Archive for October, 2009

5 Surprises of the New Season

1. The Sabres are good at hockey! Whaaaa?  Up is down, and black is white.

I’ve read and heard a LOT of discussion about whether fans are “buying in” to the new Sabres.  Everyone is asking themselves the hard questions.  Do I believe these guys are for real?  Or, having been burned (hard) in the past, am I skeptical?  Do I believe?

My answers: Yes, yes, who cares.

The Sabres have been weirdly good at hockey so far.  I use the word weird because…..dude, I did NOT see this coming, and at the same time I’m not even slightly surprised.   The changes that Darcy made this summer seemed so inconsequential in the face of what appeared to be major problems, but somehow everything feels different.  They’re playing hard, they seem defensively responsible, and the scoring is balanced.  (The one major difference between this year’s fast start and last year’s fast start is that last year Thomas Vanek basically singlehandedly scored all the goals in the month of October.  This year, everyone is chipping in. [Seriously, TV had TEN goals in October last year. Wowza.)

I’m in no rush to declare that I believe this team is “the real deal,” but I’m oddly proud of them. (Surely my fandom is playing some role in this hot start, right?  The Sabres have been reading this blog for years, and that’s why they’re suddenly good.  They’re taking my advice!  My advice has consistently been “stop sucking,” and they’re FINALLY taking it.)  All I know for sure is that I’m really enjoying watching the Sabres play hockey.  Hockey is awesome.  Good hockey is, like, megaSUPERawesome.

2. Goose is a FACEOFF WIZARD!

My Goose Appreciation sometimes clouds my judgment.  I actually think I’m a little harder on Paul Gaustad because of my affection for him.  I’m overcompensating.  Truthfully, I’m always a little surprised when he turns out to be good at hockey.  I’m like, “Goose’s job is to be all handsome and blinky and to occasionally attack various Devils….YOU MEAN HE’S NUMBER ONE IN FACEOFF PERCENTAGE TOO?!”  Be still my heart.  (About the “blinky” thing:  Something about the way Goose blinks amuses me.  Whenever I watch a Paul Gaustad interview I wish someone would edit in a sound effect every time he blinks.  Goose’s blinks should sound something like this.)

3. The Hurricanes totally suck!

I was looking at the standings this morning (What?- looking at the standings is fun when the Sabres are 8-1-1!) and I was shocked to see that the Hurricanes are the suckiest sucks in all of Suckville for some reason.  I doubt it will last, but it’s still funny.

4. Mike Grier seems nice.

I wasn’t a fan yet during Mike Grier’s first tour of duty as a Sabre.  All I really knew of him was the way he left the team, which in the retelling sounds kind of diva-ish.  I always imagined Mike Grier tossing his hair on the way out of town, as if to say, “Not only do I not love you anymore, I never loved you in the first place.  Buffalo.”  I know, I know.   His reputation is one of a hard working, grinder, leader-y type, but I think I half expected him to pout his way through the season.  He’s been such a pleasant surprise.  One of the funnest things so far this season has been watching his very charming and smiley goal celebrations with Tim Kennedy.  Mike Grier is exactly who this team needed.

5. Tim Kennedy is badass, but not in the way I expected him to be badass.

I thought Kennedy was going to be a slick, speedy, pint-sized goal scorer, a la Danny Briere, but instead he’s a feisty, sometimes punchy, seems-right-at-home-on-the-third-line, defensive minded, pint-sized grinder.  I will give Lindy Ruff full credit for this one.  Putting Kennedy on a line with Grier and Hecht was a very clever move.

Surly

I am a Surl-a-saurus Rex.

dinosaur

Terrifying, I know.

Right before I moved, I said to myself, “Self, this is going to suck.  The house is not move in ready, and there is no way around the fact that you’ll be living in chaos for a few weeks. There is nothing to be done but grin and bear it.”  So, with the knowledge that everything would certainly suck for a while, I took pains to ensure that I had a few comforts so that I could relax in my new house, even in the midst of chaos.  One of those comforts was DirecTV (so far I don’t miss Versus, but ask me again in a few weeks when the Sabres are on and I can’t see them), the other was DSL.  Well, the DirecTV is humming along quite nicely, but the internet is NOT.  What I’m trying to tell you is that even though I called Verizon THREE WEEKS ago to set up DSL service “as soon as possible” I still have no interwebs at my house.

Now, ordinarily I’m a “roll with the punches” kind of gal, but I’m having a difficult time recovering from this setback because today was supposed to ROCK.  You see, today was the day I had circled on my calendar as the first Sabres game I could watch in my new house with both my television and internet operating at full tilt.  Tonight was the night when I was going to ignore the chaos all around me, put down the paint roller, and blog my ass off while watching my favorite slug-clad heroes play hockey.

But nooOOoooOOoooOOoo.  There will be no live blog tonight.

The good news is that even though it’s a crazy scene right now, homeownership is kind of a hoot.

AOB1346

Home Sweet Disgusting Home.

The other good news is that as soon as I get the interwebs, I will return to blogging about hockey and stop droning on and on about my death trap house.

The OTHER good news is that the Sabres have been extremely sassy lately.  They’ve been so sassy that I have almost nothing to say about them.  Tim Kennedy’s roster photo pretty much sums up my feeling about the Sabres of late.

Tim Kennedy makes me laugh

Adorable little angels.

In closing: I have no interwebs, my house is strangely lovable despite being filthy, unpainted, and most likely about to fall down, and the Sabres are so good at hockey that I have nothing to bitch about as far as they go.

According to Verizon, the interwebs should be up at and running at Casa de Katebits on Friday, but they’ve made promises before.  We’ll see.

3 Things

1. I didn’t see much of the game tonight because I was working, but it turned out to be one of those evenings where being at work enhanced the game experience.  I got word of Staffy’s last second heroics on stage during the applause at the end of the concert.  A handful of us scurried down to the break room to watch the final minutes of overtime and the shootout.  Those kinds of wins are fun in the break room.  WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!  The Sabres are never going to lose again!

2. Tyler Myers with the shootout win.  Sweet, tall, oddly-foxy, wonderful Tyler Myers.  I hope he never leaves us.  And I hope he never start sucking.  I wish there was a way to extend his trial period so we could watch him try to win this job forever.  We need to enjoy this period of Tyler Myers’ babyhood while we can.  He’ll grow up in an instant.  (Look at me getting all sentimental!  I’m sure I’ll be calling him a slag-faced whore in no time.  Heh.)

3. Have any of you ever sanded your own hardwood floors?  (That question sounds weirdly dirty to me right now for some reason.)  I finally pulled up the (DISGUSTING) carpet in the living room and discovered that my floors….need some work.  I’m tempted to go for it.  How hard can it possibly be?

Dear NHL,

Scheduling all 30 teams to play at the same time is neither cool nor sassy.  It’s incredible lame.  It’s like broadcasting an entire new season of Mad Men on ten different channels during the same 3 hour period.  It’s like eating all three meals at lunchtime.  It’s like sleeping for 48 straight hours and then trying to stay awake for the next five days.  It’s the stupidest plan in the world.

Sincerely,

Katebits

No Blogging Required

I know that this blog has been total donkey butts lately, but I’m busy and sore, and most often covered in paint.  I promise to pick it back up around here once my furniture in is the same place as my internet access.  Until then, I’ll just keep doing the “This made me laugh” style of blogging that is the hallmark of busy and lazy people.

This made me laugh:

Darth Vader

So much to love.

Thanks Empty Netters for bringing this to my attention.

(While you’re gazing in awe at Darth Vader dropping the puck, and laughing outright at Craig Rivet’s expression, don’t forget to notice that the Panthers appear to have a BABY PANTHER mascot.  I really want a baby Sabretooth now.  [Please do not confuse that with "I want to have Sabretooth's baby," because I assure you, that is not the case.])

So Tired

I am in the middle of moving into my new house (and by “new” I mean “old and rickety” and by “middle of moving” I mean “painting and trying to figure out how to use all the tools I now own”).  I’m not technically living in the house yet, and it still has no cable or internet service.   When I’m there (which is every minute that I’m not sleeping or working), I feel very cutoff from everything, including the Sabres.

Tonight I got to do something that I’ve been looking forward to doing since I first put the bid in on this house.  I spent the evening painting and listening to the Sabres on the radio (I don’t have my DirecTV hooked up yet).  It was awesome.

Good Luck in Boston, Pie.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I’m quite aware that Daniel Paille really hasn’t been working out, and I’m sure the Sabres will be just fine without him, but I am a little confused about how he fell so far from grace.  I’ll be honest, I was surprised that he started the season so far in the dog house that he wound up in the press box.  To me, Paille and MacArthur have been somewhat interchangeable for the last few seasons (not necessarily their style, but certainly their worth), and yet somehow over the course of five games, Clarke MacArthur has established himself as This Year’s Breakout Sabres Darling, and Paille has been traded for a third round draft pick.

I consider myself to be a fairly observant Sabres fan but somehow I got all turned around in this situation.  If you had told me a month ago that I had the choice to keep either Paille or MacArthur, I’d have picked Paille.

It goes to show what I know!

The Lady Doth Protest Too Much

Here is one of those Ryan Miller quotes that just makes me laugh and laugh and laugh…

On goalie interference and the Scott Gomez incident:

The collision tactic may be annoying, but Miller says he doesn’t let it get to him, either.

“I’m not going to snap and lose it,” he said. “It can be a fine line, but I don’t think anybody’s trying to hurt me. They’re just trying to gain an advantage in the game. I don’t take it too personally. I don’t get too mad about it.

“I don’t have Scott Gomez’s picture up at my house, staring at it while I eat dinner, working up enough psychotic energy to go slash him in the throat. That’s not the case.”

Seriously, Crunchy.  No one is buying it.

Cautiously Optimistic

I’m trying really hard to temper my response to the Sabres’ hot start, but they’re making it difficult.  They are so feisty! So scrappy!  So seemingly capable!  Plus, they’ve treated me to two exceptionally fun nights in the arena this week.  Detroit was obviously great because of the overall ass kicking domination, and the Islanders was one of those sloppy games that are enjoyable as long as the home team comes out on top (which they did).   The thrill-seeking fan in me is bursting with joy. “They’re so good!  This time they’ve really changed!  They’re never going to suck both offensively and defensively at the same time again!”  WE’RE GOING ALL THE WAY!”  The cautious realist in me is trying very hard to be stingy with the praise.  “Yeah, yeah, this is what they did last year too.”  I even went so far as to read my archives from last October and November in an attempt to put this all in perspective.  (Seriously, you guys.  This is exactly what they did last year.)

What I’m trying to say is that while I’ve LOVED love love loveloveLOVED watching the team these last few weeks, I’m reserving judgment.  They sure seem different this year, but I’ve been burned by them before.

There is, however, one element of this team that has not yet let me down.  That element is the delightful Tyler Myers.

I will NOT reserve judgment on Tyler Myers.  The book is IN on him, and every single page says “Tyler Myers is fucking awesome.”  I know I’m preaching to the choir here, but Tyler Myers is WONDERFUL to watch out there on the ice.  Last night last there was a moment when he brought the puck in over the blueline, involved himself in a legitimate flurry of offensive chances, swung around the back of the net, and was somehow in place to deal with the rebound.  His efforts didn’t amount to a goal, but as the play was unfolding I actually squawked, “Oh my God, I can’t believe how awesome Tyler Myers is.  I CAN’T BELIEVE HOW AWESOME HE IS,” and everyone sitting around us turned to nod in awe. There is something about his playing (and the fact that he’s eleven feet tall) that demands attention.  I can’t take my eyes off him in the arena.

I’m kidding of course when I say “the book is in” on Tyler Myers.  It’s only been a few games.  He’s so young.  It’s a long season.  There is no conceivable way a nineteen-year-old can just plop down in the NHL without some growing pains and some bumps along the way.  But still.

In the last two years we’ve endured a lot of crappy hockey from this team while being told that they have “potential”.  How many times have we heard things like, “The potential is there, but we’re just not executing.”  We’ve become desensitized to the word “potential,” but it’s a difficult concept to ignore right now because Tyler Myers exudes it.  He’s pure and untouched (heh) by the general suckitude that has surrounded the Sabres for the last two years.  All we know about Tyler Myers is his potential.

I find it difficult to look at this roster and think, “They’ve changed,” but having a kid like Tyler Myers on the ice sure helps.  (Mike Grier helps too.)  I’ll be honest, I didn’t see this good start coming, and as a fan, it’s been a welcome treat.

History has taught me not to lose my head over the Sabres right now, but I am willing to say something I didn’t think I would be saying five games into the season: The potential is definitely there.

3 Things

1. When I got to work today everyone was all, “Were you at the game last night?!”  It made me so happy to say, “YES, I WAS AT THE GAME ANDITWASTHEMOSTFUNEVER!”  In the two years since I started going to hockey games, I’ve never managed to catch one that was quite that exuberant.  I’ve seen lots of fun games, but last night was special.  It was the Red Wings, and the Sabres kicked their asses, and it was the inauguration of our seats.  WOOOO!

2. I told my friend Janz at work yesterday that I’d read that there’s going to be a swingers convention on Grand Island this weekend, but apparently he didn’t hear the part where I said, “at the Holiday Inn,” because he was quiet for a second and then he said, “But what if you live on Grand Island?….That’s not cool.”  It delights me that for a brief second Janz thought all of Grand Island was going to be transformed into a free-for-all orgy, as if suddenly the streets would no longer be safe for monogamy.  We ironed out the miscommunication pretty quickly, but it was funny while it lasted.

3. One of the things I love about Lindy Ruff is my sneaking suspicion that he likes to eff with us from time to time.  I wish I could say that when I tweeted this to Mike “Every Blogger’s Favorite TBN Guy” Harrington it was because my finely tuned Ruff-bullshit-detection skillz sensed that something was amiss, but alas, I cannot.  I just wanted to make a blowhole joke. (Blowhole jokes are never not funny to me.  In fact, I’ll probably make a blowhole joke every time Vanek is injured for the rest of his career.  As far as I’m concerned, there is NO Vanek injury that a blowhole can’t cure.)  But, I love it when my jokes turn out to be clairvoyant, especially when it means that Vanek is not about to miss weeks (weeks).  Hooray!


…A Blog About the Buffalo Sabres

Observations 2
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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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