Archive for the 'Things' Category

6 Things

1. Well, the Pegula era began exactly the same way as the Golisano era ended- WITH ICE COLD WATER IN THE BATHROOMS.  (And no, I will NOT stop talking about this.  EVER.  If you guys think I’m going to go easy on Pegula just because it was his first day on the job and because everyone loves him [for good reason], YOU’VE GOT ANOTHER THINK COMING.)

2. The pre-game ceremony was super fun last night.  I don’t know much about the French Connection because I’m about ten years too young, because I’m from Minnesota, and because as far as I’m concerned hockey started in 2007, but it was neat, even for me, to see the French Connection skate out together.  Also, it’s my understanding that Rene Robert has been all, “I hate you guys,” about the Sabres for a while, so I’m glad to see that he’s likes our new billionaire.

I really love the idea of an unforgettable and famous forward line, and I’m sorry I missed those guys.

But FYI, when I get really rich and buy the Sabres in 30 years, please do NOT send out old man versions of Vanek, Staffy, and Roy to surprise me at center ice.  That would be SUCH a downer on my special day.  Heh.

3. I can’t lie, for the first period and a half of the game I was worried that the Sabres were all, “Oh man.  The water is still too cold in the ladies restrooms?  Eff this new guy.”  But they got all snazzy at the end of the second period, and the game turned into a rollicking good time.  Thanks, Sabres!

4. Craig Rivet.  Oh, handsome and manly Craig Rivet….

I haven’t written about Rivet much this season, possibly because of my natural inclination to look away from awkward things, but also because I’ve really liked always Craig Rivet, and it’s been difficult to watch his career fade away like this.

Craig Rivet has always been a good Sabre and an extremely likable guy.  Obviously this season has been a rough one for him, but I admire his professionalism and the grace he’s shown in a difficult situation.  I think it’s important to remember that when Rivet joined the Sabres there was a sense that the locker room was incredibly immature.  Rivet was brought onto the team, and immediately made captain, to fill the leadership void.  He did this job capably, and I think the Sabres are a better team for having had him among their ranks.

It’s a sad part of sports to watch a man age before your eyes, but I’m proud to have called myself a Rivet fan.  I hope he finds another home in the NHL, and I wish him nothing but the best.

5. I hope Vanek is the next captain of the Sabres.  When I first started watching the Sabres, Drury and Briere had just fled for richer pastures, and Lindy was in the middle of his famous rotating captaincy system.  At the time, I didn’t understand why fans were so cranky about the rotating C, but after a few years of watching hockey, I’ve kind of changed my tune.  The C is important.  The guy wearing the C sets the tone for the team.  Rivet was a good captain, but he just didn’t have the goods on the ice.  Vanek has been a strong player and a responsible teammate for several years now.  Give the kid the C, please.

I’ve heard lots of people argue that giving Vanek the C could backfire.  I actually think this is true.  Giving Vanek the C might be a disaster.  HOWEVER, if the Sabres (as they’re currently constructed) can’t rely on Vanek for leadership they’re already completely screwed.  Who knows, maybe Darcy is about to pull the next Chris Drury out of thin air at the trade deadline, but I seriously doubt it.  For better or for worse, Vanek is our guy.  If he’s NOT our guy, then the team has MUCH bigger problems than the captaincy.

To me, sitting in the stands, Vanek looks like he’s ready.  I say it’s worth the risk.

6. It’s interesting how certain topics rear up on the intertubes, and then suddenly everyone is talking about some relatively random issue.  A few days ago, Chris Jones wrote this post, and ever since then I’ve been seeing a lot of twitter chatter about the issue of cheering from the press box.  (Here’s another interesting blog post on the subject from Jay Busbee.)   Then today, Mike Schopp wrote this post, which is not about press box decorum, but it does address the issue of fandom as it pertains to people in the media.

As far as the press box goes, it’s very clear that cheering up there is extremely B-A-D M-A-N-N-E-R-S.  I’m not a reporter, nor do I aspire to be a reporter, so I can’t claim to understand the rules, but if I ever (improbably) found myself sitting in the Sabres press box, I would of course abide by these rules.  (I am a Minnesotan, and we are nothing if not polite.) But I do have to say, I’ve never really understood the reasoning behind the “no cheering” rule.  I just don’t get it.  I understand that cheering makes you look like an unprofessional rube, but I don’t see how cheering makes you a less effective writer.  Cheering would offend the other reporters and it would make me look stupid, but I’m not sure I buy that it would make my writing worse.  Of course, I’m not a professional… as evidenced by this blog.

I suspect it has something to do with objectivity, which brings me to Mike Schopp’s post.

I really like what Mike wrote.  Mike’s job (as I see it) is to share his opinion and to help shape the conversation among fans, so that certainly makes his perspective different than a print journalist’s, but it’s still refreshing to see someone admit that his job is easier and more fun when the Sabres are winning.  And for as many times as I’ve heard Mike Harrington say it, I simply can’t fathom how a person can cover a team and not root for them to win.  I understand that objectivity is a HUGE element of traditional journalism, but on a human level, and particularly when the subject is sports, I think it’s really odd.

So, I get it.  Cheering from the press box is STRICTLY FORBIDDEN, and everyone who does it is an embarrassing fool, but I fundamentally do not understand how it makes you a less effective sports writer.

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.

6 Things

1. You may have noticed that I’ve changed my blogging philosophy this season.  After years of working under the mission statement of, “Writing everyday is a practice that is both enjoyable and healthy,” I’ve recently discovered the joys of, “Eff it.  The Sabres blow and life is too short.  Poor me another glass of boxed wine please.”  (Sidenote: Did you know that boxed wine has evolved significantly since the days of keeping Franzia in your fridge in college?  I can report that Sabres games are a LOT less annoying to watch when you stop counting your wine consumption in “bottles” and start counting it in “boxes”.)

2. I just spent about twenty minutes writing a detailed list of all the ways in which the World Junior Championship and Buffalo’s response to it are on my nerves, but I’m currently experiencing some doubt about whether I want to go full-blown crankypants about this issue.

I’ll just say this:  I have realized that if I want to have any hope of making it through this tournament with my sunny disposition intact, it is my own responsibility to stop looking at Twitter.  If I stop reading Twitter, the WJC will revert back to something I never ever think about, and then I might have the opportunity to attend some games with an open mind.  As of right now, I’m so turned off by the tone of the conversation around town that I’m resisting the urge to hate the World Juniors just on principle.

I like liking things, and I dislike being all grouchy and annoyed.  So, no Twitter it is.

World Juniors, I’ll see you on January 2nd.  I’ll try to have a better attitude about you by then.

3. I hosted Christmas this year, which was really a lot of fun, but after weeks missing games because of work or house related chores, by the time the Sabres/Calgary game came along on the 26th, I was pretty adamant that I wanted to watch it.   The original plan was to herd the whole family out to a bar, but my regular haunts were zany that night (Left Bank was closed.  CLOSED!), and so we wound up back at my house. This is how my entire family of non-Buffalonians, non-hockey fans wound up gathered around my television to watch the Calgary game.

Sadly, the game was boring and the lose-iness was palpable, but at least I got a good laugh from my family at the end when I quipped, “And that’s the sport and the team that changed my life forever! What a wonderful holiday treat that was for you!”

4. I’ll write more about this later, but it sure feels like this season is basically over for the Sabres.  Roy-Z is out for the year, and Crunchy is in some sort of “I just got engaged to a mega-hot starlet and I refuse to be cranky about anything, including the fact that my team blows” haze, and it feels like the entire organization is just waiting for Pegula to take over so they can see which lifetime-contracts will be honored and which ones will go up in smoke.

I’ve never experienced a season like this as a fan.  During the other non-playoff years the Sabres were in the playoff hunt until the last week of the season, so this dead-in-the-water sensation is something new.  What I’m learning is that the it’s perfectly possible to allow the Sabres to fade into the background of your life, and still enjoy a rich, satisfying existence.  I know!  It’s actually a very lovely life lesson.

I’m not at all in the mood to hate the Sabres these days, so, I won’t.

5. I’ve written a little in the past about how I love Sidney Crosby mostly because everyone else hates him.  (I think it’s hilarious how almost every hockey fan criticizes Sid for being boring and whining….while uniformly whining en masse about Sid.)  Sid is really cementing his place in my heart right now because not only is he infuriating his strongest detractors with his scoring streak, but he’s doing so with the ugliest mustache in the history of mustaches.  Delightful.

6. If you want an example of stellar, non-redonk coverage of the WJC, I highly suggest you keep a close eye on Andrew Kulyk over at Artvoice.  This piece about Kassian and Etem is a great read.

7 Things Written While My Car Gets New Brakes

1. Here’s how my life goes right now: Wake up, eat something, play Christmas carols, eat something else, work on the house, play more Christmas carols, eat again, sleep, repeat.  The Sabres have inconveniently scheduled ALL of their games during BPO rehearsals/concerts, so I haven’t seen them in 45,000 years, and I won’t see them again until December 21st.

Today is slightly different because I’m treating myself to a morning at the car mechanic’s.  The Civic Doody has developed a troubling grinding sound when she brakes, so I thought I’d get that checked out.  Kudos to Town Car for having a wireless connection, and double kudos to myself for thinking to grab my computer on the way out.

2. I can’t quite explain how it feels to look at your phone after a concert and see that the Sabres not only beat the Bruins, but they did so because of a Drew Stafford hat trick.  It was an odd sensation- equal parts glee, disbelief, amusement, and concern that the apocalypse is nigh.  Obviously Staffy has been busy feasting on human flesh, so we should probably be a little worried about the coming rise of the zombies, but whatever.  The Sabres won, so we rejoice.  Good work, Staffy!  *moooooore brraaaaains*

3. Is anyone else getting a little anxious for Terry Pegula to take over and save Buffalo?  I mean, hurry up already, Pegasaurus.  (What do you think of the nickname “Pegasaurus” for Terry Pegula?  I don’t know why I even ask.  You guys never like my nicknames.  I still haven’t forgiven you for rejecting “Mylers.”)

4. Here is something I can highly recommend that you do NOT do a week before your entire family comes to Buffalo for Christmas:  Do not (I repeat, DO NOT) decide that you should finally get around to sanding and refinishing the stairs.

The actual sanding is not that difficult (once you get past the initial stage of not know how to do it, which includes swearing, crying, and whining on twitter until someone gives you lots of useful tips [thanks, JonesRG!]), but the clean-up is unreal.  UNREAL.  My stairwell is in the center of my house, and it’s open so there wasn’t a good way to contain the dust.  When I realized the dust was going to be a problem, I thought, “Well, I guess I’ll just have to spend a few extra minutes vacuuming this week” (FYI, at my house, “a few extra minutes of vacuuming this week,” really means,” SOME minutes of vacuuming this week”).  WRONG.  WRONGWRONGWRONG.

The dust got everywhere.    The cleanup involves picking up every single thing in my house and dusting it off with a damp cloth.  I spent about an hour vacuuming and wiping down the couch last night, and I’m still not convinced it won’t give my house guests instant asthma next week.

The moral of the story is: don’t go sanding parts of your house all willy-nilly.

5. Hey, good news.  My car needs new brakes, but nothing scarier or more expensive than that.  She’s a good girl, the Civic Doody.

6. One of the things I’ve had on my blogging to-do list forever, is alert you to the fabulous new(ish) Sabres blog “$#*! Harry Neale Says” penned by the hilarious and beautiful, Mcguffers.   McGuffers is awesome and you should definitely read her blog.  I apologize for not telling you about her months ago (more Mcguffers for me).

7. I had the great privilege of participating in Artvoice’s  “5 Questions With…” feature this week.  It was tons of fun to write, in part because of the great questions fed to me by Zachary Burns.  Have a look!

I’m convinced that this article is my best chance to catch the attention and capture the heart of Terry Pegula.  So, if you’re reading this, hi Terry!  My name is Katebits.  Call me if you ever need help deciding who to fire.  I’ve been keeping a detailed list.

10 Things


2. That overtime was RIDICULOUSLY fun.  That game was ridiculously fun.  I haven’t been that bonkers during a regular season game, well, possibly ever.  The arena had a GREAT buzz tonight, and the overtime period was incredible.  Great, great entertainment.  That was my first win in the arena this year, and IT FELT GOOD.  More please.  I’m home now, and I’m bouncing off the walls, filled with big beers and warm fuzzies.

3. At some point during the Rangers game last week, I got so frustrated with Thomas Vanek that I got a little temper tantrum-y.  If I weren’t such a lazy blogger I would’ve written a post in which I declared that Darcy should have taken the draft picks from Edmonton.  This was a new low in my relationship with Thomas Vanek.  As much as I’ve bitched about him in the past, I’d never actually given up on him before.  But I gave up on him last week.  I really did.

Thomas Vanek is never going to be the guy we thought he would be when the Sabres signed him to the seven year contract, but, he’s never going to let us give up on him either.  He’s got “it”.  He may not have access to it all the time, but when he’s got it, he’s got it.

I’ve said this before, but to me, the game looks different, and it really feels like anything is possible when Thomas Vanek is hot.  There are no other Sabres that make me feel this way, including Ryan Miller. (Maybe I just take Crunchy for granted.)  Somehow Thomas Vanek alone perfectly represents my vast array of feelings about this team.  As low as I was about him last week, that’s how high watching him made me feel tonight.

Thomas mother effing Vanek.  I want him to be awesome.  I love it when he’s awesome.

4. Tyler Myers had the overtime game winning goal, which makes him a hot, hot bitch.  Sekera (a guy who Lindy has always been more than happy to bench) hit the jackpot by being the guy playing with Myers when he started to take baby steps out of his slump.  If Sekera and Myers develop any type of lasting chemistry, Darcy better roll out the lifetime contract for Sekera, because I don’t want to see, “My Name Is Tyler Myers And I Miss My Defensive Partner, Part II”.   I’m glad Myers is starting to look like himself again, and if Sekera can help Myers forget about Hank, all the power to him.

5. At the start of OT, when the Sabres had about 30 seconds left to kill on the PK, Lindy sent out Myers, Connolly, and Morrisonn.  I thought it was pretty interesting (and more than a little bonkers) that those were the three guys Lindy trusted most in that situation.  Lindy was right.  It was an admirable PK, start to finish.

6. Damn it’s good to have Ryan Miller back.

7. I sat up in the 300s tonight with my buddies from work (I was playing the role of “one of the guys” this evening), and I’ve got to say, the 300s are VERY fun.  Granted, this was a particularly exciting game, so maybe my regular seats would’ve been just as boisterous….but I kind of doubt it.  I really have to hand it to the 300s, it’s a hoot up there, and the view is great.

8. The Sabres have done something INCREDIBLY clever.  (I know what you’re thinking.  You’re thinking, “‘Clever’ and ‘Sabres’?  Those words do not belong together,” but bear with me here.)  By sucking beyond our scariest nightmares in October, they absolutely convinced us that they were a terrible team.  They were so bad, that we had no choice but to believe in their shittiness.  And now?  When they don’t suck?  We all think, “EEEEEEEEEEEE!  The Sabres are so scrappy and over-achieving and wonderful!  I want to marry them all!”  This is an astonishing feat.  I think I might love the Sabres more because they don’t suck than I would have had they never sucked in the first place.  Well played, Sabres.  Well.  Played.

9. I like it when guys wear jerseys that fit with their body-type.  Like, if you’re tall and skinny, I think you should wear a Myers or a Miller.  If you’re mega cute and cuddly, you should wear a Pominville.  If you’re just basically dude-shaped, not too tall and not too short, you should wear a Vanek or a Connolly.  If you’re short and kind of a punk, I think you should wear a Roy.  I thought of this tonight because I saw a tall skinny guy in a Myers jersey standing next to a short guy in a Roy jersey and I thought, “Well, that just looks right.

10.I really, really loved that game.  Sometimes you just have to go ahead and blow the 3rd period lead in order to set up the best OT ever.  Hockey is great.

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.

6 Things


2. I have to admit I’ve been a little less of a Miss-I-Heart-The-Sabres-Pants and a LOT more of a Miss-Arms-Crossed-With-Disapproval-Pants this season than in past seasons.  I don’t feel guilty about this in the slightest, but I DO feel sorry for myself that it didn’t even OCCUR to me to run down to the break room after our concert ended last night to watch OT and the shootout.  In my defense, the BPO had a post-concert reception of cupcakes and champagne, so I had delicious treats on the brain.  But regardless of the available desserts, it still surprised me when some of my hockey-loving colleagues showed up at the reception a few minutes late and asked, “WHERE WERE YOU?” My answer was, “What are you talking about?  I was here, eating cupcakes!  Where were YOU?!”  It literally did not cross my mind to go downstairs and watch the end of the game. I was blinded by cupcakes, I think.

I’m sorry about that, because I think I really would’ve enjoyed the end of that game.  Even the “On the Fly” highlights made my heart trill a little bit.  I don’t think I’ll ever stop being surprised by how something as relatively minor as a single shootout victory in November can put a little spring back into my step.

Everything is just better when the Sabres win, you know?  Let’s win more!

3. It’s awfully nice to know that even while wallowing in the depths of organizational despair, the Sabres are still capable of sticking it to the Leafs.  We’ve still got it, baby!  Just punch me in the face if I ever lose the ability to stop and smell the humiliating Leafs defeat roses after a game like that.

4. This weekend the BPO played two concerts with a guest conductor named Leon Botstein.  Botstein is an incredibly interesting person in that he’s a college president (Bard college), and an accomplished conductor (Music Director of the American Symphony Orchestra, and the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra), and an all-around smarty-pants famous intellectual (you can see him playing the role of “intellectual” here on the Colbert Report).  In addition to his fine conducting, the thing I enjoyed the most about him this week is that he manages to convey both a dazzling intelligence and a grounded friendliness.  “Super-mega-smart” and “friendly” are two qualities which are rarely found in one person in my less-than-super-mega-smart opinion.

This afternoon Botstein did something that I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a conductor do in a performance.  He turned around and addressed the audience between movements of the symphony (Prokofiev 3).

As many of you probably know, many classical pieces are composed in “movements” (meaning a larger work is divided into several smaller pieces).  In most cases, symphonic movements are totally separate, stand alone works.  At some point during fairly recent musical history (I want to say probably within the last 100 years) it became customary for the audience to hold their applause until all of the movements have been performed.

This custom has led to a weird and uncomfortable bit of classical music snobbery.  Not every audience member knows the unwritten “no applause between movements” rule, so they’ll applaud at the end of the first movement, but then they’ll quickly stop as they realize that not everyone is clapping.  Somehow, clapping has become “incorrect” at certain times during concerts.  It’s goofy.  In my opinion (and if I may be so bold as to speak for most professional musicians), applause at the end of a movement is perfectly fine.  I HATE that audience members are made to feel stupid for clapping.  (Incidentally, in my opinion, the absolute BEST applause is the applause we periodically get when the audience is moved to clap in spite of the “no applause between movements” rule.  Every once in a while you get the sense that the audience is just like, “That was sweet.  I’m clapping, damn it.”  That’s my favorite.)

Anyhooch, today we were playing Prokofiev 3, which is not performed very often, and could certainly be considered harsh (it’s very loud) and less accessible than, say, a Beethoven symphony.  After the first movement, there was a smattering of applause.  Now, I have no idea if this applause was from people who didn’t know NOT to applaud, or from people who just really liked the first movement and wanted to clap, but Botstein did something that I REALLY liked.  First, he looked at the orchestra, raised his eyebrows and smiled.  Then, he turned around to the audience and said, “We like that you liked it.”

This was such a simple gesture to the audience, but one that felt very generous and almost impishly conspiratorial.  The “no applause between movements” rule is…weird, and musicians DO like it when the audience likes what we play.  If I could change one thing about the classical music business it might be to abolish the rigidity of the “no applause between movements” rule, and replace it with a “applaud if and only when you really like what you just heard” rule.

The performance today was an interesting end to a good week at work.

5. Sometimes it really trips me out that I have a job where I literally get a round of applause at the end of my work day.  What kind of lucky girl am I?

6. Okay back to the Sabres for a second- How great was it that Enroth and Ennis were the heroes?  I approved of Lindy playing Enroth against the Bruins and then I was skeptical when I heard he planned to play him again last night (shows what I know).  It really does add a spark when a young guy comes up big in a tough situation.  It will be interesting to see how Lindy handles Lalime and Enroth if Miller is still injured this week.  The backup goalie situation seems fraught with hidden opportunity and pitfalls.

I don’t undersatnd why Lalime was re-signed if Lindy has no faith in him, but I can’t really blame Lindy for not having much faith in Laime.  The whole thing is curious.  I guess we’ll see.

5 Things That Aren’t So Bad

I woke up this morning in a surprisingly good mood considering I stayed up too late watching election coverage.  I’m happy to report that even though the Sabres are grody-to-the-max, I still thought, “Yay!  We’re going to the game tonight!” as I opened my sleepy eyes and pondered the day to come.  So, that’s good news.

Here are 5 Reasons to be chipper about the Sabres game tonight:

1. Jason Pominville is not dead.  The last time we saw little P-Doods, he was being carted away with his head bloodied and strapped to a stretcher.   That was lame.  In addition to not dying, Pominville managed to escape October without contracting the terrible stench of failure that now wafts around all the other Sabres.  Since Pommers has played his entire NHL career virtually injury-free, this little stretch was our first opportunity to see who the Sabres are without him in the lineup.  The answer?  The Sabres are TOTAL POO without Jason Pominville in the lineup.  Maybe his return will solve everything.

2. It’s a beautiful day.  During most of the hockey season, hockey fans are forced to make an impossible choice for each and every game, “Do I wear my winter coat so that I don’t freeze to death during the walk from the car to the arena, or, do I leave my coat in the car so I don’t have to deal with it within the cramped and dingy confines of my seats?”  It’s a question with no good answer.  I almost always leave my coat in the car, and then it’s miserably cold when I put it on when I get back to the car after the game.  Not to mention the fact that while the walk from the car to the arena is nearly always tolerable (since we are warmed with the flush of anticipation) the walk BACK to the car is usually worse (unless you’ve had a LOT of big beers). It sucks to walk five blocks without a coat in the winter after you’ve just watched the Sabres lose pathetically.

Tonight we will walk to the arena in relative comfort in just our hoodies and jerseys, and that is a beautiful thing.

3. Ryan Miller is hurt, and we’re not freaking out.  This is a rare occurrence indeed.  Ordinarily when Crunchy is injured Sabres fans immediately begin running in panic circles and freaking the eff out, but not so today.  Miller’s pedestrian stats combined with the team’s horrific record have put the fanbase in an unusually complacent mood.  It’s not that we want Crunchy to be hurt (good heavens, NO NO NO), it’s just that it doesn’t really feel like we’re living and dying with him right now, you know?

Tonight Crunchy can sit up in the press box, with his lower body resting comfortably on a giant red satin pillow, while various Sabres minions hand-feed him grapes and caviar, and the fans can just…not freak out.  Sometimes not freaky out is nice.

4. Enroth is here.  I hope Lindy plays him.

We pretty much know what we’ll get with Lalime:  He’ll play a basically solid game except that every time a Sabres defenseman makes a bad mistake Lalime will fail to make the “don’t-worry-Tyler-Myers,-I’ve-got-this-one” save,  and then the fans will boo, and then in the postgame interviews all the players will act mortally offended that the fans DARED to boo a man as noble and wonderful as Lalime, and then everyone will bitch on Twitter about how if-the-Sabres-love-Lalime-so-much-why-don’t-they-play-better-in-front-of-him, AND THOSE FANS WILL BE RIGHT TO WONDER.  And no one will feel good about it, and no one will win.

Enroth however, is a wildcard.  We don’t really know him, and neither do the Sabres.  Maybe he’ll surprise us all and turn out to be a tiny hero.

5. When the Sabres are good and stinky, that frees us up to pay attention to other things while at the game.  Last year I wrote about how during a bad loss I decided to focus solely on Tyler Myers for the entire third period.  It was actually a lot of fun and I learned quite a bit about Mylers that night.  Since I’m beginning to forget what a Sabres win looks like, I feel less obligated to focus on willing the team to victory and more free to figure out, once and for all, what Shaone Morrisonn looks like.  I suspect that Shaone Morrisonn might be hot, but frankly, I have no idea if that’s true, because I couldn’t pick him out of a lineup if my life depended on it.  Tonight, I will get to the bottom of the “Is Shaone Morrisonn hot?” question, and I’ll report back to you tomorrow.

5 Things

1. I think it’s time to dial down our expectations for the Sabres this season.  I know.  Bummer.

It sounds depressing, but dialing down expectations is not all bad.

I’m obviously not giving up on the season at this point, but I think I’ll be a happier fan if I lower my expectations.   I’m going to try to be pleasantly surprised when they win.  When it comes right down to it, my fandom is all about me (ME!).  I’m sick of being grumpy.  In order to make this season more palatable I’ve made a decision: The Sabres stink.  Any win from here on out is a little gift from the Hockey Gods.   I will do my best to react accordingly.

Ooooh!  The Sabres didn’t blow chunks tonight?  How unexpected and delightful!

I gave this a lot of thought today and I have to admit, I entered this season thinking that the playoffs were an inevitability and that winning the division should be the goal.  I was sort of assuming that the problems the Sabres had in the playoffs last season were just that, playoff problems.  Uh…oopsies.

2. It’s also time to start rationally considering that maybe Lindy and/or Darcy should get the ax.  Like I’ve said 45,000 times before, I don’t necessarily think Lindy has to be fired, but I think it’s 100% appropriate for Lindy to be a topic of conversation.  If the Sabres don’t get better, and fast, this season will be beyond repair before Thanksgiving.  Think about that.

I heard Jeremy White say something interesting the other day on the radio.  In defense of Lindy, he asked, “Do you really want to lose Lindy Ruff because of Tim Connolly?”  The answer is hellz no- I don’t want to lose a game of solitaire because of Tim Connolly, much less lose Lindy Ruff.  BUT, personally, I would be willing to lose Lindy Ruff because of Thomas Vanek or (deep exasperated sigh) Derek Roy (not to mention Tyler Ennis and Tyler Myers).

3. Man, speaking of Tyler Myers.  I wish Tyler Myers would come back to life.  Come back, Mylers!  I don’t think we can overstate how much the Sabres needed Tyler Myers to pick up where he left off last season.  It’s probably not fair to him (he’s still a wee baby, after all), but Tyler Myers is supposed to be our number one defenseman.  Poop.

4. Ryan Fitzpatrick and his giant yellow beard are fun.

5. It’s a pretty depressing time to be a Buffalo sports fan, but I have to say, (for lack of a better word) I was moved by the reaction to Sunday’s Bills game.  I didn’t watch much of the game because I had a 2:35 concert on Sunday.  At about 2pm, when I was arriving for work, I walked by Coda which is a small restaurant across the street from Kleinhans.  I’m not sure if the restaurant was open at the time, or if the people inside were all staff, but the doors were open and the sound of gleeful cheering was drifting out into the beautiful Sunday afternoon.  It made me happy that there were Buffalonians so completely enjoying that game in spite of the dreary season.

That’s what it’s all about.  We take the joy where it comes.

3 Fairly Dumb Things

I need to put up a new post just to get the Chelsea Dagger rant off the top of my blog.  I think throwing a complete conniption fit about a goal song is perfectly appropriate for one day.  Two days is pushing it.  Three days is taking things too far.

So, here are some (fairly dumb) things for you:

1. On Saturday I thought my favorite pink scarf had been stolen from the coat rack at Left Bank.  I was pretty bummed about it mostly because I really liked that scarf, but also because I’ve always thought of Left Bank as one of those home-away-from-home places where nothing bad could ever happen to me or to any of my scarves.  But, these things happen, so I quietly mourned and tried to move forward in a post-pink-scarf world.


Last night I went to Left Bank and my scarf was hanging on the coat rack!  Three days later!  I KNOW!

The prevailing theory among my friends is that the scarf had probably been accidentally knocked off the coat rack, and then put back on the wrong hook.  My friend Richard speculated that maybe someone took my scarf by mistake and then returned it later- which would be a very awesome (and very Buffalo-y) thing to do.  These theories make sense, but I like to think that my scarf was “borrowed” by someone very fabulous, taken on grand adventures across the land, and then returned to the place where the temporary-scarf-thief knew I would definitely return- Left Bank.  I think my scarf looks a little more worldly, a LOT wiser, and maybe a wee bit more hung over then it did before I lost it on Saturday.  I hope it had fun out there.

2. You know what I think is interesting about attending hockey games?  You can’t hear a single word the people in front of you say, but you can hear EVERY word the people behind you say.   This was driven home at the preseason Flyers game a few days ago when Heather and I were taking turns talking like Ryan Miller after he had to defend against that 3-on-0 last year (“::angry glare::”  “I’ve never even SEEN a 3-on-0 before.”  “Not even in PEE WEE hockey.”  “I don’t even understand how something like that can happen.”  “I hate my teammates.”), and the guy sitting in front of us turned around and told us that 3-on-0s happen all the time in his beer league.   It’s funny how the acoustics of the arena mean you’re constantly eavesdropping and being eavesdropped on, but you’re not exactly in a good position to have a conversation with the people around you.

3. I am really truly psyched that real, meaningful hockey is almost here.

…A Blog About the Buffalo Sabres

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

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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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