Wednesday, December 31, 2008

It's Retrospective Time!

Yesterday may have been the worst day I've ever experienced as a Bills and Sabres fan in terms of combined disgust.

First comes the news of Coach "I lost the challenge flag" Jauron's continued employment. Then, we all get to witness that spectacular display of team apathy and heartlessness by the Sabres. I usually call upon Lindy after games like this to run them into the ground, but I don't think he can do much else with this bunch of divas.

As my father said this morning, I don't want Nate to go back to Portland, but maybe it's better so he doesn't learn bad habits from these players any more than he already has.

So....Now that the ranting is over, I am going to try to be the ray of sunshine after the multiple natural sports disasters that came last night.

My favorite part of New Year's Eve is the year-end, retrospective lists. Therefore, I have decided to combine my love of countdowns with my need for a pick-me-up.

I present you with My Favorite Buffalo Sports Moments of 2008:

10.) The Sabres Signings of Summer '08. Tim Kennedy. Chris Butler. Nate Gerbe. Danny Paille. Paul Gaustad. Jason Pominville. Ryan Miller. Patrick Lalime. Craig Rivet. After the previous summer and the departure of Brian Campbell in February, it was nice to see the Sabres adding people rather than letting people go. Each of these players has contributed to the team this season, some (Craig Rivet) more than others (Tim Kennedy). Some signings made me happy for personal reasons (Goose and Gerbe) while others made a strong statement to the entire NHL (Miller). All in all, it was nice to be happy every time I heard Darcy this summer rather than holding back tears like the year before.

9.) Craig Rivet's First Game at HSBC Arena. There were many nice things about the Sabres preseason victory over the Leafs. It was my little cousin's first NHL game, and I got to be the one to take her. We got to see the boys looking all spiffy in their suits on the red carpet. The Sabres pulled off another improbable comeback to force overtime and beat a heated rival, even if it was only in the preseason. The best thing about this game, however, was its status as Craig Rivet's coming out party. Rivet pounded Ryan Hollweg into oblivion for grazing Ryan Miller, and the entire crowd seemed to fall in love at first sight. That one act said volumes in the locker room as well, with Rivet finally ending the rotating captaincy by being named permanent leader.

8.) The Buffalo Bills Beat the San Diego Chargers 23-14 and Improve to 5-1. At the time, I thought that this game was our "statement game." Trent was recovering from being knocked out of the game against Arizona, the first loss of the season. Then, the Bills delivered this complete win over a team that, while struggling, still had a reputation as an AFC powerhouse. With the win, the team improved to an impressive 5-1 record, and that was the last time I felt really good about football in Buffalo in 2008.

7.) Pat Kane Wins Calder Trophy. It's always nice to see a hometown kid succeed, especially one who doesn't forget where he comes from. Moving from a little kid playing in rinks in South Buffalo and West Seneca to owning opponents from Carolina to Edmonton, Patrick Kane has become a household name in more places than Western New York. To see him recognized as the Rookie of the Year was a proud moment for anyone from WNY. It was especially touching when he thanked the people of Buffalo for supporting him because it showed that little Kaner really hasn't forgotten his roots. I can't wait to see even more big things from him in 2009 - as long as it's not against the Sabres, of course.

6.) The Two Sabres Comebacks Vs. the Lightning. In a season lacking special moments, these two games provided Sabres fans with something to cheer about. I was at the arena for the first of these two games, both led by hat tricks from Thomas Vanek. In a 4-3 OT victory, Vanek scored three consecutive goals to cap a furious late-game comeback, including his first two only 36 seconds apart at the end of the third period. The second comeback may be my favorite game of last season. Losing 4-1 going into the third, Paul Gausatd and Jason Pominville began a scoring avalanche that would produce 6 third period goals, including three by Vanek once again. Yes, I know it was against Tampa, but thinking about those two games still makes me smile, and on a day like today, smiling is certainly needed.

5.) The 2008 Bills Season Opener (Bills 34, Seahawks 10). Remember when the whole football world was at our fingertips and the AFC East seemed to be ours for the taking? Yeah, I barely do, too, but what a great feeling it was. Trent was the next Jim Kelly. We played smashmouth defense. We called trick plays. Tom Brady was hurt and then suddenly it was like the heavens opened up on One Bills Drive. I know that nothing can ease the pain that the rest of the season brought, but it is nice to remember that, for just one day, the Bills were able to pleasantly surprise us.

4.) The Buffalo Sabres Season Opener (Sabres 2, Canadiens 1, SO). Remember when the Sabres earned points in their first 8 games, looking like they had exorcised all of the demons of last season? Yeah, I barely do, too, but it did happen and was lots of fun to watch. They played Lindy's system to perfection, cleared the net for Ryan, and took the ice with heart, grit, and a chip on their shoulders. I can only hope that this memory sticks with them too because they need to find that team again in order to make 2009 a better year than 2008 for Sabres fans.

3.) The 2008 Winter Classic / Ice Bowl. I know, I know - we lost to Sidney Crosby in a shootout. Still, though, when you look back on that day, is that one of the first things you remember? I'm thinking it's not. What I'll remember is the sight of over 70,000 fans watching a hockey game all in one place, the sight of Ralph Wilson Stadium looking like a Christmas card, with flakes softly falling like a snowglobe. I'll remember tearing up when Ronan Tynan sang, and, for one day, I knew that people around the world were getting to see what I've learned every day - that Buffalo is a truly amazing place.

2.) The Buffalo Bandits Win the NLL Championship. Finally - a championship comes to Buffalo! It may not have been in the way we expected, but the Bandits made Buffalo the home of a champion. NLL fans are some of the most intense in pro sports, and it was great to see the members of "Banditland" rewarded for their passion. I have season tickets this year, and I can't wait to cheer them on to a repeat!

1.) The Entire 2008 Season of UB Bulls Football. From the Hail Mary pass to the MAC Championship, it's been an amazing ride for anyone who has watched the Bulls this season. What Turner Gill has done is nothing shot of miraculous, and I could not respect a coach more than I respect him. I'll admit that I am not the biggest college football fan, but this team sucked me in, and I am so glad that they did. Turner Gill gave Buffalo a team that we can proud of, a group that is as blue-collar as they come. They play with heart, grit, and boundless determination, just like their coach. I can only hope that 2009 starts where 2008 left off, with a character- driven group of underdogs proving everyone but themselves wrong.

I hope everyone has a very safe and happy New Year's Eve and New Year's Day! Feel free to share your list of favorite moments with me, too, I'd love to hear what I'm sure I missed.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Picture Time!

I'm glad to read that everyone around the Buffalo blogging world enjoyed their holidays. I've spent the last few days catching up with family and friends, so I haven't had much time to write.

Also, I feel that there hasn't been much worthy of a post - another uninspired performance by the Bills on Sunday, a sham of a win by the Sabres on Saturday. Anything I could say would only be redundant - about Dick Jauron or the Sabres' inability to close out the worst team in the East.

So, instead, I present a short photo diary of how I've spent my Christmas vacation:

I got some great sports-related gifts for Christmas: Sabres gloves, a new Bills baseball cap, an "I Love Buffalo Lacrosse" shirt to wear in my Bandits season ticket seats, and money to buy this:
I'll have a book review up as soon as I get it and finish it!

Though all of those were great gifts, the best present came from my parents. I've been talking about it forever, so here is my brand new Pommer jersey:

My mom said that the guy at Laux told her that mine was the only jersey with a letter on it - I was so glad that she asked specifically for that. Thanks again, Mom!

Excuse my Christmas morning no-makeup look that I'm rocking in these photos.

Today I received the best belated Christmas gift ever, thanks again to my mom and dad. She was driving by Bases Loaded Sports Collectibles on French Rd., and she saw a sign laying on the ground because of the gale-force winds we've been having. Knowing that they sometimes have Sabres doing signings, she pulled in and looked at it for her slightly obsessed daughter.

Well, it turns out that Andrew Peters and Nate Gerbe were there tonight, and my father took my sister to see them. Naturally, I just had to tag along - I would never pass up a chance to meet the hero of all vertically challenged people everywhere!

Needless to say, Amy and I had a blast. Petey was extremely nice, joking around with the little girls in front of us. He was also cracking endless jokes about poor Nate, saying that he was as tall as Gerbe when he was nine and that Nate may need a booster seat to see over the counter he was signing on.

My sister couldn't wait to see Petey!

Nate was everything I hoped he'd be - little (but taller than me), adorable, and very sweet. He took the time to ask how I was doing, and, when my father wished him luck for the rest of the season, he responded: "Thanks so much; I really appreciate it." The nice thing was, that he actually gave off the vibe that he did mean what he said.

I swear, there was a moment before I left that he told me to "have a great night" with a cute little smile, and I thought I would have to be mopped off the floor in a big puddle of Gerbe-love. Maybe he was just excited to see a girl his age that is shorter than he is, but in the words of every character on "The Real World," I think we have a real "connection" (if by "connection" you mean one-sided infatuation).

I think this is the perfect shade of painfully awkward to make great engagement announcements someday!

Tomorrow morning, I'm heading out to morning practice at HSBC with my younger cousins. I always try to get to one per year, so it should be fun. I'll try to post pictures sometime after!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Holidays!

Today is my favorite day of the year. Ever since I was a little kid, I've always loved Christmas Eve. Between the big Polish dinner we make tonight and opening gifts with all of my cousins, this is always the day I dream about what will be under the tree tomorrow morning.

In that spirit, I present you with my Buffalo Sports Christmas list for the coming year (and Santa, if you're reading this, all of us tortured Buffalo fans have been very good again this year, despite our teams' circumstances).
All I want for Christmas is...

* A healthy Buffalo Sabres lineup for the first time in a long time

* A Bills win over the Patriots on Sunday. I would love nothing more than to knock them out of the playoffs.

* A new coach for the Buffalo Bills (preferably someone with more than one facial expression)

* Paul Gaustad to return to the ice as soon as possible

* A way for Nate Gerbe and Chris Butler to stay up with the big club

* A veteran backup quarterback behind Trent Edwards next season

* To see Maxim Afinogenov in another team's jersey come deadline day (if not sooner)

* A goal scored by Jason Pominville that isn't an empty-netter

* Thomas Vanek to take back the lead in goals from Jeff Carter

* More interviews with Jaro Spacek using the word "pigeon"

* To see all of the years of heartbreak and dreams of "next year" fade into oblivion with that first championship.

* A safe, healthy, and happy holiday season for all of the Buffalo Bloggers and our readers.

Merry Christmas (or Hanukkah or Kwanzaa or whatever it is you celebrate)! May you and your families have a joyous holiday season!

Nothing says Happy Holidays like puppy nap buddies!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Dear Santa...

With only three days left until Christmas, I figured that Muckers and Grinders needed to get into the holiday spirit.

With the blizzard around us and the clock ticking down for last minute shopping, I figure that even the athletes of Buffalo must be thinking about what will be under their tree come Christmas morning.

With that in mind, I present a look at some of the Christmas wish lists of our very own Bills and Sabres, written in their own words to the big man at the North Pole:

Dear Santa,
This Christmas, all I would like is a win to close out the season. When I said I wanted consistency last year, I didn't mean having the same record all the years I was a coach. That makes me very frustrated, and if you could see my face right now, I'm certain you would know. All that being said, I have tried to be a good coach this year; ignore all those "naughty" people who may say otherwise.
Enthusiastically waiting for your arrival,
Dick Jauron
PS: I've heard many people say that I should ask for a personality this Christmas. I do not know what that is, but it sounds great - maybe you could leave one in my stocking?

Dear St. Nick,
I don't know what I did to tick you off last year, but it had to be something big to get that 10-game losing streak under the tree. If you're thinking of that again this year, just send coal; I can use it to light a fire under my team.
Lindy Ruff

Yo Santa!
i know i wuz pretty naughty this summer and everything, but i tried to do right by taking the blame for the running game being so bad (when even u know that wasn't my fault). i guess all i want this year is for everyone to forget my little "problem" this summer - oh yeah - and a new offensive scheme that gets me more carries would be nice, too.
Beast Mode!

Save all the gifts for the poor and sick children of the world, all I'm asking for is world peace.
Paul Gaustad

Dear Mr. Claus,
As Yoda says, "A Merry Christmas will you..." - oh screw it! I just want a job next season, ok?
The best third string QB ever,
JP Losman

Dearest Santa,
I tried to be a good boy this year, taking my naps on time and sticking to the system as best as I could. All I really want are some better hockey sticks, maybe ones that aren't made of glass that shatter on contact.
Thank you oh so much,
Jason Pominville

St. Nick,
I'm just going to keep asking for the same thing every year until I get it, and I'll hold out the milk and cookies until I do. I want BIG $$$. I know that my Pro Bowl status should be enough to convince you of how nice I've been; don't listen to the fans who only pay attention when I mess up.
No treats for the reindeer either if I don't get it,
Jason Peters

Take Max back to the North Pole with you this year. I'm sure he'd like it up there; he can give away things for a living then.
Sabres fans everywhere

Saturday, December 20, 2008

It's Okay, Really

Well that was a heartbreaker.

It's not your fault, Ryan. 42 saves on 46 shots is pretty gosh darn impressive once again.

I was pretty upset about losing 4-3 in overtime to the Habs right after it happened, but I'm surprisingly calm about it now. I guess it's because I expected a pretty ugly loss, so the mere fact that we got a point (and for the moment have sole possession of the 8th seed) is fine with me.

There were plenty of things to be happy with tonight, enough things to make it a loss that was far from deserved. The team played with heart, taking and giving hits (especially the Carubba Collision ice one by Stafford) and skating with good speed for the second game in as many nights. Despite the 5-on-3 and 4-on-3 goals, the PK unit was impressive and aggressive.

My unsung hero tonight goes to Andrej Sekera. There was a shift not long before his goal where he kept the puck in the offensive zone for an unbelievable chunk of time. Though we didn't score on that shift, his hard work was rewarded with his first goal of the season a few minutes later.

There were some things not to like, though. I'm going to take the "no comment" road on the officials tonight. I'll just say that if Matt Ellis got a goalie interference penalty, then Montreal should have gotten one on the second goal. There are only so many penalties you can kill off before they bite you in the behind, and that's what happened tonight. Some may have been more warranted than others, but we still needed to make it more difficult for the refs to call anything.

Derek Roy had a nice goal, but he also deflected in the first Montreal goal and failed to clear on the shift that led to their third goal. Max made another "Max-tastic" play in OT, passing it back to an unprepared Sekera when he should have tried to "make like a gravedigger and get it in deep" (Harry Neale's words, not mine).

All in all, though, the boys overcame sure exhaustion and iffy officiating to get a point against a difficult rival.

Now, as promised, I present a sappy analysis of my favorite thing about these last two games, and that is this clip from this weekend's Sabres Show:

If you haven't seen this clip of the team visiting kids at Children's Hospital, I suggest you do so now. I have it saved to my DVR to watch whenever I get mad at the team. It reminds you that, even if they lose, they are some pretty great people even if they are not always great at hockey.

From Sekera's smile talking about the kids to the surprisingly human and - dare I say - sweet side of Tim Connolly, it was nice to see the guys without kids still get into the visit with all of their hearts. It was especially nice to see Nate Gerbe begin to make his mark in the community like that.

What really struck me, though, was how much this visit meant to the guys who are fathers themselves. I couldn't tell who was more excited with the coloring time, Toni Lydman or the kids. Captain Craig brought a tear to my eye holding that little baby and talking about how important it is to bring joy to these families.

I guess I'm just saying that there are moments when I'm really proud of this team, and usually it has to do with something special done off the ice rather than on it. So maybe that's why, for tonight, the image of Toni Lydman in a Santa hat next to a sick little boy is sticking with me more than Kovalev's goal.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Five Random Things

In honor of the five goals we scored tonight, I present five random statements about the Sabres much-needed 5-0 win over the LA Kings.

1.) I'm so proud of Ryan Miller. A 40-save shutout is nothing to scoff at, and I'm glad that he's getting all the praises tonight. His play may have been iffy on Wednesday, but tonight he was rock solid in game that we couldn't lose. I hope he can carry this confidence for a while because he has every reason to be confident after a performance like that. On a related note, I love Patty Lalime's reaction to wins for Ryan; they both seem so happy when Lalime attacks him with his big bear hugs. They seem to genuinely like one another, which I think works well for a goalie tandem (and it makes for great goalie-love celebrations).

2.) My unsung hero tonight is actually a pair of players - our latest call-ups, Chris Butler and Matt Ellis. Butler played very sound hockey, and Roby praised his "grey matter," which is something that he doesn't take too lightly. He has a very accurate shot, as evidenced by his assist on Mair's goal, and he made some very good outlet passes. I also liked that, when he was complimented on his play on the postgame show, he thanked the reporter for his praise. He seems very humble, and you all know that this is how I like my hockey players.

Matt Ellis gets the nod for his hard-working effort filling in for Goose. He had some very nice hits and was rewarded for his work with a goal. I love when our grinders score, so this was my favorite goal of the night (plus it gave Peters his first point on the season!).

3.) I was surprised at the number of people in the arena despite the weather (and the Silver pricing). The snow ruined my plans for a breaking-in party for my new HDTV, but hopefully we'll play just as well on Monday against the Pens because that's my "snow date." You never know with this team, but I hope this win signals a turnaround in home-ice play. It was nice to hear "Sweet Caroline" at HSBC again.

4.) There was a lot to love about the Sabres Show tonight, so much that I have a whole blog planned for tomorrow about it. Be ready for a complete gushing session about how sweet the clip of the visit to Children's Hospital was because I swear I almost teared up seeing the kids' faces (I am such a softie!).

5.) Denis Gauthier is a scumbag, and I hope he gets suspended:

Not only does he sucker-punch Kaleta; he tries to throw an elbow at him before it. After the classless punch, he throws his hands up like he didn't do anything. Then, when Peters tried to challenge him later in the game, he ran away. Spineless moves like that make me angry like nothing else.

I hope Patty is okay; Lindy seems to think that the outlook is not good, but I hope it's nothing too serious. The only good news is that he isn't in the hospital. Poor guy, he didn't even hit anyone on that play, and he's going to be sidelined again for God knows how long.

I hope you're proud of yourself, Gauthier. I'm going to use my favorite Roby-ism and refer to you as a "gutless puke."

Am I wrong to be so worked up about that? Is this just something that Patty should expect with the kind of game he plays?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Why Am I Only 20?

I really don't care much about not turning 21 until August. I'm not much of a drinker or a party girl, so it usually does not bother me that I still have eight months until I reach the legal drinking age.

Except today - today it bothers me a lot.

You see, today Ryan Miller announced the third annual Catwalk for Charity, which you have to be 21 in order to attend.

Look at this video and see exactly why I would want to attend:

There are about a million reasons why I need to go to this, especially this year, but I'll narrow it down to a few:

1.) I'm obsessed with the 1920's. Really, it's a problem. I wrote my first 20-page paper on the influence of flappers in American culture, which I'm thinking of writing my college Honors thesis on as well. My favorite book is The Great Gatsby. Ryan, you couldn't wait one more year for this theme?

2.) According to Sabres Edge, there will be a costume contest for best 1920s look. I was a flapper for Halloween last year and found an even better dress this year (at Target of all places). Maybe I'll just shell out the $35 bucks and wear it around my house pretending to be cool. It wouldn't be the first time...

3.) Also on Sabres Edge is the reveal that all of the guys will be taking part in this dress-up game as well. The image of Goose and Pommer in pinstripes with fedoras is enough to make me feel lightheaded right here. If any of you reading attend, I better see pictures!

Honestly, this event is one of the reasons I am most excited about turning 21 (is that sad or what?). I would love to see all of the guys just goofing off and being themselves, and knowing that the money goes to a great cause doesn't hurt.

I hope some of my fellow bloggers or readers will be attending this year, for the reasons stated above. I expect to hear some stories about Ryan getting his runway diva on and Timmy trying to pick up a scantily-clad girl in fringe.

In other, real news, the Sabres called up Matt Ellis and Chris Butler for tomorrow, with Nate Gerbe being placed on injured reserve. I can't wait to see Butler out there; he could be no worse than Paetsch was last night. Chris was also really nice to my little cousin on the red carpet, joking around with her and taking the time to sign her shirt.

Welcome to the big club, Chris (great hockey hair, by the way)!

Finally, yes, dear readers, I did go to the game last night, but I've decided to put as much effort into my recap as some of the guys put on the ice last night.

*The seats were great - Section 118 Row 13 (thanks again, Uncle Keith), and it was nice to be surprised by seeing so much of my wonderful family there.

*Kaleta scored, my father couldn't have been happier. Then, Goose scored, I couldn't have been happier. That was the first time I've ever seen either of them score in person, so it was pretty cool to see my favorite find the net right in front of me (well, on the other side of the rink...)

*My unsung hero for last night is Goose because he scored, he always looks like he cares, and the seats I had allowed me to see just how much directing he does out there. He really is a leader; he has a great mind for the game (if only his hands and feet could catch up - but I love him anyway!).

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Game Day Notes

I really thought that the semester's end would signal an intense revival of the blogging spirit, but I've been so busy Christmas shopping and working extra hours to pay for said shopping that I haven't kept up my part of the bargain. Sorry about that...

Tonight the Sabres face the Devils for the third time this season and the first at HSBC. I will be there tonight, thanks to my fantastic Aunt and Uncle (Uncle Keith, I know you read this, so thanks again!).

I'm taking my dad tonight, and this is the first professional sporting event we've ever seen together in person without the whole family to keep us restrained. I'm actually really looking forward to it.

My dad is insanely excited for this game because his favorite player will be making his return to the ice.

Patty's back!

My dad fully admits to having a "Man Crush" on Patrick Kaleta. He loves everything about what Patty does on the ice. Any time he crushes a guy along the boards or goads someone into taking a dumb penalty, my dad always responds with a loud "I love that kid!"

Patty better bring a ton of energy tonight because he is replacing someone who had a ton of his own. Poor little Nate Gerbe will be sidelined for about two weeks with an upper-body injury following a hit by Jamie Langenbrunner on Saturday. Get well soon, Nate, because I can't wait to see you score your first NHL goal!

I'm really going to miss seeing that tiny #42 jersey shooting up the ice or battling in the corners and usually coming out with the puck. He brought a lot of heart to a team that was lacking it when he got here. I can only hope that someone lets Langenbrunner know that what he did was not cool (I'm taking to you, Mair and Goose).

Speaking of Goose, does anyone else find it somewhat funny that he is "freak-accident boy" on the team. Seriously, if you look at his injuries, the only one who may rival him in absurdity is Timmy. Let's list a sampling, shall we: severed his tendon with his own skate, got hit in the eye so that it swelled enough that he couldn't get a contact in to play, injured his hand while fighting in the preseason, and, finally, got hit in the face with a puck when James Patrick was shooting it in during practice. Oh Goose, you were probably that little kid in school who sprained their ankle tripping on the pavement while walking to the bus (oh wait, that was me...).

In other Goose news, many thanks to my Sabre Sister Dani from Sabre Kallisions for informing me that Goose got into yet another flour fight this year while baking cookies with the kids from Camp Good Days. If anyone can find better pictures or video of this, please email it to me, so I can bask in the sweetness that is Goose helping kids:

Sorry for the terrible quality, I had to scan it from the paper, but I think the cuteness still comes through.

This year, Goose brought along Thomas Vanek and Jason Pominville to help out. More Nap Buddy bonding time is always a good thing, and I love that Thomas is getting involved in the community more than ever this season.

Ryan Miller and Pommer were also helping out at the Carly's Club Christmas party this week. It truly does make me happy to see them doing such good things for kids who really need it. We're lucky to have such great additions to the community on this team.

On that note, I hope you all are enjoying getting into the holiday spirit. Yesterday I watched A Charlie Brown Christmas and tomorrow I plan to sit down for the first of probably 5 viewings of It's a Wonderful Life (my favorite Christmas movie).

I'm not sure where I'll be sitting tonight, but if you see a short girl in a Goose jersey with a guy rooting especially hard for #36, that would be my father and I!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Wow...That was Really Bad

Be prepared, this post is an example of Overreaction Central at its finest, so if you're looking for calm analysis of the Sabres 2-1 loss to Toronto, I suggest you look elsewhere.

Now that all I have left are the Negative Nellies like myself, welcome friends, and let's get down to business. This was not a fun game to watch by any stretch of the imagination. When the two best things in the game happened during the Sabres Show (Jaro Spacek getting an entire segment to show off his best Cookie Monster impression and Drew Stafford in yet another fake moustache), you know that it's going to get pretty snarky around Muckers and Grinders.

This should never happen. Leafs should never be smiling in our arena. They should be cowering in a corner, begging for us to show them mercy.

Things I liked about the game:

Toni Lydman's goal because I love it when fantastically self-deprecating defenseman score goals. Goose's hit on Ryan Hollweg. Way to be a "big animal" out there again, Goose! There was also a shift where he and Paille (I think) led a pretty ferocious forecheck that kept the puck in our zone when I was sure numerous times that Toronto was going to get it.

Things I disliked:

Pretty much everything else.

I'm not even really sure what to say about that effort, especially in the third period when they needed it the most. All I know is that it may be the worst game I've watched this season (mind you, I missed the Nashville game).

Dear Sabres PP Units,

Way to turn a 6-minute powerplay into one of the most inept displays of hockey that I have ever witnessed. One shot on goal? I told my dad that if we ended up losing the game, I was going to blame that stretch of time, and I hold to that blaming. If a great kill is a huge momentum booster, then a lousy powerplay is a huge momentum-killer. Be better; I don't think there's anything else to say.

Dear Drew Stafford,

When the net is open, the puck is supposed to go in it. Please try to remember this for next time.

Dear Lindy Ruff,

Bag skates for all of them, right now. I don't care if they have a game tomorrow; effort like this cannot be tolerated. I know that you will chew them out properly, and for that I am truly thankful.

Dear Buffalo Sabres (yes, all of you),

I hope you are all thoroughly ashamed. You let the Maple Leafs come into your house and outplay, outwork, and outclass you in the period when you needed it the most. I don't know how you can play so well for three games and then do things like this - running around in your own end, forgetting to go hard to the net, losing every battle along the boards...It's disheartening that you seem to get so cocky after a few good games; I expect more from you, more effort and a lot more heart in a game like this. After a night like tonight, I think we need to go on a "break," and no, it's not me - it's you...

Dear Toronto Fans,

I hate all of you. I hate how you think you own our arena. I hate how you jeer our goalie when he's actually the only one playing decent hockey. Screw you (and I mean that in the nicest possible way).

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Captain Craig = Father of the Year

Today I bring you a random collection of tidbits about what our beloved athletes are doing in their spare time (sorry, I defer all TimmyHo spare time tidbits to MJ):

* One of my best friends just got a job at Toys R Us, and she informed me today that, on her first day, she has already seen more Sabres on the job than have ever come into my library or dance studio (translation - she saw one of them). Apparently Captain Craig decided to take his afternoon to be an awesome dad and go Christmas shopping for his kiddies. For some reason, I find that so awesome. I love the idea that such a tough guy on the ice is a doting dad off the ice.

I wonder if his perfect parenting skills are coming in handy with the big kids commonly known as "the core"?

The idea of Craig Rivet shopping for his kids makes me wonder - Do you think kids of professional athletes know what their dads do for a living and how different that is from other people's dads? Someday, little Blake Vanek is going to tell his classmates on career day that his dad isn't there because he's on a road trip to Calgary getting ready to lead the league in goals (again).

Sorry, that was a really random tangent, but it's something that I found very intriguing.

* Apparently Blue Cross and Blue Shield was the place to be today for Sabre sightings. My father, who works there, called to inform me that Derek Roy and Patrick Kaleta were there signing hats for charity. Patty replaced Goose, who was still nursing a sore hand from last night.

I shall now digress again and mention that Goose was phenomenal in the 4-2 win over the Bolts last night. His hit and subsequent fight made me feel deep pride in knowing that my favorite mucker and grinder helped to spark the team to a win. It also led to the quote of the season (so far), when Ryan Miller referred to him as "a big animal." There are so many ways I could take that quote, but for today, I will say that he's like a Rottweiler, sweet and friendly if he likes you and ferocious if you get on his bad side:

Sick 'em, Goose!

* On Tuesday night, I attended Kissmas Bash at the arena (along with way too many screaming teenyboppers). The concert was decent (especially David Archuleta), except for the part where Flo Rida sprayed champagne on the girls in the front row like he was Pacman Jones in a strip club.

That is not my point, though. My point is that I went mainly to show my love for guest host Paul Posluszny. Let me tell you all, "guest host" apparently means big linebacker that you drag on the stage and speak to like a "special" kid before letting him say four words. He looked almost as awkward as JP Losman playing quarterback...

* Finally, Pommer has a new blog up on! It's also a "Mail Bag" blog, which is my favorite of his because I always hope that someone will ask him something which will allow him to talk for no reason about his nap buddy for three paragraphs, but that only happens on this blog.

Today, we learn that Hank and Toni rock at soccer (which Jason does not play before games), he didn't do much for his birthday (somewhere, Brian Campbell is severely disappointed), and he loves Christmas (which very much fits his sweet and innocent little demeanor). I can totally picture Pommer still writing letters to Santa. Also, he informs us that he likes to play Guitar Hero and Rock Band, which means that I'm sure Amy from SOTC was completely right about his birthday. He probably spent it playing Goose in Guitar Hero, and maybe letting his girlfriend in on the drums in Rock Band if she can get between the dynamic duo.

That's all I have for tonight. Now, it's off to study for my last final!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

20 For 26

This is the face of clutch...

...and it is a very nice face indeed.

Not only did Thomas Vanek take over sole possession of the league-lead in goals, he did it on a goal that his team needed in order to put away one of the Beasts of the East.

Vanek also had some great defensive plays last night that are making me wonder just how good he is going to be in this league. Yes, I just said "going to be." Sometimes we forget that he is only 24, and the best may still be yet to come for him. As of this point, I'll just stick to being glad that we're getting the best that he has right now because it's pretty fantastic stuff to watch.

Another thing I love about Vanek is that acts like he's been there before. He's never the showboat, always the professional. He'll accept praise when it's due, but he's more than willing to face the media and take the blame when he messes up on the ice. I think last year taught him a lot. He's a lot older than his years, with a wife and son to prove that observation. I think some of his teammates could learn a little from their younger Sabre-brother on how to act like grown-ups (yes, I am talking about Derek Roy).

Now I must return to studying for finals. Two more to go (both English writing finals - ugh!), and then I'll be done for the semester and ready for much more blogging!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

The Good, the Bad, and the Bolts

The Good:

* Winning! It didn't have to be pretty; it just had to be a win, and that's what it was. The offense was clicking for what felt like the first time in a long time. I know not to get too excited with this team, but I also know that it's nice to be happy after a hockey game for once.

* The fact that the Sabres were physical, winning battles and showing that they wouldn't get pushed around. Mair beating on Downie for his hit on Max was nice to see; I love it when guys defend their teammates.

* Goose's first fight of the season. I only got to hear it on the radio, and I know it wasn't much. However, it's still great to see him doing this again:

* Thomas Vanek scoring his 19th of the season. It's nice to see a star develop right before our eyes, and I especially like that he still seems to be flying under the radar. I'm fine with that; he's our little special secret.

* Seeing Nate Gerbe up with the big club. Besides his one penalty at the start, I thought he played to his strengths nicely. He used his feet and was surprisingly difficult to push off the puck for his size (or lack thereof). I wanted him to score so badly, but there will be plenty of time for that. I hope he gets a chance to make it hard for them to send him back to Portland.

No, he's not kneeling behind the net; he really is that much shorter than Drew, but that's why I love him.

* My Unsung Hero of the Game, Jochen Hecht. With a goal and a fight, he was an assist away from the Gordie Howe hat trick. I love when guys who don't normally fight do something to spark their team; it shows real leadership. Plus, he helped my fantasy team out a lot tonight in the goals and penalty minutes departments. Thanks, Jochen, and thanks for making Vinny Lecavalier a little less gorgeous by giving him a nice shiner.

The Bad:

* The fact that we were giving away leads like the Sabres were my dad when I was little and wanted everything to be tied so no one felt bad about themselves. Good teams go in for the kill after they score; they put the team away. We open the door back open for them right after we appeared to have slammed it shut. This is not kindergarten where everyone gets a chance to score; this is the NHL, even though the two may be interchangeable at times (see Avery, Sean).

* I have to admit, as much as I was sticking up to Ryan after Lindy called him out, I didn't love his play tonight. I didn't hate it, but it certainly wasn't the "lights out" approach Lindy was looking for. However, he did make stops in the the third when we needed him to.

* Stupid penalties. It's a good thing out PK unit is so hot right now.

The Ugly:

* Those Tampa jerseys. "Bolts"? Really?

Friday, December 5, 2008

A Championship (Finally) Comes to Buffalo

Thank you, UB.

For making sports fun to watch in Buffalo again, if only for one night.

For making me care about college football (which, if you know me, is quite a feat).

For proving that heart and determination can overcome any odds.

For being a team that we can be proud of, a team that is a true winner in every sense of the world.

Thank you, Turner Gill.

For your passion and emotion.

For being a phenomenal representation of the hard work that is everything good about this city.

For teaching this team that being a champion is all about belief.

For always believing in them.

For making me get misty-eyed in a good way for the first time in a long time while watching a sporting event and postgame interview.

Bring on the International Bowl!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Jason Pominville Appreciation Post

Happy 26th Birthday, Pommer!

To My Lovely Pommer on your Birthday,

I hope you are thoroughly enjoying spending a day off with your very attractive girlfriend and all of your Sabre-bros. I'm sure that Goose got you a special new blanket for nap buddy time and Ryan played you a nice birthday song on the guitar. I hope Spacho let you be Pigeon of the Day at practice today. I also hope you did not ruin your birthday by watching that horrid Bills game that I will not even acknowledge with more than a sentence.

Here's to a hat trick tomorrow to celebrate, and I hope you didn't go Soupy-style in your celebrating downtown to the point that I can find youtube videos of you and Goose playing some bad cover song and yelling obscenities. Although I think you would indulge with cupcakes and milk rather than rum and Coke.


In addition to these birthday wishes for everyone's favorite "system-abiding" Sabre, I promised to reveal why I chose his jersey over all the other candidates. When push came to shove, it was the most logical choice. Cap'n Craig and I have been fighting lately (really since he stopped fighting with people on the other team). I still wonder if he's playing hurt, but back to Pommer.

With Pommer's jersey, I still get my dream of having a letter on the front (albeit an "A" rather than a "C"), and he is part of The Core that we all love so much and the Trio (Goose, Pommer, and Miller) that I hold so dear. He does a lot of work in the community and just seems like a genuinely good person. Add to that the fact that he is pretty sweet on the ice as well and that he's my sister's favorite, and I made my decision rather quickly under growing pressure from my mother.

So now I will have the two best roomies ever side-by-side in my room (or at least their jerseys...)
Finally, no Jason Pominville Appreciation Post would be complete without this picture:

I hope you don't have this much trouble with your party hat, Jason!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Four Things for Four Goals

Four things I loved about last night's 4-3 win over the Penguins:
  1. The Sabres beat the Penguins for the first time in over a year. I almost forgot what it was to see Sidney Crosby skate by Ryan Miller and the boys in defeat. It's a beautiful thing.
  2. The Sabres overcame a lot of questionable officiating in order to win. The PK looked great and really aggressive, but that may have something to do with how bad the Penguins powerplay was. Seriously, for having all that talent, you would think they would look a little sharper. Oh well, I'm not complaining about that.
  3. The excitement our boys showed after the win. That may have been the best Sabre-love huddle of the season. I wish I could find a decent picture of it because it made me feel happy to see them so happy. I especially loved the giant attack that Goose and Pommer unleashed on Ryan that pretty much shoved him into his net. It just showed how much this win meant to them, and I love when they show what a family they are in their celebrations.
  4. Paul Gaustad. As I'm sure all of you know, nothing beats seeing your favorite player have a game like that. I'm still trying to wipe the smile off of my face.

I haven't done this in a while (mainly because we weren't winning), but my Unsung Hero of the Game goes to Max Afinogenov. He played a fantastic game last night, and seemed to be out to prove Lindy wrong. For one night, Max, mission accomplished.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Forget the Turkey. I Love the Goose!


First star, two goals, and an adorable postgame interview (that part about the 10 cents from his grandpa was too cute).

More to come tomorrow, but now I must continue the happy honking!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Things that I'm thankful for today, as a Buffalo sports fan:

*Waking up this morning with both the Bills and Sabres as winners in their last games. It feels like it's been a long time since we've been able to see that.

*Knowing that the guys I'm cheering for are both good players and good people. Whether it's Brian Moorman's PUNT foundation or Donte Whitner's work with the United Way, the Bills are working to endear themselves to this city that loves them so much. With the Sabres, their charity work is one of the reasons I love them beyond all reasonable limits. Between Ryan Miller's Steadfast Foundation, Goose's work with Camp Good Days, Thomas Vanek's new partnership with the Boys and Girls Club, and all the other work these boys do for Buffalo, it makes me happy to know that not all professional athletes are selfish jerks. We're pretty lucky when it comes to having people on our teams that are easy to root for.

*Goose being reunited with his roomie and BFF Pommer on a line yesterday. I didn't see the game, but I do like the way they play together. Goose adds a little toughness to Pommer's finesse.

*The fact that I finally decided on a jersey, and let's just say that I think Goose would be happy with my choice of a certain nap buddy of his:
I hope I look as good in his jersey as he looks in a tux.
I promise to have more on the extreme soul-searching that went into this decision sometime tomorrow.

*The fact that, hopefully, Derek Roy is remembering how a puck gets shot into a net.

*The wonderful reception I've got in my first few months as a blogger. Seriously, I cannot thank all of my readers enough. I started this as simply a place to release the emotions that tend to well up in me over our sports teams. I never expected to have people respond so kindly to the things I write. It's nice to have a little place to call our own as Buffalo fans, and I'm thankful that it's populated with such great writers and readers. Thanks again everyone for making me feel so welcome in this little world.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you and your families!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Waking Up

What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
Like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore--
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?
~Langston Hughes

That Langston Hughes poem has always been one of my favorites, and I think it perfectly encapsulates the mind of a Buffalo sports fan. Ever season we begin with a dream, and every season that dream dies a painful death. We put those hopes away, saying that we'll never get sucked into believing like that again, but we do. We're dreamers, plain and simple. When all you're left with at the end of the day is the idea of "next year," what else can you really be?

This fall began as the ultimate season of dreams. The Bills dominated Seattle, Tom Brady got to spend an entire season nursing his knee and playing with his son (or not...), Trent Edwards was hailed to be the second coming of the Messiah, let alone Jim Kelly, and the Bills rocketed off to a 4-0 and eventually a 5-1 start.

The same thing was happening in downtown Buffalo. The Sabres were like the phoenix, rising from the ashes of last season, with a hard-nosed captain and new, defensive mentality. They lived and breathed "the system," earning points in the first eight straight games of the season. Ryan Miller and Patrick Lalime were lights out, the penalty kill was unstoppable, the forwards were backchecking their legs off, and the whole team was playing with a new sense of toughness and grit.

How quickly everything changes.

After Monday night, it's hard to see the Bills dominating anybody; it's even hard to see them winning another game with the sacred game they're playing now. They can't beat Matt Cassel or Brady Quinn, Trent Edwards is playing like a kid with arachnophobia in a spider exhibit, and they're suddenly a .500 football team once more.

The same can be said of the Blue and Gold. Suddenly "the system" is merely something nice to mention to reporters but is too lame and boring to follow on the ice. The ghosts of last season have emerged from he coffins we thought we buried in April, and our captain has done nothing to exorcise these demons. The goaltending has become erratic at best, powerplay goals against are being scored at the worst possible times, forwards seem to think they're too "special" for defense (I'm looking at you, Derek), and the toughness that Captain Craig was supposed to bring has disappeared along with his play.

My father and I had a very philosophical discussion about being a Bills and Sabres fan sometime last week. He told me that there is a moment every season when, as a Buffalo fan, you realize that this isn't it; this isn't going to be the year we win it all. That moment is the moment when, as Langston Hughes so perfectly says, our dream is deferred once more.

Sometimes, it's the first game of the season. Sometimes it's the last play of the Super Bowl. Sometimes it's a warm May evening in Carolina. Sometimes it's a cold Monday night in Buffalo.

This year, the dream wasn't just what we as fans built up over another long offseason. Both teams shot out to phenomenal starts; they helped to raise our relatively tempered expectations. It wasn't just that they were winning; it was how. Trent Edwards was proving himself to be a young star in the NFL; the Sabres were playing the kind of grinding, tight hockey that wins games in May and June.

Now, it's not just that they're losing; it's how. Trent looks like a better-looking JP Losman, and the Sabres look like the same team that ruined last year with giveaways and last-period collapses.

I guess the main point of this ranting post is to say that I feel we've come upon "the moment" of this season. Monday and Tuesday proved to be games that just make it look like there's no way that there will be a parade in Buffalo this year.

Though I've pretty much decided that the Bills are done; am I right to say this about the Sabres so early? Thomas Vanek is playing every game like Marshawn Lynch played on Monday, and I think I may be getting a 26 jersey instead of a 52. Pommer's getting hot. They've proved they can play a defensive style; they need to prove that they want to. Will they prove me wrong?

Another year, another "raisin in the sun."

I'm ready to explode.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

It's Official

Evil alien pod people have taken over the body of Trent Edwards and replaced him with this guy.

I hate this guy.

Other things I hate:
*The constant references to "Wide Right" by the ESPN staff. We get it; missed field goals have drained our souls as Bills fans. We don't need to be reminded 395 times.
*Dick Jauron's play calling at the end of the game. I know evil alien "Trent" was having more than his share of troubles tonight, but we needed to at least try to get more yardage for Lindell. A 47-yard kick into the wind was too long; if my dad and I could see that, so could he. Once again, his conservative nature proved a detriment.
*The shots of Jim Kelly on the sidelines, if only for the fact that they made me wish he could suit up for the second half.
*Having a team that builds you up to believing that this may finally be the year, only to suffer one of the most epic collapses I've witnessed in my years of sports fandom. Thanks for making the heartbreak about 10 times worse this season, guys.

The few things I didn't hate:
*Beast Mode. He wanted this win so bad he could taste it in his grillz.
*Our return game, with McKelvin finally breaking out.
*...and that's pretty much it.

I wish I could more eloquently phrase the mixture of anger, sadness, and growing apathy that this game has brought out in me. All I can say is that, at least until next week, the Bills make me wanna punch a lot of people in the face - starting with those damn, body-snatching aliens.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Dearest (or not so much) Buffalo Sabres:

Did you ever have one of those days where you're pretty depressed by life in general, but you know that if your team wins it will somehow make everything seem just a little better?
Thanks for helping a girl out...Or not...

Maybe I'll write more tomorrow because if I try now it will pretty much be a bitter diatribe against Derek, Andrej, the powerplay, the penalty kill, and that damn goal horn.

Let's just say Overreaction Central is in full swing tonight - to the point where I almost said I didn't want my Captain Craig jersey...almost...

PS: Dear Sidney Crosby:
You better hope Colby Armstrong brings out the warm fuzziness in you when you play Atlanta on the 20th - because I strongly dislike you again.

Quick Hits

  • I apologize for being a terrible blogger lately. Between school and trying to choreograph dances for the studio, I've pretty much been eaten by work for the last week or so. I promise to be returning to my (semi) regular posting this week because my late class is cancelled and my dances are coming along smoothly.

  • I have nothing to say about the 6-1 loss to Columbus last night, mainly because I didn't see any of it. I went down to Chippewa for the first time for my best friend's 21st birthday (by the way, I highly recommend The Chocolate Bar for all of your sweet-tooth fulfilling needs). The most I got out of the game was that when Pommer scored our lone goal, you could hear the cheers from every bar on the street. We thought that meant we were doing well, but the bartender informed us when we walked in that everyone was just happy that we actually got a puck in the net.

  • The only other information I got about the game came from repeated text messages sent by Ryan from the Roost informing me that he wanted to shank Derek Roy.

  • Speaking of everyone's favorite metrosexual center, there was a sign at Bayou on Chippewa for an appearance Royzie's doing there after the Isles game next weekend. This is the exact wording: "Get Behind Number Nine." Do what you wish with this statement; I know I had too much fun with it already(yes, I do have the mind of a teenage boy)...

  • I know Patty Lalime had a bad showing last night, but I think we all need to remember just how adorable he truly is (or else we'll go insane). Check out around 2:12 of this video and just bask in how adorable he is talking about his daughters:
  • I'm not really in the mood to talk about the Bills either besides saying that Monday night has the power to keep us alive or kill our dreams for another year (I'm so positive, aren't I?).

  • However, I will say that Matt Cassel from the Pats looks like Woody from Toy Story:

I have no idea as to the significance of this, but I think it's funny

  • Tonight, the Sabres play the Pens, which means we get to see Sid the Kid for the first time this season. Sid, normally I never root against you, but tonight I hope that you get Kaleta'ed on your tush.
  • Finally, have you voted for your Sabres today?

Friday, November 7, 2008

Game Night

Tonight marks the first trip for the Atlanta Thrashers to Buffalo this season. It also marks my first regular season game at HSBC in the 2008-2009 campaign.

This means that I get to see the mighty Jochen's return to the ice for the first time since the Islanders Game; it will be so nice to have his defensibly responsible self back out there with Pommers!
I hope to see a lot of this happening tonight

I also get to see Captain Craig's return to home ice after he proved that he is, indeed, Super(defense)Man in New Jersey. I swear, sometimes I think I see the shirt with the "S" sticking out under his jersey. The last game I went to, he kicked the tar out of Ryan Hollweg, and I really hope he does the same to someone tonight.

For those of you who have read this blog since the summer, yes, I did pick this game for a reason, and that reason is...Colby Armstrong!

I love Colby almost as much as Sidney Crosby does, so this is the first game I'm going to where I actually genuinely like a guy on the other team. It makes me really excited that I get to see him probably do nothing except get penalties (which is all he does on my fantasy team), but I don't care because, for some reason, he just makes me smile.

Hopefully before I get to the arena tonight, I will know whose lovely face I will not be seeing on the ice. Will it be Timmy still nursing his sore groin (which begs for comments about Chippewa that I will leave to your imagination)? Will it be Matt Ellis placed on waivers again (I hope not)? Will Drew Stafford be sent to Portland for his lackluster play? Personally, I think it's this last choice - sorry Drew.

So if anyone else is going to be there tonight, stop by Section 307 and look for a really short girl wearing a Goose jersey.

PS: To whoever found this blog by looking for "best grinder ever hockey" I believe the answer you're looking for is Paul Gaustad.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Celebrating Democracy

Today, I voted in my first presidential election. No matter your party or personal choice, I think we can all agree that this has been a very historic election, and I'm so happy to see so many of my generation taking an interest in the political process and turning out to vote.

In the spirit of democracy, I've posed a new poll question for all of you.

I've just been informed that I'm getting a new third jersey from my parents as my Christmas gift this year. The only thing I have to decide is whose jersey I want.

This decision is taking a lot longer than anticipated because of a mighty struggle between head and heart over declaring my love for a defenseman I've just met.

As documented on this blog, I've fallen hard and fast for Captain Craig Rivet. He's everything I love about hockey players - they're tough, team-first, hard-working guys. He's changed the character of this team (along with Lindy, of course), which he earned the respect of in just a few weeks.

Also, after coming back yesterday at least a week early from knee surgery, I also think he's bionic and superhuman.

Craig Rivet could knock out Chuck Norris

However, I realize that there are some logical problems with this choice. Though I do claim to love Craig, I can't be sure this isn't just infatuation, no matter how certain I feel that this will last (this is why I waited a year to get my Goose jersey). I also know I may only be able to use this for less than three years.

Still, ever since I was nine years old and hopelessly devoted to Michael Peca, I've wanted a jersey with a "C."

So what do you think, loyal and esteemed readers; is it time for me to make this love permanent in stitches and fabric?

This doesn't mean, though, that I will be neglecting my first and deepest jersey-love:

Goose is #28 on my jersey but #1 in my heart

It seems the NHL is feeling democratic today as well with the release of its All Star Ballot, which will be up for the vote on November 12.

The Sabres are well-represented with Ryan Miller and Thomas Vanek representing expected choices. There are two relative surprises, however. Derek Roy represents the young dark horse, and Teppo Numminen is serving as the grizzled veteran on the ballot for Buffalo.

So cast your vote when polls open, and don't forget your write-ins for Goose!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Now That's More Like It

This lovely pic of Millsey courtesy of

Dear Buffalo Sabres,
Thank you for winning. Thank you for not ruining my Halloween party by losing in embarrassing fashion once again. I've let you off the hook lately because I've been in my cold-induced haze, but thanks for making it easy to watch you again.
PS: Isn't defense fun? You should keep trying it every game!

Dear Ryan Miller,
I was so worried you'd give up your patented shutout-ruining goal in the last minute that I made everyone stop playing Apples to Apples just to watch you. You totally deserve Pigeon of the Game, by the way.

Dear Thomas Vanek,
Carry on.

More on this tomorrow when I've watched the highlights properly and am (hopefully) not as strung out on cold medicine.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Trick or Treat

  • Seeing Goose back on the ice again doing what Roby referred to as some "ferocious forechecking"
  • The idea of Tim Connolly playing tomorrow. We've missed a good powerplay QB more than ever these last few games.
  • Clarke MacArthur showing why he should have been on the roster to begin with.
  • Captain Craig skating with the team. I never thought we would miss him as much as we do, but everything seems to be falling apart without him. If you didn't think he was really meant to be our captain, after these last two games I would like to think you would be singing a different tune. We lose him and our defense-first game falls apart. Coincidence? I'll leave that for you to decide.


  • The disappearing act that is Jason Pominville and Derek Roy. I know they're both great players who are just off to rough starts, but I'm getting frustrated. Not to mention the fact that if either of them breaks another stick at a crucial moment, I'm going to have a coronary.
  • The fact that I actually believe that Connolly will be back tomorrow and can make a difference for more than a game without breaking his jaw taking out his mouthguard.
  • This Jekyll and Hyde show that the Sabres are pulling this season. It's so early that I still don't know who they really are. Were these last two games just them dressing up as a bad hockey team or were the first eight just them dressing up as a good one? I know this is another comment straight out of overreaction central, but I've seen too much in these last games that reminded me of last year. Old habits die hard, and I guess we're seeing the remains of that now. I can only hope tomorrow they put this costume away
and put this one back on for the rest of the season
On that conflicted note, I want to wish all of you a very happy Halloween. In the spirit of costumed good times, go check out Ryan's post over at the Roost because Halloween wouldn't be Halloween without a Sabre who thinks he is literally God's gift to the world.

Monday, October 27, 2008


Can we please take these last two days back?

Let's face it, as Buffalo sports fans, as if this wasn't bad enough
Now we have this

Losing is never fun, but losing to a division rival is really not fun.

I miss Captain Craig. And Jochen. And Goose. And Hank. And the Trent Edwards who owns the fourth quarter rather than gets owned in it.

I know it's only one loss in what's been an unexpectedly great start for both teams, but I am one very sore loser.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Happy Thoughts for a Friday

There is no better way to start a weekend:

*The Sabres just stole another two points yesterday after that improbable comeback in Minnesota. I will admit that I was ready to call it a loss after Miller scored on himself, but, once again, these boys have taught me never to count them out. Not that I like seeing them fall into holes to begin with, but it is nice to feel that they can always find a way out of them. The cardiac kids are back, and, besides the frayed nerves and racing heart, I have never felt better about that.

Royzie proves that white boys can jump; he actually looks like a normal-sized hockey player here.

By the way, my Unsung Hero of the Game goes to the Sabres Defensemen for playing another sound game and chipping in offensively to help us secure the win (especially Sekera, Paetsch, and Tallinder).

*The Bills are headed to Miami for what I think will be a good test of how we're handling our success. The Dolphins have already given the Pats fits, but I think we'll be ready for the "Wildcat" offense. By the way, does anyone else think of High School Musical whenever they hear "Wildcat offense"? I laugh every time picturing Chad Pennington bursting into song and dance while calling plays.

*All signs are pointing to Buffalo being host to the 2010-2011 World Junior Championship. This is such a huge honor for this city, and I can't wait for it to happen. It's about time the entire world saw what a true hockey city Buffalo really is.

*The latest interview with Ryan Miller is pretty hilarious. I love that he's able to laugh about what happened yesterday. I especially love when he discusses exactly how he is going to repay his teammates for bailing him out. Somehow, the image of these guys walking through Disney World never fails to make me smile. I especially like that Ryan mentioned EPCOT, which is my personal favorite park:

Am I seeing things, or is that the Pigeon behind Ryan? If so, that means he's pulling ahead in the race to take him home for the summer.

*Speaking of the Pigeon, this week's episode of The Sabres Show contains the intermission feature on the newest member of the team. I love listening to Spacek all the time, but there's something special about how he says "pigeon":

Other things I love about this video include:
The random outbursts and cooing noises while Spacho is talking (I'm putting money on Petey and Mair being the guilty parties)
The bird "flying" by Spacek during the interview
Petey saying that Spacho is a pigeon but he "doesn't really know what that means"
Patty Lalime being generally adorable and snuggling his invisible pigeon

All this adds up to probably one of the dorkiest locker rooms in the NHL, but that's what we all love about them. They can laugh together, joke together, take care of stuffed animals together. They are closer in October than most teams are in April, and that has to account for something. Chemistry matters on a team, and ours is stronger than ever. The proof is in the standings.

Here's to hoping these happy thoughts carry over into a very productive and happy Buffalo sports weekend!