Archive for the 'Andrej Sekera' Category

Down the Line

I promised myself that I wouldn’t start analyzing the Sabres until they’d played ten games, but I can’t hold myself back because I LOVE THEM SO MUCH. I just want to line the Sabres up, and walk down the line, ruffle their hair one-by-one, and tell them each why I love them so. You know what?  That’s exactly what I’m going to do.

I doubt the actual Sabres are willing to stand in a line for me, so you’ll just have imagine the hair tussling.

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The Sabres, presented in the order in which I think of them, which is probably a pretty good indication of the order of their awesomeness:

Thomas Vanek- Thomas Vanek, I’ve written many, many, many times about how incredible it is to watch you when you’re “on”. You’re just spectacular. But this season feels a little different. You seem so joyful out there. Joy is the one thing that has always been missing from your game. I’ll admit, your visible frustration on the ice has always made me a tad hesitant to really believe in you as “The Guy.” I’ve been joking for YEARS that you need therapy, and I’m starting to believe that maybe this summer you finally got some. (And just FYI, if I were running a professional sports team, sports psychology would be a requirement for every single player on my payroll, so, my insistence that you get therapy is really nothing personal. I only bring up the therapy with you because of all the Sabres, historically you’ve seemed to be the most crazypants. I guess that part is a little personal.) At any rate, as I wrote last night on Twitter, when you’re cool, everything’s cool. So, keep up the good work, and do whatever your therapist says. That guy/lady is a genius.

Jason Pominville- Jason, you’re a Sabre who I’ve always loved unconditionally, so it’s super fun to see you being all captain-ly and top-line-y. I don’t know how you do it, but you are the only hockey player I’ve ever seen who somehow manages to look adorable no matter what you’re doing. That’s a compliment (of course).

Ville Leino- Last night was extremely good for our relationship, Ville. After your pretty pass to Pommers for the goal, I wasn’t just happy for me, I realized I was genuinely happy for you. That doesn’t happen with every goal (for example, I don’t think Derek Roy has ever scored a goal that made think, “Oh, I’m so happy for Roy-Z!” His goals are just the garden-variety, “Hooray! The Sabres just scored and this makes me, Katebits, feel joy in my heart). Ville, I want you to be an awesome Sabre, and I feel extreme confidence that you WILL be an awesome Sabre, so just hang tight, buddy. You’ve got this. (Also, you and McCormick were strangely good together last night. That was weird, thrilling, and totally unexpected.)

Ryan Miller- *fist bump and chin nod of eternal respect*

Drew Stafford- How you doin’?

Tyler Myers- *gets on a step-stool in order to ruffle Tyler’s hair* Hey there big guy! You seem to be either totally awesome or totally terrifying. Last night you were totally awesome and it was really good to see. Just try to be awesome most nights. But don’t worry. The team is better this year. Not everything will go straight to hell if you have a few bad games in a row.

Christian Ehrhoff- I love how you shoot, and I also like how your lips always look like you’re wearing a tinted lip gloss.

Luke Adam- Lu-kie! Lu-kie! Lu-kie! Welcome to Buffalo, kiddo! You’re doing great. Just keep working hard, and when in doubt in the gym or out on the town, do what Goose does. Speaking of Goose…

Paul Gaustad- HONK! Goose, I’d like to encourage you to casually undress in the background of all your teammates’ interviews.

Andrej Sekera- You’re probably my favorite skater on the team. Good job.

Brad Boyes- Um, this is a little awkward. Usually Darcy’s trade deadline acquisitions are gone by now, but… you seem to still be here. Hm…. Oooh, I know! You have a very pleasant-looking face. Don’t let anyone ever tell you otherwise, Brad Boyes.

Derek Roy- I’m not exactly sure what’s wrong with you but you haven’t looked like yourself yet this season. Maybe you miss Vanek? I’m not too worried because apparently the Sabres don’t really need you to be awesome in order to win games. I have faith that you’ll pull it together soon. And if you don’t, well… *shrug* We apparently don’t really need you to win games! (That might sound a little harsh. Roy-Z, I think what I’m trying to tell you is: don’t get frustrated. When you suddenly get awesome again, it’s just going to make the Sabres LITERALLY UNSTOPPABLE, but for the time being, your atypical-averageness isn’t really doing any harm.

Cody McCormick- You were surprisingly good with Leino last night! Nice job. Everyone in Buffalo likes to root for you already, but if you can be the catalyst for getting Leino on track, I think we might erect a statue in your honor.

Tyler Ennis- Look, Tyler. I can’t lie. I’m a little worried about you. I’m not like, freaked about you, but I’m concerned. You need to tone down the “dipsy-doodling followed by a blueline turnover.” Just tone it down. Also, could you please clarify something? Is this actually you? That looks a LOT like Ehrhoff’s head on your body to me, but after an in-depth twitter investigation, the consensus seems to be that is IS you. I’m still not convinced. Your thoughts?

Jhonas Enroth- YOU ARE AN ELVISH HERO! Most of the time I forget all about you, but every time I remember you I get an incredible burst of confidence. Seriously. You might change everything this season. That’s how important and awesome you are. You might change everything.

Nathan Gerbe- Rock on, lil Honey Badger. Rock on.

Patrick Kaleta- Hey, Patty. You haven’t provoked my ire at all this season. Good job. Every once in a while, I think you’re Vanek on the ice. That amuses me.

Robyn Regehr- I can’t say I have any strong thoughts or feelings about you, but actually, that’s probably a good thing. You seem cool. Thanks for helping Mylers be less spazzy. I’m not going to ruffle your hair because, a.) you’re pretty much bald, and b.) you seem too dignified for such things. I’ll just shake your hand respectfully, instead.

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Ah, that felt great! It’s fun to love the Sabres! I’m a little concerned about the future of this blog (nothing kills The Willful Caboose faster than a complete lack of over-the-top outrage), but we’ll make do.  I’m sure I’ll find something to complain about eventually, but for now, I love these little buggers.

Twitterless: Day One, Sabres @ Flyers

 

UPDATE:  Look at this hilarious photo of Pommerdoodle I found on Sabres.com.

TWUGS!

 

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- Right now I’m in my robe and slippies, watching the Sabre play the Flyers.  It’s currently 2-0, Flyers. Unfortunately, I really can’t say that watching the Sabres skate around like yahoos while the Flyers score at will is any more fun without Twitter than it is with Twitter.  And without Twitter, I have nowhere to log my complaints.

For example, wouldn’t Enroth have been the wise choice today?  Assuming the Sabres lose this game (and admittedly, it’s a little early to make such assumptions since it’s only the first intermission and it’s 2-0, Flyers, not 4-0), now the stinky Sabres kind of need to win tomorrow.  If Lindy had just played Enroth today, then even if they lose to the Flyers, he’d have a refreshed and recharged Crunchy in his back pocket for the Wild.  This isn’t rocket science, is it?

If Lindy plays Miller again tomorrow he should have to forfeit his yellow mustache to the Goalie Rotation Monitoring Guild.  No one that stupid should have possession of a mustache that magnificent.

Did you know that the Sabres now have a suggestion box?


- HEY, wait a minute!  I’m feeling INCREDIBLY negative about this game.  Maybe the Sabres make me angry because the Sabres are bad at hockey!  Twitter is innocent!

- WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!  it is SUCH a relief to see Vanek and Staffy combine to score a nice goal.  I think I’m going to suggest that they do that more often. (2-1, Flyers)

- What the hell just happened?  While I’m looking down, there is some sort of kerfuffle near the Flyers net, and I hear RJ say, “Well, I don’t know where the puck is, but Kaleta’s getting a penalty.”  When I look up, Goose is smiling and happily tapping Kaleta on the helmet.  I think to myself…”that doesn’t look like a, too-bad-we’re-going-on-the-PK helmet tap to me, RJ.”  And thus begins the most anti-climactic, slow-moving realization that the Sabres just scored the tying goal in the history of hockey broadcasting.  But the Sabres apparently just tied it!  Hooray! (2-2, tie)

- HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!  Andrej Sekera just skated all over tarnation and then scored a goal.  You really have to love Sekera. (3-2, Sabres!)

It's true. He's earned it.

BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!  I AM SO EFFING SICK OF SHORTIES!  DO THE SABRES HAVE ANYONE ON THE COACHING STAFF WHO IS CAPABLE OF FIXING THIS PROBLEM?  BECAUSE I CAN’T REMEMBER THE LAST TIME I WATCHED A GAME WHERE THEY DIDN’T EITHER GIVE UP A SHORTY OR REQUIRE THEIR GOALIE TO MAKE AMAZING SAVES DURING THE POWER PLAY.  BASICALLY, AT THIS POINT, I’VE GIVEN UP ON ROOTING FOR POWER PLAY GOALS AND ALL I DO IS HOPE THE OTHER TEAM DOESN’T SCORE DURING SABRES POWER PLAY.  THIS IS NOT HOW POWER PLAYS ARE SUPPOSED TO FEEL. (3-3, tie)

I WILL NEVER STOP SHOUTING ABOUT THIS. NEVER!


- Okay, I’m done shouting about the shortie.  This game is actually lots of fun.

- Okay, the third period is starting.  I’m scared!  Sabres, I really, really, really, really want you to win this game.  I REALLY WANT YOU TO WIN!  Come on you, guys!  You can do it!  I believe in you!  And when I started this post by assuming that you would lose, that was…Twitter’s fault!  Yeah, even though I’m not using Twitter today, it’s still coursing though my veins.  Twitter made me say it!… or something. *shifty eyes*  Look, I think we can all agree that the important thing is that I believe in you now.

- WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!  If I’d been on Twitter, about three minutes before Pommerdoodle scored you would’ve heard me say, “Pommers is really due for some heroics,” because I SWEAR TO LINDY RUFF, that’s what I was thinking.  That play was really all Vanek though.  Why isn’t Vanek the Captain yet? (4-3, Sabres)

Coaching is incredibly easy.


- I often wonder what it’s like to play in a game like this.  The Sabres just killed off a penalty (here’s a suggestion- don’t shoot the puck directly over the net, Crunchy), and my heart is POUNDING.  I’m, like, physically nervous.  Do the players feel like this?  Or is this just, “ho hum…killin’ some penalties” for them?

- Man I wish Ennis was six inches taller, and fifty pounds heavier.  He’s so fast, and so shifty, and if he had just a little more “oomph” on him, he’d be totally unstoppable.  The way he moves on the ice reminds me so much of Afinogenov, in both good in bad ways.  Good, because he’s dynamic, and difficult to control.  Bad, because, well, I pretty much expect Ennis to hold onto the puck for an hour and then pass it directly to a Flyer.  Thankfully, he’s not actually Max.  But I do wish he was bigger.

- The Sabres have been very capably locking it down since Pommers scored.  (Please don’t make me regret typing that outloud, Sabres.)

- WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!  With an empty net, Montador cleverly passes it to Goose, who cleverly passes it to Gerbe who taps the puck into the open net.  EVERYTHING IS WONDERFUL!  I LOVE THE SABRES! (5-3, Sabres)

- WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!  WOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

THE SABRES ARE NEVER GOING TO LOSE AGAIN!


- Have fun in Minnesota, you lovable, lunks.  Say hi to my Mom for me!


The Bandwagoner’s Guide to the Sabres, Part Two: The Defense

The concept of “the bandwagon fan” is very controversial, but I have a fondness in my heart for the new fan.  After all, it was at this time of year that I myself hopped on the Sabres bandwagon.  Every fan has to start somewhere, and often fandom is inspired by the playoffs.  The current Sabres may not feel like a bandwagon-y situation to a longtime fan, but I’m writing this series for the “Katebitses of 2007″; the guy or gal who is suddenly drawn to the Sabres, but doesn’t know where to begin.

Begin here, Bandwagoner!

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Okay, so yesterday we learned about the goalie.  He’s pretty self explanatory (“NONE SHALL PASS,” says the goalie, especially when your goalie is Crunchy.  If your goalie is Toskala, he’s more like, “Oh sure.  Come on in, pucks.)

But what about all the skaters?  To the untrained eye, it looks like a gobbledy mess out there (actually, it looks like that to the semi-trained eye too), but the skaters do have defined roles.

One of those roles is, “the defenseman,” or, for our Canadian friends, “defenceman”.  (Canadians are weird.)

Part Two: The Defense

It’s the job of the defensemen to help guard the net by actively battling with the other team’s players.   Ideally, the defensemen skate around, hitting the other teams forwards and snatching the puck in order to scoot it out of harm’s way.

At any given time, two out of the five skaters on the ice are defensemen. If you’re having trouble spotting the defensemen, look for the guys skating backwards.  That’s usually them.  They’re also the guys who are hanging back at center ice when all the action is down in one end.  When I first started watching hockey I used to get cranky thinking,”That guy is just standing there at the blueline doing nothing. He should go try to score a goal.  Dumbass.” But then I was always pleasantly surprised when the play turned around and there were still Sabres between the other team and our goal.  “Toni Lydman, that was very clever of you to stay back behind the blueline so that the other team can’t skate right up to Crunchy!  You’re so smart!”

Fun Fact about defensemen and defense in general:  You can just call it “D”.  At first it will feel redonk to say “D” (very similar to the first time you said “redonk,” actually), but after a while it rolls right off the tongue.

Defensemen skate in pairs, so every defenseman has a BFF.  Sometimes Lindy (more on Lindy later) mixes the pairs up, but for the most part, the Sabres defensemen are monogamous and loyal to their BFF/life partner.

The Sabres strongest current pairing is Tallinder and Myers.  Tallinder separated from Lydman last season and at first he seemed to be having a REAL rough time, but now he’s found someone younger and sexier and his broken heart seems to be totally mended.

There are two noteworthy things about the Sabres defense.  1. Everyone thought they would be sucky this year, but they’re totally not,  and 2. They are NOT sucky, primarily because of this guy:

Tyler Myers. He's more than just an insanely long neck. He's also very good at hockey.

Tyler Myers is, like, six-years-old.  He’s a wee little baby.  (“Wee” in years, not in size.  He’s actually humongous.)  He’s a wee little baby who is about to win the Calder Trophy.  “Calder Trophy” is NHL-speak for “rookie of the year.”

In my not-at-ALL humble opinion, Tyler Myers is a big deal.  Last year, the Sabres were poo.  THIS year (Myers’ rookie year), the Sabres are third in the Eastern Conference.  Coincidence?  I think not.  In addition to being good at his job, he’s almost singlehandedly rehabilitated Tallinder, which was no small feat.  I used to worry that Myers would get hurt because he’s so spindly, but he seems to have the super-strength of a toddler.  You could toss him down a flight of stairs and I bet he’d just pop right back up and start skating around, no problem.  Tyler Myers is awesome and he’s changed everything about the Sabres.  Love him without reservation.

Here are the other defensemen:

Henrik Tallinder. Smiley, attractive, NOT a good drinking partner.

Toni, Tone, Tony Lydman. Hilarious. Good at hockey except for when he sucks. My favorite defenseman.

Steve Montador. Shockingly hot for a guy who's not that hot. Seems to not be an idiot. All-around alluring.

Craig Rivet. Got elected captain of the team on his first day as a Sabre, probably because he seems like an adult.

Chris Butler. Poor Butts. There is something wrong with him. Hopefully it's just a sophomore slump.

Andrej Sekera. Looks like a little old man for some reason.

In conclusion, the Sabres defense is pretty good and moderately foxy.  Since you’re a Bandwagoner, I am going to recommend that you focus on Myers.  You canNOT be a Sabres fan this spring without knowing that Tyler Myers is young, awesome, tall, and long-necked.  Myers is the most deserving of your bandwagoning affections, but really, all of these guys have their good qualities.  The defense is relatively safe waters for the new fan.

Have fun watching the D, Bandwagoners!

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Stay tuned for tomorrow’s installment, when we begin to examine the “forwards”.


…A Blog About the Buffalo Sabres

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