Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A Rare Occurrence

The title of this post isn't just in reference to the score of last night's Sabres-Oilers game. Yes, putting a 10-2 hurting on a playoff team on their home ice is something we hardly ever see from any team, much less this Sabres team.

It's also not in reference to the fact that the Sabres were actually one of the lead stories on ESPN last night and this morning. I was actually going to take a picture of the crawler because we know that's not going to happen too often.

No, the title of this post is in reference to the fact that the Sabres played so well last night and made me feel so comfortable that I actually fell asleep in the middle of the third period. I'm sure some of it had to do with the book I was reading for class today, but I genuinely liked the feeling of not thinking that I had to stay on the edge of my seat the whole game. I liked the idea that when I opened my eyes, we would still have a commanding lead, and maybe a few more goals to boot (which we did).

Let me put one thing out there: I am an extremely nervous hockey spectator. Ask anyone who has ever watched a game with me; I am biting my nails and twirling my hair until the final horn sounds, maybe even hyperventilating at points. So thank you, Sabres, because tonight I was able to watch a hockey game and truly enjoy it. Sometimes I forget how nice it is to see a game start out good and finish even better.

Drew looks ready for a nap...I guess scoring a hat trick takes a lot out of you.

I guess I can't decide what really happened last night. Were the Sabres really that good or were the Oilers really that pathetic? At this point, I honestly don't care because I think that the Sabres were good enough - maybe not "10 goals good," but good enough.

The team played with fire and passion from the first 10 seconds on. What was most impressive about that fact was that this was the type of game that we used to lose and lose badly. Coming off a five-day break, flying across the continent, enduring the time-change...we've heard those excuses before. I think the thing that made me happiest about last night's game was that we didn't have to use those excuses, and that is real sign of maturity coming from a group that we all thought would never really grow up.

Another thing that I liked about last night was the fact that the team didn't really go back into old habits once the score started going up. Sure, there were pretty plays, but they weren't at the expense of sound hockey and playing as a unit. The forwards covered for the defensemen when they were pinching, and the forecheck was relentless (I was especially impressed with Clarke MacArhur in this area last night).

My unsung hero of the game goes to Ryan Miller. In a blowout like that, goalies often get forgotten, and in the moments when the Oilers put on the pressure, Miller stood tall. In a game that will be remembered for its offensive fireworks, I'll remember some excellent goaltending as well.

The only bad thing about last night was the lack of close-ups on my new favorite Oiler, Andrew Cogliano. I developed a serious crush on this boy after an interview a few weeks ago on Hockey Night in Canada, where he was extremely well-spoken and surprisingly funny. The fact that he was the fastest skater at the All-Star Skills Competition certainly helped him stay in my mind:

Tonight, the Sabres face the Calgary Flames, one of my favorite teams in the West because of how hard they play every night. It also bears repeating that the man I consider the ultimate NHL Captain will be out there against us tonight:
If I was a guy, Jarome Iginla would be my man-crush.

I don't know how I feel about the outcome for this one, but I guess if last night taught me anything, it's that I shouldn't count these boys out.

PS: If anyone knows where I can find the picture they showed on the broadcast of baby Staffy in his Oilers jersey, please let me know; that was too cute not to have on my computer!

I also heard this morning from Paul Hamilton on WGR that Stafford was awarded the Pigeon of the Game, and he was doing postgame interviews with it on his shoulder. Is it just me, or is that image hilarious?

Friday, January 23, 2009

Who Else Would I Write About with Nothing Going On?

I have nothing of substance to say about Wednesday's debacle in Tampa. The Sabres put forth a strong effort (mainly in the second and third periods), but it seemed like everything that they could do wrong, they did...and then they did those things again. Bad pinches, at least one iffy goal (Tampa's fourth) by Ryan Miller, and an inability to clear the puck did them in. Still, though, a 7-3 January record so far is none to shabby. I just wished they could have entered the All-Star break with a win.

Speaking of the break, I hate that there is nothing to talk about. No football and no "real" hockey makes for a very boring time for bloggers.

What better way to cure that boredom than yet another Paul Gaustad tribute?

I've been fortunate enough to have been sent the January newsletter for Camp Good Days. As most of you are aware, this is Goose's favorite charity, and the work he does with them is one of the reasons I love him as much as I do. I encourage you to go read this short article on his latest cookie baking adventure with them and check out the adorable pictures!

What I love most about Goose's charitable side is that he never makes himself the center of attention or acts self-important in any way. He's willing to have a bag of flour dumped on him if only to see these sick kids smile. I get such a kick out of seeing professional athletes look as happy as the children they're helping when they do work in the community. This is certainly the case with Paul Gaustad; sometimes it's hard to tell whether it's the kids or Goose that's having the best time!

After reading about Goose's latest "culinary endeavor," I found myself on the Camp Good Days website, where there is an excellent piece on exactly what Paul Gaustad has done for these kids since he teamed up with the organization in 2007.

I thought myself an expert on all things Goose-related, but even I didn't know just how involved he is in making the lives of these kids even a little bit better. My favorite part of the article discusses how Goose makes time to contribute to the organization even during the busy season:

"Since then, Paul has taken time out of his busy schedule to visit campers in the hospital, or if he were on the road, he would call some of our Camp Good Days kids who were having a rough time just to chat."

The notion that Goose would take the time to rearrange what we all know is a very structured schedule for hockey players on the road in order to call a little kid struggling with illness just makes him an even better person in my eyes (which is saying something).

I guess all I really wanted to say in this post is that the involvement of hockey players in charitable organizations is one of the things I love most about this sport, and Paul Gaustad has gone above and beyond the call of duty in this involvement. While so many people have already mentioned his growing leadership role on the ice, I love to see that he has become a leader in the community as well.

Tomorrow, I will post my own All-Star roster. Look for some perennial M&G favorites to be included for no reason at all (kind of like the real thing in some ways). Tonight I'm off to see Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet re-unite in Revolutionary Road, which got snubbed by the Oscar nominations committee. We'll see if the slight was deserved (which I somewhat doubt).

Friday, January 16, 2009

Knighthawks Get a Bandit Beating

It almost wasn't fair...almost...

The Rochester Knighthawks were dominated in every possible way by the Buffalo Bandits tonight at the HSBC Arena. There are those games where people are prone to say "Well, the score didn't indicate how the game was played." This was not one of them. With a final score of 23-6, this was one of those games where a team smelled blood at the start and didn't let up the whole night. It was a truly exhilarating thing to see.

I've never been to the arena for a blowout. The only hockey wins I've seen have been close ones, the majority in overtime. It was so great to feel comfortable for a whole game, to see HSBC rocking like that. I think the crowd covered every chant - "It's all over!", the Habs "Ole" chant, the goal count, singing "Sweet Caroline." I haven't lost my voice at a sporting event in a long time, and I've missed that.

Looking at the shots on goal was a humorous experience. The Bandits were actually outshot 55-54, showing just how good goalie Ken Montour was tonight.

Offensively, the Bandits used speed and great long passes to gain a number of breakaways. Mark Steenhuis scored eight goals in the win. Yes, I said eight goals, two more than Rochester had as a team. There is a reason this team won the NLL title last season; they are able to crush the other team's will to compete. After the third quarter, I was actually starting to wonder if a team could just forfeit; it was that painfully one-sided.

Not only did Buffalo dominate offensively and defensively, they pounded Rochester into submission physically. Brandon Francis picked up a well-earned game misconduct after the absolute demolition of a Knighthawk behind the Buffalo net, leaving to a standing ovation. Ian Llord got into another good scrap, throwing punches over the referee to get to the Rochester player. Steenhuis even got in on the action, landing a great punch for a skilled player during a little scrum while Llord was fighting.

Banditland was a great place to be tonight, and, for those of you who haven't gone to a game yet, you need to go as soon as you can (the next home game is on Valentine's Day).

Tomorrow night the Sabres can pick up another two points on Carolina with a win at the arena. I'll be at Shea's to see the final tour of RENT, so, unfortunately, I will not be able to jeer the 'Canes like I so love to do. Look for a post tomorrow spreading some more Paul Gaustad love, but, for now, anyone who hasn't read it should go check out Ryan from The Roost's tribute to Goose's leadership.

Just When You Write Them Off...

...they find a way to make you believe again.

Besides the dismal start, there were so many things to love about that game:
  • Winning a game that we had no real business winning even before the puck was dropped - road trip, back-to-back games, etc.
  • Getting two points while Carolina got none (I never thought I'd say this, but thanks, Toronto!), giving us sole possession of the 7th spot for the moment
  • The passion the guys brought to the game after the aforementioned shaky start. It seemed like once they got their legs under them (which unfortunately took a few goals too many to do) they were winning all the battles they needed to in order to win the game.
  • All four lines having a ferocious forecheck. They really embodied Lindy's call to be hard to play against.
  • My Unsung Hero of the Game, Derek Roy. While Pommer will get the praise for his shot, it was Derek who kept us in the shootout with his very pretty goal.
  • Clarke MacArthur's happy dance:
Most importantly, this was a game that proved just how essential the three pillars that I call "The Trio" really are for this team:

Ryan Miller came up big once again in the shootout. After seeing him struggle through these so painfully last season, I can't help but pinch myself whenever I see him make a strong save in this situation; it seems to good to be true. Once again, he was there when we needed him the most, and I love that I'm beginning to feel once again that I can depend on him to step up in the clutch.

Jason Pominville will obviously be remembered as the hero of this game. My father was talking the whole night about how poor Pommer is just not doing much of anything this season, and I so desperately hoped that he would be proven wrong. That shootout goal was a beautiful thing, and I love when people who are due for success finally find some. He deserved all of the congratulatory facewashes and noogies that he was being showered with, especially by his one and only roommate.

Paul Gaustad had the kind of game that makes me proud to say he's my favorite player. Not only did he score two goals, he got the momentum going in his team's direction with that little fight and his unending physical play. I love it when you can see him get fed up with the direction a game is going in because you know that some great hits will be coming not long after. My father thought he would be getting his first NHL hat trick tonight, but I think being named first star is good enough! Plus, he gets to share the joy with his roomie - that must have been some power nap today with the way they both came up big tonight!

Games like this are so fantastic to me because they provide moments like this:

Sabre-love huddle!

In this picture alone, we find Teppo laughing like a kid, genuinely sweet goalie-love, and Pommer lost somewhere in the middle of all the love. It was great to see them this happy again, to see the joy I felt mirrored in their celebration.

It was a close one, but I for one will take the heart palpitations if it means finishes like this one.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Ryan Miller Love-Fest

I was looking through some of my past posts, and I've realized something very unfortunate.

I do not mention Ryan Miller nearly enough on this blog.

As I've said before, I feel extremely protective of our wonderfully quirky goalie. I love that he's our guitar-playing, picture-taking, deep-thinking goalie.

This weekend has provided me with the perfect opportunity to bring my love for Ryan to the forefront once again. He was a rock for us, stealing the shootout win over the Rangers and keeping us in it against the dreaded Red Wings until the very end. With 43 saves Friday and 45 on Saturday, Ryan deserves to keep the Pigeon of the Game for as long as he wants it.

I only wish the team could have gotten at least a point for Ryan's effort in Detroit because he had so many family members and friends there.

I guess I'd rather not talk about last night's game because I'll have fits if I try to articulate my anger at being unable to hold on for 2 minutes.
Instead, I'd like to talk about Friday's exhilarating win over the Rangers. If ever there was a time to use everyone's favorite cliche of "poetic justice," it was the second that Chris Drury grabbed the puck at center ice and began skating towards Miller.

Photo courtesy of The Buffalo News

There it was, right in front of us - the man who left versus the man who stayed. The man who turned his back on an adoring city versus the man who has embraced Buffalo with all of his heart. For one night, the Buffalo guy came out on top. The quietly intense goalie who said he'd give up all of his money for a Stanley Cup in Buffalo proved that, if only for a moment, karma could work out in our favor.

My best friend and I went to practice on Friday morning, and we could tell then that Ryan was going to have a good night. It was the loosest I'd ever seen him. He was shooting pucks into the boards to startle everyone watching, practicing puck-handling with Goose, and playing faceoff judge between Goose and Pommer.
The Trio huddles with James Patrick to discuss how awesome they are.

The best part of practice, though, was when Ryan decided that he was actually going to take draws against his fellow Trio members. Goose and Pommer looked like they didn't believe him at first, but Ryan proved just how multi-talented he truly is by actually winning a faceoff (Does that just mean that Goose and Pommer were really bad at draws?).

In conclusion, Ryan Miller is getting a lot of credit right now, and I would just like to say that it is completely deserved. On that completely unoriginal note, I present two final pictures of Millsey from Friday's practice (if you want to see the rest of my pictures, click here for my Facebook album):

Even though last night's loss still leaves a bitter taste in my mouth, I'm looking forward to Wednesday's game in Chicago. If Ryan Miller is in goal, I like our chances against just about anyone right now.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Thomas Vanek is Really Good at Hockey

There's not much that hasn't been said already about Thomas Vanek being named to the Eastern Conference All-Star roster, so I'll just let Thomas tell you about it himself:

Oh Thomas, how I love you and your annoyingly perfect team-first attitude. Seriously, this is about as individual an honor as you can get in a team sport, and he turns it into a representation of the team as a whole. Sometimes I have to wonder who trained him to say such perfect things.

The great thing about Thomas Vanek, though, is that none of his words ever seem "trained" or untrue. I really do think that he wants to help his team win more than anything, and that scoring goals is just his little (or not so little) way of helping. My favorite part of the interview is when he states that an All-Star appearance means nothing if the Sabres miss the playoffs. In a world where it seems that many athletes care more about personal stats than team success, it's nice to see a star player who genuinely wants to be a teammate first.

Maybe it's just the Carly's Club ski cap that has him looking so earnest, but I love the fact that Thomas Vanek is emerging as not just a good hockey player but a good person as well.

In other All Star news, Sweating Like Soupy (my fantasy hockey team) is well-represented on this year's rosters. Pat Kane, Brian Campbell, Ilya Kovalchuk, and Jay Bouwmeester are all players drafted by me who have made the roster for the game in Montreal.

I know what you're all thinking, and I am just as upset as you are that my Fantasy Hockey All-Star Benchwarmer didn't make the cut. Colby Armstrong is nowhere to be found on the roster. Oh well, I'm sure that it was only because they could pick just one representative from Atlanta, and I suppose it had to be Kovalchuk.

Though with a game-face like this, it is hard to imagine how such a high hockey-IQ could be ignored

To round out my discussion of all things All Star-related, many congratulations to our baby Sabres who have made the AHL All-Star squads! Mark Mancari will represent Canada, while Tim Kennedy and my future husband favorite Pirate Nate Gerbe will represent PlanetUSA.

Since I have made a New Year's Resolution to make sure every post mentions Paul Gaustad at least once, I must end this with a recap of Jason Pominville's latest blog:

*Marley and Me brought a tear to his eye (and anyone who doubted this does not know Jason Pominville)

*The system is finally starting to love him back by rewarding his line with goals.

*Goose made sure he was tucked in by 11:30 on New Year's Eve before they played the Leafs.

*He loves his new linemates, which include roommate Goose (and Matty Ellis). He says that Goose is "fun to play with," which is always nice to hear said about your favorite player. You can tell they're having fun out there, too, with the success they've been having.

Tomorrow Chris Drury comes back to town once again. As Thomas Vanek said so profoundly, he's just another player once the puck drops, but he's another player I'd really like to beat.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Sens Bark Worse than their Bite

Sorry for the lame pun, but Mike Robitaille pretty much stole all the other ones.

Like most games against Ottawa, this one had its fair share of inrtiguing moments. I know that the Sabres gave up two goals to Jason Spezza in the lengthy span of 36 seconds. I know that the second and third periods were anything but pretty. I know some will criticize Miller for those goals or say that this win was not as impressive as it should have been.

I know that I couldn't care less right now. The Buffalo Sabres are winners of three straight games in regulation, games that were won by grit, heart, and patient play. The boys are actually starting to play as a team again, making clean passes and good outlets. They are bringing a new sense of determination to the ice right now, winning battles and sticking up for one another (see Craig Rivet's little scrum in the third when the Sens got too close to Miller).

My Unsung Hero of the Game is Paul Gaustad because Goose sure knows how to set the tone for a gritty effort. With that first hit on the first shift (which led to his assist on the first goal), he let both teams know how this game would be played and let everyone know that the Sabres wanted this win more. It's nice to see that again.

I suppose if I'm going to write anything more about this game, I have to say at least something about the Jarkko Ruutu's little snack break in the first period:

This is just plain embarrassing. I'm sure that Ruutu will not receive any punishment from the league, as we are still waiting for anything to be done about Gautier's sucker punch on Kaleta. This is the same NHL that lets blatant cheap shots go while they throw the book at Sean Avery for being a sexist pig.

Ruutu may have overtaken the title of biggest joke on the Senators from Chris Neil. I mean, really, let's think about it, he bit another man. He bit another hockey player in the hand. I'm sorry for repeating this, but I am still surprised that anyone would even think of doing something like that.

The best thing about this was all of the amazing jokes Roby had about it. From remarks about veterinarians and rabies shots to comments about the Sens being "hungry," you could tell he was having the time of his life with this. My favorite one was when he asked about how a roommate would react if Ruutu came home hungry. He was cracking himself up before he could even get it out.

All in all, this was a game we needed to win and we did, despite the brief period when the Sens took a nice bite out of our momentum (ok, I'm really done now). This was a win at home, against a team that usually has our number, at a time when we could have gotten complacent. I don't know about you, but I am going to enjoy this game for as long as I can.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Monday Musings

Did you ever just have one of those days, a day when you wish the Sabres were playing because you can't wait to see the next game?

Today is one of those days for me. There's been no hockey since Saturday's demolition of Boston's winning streak, and it's been too long for me. When the Sabres are winning, I want to see them continue winning. I want to see their heart and effort on display once again, and I can only hope that they have decided (finally) that they like playing this way as much as we like watching them play this way.

I'll admit that I'm a little nervous for tomorrow's game against the Senators. Yes, I know that Ottawa is 1-4-1 on their current road trip. Yes, I know that they are in the basement of the Northeast Division. Yes, I know that this Sabres team I'm nervous about is the same team that just beat up on the leaders of the Eastern Conference in their arena.

However, I also know that this Ottawa team has already embarrassed us once at home this season when we thought we were playing well. I know that this Sabres team has a tendency to play down to their opponents rather than crushing them as they should. I know that this Sabres team likes to get complacent after a few victories, forgetting the hard work that led to them.

With those points in mind, I was very happy to read Paul Hamilton's report on WGR's website today. To summarize his points:

*Captain Craig is set to return to the ice tomorrow. I can only hope that means he's ready to join Goose in a beat-down of Chis Neil because I've been waiting for the day his fist meets Neil's face since we signed him. Seriously, though, having their Captain back should give them an added incentive to play all-out tomorrow (even though they should be playing this way all the time).

*With Teppo battling an illness, Chris Butler has been kept up with the team. I don't want Teppo to be sick, but I really want Butler to stay up with the big club. Even if he is feeling better, give the veteran a rest tomorrow and keep the youngster in. I like everything about Butler's game right now, and I don't want him to see Portland ever again (even though it's pretty much a given at some point).

*Max is out for a stretch, but Timmy is coming back. I never wish for anyone to be hurt, but letting Max rest for a while may be the best thing for this team. Plus, with Timmy coming back, our offense should be riding high soon (hopefully). We are in desperate need of another center (no offense, Jochen), and Timmy provides play-making opportunities that should lead to even more scoring chances for other guys and an even stronger powerplay.

*The best thing about Hamilton's report, though, is what he said about the nature of the practice today:

"Ruff put the troops through a hard hour today in the Marina. He wants to make sure he stays on top of them after two very good efforts in Toronto and Boston"

This is exactly what I wanted to hear. This team needs constant reminding that they cannot rest on their laurels. I understand that this shouldn't be necessary, but it is. This is a group of hockey players who know that they are talented and think that should be enough. They need to be force-fed one of my favorite quotes: "Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard." Two wins do not signify a turnaround, and I'm so glad to hear that Lindy is pushing them the same way as before; hopefully it will have the same results.

This is Lindy's happy handshake. I want to see more happy handshakes in the future, please.

I would be remiss if I closed this post without mentioning that the Bandits won their home opener in impressive fashion, beating the Philadelphia Wings 15-11. The view from our season ticket seats is amazing - seven rows up from the penalty boxes. If any of you ever go to a game this season, stop by Section 117, Row 7, Seat 10 and find me!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Live Blogging - M&G Style

So today I've decided to try my hand at a live blog - or at least a semi-live blog. I'm going to flip back and forth between the Bulls and Sabres games, offering my comments on each as I come upon something interesting.

Feel free to offer some comments while you're watching, too, or after the games if you stumble upon this post - I'm sure there will be plenty to talk about!

Before we start, I would just like to say how sad I am that Nate Gerbe got sent back to Portland yesterday. I understand that Nate needs more playing time than Lindy could give him here, but that doesn't mean that a little part of me isn't heartbroken.

Goodbye, Nate, we'll always have that night in West Seneca:

12:14 p.m. (Bulls Game) - Donald Brown for UConn is really good. Just as I said that, UConn fumbled but recovered, but UB still forced a punt. Still 0-0, with UB getting the ball. I am loving the amount of crazy Buffalo fans in the crowd - wish I was there.

12:24 (Bulls Game) - If UConn wants to play dirty; we'll take it. After UConn roughs the punter, UB recovers the ball with great field position following a special teams turnover. The punt hits a UConn player in the back, and UB capitalizes. The next play, a Drew Willy pass, almost results in a turnover the other way. I don't think I've ever been this nervous for a college football game.

12:29 (Bulls Game) - A field goal that just makes it puts the Bulls up 3-0. I'm hoping that it's a lead we can hold the whole game, but first we have to stop Brown.

12:33 (Bulls Game) - Damn. Did I mention Brown is really good? 7-3 Huskies.

12:40 (Bulls Game) - Drew Willy overthrows Naaman Roosevelt on what should have been a sure TD. Still 7-3 Huskies, who just had a really great punt return. Damn again.

12:59 (Bulls Game) - Well, when your offense and defense aren't working, that's why you have special teams. A great punt leads to another UConn turnover - this time in the endzone. It's suddenly all knotted up at 10 points each!

1:07 (Bulls Game) - UConn's quarterback is terrible, and I love it. On a great sack, he fumbles, and the Bulls recover yet again. This is what this team does best - capitalize on other teams' mistakes.

1:11 (Bulls Game) - 13-10 Bulls! Although I wish we could have come out of that with 7, I'll take the points.

1:13 (Sabres Game) - Perfect timing by my dad, who turned on the Sabres game just in time to see Matt Ellis (I think) score to put the Sabres up 1-0. Great job by both Ellis and Goose driving to the net! Then, he switched it back to UB to see them recover a fumble on the kickoff on the 5-yard line! The Bulls scored again to make it 20-10, and I'm getting goosebumps!

1:17 (Sabres Game) - Thomas Vanek makes it 2-0 on the PP, many thanks to my mom for alerting me to this! I'm liking this 6-minute stretch of live blogging!

1:24 (Bulls Game) - Another fumble and UB recovery!! (but the Sabres are killing an Adam Mair high-sticking penalty and Vanek is nursing an injured foot).

1:26 (Sabres Game) - The Bruins scored. Grrr...But Derek Roy just drew a penalty for us, so let's try and make it 3-1!

1:54 (Halftime/First Intermission) - Of course both breaks would coincide! The Bulls still hold a slim 20-17 lead over the Huskies, and the Sabres are in a similar situation in Boston, still leading 2-1 after 1 period of play. I have just one question about the Sabres game - why does Chara have his own set of rules? He punched Derek Roy three times in the head with no call. Roy hasn't backed down, though. With the period winding down, he took a big run at Chuck Kobasew (I think). Somebody ate his Wheaties today!

2:06 (Sabres Game) - Matt Ellis is Beast Mode! 3-1 Sabres, and I love it when my muckers and grinders have multi-goal games!

2:21 (Sabres Game) - A point shot by Boston gets by a highly screened Miller, and the Bruins make it only a one-goal lead for Buffalo.

2:25 (Sabres Game) - The population of Pominville goes up by one (but he may not have touched the puck). Whoever touched it doesn't matter; all that matters is the Sabres are up 4-2!

2:36 (Bulls Game) - Goose has been given credit for the fourth goal (yay!) but the Sabres have to start the third period on the PK (boo!). Still, Buffalo maintains a 4-2 lead on Boston, but the same can't be said of UB. Down 24-20 with 3:30 left in the third quarter, it's starting to look bad for the Bulls. The score wouldn't indicate it, but the play of both the offense and defense would.

3:20 (Sabres Game) - Craptastic. Vanek takes a penalty with 2:06 to go and only a two-goal lead. UB is losing 38-20 after a 100-yard fumble recovery by UConn. Let's hope the Sabres hang on.

3:28 (Sabres Game) - After some nerve-wracking moments on the last PK, the Sabres are winners for the second straight game and remain undefeated in 2009! What a great effort by the boys to take down the best team in the East. They need to play with this same level of physical attack and tenacity every game. I'm very proud of them tonight.

3:29 (Bulls Game) - UB loses the International Bowl 38-20, but I'm still proud of them, too. While this game wasn't a very good showing, this whole season has been one hell of a ride. True to form, the Bulls may have been outmatched, but they hung tough until the very end.

Well, I hope everyone has a great rest of their day. I'm off to HSBC for the Bandits season opener; I can't wait to see the Championship Banner!