Jaro, Al, and T-Bone

(This post is a part of a series entitled “Kate’s Favorite Sabre Competition” in which I am choosing my 2007/08 favorite Sabre by process of elimination. Each and every Sabre is a hero, but in the end, there can be only one favorite.)


There has been an incredible response to my request for Favorite Sabre candidates. Buffalo is a city full of rabid hockey fans, and I’ll admit, I was somewhat concerned that the boys would not feel the need to clamor for my affection. Luckily, my loyal scribe, Tim Laudner (Original Favorite Player) wrote the Sabres an especially poignant letter, and his impassioned plea seems to have struck a chord with the young team. I have in fact, received applications from all of the Sabres except for two: Ryan Miller and Dmitri Kalinin. I suspect Ryan is playing hard to get, and Dimitri, well….the poor dear is dreadfully shy. Hopefully, with gentle coaxing from his life coaches, he can overcome his crippling fear, and eventually apply for the job.

Tim and I have been hard at work sifting through the Sabres resumes and headshots. We are at a severe disadvantage because between us, we still know very little about hockey. Tim is a former Minnesota Twins baseball player, and I am a very new hockey fan. With so little experience to draw from, we have found ourselves somewhat befuddled by the daunting task of choosing a new Favorite Sabre.

In order to lubricate this process, I have decided that the best approach is to start with the easiest players to eliminate. While I appreciate each Sabre’s contribution on the ice, not every man can be my favorite, and there are several players who can be immediately removed from further consideration. I present three such men now.

Jaroslav Spacek #6

I may not be the most seasoned fan, but I do have eyes and ears. My ears have told me that everyone in Buffalo loves to hate Jaroslav Spacek. My eyes have told me…well, let’s just say he is not doing himself any favors with that anvil-shaped head. It seems Jaro has failed expectations on nearly every level as a Sabre. He played very well as a member of the Edmonton Oilers, so I have not given up on him entirely, but his current role as “fan punching bag” makes him an unlikely candidate for “Kate’s Favorite Sabre”. It’s entirely possible that someday I will opt to champion an unlikely favorite, but in my very first year as a fan, I can’t go out on a limb for a guy like Jaroslav Spacek. I wish him nothing but the best this coming season, and as always, my heart remains open to each and every Sabre.

Ales Kotalik #12

Pookie once suggested that Ales Kotalik looks like he should be wearing a large red sash, and a formal jacket adorned with military medals. I have to say, I agree. Al may be a great guy, but until I need a date to an 18th century Viennese ball, he and I will have to remain “just friends”. I do appreciate his funny little beard and the jaunty gleam in his eye, so while he is not my Favorite Sabre, I will think of Ales with great affection.

Jocelyn Thibault #TBA

Okay, Jocelyn Thibault turned out to be a real shocker. I put him on this list without thinking twice because I figured that his newness, combined with the name “Jocelyn”, combined with his role as a back-up goaltender would all add up to certain disqualification from the competition. Imagine my surprise when I went to the Sabres website and found this guy! He’s delightful! So cute! Not only is he cute, but he’s 32, and I appreciate having a new, age-appropriate crush on our fresh-faced Sabres team. Plus, his name (which I initially foresaw as a problem) lends itself extremely well to the nickname “T-Bone”. (I think his last name is pronounced TEE-Bogh.) T-Bone is a stellar nickname. All-in-all, Jocelyn is off to a great start with me. While I still feel it’s unwise to choose a back-up goaltender for the important role of Favorite Sabre, Jocelyn Thibault may very well end up with the title of “Favorite Sabre To Watch Joshing Around On the Bench.” We’ll see.

So there you have it; the first round of cuts is complete. The role of Kate’s Favorite Sabre is still up for grabs, and you can assume that Tim and I will be hard at work in the coming weeks, weighing and re-weighing each young man’s qualifications. As always, I appreciate any and all contributions from my readers, so please feel free to chime in in support of your favorite Sabre.

20 Responses to “Jaro, Al, and T-Bone”

  1. 1 Meg August 18, 2007 at 3:14 pm

    I think this is an excellent first round of cuts. I was happy when the Sabres signed Thibault because I think he’s a good back-up but I didn’t realize until just now, reading your post, how cute he is. How could I have been so lax in checking out our latest addition? He also helps to address the glaring need for more French-Canadians on the team (what? I like the accent) not that we’ve lost Dumont, Biron, and Briere in the last 2 years. But he’s too new to be a good favorite player and the other two are too scape-goaty…you’d be spending all your time defending them.

  2. 2 elise August 18, 2007 at 3:51 pm

    kate, we MUST go to Sabres/Rangers game to deliver book of sonnets to T-bone. i so admire your self-control and integrity in cutting him from the list. at least for this year. you will go far in this game.

  3. 3 Heather B. August 18, 2007 at 4:16 pm

    Wow, T-Bone is a cutie! Very nice!

    I agree with your cutting of Jaro, but I love, love, love listening to him in interviews. I’m pretty sure he’s speaking English but between the accent and the speed at which he talks, I’m not entirely sure. I think he’ll be better this season. I’m willing to give him another season before I rant and rave too much about him being a bust. (Whoops! I snuck some actual hockey content in there.)

    Al is another good cut. I know he has some talent but his inconsistency exhausts me.

  4. 4 Katebits August 18, 2007 at 4:25 pm

    (Whoops! I snuck some actual hockey content in there.)

    Listen, now! I am 100% in FAVOR of actual hockey content!!! It’s only my complete LACK OF KNOWLEDGE that excludes real hockey content from my posts. I don’t want to be this way….I just don’t know any better. It is my sincerest hope that someday I will know more about hockey, but for now, this is the best I can do. Please, for the love of God, DO NOT withold legitimate hockey commentary because you think this site is too boy-crazy to care about the actual game of hockey. How am I ever going to learn without your help?!

  5. 5 Heather B. August 18, 2007 at 4:55 pm

    Oh, Kate, I was just kidding! Sorry!

    Jaro started off the season really, really well – in fact in the first couple of Games to Remember I was pleasantly surprised at how good he looked. So I’m not sure what happened but the wheels definitely came off. I think part of the problem is that he and Soupy turned out to be a not very great pairing – they both need stronger defensive partners. I’m not sure it’s unusual for players to need time to adjust to new teams, teammates, and systems though so I’ll give him another year before I totally lose it on him. There’s also the fact that his contract – which looked pretty high last season – looks a lot more reasonable now. So we’ll see.

    But yeah… definitely not boyfriend material.

    By the way, I know Hank didn’t send you a letter of interest, right? Right?!

  6. 6 Meg August 18, 2007 at 5:06 pm

    I think Spacek was also affected by those end of season injuries (or was it just one?) I remember him being worse after than before, anyway. Maybe not though. I’m eternally making excuses for players.

  7. 7 Katebits August 18, 2007 at 5:34 pm

    By the way, I know Hank didn’t send you a letter of interest, right? Right?!

    Actually, Hank did in fact send me a resume and head shot. But keep in mind, this is a chance to become “Kate’s Favorite Player”, not “Kate’s Biggest Fan”. I see no reason why Hank’s interest in this title would compromise his devotion to you, Heather.

    Oh, Kate, I was just kidding! Sorry!

    Sorry to get all spazzy for a second there! Honestly, as much as I have LOVED penning TWC, it has also been an exercise in letting go of some previously held “standards of adult conduct”. Hee. I’m clearly a little sensitive about the fact that I don’t know shit, and at the same time I’m relishing not knowing shit because it’s such a good excuse to appraise these guys like a twelve-year-old would. So, while one set of instincts is telling me to be all, “tee hee, he’s soooo cute”, another set of instincts is telling me to be all, “I demand to be taken seriously as a woman and as a fan!”. It’s all very ridiculous.

    All I’m saying is that I’m still working on owning my girly blog. :P I’ll get there.

  8. 8 elise August 18, 2007 at 7:57 pm

    girly blogs are smart, too.

  9. 9 Heather B. August 18, 2007 at 9:16 pm

    Meg, you’re right. I’d forgotten about that. I think he broke his hand? Which would affect a guy for sure, probably even after it healed.

    Kate, as long as there was some kind of disclaimer in Hank’s letter that we’re already in a serious relationship, I’m okay. I don’t want to be totally selfish with him, you know?

  10. 10 Katebits August 18, 2007 at 9:41 pm

    Thanks, Elise! I think so too!

    Heather, Hank was very clear. His exact words were, “You must understand, although I am extremely interested in the position of Kate’s Favorite Sabre, I am currently involved in a loving relationship with Heather B. If this title would interfere in any way with my current situation, I will happily withdraw my application.” :D

  11. 11 markberm August 19, 2007 at 11:30 am

    Kate – very nice blog!

    As I am in the search for a new favorite player, I can so relate. Not sure I’m using the same qualifications you are, though :-)

    A totally unrelated thought came when you called Jocelyn, “T-Bone”. My mind jumped to the episode of Seinfeld when George wanted the people at work to call him T-Bone. But they ended up calling another guy T-Bone and he got the name “Koko the Monkey”.

    Ah Seinfeld – what would I do without that show?

  12. 12 Icing August 19, 2007 at 11:43 am

    Another great post Katebits. I chortled, I smiled, I demanded, “just another few minutes!?!” But alas, the post ended :)

    And by the way re: your comment on “standards of adult conduct” may I suggest that if you get a few more scantily clad pics of hockey players around here you could raise your ‘adult content’ quotient – that’s pretty much the same as conduct, right? ;)

  13. 13 Katebits August 19, 2007 at 12:08 pm

    Mark, thank you! I knew that there was some sort of pop culture reference to “T-Bone”, but I couldn’t for the life of me remember what it was. George! Yeah, George isn’t really a T-Bone. Our T-Bone is a total T-Bone.

    You’re right, Icing! I should be less concerned with adult conduct, and more concerned with adult content.

  14. 14 Becky August 19, 2007 at 3:45 pm

    I posted my resume on a different post, but in order not to escape your attention, let me present it here also:

    Sorry for the late entry – I’ve been busy traveling to others countries for workouts, etc -you know, all the things a single millionaire does.

    I say that I am uniquely qualified to be the hottest of the hot due to my constant practice of the #1 qualification of being hot:

    Standing there in profile, high cheekbones highlighting my face, with my mouth shut. Rarely will I disillusion you with the reality that I have my own mind, thoughts of which you may or may not agree with.

    I let my skating do my talking, and next year I’ll go back to what I do best – assisting those around me, rather than allowing myself to be pushed into the role of goal hog.

    In summary – a person who knows the value of assisting others combined with the “just shut up and look good” quality.



  15. 15 Katebits August 19, 2007 at 4:06 pm

    Fear not, dear Max! You are most definitely still in the running for Kate’s Favorite Sabre!

  16. 16 Meg August 19, 2007 at 4:18 pm

    Rarely will I disillusion you with the reality that I have my own mind, thoughts of which you may or may not agree with.

    This is true. And excellent. And he’s a man who seems not to be challenged by smart women, as Dementieva always seems really bright and nice (and says nice things about Buffalo even when silly Canadian hockey scribes clearly want her to do otherwise).

  17. 17 Heather B. August 20, 2007 at 12:07 am

    Meg, I really liked Dementieva after that interview in which she said such nice things about Buffalo. The Buffalo loving aside, she came across as really down-to-earth and totally willing to poke fun at herself. Well played, Max!

  18. 18 Meg August 20, 2007 at 1:05 am

    Yeah, apparently she’s one of the nicest players on the WTA. My estimation of Max really did go up based on the fact that his girlfriend seems so likeable. I mean, I realize that’s not the best way to judge a public figure (“oh, their significant other seems lovely”) but it’s got to say something.

  19. 19 andrew August 20, 2007 at 3:02 pm

    You go Katebits!

    Glad to see Adam Mair made it past the first round of cuts. I have high hopes for you two.

  20. 20 courtney August 21, 2007 at 2:49 pm

    I haven’t checked out the caboose in a few days and I have to say, I’m impressed. I like these player profiles. I vote for Jocelyn. I think the very fact that he is a MAN named Jocelyn should give him extra points.

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