Sunday, November 30, 2008

Jason Pominville Appreciation Post

Happy 26th Birthday, Pommer!

To My Lovely Pommer on your Birthday,

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

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


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

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

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

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

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Four Things for Four Goals

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

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

Friday, November 28, 2008

Forget the Turkey. I Love the Goose!


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

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

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you and your families!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Waking Up

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

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

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

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

How quickly everything changes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Another year, another "raisin in the sun."

I'm ready to explode.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

It's Official

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

I hate this guy.

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

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

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

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Dearest (or not so much) Buffalo Sabres:

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

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

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

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

Quick Hits

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, November 7, 2008

Game Night

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Celebrating Democracy

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

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

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

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

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

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

Craig Rivet could knock out Chuck Norris

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Now That's More Like It

This lovely pic of Millsey courtesy of

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

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

Dear Thomas Vanek,
Carry on.

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