Sunday, September 28, 2008

Pinstripes and Point Shots

I don't know how much longer my fragile heart and even more fragile psyche can handle these comebacks. I don't have many more nails to bite.

First the Sabres come back from a 2-goal deficit with a little over two minutes left in the game to win just into overtime. Then, the Bills come back from what I was sure was going to be a classic fall in a "trap game" to win convincingly over the Rams.

All of this makes for a very nice Sunday night in Buffalo. Edit: The Sabres did just lose 3-2 in a shootout to the Wild, but I'd still say this was a pretty successful weekend even with the loss.

As for the game yesterday, I present a mini photo diary of the day's festivities (all of the pictures can be found here; I hope the link works for those of you who don't have Facebook).

Goose was looking studly as always, and took time to talk to a lot of the little kiddies:
Ryan Miller proved that absence does make the heart grow fonder - I have never seen him look better: Nate Gerbe looked great, and I'm not saying that just because he's my favorite Facebook friend:
Pommer got the biggest ovation of the night; it was like the Jonas Brothers and Zac Effron combined:
Danny Paille signed my cousin's shirt, and proceeded to tell us "Thanks for coming!" I swear, he is almost beating Pommer for Most Snuggly Sabre (a title they would both be very proud of, I'm sure): As for the game itself, until the last two minutes, I was afraid that my cousin's first game was going to be a total disappointment. I mean, I thought the Rivet fight was worth the ticket price alone, but she has yet to appreciate mucking and grinding like I do.

That all changed, though, when Roy scored. He's her favorite player, so of course we were going nuts together. Then, she was excited because my favorite player scored. At the start of overtime, she looks at me and asks, "Where's Kotalik? I haven't seen him do much tonight." Then he scores. I told her she needs to come to more games with me.
Now that was a great way to spend a Saturday night.

I'll probably be blogging even less than usual this week. In addition to the 4 papers I have due, I'm also doing my first interview for the Canisius paper. It's with the men's basketball coach, Tom Parrotta, and I'm both very excited and very nervous. Hopefully, I'll write a few times before the weekend, but if not, know that I'm just buried under mountains of books and notes.

Being There

That felt like more than just a preseason game.

I don't just mean the Red Carpet, which was pretty cool to say the least (Goose + tux = melted Katie).

The game was more, or at least it felt like it. The crowd, the hits, the pace, the comeback; it's hockey time in Buffalo again and I couldn't be happier.

Tonight, I'll leave you with this. Welcome to Buffalo Craig Rivet; we've been waiting for someone like you to come along:

More to come tomorrow (including pictures); now, I have to go find my voice.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Fantasy Hockey Time

I had my first ever fantasy hockey draft on Wednesday, and I am pleased to report that I did come out of it with at least some of the guys that I originally hoped for (which is more than I can say for my football teams).

I present to you, the roster for the 2008-2009 edition of Sweating Like Soupy:

  • My Centers are from three teams that Sabres fans usually hate on principle (though do we really still hate Dallas?): Mike Ribeiro, Scott Gomez, and Mike Fisher. My best friend and I both love Scott Gomez because he scored the game-winning goal during the first hockey game we ever saw on our Senior trip to NYC (The Devils beat the Canadiens), and I have this strange attraction to Mike Fisher, which I know is wrong but, frankly, I don't care.

  • Ilya Kovalchuk was my first pick at #10, and I'm very excited that I'm actually getting to see him (and Colby Armstrong) at HSBC on November 7.

  • Since I didn't get to pick Goose, I figured I'd pick the guy who robbed him of the Masterton Trophy, Jason Blake (keep your friends close, but your enemies closer...). Really, though, Blake is one of the only Leafs I actually like and respect.

  • My goalies are Miikka Kiprusoff from Calgary and Rick DiPietro from the Islanders. I really wanted Marty as my second goalie, but I guess Pretty Ricky will do (at least I have an excuse to look at him).

  • The Sabres are represented on my roster with both Jochen Hecht and Jaro "Spacho Man" Spacek figuring to play important roles.

  • I got my dream pick (and dream husband-to-be) in Pat Kane. This was by far my happiest pick in the draft.

  • Since I figured it would be wrong to neglect my team's namesake, I took Brian Campbell in the 3rd round. Let's hope there's more scoring and less spin-o-ramas this season, or else I will be forced to post this video every week:

  • The rest of my roster includes Brian Gionta from NJ, Jay Bouwmeester from Florida, Kris Letang from the Pens, my favorite Canuck, Alex Burrows, and my sleeper pick, Dan Cleary from the Red Wings.

  • Finally, Sweating Like Soupy's version of "Mr. Irrelevant" is a man who is always relevant to me (and Sidney Crosby), your favorite Thrasher and mine, Colby Armstrong.
So that's the team. They may not be the best fantasy hockey team ever assembled, but I can honestly say that I know and like (in some cases stronger than others) all of the guys I picked. Does that make me the best drafter? No, but it means I'll have fun watching them this season.

Tonight, I head to HSBC for the first time this year to see our boys take on the Leafs at 7 p.m. It's my cousin's first hockey game, and she could not be more excited. We're going to the Plaza at 5 to check out the Red Carpet, and, while I can't wait to see Goose again, she's hyperventilating at the thought of seeing Derek Roy in person. I'm pretty sure Royzie is the one who came up with this whole Red Carpet idea in the first place.

If anyone's going tonight, we'll be in Section 113, Row 24. Let's Go Buffalo!

Monday, September 22, 2008

In 1992...

  • The Sabres picked up a goalie by the name of Dominik Hasek from Chicago.
  • Aladdin was tops at the box office
  • Bill Clinton became the President (and had yet to meet Monica)
  • I was starting preschool
  • The Bills were on their way to their third Super Bowl with an 11-5 record
A LOT has changed since the Bills last went 3-0, but the feeling of hope it gives this city remains the same.

I know it was more nerve-wracking than it was supposed to be. I know Jason Peters got blown up all day long. I know we need to get our running game going stronger than it has been.

But once that kick sailed through the uprights and the clock hit 0:00, none of that mattered.

I know it's cliche, but "good teams find a way to win." When we needed him the most, Trent came through with the poise that has quickly become his trademark. Now, we're 3-0 and alone atop the AFC East (thank you, Ronnie Brown). How strange yet wonderful does that sound?

In hockey news, the preseason starts today! Some random notes before they drop the puck:

  • I'm very happy that we re-signed Darcy for two more years. I think Darcy unfairly became the scapegoat for the team's numerous problems last year. I can only hope the events of this summer have shown people what a smart GM he really is.

  • Paul Gaustad hurt himself already. He bruised his shoulder in the first scrimmage, and Lindy thinks he won't play until at least the weekend. The same goes for Thomas Vanek, who pinched a nerve in his knee on Friday. All I know is that I have tickets to Saturday's game, and I strongly hope that I can see Goose out there.

  • In sad news, Lindy is going to break up Hank and Toni! No more Tallydman! I feel like US Weekly reporting on the split of Bennifer. I suppose it's good to see new defense partners, but I will miss those two together.

Friday, September 19, 2008

My New Campaign

Pommer: I get to be a Sabre for 5 more years! Yay me!!

Goose: Now I'll always have my nap buddy! Gimme a hug, Pommer!

Yesterday, the final piece of Darcy's summer puzzle finally fell into place. Jason Pominville signed a 5 year extension that will keep him in the Blue and Gold for the foreseeable future. The numbers aren't too bad either. While I was hoping for the ever-elusive 5/25 because even a broken clock is right twice a day, I can't complain with these figures: $4.5 million in 2009 and $5.5 every year after that. For a guy who will turn 26 in November, this can end up being another Roy-esque steal considering Pommer's continued improvement.

Pommer is my second-favorite Sabre for an innumerable amount of reasons. He was the little forward that could - in fact, I'm sure Goose still probably reads him that story before nap time. Really, though, he never let the fact that he was waived and passed on by everyone make him bitter. He used it to make himself better.

There have been many points in his short career that people have questioned him. No one thought he was good enough in 05-06, and he then proceeded to give us one of the most memorable goals in Sabres history (go check out the video again for an instant pick-me-up). People doubted if he could be a first-liner in 06-07, and then he entered the 30-goal club alongside Briere. In 07-08, everyone thought he would fail without his former center. Not only did he actually get better in terms of overall points, he became one of our fearless leaders and best choice for captain.

Speaking of the all-important "C" - it looks like Lindy is still blinded by the idea that the rotating captaincy is a good thing. I know it's nice to let everyone have a turn, but this isn't kindergarten, Lindy. You need to give these guys stable leadership, which is what I feel the signing of Teppo is all about. However, I feel that Teppo should only wear an "A" because he won't be around much longer. Still, he could train our next captain with his sage wisdom.

And who could that new captain be? If you ask Paul Hamilton, it could actually be captains again. His two nominees for a co-captaincy are two men who demonstrate leadership both on the ice and off it, two men who have pledged their loyalty to management, their best friends on the ice, and their city. These are two men who make up an integral part of the core while setting the good example of team-bonding through shared rooms and movie nights.

Yes, dear readers, like Paul Hamilton, I support Pominville-Gaustad '08 for Sabres Captaincy. Because the team that naps together, wins together.

Tomorrow is Puck Drop 2008. I'll be working, but I hope everyone who goes has a blast. I can't wait to hear all of your stories!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Short People Can Do Anything

I have a new role model, and his name is Nate Gerbe.

Not only is Nate a pretty fantastic Facebook friend; he's a pretty good hockey player, too.

In fact, according to John Vogl on Sabres Edge, Nate may very well be more than just pretty good. He seems to be skating in circles around everyone else at Rookie Camp, which makes me insanely happy to hear. Not that I don't feel bad that these normal-sized baby Sabres are getting shown up by a kid who is the size they were in junior high. It's just that it's nice to see a success story happen right before our eyes to someone who most people would write off just by seeing his height on paper.

As a fellow member of the FSPA (Freakishly Short People of America), I love that Nate is out there making a name for short people everywhere. We can do everything our taller counterparts can do, and we can do some things better. Can Tim Connolly distract Chara by skating under his legs? I didn't think so.

Nate Gerbe - Making short people proud one amazing goal at a time

In other hockey news, the veterans report in two days! I can't wait to start reading and hearing more about our beloved boys in Blue and Gold; that's when I know it's really hockey time.

As excited as I am, this means there are only two more days for Darcy to get a contract for Jason Pominville before camp starts. I still have faith Darcy; you did it for Pommer's BFFs, so I know you'll get it done for him, too.

Do it for Miller.

Do it for Goose. He'd be lost without his roomie being signed as long as he is.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

This, my friends, is a great sports week.

The Bills pulled off another impressive victory over Jacksonville on Sunday. I honestly did not think they were going to win that game, but I have a feeling they are going to surprise me a lot this year - and hopefully in many good ways.

As the season is progressing, I am finding myself falling deeper and deeper in love with the wonder that is Trent Edwards. This is new territory for me; I've never been a quarterback-loving kind of girl. They're generally too pretty and not gritty enough for my taste. However, tastes change, and I have pictures like this to thank for that.

Good-looking, articulate, and a Stanford grad - what more could a girl ask for?

I'll tell you what more - a win for my fantasy football team! After the pain of losing in both of my leagues last week, I won both of my games this past weekend, thanks mainly to a great game from T.O. I know I still will end up in the bottom of both leagues at the end of the season, but at least I know I won't be winless.

In even greater news, hockey starts this week! The baby Sabres are already off at Rookie Camp, which Tim Kennedy has been nice enough to blog about. It's nice to hear about guys like Clarke McArthur and Adam Mair helping out the youngins rather than giving them wedgies and making them get them fresh Gatorade every 5 minutes.

While the rookies were working hard, the old vets like Pommer and Staffy were hardly working, teeing off at the Sabres charity golf outing. Each player supposedly headed their own team, and I want to know who was able to split up the dynamic duo of Goose and Pommer without a temper tantrum (the answer: probably Lindy, he can scare anyone into doing what he wants).

I love the video on the Sabres website of the event, mainly because it is our first taste of Mr. Craig Rivet. He seems to have taken a liking to the team already, saying that three weeks with them feels like three months since they've been so friendly. I wonder if this means that they've already shown him the Sabre-ropes: had him try to teach Pie to tie his skates, introduced him to Royzie's "personal assistant," told him to keep his lovely wife as far away from Tim Connolly as possible...the usual.

The only thing that I'm looking forward to more than the first full practice is the day that Pommer gets his shiny new contract. According to WGR, he has set a deadline of Friday to get something done before the season, which still seems like a real possibility.

Darcy, because I know how often you frequent this blog (or not...), I will post an adorable picture of Jason Pominville every day from now until Friday in the hopes of persuading you into giving him whatever he wants:

Look, Darcy, he's lost without a new deal.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

It's Almost Here

Just when I was feeling a bit of withdrawal from the lack of Paul Gaustad in my life since he signed his new contract, the Sabres found a way to give me my fix. Goose is the subject of the latest photo montage over at Nothing gets me ready for hockey season like seeing these beautiful faces on my computer screen:

I love their adorably stoic facial expressions.

Now, is it just me or is there an abundance of Pommer in Goose's pictures? The optimist in me would like to believe that it is subliminal messaging that a deal is almost done, but the realist in me says that they are just so attached at the hip that you can't find many pictures of Goose without Pommer somewhere nearby.

WGR is reporting that Pominville's agent says that they're getting closer to inking a long-term deal. I can't wait for it to become official, then we'll know that the core is in it together for the long-haul.

I can imagine that Pommer is not much of a demanding diva, but I'm sure he has some stipulations that he's working on getting finished before he signs:

1.) The promise of rooming with Goose for the rest of their respective careers

2.) No interruptions during Goose-Pommer naptime, no matter how important

3.) Power to pick the movie on bus rides or flights (choices range from Disney favorites to French-language romantic comedies)

4.) Guarantee that his beloved System will never be forced to leave him

5.) Copyright to delusional, optimistic phrases, such as (but not limited to) "We put forth a great effort," "We just have to work harder in practice tomorrow," "If we just stick to the system..."

6.) An unlimited supply of mouthguards to chew on

Now Darcy, are those really so unreasonable? I know that Goose may want to show An Inconvenient Truth on the plane, but I'm sure Pommer will share.

In related news, I just joined my first fantasy hockey league. Again, tips are greatly appreciated. Also, "Sweating Like Soupy" - good name or pathetic attempt at humor?

Monday, September 8, 2008

Hope Lives - A Day in Pictures

Week 1: Bills (34) over Seahawks (10)

Why a Monday morning has never felt better:

Suddenly all those crazy hopes just got a lot less crazy. I'm drinking the Red, White, and Blue Kool-Aid and loving every second of it.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

The Bills Make Me Wanna...

Shout? Cry? Laugh? Hurl sneakers at the TV while yelling obscenities at JP Losman?

The answer to all of these has been, at some point in my life or another, yes. Today, though, I want to focus on a different verb.

Today, the Bills make me wanna hope.

It's the start of a new season, and with it comes all of the blind optimism that we in Buffalo are famous for. Some people like to laugh at our faith in a team that has let us down over and over again, but I think it's one of the best things about us as fans. By December we may be jaded and bitter, but in September, Bills fandom is quite a lovely place to be.

Ryan over at the Roost said pretty much everything I want to say on this topic (if you haven't read his post yet, you really should). I think we've all lost people in our lives who were huge Bills fans. Both of my grandfathers were season ticket holders, but it's my dad's dad that I'm thinking about today. He was the most passionate and loyal Bills fan I think I'll ever know, and sometimes it hurts to think that he got to accomplish everything he wanted out of life - except to see his team win the Big One that he traveled to four Super Bowls to see.

Still, my grandpa never lost his hope. I guess that's where I get it from. I know I could talk about our new defense, or Trent Edwards, or Jason Peters, or why Paul Posluszny is on the injury report already, but I don't really feel like it.

I feel like talking about how excited everyone is to see a team that has missed the playoffs since I started watching football religiously. I feel like talking about the happiness in my dad's eyes as he and my aunt went off to the Ralph today.

This team could very well break our hearts all over again, but that's just the thing. In Buffalo, we willingly offer those hearts to be broken in exchange for the mere chance that this could be the year, this could be our year.

There's still an hour to kickoff, and by the time I get home from work today, the whole season could be over or it could be just beginning the push to the playoffs.

Today in honor of my grandpa, I choose to hope. I hope that this city will be right for once, that maybe, just maybe, our fragile hearts will stay in one piece.

In answer to the eternal question, yes, I am ready for some football.

Go Bills!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Meet the Boys - Part 2

Because I know that all of you were so riveted by my fantasy roster, I figured I would introduce you to my team in my family league.
Some of the players are the same, such as:

Peyton Manning
Edgerrin James
James Hardy
Trent Edwards

The new members of the second edition of Poz's Posse are:

1.) Greg Jennings (WR, Green Bay)

2.) Earnest Graham (RB, Tampa Bay)

3.) Owen Daniels (TE, Houston)

4.) Fred Taylor (RB, Jacksonville)

5.) Ahman Green (RB, Houston)

6.) Marty Booker (WR, Chicago)

7.) Randy McMichael (TE, St. Louis)

8.) Rob Bironas (K, Tennessee)

9.) Dallas's Defense and Special Teams

My family was calling my team the all-prison unit because of its "questionable" (at best) character. T.O. is not the humble, modest player I usually love. James Hardy has had a couple of run-ins with the law that, as a Bills fan and fantasy owner, I hope are far behind him. Dallas's defense now has everyone's favorite felon, Pac-Man Jones, which is ok with me as long as he's practicing his dance moves in the endzone and not in the strip clubs. And now, Fred Taylor just got arrested for disorderly conduct. Just throw the Bengals's Chris Henry on my team, and I'd be all set.

In hockey news (wow, it feels good to say that), preseason tickets are on sale! I'm taking my best friends, sister, and cousin to a game, but I'm not sure which one yet. Last year, we went to the game against Pittsburgh where the players all signed autographs afterwards, and it was a blast. I hope they decide to do that again.

Less than a month until the boys are back playing on the ice - I can't wait to see these two adorkable roomies for months on end:

Let's hope that there are a LOT of celebrations like that this season!