Archive for the 'Chris Butler' Category

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!

____________

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!

___________

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

TWC Top-To-Bottom Review: Chris Butler

(This is the sixth post in a series which will evaluate the Sabres organization, one man at a time.  Larry’s Quinn’s internal review is the Official Worst Top-To-Bottom Review EVER.  I’m conducting my own review, to show Larry how it’s done.)

Name: Chris Butler

2008/9 Grade: Five gold stars, two warm fuzzies, and four construction paper hearts.

Best Quality: adorkability

c_butler

Areas of strength: Being awesome, unflappability, interviews, woodworking, not celebrating a personal achievement in the middle of a team failure, good manners, inspiring ChrisButlerNation

Areas of weakness: Chris Butler has unusually keen hearing.  It’s a blessing and a curse.  He can hear high pitches that normally only dogs can hear.  This makes him vulnerable to dog whistles.

General Comments:

Katebits: Butts, you’re the best.

Butts: Thank you, Katebits.  That’s very kind of you to say.

Katebits: I totally meant it, Butts.

Butts: So, I can count on your vote in November?

Katebits: November, December, January, next thursday, or whenevs.  You’ve got my vote.

Butts: Word.

*fistbump*

Sabres vs. Bruins: The Birth of ButtsNation

Pregame: So, here we are again.  The season ultimately boils down to a single meaningless game against Boston.  Didn’t T-Bone get a shutout against the Bruins in the last game of the season last year?  If Tellqvist gets a shutout that will be all the confirmation we need that this entire season was just a big joke on us.  My channel 700 is all effed up, so it looks like I’m watching this in extremely low, super sad definition.  BOOO.

After the 1st (4-0, Sabres): Oh, for the love of Lindy Ruff…….sigh.  When there is absolutely nothing on the line, the Sabres are really, really good. If that’s not the mark of a well coached team, I don’t know what is.  When there is absolutely nothing on the line, the Bruins are SHOCKINGLY bad.  I mean, I know they’re not icing their real team this afternoon, but sheesh.

After the 2nd: Loyal readers, I barely watched this period because I’ve had a REVELATION.  Something amazing has happened to me.  Please listen carefully because I am about to tell you something very, very important.  I’m in love…..with Chris Butler.  I’m not sure when it happened this season (it’s been such a whirlwind), all I know is that when Chris Butler scored, and RJ squawked, “I’ve been waiting all season to use this one- A HA!  The Butler did it!” my heart swelled with pride, not just the pride of a fan, but the pride of a devotee.   Butts is the cutest little peapod EVER.  (I believe it was Anne who first called Chris Butler, “Butts”, which is a nickname I fully endorse.)  I love Butler, and it’s a good thing that Goose is so confident about our relationship, otherwise he might be feeling a little threatened.

Today (in the grand tradition of PandoNation), ChrisButlerNation is born, and I am declaring myself its ruling high priestess.  I pledge to rule ButtsNation with fake benevolence and whimsical pettiness.

After the 3rd: Okay, this game technically has five and a half minutes left but it is SO BORING that even my newly discovered Chris Butler love and the knowledge that this is the last I will see of my beloved Sabres for five months cannot keep me interested.  The Sabres have looked good, which is nice.  Today they really are going out with dignity (assuming they don’t give up five goals in the next five minutes).  As for me, as usual, I’m out, 100% dignity free.

Bye, Sabres!

Oh wait…..one more goal!  Good boy, P-Doods!….wait, I mean good boy, Vanek.

Bye, Sabres!

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!


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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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