Archive for the 'Non-Sabres' Category

7 Things: Special HAHAHAHAHA Kovalchuk Edition

1. That game was awesome. It was sloppy and fun and both teams looked like they were really trying even though both teams looked liked they’re not that good at hockey. Great fun. I know it’s easy to say after a win, but I SWEAR (on the head of Lindy Ruff) that I would’ve been raving about that game even if the Sabres had lost.

2. But they DIDN’T lose! They won! Which means the Sabres are now streaking and that they will never lose again (as long as they always play the Devils and that Kovalchuk is always inexplicably mesmerized by Enroth’s steely gaze and he always totally whiffs on the puck in the shootout). Somewhere, Darcy Regier just smiled wryly and mumbled, “I love it when a super-mega-patient plan comes together.”

3. Can we PLEASE stop talking about how great Lindy is now? Congratulations on 1,000 games, Lindy Ruff!

Okay, okay. 1,000 games with one team is a major accomplishment, and seriously, congrats Lindy. For all the smack I’ve talked about him on this blog, you have to be deaf, blind, AND mean-spirited not to see that Lindy is a pretty cool dude.

However, I’m sure I’m not the only Sabres fan who has found this day a little *sing-song voice* awwwkwaaaard. For the first time in his tenure, Lindy’s effectiveness is being called into question, and then today we all had to stop the, “WHY have the Sabres had the same coach for 13 years?!” conversation and celebrate Lindy’s (very real) achievement. It was just kind of bad timing. I made a joke on Twitter today that if Lindy was really such a great coach he would have found a way to coach his 1,000th game LAST season, when the team spent the whole year at the top of the standings, instead of this season, when Sabres fans are so desperate for wins we’re jumping for joy just because Kovalchuk can’t keep his eye on the puck in the shootout. Instead, we spent the whole day hearing and reading “1000 games” and thinking, “Yeeeeeah, I’m not so sure those 1,000 games were the most healthy thing for the organization, but…okay….Yay Lindy!”

I’m not saying that Lindy doesn’t deserve to be honored, and I’m not saying he’s not the Truest True Sabre that ever was, I’m just saying this would have been a LOT more fun if the Sabres weren’t so stinky.

4. But the Sabres aren’t stinky anymore. Now they rock! WOOOOOO! TWO WINS IN A ROW!!!!

5. The following people seem like nice guys, but I’m not sure they should ever get to play hockey as Sabres again: Patrick Lalime and Craig Rivet

6. I’m not sure if it’s the Sabres fault, or MSG’s fault, but it is absolutely atrocious that we have to watch the Devils feed during intermissions. WHAT ARE WE, ANIMALS?

7. This has nothing to do with that game, but I’ve been on a weeks-long hunt for the perfect apple, and I believe I’ve found it. The perfect apple is……an EMPIRE APPLE! Empire apples have all of the qualities of a good apple. Not too huge, nice and sweet, and most importantly, very crunchy. (By “crunchy” I mean texturally crunchy, not reminiscent of Ryan Miller.)

I’ve had this problem for years where I can’t ever remember which apples I like, and so this year I very methodically purchased lots of different apples and then kept NOTES (like an apple-nerd) on which ones I liked. So, I feel confident that Empire apples actually ARE the best apples in the world. 1st Runner up: Fujis. I also loved the texture and crunch of the Honey Crisp, but sadly, it didn’t have enough flavor. (So close, Honey Crisp. Keep trying! Maybe next year.)

I’m pretty sure there are a bunch of hideously gross red apples that I didn’t even bother trying because when I poked them with my thumb at Wegmans they were obviously too soft, but the worst apple I tried was a Granny Smith. Those green grannies are waaaay too sour. I’m not really into “sour” as a flavor, but maybe that’s just me.

Congratulations, Empire. You win.

A Few Thoughts On the East

Remember a few days ago when I bitched that, “I hate the playoffs this year,” all pout-y like?

I was out gallivanting last night, so I didn’t watch either of the games, but when I saw the scores I got sucked right back in.  I think that’s one thing I should try to remember about the playoffs.   They take a million years to unfold, so there’s plenty of time to lose and then regain interest as the rounds progress.  I was so grossed out by the Sabres that it took me a few weeks to get back into “casual observer” mode, which is necessary if you are going to attempt to watch games played by teams that you largely hate.  Now that I’ve had a little period of time to recover from the Sabres, I’m pretty amused by the goings-on with the rest of the Eastern Conference.

What the heck is going on here?

Habs: I’m a Sabres fan, and a decent person, so I don’t really like the Habs, but dang it, those little guys are scrappy!   Unless you hate the Habs with a burning passion (I don’t), I think you have to be at least a little intrigued at this point.  I’m incredibly jealous of Canadiens fans.  Cheering for a team that is massively overachieving seems like one of the most appealing things in all of sports fandom.  What could be more fun than that?

(I feel compelled to make a small but totally embarrassing confession here.  This is DEFINITELY might just my playoff goggles talking, but I loooove me some Hal Gill.  He’s gigantic and handsome, and I know his nickname is “No Skill-Gill,” but I don’t care.  I like it when Hal Gill is happy and doing lots of interviews.  I also have a soft spot for Brian Gionta, which I’m not even TRYING to curb because I think a crush on Brian Gionta compliments a crush on Hal Gill very nicely.  It’s as if my playoff goggles are practicing Feng-shui.)

Flyers: Look, I know you guys hate the Flyers, and I’m certainly not in love with them or anything, but COME ON, you HAVE to be rooting for them at this point.  I know it burns to see the Flyers succeed, but try not to focus on that.  Just focus on how uncomfortable, freaked-out, and nervous the Bruins must be right now- poised at the precipice of complete collapse.  Don’t think of it as “cheering for the Flyers” think of it as “cheering for the humiliation of the Bruins, specifically Chara.”

_____

The great thing about the situation in the East is that no matter who emerges victorious, it’s safe to assume they’ll be completely demolished in the Finals.  So, while it feels dirty and wrong to cheer for any of the remaining teams, I think there’s very little risk of permanent psychological damage here.

So, fuck it.  Go Flyers!

That Was Really Awesome

I really wasn’t prepared for how much more awesome the playoffs would feel.  Oh sure, you guys kept telling me, but I guess I had to experience it for myself.   Playoff hockey in person is just astounding.

First of all, the crowd.  Wow.

I’ve bristled a bit all season when I’ve heard people bagging on the HSBC crowd for being too quiet.  As most of you know, this was my first year as a season ticket holder, so even if the crowd was a little subdued compared to previous years, I wanted to love it, and I did.  I loved HSBC Arena and the people I shared the games with this season, passionately and with all my heart.  So, when people kept telling me, “You won’t believe how much wilder the arena can get during the playoffs,” a small part of me was thinking, “Oh please, that’s just the old ‘everything-was-better-a-few-years-ago’ Buffalo thing, talking”  I kind of didn’t believe that the crowd would suddenly change, as if a flip had been switched, just because it was playoff time.

But that’s exactly how it was.  It was as if a switch got flipped.

I think Jessica said it best in the comments a few days ago: “This is the best time of year for fans to lead with their hearts and not their heads.”  That’s exactly how if felt last night.  All of a sudden, everyone was on the same page, cheering for the Sabres.  Everyone was cheering with their hearts instead of their heads.  It was loud and raucous and wonderful.  The atmosphere was incredibly special to me, and even though I’ve been to nearly 50 games over the last three seasons , I think last night was the game I became a real citizen of HSBC Arena.

Second of all, the game. In the immortal words of Rick Jeanneret, “WOW.  DOUBLE WOW.”

There were times last night when I was thinking, “WHO IS THIS TEAM?!  Who are they…and can I marry them ALL?”  A flip was switched with the Sabres, as well as in the crowd.  Playoff hockey really is a different game.  It’s wilder, and harder, and all around MORE AWESOME, which seems weird to say, because frankly, I think regular season hockey is pretty damn awesome already.

Of course I’ve watched the playoffs before, so I know what playoff hockey looks like, but to suddenly see the Sabres, my Sabres, playing real playoff hockey like they meant it, well, it was super cool.  My doubts about how the Sabres would perform in the playoffs were always there just because I couldn’t imagine them playing as hard as, say, the Pens and the Caps played last postseason.  But now, after seeing Jason Pominville (!) lay a hit on Chara with my own two eyes, I’m a believer.  I was really impressed.

The Sabres have looked like a playoff team all season, but last night they looked like a team in the playoffs, and it made me incredibly happy.

I can’t believe I get to go back tomorrow.

___________________________

A few thoughts about the game and last night in general:

- I’ve always booed Chara, mostly because it cracked me up.  Truthfully, I’ve actually always liked him, and I really only booed him because it cracked me up.  (Robin and I referred to him for years as “The Guy We Boo For No Apparent Reason.”)  But things are different now.  What a douche.  Last night I booed that guy with genuine malice in my heart.  I will do so again tomorrow.

- A lot of forwards had impressive games, but the one who really amazed me was Thomas Vanek.  He had a few shifts last night that reminded me of last year, when some nights he was the only guy I could see on the ice.  I LOVE it when Vanek is the only player I can see on the ice.  I love it so so so much.  If Atlas is back…..*stops to ponder what it might mean for this postseason if Atlas really is back*……man oh man.

- Last night during the first period for awhile I was thinking, “Gee, the Bruins are hitting REALLY hard, I don’t know if the Sabres can deal.”  And then, a few minutes later I realized that the Sabres were dealing.  Quite capably, in fact.  I was actually impressed with the Bruins last night (rightly or wrongly, I think of them as a passionless team), but I was MORE impressed with the Sabres willingness and ability to push back.  Screw you, Bruins!

- Derek Roy played a terrific game.

- Toni Lydman is the best.

- I heard Julien’s postgame comments in the car on the way home, and I was very unimpressed.  Basically all he said was, “Well, I thought we played well enough to win.  Hopefully we’ll win on Saturday.”  Thems fightin’ words!

- I also heard Ryan Miller’s postgame comments on the car on the way home, and I was, as usual, very impressed.  The thing that he said that I loved the most was about the second period (which was fairly puke-tastic).  He said something like (I’m paraphrasing), “If we do this right, we’ve got two more months of hockey.  Not every period is going to go our way.  The important thing is that we were way better in the third.”  That’s pretty much how I felt about the second period too.  Yeah, the second period was WAY lame (that’s where having Crunchy comes in SUPER handy), but they pulled themselves back together, and they WON THAT SHIT.  The Sabres are now 31-0 when entering the 3rd period with a lead this season.  31-0. That’s THIRTY ONE WINS, and ZERO losses.  This team knows how to lock it down.

- Sabretooth rappelled from the rafters, you guys!  I’ve always assumed that maybe it was actually Daniel Briere in the Sabretooth suit back when he regularly rappelled, because that tradition seemed to disappear after the Briere-era.  It’s something I’ve always been sad I missed.  Was it always just a playoff thing?  At any rate, I might have squealed out loud when I saw the spotlight on Sabretooth way up there.

- Raffi Torres!  All of a sudden!  Raffi Torres!

- I have two minor quibbles about the crowd last night: 1. I DISAPPROVE of goalie taunting until the goalie has DONE SOMETHING DUMB.  For goodness sakes, people were busting out the “Tuuuuka, Tuuuuka,” when the game was still scoreless. I didn’t think Rask did anything that warranted a goalie taunt last night, but I will admit that in the third period when the score was locked at 2-1, I did feel a strong urge to join in.  “Tuuuuuka, Tuuuuuuka,” seems like a VERY satisfying thing to chant.  Hopefully he’ll have a bad game tomorrow and I’ll be able to taunt him with a clear conscience. 2.  I realize that chanting U-S-A, U-S-A, U-S-A is really just our way of chanting “We love you Crunchy!” but the Olympics are over, AND BOSTON IS IN THE UNITED STATES.  We need a better, “Yay for Crunchy” cheer.  (May I suggest, “Yay for Crunchy!”)

- Tyler Ennis really is good.  He came close to two highlight reel goals last night.  One of these nights he’s going to score a beauty.

Dear So and So,

Dear Sabres,

Well, that game wasn’t 100% terrible, I suppose. It was about 50% terrible, and 40% decent, and 10% foxy.  Goose getting up in Chara’s grill was foxy, as was the OT penalty kill.  The first period was vomit inducing, the second period was feisty, and the third period was butt-clenchingly stressful.

What’s wrong with you guys?  Is this all because Crunchy came back down to earth? You revert back to middling when Miller plays like a mortal?  That’s kind of gross, you guys.

I’m not going to lie, I’m pretty psyched about the Olympic break.

With (possibly grave) Concern,

Katebits

___________

Dear Darcy,

THEY ARE PRACTICALLY BEGGING YOU TO MAKE A MOVE.  It could NOT be more obvious that it is time to make some adjustments to this team.  They are TANKING right before the TRADE DEADLINE.  FOR THE LOVE OF LINDY RUFF, LISTEN TO WHAT YOUR TEAM IS TRYING TO TELL YOU.

DO YOU HAVE EYES AND EARS?  This team is begging for a shake-up.  THEY ARE BEGGING YOU FOR A SHAKE-UP.

Please.
Please.
Please.

Do something,

Katebits

______________

Dear Citizens of the United States of America,

Look. You’re going to hear some stuff about Ryan “Crunchy” Miller in the next couple of weeks. Blob Costas on NBC is going to go on and on about how wonderful he is, and how Miller is the man you want between the pipes fighting for the Good Old U-S-of-A. The narrative of Crunchy’s genius is going to be intense.

And you know what? He IS wonderful. He’s interesting, smart and funny. He’s a PERFECTLY adorable weirdo. He’s often brilliant at his job.

But I’ve got some bad news for you, America. Ryan Miller is….not very good lately. I know. It’s a disappointment. The sooner we come to terms with it, the better.

Pray that it doesn’t go to a shootout. Pray hard.

Fondly,

Katebits

_______________

Dear Ryan “Crunchy” Miller,

Just tank it. Play as few games as possible, DON’T GET HURT, and spend the second half of the Olympics sleeping with a variety of exotic athletes in the notoriously raucous Olympic Village.

I’m forgiving you in advance for sucking in the Olympics.

I am begging you, Crunchy, whatever you do, don’t come back more tired/insane/whackadoo than you already are. Just treat this whole experience like a bizarre vacation. Enjoy yourself.

Also, keep your therapist on speed dial.

With love love love,

Katebits

_______________

Dear Tyler Myers,

I’ve been trying to tell you for WEEKS that your neck is too long. I’m surprised you don’t get hit in the neck EVERY game. Skating around with that thing is just asking for trouble.

I’m SUPER glad you’re okay,

Katebits.

_________________

Dear Chara,

BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Katebits

A Sorry State of Affairs

Picture 7

2 Things

1. You know what commercial I’ve seen WAY more than enough of?  The one for a men’s deodorant where the voiceover asks, “What’s your armpit type?  Sweaty?  Hairy?  Sensitive?”  That commercial is gross.  I understand that men have armpits, and that those armpits need deodorant, but frankly, I don’t like thinking about armpit types.

2. Speaking of armpits and other slightly gross things, I have to make a confession:

I have a crush on Evgeni Malkin.

I know.

I wish I could just say “I’m in awe of his playing,” but sadly, it’s more than just that.  It’s all very unseemly and disturbing, but I can’t keep it bottled up inside any longer…I’m…hot for Evgeni Malkin.

I’m admitting this tonight because tonight he scored a hat trick, and “I’m hot for Evgeni Malkin” makes a LOT more sense when you’ve just seen him score a goal like this, but I’ve been nursing this crush for awhile now.

Malkinchick

Let’s never speak of this again.

Two Things

1. My love for Jason Smith is dead. As soon as we traded for Rivet I knew that the Gator dream was over. Whatevs. He would have been fun to have around, but he’s a stinky Senator now. He’s slow and old. That’s just what I heard.

2. (alix, please turn away)

Steve Bernier got signed to an offer sheet.

AAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! I really hope that back on July 2nd, the Blues initially called Darcy and were like “Yo, we’re thinking about giving Big Bear a 2.5 million dollar offer sheet. What do you think of that?” And then Darcy was all, “Tell you what, let me trade him to the Canucks first. Then you can screw them over, which I know you want to do.” And then the Blues were like, “Word.” And then Darcy and the Blues dude high-fived and cackled evilly.

Jason Smith Evaluates the Sabres

Dudes. Settle down. Is Brooks Orpik really that big a deal? Personally, I think not.

Look, I wish we had signed some sexy D during the opening of free agency too, but we know that’s not Darcy’s style. He’s told us this repeatedly.

Let’s all take a deep breath and concentrate on more pleasant matters, namely, Jason Smith. WGR is reporting that Jason Smith’s agent has had preliminary talks with the Sabres. Now, “preliminary talks” could mean almost anything, so I think it would be best if we all kept our pants on until further notice, but the WGR article contained one highly interesting tidbit.

“Breeze [Smith's agent] told WGR that Smith has a nine-point criteria for deciding where to sign.”

He has a nine point system, you guys! I love a man with a plan!

As luck would have it, TWC has obtained exclusive rights to Jason Smith’s Patented Nine Point System For Choosing An NHL Team. Please join me in analyzing where Buffalo’s chances of signing Smith stand once the team and city has been through his rigorous nine-point system.

Jason Smith’s Patented Nine-Point System For Choosing An NHL Team:

Point the First: Is the team any good?

Well, define “good”, Mr. Smith. The Sabres can be and often are, quite good. Sometimes they suck though too. They really need some reliable stay-at-home defense, and they need some veteran leadership- which is where you come in. This might be a situation where a guy like you could come in and wind up getting WAY more credit than you probably deserve for turning the team around and getting them back on track. So yes, I have to say that the team IS pretty good, but there is lots of room for improvement. Buffalo’s score: 3 out of 5 chicken wings

Point the Second: Does the city have a major symphony orchestra with many foxy musicians?

We totally have that. Buffalo’s score: 5 out of 5 chicken wings

Point the Third: Can I afford a foxy house in this city?

Dude. On an NHLer’s salary you can buy the foxiest house in all the land. Buffalo has great houses and they are, in comparison to other NHL cities, dirt cheap. Buffalo’s score: 4 out of 5 chicken wings

Point the Fourth: How much of my life will be wasted in traffic jams?

NONE! None of your life will be wasted in traffic jams if you move to Buffalo! Urban flight and economic despair have their advantages, Mr. Smith! Buffalo’s score: 5 out of 5 chicken wing

Point the Fifth: I’m a low key guy. I like to mind my own business. Does this city allow for privacy?

Um, no. Upon arrival in Buffalo, all NHL players are required to turn over all financial statements, personal journals (including the ones from your most embarrassing adolescence), and all existing health records. Every man, woman, and child in Buffalo will recognize you and blog about your every move around town. Furthermore, every time you enter a grocery store or pick up your kid from school, we’re going to “chirp” at you about the power play. The good news is that we are, for the most part, pretty nice. Buffalo’s score: 2 out of 5 chicken wings

Point the Sixth: Does the coach of this team have yellow hair?

Lindy Ruff has the yellowest hair in the business. You will not find a more yellow-haired coach in the NHL. Buffalo’s score: 5 out of 5 chicken wings

Point the Seventh: Will my wife like it there?

Yes. She will. Unless she is lame. Buffalo’s score: 5 out of 5 chicken wings, unless Jason Smith’s wife is lame, in which case 0 out of 5 chicken wings.

Point the Eighth: I’ve always dreamed of signing a contract for 5 years/$25 million. Can I do that here?

No. First of all, you’re too old and slow for that contract. Secondly, no one around here is even sure if the mythical “5 for 25″ actually exists. Rumors of its existence have been floating around since January ’07, but no one has ever actually seen it, much less applied it to an actual Sabres contract. If you want more information on this confusing topic, you’ll have to consult Buffalo’s 5-for-25iologist, Bucky Gleason. Buffalo’s score: 0 out of 5 chicken wings

Point the Ninth: Will the fanbase appreciate my quiet, hard working vibe?

Will we appreciate it? We practically burned the city to the ground when Chris Drury bolted! Not only will we appreciate it, we will fall madly in love with it and hold it tight to our collective bosom. No quiet, hard working vibe shall ever be under-appreciated by the citizenry of Buffalo, NY. Buffalo’s score: 5 out of 5 chicken wings

—-

The Buffalo Sabres scored 34 out of 45 possible chicken wings using Jason Smith’s nine-point system (29 out of 45 if his wife is lame). This is actually a very high score, and the Sabres organization should feel encouraged by the results. Also, while it is not a calculable factor in the nine-point evaluation system, I think that the fact that Jason Smith uses chicken wings as his standard unit of measurement bodes very well for his future with the Buffalo Sabres.

Problem Solved

I had two rehearsals and a board meeting today. Sometimes, even the most focused and professional of musicians allows her mind to wander in rehearsal, and today was just one of those days for me. Oh, I did my job. I was present and accounted for, and I played all mostly all the right notes, but I had a hard time staying mentally focused today. The human psyche has a way of prioritizing certain things, and even in spite of my best efforts to concentrate on the rehearsals and the meetings, my brain had other ideas. You see, since last night I’ve had a pressing issue that has been demanding my mental attention. Sometimes, I just have to mull a dilemma over until I drive myself insane considering every angle.

I’m happy to report that after 24 hours of fretting, deliberating, and waffling, I have finally gotten to the heart of the issue that has been dogging me all day:

Chris Osgood is not the lovable nerd that I like to pretend he is. In reality, he’s just a plain old nerd. Now, I wish him all the best (and continued success in the Finals), but I can no longer ignore his unsavory diving tendencies.  I don’t mind the occasional artful goalie dive- diving can draw tasty penalties, after all- but Osgood has taken things too far.   I hereby declare an end to my Chris Osgood infatuation.

Ahhh. Problem solved. I feel so much better now.

:P

Talk Amongst Yourselves

I have no time for blogging today, so, in honor of the Penguins advancing to the Finals, here is a picture of Evgeni Malkin looking more like a little old man shoveling snow than a 22-year-old professional athlete.

Discuss.

I’ll be back tomorrow with scintillating, and thought provoking hockey analysis.  The topic will be, “I Don’t Understand Why They Do That Thing Where One Defenseman Is Standing Still Behind the Net With The Puck, And Then Other Teammate Zooms By As If He’s Going to Grab It And Skate Away, But He’s Really Just Faking: WTF?  Does That Maneuver Ever Fool Anyone?”


…A Blog About the Buffalo Sabres

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

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