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!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Hockey Gods Do Not Like Me This Season

Let's review how the last few weeks have gone for me as a Sabres fan:

As you all know, Goose is my favorite Sabre, hockey player, and environmentally conscious human being. So of course he would be sidelined by thumb surgery before the season even starts.

I drafted Jochen Hecht to represent the Sabres forwards on my first ever fantasy hockey team. Right after he notches his first point for me, the Sabres lose him for weeks with a finger injury.

In place of Goose, I devoted my hockey loving heart to Captain Craig Rivet. Mr. Rivet has already secured himself a place among my favorite players. In fact, I may go so far as to say he's threatening Pommer to overtake my second-favorite spot.

In keeping with this pattern it should not have surprised me to hear that my new love on the blueline had knee surgery and will be out for at least two weeks.

I guess Pommer should be extra careful now!

According to Lindy, Captain Craig had been playing through pain for a few games now, not that anyone could really tell from watching. He turned in solid performances, especially in last night's game. Lindy seemed pretty impressed with his captain's toughness, and I wonder if some of his comments were directed at a certain center who can't seem to play through pain at all...

As much as I would love to see Mike Weber get the call; it's nice for Nathan Paetsch to get a chance to prove himself skating with ol' reliable Teppo.

Plus, guess who's reunited?

Even Ryan's happy to see Tallydman back together!

In all seriousness, though, I think we'll be fine without Captain Craig in the lineup. He's already taught them a lot about toughness and responsibility in the short amount of time he's been here. This just gives the guys a chance to play even harder until he comes back to lead them again, and, if Vanek keeps playing like he's been playing, I have no doubt that we can keep going just as we have been.

Sidenote to Captain Craig:

This does not mean, though, that you can take you dear, sweet time coming back. We still need you, Mr. Rivet, kicking tail and taking names. These next two weeks won't be the same without you.
Get well soon, Captain Craig! The "C" is waiting for you to come back and wear it!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A Love-Hate Kind of Game

Things I hate:
  • Versus commentators. Listening to them, you would have thought that the Sabres were off to last season's start. I mean, I know they didn't play perfectly by any stretch of the imagination, but you would have thought you were witnessing a total domination by the Bruins, which, by the second period, was hardly the case. However, they did provide me with the "that's what she said" moment of the game when they kept referring to Manny Fernandez's "big stick." Yes, I am 12 years old.
  • Looking like we were the team coming off back-to-back games in the first period.
  • When they interview players on the bench during the game. These guys need to be focused; they don't need a pretty commentator asking them dumb questions while play is actually going on.
  • How much my heart rate increases during shootouts.
Things I love:
  • Drew Stafford coming up big in regulation and the shootout. That tying goal was a thing of beauty.
  • Ryan Miller making a case to be considered one of the league's elite goalies. He was a rock once again, and I love his post-shootout celebrations because they seem so against his usually stoic nature. I love when he lets his guard down.
  • Thomas Vanek staying hot and saving the game in the shootout, his Achilles' heel last season:

You can't stop him. You can only hope to contain him, and you can't even do that right now.

  • Watching the boys give each other facewashes, noogies, and high fives after that win. I love when their inner dorks come out in a moment of victory. Besides, if I had just gotten two points when it looked like I wasn't supposed to get one, I would want a group hug, too:

My Unsung Hero of the Game goes to Clarke MacArthur, who has quietly amassed three goals this season, a season in which he wasn't even supposed to be on the starting roster.

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Sabres are Special

And by "Special" I mean pigeon-toting, ridiculous question-answering, "special."

As many bloggers have already pointed out, the Sabres have apparently decided the perfect incentive for good play is a stuffed pigeon bought for a whopping $9.99 on eBay.

This is why I love this team. They are pretty gosh darn unique.

Supposedly this all began with who else but Jaro Spacek, who refers to his teammates as pigeons and has earned the nickname for himself as well. I really would love to hear him call these big, tough hockey players pigeons in his incomprehensible accent. I'm sure that would strike fear in the hearts of our opponents...

Now, don't think this bird is treated lightly. According to Adam Mair, he gets carried around in his coop on road trips, which I find a hilarious image. All this pigeon needs is a name and his own jersey and he could really be part of the team.

I suppose this makes some sense; if this team really is the family that they say it is, it's only logical for them to get a pet.

However, if and when Goose gets awarded the "Pigeon of the game" won't it be confusing to mix aviary critters?

In other news, they've finally uploaded the "Stupid Questions" segment from Saturday's game to I highly advise everyone to watch this again, paying close attention to the two Patties, Lalime and Kaleta, and their hilarious answers:

My favorite portions of this video:

*Pat Kaleta saying that he wants an athletic girl but has to be hot, too. Sometimes I forget he could be a college boy, and then he says things like this...

*Patrick Lalime not knowing Gilligan's Island and looking so adorable when he's embarrassed by his lack of pop culture knowledge.

*Pat Kaleta pretty much saying he can only count to 21. That's ok, Patty; you don't get paid to count the number of penalties you draw.

*Kaleta and Adam Mair discussing that going out is contingent on many things, especially on whether or not they won the night before. These two laugh like little kids trying to hide something from their parents, which they still are in a lot of ways.

As you all know, I am a huge fan of anything that shows these boys acting like kids, so today was a great day for such findings. As Andrew Peters so eloquently said:

"We’re a bunch of 25 goofballs that just love to play hockey.”

And we wouldn't want it any other way.

I don't think a more accurate statement has ever been said about this team. From pigeons to catwalks to nap buddies, this is a team that is unusually close and down-to-earth. I can only hope that this little, dysfunctional hockey family will get to celebrate their ultimate goal together, and there will be a picture of the pigeon of the game sitting in Lord Stanley's Cup.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Everyone Loves Winning (Especially Thomas Vanek)

But sometimes, there is such a thing as too much love, boys...

I think that this goal celebration may be the best I've ever seen, and I'm not normally one for naming something the best a mere two hours after I saw it on the highlights. Look at it again though and tell me it's not made of all things fantastic:

That's passion right there, ladies and gentlemen. It's passion for winning, passion for the game, passion for sharing the glory with your teammates.

I can't really name an unsung hero because I saw "Legally Blonde" tonight instead of the game (which was a pretty cute show by the way), so I'll just continue the trend of giving Thomas Vanek all the praise he can get. He deserves it, and I think if he keeps playing with this fire he can lead us to great things this season.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Class of 1970 Reunion

Tonight's game between the Sabres and Canucks promises to be an exciting one for two reasons:

1.) It's a matchup between the two members of the NHL Class of 1970 who don't get to see each other very often.

2.) It's a game between my favorite team and my favorite Western Conference team.

My feelings for the Canucks are hard to explain. Back when I decided I needed a Western team to follow, I noticed that I really enjoyed their games when they were on hockey night in Canada. Coupled with the fact that I knew they were "born" the same year as the Sabres, I decided to begin following them as my Western Conference favorites.

There are a lot of things to love about the Canucks. They have an awesome retro jersey:
I just really like the colors for some reason

They have the Sedin twins on their team. I find the idea of twins playing on a line together almost unfair (having twin cousins I do believe in "twin telepathy") but still pretty sweet. I especially love when commentators describe their plays using their first names: "Henrik passed it to Daniel, then back to Henrik..." Yes, I am amused by the smallest things.

They're taking good care of Steve Bernier and Taylor Pyatt, making puckbunnies all over Buffalo sigh with delight.

Oh Big Bear, how we miss you and your adorably broken English.

Finally, the Canucks have given me the star player (so far) on my fantasy hockey team, Alex Burrows. Burrows is my favorite Canuck because he lives up to being a true mucker and grinder. He makes due with what he has, plays solid, two-way hockey, and he's a physical force:

He's not afraid to go toe-to-toe with anyone, and he's one annoying guy when he gets down to his game. I just hope he doesn't get under Captain Craig's skin; I wouldn't want Alex's pretty face to get destroyed,

In short, I like the Canucks a lot. However, I LOVE the Sabres. I hope we capitalize on how tired they'll be after beating Detroit in OT last night (with the game-winning goal scored by a certain #14). I feel that if we just stick to the game we've been playing, we can beat anyone on any given night.

Also, of course it shakes out that, because I desperately need to see this game for my own personal well-being, I will be unable to see it. I'll be at Shea's, hopefully getting updates on my phone whenever someone can text me them.

3-0 feels great, but 4-0 would be even better. Let's Go Buffalo!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Things That Make Me Happy...

Thomas Vanek. Thomas Vanek on the PP. Thomas Vanek on the PK. Thomas Vanek on pace to now score 136.67 (ish) goals this season.

Beating the Rangers. Beating the Rangers in New York. Beating the Rangers to hand them their first loss and get Lindy's 400th win. Beating the Rangers at their own defensive game.

Watching Thomas Vanek beat Chris Drury to seal the game and hearing him specifically mention that in his postgame interview. Watching Chris Drury lose to the boys he left behind.

Seeing the desire and effort in this team so far this season and having the feeling it's not going to let up any time soon.

My Unsung Hero of the Game goes to Lindy Ruff. Many congratulations on your 400th win and even more congratulations for getting everyone to buy into team defense this year. I honestly was ready to see us lose this one, and I am so proud that they proved me (and pretty much everyone else) wrong.

More to come when I'm not falling asleep at the keyboard.

Monday, October 13, 2008

7 Things for 7 Goals

First of all, the Muckers and Grinders Unsung Player of the Game Award goes to Danny Paille for some absolutely beautiful assists on the goals by Vanek and MacArthur.

Now, in honor of the seven goals the Sabres scored this afternoon, I offer seven observations about a very nice 7-1 win over the NY Islanders:

  1. I LOVE Craig Rivet. I know that he probably should have just let Mair handle himself. I know he may get suspended for jumping in. I also know that he is exactly what this team has needed for so long. Today he showed that no one can push this team around. Yes, I did just say that no one can push the Sabres around anymore. It's been so long since that's been true, and it feels so good to say that. Captain Craig is not only a true leader; he is a true mucker and grinder of the highest order.
  2. The character of this team is changing, and it's for the better. I know it's only two games, but sometimes you can just feel it. You can feel the desperation, the drive to prove themselves once again. You can see the heart and the effort in every shift, and you can sense the maturity starting to settle upon these boys. I don't know much about the technicalities of hockey, but I do know that, if they play every game (or even most of them) like these first two, I will be a very happy and proud Sabres fan.
  3. I think Point 2 is directly a result of Point 1, as well as a new hatred for losing that last season taught them.
  4. With three goals in two games, Thomas Vanek is on pace to score 123 goals this season (yes, I did the math). Seriously, though, I love his visible fire this season. You can tell that he is proud to finally be on the PK unit, and I'm so glad he got rewarded for what I feel is solid shorthanded work with the first shorty of his NHL career.
  5. If I was an Islanders fan, I would be embarrassed tonight. It's never a pretty thing to watch a hockey team simply give up before your eyes. I'm still having trouble deciding if the Sabres were just that good or if the Isles were just that bad. Related to this, does anyone have a picture of Mike Comrie waving the white flag in the penalty box?
  6. This picture is the greatest thing ever:
  7. I wish Goose could have been in that fight, and I'm sure he does, too. It seems like almost every time a brawl erupts (see,Ottawa Brawl), Goose isn't there. Watch the video again and picture Goose out there instead of Max, and think of just how much greater an already great piece of pugilism could have been:

And an extra thought for the one goal the Islanders got against the very solid play of the adorable Patrick Lalime:

8. Trent Edwards is practicing again, and I for one could not be happier. Sorry, JP, even you have to admit that we were lost without him.

Finally, I would like to offer my deepest condolensces to the family and friends of Alexei Cherepanov, the Rangers prospect who, at 19, passed away on the ice during a game in Russia today. RIP, Alexei; things like this are so terrible to hear about that I honestly have no words...

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Signs of the Apocalypse

Between last night and today, there have been numerous, small hints that the Four Horseman may be on their way as we speak:

  • Montreal didn't score on their powerplay, a feat that was pretty much guaranteed against the Sabres last season.
  • Both Buffalo shooters scored in the shootout and actually looked like they did their homework on the opposing goalie.
  • Ryan Miller was a brick wall, both in the game and the shootout, and when he wasn't, his defenseman (Toni Lydman) was able to bail him out.
  • The Sabres actually pushed people out of Miller's crease and were willing to start scrums in front of the net.
  • Thomas Vanek was patient with the puck rather than dishing it off right away.
  • The Buffalo Sabres won a defensively minded, one-goal game in a shootout.
And the biggest reason I think the End of Times is right around the corner:
  • Bucky Gleason wrote a glowing review of the Sabres. It was both funny and, here's the kicker, tremendously optimistic:

"It's not often you'll catch me leading the cheers, but there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic about the lovable locals...If the season opener was an indication, they should be just fine."

There were a lot of things in this article that I actually agree with (shocking, right?). I, too, believe that there has been a total change in how this team perceives itself this season. There is a bit of a swagger back that had been missing when they looked like lost puppies last year. I think no small amount of that comes from the fact that they have a clear leader in Craig Rivet, who has more confidence in this team himself than I think a lot of the guys had put together before he came along. He oozes quiet, stable self-assurance, and I think the guys are already running with that mindset.

Also, I think there is a sense that this is a team just waiting to prove everyone wrong because they know everyone that doubts them is wrong. Last year, they may have said that they were confident, but there was a sense that even the players knew that the year would be a year of discovery. This year, the soul-searching is over, and Thomas Vanek's unusual display of exuberance after he scored makes me think that this team is ready to embrace the role of hungry underdogs that fits them so well.

Finally, I think the shift in demeanor has come from the assurance that the core will be together for a good, long time. The organization showed confidence in them, the fans are excited about their contracts, and they can't wait to go to battle with each other every night. I have a feeling this new sense of stability will bode very well on the ice for this group that is so close off of it.

The team that hugs it out together, wins together

Another sign of the Apocalypse is that this team has me asking on a Saturday, Is it Monday yet?

Friday, October 10, 2008

Now That's What I Call a Statement Game

Hey guys, it's group hug time!

Final Score: Sabres 2, Canadiens 1 SO

I swear, if this pace keeps up, I'll be dead of a heart attack by November, but at least I'll die happy.

It's amazing how much one game can do to erase the past, the nagging fear that this season would be nothing more than the last. There were so many things that needed to happen for this team to appear to rise above the past season, and, tonight, they seemed to do everything that we asked of them and that they asked of themselves:

They didn't let an early goal take the momentum away from them. They bounced back quickly and passionately, something which speaks to the growing maturity of the guys and the calming leadership of Teppo and Rivet.

Thomas Vanek looked like the Thomas Vanek from the last half of 2007-2008. His goal was a thing of pure beauty and smart playmaking. It was nice to see him take the shot instead of looking for the pass. His celebration into the boards proved just how much starting strong means to him; you could almost see the monkey being ripped off of his back as the smile grew on his face.

The PK unit stopped a deadly powerplay unit. Sticks were in passing lanes and players seemed hungry for the puck, which was missing against the Canadiens for much of the last season.

They showed that they wouldn't be pushed around. Danny Paille made some amazing checks, especially his first one. Pat Kaleta was on the warpath as usual. Criag Rivet was yanking people out of the Buffalo crease. They were drawing penalties like crazy and making a strong team lose their cool without abandoning their own.

We won a close, defensive struggle. The entire team bought into the newly installed importance of playing well in the defensive zone, and that was evident in some very nice backchecking and the limiting of a very good offensive team to under 30 shots on goal.

Ryan Miller looked focused and ready to stop everything in sight. He truly deserved the first star in the game for all the times he kept us in the game with a quick glove or by not allowing rebounds. I've said it on numerous occasions, and I'll say it again, he is just going to keep getting better, last year was an anomaly because of all of the personal tragedy in his life.

We won in the shootout! Shootouts are all about confidence, which I hope this gives all of them. Our shooters did their homework, and Miller looked like he was back in top form. Maybe I can stop counting these as automatic losses now.

What is most important to me, though, is the heart and fire these boys showed. Whether it was in Vanek's ecstatic celebration, Paille's physicality, their emotion as they went to hug Miller, or their smiles in the lockerroom, you could almost feel their passion for winning and see the heart on their blue and gold sleeves. This desire to get a "W" no matter what made me feel proud to be a Sabres fan tonight.

Of course there were problems: Connolly has a broken spine (a fractured vertebrae to be exact) and the powerplay looked powerless just to name two. However, this win was a testament to both the hard work of the team and the coaches who preached and practiced a gritty, defensively responsible approach.

In closing, after every game, I want to name my Unsung Hero of the Night. Tonight, that title goes to Toni Lydman. Without him, the game never would have gone to a shootout. His quick thinking to get the puck out of the crease preserved the tie and, ultimately, the game.

Congrats, Toni; I know it's the accolade you've always wanted.

Like a Kid On Christmas

The title for this post sums up my feelings about tonight perfectly. I honestly was having trouble sleeping last night for reasons other than midterms.

It's finally here. The day we've waited for since April has finally come. It's Hockey Night in Buffalo once again.

It's funny when you try to measure your life in hockey seasons, matching each one up with specific time in your life. Though times have changed, it's great to see that every opening night feels the same since I was a little kid. No matter what happened the previous season, be it President's Trophy or early golfing, the opening night is always one of optimism and excitement. There's always that voice in the back of your head that, despite your best intentions, keeps whispering What if this is the start of our year?

I'm a very detail-oriented person, and it's the little things that often matter the most to me, so it seems fitting that the things that have me most excited would be many of the things that may seem ridiculous and minuscule compared to everything else a new season has to offer.

I can't wait for...

"Hurricane 2000" to come blasting from my TV, getting my pulse racing for another game

The first time Pat Kaleta draws a penalty and my dad yells from the other room "I love that kid!"

Craig Rivet to take the ice, wearing the "C" proudly, ready to punch anyone in the face who even so much as looks at one of our guys the wrong way

The sound of the goal horn

Lindy's frank and oftentimes witty postgame comments

Jaro Spacek's unintelligible voice to grace my ears

The Pominville Population to get its first resident this season

Mike Robitaille's cranky words of wisdom and emphatic hand gestures

The first time you hear the "Drewwww" and "Gooooose" chants in the arena (though I may have to wait awhile for the latter)

The sight of Roy and Vanek on a 2-1 and knowing their going to score

The typical MSG commercials, wondering which is going to be the "real good, Steve" or "Wizard of 'Za" of this year

The sight of Tim Connolly quarterbacking our powerplay once again and feeling like we really do have a man advantage

Looking at Ryan Miller's eyes through his mask and seeing a whole different person in his intense focus

The sound of an opposing player crashing into the boards

The first opponent to get booed at HSBC this year

The first time one of our guys sticks up for a teammate, which I feel will happen a lot more this season

The first big win that makes the guys pile over the boards, when you know that they live for playing for and with one another

I hope that last one comes tonight, but if it doesn't, it's not the end of the world. It's a long season, and I don't know what I'd do without it.

Forget December, this is the "most wonderful time of the year"

Let's Go Buffalo!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

C Is for Craig

I know this video will probably eat my blog for the next few weeks, but I couldn't resist showing this.

This, ladies and gentleman, is a captain. Not a flavor of the month not the winner of musical captains, a real captain.

When I first heard this news, I didn't know what to expect. I honestly was shocked that Craig Rivet, a newcomer into the Sabre family, has been chosen as the leader for the season. Initially, I thought this was Lindy sending a message to the team that Craig has all the things he wants to see from all of them this season - defensive responsibility, grit, and toughness.

Then I heard that our boys actually voted Craig to be their captain, and I was pleasantly surprised with our bunch of seemingly oblivious Sabres. They realized that "Captain Craig" has all the things that we were missing last year, including the capacity for commanding leadership. This is more than just welcoming the new kid into your group of friends. This is welcoming the new kid by voting him class president.

I feel proud that the younger (and the older) guys were able to put aside their own pride and see that Craig may be the missing piece that could put us over the top. They saw something lacking in themselves that only he could provide for them. In other words, giving Craig the "C" was the hockey way of saying "You complete me" in less sappy terms.

Seeing his interview, all the pieces came together to see why exactly he is our new captain. He realizes the special bond that the guys on this team have, going so far as to call them a family, which I think they really are. He seemed genuinely happy to be considered a part of that family, too.

He also seems to have finally warmed up to Buffalo. We knew you'd come around to loving us someday, Craig. He made a special point to mention the fans and how great we are, and it just seems like he knows how to say the right thing at the right time.

Where other guys talk about making the playoffs, he made it clear that their goal is the Stanley Cup - this year. He also mentioned the fact that he expects 150% from all of his teammates every game. This is the kind of driving force that we as fans love to see and that will keep our boys in line throughout the long season.

In my opinion, this is a great choice. I was already falling hard and fast for Craig, and this did nothing to stop that rapid infatuation. He is everything I love in a player, and he is most definitely challenging the field for Katie's Second-Favorite Sabre. I guess I should probably watch him play a few regular season games first, though.

So Congratulations, Captain Craig. I will now play some Hannah Montana in your honor.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Oh Captain, Our Captain

Two blogs in two days? No, you're not dreaming; I just have very little work this weekend.

Our final preseason game is tomorrow and will be telecast on MSG. I will most likely be running between our downstairs TV to watch this and our upstairs TV, which still has rabbit ears, to watch the Bills game. I'm not very happy with this whole Time Warner vs. Channel 4 thing; of course this has to happen when the Bills are actually good.

Since this is the final preseason contest, the decision from Lindy on our always interesting captaincy situation should be revealed within the next week (at least we should know by Friday).

Lately, I've been softening my stance towards the rotating captaincy. I guess if the players all buy into it it can be a sign of the depth of leadership in the dressing room. Really, I'm just saying this because it's what Craig Rivet said in his latest interview, and I'm too scared of him to disagree with him. However, I still think that it is important to present a strong, unified front under one leader. Plus, we have two additions on our blueline (if you can call Teppo an addition) specifically noted for their leadership abilities. If none of our core boys can step it up, then one of these two would be more than competent to wear the "C."

So, here's my question to you, loyal readers: Supposing that we finally decide on one fearless leader, who should it be?

Vancouver decided to name Roberto Luongo captain even though a goalie is not allowed to wear a "C" on his jersey. We all know that Ryan Miller is one of our most prominent leaders and basically the face of our franchise. Last year, though, he admitted that his game slipped when he tried too hard to be a vocal locker room presence. This is why, as much as I love Ryan, I know that we could never do what the Canucks did. He's got too much on his plate as it is.

I set up a poll this week for you to tell me who is our best option to wear the "C":

1.) Jason Pominville - He did such a great job last season, picking up his game when he was captain. He is genuinely loved by his teammates, fans, and the media alike. Has he grown confident enough on and off the ice to be captain permanently?

2.) Derek Roy - Roy was captain of the Kitchener Rangers when they won the Memorial Cup. He is used in all facets of the game and seems to excel in them all as well. He plays well under pressure and is another valued member of the core. Is he mature enough now to carry his on-ice prowess off the ice as well?

3.) Teppo Numminen - This is what Teppo was brought back for, to lead our group of wandering misfits. His calmness on the ice and on the bench was sorely missing last season, and I still think having him for a full year would have led to a playoff spot. He also proved that he is a true Sabre at heart by signing here after all the drama that was last season had come and gone. Would it be right, though, to give the "C" to someone who won't be playing with us much longer?

4.) Jochen Hecht - Jochen wore a letter every month last season, if I remember correctly (feel free to let me know if I'm wrong). This shows that both the players and coaches value his leadership. He leads by example, letting his steady play do the talking, which sounds a lot like another captain that I shall not name...Is he vocal enough to take the "C" and keep it for good this year?

5.) Craig Rivet - The influence Rivet has had on this team already is amazing. I know it's only the preseason, but these boys are playing more physically than they did for most of the last two years. Mike Weber has already turned into a mini-Craig in how he's sticking up for his goalie. He was known in San Jose for being a true leader and a strong character guy, which we are already getting early glimpses of. He also has no problems talking with the press, and all of his interviews are intelligent and well-delivered. Can he be the best leader for a team he joined only a few months ago?

6.) Paul Gaustad - I know he's hurt. I know he never wore a letter last season. I know he has to pick up his own game before he can focus on defined leadership roles; Lindy said that himself last season. I also know, however, that Paul Hamilton on WGR550 feels that he is the best candidate for the job, and he spends more time with them than I ever will. Goose is another face of the organization. His charity work is amazing, and he is always willing to give a good interview. His play is centered around his work ethic and ability to come to the aid of his teammates. If that isn't leadership, than I don't know what is. Can someone who never wore a letter in "musical captains" really be the permanent "C" this season, though?

My personal choice is... complicated. I would love nothing more than to be able to put a "C' on my #28 jersey, but I know that probably won't happen, though I'm still not totally sure why. I think Teppo is our best choice right now, but I also think we need someone who is going to stick around with these guys for a while. This is why I think Jason Pominville should be our captain. He is a member of the core who has close ties to the team and the city. He had to fight his way to the NHL through hard work, and he has all the class that a captain should have.

However, if I found out that Craig Rivet was picked, I would be nothing but thrilled as well. I'm pretty infatuated with him right now, and his dreamy mucking and grinding has clouded my judgement.

Who's your pick? Feel free to comment and tell me why, too!

Friday, October 3, 2008

You Know It's Almost Hockey Season When...

  • You have your first Sabre encounter of the year. I was at the Galleria Mall today, waiting for my White Chocolate Mocha from Starbucks, when all of a sudden, this well-dressed, good-looking guy walks into my field of view. Upon closer look, this very tall and surprisingly skinny guy was none other than Mike Weber. I didn't want to interrupt him because he seemed very intent on getting his phone fixed at the Verizon kiosk, not to mention the fact that I was twelve shades of red and smiling like an idiot because he looked at me as he walked past. I swear, somewhere inside of me is a 13-year-old that comes out at the most inopportune moments. I will tell you, though, his photos do not do him justice.

Warning: Objects in photos may be hotter than they appear

  • You really care about the boys sent back to the minors. No offense to both of the Tylers (Ennis and Myers), Luke Adam, or Jhonas Enroth, but I wasn't too sad to see them bid farewell to the team for now. This latest round of boys to be sent to Portland, though, really tugs at my heartstrings. I'm no good at goodbyes, but I wish to bid a fond farewell to Tim Kennedy and Nate Gerbe. Tim, I will miss your happiness at playing for your hometown and your adorably awkward interviews. Nate, I will miss watching you take on guys twice your size and your pretty breakaways. We'll always have Facebook.

  • Regular season games start in about 12 hours. Today, the Rangers play the Lightning and the Senators play the Pens in Europe. This also means the start of fantasy hockey for me. I promise to keep your updated on the progress of Sweating Like Soupy because I know that my pathetic attempts at fantasy sports are vital pieces of news.
  • Your favorite player suffers a major injury. I know everyone else has covered this, but I would be remiss without stating how sad I was to see this news on Tuesday. No Goose for at least 3 weeks does take away a little of my excitement about the season, I'm sad to say. It's not the same without being able to watch your favorite player. It is nice to hear how much he'll be missed, both on the ice and in the locker room. At least Pommer can take some solace in the fact that you don't need a good thumb to still be a good nap buddy. You do however, need a good thumb to continue to hold puppies and save the world at the same time. Hopefully, it heals fast; the environment, sick children, and women everywhere need you healthy.