Saturday, June 28, 2008

Tyler Myers is Awesome and Other Random Thoughts

Today, I was completely prepared to blog about impending free agency as well as the CRAZY Bisons game I went to last night. Then, I checked my Facebook...

Like many Facebook-addicted bloggers, I friend requested pretty much all of our draft picks. I then proceeded to write them dorky, little messages to say congratulations. Well, Tyler Myers is either incredibly bored or incredibly sweet because he wrote me back a nice little thank you! It's nice to know that he appreciates the new attention he'll be getting. I like him already - he's a Sabre, he's TALL, and he's my new Facebook BFF (sorry, Nate Gerbe).

Now that my online brush with baby-Sabre greatness is over, onto more pressing matters.

Some sort of apocalyptic event took place at Dunn Tire Park last night. At first it started with heavy fog, but then it morphed into something out of Stephen King's The Mist. I'm pretty sure it ate Jason Cooper. Of course, this being Buffalo, the umpires didn't call the game until the bottom of the 9th, with two out, and after the other team had scored because of the fog. However, sitting in front of a bunch of wasted guys made it worth the ticket price even if I only saw the first two innings. For an even better recap of last night's meteorological event, check out Ryan's post over at The Goose's Roost.

Finally, I bid farewell to the blogging world until Tuesday, as I'm off on my family's annual pilgrimage to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY. This means, of course, that I will miss the first few hours of free agency. This is what I hope to hear when I can get WGR on the car radio:

  • Max has been traded, for something, ANYTHING. I really like the Max for Mike Green discussion that Anne over at Sabretooth's House has brought to my attention.

  • We re-signed either Teppo or Nolan Pratt. I don't think we need both, but we do need an older, calmer presence on the blueline. If I had my pick, I would LOVE to see Teppo back in Blue and Gold - he's the kind of veteran force we were looking for all of last season (I know he has health issues, but I feel like he can probably make it one more year.).

  • As much as I loved our favorite misfit Jocelyn Thibault, I would like to see Darcy pick up a more reliable back-up so Millsey doesn't get so tired this season. Wade Dubielewicz from the Islanders would be my top choice.

  • I would love us to get Ryan Malone to add some grit and Cup Finals experience to our forward core, but I'm prepared for that to be just a lovely dream.

  • There is one Penguin that I think we have a real chance of picking up, and that is Brooks Orpik. He's the kind of tough defenseman that we're so desperately looking for. If Darcy manages this pick-up, I will be a very happy girl.
The Sabres could definitely use some more of this.

I would also like to hear that Goose and Pommers have signed their 25-year extensions that day as well, but I'm prepared to wait a little bit longer (just a little bit, Darcy).

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Countdown Begins

Five days until the start of free agency!

In preparation for the big day, I will actually be newsie (not to be confused with Newsies) for today. There actually is a lot to report on even if July 1 is still not here quite yet.

  • WGR is reporting that the NHL salary cap has risen once again. The maximum teams can spend will be $56.7 million, a $6.4 million raise from last season's cap. The minimum amount that teams can spend will be set at $40.7 million. I know that this is just my natural pessimism coming out, but wasn't there a lockout so the payrolls wouldn't get out of control? Granted, this is still a reasonable amount of money, but I fear that it will only keep rising, much to the detriment of small market teams (even though I hate using that as an excuse).

  • The Ottawa Citizen is reporting that everyone's favorite red-headed spin-o-rama machine, Brian Campbell, is planning to head back east. Apparently Soupy was not a fan of the warm weather (or the much tougher physical play). Front-runners for the Soupy Sweepstakes include the Sens and the Rangers. Great, like I need a reason to dislike those teams even more. I think my head would spontaneously combust if I ever saw Brian Campbell in a Senators jersey.

  • Sabres prospect camp started yesterday, and Nate Gerbe took some time to answer questions from the media. I don't know if he's naturally this articulate or if he's just been coached very well, but his answers always impress me. He was a communications major back at Boston College, and as a fellow COM major, I can see that his training has paid off. I especially loved how he talked about how he has become BFFs with Tim Kennedy and Chris Butler. We can only hope that they can grow up together in Portland like our current Sabres did in Rochester, which has led to great chemistry on the ice.

  • In news that made my heart soar, Darcy has extended qualifying offers to all of our RFAs, Mark Mancari, Clarke MacArthur, Dan Paille, Steve Bernier, and Paul Gaustad. Now Darcy, I know this is only the first step, but how much longer until you announce that 25-year deal you're planning for Goose? Hopefully, you're just waiting for him to come back from Europe.

That last bit of news brings me to the newest feature of my blog. Like Anne over at Sabretooth's House, I've decided to spice my blog up with a new poll. Which of these lovely RFAs would you be most devastated to see stolen away by evil Kevin Lowe? We all know my answer, but I'm eager to hear cases for our other boys as well.

Tonight I'm off to Shea's to see Wicked. I've heard nothing but great things about it, so I can't wait to see if my inner theater geek will be satisfied!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

What Have I Done with my Life?

This is the question I've been asking myself since seeing that I am nearly two years older that everyone the Sabres have drafted this year. Seriously, I'm going into my Junior year of college and these boys are just finishing high school! At the tender age of 18, they are future NHL-ers, and, at 19 years and (nearly 11 months), I am...a sure-fire draft pick for the National Term Paper Writer League. Don't laugh, I take my future with the NTPWL very seriously.

So today, I have decided to play stalker - I mean, investigative journalist - and provide some fun facts about each of our newest Buffalo Sabres. Most of these exciting pieces of random information come straight from the official 2008 NHL Draft website

1. Tyler Myers

  • Is very tall
  • Models his game after Chris Pronger - hopefully without the whole stepping on people with skate blades thing
  • Going out to dinner is a favorite hobby of his. (Private to Tall Tyler - there are some great places to eat in Buffalo, if you wouldn't mind a girl 18 inches shorter than you showing you around)
  • If he could invite three people to dinner, one would be Jarome Iginla. Did I mention I like this kid already?

2. Tyler Ennis

  • Is not so tall
  • Likes chicken wings - he should fit in fine here
  • His goal celebration is the one knee fist pump made famous here by Danny Briere. Um, Tiny Tyler? Derek Roy already has dibs on that celebration - and he doesn't seem to be one who shares well with others.
  • "mmmBop" is on his iPod. It takes a guy whose comfortable in his masculinity to admit to listening to Hanson.

3. Luke Adam

  • Is a Facebook addict because he accepted my friend request literally 15 minutes after I sent it, which has secured his spot as a new Muckers and Grinders favorite.
  • Models his game after Vinny Lecavalier. We can only hope he will grow up to look like him as well.
  • His favorite shootout move is "Going cheese." I don't know what that is - but I can't wait to hear RJ call that!
  • One of his friends believes that Buffalo is a great city to go to, hopefully he agrees (I guess he's here for the prospect camp).

4. Corey Fienhage

  • May be a worse Facebook addict than his future teammate. I clicked on the request button, and literally two minutes later, he was my "friend."
  • Likes to cook Easy Mac, which is about the extent of my culinary prowess as well.
  • He is a choir boy. Maybe some of this image will rub off on Tim Connolly (please just let it not be the other way around).
  • Believes that Tom Hanks "changed history."...Well, no one said they had to be deep thinkers to play hockey.

5. Justin Jokinen

  • Has great taste in books (To Kill a Mockingbird) and movies (Miracle)
  • Has "The One" by the Backstreet Boys on his iPod. Now Justin, as a die hard BSB fan from back in the day, there are many more profound songs you could choose..."I Want it that Way"? "All I Have to Give"? "Shape of my Heart"?

6. Jordon Southorn

  • His nickname is "Southy"
  • Wants to bulk up more - maybe Tiny Tyler can make him some wings and Corey Fienhage can make some Easy Mac for a side dish

7. Nick Crawford

  • Is a defenseman
  • Is our seventh pick - seven is a lucky number
  • Has very little written about him

In other news - Happy 20th Birthday to Sabres goalie prospect Jhonas Enroth! Thanks for being older than I am, "Jhonas Brother"!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Sabres Draft Party - a Photo Diary

I feel way behind on this entry. Everyone else has pretty much summed up both the draft and draft party well enough that this will just be meaningless fluff (but who doesn't love fluff).

I was supposed to recap this much earlier, but I had another dance competition this weekend. We brought home another round of high score awards, but I'm definitely getting too old to keep doing this much longer. Case in point - after I finished my six dances on Sunday I went home and slept for 13 HOURS - apparently my mental and physical recovery time is not as it once was.

Now, onto more pressing matters...

We drafted a boy who is almost two years younger but 18 INCHES taller than I am! Darcy must have been catching up on his blog reading and saw that I wished for a new defenseman and a big, physical presence to help protect little Nate. Like a skinny, Canadian Santa, he proceeded to grant my wishes in one, Tyler Myers-shaped package.
Welcome to the Sabres, Tall Tyler (I need to come up with a better nickname)

We then proceeded to draft Tiny Tyler - Tyler Ennis, that is. He says his favorite player is Danny Briere. That's great Tyler, he was one of my favorites too, just promise you won't up and leave us for Philly like your idol - I still have a bit of a complex about that.

I'm also quite excited about second-round pick Luke Adam, who's 6'1 and 210 pounds, describing himself as a power forward. I feel a future Muckers and Grinders favorite in the making with that pick.

As for the draft party itself, it was okay. I was thoroughly disappointed by the lack of Sabres in attendance (no offense, Mike Funk and Tim Kennedy). However, the locker room tour was pretty awesome and almost made up for the whole Goose in Europe thing:

The lounge looks like the Brady Bunch's living room - they need a new interior decorator

The trainer's room was pretty cool - I like the picture of the Cup looming over everything like some sort of all-seeing presence

In honor of Heather B. - Hank's lovely locker

I was surprised that Pommer's locker wasn't covered in pictures of rainbows and etchings of "Pommers + System 4EVER"

The highlight of the tour for me (I wanted to just sit in there and wait until he comes back)

And finally...the only thing Darcy did not do according to my wish list...

Trade Max. Darcy, I know you said you tried, but all I can say is TRY HARDER. We have too many forwards, and if you have to let Goose go because no one wants Max, I might have to take drastic action.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Get the Party Started

Today's the day!

After dwelling on the sadness of life without major hockey news, today is like a ray of sunshine from those pesky hockey gods.

I'm not going to pretend to have any idea about what is going to happen at tonight's NHL Draft. There are so many things that can happen, but there are some things I would like to see:
  • Drafting a good stay-at-home defenseman. I know we wouldn't use him next season, but our supply of d-men in the AHL seems to be getting pretty thin if we call up Weber and Sekera full time next year (like I'm hoping we do).
  • Getting a little bigger in terms of size with our forward corps. Now, as a proud shortie who often refers to herself as the 8th dwarf, I have tons of love for our smaller boys like Royzie and Gerbe. However, my heart belongs to the guys like Goose, tall and tough.
  • Something BIG. I would love to see Darcy work his magic on a trade of some sort. I'm not a Max hater, but I do believe that a change of scenery would do both him and the Sabres a world of good. I'll miss his adorable Russian-ness and Road Runner-like speed, but I won't miss those times when he becomes a one-man turnover machine.

I can't wait to actually have pertinent Sabres news to talk about, but the best part about tonight is....

The Draft Party!

My best friend and I are going, and I am super excited for the sales and the Sabres Store - not to mention the locker room tours. Oh yeah, and the autographs! I'm still trying to think of who's going to be in town for the summer and would most likely be there. Outside of Kaleta, I really have no idea. I am hoping, however, that Rob Ray and Matt Barnaby will be there with the Sabres Alumni - they were two of my first "favorite Sabres."

If anyone else is going tonight and wants to meet up and commiserate about Goose being in Europe, let me know!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Obligatory NBA Post

I'm not really much of an NBA follower (I'm more of a college basketball fanatic), but I was happy to see the Celtics win the NBA Championship last night.
The Big Three are enjoying the celebration

I definitely wasn't heartbroken for Kobe Bryant and the Lakers - they've won way too many times in my basketball-watching life, and I'll admit that I'm not your biggest Kobe supporter. The Celtics, on the other hand, were a team of guys trying to win it all for the first time. I think this is why I was really rooting for them.

After the game, you could see the relief and joy on each of their faces. I was especially happy for Paul Pierce, their captain, who has been a Celtic through some pretty rough stretches.

And how can you not love Doc Rivers? He is the epitome of what I love in a coach - a defensive-minded, team-oriented, class act.

Don't worry, I'll be back in hockey-mode tomorrow. Two days and counting until the Draft!!

And thanks to everyone for spreading the Goose-love. I promise, there will be many more posts like yesterday's in the coming months - there is always time for more Paul Gaustad loving in the blogging world.

In other random news: If anyone's looking for things to watch now that baseball is the only sport on TV, So You Think You Can Dance has started again on Fox (8 p.m. tonight). It's my personal favorite TV show, so expect some commentary when I get bored this summer. If you like Dancing with the Stars, check it out (plus, cute dancer boys are always nice to look at).

Monday, June 16, 2008

Paul Gaustad Has Given Me Unrealistic Expectations About Men

This post is going to be nothing more than the first of many Goose-themed love-fests I have planned for the summer. So if you, by some chance, are crazy enough to believe that Goose is not God's gift to women everywhere, you may want to turn away.

There are about 10 million things I love about every interview Goose does, and his latest one with 97 Rock is no exception. He just seems so genuine and relaxed with the media. I especially loved how he was getting pestered for not having a girlfriend (which is simply because we have not met yet - haha), to which he replied that he gets the same thing from Mama Goose.

I also loved how he was trying to convince us that Pommer is tougher than he looks. I wonder if Jason has a secret angry side when Goose doesn't let him have the remote on the road. When he said that Jason was complaining that no one understands how tough he really is, I was hit with an image of Goose consoling a whimpering Pommer: "It's ok, I know you can be tough when you want to be. Do you want me to come over with sugar cookies to make you feel better? I'll put M&Ms in them - I know that's your favorite."

Because that's the kind of guy Goose is, baking cookies for his BFF seems second nature. I think Goose's full name is Paul Charity Gaustad. I've been reading on everyone's blogs that Goose chaired the Camp Good Days gala over the weekend while Danny Briere made a guest appearance. Things like this make me smile. To see two guys who are obviously such good people in addition to being such good hockey players makes me feel proud to say that they play (or played) for us. Especially with Goose, it makes me feel even prouder to wear his jersey, proud that I picked a pretty great favorite player.

Thanks to for the great pictures of the event:

Lindy Ruff is all kinds of awesome

It's things like this that are the reason I can't boo Danny Briere

Say it with me: "Awwwww...."

Between the tux and the little girl, I think my heart exploded from the cuteness

So, Darcy, about that 25-year contract for Mr. Paul Charity Gaustad? I think it would make that little girl (and this not so little one) very happy.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

In Memoriam

I don't quite know what to say.

Yesterday, political journalist Tim Russert died of an apparent heart attack at the age of 58. Tim was one of Buffalo's most beloved native sons, a proud South Buffalo boy whose heritage was evident in everything he did.

Buffalo wasn't just where Tim Russert was from; it was his essence. He lived and breathed this city, including its sports teams. My fondest memory was when he had the Stanley Cup next to him on Meet the Press in 2006, along with the jersey the Sabres had made for him.

Tim was our biggest and best cheerleader in the national spotlight. As future journalist, I can only hope to be half of who he was - both professionally and personally. His integrity in his work and his life is something that has been spoken of much in the last 24 hours, and I admire that immensely.

Rest in peace, Tim Russert.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Pommer and Kaner and Ovie - Oh My!

It's time to talk about the award show everyone was glued to last night...

Bravo's A-List Awards!

Just kidding!

The NHL gave out its annual awards last night, and, of course, they had to schedule the ceremony while I was still at work. That, combined with my family's aversion to getting Tivo, means that all I have to base my opinions on are the photos from Yahoo!, the brief but helpful new coverage, and the recaps provided by all of my favorite bloggers.

What I missed:
  • Alexander Ovechkin can now add Hart Trophy and Pearson Award-winner to his resume along with his invention of the concepts of "fun" and "enthusiasm."

  • Vinny Lecavalier spoke in French during his acceptance speech for the award for being not only beautiful on the outside but the inside as well. It may be a good thing I missed this because my body may not have recovered from the massive swooning.

  • Apparently, voters think that Pavel Datsyuk is more of a gentleman than Jason Pominville. That's ok, Pommers, if they gave out awards for dedication to "The System" and most endearingly delusional optimism - you would win in a heartbeat. Oh well, you still get to room with Goose, which, in my mind, is better than any award.

  • Pat Kane is doing nothing to combat my desire to marry him and join his adorable family. His speech was delivered surprisingly well - you did us proud once again, Kaner!
And now for the award that really matters: Katie's Most Attractive Man of the Evening Award (and the 3 runners-up - because I just want an excuse to post pretty pictures of studly men):
4.) Jarome Iginla
The smile! The polka dots! I'm still trying to figure out how I managed to watch the West before I loved Iggy.

3.) Vinny Lecavalier
I know that he shaved his beautiful head, but he is still more attractive than 99% of all the men I've ever seen.

2.) Jason Pominville
I like the lighting in this picture - it makes him look even more like the cute, little angel that he really is. Now, that is the face of a gentleman (no offense, Datsyuk).

1.) Patrick Kane

I need to get out more if there are other guys like him wandering around our fair city.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

And the Award Goes To...

It feels like it's been far longer than a week since the Stanley Cup Finals ended. Thankfully, the hockey gods (or NHL executives) have smiled upon us and given us a major blogging topic to satisfy our need for hockey talk and good looking men in tuxedos:

The NHL Awards

And, of course, I am scheduled to work tomorrow while they will be aired. I hope to come back to detailed recaps and lovely pictures (pretty please!).

In the spirit of award show fun, I present my picks for all of the awards that will be handed out tomorrow in Toronto.

Hart Trophy (NHL MVP)
Nominees: Alexander Ovechkin (Washington), Evgeni Malkin (Pittsburgh), Jarome Iginla (Calgary)
My Pick: Alexander Ovechkin. As much as I LOVE Iggy's glowing smile and captain-y goodness and Geno's ability to take over games with his scoring ability and blank stares, if any award tomorrow is a foregone conclusion, it's this one.

Vezina Trophy (Top Goaltender)
Nominees: Evgeni Nabokov (San Jose), Henrik Lundqvist (NY Rangers), Martin Brodeur (NJ)
My Pick: Evgeni Nabokov. I know Brodeur is Brodeur, but I really like the newcomer in this race. Nabokov led the NHL in victories with 46, while tying Brodeur for most games played (77). His most impressive stat, however, may be the fact that he didn't sit for a game until January 13, 43 games into the season.

Norris Trophy (Top Defenseman)
Nominees: Nick Lidstrom (Detroit), Dion Phaneuf (Calgary), Zdeno Chara (Boston)
My Pick: Nick Lidstrom. It's hard to argue with the captain and blueline stronghold of one of the stingiest defenses in the NHL. Though he did spend some time injured this season, Lidstrom still managed to keep his +/- rating a +40 while logging an average of 26:25 in ice time during Detroit's President's Trophy winning season.

: Calder Trophy (Rookie of the Year)
Nominees: Patrick Kane (Chicago), Nick Backstrom (Washington), Jonathan Toews (Chicago)
My Pick: Patrick Kane. In the battle of the Blackhawks, I think my future husband (haha) will edge out his road roomie because of his offensive prowess. He led all rookies in scoring with 72 points while playing against the top lines of his opponents. Also, he led all rookies in shootout goals, scoring on 7 of 9 attempts. I may be biased towards this homegrown star, but the stats don't lie - he's earned this award.

Lady Byng Memorial Trophy (Gentelmanly Play)
Nominees: Jason Pominville (Buffalo), Pavel Datsyuk (Detroit), Martin St. Louis (Tampa)
My Pick: Jason Pominville. I know this judgment is ridiculously biased, and I know Pommers probably won't win, but there is certainly a good case for him here. He is definitely the most gentlemanly of the Sabres, a team containing many gentleman (not named Tim Connolly - sorry Timmay). He excelled as our Captain, earning a career-high 80 points. He also committed only 10 minor penalties while playing in all 82 games for the Sabres.

Frank Selke Trophy (Top Defensive Forward)
Nominees: Pavel Datsyuk (Detroit), Henrik Zetterberg (Detroit), John Madden (NJ)
My Pick: Henrik Zetterberg. Watching him play against every team's top line is like watching a clinic in prefect two-way hockey.

Jack Adams Award (Coach of the Year)
Nominees: Mike Babcock (Detroit), Guy Carbonneau (Montreal), Bruce Boudreau (Washington)
My Pick: Bruce Boudreau. Before he was named coach, the Caps were 6-14-1. After he moved behind the bench, they captured the Southeast Division title. No other team had ever made the playoffs after standing in 14th place at midseason; he took them to the 3rd seed. Montreal's resurgence was impressive as well, but nowhere near as dramatic as this.

: Masterton Trophy (Perseverance to Hockey)
Nominees: Jason Blake (Toronto), Chris Chelios (Detroit), Fernando Pisani (Edmonton)
My Pick: Paul Gaustad! Wait...Goose didn't make the cut? Oh well, then I'll go with Jason Blake. The man has leukemia and still managed to play in all 82 games. If that's not the very definition of perseverance, I'm not sure what is.

: Lester B. Pearson Award (NHLPA voted MVP)
Nominees: See Hart Trophy
My Pick: If Ovechkin doesn't win, he is either a pretty unpopular guy or hockey players are dumber than we think!

Let's hope Pommers looks extra-spiffy in his tux tomorrow. That way, any hardware he happens to bring home will simply be an added bonus.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Yo Ho Yo Ho...

...A Pirate's Life for Me!At a press conference today, the worst-kept secret in the NHL since the announcement of the Winter Classic was revealed when the Buffalo Sabres and Portland Pirates announced their new affiliation.

The Pirates were formerly the farm team for the 2007 Stanley Cup Champion Anaheim Ducks. Maybe some of those winning ways will transfer to their new parent club; we can only hope.

I have to admit, I am a little sad to see the Rochester-Buffalo affiliation end. It was nice to know that our little baby prospects were only a jog down the road if we ever needed them. So, farewell dear Amerks, you can take pride in knowing that you raised not only some of our best players but our best looking ones as well.

Paul Gaustad, Jason Pominville

Goose and Pommer were such cute, little Amerks

I am very excited about this new partnership, though. Who doesn't love pirates?

I think Nate Gerbe would be Jack Sparrow (because he's cool like that) and Jhonas Enroth seems like he would want to rock that feathery hat (I really don't know why)

In other hockey news, Dominik Hasek has decided to hang up his goalie pads - possibly for good this time. The debate in Buffalo now seems to be centered around whether or not to retire his jersey at HSBC Arena.

My family and I were big Dom supporters when he played here; my little sister actually named her goldfish "Dominator" during the 1999 Cup run. I remember feeling betrayed when he asked for a trade to "Hockeytown," but I don't think a grudge is enough to deny the accomplishments he had while playing for us. Six Vezina Trophies and two Hart Trophies is nothing to sneeze at, and he is still involved with the community through Hasek's Heroes. No matter how we all feel about Dom personally, there is no denying his greatness between the pipes, which I feel he should be honored for in the town that brought him to NHL stardom.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Looking Back

Hockey season is over.

It hadn't really bothered me before because I was so busy. My dance recital went off with no major disasters to speak of, and my ballet class that I teach looked adorable if I do say so myself. Although today I think I'm battling what Lindy would deem "general body soreness" with the possibility of a "lower body injury."

Now that I have time on my hands, I feel like I should give these Sabre-less Stanley Cup Playoffs the send-off they deserve. So without further ado:

The Top 10 Things I Learned During the 2008 Stanley Cup Playoffs:
10.) The Calgary Flames are the poster team for mucking and grinding. The Flames play hockey the way I love watching it be played - physical, gritty, and with a little bit of an edge. I've decided that I would give my right leg (and that's my good dancing leg) for the Captain to beat all Captains (sorry, Pommer), Jarome Iginla. He exhibits all that I love about hockey - toughness, scoring prowess, ability to fight when called for, and true heart.
Pretty and gritty - what more could a girl want?

9.) I love watching the Ottawa Senators FAIL. As a Sabres fan, nothing in these playoffs was sweeter than watching the Sens get swept by the Penguins in the first round.

8.) For his own safety and sanity, Brian Campbell should sign in the Eastern Conference next year. Preferably with a team like Florida or some other place where hockey is second to NASCAR in popularity, so he can see how good he had it here. Seriously, though, Soupy looked down right intimidated by the physical style of teams like Calgary, and it showed in his poor performances and untimely giveaways.

7.) I miss Danny and Marty 1000 times more than Chris Drury
. I think we all still bear the scars of being stabbed in the back by Chris Drury. While I wanted to see Danny and Marty succeed despite hating their team, I was glad to see the Rangers and their overpaid "intangible" leader exit in the second round.

6.) Ryan Malone is ridiculously attractive.

And his playing isn't too shabby, either

5.) The Sabres NEED Brooks Orpik. I know he's too expensive for a stay-at-home defenseman, but it's nice to dream. Watching this Buffalo native's hard-nosed blueline play this postseason has really opened my eyes to the kind of shot-blocking, gritty defense the Sabres have been missing since Jay McKee left.

4.) I miss Colby Armstrong on the Penguins. If you haven't picked up on this, today must be your first day reading this blog, so welcome! My name is Katie, and I am a recovering Army addict. Watching the Penguins get so far was the next best thing to having the Sabres in the playoffs, but it felt incomplete without Army along for the ride.

3.) Sidney Crosby isn't really a robot after all. Sure, he always seems to say the right things and never show any emotion whatsoever beyond what the NHL tells him to show. However, the Finals brought out the human side to the young man with the "Chops." Whether it was the clips of him lighting up at seeing Colby again as an analyst, or his ultimate disappointment with losing it all after coming so close, Sid became more "real" to me this postseason. His final interview was just heartbreaking, and made him seem like the vulnerable little boy that I think he really is.

I learned even superstars like Sid and Geno need snuggles

2.) Nothing compares to Sabres hockey. Yes, the playoffs were exciting. Yes, some players captured my attention and a little piece of my heart. However, my team is still my team, and a postseason without them helped solidify that feeling. Jarome Iginla is a great captain, but he's not Jason Pominville. Marc-Andre Fleury is a quirky, awesome goalie, but he's not nearly as quirky or as awesome as Ryan Miller. For as good as Sid and Malkin are, they're not Derek Roy and Thomas Vanek. And Ryan Malone, I'm sorry, as attractive and tough as you are, you will NEVER take Goose's spot in my heart.

1.) I really LOVE hockey. Even without the Sabres, the playoffs were still fun to watch because it's hockey. It's the most physically daunting postseason in sports, and it's great to watch these men put their bodies and their hearts on the line for one goal. How long until next season starts again?

Friday, June 6, 2008

It's Getting Hot in Here...And Other Random Thoughts

I think this pleasantly unusual Buffalo heat wave has melted all of my brain cells. Then again, when has this blog ever been about intelligent thought?

I think my last post pretty much sums up how I feel about the Stanley Cup Finals. I was so sad for Flower and his unfortunate tush-push that landed the third Detroit goal in the net. I also felt so bad for Sid - I always harp on him to show emotion, but his postgame interview was just heartbreaking. Between the red-rimmed eyes and the cracking voice that made him sound even more like a little kid, I could barely take it. My protective instinct kicked in again, and I just wanted to shoo all the reporters away and snuggle him.

However, I couldn't totally hate the fact that the Red Wings won. I liked that a European captain finally lifted the Cup, so maybe that stupid prejudice can stop (probably not, though...). I also liked seeing them with all of their little kids; it made the Robo-Wings seem much more warm and fuzzy. Also, congrats to Henrik Zetterberg on winning the Conn Smythe Trophy; he truly deserved it.

A caption would only ruin the greatness that is this picture.

In lieu of signing Goose, Darcy thinks he can win me over by having a draft day party. Yes, Darcy, I am easily distracted by free parking, food, and the promise of Sabre autographs, but DO NOT think this will hold me over for long. If Goose is there, expect me to be practicing my PR skills and starting negotiations for you. Don't tempt me.

Goose is contemplating the 25-year deal I'm sure Darcy is planning for him.

Speaking of Goose, I wonder which of our lovely boys will be there? I can assume Kaleta because he lives a hop, skip, and a jump away, but who else remains a mystery. Hopefully I'll run into some of you there, fellow bloggers!

This weekend is my dance studio's recital, so I will be on hiatus until Monday while I dance my feet off and hope my first year as a teacher goes off without a hitch. This also gives me time to plan how I will begin life as an offseason blogger. Hope everyone enjoys the warm weather in Buffalo - because we know it's short-lived!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Both Sides

The thrill of victory...
The agony of defeat...I promise tomorrow to have some kind of meaningful response to this game. For now, I'm emotionally drained from watching how sad my adorkable, favorite non-Sabres have become and wondering when we will FINALLY be where the Red Wings and their fans are tonight.


Forever Young

Further proof that the Pittsburgh Penguins are really a team of highly-skilled, overgrown Timbits hockey players:
  • The pizza in the locker room in between overtime periods, which only would have been better if it would have been Pizza Hut personal pans like you got when you were a kid.

  • Their Captain looks 12 when he smiles, which I wish he would do more often.
The Chops are filling in nicely
  • Their goalie likes to pretend his water bottle is a super-soaker. Before Game 5 began, Marc-Andre Fleury squirted Al Sobotka, the famous octopus-twirler, with his water bottle. Here, Flower tries adorably to defend himself:
    "It was an accident. I just missed my mouth by a little bit," Fleury said. "I don't know. It was just at the game, he does it to us [swinging the octopus]. And after the first two games, I thought I'll give him a little something back. And we won, so it's good."

Flower is impressed with his own antics

Hopefully, the youth of the Penguins becomes their greatest asset tonight. With Gonchar probably nursing an injury, Orpik needing IVs to keep him going, and the obvious mental and physical drain that Game 5 was, maybe age will be on the side of Pittsburgh. Let's hope those tired bodies bounce back a little faster than those of the Wings.

If not, Flower might have to bust out the water bottle on his own teammates.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

There Will Be Blood

In their 4-3 triple overtime win last night (technically also this morning), the Pittsburgh Penguins pulled off a performance that was gritty, gory, and gorgeous.

Funny, all three of those words also describe Ryan Malone.

Yay for Bugsy lovefests!

There was more blood in this game than an episode of ER, and I loved it. That's what hockey is all about. As long as no one was seriously injured, it just proves how much these guys are willing to sacrifice to win it all or, in the case of the Pens, simply live another day. From Rob Scuderi's gusher that led to the winning power play to the puck that dented Malone's already broken nose, this game looked like a cage fight, and the Pens refused to be knocked out.

And now, for my three stars of the game:

3.) A Tie between Max Talbot and Petr Sykora: Both of these players stepped up in the clutch BIG TIME tonight. First, Max was put on as the extra attacker in the waning seconds of regulation, a big reward for a classic 4th line mucker and grinder. Then, he bangs in his own rebound to tie the game with 35 seconds to go. 35 seconds. That's how close Detroit was to winning the Cup, how close the Pens were to meeting the Sabres on the fairways. Thanks to the work of a true blue-collar player, the Cup was put back in its case.

Then, it became Sykora's turn to shine. With a four-minute power play in the 3rd OT, Malkin FINALLY made a great pass, which Sykora blasted pass Osgood to send the Pens back to Pittsburgh to play hockey rather than plan their vacations. Sykora said that in between OT periods, he told the team he was going to score. He said it was just something "stupid" to throw out in the locker room. It's looking pretty smart now, though.

2.) Ryan Malone: What a night for Bugsy! First, a puck to the noggin blasted open his already busted nose. I really thought he was done after that, but, this is the Cup Finals and he is Ryan Malone. I shouldn't have been surprised to see him the next period. Not only did he play, he laid down to block shots, and was screening Osgood on the winning goal. I LOVE gritty performances, and this one is one that I'll remember for a LONG time.

1.) Marc-Andre Fleury: If this wasn't obvious to you, you were probably watching something else last night from 8 p.m.-1 a.m. This was one of the most spectacular goaltending performances I've ever seen from a team with its back against the wall. It was said over and over again that Flower looked loose all day, and it showed in net with his 55 saves. By around the 2nd OT, I knew Detroit would need lucky bounce to win because of just how amazing Fleury was proving to be. It's nice when a goalie deserves a win and his team can find a way to gut one out for him.

Flower, making one of his 8 billion (ok, 55) saves of the game

The Chops live on until Wednesday as does hockey season. Let's keep this going as long as we can - all of us bloggers need material!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Delaying the Inevitable

"Denial. It's not just a river in Egypt; it's a freaking ocean." ~ Grey's Anatomy

That's pretty much how I feel today. I want to imagine that there's NOT a good chance that the Red Wings will lift Lord Stanley's Cup tonight and all of things hockey will fade into even greater obscurity than normal for the rest of the summer.

So, instead, I choose to live in denial. Sidney's Chops will be protected from razors for another day. Lidstrom will have to wait to become the first Euro Captain to win the Cup. The Igloo will host yet another playoff game this season. Army will motivate Sid to a hat-trick tonight. Geno will remember that he actually enjoys scoring goals.

Missing: Tall, Russian center who enjoys chewing on necklaces like a puppy. If found, reward will be paid in snuggles from Ryan Malone (or Penguin of your choice)

It's not even that I really love the Pens. I like them, but they're not "the one." Sid just can't compete with Goose in my heart.

I'm sorry, Chops, but I'm sure Army can help you handle this heartbreak.

I just don't want it to be over. I don't want hockey season to end. Even with our boys out of it this year, I've discovered that I just really like hockey - no matter who's playing it. Whatever will I write about for the rest of the summer? Baseball? I like Cleveland and, to some extent, the Yankees, but baseball's too hard for me to watch on TV. The Olympics? I love them, but that's a LONG time from now. The Bills? I love Paul Posluszny, but they're just not the Sabres. My sister's softball team? Be prepared to hear detailed reports about the exploits of travel fastpitch if nothing better comes along.

I suppose I'll just have to keep an eye out for tidbits thrown to us hockey-starved fans by generous men like Darcy Regier. You came through again, Darcy, signing forward Tim Kennedy to a 2-year contract. Yay for more Buffalo boys! South Buffalo is now officially a hotbed for cute, talented, blonde, hockey phenoms. First, my future hubby, and now Timmay.

Why did I have to be raised in Cheektowaga and West Seneca?

Well, it looks like we're going to have another local fan favorite on our hands; hopefully Kaleta can learn to share the spotlight. Welcome to Buffalo, Tim...Wait, I guess that's really not necessary...