Archive for December, 2007

Happy New Year! (In a Good Way)

Well, this is turning into quite an exciting few days.

Last night I met Crunchy and Staffy at the concert, and tomorrow I’m going to the Ice Bowl! I can’t quite find the right angle for blogging about encountering the real-life Sabres, so I’ll just say this: both of them were incredibly nice, patient, and generous about dealing with the orchestra members. I was able to meet and get pictures with both of them and it was an extremely fun evening. I can highly recommend having the Sabres come to your workplace. (I seriously wanted to offer Ryan Miller half of my BFF locket, and Drew Stafford is a very compelling little zombie. Heh.)

And tomorrow is the Ice Bowl! I was already pretty much spazzing with excitement, but then I read this post on The Ultimate Sports Roadtrip, and now I’m not sure I’ll be able to sleep tonight (yet another reason why going to the Ice Bowl sucks).

Pooooommmmmerrrrrrdooooodlllling!

Inner Child Katebits is Pleased

Guess who got to play the Ronan Tynan concert tonight? That’s right! Inner Child Katebits!

I played the concert. Actually, I more or less, crashed the concert. My dear friend Janz got permission from our conductor, JoAnn Falletta, for me to simply pull up a chair and play along. It was all done outside of the laws of seating charts, union rules, and normal protocol. I really wanted to play the concert, and in the end, no one could think of a reason why I shouldn’t. So, I played!

Inner Child Katebits had an awesome time tonight. Take a minute, and try to imagine what it would be like to have Staffy and Crunchy wandering around at your place of employment. Yeah. It was a super fun day at the office.

I can’t believe the Ice Bowl is still yet to come (…even though it’s going to be totally LAME. If you can’t go you are SO LUCKY). Due to the incredible reversal of fortune for Inner Child Katebits, I’m starting to think that if I publish all of my little hopes on the internet, they’ll eventually come true. (Just in case the internet is magical, I would like to state for the record that Inner Child Katebits really wants world peace, an end to poverty, and a Wii.)

THIS IS IT

One thing I’ve found very interesting about suddenly being a hardcore hockey fan is observing how I respond to the losses. Last night, I took the loss against the Devils very hard. I was seriously bummed and very fretful. Tonight, however, things are different. I’m not fretful at all….I just hate the Sabres with the burning passion of a million red-hot suns. (Except you, Crunchy. And you too, Goose. And a little bit I don’t hate you either, Toni Lydman.)

Fans of Arrested Development might remember the episode where everyone was saying “I don’t know why, but this is it.” That’s how I feel tonight. I don’t know why, but this is it, Sabres! THIS IS IT!

(That is, of course, until you win again.)

(*in Cartman voice*: God, I hate you guys.)

Notes

Dear Crunchy,

Great game last night. You totally deserved a win. If it’s any consolation, Marty Brodeur is on my fantasy team, so even though the Sabres lost, the Fancy Bits still got a win.

-Katebits

*******

Dear Rest of the Sabres,

Listen, Crunchy doesn’t do 1-0 shutouts. That’s asking too much. And don’t tell me, “But, but it was Marty Brodeur“. I know it was Marty, but you still have got to score more than one goal for Crunchy. This one is on you guys. I think you need to buy Crunchy a present to make up for squandering his awesome game…..something handmade and special.

Someone should learn how to knit, and knit him a new skull cap. Pommers, get on that.

Love,

Katebits

PS- I can’t wait to see you on Tuesday! Make sure to keep an eye out for me. I’ll be the one who looks really cold.

********

Dear Thomas Vanek,

It’s time to give away some money. It’s time to give away a lot of money….like a million dollars.

Look. The contract is clearly effecting you. Just give some money away. Pick a cause that is meaningful to you, and unburden yourself. Help some people out. You can give away a million dollars and still be a really rich man.

You’ll feel better. I promise.

Sincerely,

Katebits

PS- If you give away a million dollars, I promise to never call you a slag-faced whore again. (Unless, I suppose, you give your money to the Coalition for the Advancement of Slag-Faced Whores annual fund raising drive. I hate CASFW. If I get one more call from them asking for money…….)

*********

Dear Drew Stafford,

I don’t understand how a brain-eating zombie can be concussed. Please explain.

-Katebits

PS- Ever since I learned about your concussion, I’ve had a funny image of you wandering around Buffalo dazed and disoriented with a bandage around your head. It would really make me happy if you wore a bandage like this to the Ronan Tynan concert tomorrow night. Of course, I won’t be there to see it, but still, I would love it tremendously. I think a head bandage would look great with a tuxedo. Feel better soon!

HeatherB Appreciation Day!

It’s HeatherB Appreciation Day!

World famous blogger, and undisputed Sabres authority, HeatherB, suffered a devastating injury last week. She was attacked by an evil patch of black ice, which caused her to fall and practically break her ankle clean off. There are many totally lame consequences to having your ankle brutally violated by black ice, but the worst one seems to be that you’re not allowed to attend the Ice Bowl. Poor, Heather!

Heather’s husband, MarkB (in a saintly display of solidarity), has decided not to attend the Ice Bowl either; which leaves them with two Ice Bowl tickets to spare. They could sell them for a nice profit, but because they are very good people, hockey lovers, and friends, they have offered them to ME! That’s right! I’m going to the Ice Bowl, baby! (Where I’m sure I will be miserably cold and unhappy. I’ll probably spend the entire time wishing I was in my nice warm home…..with my ankle elevated.)

I am so excited! (But I’m also sure that the Ice Bowl will be totally boring and ultimately disappointing. People who don’t have tickets or who are otherwise disposed should be feeling extremely relieved.) I’m so touched that the B family thinks I’m a worthy recipient of the tickets. I promise to uphold the values of the B’s, by holding a sign that says “Tally Ho” with an arrow pointed down at myself for the entire Ice Bowl. Hank shouldn’t be deprived of his support system just because Heather’s ankle has been compromised.

In honor of HeatherB Appreciation Day, I would like to present Heather with this megaphone:

“Mark! I’m bored and I can’t reach the remote. Also, my ankle hurts and my tea is tepid! Mark!”

 

….and, of course, the highest award that can be bestowed upon a fallen blogger, The Heather Cup:

Each year, the names of bloggers who have shown remarkable courage and generosity in the face of intense assitude are engraved on the Heather Cup. Both Heather and Mark will have a full day to eat cereal/yogurt raisins/margaritas out of the Cup.

Whoa. Christmas.

I am still in Minneapolis, but I will be returning to the land of the Sabres tomorrow. Christmas this year was non-stop parties and cooking and merriment. Good times, but, oh Nelly, do I miss Buffalo and hockey and Center Ice. I think when I get home I’m going to have a marathon viewing of the Devils game followed by both DVRed Flyers games. Last night, because I was involved with hosting the last holiday party of the season, I didn’t even have a minute to wonder what was going on with the Ottawa game. Well, I’m glad I didn’t spend too much energy fretting about that one. Stupid Senators!

The Senators Who Stole Christmas

This might sound crazy, but I don’t love it when the Sabres are streaking. Don’t get me wrong, I never sit down to watch a game thinking, “I hope they lose this one, this streak is freaking be out,” but I’m suspicious of streaks. So, now the streak is over, the Sabres can win against the Devils and the Penguins, and then cruise into the Ice Bowl feeling confident, but not invincible. Perfect.

Be Well, and Safe, and Joyful

Enjoy your Christmas, people of the interwebs!

The One Where I Attend a Minnesota Wild Game, and Fall Deeper in Love With the Buffalo Sabres.

Sam and I gleefully headed out to the Wild game tonight. I have been looking forward to this game for weeks. Until tonight, I’d only attended games at HSBC arena, so I was very eager to get a glimpse of the Xcel Energy Center in Saint Paul.

First of all, the arena is beautiful. Gorgeous. Wide concourses which are open to the arena, plenty of delicious food, lots of friendly staff, and chock full of charming details. The usher guarding our section, wouldn’t let people in during play. When he did let them in, he chastened them to get to their seats and sit down quickly. I seriously wanted to marry our usher. He is possibly the best usher in the NHL. Everything about the Xcel experience was ten times more glamorous and more produced than at HSBC. From the gate, to the intermissions, to the way the players were introduced, to the look and feel of the actual space, everything is just slicker.  I cannot rave enough about the arena.

Sam got us incredible seats at center ice in the Club Level. In the Xcel Center, the Club Level means the single row of seats circling the arena above what we call the 200 level in Buffalo. Not only did we have a great view, but we were sitting at a little bar. Because there was no one behind us, we could stand up as much as we wanted, and no one had to shimmy by us to get to their seats. I can highly recommend watching a game at the Club Level at Xcel Energy Center.

Sam is making his “this game is not going well” face. We don’t know that weirdo behind us.

The game was…..well, it was…..not good. The Detroit Red Wings are a very good hockey team, and the Minnesota Wild were just not up to the task tonight. I seem to have a real knack for attending frustrating, slow games in which the home team looks brutally ineffectual. But, as we said as we were leaving the arena “It’s still hockey.” Bad live hockey is still better than no live hockey at all. In fairness, there was exceptional hockey at our game, it just wasn’t being played by the Wild. Stupid Red Wings.

It would be unfair to judge the crowd based on tonight’s game. The Wings were in complete control from start to finish and one lone goal at the end to the second period was our only real moment of celebration. Minnesotans are true hockey fans, and this game, like all of the games that have occurred since the Wild came into existence in 2000, was sold out. In Buffalo, I’m used to a pretty rough and tumble atmosphere, in Minnesota, things are a lot more manicured, for better and for worse. We were also sitting in some pretty expensive seats, and I’m willing to bet that things were a lot feistier up in the rafters.

So, there I was, sitting in amazing seats, in a beautiful arena, with one of my best friends…..watching a pretty shitty hockey game. Due to the slow pace of the Wild game, my attention began to increasingly drift towards the out-of-town score board. It was quickly deduced that the Sabres and the Flyers were playing a pretty good hockey game. Sam is a Flyers fan, so we had a lot of fun announcing the score to each other as the score crept higher and higher. Things seemed to rest at 4-5 (Flyers) for a long time, and that is where it was when our game (the one we were attending in person), entered the second intermission.

Sam and I headed out to the concourse and watched the last three minutes of the Sabres/Flyers game on the television with hoards of Wild fans milling all around us. I jumped for joy, along with my fellow and distant Buffalonians, when Vanek tied the game with 7 seconds left in regulation. Sam, understandably was less enthused than me, so he returned to his seat to watch the start of the third period. I stayed. I stood alone, in an empty concourse and watched overtime and the shootout. To the amusement of the guy manning the beer kegs, I did a little happy dance for the Sabres when Crunchy won the game. I am so proud of the Sabres and these games that they played against the Flyers. Surrounded by live hockey, in my home town, at a beautiful arena, my heart filled with love for the scrappy Buffalo Sabres. I had so much fun standing in that concourse watching the Sabres win. So. Much. Fun. (Sorry, Sammy. I’m sorry that it had to be against your team. I’m also sorry that your team is the Flyers, but that’s a post for another day.)

Here, Sam models my incredibly righteous souvenir. You wish you had a foam Minnesota Wild souvenir bear claw hand. Just admit it. But don’t be jealous; I’ll let you borrow mine.

All in all, it was a SUPER fun night. I ate a burger made out of a buffalo, I saw an incredibly beautiful arena, I sat in amazing seats, I found out that in person the Minnesota home jerseys do not look like elf costumes, I saw the best team in hockey, I got a feel for what NHL hockey in Minnesota is like, I bought a foam bear claw, I hung out with my dear friend Sam, my seats were guarded by the best usher in hockey, I got a free promotional puck, and best of all, I saw the Sabres win.

Hooray!

I Heart Booing

I have written a little about this subject before, but it’s been spread out all over the internets in various comment threads and emails. You can consider this post, The Official TWC Proclamation on Booing.

I heart booing. Booing might be the single most interesting revelation I have had as a passionate sports fan these last few months. Everything in my background and in my personality suggests that I should believe that booing is “mean”. When I thought about this weekend I thought, “I hope we don’t boo Danny,” but once the game had started, and I heard the boos, it really didn’t bother me. I have been consistently amused by booing this season, and last night’s game against the Flyers was no exception.

In my opinion, booing is just not that big a deal. I harbor no ill will towards Briere. I don’t think we will ever really know how much he did or did not want to stay in Buffalo, because the Sabres organization never negotiated with him. I don’t blame him at all for signing his big contract. People like to argue that booing is about lack of “class” or “vindictiveness” or “anger”. Having recently been a part of two booing crowds at HSBC arena (one of which was booing the Sabres), I don’t sense genuine anger from booing. Booing is just one gesture on the spectrum of expression available to a spectator, and it’s not necessarily abusive.

Like it or not, booing also fosters a sense of camaraderie among the fans. Booing isn’t for the guys on the ice, it’s for the people in the stands. Last night, it was more important to the crowd to assert themselves as Sabres fans, than it was to be “classy”. I’m fine with that. It’s an awkward thing, watching a former Sabre on the ice. We loved Danny, and many still do, but last night the people in HSBC wanted it known that they love the Sabres more than any one player. I don’t think it was about anger towards Briere. I think it was about passion for the team. You can say what you want about the people of Buffalo, but our passion for sports is beyond dispute. Daniel Briere still inspires passion. I assume that someday he won’t be such an emotional figure for the people of Buffalo, and when that day comes, we’ll stop booing him, but for right now, it’s impossible to ignore him out there. If we can’t cheer for Danny, we have to boo. That’s just how it is. Until someone invents a noise that is easily identifiable as “I respect you, and I wish the Sabres had resigned you, but you’re a bit of a slag-faced whore for becoming a FLYER, thanks for all the memories, good luck in the future, I hope the Flyers never win again”, our hands are a little tied. Our feelings about Briere are pretty complex, and a crowd is a blunt instrument when it comes to expression. I would definitely argue that the passion of the fans contributed to the high level of passion on the ice last night. Like it or hate it, the booing made the fans an active participant in the game, and it made the game more exciting.

Listen, I actually respect Briere enough to trust that he isn’t going to cry himself to sleep over being booed. For goodness sakes, it’s a sound. It’s not like the crowd was tossing molotov cocktails onto the ice. He’s making a buttload of money, and he’s a professional. I wish him nothing but the best. BOOOOOOOOO!

Marian Gaborik, Ranger Killer

I’ve decided that while I’m in Minnesota, I’m going to fully commit to being Wild fan. Watching or listening to the Sabres games while I am here would require saying ridiculous things like, “I know I haven’t seen you since last Christmas, but tonight I’m going to sit in the office and listen to the game on my computer. Please leave me alone.” It’s just not feasible, nor is it good for Katebits-family relations. So, I will not be watching the Sabres games this weekend.

I did however, watch the Wild play the Rangers last night on television, and all I have to say about that is “HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA”. Marian Gaborik was hilariously unstoppable, and the Rangers were just so feeble. I think my favorite part of the game was in the last few minutes, when the Wild had a two man advantage, and the players were sending goofy, unrealistic passes over to Gaborik instead of taking shots themselves. Towards the end of the game, the whole enterprise had turned into a Gaborik-centric spectacle. Awesome.


…A Blog About the Buffalo Sabres

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I can be reached at: willfulcaboose [at] gmail [dot] com

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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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