured I should give it a try and post a little but about myself right now...

My semester is ending soon and I am coming to a point where I think I want some changes in my studies. I don't know how many of you are aware but I am going to school for photography. It's always been a hobby of mine and I was always told by people that I had a good eye and I was pretty talented. I loved doing it, and when it was time for me to choose schools and what to study, I figured I might as well apply for a fine arts major with my primary focus being in photography. It was great when I got accepted, it was almost a way to reassure to myself that I really was talented and it wasn't just my friends and family giving me compliments. But honestly I never thought I'd be a professional photographer. Not that I wouldn't mind selling some of my work for a profit, but I just never thought it would be my career. Even though I'm pretty much self taught, I figured going to school to refine my skills and learn more about photography wouldn't hurt. It's also a good way for me to meet and interact with people in that industry, just to get myself out there.

My biggest thing for me has always been traveling. I want to go everywhere pretty much. There are certain countries and cities that I have a bigger desire to visit for various reasons, maybe I'll go more in depth on that sometime in the future (during July or August when I don't have jack shit to blog about). As a person I would just love to travel to experience the world around me. Whether it's traveling to another state, or to another continent, it's always interested me. As a photographer, I've always wanted to travel to capture the world through my own eyes. So I thought to myself what career would give me this opportunity? With the help of my parents I've realized that being a translator is right up my alley. It would open a lot of doors for me especially if I want to travel. I can speak Spanish fairly well, being that it was the language I took in high school and my dad's side of the family is Spanish. After doing some research, I found out that Japanese and Arabic are two languages that would be really fitting for me. Translators are needed in those areas of the world especially so businesses in the English speaking world can connect with businesses in Japan and Arabic speaking countries. Secondly, those cultures have always fascinated me. I think I've discussed on here before my interest in Middle Eastern/Southern Asian/Asian cultures. After talking to several people familiar in the field, they've told me that Japanese and Arabic translators are what's really needed right now.

I'm still really young but I'm sitting at a point where I have to make a few decisions. I don't want to abandon my photography studies, but I also want to begin my studies in those languages. UB has a great program for Japanese studies and Buff State (where I currently attend) has great programs where I can study at UB for a semester to see if it's the right thing for me. I'm still doing research as where I can take Arabic lessons. I figure I would first focus on my Japanese studies since I know UB offers it and see where it takes me. Registration for classes next semester at Buff State begins next week so I am a little puzzled on which classes I should take and if I should consider starting at UB in the fall. I'm still weighing my options.

So that was my attempt at blogging more about myself since I'll probably be doing that more often once hockey is completely finished around June. Plus it was a good way for me to get that off my chest since it's sort of stressing me out at the moment because I have a few important decisions to make. Anyways, I hope everyone has a good Easter if you celebrate it. I'm not really religious so my family does not really do anything huge. My aunt and uncle are coming over tomorrow for dinner and that's about it. Part of my family on my dad's side is Jewish, so sometimes we'll have a nice dinner at my aunt and uncle's house on Passover. But I skipped out on that this year due to school getting in the way. So if you celebrate Easter, enjoy your family and eat a lot of chocolate bunnies.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Bittersweet Victory

RIP 2008-2009 Buffalo Sabres. It's been a rollercoaster of a season. We've had our ups, we've had our downs...and it was one hell of a confusing ride with a disappointing ending.

I have held out on blogging about the team over the past few days, because I didn't really have it in me to analyze the games and put in my input, I sort of just wanted to watch the final games and hope for the best. Nothing more, nothing less.

But now that it is essentially over, there's no harm in me updating this thing again to put in mi dos centavos...

I don't really feel like breaking down the entire season, analyzing each and every player, going over certain key games, and doing the whole shoulda, woulda,'s going to be a long offseason so we'll hear all about it in the months to come. What I'll say is this. I don't think this team is terrible. I think they've showed signs of being a very good team that could do well in the playoffs. They've also showed inconsistencies where they did just look down right awful and they looked weak both physically and mentally. I guess the frustrating part is knowing that this squad did have it in them to a dominant team who could be successful. I think it would have been easier to take if they were just terrible the entire season, a la the Maple Leafs or the Islanders. At least then we could just be like, "Well, they suck..." but when they play great and give you hope, it's harder to take. Like they are toying with our emotions. I don't know if anything I just said made any sense because I sure as hell did not articulate it the way I intended to. Oh well. I'm sure you get the gist of it. And if you don't, you can just sit there and think, "Wow this girl is an idiot and she has no idea what she's talking about...".

Anyways, there were certainly disappointments this season...I think that's obvious as any season where you miss the playoffs is a disappointing one. And at this point it's going to be hard to pick out the positives...but they are there. You just have to build off that.

I tried my damndest to not scoreboard watch tonight, but it was pretty impossible. While it was great seeing the Sabres play so dominant, I also had a pit in my stomach as the Rangers were in the lead for the entire game. But it was still nice to see our boys play such a complete game. Now I know there will be people out there saying, "Well why didn't the play like that more often this season?" It's a valid point to bring up. There are plenty of games you look back on this season and shake your head at. Especially when you miss the playoffs by such a small margin of points. But whatever...can't do anything about it now except move forward.

So did any of you catch Ryan Miller's post-game interview with Kevin Sylvester? Poor dude looked so crushed and defeated. The Rangers were leading in the dying minutes of the third, and even though it wasn't was well on its way to be. I felt bad for him. He's just been such a bright spot on this roster and he's such a competitor. He deserves better. He certainly deserves to be competiting in the playoffs. There are several other players on the team that I believe deserve to see the postseason, while there are others on the team who don't. Anyways, it made me sad to see Miller's interview because he goes out there every night and gives an honest effort to try and lead his team to a victory. Of course there will be games where he doesn't play well and he might do more harm than good, but no player is exempt from that. For the majority of the time he's a key piece to our team's success and a player like Ryan deserves to be competiting for the Stanley Cup. I guess it's sort of futile now, but he really had one hell of a season. It was great to watch him compete every night and it was a huge blow when we lost him for a month due to injury. I'm pretty sure anyone who has read this blog is aware that he is my favorite player, but for me it's just easy to be a's hard to not respect a player like Miller for the type of athlete he is and for what he does for my favorite sports team. It was nice for me to see him excel this season especially last year when he struggled and a lot of morons people instantly wrote him off. Saying how he was simply average, overrated, he'll never get any better, and all that nonsense. So it was nice for me to see him play so well this season (I always believed in you, bb) due to the fact that he's proven that he's a huge factor in this team's success and as a "Miller fan".

Speaking of which, what do you think of his new mask? I really like it. I think the colors are neat and the Japanese tattoo art and Sailor Jerry inspirations are pretty unique. It's always neat to see what's on a goalie's mask...just gives you a little more on the goalie as a person. A lot of people don't like the fact that it isn't really Sabres related, but why does a goalie's mask always have to directly relate to the team that he plays for? It's neat to see their own personal touch. That being said, I still love his tribal Buffalo mask. I think it's one of the best in the league. I wonder if he's going to alternate between the two or if he's going to go with his new mask from now on. Well...I guess he has a few months to make that decision. Sorry to be a Negative Nancy during this lighthearted topic. If you're interested, InGoal Magazine has a Podcast interview with Ray Bishop, the guy who designs Ryan's masks. He discusses Miller's new mask and how he and Ryan came up with the idea. So if you get a little bummed out when you're bombarded with all the doom and gloom that's sure to arise, you can take your mind off it for a little while and listen to it.

So my fellow Sabres fans, in conclusion...I think I can say that I am as disappointed as anyone else can be. But I am also a positive person by heart and I'm just going to be "that fan" who will look forward to next season and hope for the best. I think this team certainly has a lot to build on, and they are capable of being a playoff team. Maybe cutting some dead weight and adding a key piece here and there will be essential, but I really don't think this team is in a "blow it up and start from scratch" state, as so many dramatic fans would like to claim. Sorry, but I just don't buy that. Call me stupid or naive, I don't give a shit to be perfectly frank.

It will certainly be tough to watch the playoffs yet again without the Sabres participating...I guess I'll post my thoughts on the playoffs and who I'll be following and rooting for at a later date. Right now I'm just going to focus on the final game of the season for our boys and hope that they pull out a fruitless win. Have them go out on any dignity that they still may have. Damn, I'm going to miss them...

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Opportunity Knocks

...And the Sabres did not answer. What a damn shame. The task was a difficult one, but it was simple enough. Win the five remaining games of the season and they're in the playoffs. No help needed from other teams, their destiny was in their own hands. But as we've seen countless times this season, the Sabres just find ways to make it harder on themselves. So now they're in a position where they do have to get help from other teams in order to keep their playoff hopes alive.

I didn't think the Sabres played terrible last night, just two unfortunate goals and it's a whole new game. The Devils are probably the last team in the league you'd want to be down 2 goals by, because they've turned protecting a lead into an artform. They have a frustrating defense and the best goalie (maybe ever?) in the league on their side. The second period was certainly a frustrating one, as they only registered 4 shots on goal...but you have to give credit to a good Devils team for that as well. I believe at one point Harry Neale said the Sabres had only registered 13 shots on goal during the whole game so far, while 13 shots were blocked by the Devils or something like that.

Couldn't believe that Parise took down Miller like that. Looked like he slashed him first and then took his feet out from under him. Looked frightenly familiar to the Gomez collison that injured Ryan in the first place. But I was really proud of Timmy to come in and flatten Parise after the hit. Connolly isn't the player you'd expect to do something like that, but he earned a lot of respect from me to see him act uncharacteristicly to protect our goalie. And of course, it was awesome to see Ryan get involved and go after Parise and Langenbrunner. I think anyone who has read my blog before is already aware of how much I enjoy seeing Ryan when he's all fired up and not his usual calm, level-headed self.

The Sabres made things interesting by coming out strong in the third and registering 23 shots and cutting their goal deficit to just one. But deep down I knew it was just going to be too little, too late. Things brightened up when New Jersey took a penalty to give us a 6-on-4 power play with the goalie pulled...but the clock was our enemy as there was only 34 seconds left to play. Shame.

Part of me is screaming that they could not get the task done, but the other part of me is just apathetic about it. I don't know... The biggest thing for me is that this season just went by way too fast and I'm really going to miss our boys once it comes to a close. I don't know why I care so much about a group of guys who I don't even know personally. But I do. I mean, of course I know why...they represent our city and they play on our beloved hockey team. So I get it. It's just strange to think about how devoted I am to these guys. I always hear people say, "I wish I didn't care so much." but I know that they really don't mean it. It's fun to be a fan. Even through the bad times. It's nice knowing that we've got a sports team to devote ourselves to and how following them can take our minds off the more "serious" things going on in our lives. It gives us a sense of togetherness and a sense of pride. I like it.

So tomorrow is my final game of the season. I'll be there wearing my Miller MSU jersey (speaking of Michigan State, the Spartans advanced to the NCAA Championship last night!) and hoping for a win. The Red Wings are always a tough opponent but I think they're a fun one. They can be frustrating just because they're such a good team. You just have to respect an organization like them. Plus Datsyuk is one of my favorite players in the league. Hopefully he doesn't have any highlight-reel goals tomorrow, though. When they interviewed Miller last night I could see his new mask behind him. I wonder if he'll wear it tomorrow? They are wearing their thirds. I couldn't see much of it but the colors looked vibrant. I'm interested to see it. It sounds neat.

Today I took a walk in the Elmwood Village with my mom and two of my dogs (I have three). It's always nice to walk around there because when the weather is nice everyone is always out and about with their friends, family, and dogs of course. There is this new candy shop that I wanted to go in but since I had my dogs I didn't go in. I've been really in the mood for those shark gummies lately. You know which ones I'm talking about? They are blue ontop and white on the bottom. Anyways, I've been in the mood for them lately for some unknown reason and I checked the bulk section at both Wegmans and Tops but to no avail. My quest continues. Hopefully everyone had a good weekend. Now quit reading this blog and go out and enjoy the lovely weather while it lasts.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Creepin' On Up

Firstly, I feel as though I should mention the awful tragedy that has hit Taylor Pyatt, as his fiancée was killed in a car accident yesterday while on vacation. My condolences go out to Taylor and his family, and my thoughts will be with them. Hopefully he's given the strength and support he needs during this difficult time in his life.

On a lighter note...with tonight's victory coupled with Florida's loss, the Sabres are still finding ways to make this final stretch pretty interesting. I've said all I want out of this stretch is a playoff berth honest and hard work that hopefully results in wins. Well, tonight we got that.

It was a very fast paced game and I didn't feel as though the team was out of it despite the numerous dumb penalties they took and letting Washington score right after we tied it up. A lot of times you just know a loss is coming, and it's just inevitable that they're going to let the opposing team have their way with them or they're just not going to be able to get it done and score the equalizer. But tonight they kept pressing and I was confident that they were going to net a goal to tie the game. Even after Max scored that goal that was waived off. Which was bogus. I never like it when a player gets penalized for goaltender interference when the goalie's own teammate is the one to push the opposing player into the goalie. So I didn't like it when his goal was waived off after he was pushed into the goalie and didn't go in on his own accord. But I was glad to see Max score another one despite that. Max has looked really good ever since he's been inserted back into the lineup and I was disappointed to see him scratched the past two games. Hopefully he'll stay in the lineup for the remaining 5 games because I really like how he's playing. I thought Derek Roy looked good at times but then he also looked pretty bad. He took some pretty undisciplined penalties and inopportune moments. It was very frustrating to see the team take penalties one after another like that, giving Washington multiple 5-on-3's when they were already up a man. Especially since the Sabres have gotten into trouble with that before. I thought the team really helped eachother out tonight which is what lead them to their victory. Miller let in a few bad and untimely goals, but his teammates didn't give up and they battled back to get to overtime and eventually win the game. And on the other hand, when the team took penalty after penalty, Miller held his ground and came up big to kill off a lot of those penalties.

The best moment of the game for me (aside from Pominville's OT winner) was seeing Miller get all sassy after Ovechkin blew right into him. I don't like seeing any player crash into our goalie like that (especially since Ryan is just coming off an injury), but I got a kick out of seeing Ryan shove Ovechkin afterwords. It was also funny seeing AO's reaction to it...he seemed kind of taken aback. Ovechkin has always amused me (it probably has something to do with him having the enthusiasm of an 8-year-old coupled with the fact that he looks like a caveman) so it was just amusing to see Ryan all pissed off and shoving him while Ovechkin is laying in the crease with a look of shock on his face. Ryan's post-game comments on it were pretty funny too. He said something along the lines of how he wasn't planning on beating Ovechkin up, it was just his way of saying, "What the hell?" to him. Sums it up pretty nicely haha.

So tomorrow will be another interesting night. The Sabres take on the Devils who have been struggling as of late (although they did win tonight in overtime against Tampa) and the Rangers face the Bruins in the afternoon. The Sabres have a game in hand on Florida and a Rangers loss tomorrow coupled with a Sabres win would put the Sabres 2 points back on the Rangers with a game in hand...again, all I'm asking for is an honest, hard working effort and hopefully the good results will follow. I might miss some or all of the game tomorrow due to the fact that I have a date with some shisha and a hookah. I normally don't go out during game nights, but I haven't gotten together with my friends in awhile and I haven't smoked hookah in quite some time. So we'll see when that all happens. Either way I'll record the game on DVR so I'll eventually watch it.

Have a good weekend everyone.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Shopping Is Theraputic

Last night was a huge blow to our already thin playoff hopes...and as I type this Montreal is well on their way to another victory. When Miller came back I was just looking for some enjoyment again from the team...but their little winning streak definitely shot some hope through me. I'm a sucker, I know. But in reality I think most fans knew that it probably was too difficult of a feat to come back and grab that 8th spot. I want to be really angry. But the offseason last year was just too long, and I know I'm going to miss our boys in the near future. So I am just trying to cherish what little hockey we have left. While summer is always great for me, the itch to watch hockey is strong...and I'm not looking forward for another long break from our beloved Sabres.

I thought last night they looked pretty good, but I didn't see any hustle. They had plenty of chances to grab the lead and they didn't. Sounds like a broken record. Vanek scored our only goales in regulation but then he also gave the puck away to the player who is the last person on the Thrashes that you'd want to see on a breakaway (if your team is playing against the Thrashers, of course). So while Vanek's gaffe cost the team the game...he is also the reason why we were in overtime in the first place so it's kind of hard to blame him for everything. I'm pretty sure Pominville would shoot wide on an empty net. Again Roy got too fancy. And I think someone should file a missing person report on Drew Stafford.

So today I went shopping...and you know I've never been that "shop till you drop" kind of girl. Shopping can really drain me. But I still love it. It's a great feeling to buy new clothes that are really cute. Today I bought a pair of jeans and two cute dresses. I can't wait to wear them. I've also been looking for those laceless Chuck Taylor sneakers, but the one shoe store I went into didn't carry them and I didn't feel like going into another store because like I said shopping can drain me if I'm at it for too long. It was absolutely gorgeous today. I can't wait until the weather stays like this and I can finally whip out my adorable retro looking pink bike and take it out for a ride. I love bike rides. It's such a simple pleasure. It's one of my favorite things to do once the weather becomes nice again. I also got my job back today. I was on school leave because last semester was really crazy and I didn't really have any time to work. But with school dwindling away (along with my bank account), I decided that it's time to go back. I start next Friday. So with the nice weather today and having a successful shopping trip, I'm not as bummed out as I was last night over the game.

Capitals tomorrow. Playoff hopes aside...I just want a good, entertaining game that will result in a win. It's a long offseason so hopefully these last few games are good ones. That's all I ask for at this point.