1. Well, the Pegula era began exactly the same way as the Golisano era ended- WITH ICE COLD WATER IN THE BATHROOMS. (And no, I will NOT stop talking about this. EVER. If you guys think I’m going to go easy on Pegula just because it was his first day on the job and because everyone loves him [for good reason], YOU’VE GOT ANOTHER THINK COMING.)
2. The pre-game ceremony was super fun last night. I don’t know much about the French Connection because I’m about ten years too young, because I’m from Minnesota, and because as far as I’m concerned hockey started in 2007, but it was neat, even for me, to see the French Connection skate out together. Also, it’s my understanding that Rene Robert has been all, “I hate you guys,” about the Sabres for a while, so I’m glad to see that he’s likes our new billionaire.
I really love the idea of an unforgettable and famous forward line, and I’m sorry I missed those guys.
But FYI, when I get really rich and buy the Sabres in 30 years, please do NOT send out old man versions of Vanek, Staffy, and Roy to surprise me at center ice. That would be SUCH a downer on my special day. Heh.
3. I can’t lie, for the first period and a half of the game I was worried that the Sabres were all, “Oh man. The water is still too cold in the ladies restrooms? Eff this new guy.” But they got all snazzy at the end of the second period, and the game turned into a rollicking good time. Thanks, Sabres!
4. Craig Rivet. Oh, handsome and manly Craig Rivet….
I haven’t written about Rivet much this season, possibly because of my natural inclination to look away from awkward things, but also because I’ve really liked always Craig Rivet, and it’s been difficult to watch his career fade away like this.
Craig Rivet has always been a good Sabre and an extremely likable guy. Obviously this season has been a rough one for him, but I admire his professionalism and the grace he’s shown in a difficult situation. I think it’s important to remember that when Rivet joined the Sabres there was a sense that the locker room was incredibly immature. Rivet was brought onto the team, and immediately made captain, to fill the leadership void. He did this job capably, and I think the Sabres are a better team for having had him among their ranks.
It’s a sad part of sports to watch a man age before your eyes, but I’m proud to have called myself a Rivet fan. I hope he finds another home in the NHL, and I wish him nothing but the best.
5. I hope Vanek is the next captain of the Sabres. When I first started watching the Sabres, Drury and Briere had just fled for richer pastures, and Lindy was in the middle of his famous rotating captaincy system. At the time, I didn’t understand why fans were so cranky about the rotating C, but after a few years of watching hockey, I’ve kind of changed my tune. The C is important. The guy wearing the C sets the tone for the team. Rivet was a good captain, but he just didn’t have the goods on the ice. Vanek has been a strong player and a responsible teammate for several years now. Give the kid the C, please.
I’ve heard lots of people argue that giving Vanek the C could backfire. I actually think this is true. Giving Vanek the C might be a disaster. HOWEVER, if the Sabres (as they’re currently constructed) can’t rely on Vanek for leadership they’re already completely screwed. Who knows, maybe Darcy is about to pull the next Chris Drury out of thin air at the trade deadline, but I seriously doubt it. For better or for worse, Vanek is our guy. If he’s NOT our guy, then the team has MUCH bigger problems than the captaincy.
To me, sitting in the stands, Vanek looks like he’s ready. I say it’s worth the risk.
6. It’s interesting how certain topics rear up on the intertubes, and then suddenly everyone is talking about some relatively random issue. A few days ago, Chris Jones wrote this post, and ever since then I’ve been seeing a lot of twitter chatter about the issue of cheering from the press box. (Here’s another interesting blog post on the subject from Jay Busbee.) Then today, Mike Schopp wrote this post, which is not about press box decorum, but it does address the issue of fandom as it pertains to people in the media.
As far as the press box goes, it’s very clear that cheering up there is extremely B-A-D M-A-N-N-E-R-S. I’m not a reporter, nor do I aspire to be a reporter, so I can’t claim to understand the rules, but if I ever (improbably) found myself sitting in the Sabres press box, I would of course abide by these rules. (I am a Minnesotan, and we are nothing if not polite.) But I do have to say, I’ve never really understood the reasoning behind the “no cheering” rule. I just don’t get it. I understand that cheering makes you look like an unprofessional rube, but I don’t see how cheering makes you a less effective writer. Cheering would offend the other reporters and it would make me look stupid, but I’m not sure I buy that it would make my writing worse. Of course, I’m not a professional… as evidenced by this blog.
I suspect it has something to do with objectivity, which brings me to Mike Schopp’s post.
I really like what Mike wrote. Mike’s job (as I see it) is to share his opinion and to help shape the conversation among fans, so that certainly makes his perspective different than a print journalist’s, but it’s still refreshing to see someone admit that his job is easier and more fun when the Sabres are winning. And for as many times as I’ve heard Mike Harrington say it, I simply can’t fathom how a person can cover a team and not root for them to win. I understand that objectivity is a HUGE element of traditional journalism, but on a human level, and particularly when the subject is sports, I think it’s really odd.
So, I get it. Cheering from the press box is STRICTLY FORBIDDEN, and everyone who does it is an embarrassing fool, but I fundamentally do not understand how it makes you a less effective sports writer.