Archive for March, 2008



Have a Happy Day!

Lindy with Baby Chicks

Sabres vs. Leaves 3/21/08

Pregame

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

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

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

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.

Sabres vs. Lightning 3/19/08

After the 1st (2-1, Tampa)

The Bolts will try
to spoil our fun,
and at the horn,
it’s two to one.

Pommers knows
what he must do.
He’ll need to score
a goal or two.

They don’t look bad
they don’t look good
I hope they win.
They really should.

After the 2nd (4-1, Tampa)

This game sucks.
We need three goals
to tie the game
and soothe our souls.

At the end (4-7, Sabres)

WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

WOOOOOOOOOO!!!
WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!
WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

My heart is filled
with love and hope
I sit and grin
I’m such a dope.

I can’t believe
they got the win
I’ll never doubt
the boys agin. (until the next game)

(heh) (I love hockey)

GO SABRES!

Scoreboard Watching Sucks Ass

First of all, the Sabres haven’t played in, like, three weeks. Get off your lazy butts, boys!

I HATE scoreboard watching. I swear to Lindy Ruff that no team has EVER lost when we need them to. EVER! In fact, I’m fairly certain the no team besides the Sabres have lost a game all season.

As I write this post, the Flyers are ahead 2-1, and the Capitals are beating Nashville 3-0. Ew! Ew ew ew ew EW! Barring some sort of surge from the Predators, we are going to be in ninth place by the end of the night.

This is worse than the time when I was six, and I wet my pants because I was wearing roller skates and I couldn’t get up the hardwood staircase to the only bathroom in my friend’s house. This is worse than the time left my sunroof open and it rained all night. This is worse than the time I accidentally ate a big spoonful of spoiled yogurt.

This is the worst night EVER.

(I’m going for maximum drama in the hopes of impressing the Hockey Gods with my pitifulness. If these games don’t turn around, I might have start comparing this night to famous genocides and plagues. ex: This night is WORSE than the Bubonic Plague.)

*UPDATE* This is worse than the time I wrote on my blog that we were going to be knocked down to ninth after a catastrophic night of scoreboard watching when we were already in ninth! HOLY SHIT WE’RE GOING TO BE IN TENTH! WE’RE GOING TO BE IN TENTH! *running around in panicked circles*

*2nd UPDATE* We now appear to be in tenth place and the earth has not yet swallowed me up into a pit of eternal despair. Perhaps I was overreacting just a smidge. (But still, the official TWC stance on tenth place is: 100% OPPOSED.)

The Doodle

I need to talk about Jason Pominville for a second.

Is it just me, or is he legitimately awesome? Pommerdoodle is so blindingly adorable that sometimes I overlook his more “hockistically valuable” attributes.

As much as I enjoy Crunchy’s honest interviews, they freak me out a bit. I’m always analyzing everything he says, and looking for tiny hints about his motivations and the state of his psyche. Pommers on the other hand, basically gives the same interview every day: “We just have to stick to the system. We have to come out hard and play a full 60 minutes. The guys in this room can compete with any team in the league, but we still have a lot to learn. I like bacon.” (Okay, I’ve never heard Pommers say that last thing, but you KNOW he’s thinking it.)

Of all the Sabres, Pommers is the one I find most soothing during trying times. It turns out that when I’m frustrated with the team, I want to see the Sabres giving calm, measured interviews. I do NOT want to see them practically crying (Soupy), and I do NOT want to see them vibrating with frustration (Crunchy) and I do NOT want them to tell us that “there’s a lot of confidence in this room” while giving us super-sad, blinky eyes (Goose). What I want is for Pommers to say for the millionth time, “We’ve just got to stick to the system.”

For some reason, I believe Pommers when he spews sports platitudes.  He’s a leader.  I’d follow him.

Pommers scores
Here we see Pommers scoring a goal with the same expression on his face that he usually uses while giving interviews.

Let’s review:

-Pommers is steady both on the ice and in interviews.
-Pommers is a good captain.
-If any Sabre can lead the team to the playoffs, I believe it’s Pommers.
-Pommers likes bacon.

In short, Pommerdoodle is bad ass.  Discuss.

5 Things

Just a few quick thoughts:

1. HELL YES!  I talk a big talk about being pessimistic, but the truth is, my crankiness is just a defense mechanism.  Underneath my hoodlum exterior, I’m an old softie.  No matter what else I say here, in reality my natural hopefulness is hovering just below the surface.   (That said, the Sabres are probably never going to score again, and I will have to kill myself when Crunchy gets traded to the Leafs next February.)   Obviously, making the playoffs would be awesome, but not making the playoffs would be semi-tolerable if the Sabres stay in the hunt until the end of the season.  All I really want is a reason to keep cheering.

2. Who knew that the solution to Invisible Staffy was to stick him on the fourth line with Kaleta and Mair? It’s so awesome to see Staffy zipping around eating brains again. The Kaleta! and Mairsy both gets TWC Medals of Honor for rehabilitating everyones favorite flesh eating zombie.

3. I’m almost afraid to mention it for fear of disrupting it’s magical properties, but Pommerdoodle, Yo-Yo, and Goose make for an awfully, um, tantalizing line.

4. I don’t even want to LOOK at Thomas Vanek right now. Thankfully, due to the recent overall awesomeness of everybody else on the team, we can afford to give TV the cold shoulder.

5. Sorry, Spacek, Kalinin and Patches, but you’re fired. It seems we’ve got an decent collection of baby defensemen, some of whom look like they are constantly wearing eye makeup. Nothing says “NHL ready” like a hot set of smoky eyes. Nicely done, Funky Cold Medina.


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