Friday, December 23, 2011

A fan's reaction to the season

I'm going to take you on a journey of my emotions toward the Sabres thus .gif form.

When the Sabres first started to suck, I tried to take it in stride and not take it too seriously, because I didn't like the bad feeling this team was causing. I basically pretended like it was something we would all look back on one day and laugh. I mean, all the injuries? Have you seen our line combinations? COME ON. Now that's comedy gold right there. I'm pretty sure with all of our callups, the average age of the roster is probably around 15-years-old.

It's not that I enjoyed how bad they were, but I just tried to make it as fun as possible because I was sick and tired of feeling depressed over the team's ineptitude.

Then...well. They kept playing bad. And it was kind of bumming me out. As much as I tried to make it "fun", it just wasn't fun. I wasn't enjoying the games. For the first time in...hell, since I've been a fan, I wasn't looking forward to games. I was almost dreading the next Sabres game. The Sabres were bad and I felt bad.

So not fun anymore.

After the sadness set in, well, it was anger and confusion. I mean, why, Sabres? WHY? What is wrong with you? What is going on? It's not funny, it's not cute, and it's not enjoyable. Stop being so bad when you are very capable of being very good. I'm at a loss for words.

So after taking this "rut", if you can call it that, in stride, in complete sadness, and finally in anger... There's not many emotions left.

So right now I just sort of feel...numb. Of course I still love the Sabres and always will, but this lackadaisical play has rubbed off on me. I don't dread the games anymore but I certainly don't look forward to them. I've gotten bored of trying to analyze each and every situation, think of what the Sabres' next move should be, and what exactly is wrong with this team. It all just seems exhausting.

Your move, Sabres.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Wranglin' & Rafflin' for a cause

Hey everyone! I'm sure if you read this blog then you are familiar with my friend Kate's blog, The Willful Caboose (if you're not, well you're doing yourself a serious injustice, FYI).

Anyways, Kate came up with a super neat idea, where she is raffling off two tickets to this year's Catwalk for Charity for a donation of just $5! The donation goes directly to Ryan Miller's foundation, The Steadfast Foundation. The money raised at the annual Catwalk for Charity benefits The Steadfast Foundation which provides support programs for the pediatric patients Roswell Park Cancer Insitute and their families.

Click here read Kate's post to find out what you need to do to get a raffle ticket. It's super easy, and it only costs 5 bucks! Normally two tickets to Catwalk would cost you $400, so this is more than a steal.

It's a really great cause at Catwalk is definitely the event of the year. If you are unfamiliar with the event, then take through the Catwalk for Charity tag on here and read about my experience at past events!

Hope to see you December 4!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

State of the Sabres

What's going on with the Sabres? The young 2011-2012 season has certainly been an interesting season so far for them. From their successful trip to Europe, to the fan-made goalie controversy, to Sabres fans and Buffalonians alike turning on The Buffalo News reporters because of a column about Pegula and the Penn State scandal, and now to the embarrassing outing against the Bruins.

I have to say I feel bad not updating anymore because there's been a lot of fodder for fans to discuss and I always love throwing my opinion out there. But I've been so busy with school, work, and other things going on in my life that sometimes it's hard to even sit down and watch a game, let alone blog about it.

But I really had to make time to write about the game last night against the Bruins. I didn't see much of it, in fact I turned on the game right when Lucic hit Miller. I immediately started recording the game because I wanted to see the team's reaction to such a dirty hit to our franchise goalie. When I found out through people on Twitter that there was no reaction, I of course was really disappointed, but also pretty concerned.

Nevermind the 6-2 blowout, that was one of their most demoralizing losses that I can remember because they didn't do anything about that hit. It was the turning point of the game, and it certainly worked in the Bruins's favor. That's upsetting. It's not that I wanted to see one of our own players run Tim Thomas and try to injure him, but how about scoring on the power play? How about showing some life at all? How about some effing defense? It was embarrassing.

Miller certainly didn't mince words in his short interview after the game, where he called Lucic a piece of shit. Of course it stirred up some controversy, which isn't new to Ryan, as his directness in interviews has sparked some debate before.

I'm glad Ryan said it, if no one else on the team was going to stand up to Lucic, at least Miller showed some deserved anger and emotion to the hit.

On paper, the team is actually in pretty good shape. They're 5th in the conference with 20 points and 10 wins in 16 games played. Not bad at all.

But what concerns me is that the team's lack of response to a dirty play isn't something new to the Sabres. Miller has been run before, and he will be run again. He's a star goalie and a franchise player. I remember there being little to no reaction when Scott Gomez ran into Miller which sidelined Ryan with a sprained ankle and caused the Sabres to slip out of playoff contention. I remember a few years ago Miller complaining that the Sabres were playing like a bunch of "scared little kids". It seems the only reaction the team has when one of their star players gets run is to completely deflate and let the other team take over. Seems encouraging for other teams to attempt to run Miller again, no?

Miller has had some rough outings lately, but his confidence seemed to grow during the Jets game and he started to look like his old self. From what I saw of the Boston game he seemed to look like he was in his old form up until he was sidelined in the 3rd with a sore neck. What a shame.

I hope the sore neck is nothing that will keep him out any longer than the Boston game, because believe it or not, we need our franchise goalie.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Can't win 'em all

Here's an idea to submit to the Sabres Suggestion Box...I propose that the Sabres play the Seinfeld theme song after games like tonight.

Opening Night!

How's that for hockey-related?

Let's Go Buff-a-lo!!!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

For Your Consideration

For those of you on Twitter (and those of you who aren't, I highly recommend joining. Especially now that Ted Black is going to be taking over the Sabres handle from time to time), I just wanted to bring to your attention the fabulous Twitter feed that is Ilya Bryzgalov's. No, he isn't a Sabre...he's actually a Flyer (gross, I know), but his entire Twitter feed is full of gems.

If you're not too familiar with Bryzgalov's personality, please watch this video of him explaining his hockey mask from when he was with the Ducks.

fast forward to about 1 minute into the video

Anyways, back to the main reason of this post, his Twitter page! There's something so endearing about his lack of comprehension of the English language and all of its tricky grammar, but his personality seems to shine through better with his rough translations.

Allow me to post some of my favorite tweets he's made over the past few weeks:

He's taking in the culture of his new city, Philadelphia!

He's a fan of Pumba from the Lion King, I mean who isn't!

...I don't know

So if you aren't already, please consider following Ilya Bryzgalov...he may be my favorite person on Twitter.

P.S. - How funny is it that Derek Roy's Twitter feed is basically full of every single stereotype/assumption that Sabres fans have made over the years about Derek's personality? If the account hadn't been verified by the Sabres themselves, I would have been convinced that it was another parody account. Brilliant.

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Boys Are Back in Town

Well, well, well.

It's been awhile since I've posted anything meaningful related to hockey, and I don't know if this post will exactly be meaningful, but I decided I need to write to get the gears going.

It's mid-September and the days are getting shorter and there is a certain crisp smell in the air that's letting us all know that Autumn is arriving shortly HOCKEY IS BACK!!!! Well, almost. Practically!

Our young prospects are already scrimmaging, and our vets and regulars have been slowly making their way back to town and practicing informally at the Northtown Center. Before you know it we're all going to be donning our blue and gold and shelling out $8 for a beer while cheering (or lambasting) our favorite guys. I can hardly wait!

There's a lot for Sabres fans to look forward to; It will be the first full season that Terry Pegula & Co. will be in complete control, we've made a whole bunch of moves in the offseason, two of our core players will be ready to go, and the team will be taking a fun Euro trip and kicking off the season overseas!

Lots of fun to be had.

The arena is also undergoing a lot of changes, with the brand new locker room, the de-slugging, and the new paint job. But most notably, there will be a name change. It's now called the First Niagara Center, which is now lovingly referred to by fans as the F'N Center. Brilliant.

Although I do have to say that I was a little ticked about the name change, because it makes my header for my blog (which I'm quite partial to) now outdated. At first I thought that I'd have to search for a new header, but then I remembered that I'm really good in Photoshop and with a few clicks of a mouse I can make my current header now up-to-date with the new arena name! Perfect! God bless technology, am I right?

So here it is, the new Hockey Night in Buffalo header! All snazzy and current with the times!


Bring on the 2011-2012 season!!!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Accio Blog Post!

Hello everyone! I can't believe it's been over a month since I posted, especially during such an exciting time in hockey! I apologize, July has been a crazy month for me and I didn't put aside any time to sit down and write. So let's see what I can say...

July has been a busy month for me, consisting of working a lot and trying to take advantage of the amazing sunny weather that we had for essentially the whole month. Between the free music concerts and food festivals and the beautiful weather, I was out a lot trying to get in as much fun as I could because I know how quickly summer slips away.

But the main reason I haven't been updating probably has to be Harry Potter! I don't know if I've ever mentioned Harry Potter on here before, but I am a huge Harry Potter fan. I never really realized how big Harry Potter was in my life until I looked back after the series was complete. I started reading Harry Potter in elementary school. I grew up with the characters and I felt like I was with them on every step of their journey. As a kid I enjoyed the fantasy and the action-packed adventures, but it wasn't until I got older that I realized the major themes behind the series and how great and complex the characters are and it really amazes me how talented and creative JK Rowling is as a writer and story teller.

The final movie was released July 15th, and you bet I was at the midnight premiere! I thought the movies always did a fantastic job at capturing the true essence of the books, and while the books will always be the best, the movies are really special and I'm so glad and grateful that they were made the way they were and with the actors that played the characters.

Watching the movie was really emotional for me because it was the end of an era, but I was really pleased with it... Especially during Snape's memories! Without giving too much away, Snape is easily the most complex and interesting character of the series and there is a chapter in the last book that basically sums up everything the reader needs to know about Snape, and the movie did a great job with that scene.

Snape is my favorite character of the series, so naturally this was me at the midnight premiere during Snape's memories:

So in a nutshell, that's why this blog has been vacant for the past month. But I haven't put hockey on the back burner completely! I couldn't do that even if I wanted to. I was checking Twitter on my computer and on my phone pretty much nonstop on July 1st, and what a fun day that was... I found it extremely amusing that Sabres fans were in the position to complain and worry about the team spending too close to the cap. Oh how things have changed! Between all the activity and the misfortunate (but hilarious) butt tweet sent out by Jessie Pegula, it was the best free agency day yet! Well, in recent memory at least.

I'm excited about our new additions especially at the blue line, and I'm glad that we've retained key players, especially Enroth. I can't wait to see the tandem that will form between him and Miller.

It feels good to post again, I promise I won't go MIA like that that I'm controlling my Post-Potter Depression, and with hockey looming around the corner, I think I'll be in the right frame of mind again. Hopefully Pottermore doesn't detract me too much...

Mischief managed!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Thoughts on the Stanley Cup

Well, the 2010-2011 NHL season is officially in the books and we have new Stanley Cup champions: The Boston Bruins.

I've mentioned before that I wasn't a fan of either team and I really wasn't looking forward to the match up. But of course as a hockey fan I couldn't just tune out the series completely. So I watched and tried to get a feel of the series and I tried to figure out which team I would hate seeing win the Cup less. And honestly, I never really figured that out. It was a pretty even series and both teams each had uncanny similarities...which was highlighted in this brilliantly hilarious piece done by Down Goes Brown.

In the end, I could only find one way to justify which team I wanted to win, and that was Tim Thomas. I really like him and he seems like a real good guy off the ice. It's been fun to watch his success (despite the fact that his success means success for the Bruins), and he was outstanding throughout the entire playoffs, especially in the Finals. I was real happy to see him raise the Cup and in my own little world he was a one-man team out there, making all the saves and scoring all the goals. Yeah...that sounds a lot better than the gross Bruins winning the whole thing, doesn't it?

The only known photograph from that night.

So congratulations, Tim Thomas!! You deserved it.

And as for the way some Vancouverites reacted to the loss... As each goal the Bruins Tim Thomas scored, and as each minute wound down, I had a feeling things were going to get ugly in downtown Vancouver. I know hockey is an emotional sport, but the concept of rioting over something like that just doesn't make any sense. Way to kick yourselves when you're already down. Your team just lost the Stanley Cup and to add insult to injury you are going to try and destroy your beautiful city and harm your fellow citizens and fans. I don't know...I guess I can understand some havoc and raucousness, but there is a line that shouldn't be crossed and was crossed. I just hope when the Sabres are in a similar situation (win or lose) we will have enough respect for ourselves and our city to not to try and destroy it when we are either celebrating or mourning.

I hope the people who injured others and lit peoples' cars on fire are caught and held accountable, and I also hope that the Canucks can some how find a way to give back to those who came to clean up after the rioters the following day.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Blogger Summit Recap

When I first got the invite to attend the Blogger Summit I was very excited but I also had no idea what to expect. I honestly pictured us being in a board room-type of space where we would all be sitting at a table and we would shoot the breeze.

When we were taken up to the 200 level and brought into a room with a bunch of tables with bright lights and cameras and a podium up front for Ted, I was extremely impressed (and also a little intimidated!). We were given our own name tags when we first got there and waiting for us in the room were notecards with our information to place in front of us during the event. I felt so official!

After we all introduced ourselves to each other, Ted Black came in and introduced himself. We were told that pizza and wings were arriving shortly, but beverages were already there if we wanted some. I went and grabbed a bottle of water and Mike Gilbert (Director of Public Relations) told me to get a beer. "We get beer?!" I thought. I don't know why but I thought that was really cool haha. I couldn't help but think if the media members get to have beer during their Q&A sessions. Sure, the bloggers don't have press box or locker room access (yet), but we get beer!

Kevin Sylvester was there to moderate the session and he did a great job adding some insight and he helped with the "flow" of the session. It was also good that Mike Gilbert and other members of the organization were there to provide additional information.

I didn't ask any questions during the on-camera portion, but my first question was asking Ted about the Sabres doing a "24-7"-type of documentary to give fans a more behind-the-scenes perspective on the team. Ted said that he'd be very interested in doing something like that, especially with the team going to Europe. I think it would be awesome to see more behind-the-scene things with the team, I thought the HBO 24-7 documentary was fascinating, so I would imagine that watching documentary in the same vein with the Sabres would be so much fun to watch.

I think my favorite part of the summit was when Ted brought out his Pegula Day app on his iPhone and started messing around with it and said that it would be fun to prank phone call Darcy with it haha.

It was also neat to hear that the Sabres players will be delivering season tickets to season ticket holders next season. That's such a fun idea, and it makes me want to add my name to the season ticket waiting list!

I was very impressed with how much time and effort the Sabres put into this summit, but I also enjoyed how informal it was. We could ask Ted important questions regarding the team, but then we could also goof around and ask silly questions (such as what type of aftershave does he use). I guess that's one of the perks about being a blogger, no?

I'm very grateful that I was able to participate in this event and I think it's awesome that the Sabres are embracing the bloggers and the fans like this. It was also great to meet with all the other people in attendance. We chat all the time over Twitter or in blog comments, so it was cool to finally meet people face-to-face. It is certainly a night I won't ever forget!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Blogger Summit

Hello everyone! I just wanted to give everyone a heads up that I will be making my television internet streaming debut tomorrow night as I will be participating in the first-ever Sabres Blogger Summit with Ted Black and several other Sabres bloggers!

I am very excited to meet with Mr. Black and all the other bloggers who will be in attendance. I really have no idea what to expect but that's what maktes it more exciting.

Be sure to follow myself (and the other bloggers) on Twitter where I'll be tweeting during the event. I'll be using the hashtag #SabreSummit (coined by @SabresDotCom) so it will be easier to keep track of the tweets pertaining to the event.

I hope everyone tunes in!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Beginning of the end

Tomorrow marks the first day of the Stanley Cup Finals, and in a few weeks there will be a new Stanley Cup Champion. For the first time in a while, I am really not looking forward to the series. I don't like Boston or Vancouver. It's easy for me to come up with reasons why I don't like the Bruins, but when it comes to the Canucks it's hard to put my finger on it. Maybe it's kind of like a sibling rivalry...the Canucks are our "sister" team as they were the other team that was founded in 1970. I'm not sure if that has something to do with it, but it probably does. Either way, I don't want to see either team hoisting the Cup. So that puts me in quite the conundrum, doesn't it? I suppose I will just have to see how the series plays out until I can decisively figure out which team I dislike the least.

Meanwhile, the Sabres are still well into the offseason and I really haven't missed them... After the elimination, I think every fan goes through a depression where they think, "What am I supposed to do now?! What is my purpose in life?!" And believe me, I felt like that. I couldn't imagine going through months with no Sabres hockey, especially considering how much fun that season was. But the depression comes and goes, and eventually I realize that I sort of embrace the offseaon because it's time to put the Sabres on the back burner and enjoy other things that I like to do. And that's what I've been doing. Enjoying not having to go to class and complete assignments, enjoying going out with my friends, planning little getaways, going to concerts and festivals, and everything else that the summer brings.

And then posted a story about the locker room renovations. I thought to myself, "Hey, that's pretty cool. Everything sounds like it's going to be a kickass facility for the players." And then I saw this picture on the team's official Facebook page. And my heart did a little back flip.

It's Ryan Miller!!! Going over the locker room plans with Terry Pegula!! When the season ends, the players all disperse and go their seperate ways, and I know that it will be months until I get to see their faces again. So when I get a picture of Ryan Miller right in the thick of the offseason going over the locker room plans with Terry Pegula, it's just like a little bonus for me! And it may or may not have made my day when I saw it. If I had more shame I would probably be a little embarrassed admitting that, but...I don't.

So even when I think that I don't really miss the Sabres, I do. And me getting excited over this picture just proves that there's no way that I can stop liking this team, even if I wanted to.

And I'm not going to lie, the picture of Darcy Regier and Ted Black breaking the locker room wall was pretty awesome too:

I will be sure to update as soon as I figure which team I hate less in the Finals, as I'm sure you're all eager to find out.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A little entertainment in the offseason...

Considering it's mid-May and the Sabres were eliminated last month, there is not much to say regarding the team...and to be honest with you I thought the second round of the playoffs was pretty lackluster, so things have been pretty quiet around here to say the least.

So I thought I'd just leave you with this, incase you haven't seen it already.

Here is Pasi Nurminen, goalie coach for team Finland, exiting the plane as the team celebrates their IIHF World Championship victory:

An even better view...

Hope everyone is enjoying the offseason!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Reflecting: Onward & Upward

Well another season is in the books, and a lot of fans are feeling an array of emotions. A lot of us are sad, upset, disappointed, but on the flip side we are also proud, optimistic, and eager to see what happens in the offseason.

I truly believed that the Sabres were going to win the series and that they would take Game 7, but they just weren't ready to advance. I think the way the Sabres lost Game 7 is what stings, they just weren't skating and it honestly just looked like a regular season game. It was disappointing because the rest of the series was full of great, tight games and I expected Game 7 would be the same way. I had that horrible feeling in my stomach as soon as the Flyers went up 1-0 and it didn't go away until a few days later. It was bad, and I was longing to experience the satisfaction a fan gets when their team advances deeper into the playoffs. We haven't had that feeling in a while...

But enough of being depressed, you can only move forward after that. In Pegula's words, this team is definitely moving "onward and upward", so to see what unfolds in the upcoming months and leading into next season will be exciting and fun.

When Pegula took over, everyone was excited that a man who is passionate about the Sabres would be taking the reigns. But I don't think anyone could have expected how much his presence make such a positive impact on the team. The Sabres really turned it around and the attitude just seemed really different. I think what the Sabres did was pretty great and even though they didn't advance out of the first round, the fact that they made the playoffs and proved that they can be a great team after such a rough first half was so much fun to watch. Pegula has revitalized the franchise and I think the players are probably more excited about the future than the fans are.

I'm happy about Lindy Ruff's contract extension. I think it's special that Lindy has been with the organization for so long, especially in today's world of sports as big business. I like that Lindy truly wants to win a Cup here and the Sabres organization believes in Lindy and believes that he is the best coach to have to get the job done. I like how the Sabres are also commited to their own players and that many of the players have echoed that they would like to win a Cup in Buffalo, with the teammates that they've been playing with for several years. But that's not to say that outside help isn't an option and shouldn't be considered, so it will be interesting to see what gets done in the offseason now that Pegula is the owner.

All in all, I'm still pretty bummed that we won't be seeing any Sabres hockey any time soon, but life goes on. One day it will be "our day" and we'll see the Sabres win the Cup. I'm sure of it. And with Pegula in control, I believe that day will come sooner rather than later. I'm still not completely over the elimination, and I'm going to miss the boys dearly, but eventually we'll know what it feels like to go all the way.

But right now, I'm just trying to figure out who I want to win the Cup this year...

Monday, April 25, 2011

Game 6: Missed Opportunities

I'm trying really hard to take this loss in stride. It's all apart of the playoffs, right? There's nothing like a Game 7...but damn, Sabres. I REALLY believed we were going to be witnessing a handshake at center ice last night, not a bunch of jerks in orange hooting and hollering and celebrating their comeback win.

I still believe in this team. I know the Flyers are one of the best teams in the league, but I also think the Sabres are too. When they play "their game", they can compete with the best. It will certainly be interesting to see how our mixture of veterans and our young guys will rise up to the task.

I also wanted to touch on Mike Richards's hit on Tim Connolly and the NHL's response...

I don't think anyone is surprised with this outcome. The league doesn't care about the safety of its players and they certainly don't care about looking like an objective organization because the double-standards and inconsistency would almost be comical if it didn't involve players getting seriously injured. No, that just makes it sad.

But like others have echoed, it's time to move on from this and look forward to Game 7. I know Miller and Ruff were extremely upset about the hit, and I'm sure the rest of the guys are too. Hopefully they can use that in their favor, while playing smart. Then they can advance to the second round and leave Richards and the rest of the team thinking about what could have been.

Having Derek Roy back doesn't come at a better time, with both Connolly and Pominville injured. It will be interesting to see how he plays, considering he hasn't played in several months. I don't know if he will be able to pick up where he left off, but I think he will be a great addition to the lineup nonetheless. The possible returns of Jochen Hecht and Andrej Sekera would be big too.

Last night was a gut-wrenching loss, but it's all part of the ride... I will be nervous and anxious for the rest of the day today and all day tomorrow following up to the game. I have to keep stopping myself from looking back at last night's game and thinking about all that went wrong and what the Sabres could have done to win. It's frustrating, but right now it's time to focus on winning Game 7. It's time to stop being upset about losing Game 6.

I believe that Lindy Ruff is one of the best coaches in the league and will do what he has to do to refocus his troops again. I believe that Ryan Miller is one of the best goalie and competitor in the league and will do what needs to be done in Philadelphia. I believe that Nathan Gerbe will do everything in his power to provide the spark and energy that the Sabres will need to take on the Flyers. I believe that Thomas Vanek has what it takes to be this team's captain and he realizes what he has to do to carry his team to victory. I believe that this team, despite their inability to hold a 2-goal lead last night, knows how to play with their backs against the wall and have thrived on that for the last half of the regular season. I believe that the Buffalo Sabres will win Game 7 and the series, which I have believed all along.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Game Five

I was sitting on my couch gripping a pillow. I was making a noise that was a combination of a dejected sigh and a whimper. I had a feeling in the pit of my stomach that convinced me that I may get physically ill. I put my head in my hands and muttered something that sounded like a prayer that hopefully the hockey gods could hear. Yep, it was overtime in the playoffs. I don't think there is anything in pro sports that can match the intensity and wave of emotions that an overtime playoff game in hockey can.

Late in the 3rd and during intermission going into overtime, I couldn't help but think to myself, "I REALLY hope no one on the Sabres is feeling the way I'm feeling right now." I just had a bad feeling in my stomach that developed after Briere scored the game-tying goal and it wouldn't go away. I'm an optimistic person by nature and that transfers over to my fandom, and I was trying really hard to remain positive and optimistic, but I had a tough time getting rid of that terrible feeling, despite the fact that the Sabres played a pretty strong 3rd period.

I regained some confidence and positive vibes during the overtime, because the Sabres looked really good and I could tell that they weren't playing scared and they were trying to end the game. I've been in this position before and I've experienced both ends, when the Sabres lose a big playoff game and when the Sabres win a big playoff game. I know what it's like to experience that awful feeling of seeing the other team score and celebrate on the ice while our team skates silently off the ice. I also know what it's like to see a player on the Sabres score and for that moment nothing else matters and you're shaking with excitement and pride and you feel that there is nothing that could possibly go wrong ever again.

I wanted that feeling so badly, and I found myself pleading to the Sabres on TV to let me experience that feeling again. I was actually planning my night and Saturday around whether or not the Sabres were going to win. I was thinking how I wouldn't be able to go out after a loss because I'd be in such a foul mood that it wouldn't be the wisest of decisions to add alcohol and socializing to that equation. I was thinking how I wouldn't be able to go to the Broadway Market the following day because I wouldn't be any fun to be around because I'd be so pissy. I was dreading that feeling you get when you wake up after a Sabres playoff loss. I didn't want to experience any of that.

But even though I was scared and nervous that I would feel that utter disappointment if the Sabres lost, I was able to stop and think about how fun it is to be so emotionally invested in this team, through the good and the bad. I couldn't stop caring about this team even if I wanted to. And that's what made Ennis's game-winner so much more sweet. Everything else is worth it. I really wouldn't trade it for anything. And the feeling of victory is indescribable...the whirlwind of emotions that you experience in every game is awesome, and we get to experience it all over again in Game 6...

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


So I'm all frazzled and excited by tonight's win, so instead of attempting to write a cohesive, fluid blog entry, I'm going to try and seperate my thoughts in categories.

First off (should you be surprised?)...

Ryan Miller:

How amazing was he?! Just solid all around and he made some superb saves, especially the one on Briere. And that means ANOTHER shutout! I love shutouts. Who doesn't right? I know Miller has had is doubters all season long, but time and time again he shows that he is a world class goalie, and yes, world class goalies can play sub-par or just bad games sometimes. But that wasn't the case tonight.

I loved at one point it sounded like Rick Jeanneret was going to say, "OH MY GOD!" over a Miller save, but instead he said, "OH MY RYAN MILLER." Fitting.

Speaking of quotes, I loved what Miller had to say when he was asked about his critics as of late:

"I don't need to listen to all the BS that's out there from people who don't know how to play goalie. I really don't give a [expletive]."
Preach it, Ryan.

And how about his mustache and sideburns? I'd like to think it's a tribute to Rick Martin.

Behold the power of the stache and sideburns.

And have you seen his new mask?

Photo taken from Ray Bishop's Facebook fan page.

Love the "Buffalo" that's been inserted on the chin!

Patrick Kaleta:

I just loved him tonight. Except for when he lost an edge and dislodged the net late in the 3rd... But other than that. He was just being himself tonight. He drew a 5 minute penalty when Richards dangerously elbowed him when Kaleta was going in to hit him. I doubt Richards will get anything beyond that 5 minute major, but I'm glad it was called. May have not been an intent to injure but he saw Kaleta coming and lead with his elbow. Dangerous play.

Also, did anyone notice that when Zherdev pinned up against the Sabres bench, Kaleta opened the door which caused Zherdev to fall in? Hilarious. Classic Patty K.

Superstitions in the playoffs:

I'm definitely not a superstitious person, but I can't help but be in the playoffs. Just a little bit... I'll change where I sit in my living room, I'll take off/put on my jersey, small things like that. My brother stayed in and watched the game with us during Game 1, but went out and watched Games 2 and 3 with his friends. So he decided he'd stay in and watch the game tonight since we won the last time he did that, and well...we won 1-0. Coincidence? I think NOT.

Hating players and loving it:

The hatred that a seven-game playoff series can bring out is pretty awesome if you think about it. Seeing all the players boil over after the buzzer in the 3rd really showed how much these teams are growing to hate each other. It will be interesting to how Game 5 will start off...

So far, the players that I hate the most this series is Carcillo and Hartnell. I mean, just look at them, how can you NOT hate them? They're gross and I hate them.

Well that was my attempt at organizing my random thoughts somehow, I don't know how it worked out...but that's my post game analysis. See ya after Game 5.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Game Two

So the series is tied 1-1 heading back to Buffalo. Not too bad.

I really don't want to give the Flyers too much credit for that win, I think the Sabres lost that game by taking so many penalties in the 2nd. Some of the calls were questionable, but some of them were really, really stupid and unnecessary. The Sabres for the most part did a great job killing them off (except for their last power play goal, of course), but taking so many penalties was almost laughable. It also ruins the "flow" of a game, as our penalty killers are getting so much ice time while our scorers are just keeping the bench warm.

I think if it hadn't been for all the penalties in the 2nd period, we had a real shot at winning the game. Hell, even with that 2nd period, we only lost by a goal.

The Sabres just have to stay composed and play smart. They can't let Philly get in their heads. They just have to play their game and be disciplined. Which can be hard to do when there is so much at stake and emotions are running high. But I think the Sabres can do it. It's great that they are heading back to Buffalo for the next two games. When they are playing at their best I think they can beat any team in the league. This time the Sabres will be welcomed home by thousands of Sabres fans, hopefully that gives them an extra boost to come out strong as soon as the puck drops.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Game One

I'd like to think that I'm a pretty even-keeled fan. I feel like I can see the bigger picture of things and I don't panic very easily. But that goes out the window during the playoffs. I toss and turn at night, and I'm antsy during the day prior to puck drop. During pregame I'm jittery and I make weird noises and I can't sit still. And several times throughout the game I say to myself, "This can't be good for my heart." Oh yes, it certainly is a new season.

I got a huge rush and immediate chills when I heard the Sabres being greeted with deafening boos from Flyers fans when they first stepped onto the ice. In a way, it pumped me up more than if they were being greeted with loud cheers by Sabres fans. Hearing the disdain from the Flyers fans just makes you realize how big these games are. I can only imagine that the team must feed off that.

Overall, I thought the Sabres played a pretty good first period. A lot of fans were saying that we were lucky to come out of that period scoreless, and that may be true, but it's Game One of the first round and they were on the road and they kept up with the Flyers pretty well. By the second period, it was apparent that this was going to be a low-scoring game, and that every mistake made could be very critical.

I think we took some stupid penalties, although some were pretty questionable. I saw Flyers diving all over the place, which is to be expected because you want to draw a penalty any time you can, and I know I've said this several times, but I wish that refs would call dives more often. The penalty kill was really one of the difference-makers in the game, killing of that 5-on-3 was huge.

The Gerbe-Gaustad-Kaleta line was probably my favorite line of the night and I was glad to see Kaleta get our goal. It was funny because very early in the game my brother predicted that either Gerbe or Kaleta would score our first goal and it turned out to be true. After Kaleta scored I was on even more of an edge than when it was 0-0, but when the Sabres were on the penalty kill late in the period, my confidence surged. Seeing them completely smother Philly and not let them get a chance on the PK really made me feel that we were going to win. I could tell that the Sabres weren't going to let anything get by them.

Ryan Miller was excellent, I was very curious to see how he would play after getting extended rest during the regular season. It didn't even register to me at first that he got a shutout, I was just so excited that we won that it took me a minute to realize that Miller also earned a shutout in the process. I was so proud of him! He was certainly on and that's exactly that type of game we're going to need from Ryan in the postseason. It's why I thought it was so ridiculous that people on the radio were even considering starting Enroth. Jhonas played great and he was exactly what we needed after Miller got hurt late in the season, but come on, Ryan Miller is Ryan Miller. He's as rested as he has ever been entering the postseason, and he's such a fierce competitor so it's always fun watching him play.

So the Sabres are up 1-0 in the series and it would awesome if they could come back to Buffalo with a 2-0 lead. There really is nothing like the playoffs and the emotional rollercoaster that it takes you on is something that you can't really control even if you wanted to. Once you're on, you're on. I can't wait to see what happens next.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Q&A with Ted Black

A few weeks ago, I bumped into Ted Black in the lobby of the hotel where he is staying when I was picking up my mom (she works the front desk). We chatted briefly and my mom (being a typical mom), mentioned my blog to him. Ted handed me his business card and graciously offered to contribute to my blog. Although his schedule is obviously busy during this exciting time in the hockey season, Ted took the time to answer a few questions for me. Here's what he had to say...

Where were you born and where did you grow up? Have you lived in many different places?

TB: I was born in Cheverly, Maryland, in 1965. I don’t remember much about my life there. We moved to New Bethlehem, Pennsylvania in 1969. NB is a small town near Clarion, about an hour north of Pittsburgh. After college and law school, I lived in various places in Pittsburgh until my new adventure in Buffalo began 6 weeks ago. Now I live in a hotel in the city… (and go to Pittsburgh on weekends to see my wife and kids, who are staying there until school is out in June).

Were you a fan of any sport growing up? Did you play any sports competitively?

TB: I was a fan of the Pirates and Steelers when I was a kid. I played basketball, football and track in high school. I was a pretty good athlete, but was never exposed to hockey (there were no rinks near our town). I think I would have really loved growing up playing the sport.

How did you become involved with professional hockey?

TB: I met Ken Sawyer at a party around 1998 and tried to help him with a couple business consulting ventures he was involved in at the time. About a year later, Ken became the president of the Penguins and he brought me in to interview as the Penguins’ vice president and general counsel in 1999.

Other than the fans, what has been your favorite thing about Buffalo so far?

TB: Hmmm, that is a tough one, because so much of what I love centers around the fans. I do love how hockey is so firmly entrenched in the culture of Western New York and that Buffalo has a big small town feel (I mean this as a compliment for sure).

Have you discovered any favorite restaurants or areas in the city?

TB: Tempo and Spot Coffee on Delaware. The Elmwood/Delaware Park area.

Do you think your family will like it here?

TB: They will love it here.

In today’s world, professional sports has become big business. Since the change in ownership, the new attitude has brought an energy that makes it feel more like a sport again (by the way, congratulations on making the playoffs!). Can you tell me a little about your philosophy of a sports franchise as a business?

TB: I think it “feels more like a sport again” because Terry admittedly doesn’t run the hockey club like a business – he runs this business like a championship hockey club. His approach seems to have energized Buffalo fans all over the country, who have fallen in love with the 2010-11 Buffalo Sabres. Like the players, fans take their cue from the owner. If the owner obsesses about the bottom line, the fans will do the same. If the owner is consumed with the goal of winning the Stanley Cup, the fans (and players) will do the same.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

TB: We are driven by the thought of how much generational joy that a Stanley Cup will bring to the city of Buffalo and to the Buffalo diaspora. Thanks for being such great fans.


I'd like to thank Ted Black again for his time and willingness to share his insight with the fans. The bridge that he and the Pegulas are building between themselves and the fans really shows how much they care.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Appreciation Day

Just some random thoughts about the team's final home game of the regular season/fan appreciation day...

- I was pleasantly surprised and stoked that Miller was voted team MVP by the players themselves. A lot of fans would consider his season disappointing, and I understand those sentiments and agree to an extent. He didn't have the season he had last year, that's for sure and he didn't play as great as he's capable of in some games. But he was also apart of the team's great turnaround. That shouldn't go unnoticed. He wasn't the only player who started off the year poorly. They all did (yes, even Vanek!), and it reflected.

Some fans/media members disagree that he was chosen, but I think I hold the players' opinion on who should be the team MVP higher than the fans' or media's opinions. Fans and media see the player on the ice. Players see their teammates on the ice, in the locker room, on the road, etc. There is a lot that goes on "behind closed doors" that can attribute to being considered a team MVP, and I think the players would know that more than any fan or media member. So congratulations, Miller!!

And to those who don't agree with it, well...

- Speaking of the awards, I was glad that McCormick won unsung hero and Ennis won rookie of the year. Both great choices, and I love that the Sabres have implemented these awards at the end of the season. I'm sure it's fun for the players and it's definitely fun for the fans.

- The pre-game ceremony was an excellent idea and so much fun for everyone. Fans spanning from all generations were all excited to see their favorit players from their respective eras. It must have been a blast for all the alumni to come back into town and see everyone. My mom works at the hotel where all the alumni were staying, and she said that the guys were having a ball in the lobby seeing everyone arrive.

- I thought it was a great touch to have Joe Crozier walk out with Rene Robert and Gilbert Perreault holding Rick Martin's jersey when they were bringing out all the alumni out on the ice.

- Lindy putting Miller into the 3rd was an awesome move. He was just awarded team MVP, and we were trailing in the 3rd. Not saying Enroth deserved to be benched, but sometimes your team needs a spark and a goaltender change is usually the best way to do. Props to Lindayyyyy.

- Gerbe is da man. And should have asked for a congratulatory head pat from Carcillo.

- Seeing both teams just standing around waiting for the overtime was one of the weirdest things I've ever seen. But it was awesome.

- Miller on the ice after the game pumping up the crowd was one of the best things I've ever seen. I don't think I've ever seen him so happy!

- PLAYOFFS BABY! Tickets go onsale Monday. :)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Proud Mama

It sure is a fun and exciting time to be a Sabres fan, isn't it?

We've been through a lot with this team over the years, but this season has just felt...different. I think it's just from all the different twists and turns this team has taken since October. Fans were ready to throw in the towel earlier in the season, completely writing off the playoffs and just hoping that we would at least finish above the Leafs. Not only is it demoralizing to be at the bottom of the league, but it's even worse when the Leafs are ahead of you in the standings. Or maybe that's just me.

We then saw the team improve, but they were sort of just treading water because every few games they would win and then drop the next two. It was incredibly frustrating, but things got a little more interesting when the Sabres were able to move a few spots up in the standings and they officialy were in the talks of being a playoff bubble team.

Things took the best turn when Pegula took over. Things just felt a lot more positive and fans were simply in disbelief. It was a nice and an unfamiliar feeling... And things just went up from there. The Sabres are currently one point away from clinching a playoff berth and while nothing is officially set in stone yet, I'm just so proud of the team, the organization, and of being a Sabres fan.

I think the season so far really exemplifies why hockey is such a great sport. It's a long season, and anything really can happen. You can never be too sure what will happen in a season, a series, a game, a period, or even a shift. I mean who would have really expected that the key players of the team's most important game of the season (against the Hurricanes) would have been Enroth, Gragnani, and Butler?

I love the late season dramatics. Even during the Washington game, it was a frustrating game for Sabres fans, but it was such a fun game. I was disappointed that the Sabres were scored on late in the game to take it to overtime, but I couldn't help but take a second to realize how much fun it was to be so emotionally invested in a game. These late season games can sometimes be more exciting than playoff games because they have more on the line...when every single point counts, things get really interesting and the unexpected becomes a little more...expected.

It's been one hell of a ride and it isn't over yet, I can't wait for the game tomorrow and I can't wait to reassess the team and our situation once the game is over.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Memorial Service for #7

I just wanted to touch on the memorial service for Rick Martin that was held today at the HSBC Arena.

I went with my mom and as we were sitting in our seats waiting for it to begin, we could already tell what a great service it was going to be. The lights were dimmed down low, Martin's banner was lowered down to the stage, and his favorite music was playing over the speakers.

Hearing Rick's loved ones talk about him onstage and remember memories of Rick was very emotional and bittersweet for the fans sitting in the stands. While a lot of fans were lucky to get to know Rick as a person after his hockey career, a lot of fans like me just knew Rick Martin the hockey legend, so it was nice to hear his friends, family, and teammates talk about what a great man he was.

The service was simple and elegant, and the photos that were shown on the jumbotron showed a man full of life who touched everyone's life who had the chance to know him.

Everyone's speech about Rick was great, but his son, Cory really nailed it. You could tell he was just speaking from his heart and he portrayed a wonderful man, hockey player, friend, husband, and father. It was especially moving when he said that it was comforting to know that his father now has the best seat in the house to watch the Sabres finish what he began. I also loved When Gilbert Perreault said, "Who knows, maybe in another life we'll reconnect again."

Buffalo and the hockey world lost a great man on March 13, but I'm proud that I was able to attend a service celebrating Rico's life, and I'm even more proud of the Sabres organization who put it together. It meant a lot to fans and I'm sure it meant so much to Rick's family. It was the perfect send off for number 7.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Was that real life? I think I needed a whole day to process last night's collapse against the Predators.

I was engaging in some delightful St. Patrick's Day parade activities and while doing so, I essentailly missed the entire game...except for the final 3 minutes. Yep. I caught a beauty.

Here's a basic rundown of my game watching experience and reaction at the bar:

Me: Yay! We're winning 3-1!!!! The parade was so much fun and now the Sabres are winning! This is the best Sunday EVER.

Me: PLAYOFFS HERE WE COME!!! Woah, did Nashville just score?

Me: WAIT...WHAT. Nashville...tie game...what?

Me: Jesus. Talk about a collapse. Get it together boys, it's now or never.

Me: It's okay. We'll get it back in overti---

*goes back to drinking and pretends like it was a big, drunken bad dream*

Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Dominator and random thoughts...

I was ecstatic when I found out that Dominik Hasek was going to be in town for the Thrashers game on Saturday. Hasek was one of my first Sabres idols when I was a kid. I've been going to Sabres games for as long as I can remember, but I guess Hasek was the first player that really stood out to me and he's the first player I associated as being a fan of. I've always been a fan of the Sabres, but when I was watching Dominik Hasek tend goal I realized I was a fan of him as an individual, as a goalie, as well as just being a fan of him because he was a Sabre.

So naturally as soon as I heard he'd be making an appearance on Saturday I immediately bought tickets. It was such a wonderful moment watching him step onto the ice in a Sabres jersey and hearing the reception he received from the fans. I was so proud and it instantly brought back memories of me as a kid cheering on Hasek. I still have posters that show him winning his numerous awards and playing on the ice. I was so glad to be apart of the crowd cheering him on and welcoming him back to Buffalo.

The memories also came flooding back when I heard his interview with Kevin Sylvester. Hearing that thick Czech accent and somewhat broken English brought me right back...I never realized how much I missed Dom! I never really had any ill will toward him when he departed Buffalo and I always kept tabs on him as Red Wing (and as a Senator), but it just felt so right seeing him back at the HSBC Arena. Hopefully we'll see his number hanging from the rafters soon.


Some other random thoughts from the game...

- Watching Miller making those sprawling saves made me realize how funny it would be to watch goalies make saves without any of their goalie gear on... Just imagine Miller or any other goalie in normal, every day clothes rolling around on the floor making saves. Come on, it's funny.

- I love the jabs that people in Buffalo make toward each other depending on what area from WNY you hail from. For example, one time at a game a lady with really poofy, 80s-stylish hair was standing up and was blocking everyone's few, and some guy was telling her to sit down but for some reason she refused to do so. So he goes, "Hey, why don't you take your Cheektowaga hair and sit the hell down."

Or another time at a game, some girl was very, very drunk and was making a fool out of herself and some guy turns to me and says, "Gotta love South Buffalo..."

And finally, the last game I was at there was a group of guys who were extremely obnoxious (but pretty funny) sitting behind me, and at one point they revealed that they were from North Tonawanda, and the guy sitting next to me says, "Soooo...who's surprised that those guys are from Tonawanda?? Not this guy!!"

It just makes me laugh because it's only something that someone from WNY would understand.

- Some guys in the section next to me were trying to start a "Let's Go Buffalo" chant the whole night, but they were getting the chant wrong! It's "Let's Go Buff-a-lo!", NOT "Let's Go Buffa-lo!" There's a difference!

- I'm digging the "Swords of a Thousand Men" as our goal song.

That's it for now... Until then, Let's Go Buff-a-lo!

PS...I just had to make a "Dominik Hasek" tag. If I had this blog in the late 90s, there probably would have been over 200+ entries tagged with "Dominik Hasek". Ahh, nostalgia.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Farewell, Rico

It was hard to believe it was true when I first heard the horrible news of Rick Martin's death. Although I wasn't born during the French Connection days, I'm a Buffalo native and have been a Sabres fan for essentially my entire life, so I knew how special that line was. Like most Sabres fans, we had an immense pride that the French Connection was apart of our team, and the memories and their legacy will live on forever.

During my internship for the World Juniors, I got to meet Rick and the rest of the French Connection and I took their picture for the blog I was writing. It was the only time I met Martin (or Perreault or Robert), but I know over the years many fans in the area got to know him quite well. It's one of the great things about Buffalo being such a tight-knit community. Fans have a chance to befriend their childhood sports idols and see a more human side to them later in life. I think that's pretty special.

7, 11, and 14

I was also one of the lucky 18,690 fams who got to witness Terry Pegula's introductory ceremony and what would be the last time Robert, Perreault, and Martin would take to the ice as the French Connection. It was a wonderful moment for Sabres fans everywhere, and it's very poignant that Terry Pegula, a life-long fan, was able to reunite them before Rick died and I know that we're all very thankful for that now.

A fan with his heroes.

Aside from losing a great person, another thing that hurts about Rick's death is the fact that the French Connection will never be whole again. What made them so special and magical is what they created when they were on the ice together, and only having the two-thirds of the French Connection just seems so wrong. It was obviously bound to happen at some point, as no one lives forever, but it was just too soon. It's hard to believe and it's tough to take.

As I was reading, listening, and watching everyone's reaction to Rick's death, it made me realize how treasured hockey is to Sabres fans the people of Buffalo. Rick's death affected so many fans, ranging from those who remembered watching him play, to those who are relatively new fans, to those who aren't even from Buffalo and have never lived here, and to those (like me) who simply weren't born during Rick's playing days. But it still affected everyone, because we all knew how special he was, whether we got to see him play or not. Everyone was still shocked, saddened, and upset. And while I don't welcome the terrible feelings I got when I learned that he died, they were painful reminders of how much I love the Sabres and what this team means to me. And I wouldn't want it any other way.

So long, Rico...legends never die.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Movin' On Up

I can't be the only person who immediately thinks of this song every time the Sabres climb up in the standings, right?

Took a whole lotta tryin', just to get up that hill. Keep it up Boyes boys!

Sunday, March 6, 2011


Charlie Sheen ain't the only one doin' it...

Enroth was outstanding, Drew Stafford won it for us in overtime with a beautiful goal that was reminiscent of Jason Pominville's OT goal against Ottawa, and best of all... ROB NIEDERMAYER SCORED!

Welcome to 8th place, Sabres.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


So who in charge do I have to speak to (I hope you're reading, Terry Pegula) in order to get a reenactment of this video?

Can't you picture it? Terry Pegula sitting down one-on-one with Miller for a performance review, and then the scene cuts to Miller in the hockey hallway with his teammates behind him singing about the things he does "like a boss"? Too bad I don't have the creativity to re-write the song or the power to get Terry Pegula, Ryan Miller, and the rest of the Sabres to agree to this music video. But certainly someone up high in the ranks does, right?

I think I know what I'm going to submit to the Sabres Suggestion Box. Let's do this.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

A New Era, A New Hope

There's not much else I can say about Pegula that hasn't already been said, but I'm just happy that he's the team's new owner. In the press conference, Pegula came off as down to earth and extremely excited about being the owner of the Buffalo Sabres. He made a connection with the fans and was genuine, which can sometimes be hard to do when you're a billionaire. Seeing Pegula break down in tears when he saw Perrault and the other Sabres alumni in the room was just so endearing, because it showed the honest emotions that sports can bring out in a fan.

I wanted to wait to write about the change in ownership until after I attended the game last night, because I knew it was going to be special. The fans are excited that Pegula is now the owner because we believe in him and his philosophy. We believe that he can be the right owner who can get the right players and personnel in to bring a Cup to Buffalo. But when I saw Pegula walk out to center ice with his family in front of the team and all the fans, I wasn't thinking about all that. I was thinking about just Pegula, and how excited and overwhelmed he must have been. I was happy for him. He said that it's been a life-long dream for him, and he told countless people over the years that he wanted to own the Sabres one day. And there he was, front and center standing next to his boyhood idol being embraced by tens of thousands of fans. I can't even imagine how that must have felt for him. He admitted after the game that the whole night was a blur for him, and that he didn't realize that it was Lindy who handed him the game puck until someone told him after.

Taken from

I just love that picture! I love Lindy, I love that Pegula stated that Lindy "ain't goin' nowhere", and I love that it was Lindy that handed Pegula the game puck.

I know some fans are approaching this change in ownership as being cautiously optimistic, which is understandable. We need to remember that an owner can't bring in a championship alone, that it takes a team. But I believe that Pegula's excitement is definitely contagious, for the fans and the players alike. The Buffalo News posted a photo slide show of the press conference, and the people in attendance were the players, the coaching and training staff, the media, and the employees of the Sabres. You could see a smile on the players' faces when they were listening to Pegula speak, and it seemed like they were all happy and excited to hear him talk. Thomas Vanek's latest blog entry is a real interesting read, he discusses how he believes that the "little things" that Pegula wants to give to the players and their families is going to make the team even more closer. He also said that he believes that Pegula owning the team is the best thing that could have happened to the team and the fans, which is great to hear coming from a player.

The last time I remember there being such a buzz and excitement about the Sabres was during their 2006 playoff run. Everyone seems to be inspired and full of hope, which is always a good thing. In an interview I saw on the news after the press conference, Ted Black said, "People may be thinking, 'This is too good to be true', but some things are too good and true." The jury still may be out on the second part, but many Buffalonians can relate to the first half. It's just great for everyone to be excited and it's just a great story all around. How can someone not get behind a guy like Pegula? A die-hard fan who worked hard to make his fortunes, and then fulfills a life-long dream and purchases his favorite sports team? It does almost sound too good to be true, but it happened. And I'm excited for the future, and I'm also excited for right now. It feels good. Let's go Buffalo!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Things I Hate In Hockey

Well the Sabres answering their 3-game win streak with a 3-game losing streak is not what anyone wanted to see. The Sabres had fantastic opportunities to use their games in hand to win games and put themselves in a playoff position, but has failed at the task so far.

But instead of going on and on about how frustrating it has been to see them lose (especially to the Leafs...), I want to express my anger and frustration in more of a lighthearted way... By talking about my biggest pet peeves when watching hockey. We all have them, and it's time to air our grievances about the insignificant but annoying things in hockey!

I'm going to start off by saying I'm going to leave out the obvious annoyances (poor officiating, dangerous hits to the head, Maple Leafs fans, etc.) So here we go...

Things That Need To Be Eliminated From Hockey:

- fans banging on the glass
- fans who stand up and wave to the camera
- fans who automatically boo the opposing team's good player
- fans who boo and whine when a player on their team gets called on a very blatant, obvious penalty
- refs refusing to call a dive
- the word "soft" or "softie" when referring to a bad goal. Just call it weak, cheap, bad, etc. The word "soft" just absolutely rubs me the wrong way.
- the word "squirts"...I don't like that word ever. "Squirts", you stay away from hockey.
- the word "classless"...way overused
- the word "elite"...especially when referring to a goalie. "He's great, but is he elite?" I don't think many fans have enough knowledge to make to differentiate the two. "Elite" is another way overused term too.
- the phrase "and it isn't even close". Like when fans say, "This player is better than that player and it isn't even close." or, "This team is better than that team and it isn't even close." It's probably a lot closer than you'd think, you fools.
- Tyler Kennedy's face
- A good, clean, hard hit that results in the team jumping the other team.

I'm sure there's more, but these are all the things that came to mind right away. What small things bother you the most in hockey?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Thoughts on Miller

I figured I should talk about Ryan Miller, because I'm sure you've noticed by now, he is one of my favorite people to talk about.

Miller, Miller, Miller. It's obvious he hasn't been at the level he was last season when he won the Vezina. But I think fans have to realize that he isn't going to win the Vezina every season. But I understand that now that he's won the Vezina, expectations are higher and criticism will be more frequent when he doesn't live up to standards. I understand all of that and there is nothing wrong with it. What bothers is me is how shortsighted fans can be. I mean, what the hell is up with WGR 550's latest poll on their website? Should Ryan Miller be apart of the "core" moving forward? You kiddin' me? I'm just glad owners and GM of sports teams aren't as rash as fans. I think it just comes with the position, but I feel like all of the great goaltenders in the NHL today have been called overrated at some point. Fleury, Price, Brodeur, Luongo, they have all been called busts or simply "overrated". Hell, Roy was practically run out of town in Montreal and Sabres fans used to boo Hasek at home.

Kate already brought this up in her latest post, but I think Corey Griswold made some great points last night on his Twitter page. Aside from last season, Miller's stats aren't that phenomenal. He's never really been a "Stats King", if you will. But stats aren't the be all and all, and they certainly don't tell the whole story. You can't look at Miller's current GAA, which is 31st in the league or something like that and say, "Oh, well that means that the 30 other goalies are clearly better than Ryan Miller." It just doesn't work that way. Miller's stats are bad this season no matter how you look at it, and that's an indicator of something, but I just wish fans could look at the broader picture at hand instead of being so hung up on the numbers.

I also want to touch on Miller's post-game reaction last night... I think people are making it a bigger deal than it is, but Buffalo is a small town so that's not surprising to me. Ryan was clearly frustrated, and he said so several times in his interview. I don't think John Vogl's original question was particularly bad, but I think it was quite obvious that Miller wasn't going to give any other answer than, "I feel fine." and he was irked by the question. But Vogl still pursued with the question which made Miller more annoyed. I understand Vogl must have been taken aback by Miller's reaction, but he's also a professional sports journalist and I think he knew what he was doing when he kept repeating the question to a very frustrated Miller.

As for Jerry Sullivan, I think he's a jackass. He really didn't have any business jumping in on the scuffle between Miller and Vogl, other than to further stir the pot. Which is what I think he wanted to do. I have no problem with Miller calling him out and them exchanging pleasantries (as Rick Jeanneret would put it). Sullivan apparently called Miller "thin-skinned", but to me it seems like Sullivan was the one acting a little too sensitive to Miller's criticism. Miller had a rough night and his temper was high, so his reaction may have not been professional, but it was understandable. Sullivan on the other hand, there really was no reason for him to be so bent out of shape and to insult Miller like that. Pro athtletes like Ryan Miller are the reason that sports columnists and reporters like Jerry Sullivan are even employed. There needs to be some level of respect. They can write their columns and reports and criticize players all they want, but I also think players/coaches have a right to dish it back out if they feel it is warranted.

All in all, I'm sure Miller would have handled the situation differently had it not been in the "heat of the moment", and I'm sure Vogl and Sullivan are used to athletes snapping at them because it just comes with the job. Miller having to answer to the media comes with his job to, but everyone involved in this is obviously human and mistakes will be made. I'm also not saying that any criticism Miller is receiving this season isn't deserved or is unfair, I just wish fans used a little more perspective in their criticisms.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Thoughts on Golisano's Press Conference

I didn't get a chance to watch Tom Golisano's press conference until I got home from class around 5 tonight. I really did like the way the press conference went, and it was nice to hear Golisano talk about his accomplishments with the team during his tenure.

I think for the most part, fans are grateful for Tom Golisano stepping up at the right time when the Sabres were in turmoil and he's done a lot of positive things to the organization and the WNY community since then. But there are certain fans who quite frankly, are acting like spoiled brats with this whole thing. No, we didn't win a Stanley Cup during the Golisano Era, which is the ultimate goal. And these are the same people who expect Terry Pegula to come in riding on a white horse and change everything almost instantaneously in our glorious run to the Stanley Cup. Please.

Fans don't have to agree with every decision upper management makes, but it would be nice if fans could stop acting as if they know how to run a sports team and that every single fantasy deal is realistic. Obviously it's okay to be angry and impatient when things aren't going right, and it's natural to look for someone to blame. It's easy to pick out scapegoats; Golisano, Larry Quinn, Darcy Regier, Lindy Ruff, and certain players. The bottom line is it's a team and they win as a team and they lose as a team. There is no "quick fix", it just simply isn't easy to win a Stanley Cup. Sometimes great owners, general managers, coaches, and players can't bring home a Cup.

I'm not asking for Tom Golisano to be inducted into the Sabres Hall of Fame any time soon, but it would be nice to see fans be a little more gracious about Golisano's departure.

It's been real, Tommy G. It's been real.

With all that said, I can't wait to learn more about Terry Pegula and how he'll run the team. Over the next year or so during this transition phase, it's going to be very exciting and interesting for Sabres fans. Hopefully the players themselves can contribute to that excitment by playing some good hockey. Go get 'em, boys.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough

Hello strangers! Sorry it's been so long since I've updated. I've been very busy working and going back to school, but the truth is that I just haven't been real inspired to write about the Sabres. But now that the Sabres are right in the thick of things in the playoff race coupled with the new revelations about the change in ownership, it's made me want to throw in my two cents.

It's exciting that the Sabres are only 6 points out of 8th place with 3 games in hand. It was so frustrating watching them play solid hockey and get the 2 points, but seeing them just treading in 12-11th place. I was actually pretty surprised to see how well their record has been lately, because it felt like every loss was just another nail in the coffin. But here they are, after the All-Star break and they have a chance to make a real run. In the past few seasons where the Sabres missed the playoffs, they put themselves in a position where they needed other teams to help them out by winning/losing certain games in order for them to make the playoffs. I hate that, I'm sure everyone does. It's not exactly an ideal position to be in. But as of now, the Sabres don't need any team's help as long as they can play good hockey and win their games.

I never realized how appropriate Michael Jackon's "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" was for the Sabres victory song. I'm sure everyone has heard it playing in the background of post-game interviews after a win. At first I thought it was just an amusing, goofy song to play because Michael Jackson isn't exactly the first musician you would expect to be playing in a professional sports team's locker room. But that's what the Sabres have been doing, they've been keeping on with the force even when things were pretty grim, and they have put themselves in a decent position. But there is still a lot of work to be done and it's going to be a hard-fought battle for the remainder of the season to make the playoffs. By the way, "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" is one of my favorite songs to dance to in the Michael Jackson: The Experience video game for the Wii. My birthday was last week and it was my birthday present...that game is ridiculously fun!

"Keep on with the force, don't stop. Don't stop 'til you get enough!" MJ speaks the truth, Sabres.

Moving on, today was quite the fun day for Sabres fans and the media, wasn't it? The Sabres have finally announced the sale of the team to Terry Pegula. It's always exciting when something new happens to a sports team, especially when it's something as big as new ownership. It gives plenty of things for fans and the media to speculate and fantasize about. Pegula seems like a man who loves hockey and who has wanted to own the Sabres for quite some time, so it's going to be fun to see what happens when he is officially handed the reigns.

Although I was disappointed to read The Buffalo News article on Pegula's gas drilling violations. I guess I shouldn't be surprised though, a billionaire who made his profits on natural gas drilling is bound to have some dirty laundry. While I'm no expert on how to become a billionaire (too bad), I'd imagine that ethics, morals, and honesty are sometimes put on the back burner when you're making your profits. But I love the Sabres and I always will, so I can only hope that Pegula will bring nothing but success to the team. I couldn't help but think of Paul Gaustad spitting out his Kick Save Krunch when was reading that article in the Sunday paper, though.

Sabres fans also found out about Darcy Regier's ~super secret~ contract extension he received last fall, which created quite a stir. Honestly, when I read the article I basically just shrugged to myself and said, "Oh, okay." I really didn't expect Pegula to come in and immediately fire Darcy, and even if that was his intention, he could still do so regardless of this extension. What did intrigue me though was the revelation that Lindy Ruff was offered an extension as well but rejected it. Which explains why the Sabres didn't publicize Darcy's extension, because questions would have been asked regarding Lindy's status had they announced Regier's extension. But why didn't Lindy take the extension? I love Lindy, and I'm attached to him. I'm not afraid to admit it either. I feel like sometimes fans are afraid to admit that they get attached to certain players or coaches because you're not "supposed to", like it makes you look unprofessional or something. Well guess what? I'm a fan and I get attached to players and I'm also attached to the head coach who has coached my beloved Sabres since 1997. My heart melted when I was watching his interview on the news and he smiled while he said, "Yeah, I want to be here." when he was asked. So why didn't you sign, Lindy?! The world may never know. I hope he sticks around though. I like that guy.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

I'm Back!

Well, I'm back by popular my own demand. The World Juniors has wrapped up which means that my internship with the Sabres is also complete. It was a great experience and I had a wonderful time doing it. It was a lot of work, but since I kept busy, the tournament really flew by and by the end of it I was surprised that it was already over. I met some great people during my internship, including a Russian reporter named Maria. When I first met her, Russia was on the brink of elimination in the preliminaries, so it was great to stay in touch with her throughout Russia's quest for the gold medal. Russia really impressed me throughout the entire tournament, and I couldn't believe that the managed to pull off another amazing come-from-behind victory in the gold medal game.

I really do think Buffalo was a great host city for the tournament due to the fact that WNY is a huge hockey area and since we are close in proximity to Canada. I know some people were disappointed that there was such a "Canadian Invasion" and that not enough Americans came out for the tournament, but let's be real here... This tournament is for the Canadians. They made the tournament what it is. While I'm proud to say that I'm an American hockey fan, the hockey culture up in Canada is just a completely different animal. Many Canadians joke about how they learned to ice skate before they learned to walk. Hockey is a way of life up there, and while over the past several years, USA hockey programs have taken great strides in the hockey world, Canada just has such a long and storied history when it comes to hockey. I just didn't think it was fair to believe that US hockey fans would ever come out in large numbers like the Canadians did, even though the World Juniors was held in the US.

I really think that the Sabres and the city of Buffalo did a great job hosting the tournament. Buffalo got a few insults here and there, but as a Buffalonian, I knew it was to be expected. But I also knew that people would be quick to defend the city, and while I think booing a 17-year-old who plays on your national team is uncalled for, I really liked reading the several columns that writers and analysts posted afterwords. This column (and the comments that were posted) written by Damien Cox was one of my favorites.

Anyways, onto the NHL... The Sabres are still on quite a rocky road, and it amazes me that a team with as much talent as they have are playing so poorly. There are a few bright spots; Stafford, Vanek, and Pominville seem to be getting on the scoring track, but it remains to be seen if they can stay consistent. Miller playing less-than-stellar has hurt the team and has also been pretty worrisome since his strong presence in net is so imperative to this team. Miller's play can also be reflected on our defense... It's no coincidence that when the defense is on Miller usually is as well, and vice versa. I really have no idea what to think of the team. While making the playoffs is still a reachable goal, I can't recall when the Sabres put out a stretch of great hockey this season, which is very telling. But I'll still be watching every game, hoping for the best.

I finished watching HBO's documentary, 24/7 on the Penguins and the Capitals I was blown away with it. It was truly a must-see for any hockey fan and I enjoyed every minute of it. You could tell that whoever was in charge of the documentary really understood hockey inside and out and knew how to portray it. I really wish the NHL would do something like this more frequently, not just building up to the Winter Classic. It would be neat to do it every other month or something like that, and follow a team for a week or two. What do you have to say to that, NHL?

Well it definitely feels good to be back blogging here and for those of you who read my blog during the World Juniors, I really appreciate it. During the USA-Canada game I met a young woman named Amanda who told me that she reads my blog and that was really awesome. I'm glad I met her and I'm glad that she likes reading my blog! If you're reading right now, Amanda, it was great to meet you and I hope you keep reading. :)