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.