Archive for August, 2007

Fantasy Hockey

Guess what! It looks like I will be playing in a fantasy hockey league with Mirtle, Sleek, Spector, and a host of other hockey blog bigwigs! This is a pretty big coup for a girl who had never heard of Jaromir Jagr until a few months ago.

(Mirtle, if you are reading this, I’m just kidding. I’m a new hockey fan and I would never try to play in such an esteemed fantasy hockey league……but your open invitation was too much to resist!)

Teppo and Goose

(This post is a part of a series entitled “Kate’s Favorite Sabre Competition” in which I am choosing my 2007/08 favorite Sabre by process of elimination. Each and every Sabre is a hero, but in the end, there can be only one favorite.)

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At this stage in the competition it is getting considerably harder to write funny posts about the remaining Sabres. I really like everyone left, and I don’t particularly want to make fun of them! The only avenue of escape I can see is self-deprecation. So let’s begin…….

Paul Gaustad #28

Dear Goose,

You and I could be so great together. You were born in Fargo, and I spent half of my childhood driving back and forth between the Twin Cities and Fargo to visit my Grandmother. You were raised in Portland, OR which is one of my very favorite places in the country. (I visit Portland at least once a year to see my best friend and my sister who both live there.) You love to read. Goose, I love to read too. In interviews you seem bright and articulate, and not just bright and articulate for an athlete, but bright and articulate for a human being! What fun we could have with the witty banter! I bet you know what a viola is, and I’m sure you’d enjoy watching Arrested Development. You’re tall. I’m tall. You’re affable and well liked, and I…..like likeable people.

There is one reason, and one reason only that you and I cannot be together:

You are far, far too good looking for me.

No, no, please don’t argue…..hush. You know it’s true, Goose.

If you were to become Kate’s Favorite Sabre, I would be accused of choosing you because of your dashing good looks. (Goose, you are far and away the best looking Sabre; this much is beyond discussion.) A relationship between a fan and a Favorite Sabre cannot exist on Reading PSAs and the Fargo-connection alone. There are also jerseys to consider. I just don’t think I can pull off a Gaustad jersey. I’m not sure that “Gaustad (I love him for all the right reasons, not just because he’s hot as hell.) 28” would fit on the back of a jersey, and even if it did, it would be cost prohibitive. No, the sad truth is, a Gaustad jersey at this stage might as well say, “Gaustad (I like him because he’s hot.) 28

This can be a very good year for us. You are healthy, and the team will ask much more of you this season. Hopefully your tendon will hold up, and you will get to play a lot more minutes as part of an established line. The terrible reign of the Lauded Drury Work Ethic is officially over, and this is an area where you can naturally step in as a leader. You are known as a hard worker and a physical player. Just for good measure, let’s see if you can’t get into a few good fights and messy up those pretty features.

In the meantime, I’ll increase my overall appeal by becoming a better hockey viewer. (Everyone knows that a woman’s sex appeal is directly related to her level of hockey knowledge. Duh.) I’ll do my best to learn all I can about hockey. I’ll keep a watchful eye on you so that I can learn the finer points of your game. I’ll work on my self confidence as a fan, so that next year, if while I’m wearing a Gaustad jersey someone says to me, “You just like him because he’s hot”, I can reply with righteous indignation, “No, I like him because of his high levels of BADASSERY…….the hotness is just a bonus.”

Honking For You,

Katebits

Teppo Numminen #27

I refuse to cut Teppo Numminen.

Teppo transcends this competition in every way.

I’m not cutting Teppo. I’m just leaving this picture for you to enjoy.

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Before I sign off on this, the second to last stage of Kate’s Favorite Sabre Competition, I would just like to say how much I have enjoyed writing these little Sabre profiles. I know it’s been silly in here, but I feel like I have a much better handle on the team heading into the season. Oh sure, my profiles are utter inanity, but so is the off-season. The hockey off-season is crazy-making. It’s not my fault.

Don’t forget, I have no intention of sticking to my decision in this competition. This has been nothing but a juvenile, hollow exercise in futility……but please, stay tuned for the EXCITING CONCLUSION!

Important Announcements

1. My friend Glenn did not advance to the Final 10 in the Sabres Emcee competition. This is a travesty and a city wide embarrassment. I appear to be living in a town that refuses to recognize comic genius. It’s a sad, sad day when a man who knows next to nothing about hockey is denied the right to host NHL games just because he’s gay. If Glenn is not free to stand up in front of tens of thousands of paying hockey fans and pretend he knows what he’s talking about, than none of us are free. Citizens of Buffalo, we should be ashamed of ourselves.

Seriously, Glenn would have done an amazing job as the Sabres Emcee. Glenn’s video was fantastic and he really should have advanced to the next round. I am so proud of him for getting as far as he did. Just like me, Glenn is a new hockey fan, but unlike me, Glenn has some serious cojones . It takes a special person to go out on this type of limb, and even though he didn’t win the (rigged) competition, he won our hearts. Good work, Glenn! You totally rock.

2. Tomorrow I will be headed to Minnesota to visit my family. I’ll keep an eye out for Paulie Martin and Thomas Vanek who both summer in the Twin Cities. If I see Thomas I’ll be sure to make him buy me a drink on behalf of all of Buffalo. He owes.

3. The Willful Caboose is the number one listed site when you Google “super smoking hottie“. My work here is done.

Yo-Yo, Staffy, and Mairsy

(This post is a part of a series entitled “Kate’s Favorite Sabre Competition” in which I am choosing my 2007/08 favorite Sabre by process of elimination. Each and every Sabre is a hero, but in the end, there can be only one favorite.)

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I think I can hear the screams of outrage at IPB from here. Let’s just get this over with, shall we?

Jochen Hecht #55

To say that Jochen Hecht has bewitched me is a massive understatement. I recently watched a game in which he tarted it up with a green mouth guard, scored two goals, and smiled shyly countless times…. and my heart was set ablaze. I got to seriously thinking about Yo-Yo and what he brings to the table, and to my great astonishment, I made an incredible discovery: The guy’s sexy. The guy’s passionate. The guy’s a warrior.

He’s a sexy, passionate warrior.

Once I realized that Jochen is a genuine S,PW everything changed in this competition. Suddenly I was juggling everybody around and trying to make room for Jochen at the top. The very top. There is nothing I love more than a S,PW (R.I.P, Chris Drury), so I began making arrangements for Jochen to ascend to the throne of Kate’s Favorite Sabre. I reinstated his eligibility in the competition, I began working on the break-up speech for the guy who thinks he’s about to be named KFS, and I started saving my pennies for a “Hecht” jersey. I was ready to go.

And then it all came to a crashing halt.

Something was needling at the back of my mind. I knew I had overlooked something important, I just couldn’t figure out what. For several days I racked my brain, and finally, like a bolt of terrifying lightning, it hit me:

July 1st, 2008.

I can’t go through it again. Free agency broke my heart once already, and now I must guard against its cold, greedy grasp. Jochen, until you sign an extension, you are ineligible to be my favorite Sabre. I’m sorry, but this is how it must be.

Drew Stafford #21

Conventional wisdom says that Drew Stafford is the Next Big Thing in Buffalo, and I believe that this is true. I recently watched a Sabres 12 to Remember (vs. Toronto) in which Staffy seriously tore things up on a line with Roy and Vanek. I’m really looking forward to a full season of Drew, and I think he has excellent Favorite Sabre potential. He’s the complete package. He seems to have “future captain” written all over his delightfully scowly face, and I’m certain he will grasp the opportunity to become a genuine superstar. He is awesome, and compelling, and fun, and tall, and fast, and…….cocky.

There is something about this kid that is so, so cocky. Maybe calling Staffy “cocky” is unfair. Staffy has a complicated and nefarious mythology over at IPB, and I have no doubt that this has colored my opinion of him, but still, the dude’s COCKY. Now, I like a blustery, cock-sure fella as much as the next violist, but there is something about Drew Stafford’s particular brand of confidence that needs to be quelled. There is something about that unibrow that must be stopped. There is something about that smirk that simply will not do.

Drew, you are about to enter into a year in which everything should fall into place. You’ve got it all now. It’s for your own good that I am withholding my Favorite Sabre status. I’m concerned that the perks of stardom are going to go to your head. I want you to know that even if you score all the goals, sleep with all the women, and dominate all the games, there’s still one highly coveted title that you must fight to earn: Kate’s Favorite Sabre. I don’t hand this shit out to just any totally awesome hockey player. No, this shit is for reals.

Update: Okay, Staffy. The general consensus in the comments is that you are not cocky. Fine. Word of advice, in a few weeks when they take your roster photo, smile pretty. I’m withdrawing my accusation of cockiness, but I’ve still got a watchful eye on you. One move towards cockiness and it’s back “Mean Katebits”.

Adam Mair #22

Adam Mair, it’s not you. It’s me.

I ADORE you. I love how after the season ended you unflinchingly told reporters that you wanted to stay in Buffalo, and that you intended to stay in Buffalo, and then you went ahead and actually stayed. I love how you basically shrugged your shoulders at the loss of the co-captains, and by doing so, reassured me that someone else will step in and fill the role of leader. I love how you are always punching opposing players with an affable grin on your face. I love how you are part of the fight against animal cruelty. I love you for your scrappyness, your tenacity, and your passion.

I am a new hockey fan. I don’t know much about your wonderful sport. It’s not fair to you, but I’m scared that if I choose you as my Favorite Sabre, I will spend my year saying (by way of explanation), “I don’t know why I chose him. I just really like the guy.” I am certain that you have as much to offer on the ice as you do off, but I’m not a saavy enough fan to articulate your playing attributes…..at least not yet. For my first year as a fan, I want a favorite player that demands no explanation that I can’t offer. Until I’m a smart enough hockey viewer to do you justice with my impassioned vows of devotion, I cannot in good conscious name you my Favorite Sabre.

Like I said, it’s not you. It’s me.

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Okay! We’re down to the final four! In order to prolong the last suspense, the last four guys will be in two groups of two. Call your bookies and place your bets today! It will all be over soon.

Meet the Pretty Louies

When a person suddenly becomes obsessed with hockey right before the end of hockey season, it can lead to acts of desperation. One such act of desperation occurred at my house this morning when I found myself on the Sabres website, trolling for something, anything to satisfy my hockey cravings.

When I clicked on the photo album, “2007 Street HockeyFest” my expectations were very low. Street HockeyFest is a street festival hosted by the Sabres outside of HSBC arena every summer. Kids can participate in a sudden death, street hockey tournament divided up into age groups. The whole album is actually quite cute, but in the very last frame, I hit serious pay dirt.

Meet the Pretty Louies:

Aren’t they hilariously awesome? I’m not sure what is going on with the pink shirts and the headbands, but I applaud these boys for their delightful moxie. If you can’t have fun playing street hockey, where can you have fun, right?

Congratulations on your big win Pretty Louies!

Hank, Pommerdoodle, and Soupy

(This post is a part of a series entitled “Kate’s Favorite Sabre Competition” in which I am choosing my 2007/08 favorite Sabre by process of elimination. Each and every Sabre is a hero, but in the end, there can be only one favorite.)

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It is with heavy heart that I present the fifth round of cuts. Every remaining Sabre is a winner in my book, but in order to choose my ultimate favorite, good men must be sacrificed along the way.

Henrik Tallinder #10

Heather, please look away.

Hank “the charges were dropped” Tallinder is a genuine dish. He’s tall, blond, and delightfully dreamy. There is something very graceful and swoopy about his on-ice presence, and Hank is one of the few Sabres I can recognize just by his skating style. Many people in Buffalo consider him our most valuable defenseman, and while I have nothing to contribute to that conversation, I am very pleased that Hank is on our roster for the next three years. He also seems like a very sweet guy. In the one interview I’ve seen, he talked very genuinely about wanting to spend the summer playing with his boys. Aww, cute.

So let’s review:

-Good defenseman
-compelling skater
-handsome
-sweet-natured family man
-no longer involved in a Swedish sex scandal

Even though you’re not my favorite Sabre, I wish you well, Hank. Just be good to Heather, and for the love of Lindy Ruff, stay out of trouble!

Jason Pominville #29

Here’s the thing about Jason Pominville: He’s a total dog.

He’s a labradoodle puppy, to be precise.

After Schnookie and Pookie pointed out Pominville’s likeness to a labradoodle, it was all over for Jason Pominville “the man”. I have no interest in the reality of Jason Pominville. No, to me, Pommerdoodle is just a big, dopey, eager-to-please dog. If I ever met Jason, it would take every ounce of my concentration not to reach up and scratch him behind the ears.

So intense is my affection for Pommers, that for a few minutes I seriously considered making him my Favorite Sabre. Sadly, due to his popularity amongst teeny-boppers, no self respecting 32-year-old woman can wear a Jason Pominville jersey. It’s just not done. Pommerdoodle may be adorable, but he’s not “Kate’s Favorite Sabre” material.

(I hear he’s a pretty good hockey player and that we should be anxious to see how he reacts to a new, Briere-free line next season. Whatevs. As long his center rewards him with lots of puppy chews, I’m sure Pommerdoodle will do just fine.)

Brian Campbell #51

Soupy!

Say what you want about his hap-hazard defensive style, but Soupy’s got a compelling personality. If there is one thing I like in a man, it’s a willingness to laugh at any old dumb thing, and Brian Campbell has this quality in spades. As a person who also technically makes her living “playing” I appreciate Soupy’s boyish enthusiasm. It’s cute and endearing. On the other hand, sometimes when I am hanging out with a someone who’s constantly joking around, I can get frustrated. Before too long, I can feel my blood pressure rising and meanwhile he doesn’t realize that this time I’m serious, I want him to stop being such a clown, just for one second. But he just keeps teasing or joking or whatever the hell he’s doing, until finally I lose my shit and scream, “Get back in your own fucking defensive zone and stop SPINNING AROUND like that!” (I have to admit, I have no idea what I am talking about with Soupy. I’m just parroting things I’ve read on other hockey blogs. I just have this feeling about him….I suspect he is about to drive me batty with love and rage. I mean, just look at him there. Don’t you simultaneously want to make out with him and punch him in the face? I sure do. )

Clearly my relationship with Soupy is far too complicated for him to be my Favorite Sabre this year.

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Well, that does it for another round of cuts. I would like to take this opportunity to remind all of my readers that I am new to hockey and that this blog is more a reflection of my newness than it is of my general mental instability. I’m bored, and I don’t have the hockey smarts to talk about hockey without ACTUAL HOCKEY. I need the season to begin before I permanently establish myself as an irredeemable weirdo. (Too late?)

Reversal of Fortune

In a stunning turn of events, at 1:05 (EST) the management of The Willful Caboose announced that Buffalo Sabres Center, Jochen Hecht’s eligibility for Kate’s Favorite Sabre has been reinstated. In a brief press conference, H.R.M Katebits read the following statement:

“It is with great happiness that I announce Jochen’s return to the Favorite Sabre competition. As many of you know, I am a new hockey fan, and as such I am learning at an exponential rate. Unfortunately, when he was initially cut from the competition, I did not have all the information available on Mr. Hecht. New information has come to light, and I feel that in the interest of a fair and accurate competition, Jochen should be reinstated to the pool of potential Favorite Sabres. I wish him the best of luck in the continuing competition.”

After reading the statement, Katebits declined to answer questions, but when a reporter asked if this was an admission that mistakes had been made by the office of H.R.M, Katebits said, “No comment.”

It remains to be seen how this will effect the eventual outcome of the Favorite Sabre Competition, but pundits agree that Mr. Hecht must now been considered amongst the favorites to win. When reached at his East Lansing home for comment, Ryan Miller was quoted by another news source as saying,

“I’m just trying to keep my head on straight so I can stay in the game. I don’t know what Katebits is thinking right now, but I do know that I am going to everything I can to be the best professional goalie and fan favorite I can be. Jochen Hecht is a friend and a teammate, but he had better hope that he didn’t teach me too many of his charming tricks. I’m going to do my best to put him, and the other remaining Sabres in my rearview mirror. Becoming Kate’s Favorite Sabre has been a lifelong dream. Don’t count me out just yet.”

With this unprecedented move, H.R.M. Katebits has stunned the hockey community and sent the competitors into frenzy of reorganization. On Friday morning, Derek Roy filed a request that his application also be reinstated, suggesting that he can provide new evidence that he should be Kate’s Favorite Sabre. Derek Roy was cut from consideration Thursday night and it is not expected that his request will be granted.

Buffalo, NY


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In accordance with the Fair Use Copyright Law, The Willful Caboose uses logos and registered trademarks of the National Hockey League to convey my criticism and inform the public of the Sabres' suckitude/badassitude (whatever the case may be). Photos on The Willful Caboose are used without permission, but do not interfere with said owner's profit. If you own a specific image on this site and want it removed, please e-mail me (willfulcaboose [at] gmail [dot] com) and I will be more than happy willing to oblige. (Special thanks to The Pensblog for their help with this disclaimer.)

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