Archive for the 'Thomas Vanek' 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.

7 Things

1. I had the MOST fun hockey day yesterday. I wandered down to the arena in the morning with the intention of cashing in on Slug Appreciation Day, but I quickly realized that not standing in those lines was worth at LEAST the amount of money I would’ve saved had I waited. (It should be noted that I intended to buy a hoodie that was already on sale, so my savings for standing in line for an hour would’ve only been in the $10-$15 range. It’s not like I was planning to buy a $200 jersey. THAT probably would’ve been worth the wait.) So, I sacrificed my opportunity to buy a cheap hoodie, and I plopped down in the arena to watch practice and a scrimmage.

2. I’ve said it before, but it’s worth repeating: open practices are the B-E-S-T. You get to see all sorts of ridiculous stuff, like Darcy skipping down some stairs, and Miller strutting around, all “cool guy on campus,” and dozens of baby-faced Sabres prospects that you don’t recognize in the slightest. (Related: The Sabres are being kind of top secret about the practice/scrimmage schedule this season. In past years I feel like they’ve published a complete training camp schedule online. This year I can’t find anything on their website.)

3. Last night I attended the Sabres/Canes game. As most of you probably know, the Sabres won due to the extreme feistiness of the Gerb/Gaustad/Kaleta line, and a good time was had by all.

4. I was kind of nervous and excited about going to the arena last night because it was my first chance to see my new seats.

OUR NEW SEATS ARE FANTASTIC! When we were offered the chance to move (a giant, ETERNALLY GRATEFUL thanks to Jessica in account services for hooking us up), we didn’t have very many options. That whole “99% season ticket renewal rate” they’re always celebrating means that there just aren’t that many seats available. The tradeoff for escaping the dreaded gate at the end of our row meant that instead of row 20, we’d have to move much closer to the glass. Sitting low is kind of a double-edged sword. Row 8 provides a super awesome view when the action is directly in front of us, and a super weird view when we’re looking through the glass at action on the other end of the ice.

All this AND a women's bathroom at the top of the aisle.

Last night was my first chance to actually watch hockey in our new seats and I LOVED IT SO MUCH. I LOVED the view, I LOVED being on the shoot-twice side, and I LOVED not being trapped behind a gate! Everything that felt “wrong” about the old seats felt “right” about these. If you ever catch me whining about these new seats, feel free to pop me in the kisser.

5. I’m pretty sure I’m going to love Ville Leino. Of all the players on the ice last night, I found him to be the most compelling. Every time he was out there, I just couldn’t take my eyes off him. Maybe the Toni Lydman effect was really just a Finnish thing? I dunno. Only time will tell, I guess.  On a non-hockey note, I find Leino’s ability to instantly morph from kind-of-hideous to fully-handsome (depending on the angle) to be QUITE compelling. I’ll admit, I was always really aware of him when he was a Flyer too. I think just really like that guy.

6. How about those Billz, huh? I’m an admitted Bills bandwagoner (I lose all interest in them when they suck), but I absolutely adore happy Bills fans. I’m happy when you guys are happy, and I certainly can’t complain about the entertainment value of the first two Bills games. Go Billsies!

7. The picture I took of Vanek and Ehrhoff in the limo last week is now posted on Thomas Vanek’s personal website. His website does not link here, but still, that miiiiight be the pinnacle of hilarious weirdness. I mean… whoa.

What Might Have Been

I think I was pretty well-behaved during the limo event on Wednesday, but I did have one privately experienced moment of kooky Kate-ness during the drive.

At one point towards the end of the afternoon, I put my sunglasses in my purse and when I did, I was reminded that I’d brought Post-Its and a Sharpie along. (The reason I had Post-Its and a Sharpie in my purse is uninteresting and irrelevant, but I’d like to be clear- I never had any intention of asking anyone for an autograph. I miiiiight’ve been hoping that Ted Black would let me put a Post-It on his lapel that said, “Hello, My Name Is, Monsieur Homeslice Sir Rocks-a-lot,” but I digress.)

Anyway, I saw these Post-Its and I suddenly had a perfect vision of what I would do with them if I were living in “Kate’s Whimsical Dream World” instead of “reality.”

For a few brief seconds I daydreamed about surreptitiously taking out the Post-Its, writing a big “C” on one of them, quickly slapping it on Vanek’s jersey, and then before he realized what was happening, I’d take a picture of him.

I'll get you with this C in my dreams, Thomas Vanek.

These are the types of things that flash through your head when you’re riding in a limo with Thomas Vanek.

The Sabres: Just Like FedEx, Only Waaaay Better

Sometimes life is weird, you know?

Today I spent the afternoon driving around in a limo with Christian Ehrhoff and Thomas Vanek.

Man. I don’t even know where to begin this story.

No wait, yes I do: From the very bottom of my heart, I’d like to thank Sabres.com for inviting me to join Christian Ehrhoff and Thomas Vanek as they delivered tickets to season ticket holders today. I feel so fortunate to have been plucked from the thousands and thousands of wonderful, loyal, enthusiastic, and deserving Sabres fans to have this experience. The Sabres have recently been making some truly awesome moves to include non-traditional media in their events, and they seriously knocked this one out of the park. Thank you, Sabres!

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On Friday last week the Sabres emailed me to ask if I wanted to “tag along” when the Sabres delivered tickets to a few lucky season ticket holders. The email conversation pretty much went like this:

Sabres: Do you want to tag along when we do this thing?
Katebits: I want to do that more than I’ve ever wanted anything in my entire life.
(End Scene)

In the initial email we really didn’t get a lot of information about the event, so I spent the entire weekend speculating with Heather (who was also invited) about what exactly we’d be doing.  Heather’s favorite scenario was that Lindy would drive us around in a gigantic van full of Sabres all day. My favorite scenario was that somehow I’d end up in a car with Goose, Pominville, and Miller, and at some point we’d turn up the radio and have a loud singalong, preferably to the song “Rolling In the Deep.”

Yesterday, things came into a little bit more focus when I was told I’d be riding in a limo with Tyler Myers and Ville Leino. I know. A limo! With Tyler Myers and Ville Leino!

“I bet those guys know ‘Rolling in the Deep’ too,” I thought. “THIS IS GOING TO BE THE MOST FUN EVER!”

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I’m not going to lie, I was quite nervous about almost everything as I headed down to the arena. A variety of panicky thoughts raced through my head: What if I embarrass myself? What if the Sabres hate me? What if Tyler Myers wants to open the sunroof of the limo so he can stick his head out like a giraffe, and this makes me laugh so hard that I have a coughing fit? What if Ted Black turns out to be only 99% awesome instead of 100% awesome? What if Ville Leino arches his eyebrow at me and I temporarily lose the power of speech? What if I somehow offend everyone and ensure that no bloggers are ever taken seriously by the Sabres ever ever ever ever ever ever again? OMFG, WHAT IF I LOOK STUPID IN THIS OUTFIT?!

Well, it turns out that driving around Buffalo in a limousine with Sabres is much like everything else in life. You almost never worry about the right things.

After hooking up with our fabulous and helpful Sabres liaison (and being told that Myers would not be available and that he had been replaced by Gerbe), Heather and I were ushered outside where there were lots of cameras and limos. I’d relaxed a little bit by this point, mostly because there are only so many times you can fret about your outfit before it gets boring. And besides, things were getting pretty interesting.

That’s when the players came out. Now, not to sound like a total goober here, but seeing a big crowd of Sabres in street clothes is really something. Honestly, my first instinct was just to stare at them. I don’t mean this in some sort of creeper way, I just mean… the Sabres are interesting in real life. I wanted to memorize what they were all wearing, and who was taller/shorter/skinnier or goofier in person than expected. But I didn’t have long to stare at them because almost immediately they popped into limos and everything got kind of confusing and suddenly I was all, “Hey, which limo do I go in?! I thought you said I was riding with Gerbe and Leino… I’m riding with Vanek and Ehrhoff? Whaaaaat?”

So, after I spent a day meticulously plotting to charm Myers and Leino into telling me all their funniest secrets, suddenly, I was going to be riding with Vanek and Ehrhoff.

For reasons that were explained to me but that I didn’t try hard enough to understand, Vanek and Ehrhoff met us in a parking lot out near Transit Road instead of driving out there in the limo. This was fine by me because it gave me a chance to bond with Carl (the limo driver [Hi, Carl!]) and also to ask John Sinclair (VP of Tickets & Services) some of my burning questions about the event.

SPOILER ALERT: My “burning questions” about the event were mostly related to my concerns that one of the people’s houses would be messy when Terry Pegula suddenly popped by.

Here’s a picture I took from the limo before Vanek and Ehrhoff got in. Vanek is being interviewed by Lorey Schultz from channel 4. Lorey and her camera guy followed our car to every stop, and Lorey was super duper nice.

This picture makes me laugh a little bit. I was basically hiding in the limo, waiting for them to join me in the limo. I think this picture demonstrates how I was both scared of hanging out with these guys and intensely curious about them.

Here’s the thing about meeting Sabres in up close, personal situations. There was one part of my brain that was all, “OMG, this is the weirdest thing that has EVER happened, EVER. Thomas Vanek is sitting RIGHT THERE, two feet away from me. Seriously, this is CAH-RAAAAZY.” And then there was another part of me that was just like, “Oh, hi Thomas Vanek!” Although I’d obviously never met him before, Thomas Vanek felt like a basically familiar person. That was very interesting to me. Christian Ehrhoff was an actual stranger (in that I haven’t been watching him play hockey for many years), so meeting him was really just like meeting anyone. Well, not quite like meeting anyone. It was like meeting someone that you know you’re going to start a ten year hockey relationship with next week.

I introduced myself to them as “your blogger for the afternoon,” which didn’t seem to faze either of them in the slightest, and we were off!

From the very beginning I was impressed with Thomas Vanek’s relaxed and open demeanor. My mental image of him is so tortured, but seriously, he was downright breezy in the limo. We chatted about Minnesota (I’m from Minneapolis), and the differences between Buffalo winter and Minnesota winter (When I confessed I’ve always wondered if those sun lamps work, because I hate the constant gray of Buffalo winters, he suggested that we put a huge bubble over Buffalo with a giant sun lamp inside), and how it’s hard to feed twins (he actually held up his arms and pretended to shovel food into two babies mouths simultaneously).

Christian Ehrhoff was a little more reserved, but then again, I didn’t “know” him ahead of time, so maybe I just didn’t ask the magical questions that could’ve prompted him to mime feeding his babies. Perhaps in three years on Ticket Delivery Day I’ll know juuuuust enough about him to carry my end of a totally breezy conversation with Christian Ehrhoff. (I did find out that he played the piano for a handful of years as a kid and that he’s got a piano in his house now. That was intriguing.) I can report that Ehrhoff seems super sweet, and a little shy, and he’s cute as a bug’s ear. Really. I wanted to pinch his dimpled cheeks.

The thing I determined right away in the limo was that I had NO desire to try to pepper these guys with a lot of questions for the blog. I write like a fan, and I wanted to experience the day like a fan. Plus, it was quickly apparent that while they would of course dutifully answer any questions I had, they probably weren’t super eager to give me lots of hilarious footage of themselves being goofy and effing around. These guys were mega, MEGA good-natured, kind, and agreeable, but, they were also at work. This realization was sort of awesome, because I relieved myself of my “media” duties, and I decided to just go with the flow. I took one posed pictured of them in the limo, and then I put away the phone.

I can highly recommend driving around in a car with Sabres. All sorts of hilarious and interesting things happen:

- At one point I asked the guys if they’d ever played together before, and John Sinclair immediately said, “The better question is have they ever played against each other?” This led to them reminiscing about a game they’d played versus each other in the AHL where the Amerks definitively beat Ehrhoff’s team. (I want to say they mentioned it was in Cleveland. Does that make sense with Ehrhoff’s history?) It was really interesting to me how they both seemed to remember the game very specifically, right away. Ehrhoff laughed and said, “I think I was a minus 5 that game.” Heh.

- They were both kind of grumpy about having to wear their jerseys, which makes sense when you think about it, but surprised me to realize. When I commented on this, Vanek said, “Yeah, but I’m REALLY glad to be back to this,” and then he grabbed the circle emblem on his jersey with both hands and lifted it up off his chest. “I did not like the slug.” Then he said something about how he always really liked the original Sabres logo as a kid. This, of course, warmed the cockles of my heart. Then Ehrhoff said, “The third jerseys are nice too.” Vanek seemed to agree that those jerseys were sharp, but he didn’t have a strong opinion about the quilting on the numbers, which I confessed I don’t like.  Hearing players discuss jerseys the same way fans do was a hoot.

- All three of our stops were corporate sponsors instead of individual houses. It was SUPER fun to see people react (some of the receptionists’ confusion was kind of priceless, actually), but it didn’t quite pack the emotional wallop that I imagine you’d get out of delivering tickets to a longtime season ticket holder’s house. When I commented on this to the guys in the limo I said, “I think we should find some little kids for you guys to interact with!” And Vanek joked, “Why? Is this not blog worthy?” I thought it was super funny that he had “blog worthy” on the tip of his tongue. I assured him that, “Oh no. Don’t you worry. This is definitely blog worthy.”

- The deliveries ranged from “totally great” to “A FREAKING HOOT”. We stopped at three offices. Ingram Micro, Great Batch, and LoVullo. All three stops were very fun, and it really was interesting to watch people light up when they saw the Sabres. On a personal note, it was also funny to realize that I probably looked like I was a part of their normal entourage. I found myself in various office lobbies wanting to yell, “I don’t belong in the limo with these guys! I’m not one of them! This is a TOTALLY weird day for me! I’m just like you people! CAN YOU BELIEVE I’M DRIVING AROUND WITH SABRES ALL DAY?!” But I didn’t.

These metal boxes were a source of much jealousy and longing for me today. The suite tickets come in these boxes, but I assure you, the regular seats DO NOT. I totally, totally want my tickets to come in one of those boxes. At one of the stops, Vanek held one up and said, "This WOULD make a good change holder..." and I was all, "I KNOW." Here, Christian Ehrhoff dutifully holds up the box when I tell him, "Make sure the box is really visible."

- One of the highlights of the day from the “HAHAHAHAHAHA! Category” was Vanek bitching about a $1500 phone bill he got after a Canadian roadtrip even though he TRIED to get the Canadian data plan. I’m not sure why it amused me so much to hear a highly paid athlete grumbling about a bill (and it’s not like $1500 is small potatoes, even when you’re rich), but it did. When he was telling the story of the fiasco, he turned to me and said, “I bought a Canadian data plan ahead of time that included [some number of data bytes which I don’t remember because both the number and the unit of measurement are meaningless to me], but I don’t even know what that number means… do you know what that means?” I was all, “Hell if I know what that means, Thomas Vanek.” So he continued, “And so, when I went in to complain about the bill, the guy in the store told me that my data plan was big enough to cover me visiting, like, five websites. I’d only bought enough for ten minutes on the internet.” And this is when I started to inwardly laugh and laugh and laugh. It tickles me to no end that this bothers him enough to tell this story months later. Also, for the record, Thomas Vanek does not take kindly to airline baggage fees.

- I found it very difficult to address them by their first names, but calling them by their last names seemed weird too. I eventually coaxed a few “Thomas”es and “Christian”s out of myself, but it was hard. I have no idea why calling someone by their first name would feel so awkward, but it did.

- At the last stop, LoVullo, the bosses there had clearly given the employees the green light to come on down and pose for pictures. The Sabres were extremely good-natured about this, so much so that LoVullo is where I fell in love with them just a tiny bit. They probably took pictures with at least a hundred people, posing in groups of 5 or 6. The reason it was so charming is that they shook hands and introduced themselves to every single person. This is the one part of the day that I REALLY wish I’d thought to record on video, because for about fifteen minutes you just heard, “Hi, I’m Christian” “Hi, I’m Thomas.” “Hi, I’m Christian.” “Hi, I’m Thomas.” “Hi, I’m Christian.” “Hi, I’m Thomas.” “Hi, I’m Christian.” Over and over and over again. It was incredibly endearing. There’s just something very sweet and unassuming about introducing yourself to people who are lining up to get your picture. This was truly the highlight of the day for me.

"Hi, I'm Christian." "Hi, I'm Thomas." "Hi, I'm Christian." "Hi, I'm Thomas." "Hi, I'm Christian." "Hi, I'm Thomas." "Hi, I'm Christian." "Hi, I'm Thomas." "Hi, I'm Christian." "Hi, I'm Thomas." "Hi, I'm Christian." "Hi, I'm Thomas." "Hi, I'm Christian." "Hi, I'm Thomas." "Hi, I'm Christian." "Hi, I'm Thomas." "Hi, I'm Christian." "Hi, I'm Thomas." "Hi, I'm Christian." "Hi, I'm Thomas." "Hi, I'm Christian." "Hi, I'm Thomas." "Hi, I'm Christian." "Hi, I'm Thomas." "Hi, I'm Christian." "Hi, I'm Thomas."

-After the last stop, they both IMMEDIATELY removed their jerseys, and then they BOTH folded them up into tidy rectangles. I’m not sure what was going on with that (maybe some sort of tidiness-peer-pressure?), but it was cute.

______

I’m sure I’ll keep remembering little things from the day, and when I do, I’ll post about them here. Maybe we should just consider this, “Sabres Ticket Delivery Day: Part One.”

For now, I’ll just end this post by saying, again, thanks SO MUCH to Sabres.com for having me today. This was really, truly a wonderful experience. Another thanks to Carl the limo driver for his masterful limo-driving-skillz, and John Sinclair, who was a super fun guide for the afternoon. And of course, a million thanks to Thomas Vanek and Christian Ehrhoff who were both incredibly generous, kind, and engaging with me today. We are lucky to have them both in Buffalo.

You Wily Bastard

Just like that.  I love you again.

Declaration of Confusing War

Longtime readers of this blog may recall that when I started this blog I had almost no affection for Thomas Vanek.  In the fall of 2007 I was irked with Vanek for the whole, “Hey, I’m going to squeeze a zillion dollars out of the Sabres because Kevin Lowe is a lunatic and Darcy bungled negotiations with the co-captains so badly that he’ll have no choice but to give me what I want,” routine.  (And yes, I understand it was Vanek’s right as an UFA to sign that offer sheet, and yes, in the same position I probably would’ve done the same thing, but that doesn’t mean I can’t refer to him as “Slag-Faced Whore” for an entire season because of it.)

My point is that I used to be pretty merciless when it came to Thomas Vanek.  Unless he was scoring multiple goals per game, I went out of my way to abuse him on this blog.  Even when he was scoring multiple goals per game, I was still kind of a beeyotch about him.  What can I say?  I used to love to hate Thomas Vanek.  It was my thing.

But along the way, something terrible happened.  I let down my guard, and I got soft on Thomas Vanek.

At the risk of echoing my Sabres soul-sister Heather, when it comes right down to it, Thomas Vanek is just not that hateable.   Sure, he’s slaggy, and he’s not NEARLY good enough at hockey, and deep down in our hearts we all suspect that the Sabres will never be a genuine Cup contender if Thomas Vanek is expected to be “the guy,” but even in spite of all that, Thomas Vanek somehow manages to be a sympathetic figure.  He just is. Maybe he’s sympathetic because his low self-esteem is evident in every shift, maybe it’s because he’s almost always got a face full of zits, or maybe it’s because it’s we’re all living in denial, praying that he’s about to morph into his mega-awesome mode.

All I know is that I’ve been treating Vanek with kid gloves and it has got to stop.

I watched the game last night on DVR delay, and by the time I plopped down in front of the television I was pretty tired.  It was a great game for the Sabres.  All the right guys looked good.  Some of the more worrisome defensemen looked calm and capable. (Myer, Butts, and even Rivet looked good).  Pommerdoodle showed up in a suit, and his head wasn’t bleeding and he wasn’t strapped to a stretcher…which was nice.  It was a thoroughly pleasant game, and perfect for my mood because I was worn out, and I just wanted to see them win without any fuss or muss.

Because the game was so breezy, I had lots of opportunity to check each guy out.  For the most part, I was pleased with the Sabres, but in the early part of the third period when the score was 3-1 and it came time for me to ask myself, “How is Thomas Vanek looking tonight?” the answer was a resounding, “LIKE A FESTERING BOIL”.   All of the old 2007 Thomas Vanek frustrations came flooding back, and I mentally decided, I’M DONE WITH THIS LOSER.  HE’S NEVER GOING TO BE GOOD AGAIN.  HE’S TOO CRAZY.  THOMAS VANEK IS THE WORST “THE GUY” IN HOCKEY.

I’m not sure why I chose that moment to snap (the Sabres were winning easily and I was very much enjoying the game), but I did.  And it felt good.  It felt right. Bagging on Thomas Vanek is how it’s supposed to be.  Even when the Sabres are winning.

And that’s when that little jerk scored!  That’s when Thomas Vanek scored a meaningless, gorgeous goal-scorer’s goal.

He always does this.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in the arena, and juuust as I’m declaring my everlasting disgust with Thomas Vanek, he scores a goal.   I feel like it’s happened dozens of times.  Possibly millions.  I don’t want to hate him, but he leaves me no choice.

It’s time I face facts:  No matter how sympathetic, likable or (frankly) kind of pitiable I find him to be, Thomas Vanek plays better when I’m cursing his name.   I don’t know why, I don’t particularly like it, but damn it, I’m willing to do my part.  It’s tragic really.  Thomas Vanek and I are locked in some sort of epic battle which I do NOT understand, but if the Hockey Gods require that I abuse him, abuse him I must.

Thomas Vanek, you better look out, because it is on.

Heather and Katebits Figure It All Out

Last night Heather B. and I had a long convoluted conversation on twitter.  If you follow both of us, and you happened to be lurking quietly on twitter at about 12:30am, you probably saw the entire conversation unfold.  If that’s case, I apologize for subjecting you to this nonsense for a second time.  But the rest of you HOLD ONTO YOUR HATS, because Heather and I are GENIUSES.

Alright. I guess it all started when Mike Harrington sent me a link to his Sabres Edge post which contains this video:

Hearing Thomas Vanek speaking German was a revelation for me.  How have I never fully realized that Vanek is AUSTRIAN?!   He’s AUSTRIAN, you guys!  That explains EVERYTHING.   Of course I knew before last night that Vanek is Austrian, but something about seeing him sternly lecturing those little school children in a language I don’t understand really drove the point home.  You can take the boy out of Austria, but you can’t take the Austria out of the boy.  Vanek came to North America when he was 14, and he eventually became a Golden Gopher.  I think I’ve been thinking about him as a Minnesotan all this time.

Anyhooch.

When you’re suddenly all, “Ooooh, riiiight.  He’s AUSTRIAN,” about a dude, naturally, the first thing you’re going to do is ask yourself, “Is Vanek, in fact, exactly like Captain Von Trapp?”

Let’s go to the video….

Check.

Vanek IS exactly like Captain Von Trapp!

I’ll admit, Vanek is not as nearly as handsome as Captain Von Trapp, and as much as I wish it were otherwise, his singing voice is atrocious, but you’ve GOT to admit that there are plenty of other similarities.   He’s a reluctant leader, he’s grouchy for no apparent reason, he HATES singing, he’s completely humorless, and while I don’t know this to be true, it seems VERY likely that Vanek calls his children with a dog whistle.

Heather suggested that maybe Vanek is so grouchy because Pommers and Roy-Z don’t respond to the whistle properly, which led to us comparing all the Sabres to characters in “The Sound of Music”.  (Heather hilariously suggested that Roy-Z is Liesl.  [He thinks he knows everything now that he’s sixteen.])   We quickly deduced that perhaps the biggest problem with the Sabres is that they have no obvious Maria.  How can a hockey team find love, win the Stanley Cup, become a musical sensation, and escape from the Nazis if they have no Maria?!

Mike Grier seems to us to be the closest thing we’ve got to a Maria…..which is hilarious when you think about it.  Ryan Miller also briefly played the role of Maria when we started imagining Goose, Tyler Myers and Butts wearing wimples and singing, “How do you Solve a Problem Like Crunchy?”

So, there we were, casting all the Sabres in “The Sound Of Music,” when Heather had the funniest idea in the history of EVER.  The Sabres goal song should be “Climb Every Mountain.”   I KNOW.  SHE’S A GENIUS.

I urge you to press play on this video so you can remember for yourself HOW MUCH THIS SONG KICKS ASS.   The goal celebration music should start at the 1:44 mark.

I’m sure you will agree that “Climb Every Mountain” is THE BEST GOAL SONG EVER. It’s rousing, it’s inspirational, it’s soaring, and it’s sung by a WARBLING NUN!   WHAT COULD BE BETTER?!

In addition to being hilarious and TOTALLY AWESOME, “Climb Every Mountain” would be EXCELLENT for annoying Roy-Z and Timmeh.   I feel like 9 and 19 really think they’re too cool for school, and the best thing for them would be to have to celebrate goals to the sound of a nun belting out an inspirational melody about perseverance.

 

____________

The Sabres are back tonight!  If all goes well, maybe this is the year the Sabres actually WILL climb every mountain.  Happy Hockey, Dear Readers!

Let’s Go Buff-a-lo!

 

 


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