Archive for the 'Appreciation Day' Category

It’s Ted Black Appreciation Day!

Regular attenders of Sabres home games know that the water that comes out of the bathroom sinks at HSBC Arena is not merely cold. That water is otherworldly. No water has ever been as cold as HSBC water. Ever. (Not here on earth, at least).

I’ve bitched about this issue once, or two million, times on this blog. I even put it in the Sabres Suggestion Box.

Please watch this super cute video made by Jessica Pegula. If you don’t want to watch the whole thing, just skip to the 2:28 mark.

YES.  YOU HEARD THAT CORRECTLY.

That was Ted Black, President of the Buffalo Sabres, acknowledging the cold water situation.

!

And while he didn’t say this directly, I’m pretty sure I detected an undercurrent of, “Your hands will never be cold again, Katebits” in the twinkle of his eye.  (Incidentally, I’m not the woman who approached Ted Black about the bathroom water at the game on Sunday.  I absolutely would have whined to him about my cold hands had I seen him there, but I didn’t.  If you’re the woman who bravely alerted Mr. Ted Black to this important issue, you should call me because obviously we’re potential BFFs/soulmates.)

I’ve written a lot in the last few weeks about how different everything feels as a Sabres fan since Pegula took over.  Really, it’s almost like rooting for a different team.  Never in a million years, not in our wildest dreams, could we have predicted that the new Sabres ownership would be so responsive, so enthusiastic, and so INSANELY CHARMING IN EVERY WAY.  I mean, really.  It’s pretty much ridiculous how well they’ve been doing.  They’re, like, comically good at this.

Terry Pegula is the billionaire who writes the checks, but Ted Black is the man who is actually reading the suggestions that we leave in the suggestion box.

I never had the simmering anger towards Larry Quinn that so many of you had, but even I have to admit, the difference between Larry Quinn and Ted Black is stark. (I suspect that Larry Quinn would personally glue my hands onto a glacier before he’d read my suggestions.)

So, let’s review the evidence:

1. Reads and responds to our suggestions
2. Has basically said ALL the right things WHILE using a tone of voice that makes us believe him
3. Seems waaaaay nicer than Larry Quinn.
4. Cares about our cold hands

There is only one logical conclusion to make: Ted Black is a dreamboat.

HERO.

It’s Ted Black Appreciation Day!  *throws confetti*

I’m not exactly sure how warm water in the women’s restrooms will lead directly to a Stanley Cup, but I have complete faith that it will.  WE’RE ON OUR WAY, PEOPLE.

Thank you, Ted Black!

It’s Tom Golisano Appreciation Day!

When gleefully entering into a new relationship it’s easy to get caught up the new romance.   Terry Pegula is currently overwhelming Sabres fans with tales of his mighty bank account and (alleged) enthusiasm for our beloved team.  We’re flush with excitement and trembling with anticipation.  Instead of listening during math class, we’re all drawing little heart on our Trapper Keepers, and in those hearts we dreamily spell T-E-R-R-Y.

But to allow ourselves to drift unconsciously into a new affair would be a mistake.  It’s important to look back at where we’ve been so that we can honor the past, learn from our mistakes, and ultimately live happier, and more winning lives.

It’s Tom Golisano Appreciation Day!  *tosses confetti and blows a kazoo*

________

Many years ago, while nursing a broken heart (a real one, not a hockey one), I had a brilliant idea to start a dating service called….wait for it….Rebound.  The way it would work is this: The broken-hearted fill out a form, detailing how and why their previous relationship failed, and then my team of experts matches that person with an emotionally safe “rebound” relationship. Rebound strives to match people who are in complimentary stages of a break-up.

The underlying premise of Rebound is that rebound relationships are almost always temporary and that the absolute BEST cure for broken-heartedness is to just suffer through it (albeit with the help of lots of mopey music and red wine). But the trouble with a broken heart is that you’re always lonely, and loneliness makes you reach out to inappropriate people.  Rebound relationships can be fun, but they can also just make everything messier and create more and MORE broken hearts as innocent bystanders are sucked into the I-need-someone-but-I’m-not-ready-for-anything-real vortex.  Loneliness combined with emotional instability can cause all SORTS of problems (I’m pretty sure it’s the reason Rome fell, actually).

This is where Rebound steps in.  We’ll hook you up with the person who will leave the LEAST amount of emotional damage while also providing the minimum amount of companionship required to survive the broken heart.

It’s science!

________

When Tom Golisano showed up on the scene the Sabres were a pathetic mess.  Paychecks were bouncing, people were being hauled off to jail, and Gary Bettman (Gary Bettman!) had to take over in order to save the Sabres from themselves.   For a while things were so bad that the Sabres were talking about moving to another city (any city) to escape the pain that John Rigas left behind.

And then, just when the Sabres were hitting rock bottom (they were listening to “Torn” by Natalie Imbruglia on an endless loop while crying into their boxed wine and posting morose song lyrics to their Facebook page), Tom Golisano showed up.

While the Sabres were with Golisano, everything stabilized.   The Sabres got good, everyone stopped talking about moving away from Buffalo, and as a city we remembered how to love (hockey) again.  Golisano was a rock.  He was there for us.  We  trusted him not to screw us over by moving the Sabres away, which is a level of emotional stability we desperately needed. Tom Golisano made hockey cheaper and more fun.  And, in spite of his shortcomings, he really did do the best he could with the team.  People called him cheap, but that was never really true.  He wasn’t cheap, he just never felt passionately about winning hockey games.  There’s a difference.

Sure, there were problems.  His friends kind of suck (we certainly won’t miss having Larry Quinn lounging around the house), and as the relationship wore on, Golisano got increasingly distant.  Tom got all wrapped up in politics in a really annoying way, and at one point he made a big stupid show out of “moving to Florida and taking my tax dollars with me!”  Inevitably, things had to end, as we always knew they would, and ultimately we’re both ready to move on.

After the Rigas fiasco, we were not ready for Terry Pegula.  We needed time to re-discover that hockey is fun, and that we like going to the arena, and that even though we think Darcy and Lindy are mega-awesome we don’t necessarily have to keep them forever.  We needed room to make some mistakes (oopsies!  Sorry we severely undervalued you, Daniel Briere!), and learn from those mistakes (just because we blew it on Briere does NOT mean we should overcompensate by signing Drew Stafford like we did with Tim Connolly).  We’re older and wiser now.   We’re ready for the real thing.

That’s the beauty of a good rebound relationship- both parties are leaving the relationship happier and healthier than when we first got together.  Tom Golisano has more money, and we have a stable hockey team that will never ever move to Kansas City, Las Vegas, or Hamilton.  But even better than stability, we, as a franchise and as a city are ready to embrace the man who might ultimately prove to be the love of our lives, Terry Pegula.

It’s Tom Golisano Appreciation Day!

Tom, we wish you well.  We hope you find all the love and happiness you deserve down in Florida.  Thanks for showing up and buying the team at just the right time, but even more than that, thanks for selling the team.  Thank you for agreeing that it’s time we both move on.  We are a better franchise for having loved you.

P.S.- Good luck with Monica Seles.  She’s way too young for you and frankly, we’re prettier.

It’s Patrick Lalime Appreciation Day!

When the Hockey Gods bestow upon us such a wonderous game, it is not for us to ask why.  It is our job to give thanks and to do our best to honor the Hockey Gods by living a life in devotion to their cryptic teachings.

Thank you oh mighty Hockey Gods.  Amen.

But, if we DID ask “why?”, if our feeble human hearts were so moved by the gift of a three-goal-deficit-come-from-behind-win-against-the-freaking-Penguins-of-all-teams that we could not stop ourselves from wondering…how?, this is what we would ask:

WHAT in the name of Lindy Ruff has come over Patrick Lalime?!

He went from Player-Most-Likely-to-be-Accidentally-Left-Behind-When-the-Team-Bus-Leaves-the-Hotel to BELOVED HERO in the blink of an eye.  It’s wonderful, and it’s making me feel like anything is possible.  I mean, if Crunchy can be chased by the Penguins, and then Patrick Lalime can be such hottie-pants in relief that the rest of the team has no choice but to get inspired, well, anything is possible.  I’m dreaming big, and I have Patrick Lalime (and the Almighty Hockey Gods- Amen) to thank for it.

It’s Patrick Lalime Appreciation Day!  *tosses confetti*

As Kevin wrote about yesterday, as Ryan Miller goes, so go the Sabres, but…..what if that’s not entirely true? What if Crunchy can afford to rest his scrawny bones from time to time (or to suck ass occasionally) and the Sabres can still win?  It boggles the mind.  It’s a situation I have never experienced as a Sabres fan.  It feels like a miracle.

So, today we celebrate Patrick Lalime who’s been quietly lying in wait on the Sabres bench with nary a complaint.  Thank you Patrick Lalime for helping to create this buoyant surge of Sabres-related happiness.

In honor of Patrick Lalime Appreciation Day, I would like to present Patty with this set of slightly smaller dentures…..

Patty is an EXTREMELY handsome man, but he looks like he’s wearing the wrong size teeth.  His teeth are juust a tad too big.

…..and two warm fuzzies:

When I was in elementary school (probably first or second grade) my class actually used these yarn pompoms (we called them “warm fuzzies”) as school-endorsed currency.  If you were really well behaved, or particularly kind in some way, the teacher would give you a warm fuzzy.  Then, we were allowed to trade our warm fuzzies amongst ourselves.  We were encouraged to give and recieve warm fuzzies as a symbol of love and friendship .  I know it’s cheesy, but warm fuzzies actually make me feel warm and fuzzy inside- which is why I’d like for Patrick Lalime to have two of them.  Two warm fuzzies from the bottom of my heart.

Be Thankful. Be Safe. Chow Down.

punkin pye

I love Thanksgiving.  It’s delicious, it’s wholesome (what with all the thankfulness), and it’s often hilarious (what with all the fun people and the alcohol).   I’m also really attracted to the (totally bizarre if you think about it) idea that everyone in America is eating the same food at the same time. That never ceases to trip me out.  Thanksgiving is the best.

I am so thankful to have discovered hockey, and more importantly, hockey fans.  Thanks guys.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

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.

It’s Chris Butler Appreciation Day!

Okay, I know that this is a rough time to be a Sabres fan, and lord knows I haven’t been lightening the mood with my four day I-WANT-THE-MOST-POPULAR-MAN-IN-BUFFALO-TO-LOSE-HIS-JOB-athon, but tonight, I ask you to join me in setting aside our petty Sabres frustrations.  Tonight, we must celebrate Chris Butler.  We must do it with genuine enthusiasm, and we must do it with joy and love in our hearts.

It’s Chris Butler Appreciation Day! *tosses confetti*

To explain:  This evening, along with 18,690 of my closest friends I trudged into HSBC Arena to watch the team I love take on the Flyers.  You all know the results.  It was pretty brutal.  I attended the game with Heather B, who is always good company, so in spite of the game, I still managed to have a good time.

One interesting side effect of my resent Sabres-related disgust is that I seemed to have reached some type of tipping point.  I think it happened after the Atlanta game.  I just don’t have any more rage, or frustration, or sadness to devote to the Sabres this season. I’m all tapped out.  I really don’t think these guys can hurt me again until October.

BUT, as it turns out, I still have a little joy in the tank.  I know!  Weird!

I had a genuinely good time tonight.  I had fun when the Sabres scored, I groaned when the Flyers scored, and Heather and I had a good time ragging on the team.  It was fun.  (And it really wasn’t until the third period that the Sabres fully tanked, so we got two solid periods of entertainment before things got ugly.)  Anyway, it was a relief to realize that I can still go to the arena, and enjoy hockey, and hang out with my friends without taking every single game so effing seriously.  I’ve let go, and I feel so much better as a result.

So, there we were, fifty-nine and a half minutes into the game with our good spirits intact.  The Sabres were losing 6-3, and as the final seconds ticked away, out of nowhere, they scored.  Obviously, this was a totally meaningless goal, and to their credit, the Sabres on the ice barely reacted.  There were no triumphantly raised arms, there were no fist pumps.  Heather and I actually couldn’t figure out who scored the goal from the replays on the jumbotron, and because of the lack of reaction on the ice, we couldn’t tell from the players either.  We just figured that it was nothing goal.

Well, as I’m sure you all already know, that was not a nothing goal.

That goal, scored at 19:58 in the third period was Chris Butler’s first NHL goal.

That. Sucks. So. Hard.  Just when I think think I’ve escaped any further Sabres pain….they suck me back in.

POOR CHRIS BUTLER!  His first NHL goal came in the final seconds of THIS game?!  The fans, were literally BOOING the team at the time that he scored his first ever goal.

The fact that his first goal occurred in these circumstances is NOT COOL, and Chris Butler deserves better.

One of the things I have meant to do literally all season, is write a post in praise of Chris Butler.  I really like this kid.  He’s so bright and articulate in interviews, and for a rookie, he’s really done a nice job this year.  No, he’s not perfect, but in a season brimming with dull hideousness, I really think Butler’s been a bright spot.

For MONTHS now I’ve been meaning to sing his praises, and to encourage my younger readers to adopt him as a possible crush-worthy Sabre.  He’s a little dopey looking, but in a cute way.  Plus, he’s got Kirby Puckett’s jersey number which probably means very little to you, but to me, #34 is a good sign.

I FULLY endorse Chris Butler, and I give him the coveted TWC, “Cutie Pie Stamp of Approval.”

chris-butler1

Approved

After he scored, he had to do the mature thing.  He couldn’t celebrate, he couldn’t even raise his arms in surprise.  Nothing.  He had to continue skating forward, emotionless.  (And for the record, I give him a lot of credit for pulling it off.  Mark that down as another reason to love Chris Butler: “Has the maturity not to make an ass of himself celebrating personal accomplishments while in the context of a team failure.” Check.)

So, today is Chris Butler Appreciation Day!  Today we honor this fine young gentleman who was cheated out out of a celebration that he truly deserved.  Let’s forget about the game, and Lindy, and the playoffs, and focus on Chris Butler.  A first NHL goal only comes along once.  Chris Butler may not have been able to celebrate on the ice, but we can now, on his behalf.

Chris Butler, we salute you!

Tim Connolly Appreciation Day!

WOOOO!  It’s Tim Connolly Appreciation Day!

Now look.  I’ve never been a big fan of Timmy.  By all eyewitness accounts, he’s 100% yucky and I’ve never seen him conduct an interview without a sneer on his face.  He’s constantly hurt, and when he’s not hurt, he’s skating around with his head down.  My fandom began in earnest at the beginning of last season, and in the time I had NEVER seen anything from him that justified the city-wide Timmy-is-a-smooth-headed-God-when-he’s-healthy-itude that we have going on in Buffalo.  Sure, he had his moments last year, but honestly, even when he was healthy, he seemed scarily similar to Max.  All flash, no finish, turnover machine.

I have seen the light.

He may be yucky.  He may be made out of construction paper and scotch tape.  He may be only one hit away from spending the rest of his life in a nursing home.   But Tim Connolly is VERY good at hockey.  When he’s healthy and confident, he’s not just good, he’s phenomenal.  I would go so far as to say he’s riveting.  He was riveting last season too, but more in a “Oh sweet baby jesus, Timmy is going to die.  LOOK OUT, TIMMY!  GET YOUR HEAD UP, YOU EFFING IDIOT. I DON’T WANT TO BE SCARRED FOR LIFE AFTER I WATCH STAFFY DEVOUR YOUR SPILLED BRAINS ON THE ICE,” and less in a, “Wow.  Timmy is like a grand master chess player…only hockey-style.”

So, against all odds and reason, today is Tim Connolly Appreciation Day.  I think it’s unlikely that Timmy will be a Sabre next year, so I’m just going to enjoy him while I can, if only so that I can nod in agreement when all of you longtime fans wax philosphical about what might have been.

In honor of Tim Connolly Appreciation Day I would like to present Timmy with this hazmat suit…..

hazmat1Actually, this suit is more for the ladies on Chippewa than it is for Timmy.

…..and this set of hockey safety equipment….

hockey-dryer-rack

Believe it or not, Timmy, but there are actually a wide variety of hockey products available that are specially designed to keep you safe.  Perhaps you should LOOK INTO THEM.  (The cage might not be a bad idea.)

Be well, Timmy.  I like to watch you play hockey.

Thank You Miss A!

A few weeks ago I got the BEST little note in my locker at work from a high school student whose orchestra was playing at Kleinhans. This girl noticed my locker and took it upon herself to write an incredibly sweet note (written on back of a “tuning tendencies” worksheet) for me to find the next day. I’m in the process of reorganizing my office stuff, and I found the note on a stack of papers. It was just as lovely to read today as it was a few weeks ago. I should have done this sooner, but I want to send a hearty thank you to “Miss A” (I’m not going to publish your name on my blog because I don’t have your permission and because I know you are in high school. I’ll err on the side of caution here, but I assume you’ll recognize yourself!) Your note made my day. There are a lot of reasons I love writing a Sabres blog, but getting awesome notes in my locker from badass-hockey-loving-musicians is very near the tippy top of the list.

Thank you, kind reader!

It’s Nathan Gerbe Appreciation Day!

Last night, a wee little fella was named “Most Valuable Fella in the Frozen Four”. The good news for us is that this wee fella, Nathan Gerbe, is a Sabres prospect! Hooray! He is only 3’7″, so he is in fact, quite wee, but I’m assured that he is very feisty.

In honor of our pint-sized collegiate hero, today is Nathan Gerbe Appreciation Day!

Our cupboards in Rochester are bare. We barely have any Pirate’s Booty in there, much less tasty prospects. Let’s get this wee fella signed to a rookie contract posthaste.

He’s totally tall enough, you jerks.

In honor of Nathan Gerbe Appreciation Day, I would like to present Mr. Gerbe with this matching linemate/sidekick……

Gerber (that’s surely what he’s called, right?) and Roy-Z shall be like two tiny peas in a pod.

…….and this picture of Bucky Gleason:

Just trust me on this one, Gerbs.

Happy Nathan Gerbe Appreciation Day, everyone! Drive safely!

Thomas Vanek Appreciation Day!

It’s Thomas Vanek Appreciation Day!

Aww. Our little slag-faced whore is growing up so fast! I have to admit, I wasn’t sure this day would ever come, but today we celebrate and give thanks for one Mr. Thomas Vanek.

All season long the Sabres’ interviews have been all about “leadership blah blah blah inconsistent blah blaaah blech blah HONK blah streakystreakstreak blahblah leadership leadership leadership.” Then one day, Vanek was all, “Fuck this. We’re getting into the playoffs, SO SHUT YOUR PIE HOLE BUCKY GLEASON, ” and then, just like the bearded fella in the Men’s Warehouse commercials, he turned to the camera pointed his finger and said, “Buffalo fans, come playoff time, you’re going to like the way you look. I guarantee it.” (Okay, that’s not exactly what he said, but that’s what he meant. I’m sure of it.)

Listen, for most of the season, Vanek has been grimacing his way right into the TWC doghouse, but I’m nothing if not forgiving, especially when a dude scores three goals in four minutes to erase a deficit and win the game.  The Willful Caboose is all about giving credit where credit is due.  (In fact, I might owe Tim Connolly a tiny apology.  It’s too soon to tell.)  Thomas Vanek was nothing short of dazzling last night.  He was bewitching.  He stepped up to the plate, and then he picked the plate up and threw it into the Lightning goal.  It would be insane to expect this kind of play with any regularity, but last night Thomas Vanek made me perk up and reset the bar for the rest of the season.

Depending on what happens with Soupy this week, certain people are going to try to tell us that the future of the Buffalo Sabres looks grim. I think Thomas Vanek would beg to differ. Today is Thomas Vanek Appreciation Day in honor of the guy we have locked up for the next seven (hopefully awesome) seasons.


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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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