Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Offseason Blogging

Is harder than I thought it would be. Especially when I'm not so keen on the current teams remaining in the playoffs. Now that the 'Canes-Pens series is finished, I can honestly say I probably watched a grand total of 20 minutes of the entire series...and that's being generous. I've watched more of the 'Hawks-Red Wings series, but it hasn't been nearly as exciting as the past series have been in the playoffs this year. Although Cam Ward did let in a goal that made the commentator say, "Oh em gee." which caused the play-by-play guy to chime in and say, "That means 'Oh my god', right?". Ahh I love it. I don't understand why people use internet lingo such as acronyms like "idk" and "lol" in real life. I mean it's alright when people are doing it as a joke, but I've heard people use it and I'm pretty sure they weren't kidding. Yikes...

Anyways...Chris, one of my readers from the lovely Portland, Oregon informed me of a Podcast interview with no other than our precious Paul Gaustad. It's definitely worth a listen. Seriously, who doesn't love the Goose? I've always appreciated his interviews because they are well thought out and honest. He talks about how Ryan Miller paid him a visit last month while he was on the West Coast to watch his brother in the Anaheim-Detroit series. He told Ryan that they wouldn't be recognized in Portland because it just doesn't happen, and the first day Ryan was there they got recognized. You can run but you can't hide, boys. Last summer my friend's sister was in Rome and she texted her and was like, "I think I just saw Ryan Miller and Paul Gaustad at a bar..." But anyways...Goose's interview is about 14:30 minutes into the Podcast, which is a little less than halfway into it.

Speaking of the Goose's and Miller's bromance relationship, Ryan also updated his blog and he wrote about the traveling he's done so far this offseason. I like how he mentioned getting advice at Wegmans again. Good old Shwegs. It has everything to offer pratically, even hockey advice. Really though, I've always wondered if professional athletes enjoy talking about the sport that they play when they're out and about, or if they would rather just not talk about it during their free time. Obviously I can't speak for them because I'm not a professional athlete, but after talking to my fair share of professional athletes and seeing them interact with certain fans, I think I understand a little bit. The bottom line is obviously hockey players are fans of hockey, so I don't think they mind when fans want to talk hockey with them. I think the mistake that some fans make is that they try to give advice to the player instead of just putting in their two cents or asking questions about the game. I mean let's face it, no one really likes being told how to do their job, so when a fan is trying to tell a professional athlete how to do his job, it can just be a little laughable. I do think they enjoy just sort of shooting the shit when talking about their sport, but once a fan will try to give them pointers is when I can see an athlete wanting out in the conversation haha.

I appreciated that he mentioned the Buffalo Fan Awards and how it reminded him of being a young athlete receiving awards. I know some people who received awards, so it was fun for me as well to see people I know get recognized. Spotted has some photos of the event if you'd like to see Ryan looking all snazzy along with other familiar sports figures in Buffalo (and a few of my friends...)

"Ain't nobody dope as me, I'm dressed so fresh and so clean."

I also liked how he talked about people impersonating him on Facebook. I've come across one fan page of his on Facebook where the user claimed to be Ryan, but the spelling and grammar was that of an 11-year-old' it was pretty obvious that it wasn't Ryan and it was 11-year-old. Which made it more funny when I saw people leaving comments like, "Ryan! I'm your biggest fan! Can you send me your autograph?!" and "Ryan" responded like, "thnx lol ya sure i'll hit u up" Oh boy...

While on the subject of Facebook, what is up with the recent phenomenon of these fan pages? I understand having a fan page for things such as actors, musicians, sports teams, etc...but there seriously is a fan page for everything. I want to create a fan page for breathing. "Caroline just became a fan of breathing." I mean they have a fan page for sleeping, so having one for breathing isn't too far-fetched. I don't really participate in joining those fan pages or taking those quizzes, but the other day I couldn't help take the quiz about which Elmwood Villager I was. I was the Bubble Man...even though he lives more in the Allentown area, I was pleased with my result. The Bubble Man is the man.

So I'm sure some of you have seen this shirt before, but last night when strolling down the street around 10:30 I suddenly had the urge to take a picture of it. Don't ask why, I just did ok.

It's mad blurry because I just had my point and shoot camera and it was late and I didn't really want to take the time to get a good shot on just a t-shirt on a display window. Anyways, it says, "T.O. in the B-LO" and below that it reads, "Get your popcorn ready." I first saw this shirt about a month or so ago, and the woman in the store told me that they're hard to keep in stock because people keep buying them. It's just amusing to see how excited Buffalonians get over a superstar athlete coming to play for us. I kind of find it cute in a pathetic sort of way. My friend's mom said she showed T.O. a house the other day (why would he want to buy a house? He only signed a one-year deal) and apparently he wasn't too friendly but his body guard was. Good to know. Oh and if you're interested in purchasing the shirt, you can buy them at Spoiled Rotten which is on Elmwood, right in the heart of the strip. It's the same place you can buy those "I <3 Buffalo Hockey/Football" shirts, which practically everyone and their mom owns...except for me.

Thursday at the Square starts tomorrow and I'm hoping the weather holds out so I can go, although the forecast is saying thunderstorms. I love thunderstorms, but not when they interfere with my plans (or my sleep). At least there are plenty of bars that I can flock to if the weather is too bad to enjoy the free music. I had already planned on hitting up a few after the show, so either way I suppose. Also, am I the only person in Buffalo to NOT be going to the Dave Matthews concert tonight?

Thursday, May 21, 2009


So when the playoffs started, I was still pretty bummed about the Sabres missing out yet again, but I was quickly distracted by all the great hockey that was being played. I was really enjoying all the match-ups and I thought it was an exceptionally exciting playoffs. But now we've approached the Conference Finals, and I find myself a little bored to be honest. I think it's because I have zero interest in the Eastern Conference Finals, and I have watched a grand total of 0 seconds of it. I just don't care...and I sort of feel bad. I feel it's almost my duty as a hockey fan to watch the Conference Finals.

Then there's the Wings-'Hawks match-up. I thought the series would be a little more exciting, but so far I am not that blown away. Maybe it's because I am partial to the 'Hawks winning and things haven't gone their way yet. I'm sure there were plenty of Buffalo fans shaking their head at Soupy's gaffe that lead to Detroit's OT game winner. I heard that Sports Center was running a "highlight"-reel all of Soupy's playoff mistakes at crucial moments. I don't think that puck over the glass penalty needs to be reminded to anyone in Buffalo. Poor Brian. I like him okay. I know a lot of fans are all, "Good riddance!" about him...but I will admit that sometimes I miss the way he could cary the puck out of our zone... So it's not as if I'm crying for him to some day return to us, but I wish him well.

I don't really feel like watching another Detroit-Pittsburgh series in the Finals...that's sooo 2008. It would be a pretty disappointing finish to an exciting 2009 playoffs in my opinion. I wish teams like Anaheim and Washington were still in it, but life goes on.

There seems to be a common theme among many of the Sabres blogs as of late...and it's that the fans are missing the Sabres. I'm glad I'm not the only one. All this hockey has been fun over the past month or so, but I want my hockey back. It's a bummer to know that the playoffs aren't even over yet and I'm missing our boys. Can't they help a sister out and throw together a cute little pick up game or something. Make it happen. I will not tolerate these extended offseasons anymore. I am forced to sit at Bidwell Park and watch the hippies dance and play frisbee. It's a sad, sad sight sometimes. I could be watching my favorite professional NHL athletes partaking in the great sport of hockey but instead I am subjected to these barefoot earthy people with questionable personal hygeine. All is NOT right in the world. Just kidding...sort of. I have a soft spot for hippies...they're environmentally conscious and they can be a good source of entertainment. Mad earthy boos.

The only thing remotely close to a "Sabres fix" is that my friend Scott saw a certain wonky eyebrowed goalie in aviators grabbing some coffee the other day. Scott referred to him as "Miller-O" (a la Jackie O and her uncanny ability to always look like she was going incognito) due to the aviators that he was sporting. I hope he's aware that it's pretty impossible for him to be incognito given his body type. Please. I could spot that man in a crowd of 1500 without even trying. Sahh sahry.

Speaking of which, he looked very snazzy tonight presenting awards at the Buffalo Fan Awards, an award show for local high school and college athletes. I'm a former student of Orchard Park high school, and that school is very dedicated to sports. This year was a very special year for the football team because they won State but it was also because they dedicated their season to a friend of mine named Lindsay who sadly died this past November. She was a great person and a great athlete and it was great to see the team and the community support her family during such an awful time. There's a lot that goes into the story, but to make it short a lot of the guys on the team really felt as though Lindsay was there to help them gain control of the game in the second half and win the game to get the title. The team's quarterback, Kyle Hoppy won Boys Athlete of the Year for a large school and his touchdown run at the championship game also won Play of the Year. I know Kyle's family well and he's a good kid so it's neat to see him get this recognition. It's also nice to see Coach Tundo (head coach of the football team) win Boys Coach of the Year. He was my gym teacher for a few years when I was in high school and he also coached my brother when he was on the football team...he's a riot. I'll always have a soft spot for Mr. Tundo. One of these days I should pay him a visit...but I digress.

There was also a professional athlete category and Ryan Miller and Trent Edwards won Athlete of the Year for their respective sports while Pat Kane won WNY Athlete of the Year. Atta boys.

So if that pick up Sabres hockey game doesn't come into fruition and I have a feeling it will not, the closest thing I have to a Sabres fix (besides seeing Miller-O getting his daily intake of a caffeinated beverage), there's a nice interview with Ryan over at the Buffalo Fan Awards website where he discusses what it was like growing up playing hockey, the Sabres, and his Steadfast Foundation. So enjoy that...hopefully a member of the Sabres will contact me about forming a pick-up game...I'll be sure to make a Facebook event and invite everyone to the shindig. It would be a bundle of fun.

I got my grades for the Spring Semester today and I am pretty happy overall with how I did. With that over with, I'm really looking forward to relaxing this summer and enjoying the wonderful weather. I've been working a lot, but when I'm not working I'm usually spending my time outside. Thursday at the Square begins next Thursday and I was glad to see that I'm not working so I'll be able to go to that. Still saving up money so I can attend Lollapalooza in August. I am also excited to see No Doubt in June. I've probably mentioned that several times on here already, but I really can't wait. The closer it approaches the more excited I get. I still can't believe I am seeing them live. I've been such a huge fan since I was a young kid and Gwen Stefani has always been sort of an idol of mine when I was kid. If I were ever to be a rock star I'd want to be like her. She's just so cool. Her hot husband was just in Buffalo a few weeks ago playing a show at the Town Ballroom and unforunately I could not attend. But I'm so excited to see Gwen and the rest of No Doubt and I have sick "seats"...right up against the stage. It's going to be a bitchin' time.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Screw The East

Well, here's hoping that the Cup remains in the West this year. I think the Pittsburgh-Carolina series comes down to which team I hate the least...and that would be the Penguins. I honestly don't care which team prevails because I can't stand either team. But the thought of the Hurricanes winning another Cup doesn't sit well with me at all so I guess I would rather see the Pens in the Finals than the 'Canes. Gross.

Last night wasn't a great night for me hockey-wise. The two teams that I wanted to win didn't. But I will say that both games were extremely exciting to watch (unlike the Pens-Caps game...what a let down that was). The Detroit-Anaheim game was crazy and it really was a shame that it had to end with that unfortunate goal. Detroit is a team that can always score one or even two goals at the very end of the game to take the lead and grab the win right out from under the other team's feet (or skates?). I felt bad for Hiller, he looked like he was crying during the handshake. Poor guy. I have all the respect in the world for Anaheim after that series, they really battled hard and they almost eliminated the Red Wings. Wish they could have prevailed, but props to them nonetheless. As for the Boston-Carolina game, overtime in a Game 7...doesn't get much better than that. I thought Boston was going be the team that came ontop, but in overtime as we all know, it can all end in a flash.

Although I really do like Detroit and I respect them, I am hoping that the Blackhawks win the series and head onto the Finals. Just because I don't want to see another repeat and it would be a great story for the NHL if the young Blackhawks won the Cup. Plus I still like Soupy and of course I have to root for our hometown boy, Pat Kane. An Original Six series will be fun, and I think the 'Hawks have it in them to beat the Wings...but obviously it won't be easy.

So here's hoping that the 'Hawks prevail over the Wings and then inihilate the Penguins once they reach the Finals. That would be very nice.

On a completely unrelated note, tonight I took care of Marshawn Lynch at work. He's a goofy one. Although he was acting silly he was nice and he called me "sweetie", so he's cool in my books. So what if he owns guns illegally, likes to smoke bud, and runs over drunk Canadians who are dancing in the street between Delaware and Chippewa? Big deal, right? Right. He also started a silly, nonsensical argument with me...good times I tell ya.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Love/Hate Relationship

Over the years, there are certain things you notice when watching hockey either on TV or when you're at the game. Some of these things can be noted at any sporting event, while others are only found in hockey. I've compiled a list of things that really bother me while watching hockey and also a list of things that I love to see while watching the sport.

Most of the things aren't necessarily about the sport itself, but more the things that go along with watching the sport from a fan's perspective. I've left out the fairly obvious things that go without saying (sick saves/goals, seeing my team win, bad officiating, seeing my team lose, etc. etc.). Feel free to add your own.

Things I Hate:

- Airhorns...the ones that are supposed to encourage the fans to chant their team's cheer. It seems in Calgary its airhorn is played for literally the entire game. I can't stand it.

- Pink jerseys...they're stupid.

- Unnecessary long goal horns. The one in Pittsburgh always seems to last way too long.

- People banging on the glass. Probably my biggest annoyance. People look like morons when they do it. Are they for real trying to get the player off his game? Do you really think Chris Pronger is going to turn around and say, "Can you please refrain from banging on the glass? It's really bothering me, thanks." The players probably can't even hear it.

- People turning around and standing up to wave at the camera when the play is near their seat. Congratulations, you're on TV.

- That blonde chick from Versus interviewing players/coaches on the bench during play.

- Fans at games who don't know what the hell they are talking about.

- Chanting a goalie's name. I've never been a big fan of it at all. I find it classless. Even when Sabres fans would get all over Emery, I still didn't enjoy it.

- Fans who boo obvious calls against their team. Sometimes it's habitual to boo a call in hockey, but when it's a blatant call, then just deal with it.

- Maple Leafs fans

- The Rangers' goal song.

- Zombie Nation.

- Fans who actually believe they can play better hockey than some of the players on the ice. Yeah, keep telling yourself that. While those "bums" are competiting in the NHL you'll be sitting in your cubicle at your 9-5 job playing armchair GM for your fantasy hockey team.

- The Hockey Night in Canada theme song on TSN. It just doesn't seem right for it to be on TSN now. At least we can still hear it and it's not gone from television forever, but it's still strange.

Things I Love:

- The Hockey Night in Canada theme song played on Hockey Night in Canada.

- The sounds of hockey. The sounds of the puck hitting the stick, the sounds of the players skating, the sounds of a pad save, the sounds of the puck going off the post, the sounds of the buzzer (a real the one at MSG).

- Playoff beards!

- Snarky and sassy post-game interviews.

- The organ...classic.

- The sight of fans trying to get Sabretooth (or any other mascot in a different arena) to launch the free XXL t-shirts in their section.

- Sloppy drunk fans.

- Don Cherry's suits.

- Thick accents and broken English.

- The unique names.

- Picking up on some of the player's superstitions and quirks.

- Goalie fights.

- When players chip pucks over the glass for young fans.

- Players who almost always touch young fans' hands when they are entering/exiting their tunnel.

- Sweet Caroline.

- The Sedin Twins' coordinating facial hair.


I'm sure there's more but that's all I can think of at the moment. I don't really want to go in depth about the playoffs, but seriously, how crazy are they right now? It only seems fitting that the Caps-Pens series is going to 7 games, it's just one hell of a match-up. Both Crosby and Ovechkin are showing why they're considered the best players in the league right now. The Canucks-'Hawks game was a doozy. I don't think anyone anticipated the crazy 3rd period. I think a lot of fans are a little surprised and definitely disappointed in Luongo's performance. I understand that many fans are very frustrated and pissed off, that certainly wasn't what they expected out of their franchise goaltender (and captain). But a series does not define a goaltender, and I think once people calm down they will realize the type of goaltender that Luongo really is. And of course I have mention our hometown boy, Pat Kane getting himself a hat trick to seal the win for the 'Hawks. Congratulations to him.

I'm sure everyone is already aware that the Sabres inked defenseman Tyler Myers to a 3-year entry level deal. Awesome. I've been casually keeping track of his play in Kelowna, and he's got a very promising future ahead and it's nice to see him take one step closer to the Sabres by signing this deal. The picture of him standing next to the Sabres Brass on Draft Day reminds me of the time when I saw the tallest guy I've ever seen in person at the Galleria last year. The dude had to be at least 7'6. I'm not exaggerating either.

Today I had a history final early in the morning (by early I mean 7:40 AM...yikes.) and now I am finished with school! Hellooooo, summer. Lookin' good.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Playoff Beard Appreciation

The end of the semester is so close I can pratically taste it. Whatever the taste of summer actually tastes like, I don't know! But I imagine it's very sweet and satisfying. Today was officially my last day of classes and tomorrow all I have to do is turn in a portfolio and next Tuesday I have a final and I am finito with college until the end of August when the fall semester rolls around. The final weeks of a semester are usually pretty hectic, so that's why I've been pretty absent from the blogosphere lately. I've been busy being a college student and all that goes along with it. Writing papers, lots of reading, and drinking to oblivion studying. But without further ado, I'd like to talk about something that I feel very strongly about but have not yet discussed on here...

And that is the tradition of the playoff beard. If you follow my blog you may have gathered that I like a man who knows how to sport some good facial hair. It's like it's a man's way of saying, "Hey ladies, I'm a man and here I am." It's enough to make any girl swoon, am I right ladies? Actually I know a good handful of chicks who really don't dig facial hair at all. "It's too rough!" "It hurts when you kiss me!" blah blah blah. Come on girls...embrace the wonders of good facial hair on a man. Of course, I can only appreciate a beard on a man if it's done right. Some guys just look down right ridiculous with some scruff. It's almost embarrassing. It's like they're trying to prove their manhood but it only hurts it more than enhancing it. What a shame. So the idea combining this wonderful display scruff and facial hair to the game of hockey is a win-win situation in my eyes. Some of our favorite players are completely transformed and you can barely recognize them. Sometimes it works in their favor, and some players that you never really thought were attractive in the regular season all of a sudden become a fox. And then sometimes it works against the players, and a player that you thought was a man can't even grow a proper beard. I immediately lose all respect for a hockey player when I see a pathetic beard upon his face. Forget the hockey skills, if you can't grow a beard then you're useless in my eyes. Okay, just kidding. But you have to admit it's fun to laugh at the poor souls who are desperately trying to partake in the tradition but can't seem to get past that awkward scruffy stage.

Some of my favorite playoff bears have to be Scott Niedermayer and Brian Campbell. Scott's beard makes him look like a crazed serial killer who has been on the lam for the past several months and has found a new home with the wolves and grizzly bears. Awesome. And then there's our dear friend Soupy. I love gingers. Is that a derogatory term? Because I don't mean it to be at all. So when I see Brian Campbell with a fiery red beard, it just makes me smile. 'Atta boy, Brian. What a man.

He might eat your kids.

Then there's the downright embarrassing playoff beards. I cannot go without mentioned Sidney Crosby. Poor Sid the Kid. He's got a reputation of being a bit immature and someone who likes to whine...and having a "beard" that resembles the pathetic mustaches that boys in junior high to try grow doesn't really help him break that reputation. Nor does bitching about how many hats were thrown onto the ice after Ovechkin's hat trick but that's neither here nor there. Another "honorable" mention is Daniel Briere. I like Danny, but I always thought that he looked like he was permanently stuck with the face of a 14-year-old. So I guess it makes sense that his beard is rather feeble.

"I hate when fans throw hats onto the ice after their franchise player scores his first career playoff hat trick!"

Then there are players like Zetterberg who likes to rock the beard all season long. He doesn't need to wait for the playoffs to come around before he lets the magic grow. That's my kind of man. It seems to suit him very well, wouldn't you say? Another beard that suits its owner is seems to enhance his whole, "I'm a crazy caveman" look, don't you think? Of course I can't go without mentioning my homeboy, Ryan Miller. Now his playoff beard is Badass with a capital "B" because it makes him look like Jesus. Now you earn extra points in my book if your facial hair makes you look like a mad earthy hippy...or Jesus. Is there really a difference between the two? Not really. Remember when he had long hair, the dude pratically looked like the second coming in goalie equipment. It was extra awesome because he was playing out of his mind too. It wouldn't really have had the same effect if he sucked, you know? "Yeah, he looks like Jesus and all...but he sucks." Fortunately for Ryan and Sabres fans everywhere, that wasn't the case. Then Ryan tries to act all humble and he's all, "I'm not a martyr, okay?" Sorry, but it's pretty hard to back up that claim looking and playing the way you do, Ryan. Just embrace it.

Aww yeah, that's what I'm talkin' about.

Towards the end of the season, Ryan had a significant's almost as if he was hoping it would bring the team some extra luck in getting into the playoffs (or he was just being lazy and didn't feel like be the judge). Poor Ryan hung onto the beard until the bitter end, as I noticed he still had it during the Bruins game even though the Sabres were mathematically eliminated from the playoffs. Maybe having the beard made him feel better. He was ~pretending~ that they were in the playoffs.

So I'm aware that this post had a satirical and nonsensical tone, but all in all I really do love the playoff beard tradition and it's great to see all the player's transformations during such an exciting time. It's also fun to see the fans partake in the tradition and grow beards in support of their team. Unfortunately I am incapable of growing a beard (sad, right?), but I do show my love for the tradition and the playoffs by rocking my awesome God Bless Playoff Beards t-shirt. Sadly I haven't been able to wear it for two years due to a certain team failing to make the let's hope that changes next season. If anything, let me be able to wear my awesome t-shirt again, alright Sabres?

So I hope everyone is enjoying all the facial hair and exciting hockey that is currently underway. As I hoped, the Anaheim-Detroit series is an exciting one and I'm really loving the match-up. I haven't watched much of the Carolina-Boston series but it's turning into a real interesting series now that Boston is trailing. It certainly will be fun to see how both Detroit and Boston react to being behind in their series after sweeping their previous opponents.