Archive for the 'Pegula' Category

The Hangover

Scene: A bedroom. Noonish.

Duuuuude, what the hell happened last night?

My head hurts.

What day is it? July 2nd? Oh man… (sits up in bed, blurry-eyed, hair all askew)…did we sign some dudes?

(Looks over to the right.) Who is this dude? (looks on floor next to bed) Why is there a Leino Flyers jersey on the floor?

(coughs a few times, clears throat, gently closes eyes, considers just going back to sleep)

(slowly opens eyes)

(Looks down at hand. Brings hand up near face.) Why am I wearing a wedding ring? (Looks back at Finnish guy.)

(gently closes eyes)

(slowly opens eyes)

The last thing I remember from last night is hearing that Darcy was on his way to Mississauga… (rubs eyes)… wait… did we get Richards?

 

Ownership

I’m honestly stunned by the depth of emotion that I felt listening to Terry Pegula talk today. I’m such a new fan, and I’ve been doing this for such a relatively small percentage of my life. I can’t imagine what it felt like for some of you to listen to Terry Pegula this morning- you who have cheered for this team for as long as you can remember. It’s almost like a dream. He feels too good to be true.

_______

In some ways, it feels like Sabres fans have won the lottery. How did this happen to us? To this franchise? Where did this billionaire come from, and why did he choose Buffalo? It’s like a little fairy tale. Yesterday we were just a lowly servant girl, and today, here we are, in the ballroom, in a beautiful dress, with a prince on our arm. How did this happen?

On the other hand, it was shockingly easy to relate to Terry Pegula today. He’s not a prince that came out of nowhere. He’s one of us. He’s one of us who got very rich, and who now has the chance to live a dream we’ve all had. What could be more fun, and more joyful than buying the Buffalo Sabres? How incredible was it to witness such an accomplished man, overwhelmed with emotion by a dream fulfilled? And then, AND THEN, how thrilling to think, “That’s exactly how I’d feel if I bought the Sabres. I feel you, Terry Pegula. I really do.”

It felt like WE were buying the Sabres today.

I’ve been thinking a lot today about the word “ownership”. For the past few years under Golisano’s reign, it’s felt a little like the team owned us. In some sense, all sports fans are held captive by their love for their team. We have no control over the people running the teams that we love, and those people have every right to run things however they see fit. I believe strongly that Tom Golisano was, for the most part, a good owner. He kept the franchise healthy and robust. But we heard so much, too much, about the viability of the franchise, and insuring the future of the NHL in the region. We absolutely needed Golisano (and we thank him for the stability that he provided), but at the end of the day, he owned the Sabres, and we were just the customers. Winning was always secondary to the bottom line, and that was never a secret.

Today it felt like in some symbolic but significant way, ownership was transferred back to the fans. After all, Terry Pegula is one of us. He’s a Sabres fan. He stood before us and made us believe that for the first time in the history of the franchise, money is no object, and the only goal is a Stanley Cup.

Terry Pegula wants more from the players, and more from the coaching staff, and more from the scouts, and more from free agency, and more from trade deadline day. Tom Golisano always wanted more from us.

If Terry Pegula is to be believed, the success of this franchise will no longer be measured by the collective buying power of the fanbase. We, the fans of the Sabres, are more than enough for Terry Pegula’s purposes. From now on, success will only be measured in wins and losses, and hopefully someday, in Stanley Cups.

Today was a victory for Sabres fans. This new owner wants the same thing that we want, and he wants it just as badly. Hell, he might want it more. Terry Pegula said, “If I want to make some money, I’ll go drill a gas well.” This isn’t about money. This is no longer about money. This is now about the very same things that made all of us into Sabres fans. This is about pride, and love, and passion, and community, but most of all, this is about ownership of something beautiful.

What I realized today is that you don’t have to be a billionaire to own the best of the Sabres. But you do have to be a fan.

Welcome to Buffalo, Terry Pegula. We’re so happy that you are here. Let’s get to work.

Happy Pegula Day!

It’s a happy day, Sabres fans!  Today, at long last, our new owner/leader/chief/BFF ascends to the throne.  WOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!

All of the balloons we released in mid-July last year said, “Get here soon, billionaire-we’ve-not-yet-heard-of!  Get here soon!”  Our balloon-release/organized-wish-making WORKED, Sabres fans!  He got our messages, and now he’s HERE!

We’ve had a lot of fun with the approaching press conference on Twitter the last few days.  Only a crazy person would believe all of the hype about Pegula, but I’ve definitely enjoyed the sense of celebration among Buffalonians.  Who knows what the future actually holds, but this is one of those rare opportunities when dreaming big is totally warranted. I think Paul said it best last night when he said,

Don’t try and put Pegula in perspective now. Plenty of time for that in a few years. Just have fun with it now.

I’ll be celebrating Pegula Day in Canada, looking at reasonably priced furniture at IKEA, as the Hockey Gods intended for the people to celebrate Pegula Day.  But you can rest assured, I’ll catch up as fast as I can this afternoon.

A new era begins today.  WOOOOOOO!

Happy Pegula Day!

6 Things

1. I can’t believe that just yesterday I was all, “Oh, we should just enjoy hockey at face value.  Everything is wonderful.  Tra la la.  Totally calm about losing.  Peace be with you blah blah.”

I think what I actually meant to say is that the Sabres are TERRIBLE at hockey and that WE SHOULD DEFINITELY BE FREAKING OUT ABOUT IT.

When the highlight of the game is an EXTREMELY ill-advised, come-way-WAY-out-of-the-net-in-a-race-to-the-puck, move by your star goaltender, you know you just saw a game with a massive bullhonky factor.  (But that play was pretty fun. I got the feeling that Crunchy was sort of like, “Oh, fuck this,” right before he decided to go for it.  He was also VERY amusing at the end of the game in his desire to vacate the net for an extra attacker.  He did a lot of exasperated arm waving trying to get Lindy to give him the okay to skate to the bench.  His desperation to get off the ice was comical, because there were still two and a half minutes left in the game at the time. I suspect he just wanted to get off the ice because he was massively annoyed.  Can’t say I blame him.)

2. Tyler Myers.  WHAT IS WRONG WITH THAT GUY?  There was one shift tonight where he somehow managed to turn the puck over, like, a hundred times in a row. He’d get the puck, turn it immediately over, get the puck back, pass it directly to a Blue, get the puck back, trip over nothing, get the puck back… on and on …FOR, LIKE, HALF AN HOUR.

Look, I know he’s young, and young defensemen are supposed to be all erratic and nerve-racking, but honestly, he scared the ever-loving crap out of me tonight.

Someone needs to help him.  I’m not sure who that someone is.  Maybe a priest or a shaman.

3. Vanek and Staffy were poopy tonight, and they were poopy in the Leafs game.  They’re both fired.

4. The water in the women’s bathroom near my section (120) must be flown in from some sort of arctic spring, because it is the COLDEST WATER IN THE EFFING WORLD.

Please, Mr. Pegula.  Can we PLEASE have some non-allllmost freezing water?  I’m not asking for much here.  Tepid will do.

5. I have no idea why I’ve never thought to do this before, but tonight I snuck some chocolate-chip cookies from the Co-op into the arena in my purse.  It was an EXTREMELY good idea.  I can’t tell you how much a delicious cookie hits the spot during a game like that.  I don’t like most of the arena food, and I intend to sneak delicious snacks into the arena for the rest of my life.

Next Wednesday the snack will be Salt and Pepper Pistachios. If the game is terrible again, instead of sitting in your seat, stewing about how hard the Sabres blow, you should come by my section and enjoy some delicious nuts.

6. Before the game got all massively lame (i.e.- before it started) I had a very vivid moment when I imagined what it might be like to sit in the owner’s box on the day I bought the Sabres.  I imagined looking down at the sold out arena, and the team I love standing at attention for the national anthems, and thinking, “This is all mine.”  I really can’t imagine how fun that must be.

I also can’t imagine what it would feel like to watch that game thinking, “This….this…is all mine.”

Heh.  Welcome to Buffalo, Terry Pegula!

4 Things

1. Man, the Leafs sure do deliver, do they?  As most of you know, I’ve only been a fan for a few years, but in that time, the Sabres have absolutely OWNED the Leafs, particularly at HSBC Arena.  In a weird way, the Leafs are sort of our heroes.  Whenever we’re feeling down in the dumps because of an unsettling loss to the Penguins, in swoop the Leafs to dry away our tears.  It’s like clockwork.  Thank you, Leafs!

(Aside to the Hockey Gods: Thank you for your glorious Leaf-related bounty.  In no way, shape, or form do we as Sabres fans take your blessings for granted.  We approach every game that the Sabres play with reverence and respect, including the Leafs.  We do this for you.  Amen,)

2. A few days ago I tweeted that I’m excited that the Sabres will have a First Lady.  I was speaking, of course, about Kim Pegula, Terry’s wife.  This is something new for Sabres fans, because Tom Golisano is unmarried and  dates women 30 years his junior.  Monica Seles seems cool and all, but she’s no First Lady.  That’s for sure.

What I did not anticipate was the emergence of the Pegula daughters on twitter.

Now look.  I’m sure the Pegula girls are awesome.  Of this I have no doubt.  From what I’ve read, their tweets are fun and interesting.  And I can hardly blame them for enjoying the twitter-attention that suddenly came racing their way when their parents bought the Sabres.  Nor can I blame Sabres fans for being interested in the girls, because short of one brief camera shot of Pegula sitting next to Larry Quinn in Pittsburgh, we’ve had exactly ZERO exposure to Terry Pegula.  We’re desperate to hear about him and his family, and at first glance it was fun that his daughters were being so approachable on twitter.

But, you guys, these are teen-aged girls. I believe the oldest of the two is seventeen-years-old.  It’s NOT healthy, for them or for us, for a couple of teenagers to be our primary source of Pegula-information.  I am decidedly uneasy about this turn of events. 

When I decided to write about this issue, I included a whole section that listed in detail all the ways in which this was headed straight for disaster.  It started with, “sooner or latter Terry Pegula is going to do something that pisses people off, and it’s a TERRIBLE idea for people to have a way to air their grievances directly to his children,” it traveled through to, “some people are EXTREMELY RUDE online,” and it finished up with, “I don’t even want to THINK about the multitude of ways in which these young heiresses can be objectified by unscrupulous jerks.”  But, in the end I decided that all of those things are issues that the Pegulas will have to decide how to handle as parents.  It’s really none of our business.  The only thing about the Pegula girls on Twitter that really effects Sabres fans is this:  This deal is NOT YET DONE.  If somehow some sicko on Twitter manages to ruin this for everyone by harassing the Pegula daughters I am going to BURN THIS CITY TO THE GROUND WITH RAGE.  The LAST THING we need is Terry Pegula pissed off at us before the deal EVEN GOES THROUGH.

If I’m the Pegulas, (after rolling around naked in my bank vault of cash) I immediately grant an interview to take the edge off the curiosity in Buffalo, in the hopes that the local paper will not be so hard up for personal information about me that they link to the twitter accounts of my teen-aged children.  Then, I demand that my daughters lock down their twitter accounts.  And if one of the girls resists and refuses to privacy-protect her account, I tell them, “WELL THEN, NO MULTI-BILLION DOLLAR INHERITANCE FOR YOU, YOUNG LADY.”  And yes, I would shout at them in all-caps.  That’s how good parents do it.

AND GET OFF MY LAWN! *sprays twitter with the hose*

3. For the first ten (or so) years of my adulthood, I had absolutely no inclination towards gardening or houseplants.  I’d buy a cactus, only to watch it slowly die of thirst.  A cactus.  Dying of thirst.  On my watch.

Perhaps it’s just my withered old age, but I’ve gotten increasingly interested in plants, and now I probably have two dozen potted plants in my house.  I really think that plants are the absolute best way to cozy up a room.  Better than fancy carpets, better than beautiful artwork, a nice healthy plant says, “This is nice place to live!”

If at some point in your life you’ve been a plant killer, I encourage you not to give up.  Keep trying!  If you’re inclined to by plants, but have a difficult time keeping them alive, I suggest you invest in an attractive flowerpot for your new plant.  Flowerpots are inexpensive and really fun to shop for in my opinion.  I like the pots almost as much as I like the plants, and when I started buying pretty pots for my plants I immediately started taking better care of them.


This is my new plant.  I call him Sideshow Bob.  It cost $8, probably because it’s got some worrisome brown spots on its leaves.  Poor guy.

Hey, yellow-potted friend!


4. As I’m sure you’re aware, today is Superbowl Sunday, and, more importantly, today is the Puppy Bowl.  This year, Sabres fans should pay special attention to the Puppy Bowl, because we have a local contestant. This puppy’s name is Lindy. At the suggestion of someone on twitter who I can’t remember (although I suspect it was the fabulous and alluring @reigningfrog), I’ve spruced him up a bit.

Make us proud, Lindy.

State of the Onion, Part II

I find myself with an unfamiliar Sabres-related spring in my step this afternoon.  I’m, like, happy about them or something today.  Maybe “happy” is taking things too far.  It’s not happiness I feel, it’s a lack of these-guys-make-me-want-to-barf-ism.   Over the last few months, I’ve come to accept the Sabres for what they are (a mess), and along with this acceptance has come an unexpected sense of peace.

It’s been a bit easier to feel peaceful about them of late.  They really haven’t been all that bad.  8-3-1 in their last twelve games.  Sure, two of the three Islanders games were horror shows, but still, their recent record is their recent record.  They’re doing alright.  Yesterday afternoon I was shocked to realize that the Sabres are six point back, with three games in hand over the Thrashers.  That’s doable, you guys.  It’s not likely, but it is doable.

The thing that’s been most interesting about this stretch of non-suckiness is that they’ve done it with significant injuries to the corp of forwards.  It makes no sense that the team’s record improved as their top points guys started dropping like flies, but there you go.  I find myself watching these games with a kind of bemused detachment.  Like, “Huh.  Look at little Gerbe go.”  It’s nice.

I believe the main reason for this pleasing sense of not-quite-optimism is Terry Pegula.  I don’t tend to put much stock in the ramblings of Bucky Gleason, but the one thing we’ve been consistently told is that Pegula will eventually buy the team.  After that it’s anybody’s guess what Pegula will do, but it’s nearly impossible to imagine that he’ll be as checked-out as Golisano.  Even if Pegula keeps both Darcy and Lindy, at the very least, Larry Quinn will be out of the picture.  That’s not nothing.

As far as players go, next season Rivet, Niedermayer, Connolly, and Grier will almost certainly be gone.  The Sabres will have a new captain- one who presumably will not be in the pressbox for weeks at a time.  Connolly, the guy who drives us all batty with rage, will be driving some other fanbase batty with rage next season. (Imagine a Sabresworld without Connolly!  Just imagine!  I bet the air will smell sweeter, and the arena will be bathed in the warm glow of heavenly love, and little bluebirds will flutter down to perch on our fingers as we sing songs about how much we love the Sabres during the games.  Paradise!)  Obviously, Nieds has been a complete disaster, and thankfully, next year he’ll be gone.  And Grier, well, we wish him the best.  Thanks for your service, good man.  Now please, retire, and stop taking Luke Adams’ minutes.   The elimination of these four players from the roster is NOT insignificant, and by shedding these contracts the Sabres will be waaay ahead of recent years in the “addition by subtraction” category.  WAY ahead.

I’m also hopeful that the Sabres will find a taker for Drew Stafford at the trade deadline.  There are some people who advocate keeping Staffy, and to those people I say, “You’re wronger than anyone has ever been wrong.”  Read this post by Hockey Rhetoric and then come back here and say we should keep Staffy.  It’s time to turn the page on Staffy, just like we turned the page on MacArthur.  (Do you guy miss Clarke MacArthur?  I sure don’t.)

And these are all changes that we can reasonably expect even if Darcy stays.

If Darcy is canned, we’re looking at a whole new Sabres landscape.  I’ve always been curious to find out if the fierce loyalty that Darcy has shown Lindy is a two-way street.  Will Lindy even want to stay if Darcy goes?  I won’t even bother speculating on what kind of on-ice changes a new GM and a new coach might bring, because at that point we’re basically talking about a different franchise.  We’d be in no-man’s land.  Delicious, exciting, thrilling no-man’s land.

I guess what I’m trying to say is this: I really believe that things ARE going to be different next season.  I don’t see any way around it.  Even if Darcy stays, Tim Connolly and Larry Quinn are leaving. For the first time in my short fandom, the sense that “nothing will ever change” is gone.  I’m watching the Sabres differently now.  I’m watching with a more appraising eye.  In a weird way I’m grateful for the string of injuries because it’s given us the opportunity to get a good look at the young guys in the system.  I’m looking at the franchise as a whole, and I’m trying to figure out what we’ve really got here.  Watching the Sabres like this is refreshing and it’s fun, and most importantly, it’s different.  In that respect, the change is already beginning for me.

Barring some miracle, this season will not amount to much, but I’ve really enjoyed watching the Sabres lately.  I’m less preoccupied with wins and losses, and more fascinated by the individual efforts of particular players.  (You know who I’ve found downright riveting lately?  Sekera.)

The entrance of Pegula has allowed me to give up on the season without giving up on the Sabres, and that is a change I never saw coming.

State of the Onion, For Realsies.

You’ve probably noticed that I haven’t been blogging with the same zeal (comical rage-aliciousness?  passionate flabbergasttedy?) as I have in the past.  This blogging lull is for a variety of reasons, ranging from ordinary blog fatigue to dude-the-Sabres-blow-itus, but I am hoping it’s just a lull, not a permanent situation.  In the last month I’ve given some real thought to closing up shop on the blog, but I’m not there yet.  I don’t want to quit, and I especially don’t want to quit while the Sabres are being so…meh.

If I quit now, then Tim Connolly wins.  He will have beaten me.  That’s not going to happen.  Not on my watch.

So, we slog forward.  (See, right here is a perfectly decent excuse to keep blogging.  If I didn’t have a blog about the Buffalo Sabres, I would have considerably fewer excuses to use the word “slog” in public.  Not using the word “slog” is no way to live.)

I’m curious to find out how I’ll remember a season like this after a lifetime of fandom. (And please, if you happen to be there at my deathbed in 70 years [I plan on living until I’m 105], please do NOT ask me to spend any of my last moments on earth attempting to recall the 2010/11 Sabres. That’s no way to die.)  I suspect I’ll forget all about this season.  To be honest, I’m barely keeping track of them from one game to the next right now.  I had to think reeeeally hard this morning trying to remember the Sabres opponent at the game I attended with Heather three weeks ago (Ducks).  It’s not that I haven’t been paying attention (I still watch whenever I can, and I still want them to win), but that funny thrilling desperation for wins is very muted this year.  That tired expression, “Don’t get too high, and don’t get too low,” is….laughable this season.  The rally cry of the Sabres fan is more like, “Try not to fall asleep during the 2nd period.  Maybe lay off the boxed wine, you filthy lush.”

And that’s really all I have to say about the current state of the Sabres.  Well, that and, “Ryan Miller, I want to be happy for you and your starlet fiance, but seriously, your lack of crankiness is worrisome.  I realize it’s difficult to stay cranky when you’re sleeping with a super-mega hottie, but Crunchy, you must try.   Without your crankiness, I’m afraid you’re considerably less charming.  Your super powers in net seem to depend on you being an unhappy person.  That sucks for you, but you’ll have plenty of time to be happy after you retire.  I’m pretty sure I speak for all Sabres fans when I say- it’s time to ditch the woman you love.  Sorry!”

_________

But this Pegula thing is genuinely interesting.

I have high hopes for Pegasaurus if only because he might fire some people, and then, at the very least we’ll have a new set of problems to complain about.

Here’s a story to illustrate my point: Last year on trade deadline day, I ran into Kevin [of Bfloblog fame] at the arena.  He was making fun of me for being all gung-ho about our new Sabre, Raffi Torres.  It wasn’t that Kevin was anti-Torres, it was more that he had learned over time not to get too worked up over Darcy’s deadline acquisitions.  He found my enthusiasm amusing.  Now, Kevin was ultimately proved 100% right.  The correct response to acquiring Torres is NOT, “yay.”  Sweet baby Jebus, no. The correct response is, “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!  WHY GOD, WHY?!” with lots of fist shaking towards the sky.  But still.  I want to live in a world where giddy enthusiasm over a trade deadline acquisition is expected, not weird and misplaced.   Even if we wind up loathing the next GM with the passion of a trillion white-hot suns, we’re still going to enjoy a brief period of not knowing what to expect.  We’ll have tons to talk about, and tons to analyze, for better or for worse, and hopefully we’ll get at least one really interesting trade deadline day out of the deal.  (Sell, New Guy!  SELL!)

So, I guess what I’m trying to say is, just like everyone else in town, I’m pro-Funky-Cold-Pegula.  Very.

_________

Hey!  I just had a really good idea!  Maybe we can cheer Darcy Reiger up [presuming he gets fired] by giving him Ryan Miller’s fiance.  We can send Darcy off with a smile on his face, and we can piss Ryan Miller off, something fierce.  Two birds, one stone, you know?


…A Blog About the Buffalo Sabres

Observations 2
I can be reached at: willfulcaboose [at] gmail [dot] com

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