Archive for March, 2008

Playoff Scenarios

Last night during the second intermission, Kevin Sylvester presented a variety of scenarios in which the Sabres could make the playoffs. All of the scenarios involved the Sabres winning the rest of the games, and some other hapless team ahead of us losing all their remaining games, but there were a few ridiculously complicated situations that were along the lines of, “IF the Capitals lose all their games, but the Hurricanes win all THEIR games EXCEPT the game they play against the Thrashers, AND on April 3rd a computer glitch causes an early closing of the stock markets, which in turn caused panic in the streets of New York which necessitates a delay of game during the final Devils/Rangers game which kills the Rangers momentum, and propels the Devils to a come from behind win, AND on that same day, Tim Thomas and Alex Auld are arrested for holding up a Dunkin Donuts, and Chara is forced to play goal for the Bruins’ final game, AND Ryan Miller plays like a God, AND Sabretooth hobbles Mats Sundin while rapelling from the ceiling…..then the Sabres will squeak into the playoffs.”

I’m surprisingly amused that the Sabres are still mathematically in the playoff hunt. I hope they can stay in it until the bloody end. Obviously I hope they make the playoffs, which is why I’m wearing a necklace of garlic, and howling to the moon on alternate evenings. (According to Kevin Sylvester, warding off vampires and werewolves is key if the Sabres have any hope of making the playoffs. I’m just trying to do my part to help the cause.)

Go Sabres!

Sabres vs Bruins, 3/30/08


After the 1st (1-1)

After the 2nd (1-1)

At the end (1-2, OT Sabres)


Introducing SabreCast!

1. First of all, the Montreal game never happened. Really. My spirit was officially broken on Tuesday. I’ll happily wath the rest of the games, but I can’t whip myself into a frenzy anymore. I’ve made my peace with the situation. I. can’t. deal. anymore.

2. Once the ladies over at IPB introduced their awesome podcast “The IPB Hour: Contents Will Be Less Then An Hour”, I knew it was only a matter of time before I had one too. I have, after all, pretty much made my way on the internet by stealing everything I can get my grubby little mitts on from IPB. Heh.

So, Heather B. and I put our heads together, and devised a podcasting plan. (By “plan” I mean, “just record everything we say for four hours and then erase the 3 hours and 47 minutes that are too insane to publish on the interwebs”.) She came over last night, we watched the game, and we recorded a bunch of nonsense. Then, I stayed up, practically ALL NIGHT trying to figure out how to use GarageBand. I was only partially successful. I got the audio together (the editing is pretty cluncky, but whatevs), but no matter WHAT I did, I couldn’t figure out how to get all the cute artwork visible outside of GarageBand. So, this is our goofy little podcast, sans artwork. Hopefully, we’ll get better at this as we bumble along.

It’s a little outdated already because we recorded it last night.

Introducing SabreCast!

Busiest Day EVER!

Holy Moses! I’ve been running around like a chicken with my head cut off for the last twenty four hours!

The Sabres won last night…HOORAY! Heather B. came over to my house, and we watched the game. There was much joyfulness and howling with laughter.

I have a fun surprise to unveil, but not now. Hopefully by tomorrow.

Let’s Go Buff-a-lo!

The Mourning After

Animal representing what the Sabres have reduced me to:

This is my new BFF/confidant/possible boyfriend. He’s a blob fish.

Blob and I spent the afternoon, hanging out, talking about how much our lives suck, and alternating salty and sweet snacks. Blob’s a really good listener, and when I told him about the Sabres, he nodded sympathetically and told me I deserve better. I feel like Blob really “gets” me.

On an unrelated note, I would like to welcome everyone who is visiting TWC for the first time after reading my latest contribution to Hockey Night in Blogdome on the New York Times website. This post (starring Blob) is pretty typical of the high quality analysis you can expect from The Willful Caboose, so don’t hesitate to ask any questions if you can’t keep up with the furious pace of my hockey intellect.

Sabres vs. Senators, 3/25/08


Mood: Nervie McNerverson
Favorite Sabre: I’m going with the underappreciated Jochen Hecht.
Least Favorite Sabre: Don’t know.
Summary of thoughts: I should be practicing the viola right now, but instead I’m going to watch this hockey game.
Symphonic music representing this game: Variations on a Theme by Haydn, Johannes Brahms

Brahms Haydn

This can go one of a few different directions. It can be infinitely enjoyable to play, but it can also feel like that dream where you suddenly realize you aren’t wearing any pants right before you have to give a big presentation at school.

After the 1st (1-0, Senators)

Mood: Fidgety.
Favorite Sabre: Mike Robitaille. You guys, I love Mike Robitaille. I know I’ve hinted at it before, but I want to make myself perfectly clear on this issue: Mike Robitaille is a crusty, cranky, shout-y, desk pounding, STUD MUFFIN, and of all the people we see on a regular basis on the Sabres broadcasts (included the Sabres themselves), I like Mike Robitaille the most.
Least Favorite Sabre: Is Vanek even playing tonight? At least Roy-Z was out there flopping around and hooking Senators right and left.
Summary of thoughts: I wonder if Mike Robitaille reads blogs? I bet he doesn’t even own a computer. He’s old school.
Symphonic music representing this game: Symphony No. 35, Mozart


Be spritely and charming, but whatever you do, don’t fuck up. But have fun! Smile! (Don’t fuck up.)

After the 2nd, (1-1)

Mood: non-suicidal
Favorite Sabre: Okay, fine. That was a pretty nice goal Roy-Z.
Least Favorite Sabre: I’m kind of not hating them right now!
Summary of thoughts: I feel like we should have scored 3 goals that period.
Symphonic music representing this game thus far: Don Juan, Richard Strauss

Don Juan
Dude. I’m working REALLY hard here. It might not sound very good, but you can’t fault my effort.
At the End (6-3, Senators)

Summary of thoughts: Fuck.
Music representing this game:

I do not recommend this piece. At all.

Happy Dyngus Day!

I am deeeelighted to have three days off without Sabres hockey. I needed it. Even with the nice offensive bonanza before the Toronto loss, I was feeling a bit wore out. It feels like we’ve been in the home stretch forever.

The Sabres are in a pretty tight spot. The odds are against them for sure. Every game from here on out is the most important game of the season, and we’ve got some fairly problematic teams on the docket.

Before we jump back into the do-or-die final stretch, I’d just like to say one thing: This season, while frequently frustrating, has been a blast. Blogging about the Sabres has been a hoot and it’s enriched my life in ways I never could have anticipated. Thanks for joining me, guys!

(Why do I feel like I’m one of the musicians at the end of “Titanic” who were all, “It’s been an honor and a privilege playing music with you tonight,” while the ship slowly slipped into the watery abyss? Heh.)

(Buck up, people! We’re not dead yet!)

Have a Happy Day!

Lindy with Baby Chicks

Sabres vs. Leaves 3/21/08


Mood: Pensive. The news that Tim Connolly has succumbed to his wonky hip, combined with the news that Teppo’s return has a little bit of “eff you, Sabres” around the edges, has left me feeling a little wobbly.
Favorite Sabre: Crunchy, who I will refer to as “Whompy” tonight. Whompy is Crunchy’s nickname.
Least Favorite Sabre: Ummm, Andrew Peters?
Summary of thoughts: Hm. I hope the Sabres win tonight, because they are playing a whole buttload of scary teams next week.
Lost character representing my hopes for this game: Desmond

He might be loonytunes, but he’s charmingly single-minded.
He’s all about the playoffs Penny.

After the 1st (2-0, Leaves)

Mood: Cranky
Favorite Sabre: I can’t tell them apart tonight. Whompy got screwed on that first one, but he should have had the second one. I think. Whatevs. I’ve got your back, Whompy.
Least Favorite Sabre: I can’t tell them apart tonight.
Summary of thoughts: Poop.
Lost character representing the game thus far: Juliet


So annoying.

After the 2nd (3-1, Leaves)

Mood: Half drunk, thank God.
Favorite Sabre: I’m kind of feeling Staffy tonight.
Least Favorite Sabre: I dunno. It’s hard to choose. Max? Ales? Can we blame this on T-bone? Big Bear?
Summary of thoughts: At the beginning of the season I had a bit of a crush on Kevin Sylvester, but ever since I saw him on Dan’s gigantic HD television, he’s been kind of giving me the creepers. By comparision, Mike Robitallelielitallieille has grown on me like a fungus. And that is all I have to say about this game.
Lost character representing this game so far: Michael


What the fuck, Leafs Michael! You’re supposed to be dead, or at LEAST out of our hair. Go away!

At the End (4-1, injured Leaves)

Mood: belligerent
Favorite Sabre: I hate hockey.
Least Favorite Sabre: I hate hockey.
Summary of thoughts: Now I’m all disturbed.
Lost character representing this game: Evil Black Smoke


Black Smoke
Thankfully, I’m too drunk to deal with this right now.

Analyzing the Statbits

We here at The Willful Caboose know how confusing hockey stats can be. Last night’s Sabres game was obviously very exciting as a viewer, but any responsible hockey fan is sure to take a careful look at the statbits following each and every game. What do the numbers teach us, and how can we use this knowledge to move forward in the season’s final push? Analyzing statbits can be a daunting and frustrating task, which is why we have been working furiously since the conclusion of last night’s barn burner to crunch the numbers and to help you make sense of the Sabres’ playoff situation.

Join me for some statbit analysis, won’t you?

First off, let’s have a look at this chart which tells us the order in which the goals were scored. This can be a misleading statbit, so the fan must be wary of misinterpretations. It’s best to leave the analysis to the professionals (me).

Statbit 1
Analysis: The Sabres will never not score six goals in the third period again.

Now let’s take a closer look at some individual players. Mike Weber and Andrej Sekera had an interesting night from a statistical standpoint. Plus/minus is a frequently debated statbit, which is why you are so lucky that TWC is providing this analysis. You’ll never be confused again!

Statbits 2
Analysis: Brian Campbell costs way too much money.

And lastly, let’s take a look at my personal favorite statbits from last night: Paul “Goose” Gaustad’s face-off winning percentages. For those of us in the know, this is a very impressive line of statbits, but if you can’t make sense of it, don’t worry! TWC has provided all the analysis you need.

Statbits 3

Analysis: Paul Gaustad is attractive. The goal that he and Pommers pulled off to start the third was pure trickery in the best possible sense of the word. He’s a very sneaky goose, and don’t you forget it.

So, there you have it folks! The statbits clearly indicate that moving forward the Sabres would be wise to adopt a policy of playing “alright” in the first period, “completely sucking” in the second, and then “unleashing holy hell on their opponent” in the third. I have forwarded this information to coach Lindy Ruff, so you can rest assured that the Sabres will win every game for the remainder of the season.

Bonus Statbit: Last night, the Sabres became the highest scoring team in the National Hockey League.
Analysis: Whaa?!

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions regarding TWC’s statbit analyzing methods.

…A Blog About the Buffalo Sabres

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

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