Archive for November, 2011

Press Box: Part Two

Well, here I am, back in the press box. Just another day in the life of the rich and the famous poor and the bloggy.

Ho hum.

Just kidding! Apparently the Sabres have NOT come to their senses and revoked my access (suckers)! WOOOOOOO! I’M BACK IN THE PRESS BOX!

Here’s a fun behind-the-scenes story:

After you enter the building, go through security, and pick up your credentials, you go jump on a big elevator which is manned by an actual elevator operator. Now, before I came to the press box on Saturday, Mike Harrington was kind enough to give me a few pointers and one of them was, “For the love of God, have your press pass visible when you get on the elevator, because that thing ain’t moving until Bill (the operator) is satisfied that you belong.” So, the first time I got on the elevator I was holding my press pass in my hand, faced outwards, about two feet away from my body. I’m not going to lie, I was worried that Bill would be all, “I’m sorry, but you appear to be a blogger. You obviously don’t belong here. Please leave the building and immediately return to you mother’s basement.” But he didn’t!

It turns out that I needn’t have been so concerned because Bill is an equal opportunity show-me-your-pass-or-get-off-my-elevator kind of guy. According to an unnamed source (I know! I’m like Woodward and Bernstein over here with my unnamed sources!), once Bill refused to move the elevator until BRIAN BURKE stopped his cell phone conversation and fished his pass out of his coat. ISN’T THAT AWESOME?!

And THAT is how you know Bill the Elevator Operator is a Grade-A badass. Also a hero.

Today when I came up, the elevator was filled with many scouts from many teams, all of whom seemed to know and love Bill. (And FYI, there’s a scout here from the Blues. Do you think David Backes wants to be a Sabres? I bet he does.)


I learned my lesson on Saturday, and tonight I’m dressed for the Arctic Circle. I’m seriously wearing a hat, half gloves and a wool scarf. I’m hoping I pulled off “hobo chic,” with this look, but if I’m honest I might be leaning a little more towards the “hobo” and a lot away from the “chic.” But whatevs… I’m still cold.

On Friday I’m going to bring my down sleeping bag. Maybe there’s a warm street grate somewhere up here that I can lay on during the game.


Apparently if you count up all the Sabres in this picture you will find that Patrick Kaleta is not on the ice. Or, you can do what I did and wait for Twitter to tell you that Kaleta is tonight's mystery injured Sabres.

1st period

7:16pm Zzzzzz. Hockey is boring. Come on guys, this is no way to get traded to the Ducks for Bobby Ryan.

7:17pm (1-0, Islanders) Szchszhzchszhszhsura takes a high sticking penalty and then some dumb Islander scores. Szuszhsuzhchsuzhscuhura is FIRED!

7:28pm Look at this. Before the game Mike Harrington spent a few minutes showing me around the place, and he took me into the broadcast booths. First we stopped by WGR. Hi Pat Malacaro! WGR is right next door to Rick and Harry’s booth, and when I leaned over to look into their booth, they both very obediently made funny faces. (Oh BTWs, the Sabres just had a power play but they didn’t score. They, um, don’t look like they want to be traded to the Ducks AT ALL. What gives, Sabres?)

Just for the record, these are PURPOSEFUL funny faces.

7:30pm My Name is Inigo Montoya, prepare to watch me embellish a tiny bump to the noggin.

7:33pm Zack Kassian fights Matt Martin after Niederreiter hits Gerbe in a MOST unpleasant way (NEIDERREITER IS A JERK!). Kassian manages to undress to his skivvies in the process of the fight.

7:37pm Unlike the Capitals, the Islanders appear to be trying to win this game. It’s irksome.

7:42pm DANG IT! Vanek almost scores a shorty during Pominville’s holding penalty. A shorty would’ve hit the spot.

7:44 This period is almost over. I’m going to eat a hot dog at intermission. A FREE hot dog. If you want, I’ll lower some free hot dogs down into section 318. Just say the word, people of 318.

2nd Period

8:08 That hot dog was good. This hockey game snoozy. I might have to challenge Phil from Blue Black and Gold to a hot dog eating competition just to pass the time.

8:11pm Seriously, people of Section 318. I’ve got a hot dog all ready to go for you. I’ll just lower it down. Let me know if you want any cookies.

8:20pm I’ve spent the majority of this period (12 minutes gone, so far) photographing and then uploading a picture of this hotdog. I bet this is how Jerry Sullivan passes the time during a boring game too.

8:23pm The natives are finally getting a little restless. Sporadic booing as the Sabres are CLEARLY trying to impress us (and failing) with their patented “getting too fancy for the home crowd” maneuvers. Can someone please tell them we don’t like it when they do that?

8:27pm Roy kiiiind of almost scores. But not really.

8:27:30pm I will say, sitting in the press box during an uneventful game is sort of interesting. Having the desk and the computer makes it feel like I’m at home, only I’m not allowed to cheer.

8:30pm Okay, the only thing that can save this period is a Hecht shorthanded goal. Kassian is in the box with a minute and a half left in the period. Come on, Yo Yo. We need you now.

8:32pm Yaaaaay! (I’ve decided that silent, blog-only cheering is permissable in the press box.) Enroth makes a save on a little trickling puck as the period expires. Well, at least it’s not 2-0, right?

3rd period

Here, look at this. It’s a picture of Lindy that’s on the wall up here.

Right next to Lindy is this picture of Craig Rivet, the greatest Elmira Jackal, EVER.

I actually love all the stories about Craig Rivet recapturing his love of hockey in the ECHL. Good for you, Craig Rivet.

Here's a picture of the visiting press area. Apparently, during the playoffs they build some risers and there's a second row behind that one.Sad

8:51pm Okay, I’m about to make a bold prediction: The Sabres are going to win this game in regulation. It’s not like the Islander have been exactly good. They’ve just been marginally less sucky.



8:58pm Enroth just made a nice save on Tavares, which is very much appreciated because I’m now EXTREMELY attached to them winning in regulation. #Nostradamus

9:02pm I feel like Pominville isn’t good enough for Thomas Vanek tonight.

9:06pm Hey, good work, Luke Adam! He just saved a trickling goal.

9:07pm NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!! One of those tricklers finally went in. If the Sabres don’t win this in regulations, well… I don’t know what I’ll do, but you won’t like it, Sabres.

9:11pm Streit penalty. This is your chance, stupidheads.

9:12pm Oh NOOOOOO, not a 5-on-3 for a minute and a half!!!! (I’m using reverse psychology. The Sabres aren’t that smart. They fall for this every time.) Oooh, and now a Buffalo timeout. If I were not in the press box I’d be saying in my Lindy voice, “Okay, here’s the plan. I want you to skate down to the goal, and then put the puck IN the net. Does everyone understand the plan?! Okay, go do it!”

9:17pm Gross. All the penalties expire and the Sabres don’t score. I guess the Sabres didn’t understand Lindy’s plan.

9:2ipm Hope is waning. Both for a win and for the Ducks wanting any of these players in exchange for Bobby Ryan.

9:24pm Oh for Pete’s sake. Poor, hapless Ville Leino is fired.

9:28pm HAHAHAHA! The islanders put themselves offside AND Tavares misses the empty net. (I’m taking my victories where I can.)

9:29pm The end. The Sabres aren’t very good at this.


I’m back in Lindy’s room waiting for his postgame press conference because I was instructed it would be interesting if the Sabres lost. I’ll be honest, I’m a little afraid of pissed-off Lindy. I’m scared.

FYI, reporters actually use those long notepads with the spiral on the top.

Whoa. Lindy’s tie has little chicken drumsticks on it. I AM glad I stayed!

Raffle Results!!

I have some very important announcements to make!

Drum roll, please….

The WINNERS of the Catwalk for Charity raffle ARE:

1. The first place winner was Melina B, and she and a guest will be attending the Catwalk for Charity! Yaaaaaay!

Melina, my advice to you is as follows:

  • Plan ahead! Get yourself a designated driver or a taxi.
  • Enjoy the open bar juuuust enough to get braver about approaching the Sabres but not so much that you act like a fool in front of them.
  • Do NOT be shy about walking right up to Sabres and asking for a picture with them. It’s their only job at the Catwalk! Every single one of them is super nice about it! And get a picture with Rick and Harry while you’re at it!

2. The winner of the second place prize was actually my friend Elise K. Now, it’s hiillllarious that Elise won because, a.) She lives in New Hampshire and b.) She’s a Bruins fan, and c.) The only prize she cared about at ALL was the one where I call her from the stage while we play Sabres Dance, and d.) The only reason she and her boyfriend (the incomparable, MK) even bought raffle tickets was because they pitied me after the shootout loss to the Bruins on the 23rd. (I’m not kidding. Immediately after that game was over they both bought 5 raffle tickets, which was both incredibly sweet and totally amusing.)

So, Elise graciously donated her 2nd place prize back to the pool of potential winners, and (drumroll, please…)

MARY S is the winner of the Sabres tickets! WOOOOOO!

3. Elise is a professional classical musician and has played in many orchestras herself, so while she WILL be receiving a call from the stage from me, I decided to also draw a 4th place winner as well. So, SHANNON V, will be getting a personal performance of Sabres Dance via phone!


I would like to thank, from the bottom of my heart, everyone who bought a raffle ticket for this contest. The Steadfast Foundation supports a truly wonderful cause, and I’m proud of the money that we raised ($425! Not too shabby)! So, thank you, readers. I wish I could send you all to the Catwalk, but this year we’re going to have to live vicariously though Melina. Do us proud, Melina.

The Press Box: Part One

As most of you are probably aware, this season the Sabres decided to open up the press box to bloggers. (I know. Their funeral.) I’ve decided to take them up on their offer, and tonight will be the first of three home games in a row that I’ll be spending in the press box. I’m basically doing a press box mini-residency this week.

Now, I’m no journalist. In fact, if I had to define my blog by one thing, I might define it by my complete LACK of journalistic standards. I answer to no one, and I say dumb/inaccurate/fanciful/obnoxious thing preeeeetty much every day. When I was deciding whether or not to apply for the press pass, I asked myself, “Self, can you sit in the press box like a grown up? Can you observe the no cheering in the press box rule? Can you guarantee, no matter how boring the game might be, that you will absolutely NOT throw things at Mike Harrington and/or Bill Hoppe?”

The answer to these questions was a resounding, “Um…. probably.”

So, here I am!

This seems like an adequate perch from which to throw myself if the game is truly horrible.

This should be interesting. My plan for the evening is to do what we in the blogging business refer to as, “winging it.” I have no plan. I’m just going to attempt to write like myself and try not to burn the press box down. I figure even if this evening is a total disaster, at the very least, I’ll be able to cross, “Sit in the arena at a desk and watch hockey,” off the Bucket List. This really is something I’ve always wanted to do, and I’m very grateful to the Sabres for the opportunity.

I’ll have a few things working against me tonight:

  • I’ve never heard of, nor do I recognize at least half the Sabres on the roster. And let’s be honest: No matter how many free press box cookies the Sabres provide, it will never be enough cookies to motivate me to learn how to spell, “Szczhurzhcszhura.”
  • My computer is old and decrepit and it might get press box performance anxiety and refuse to stay connected to the interwebs. If that happens, I’ll do my best to blog from the phone, or I might just give up and watch the game like a normal civilian (albeit without the outwardly visible rage and/or joy).
  • I have a terrrrrrrrible poker face. I’m very curious to see if I can maintain my steely exterior in the immediate aftermath of a Sabres goal. I mean, what if one of the itty-bitty baby Sabres scores a goal? HOW CAN I BE EXPECTED NOT TO SMILE IF SOME CUTE LIL’ SABRE GETS HIS FIRST EVER NHL GOAL? I’ve been practicing looking bored in the mirror all week, but I think there is reason to be concerned.
  • The Sabres game last night can only be described as, “spectacularly poopy” (“spectacularly poopy” is a totally journalist-y expression, FYI. They use it all the time at The Buffalo News), and due to a ridiculous list of injuries, tonight’s game has the potential to be EXPONENTIALLY WORSE. If the game tonight is anything even remotely approaching the poopiness of last night, it’s going to be extremely difficult to find ways to describe it without repetitive swearing in all-caps.

Assuming my computer holds up, check in here tonight for all your totally-useless-information need.

Let’s Go Buff-a-lo! (Uh-oh. Does that count as cheering from the press box? I didn’t say it out loud, and my face remained passive the entire time I was typing it. I need a ruling.)



Mike Harrington says I should blame this vent for my current debilitating coldness.

I don't like you, vent.

I already saw Rick Jeanneret and I managed not to squeal like a school girl. So far I’m being very professional.

As some sort of perverted, sick joke on the press (good work, Sabres) the Sabres have provided an ice chest full of delectable ice cream treats, which no one in their right mind would eat because it's -45 degrees in here.

I’ve been sitting here a good half hour now, and I don’t think I’ve ever been in the arena this early. I usually don’t even leave my house until 25 minutes before puck drop, so this is all very exciting and new. Did you know the teams stretch their groins and then skate around in circles, shooting pucks at an empty net before the game starts? I sure didn’t.

(Just kidding. I totally knew that.)

Here are some team-provided statbits which I should probably pretend to read. For appearances.

Here's a picture of the press box row. Waaaay down on the end is Mike Harrington and Bill Hoppe pretending they don't notice me taking their picture.

According to Twitter, Drew Stafford is the mysterious injured forward. On one hand… bummer. But on the other hand, at least it’s not Vanek or Pominville. Amiright?

I really can’t believe how many Sabres there are here who I don’t know by number. And just as an aside, the name “Szczechura” reminds me of grilled meat. Is there a “Szczechura region” of China known for their delicious, meaty cuisine?

1st Period

7:08 Huh. Sabres look great on their 1st power play but fail to convert. Don’t the Caps realize they’re playing an AHL team? Sssh. Nobody mention it. Maybe they won’t notice!

There’s a guy wearing a Briere Flyers t-shirt right beneath the press box. I might throw some free press box popcorn at him.

7:17 I’m seriously considering stealing some hotdogs out of the hotdog warmer and putting them in my pockets for warmth.

7:26pm I really didn’t think it would be this tricky to figure the game out, but I have no idea who any of these Sabres are. If I didn’t have the line-up right in front of me, I’d be sunk.

7:27pm (1-0, Sabres) HAHAHAHAHA! Luke Adam just scored and I literally raised my arms INVOLUNTARILY. I canNOT believe I just did that. Thank God I didn’t utter any involuntarily “WOOO”s. Seriously, I’m like biggest press box rube EVER. I wonder if anyone noticed. I’m thinking not. Surely I’d’ve been led out in handcuffs by now if someone besides @3rdManIn saw that. Pretty much every blogger that has come before me in the press box has said, “Oh yeah, not cheering is no big deal.” I’m here to tell you, they were either lying or on emotion-dulling drugs. Being in the press box is HARD, you guys.

7:32pm Now I’m scared to move for fear of revealing my apparently-uncontrollable-fan-y ways.

7:33 The Caps are coach killing. There’s no other explanation. I can’t believe how bad they look.

7:37 (2-0, Sabres) Pommerdoodle scores! AND, I didn’t react at ALL. Being in the press box is totally easy.

2nd period

8:03pm Wait what? The Caps look like they are trying to score. That’s no way to kill a coach, you guys.

8:05 Sekera takes a slashing penalty. Thankfully the Caps remember that they are trying to kill their coach and accomplish nothing.

8:12 Blooper reel time.. @3rdManIn is unimpressed.

8:15pm (2-1, Sabres) WHAT? Jason Chimera gets an unjust penalty shot when Ehrhoff trips him up on the way to the net. I miiiight’ve been looking at twitter at the time of this play. I call it “unjust” because the crowd booed. You can always trust the home crowd to make the right call in a situation like this.

8:15:20pm (3-1, Sabres) Zack Kassian is a hero! Not only did I NOT cheer, but I think I furrowed my brow a little bit on that one just to show how much I was NOT cheering.

8:19pm The Amerks are way better at hockey than the Capitals.

8:20 Sabretooth has his little drum right underneath the press box and is leading the crowd in a rousing redition of “Let’s Go Buff-a-lo!” Would that I could, Sabretooth. Would that I could…

8:21pm The Sabres are allowed to take about 15 different slow motion shots while many Caps just stand around. It’s reeeeeally going to be embarrassing when the Sabres find a way to lose to this team.

8:25ish Everyone takes lots of penalties but nothing much happens. Again, I’m stunned by the suckiness of the Caps. (MEMO TO THE HOCKEY GODS: I am well aware that the Caps are capable of getting good at any moment.)

8:36 Semin is a diving diver who dives. Leino is a tripping tripper who trips. 4 on 4 to end the period.

3rd Period

8:57 (4-1, Sabres) Luke Adam again! Is Bruce Boudreau fired yet?

9:04pm My computer is now completely unresponsive. I think it’s watching the Caps and getting ideas about coach killing.

9:05 Ovechkin just missed the net by about 15 feet. I laughed out loud. I have no idea if laughing at the opponent is acceptable press box behavior. I’ll risk it.

9:12 The Sabres keep bring more and more pieces of paper filled with statbits for me to pretend to read.


9:16pm The crowd is irate because apparently the Caps are now allowed to tackle the Sabres. But the Amerks are SO GOOD, they just turn the Caps’ non-penalties into scoring chances, no problem.

9:18 Kassian takes a high sticking penalty, but we don’t mind because he’s awesome.

9:19 (5-1, Sabres) WE ALSO DON’T MIND BECAUSE HECHT GETS A BREAKAWAY FOLLOWED BY A SHORTHANDED GOAL. (I might’ve smiled wryly on that one.)

9:23 My eyes are tired from looking from my phone to the ice. Being in the press box is hard.

9:26 Roy-Z closes his hand on the puck like no one has ever closed his hand on the puck before. Caps on the power play. The Amerks yawn in terror.

9:27pm Hecht ALMOST scores another shorty. Press box or no, I would’ve had to throw my bra onto the ice if he had been successful.

9:29pm Game over. The Amerks are never losing again! (And the Caps are the worst team in the history of time and space.)

After the game

I’m now sitting in Lindy’s press conference room waiting for something to happen. Bloggers are not allowed in the locker room, which as a general policy I think is lame, but in my particular case, I think is a wise decision on the part of the Sabres. The last thing anyone wants to see is me asking Szecszhurazrachura, “So, has anyone ever mentioned that your name looks a lot like the word Szechuan? And as a follow up to that: what’s your favorite kind of meat? And as a follow up to THAT: How awesome is Zack Kassian?”

Highlights from Lindy’s press conference: The team is calling him “Chewy” because literally no one wants to try to say, “Szchzschszhura.” Understandable if you ask me.

In conclusion

Being in the press box is a hoot and the Sabres are never going to lose again.

Hockey is Both Dumb and Enjoyable

I gave myself a gigantic Thanksgiving present this year, and I didn’t read a WORD about the Sabres for the 48 hours surrounding the Bruins game. No radio, no twitter, no blogs, no newspaper. I literally have no clue how Sabres fans/media responded to the game. I have no idea if people are irate, or satisfied, or what, but personally, I’m sort of fine with the Bruins game.

The game was definitely exciting. The loss was really disappointing, but I think you have to give a lot of credit to the Bruins. That is a seriously good hockey team right now. In my opinion, the Sabres played well enough on Wednesday to beat most teams most of the time.

On one hand, I thought the vibe in the arena at the beginning of the game was pretty gross (the fans wanted blood, and they weren’t afraid to ask for it), on the other hand, it was a very engaged crowd, and that’s always fun. Going into the game, I was a little worried that the crowd would be hostile towards the Sabres, but I think the Sabres’ physical play early in the game won over all but the most determined-to-be-angry people. (Just as an aside, “daaaaang, yo,” to the people who brought the “Shanahan Declares Open Season” sign and then held it up underneath the flags so that every player was basically staring right at it during the anthems. Dang. That was hardcore.)

And while the Sabres lost the game, I hope the vengeance-howlers feel satisfied (enough) with their “pound of flesh.” (Just as an aside: From now on, the only person allowed to use the phrase “pound of flesh” without an enthusiastic eye roll from me is William Shakespeare.)

I thought Goose and Lucic’s fight was stupid and pointless. But… I suppose that fight had to happen? Something about The Code, blah blah blah? Good for Gaustad for taking one for the team, I guess. On a personal note, I was glad they got it out of the way early. After they got the staged fight out of the way (and Goose wasn’t killed. I’ll admit, I was sort of scared Goose would be killed), I was able to relax and enjoy the game.

Here are a few little observations:

  • Hockey (the part where they skate around, hitting each other and shooting the puck) is a great sport. I hate the fighting, but I love the hitting, and the Sabres looked good in that department. Please feel free to hit like that more often, Sabres.
  • I was surprisingly pleased to see Jochen Hecht out there. I was surprised because I can’t think of even one time this year when I’ve thought to myself, “You know what the Sabres could really use right now? Some Jochen Hecht.” And yet, I found his presence very reassuring. I thought he looked good. Welcome back, Yo-yo!
  • Speaking about Hecht, one of my favorite plays of the game was when he kind of awkwardly slid into Tim Thomas in near-slow-motion. The people in our section good-naturedly reacted as if Jochen had just delivered a thundering hit, and it was a nice moment of comic relief.
  • T.J. Brennan didn’t really grab my attention (except for his hilariously-skivvy mustache and his first ever NHL goal), which is really the best case scenario for a rookie defenseman.
  • I’m not sure if it was just my mood (and my desire to stay emotionally even-keel), but I really found myself marveling at the Bruins a few times during the game. I hate those guys passionately, but they’re really good at hockey. Especially that Chara guy.
  • I don’t feel too concerned about this yet, but the Sabres REALLY need to stop giving up two goal leads. The Bruins are probably the best team in the league right now, but still. The third period was icky. I wonder if too much energy was burned earlier in the game on “being physical,” because the Sabres just looked completely gassed for the third period. Giving up the third Bruins goal felt like an inevitability.
  • It’s interesting to note that with all the pregame talk about the importance of “responding physically,” it was the Sabres’ inability to lock it down with a two goal lead that did them in.
  • Because of my self-imposed internet exile, I had no idea that Kaleta was out, and incredibly, I didn’t notice it until the middle of the 2nd period. I’ve always been a bit lukewarm on Patty’s game, but I was surprised to realize that apparently I forget all about him as soon as he’s out of my direct line of vision.
  • Gerbe is so fun.
  • I feel like the Sabres had a scouting report on Thomas in the shootout that just didn’t pay off. They all went in to the net slow and then tried to get all fancy with 45,000 moves before a weak little backhanded attempt. Private to Vanek and Pominville: you guys are just supposed to slap it in. (I haven’t seen any replays of the shootout, so my recollection of how everyone shot the puck might be wrong. But regardless, in the arena I was definitely like, “WTF, you guys. No turkey for ANY of you. Except Enroth. He can have turkey.”)

In the end, the Sabres responded physically… but they still lost. So, I dunno. I’m just glad that game is behind us. Hopefully now the games will return to the normal level of intensity for mid-November. I’m curious to see how we view this game at the end of the season once we have the ability to put this Boston game in the proper perspective.

You know what’s really going to hit the spot tonight? Some leftover turkey and a comparatively low-key game against the mighty Columbus Blue Jackets.

5 Things

1. The other day we were watching the Bills game down in the BPO breakroom (ouch, Bills), and at some point there was a flag down on the field. During the time before the explanation of the penalty, my friend Brett and I had this conversation:

Kate: What’s the flag for?
Brett: I dunno. Maybe it’s a pity flag. The refs just feel bad for the Bill. They tossed them a bone.
Kate: Wouln’t it be funny if the refs had an actual bone they could throw in situations like this? Like, once per game, if they felt the situation was really getting out of hand, they could toss the losing team a bone.
Brett: Yeah, the bone could be good for a one-time 5th down or something.
Kate: We’re… geniuses.

How funny would it be if a referee ACTUALLY TOSSED A LITTLE BONE onto the field? I think it would be REALLY funny. And, the bone would make games like Sunday’s more interesting, because we could sit there and be all, “Come ON, refs! Throw us a bone.”

2. I have instituted a zero tolerance policy for media/blogs/twitter until after Thanksgiving (at least).

A long time ago, during a conversation with a friend about various boys who had wronged us in various ways, one of us said something along the lines of, “I feel like I’ve lost my marbles,” and then the other person said, “You didn’t lose your marbles, you gave your marbles to [boy X]. You need to take your marbles back.” This idea sounds very silly, but it completely electrified us at the time. (It’s worth stating that we were probably drinking when we came up with the marble concept. But trust me, it’s sound.)

Over the years, marbles have became a measuring stick for emotional health. If things are going well, you know where your marbles are, because you’ve only given them to worthy people and situations, and your marbles are all safe and sound. If things are going poorly, that’s because you’ve been irresponsible with your marbles. You’ve been careless about who has them, or you’ve given them to undeserving people. Among my group of close friends, “I’ve lost my marbles” has come to mean, “I’ve surrendered too much of myself to this person/situation,” and, “I’m taking back my marbles,” means, “I am no longer going to give this person/situation the power to make me feel like this.”

I’m taking back my hockey-marbles, internet.

3. Please consider buying some raffle tickets for the Catwalk for Charity raffle! Right now, a $20 donation would give you a 1 in 5 chance of winning a prize worth OVER $100. (I think those odds are right, but I ain’t so good with the maths. What I’m SURE of is that considering the prizes, this contest will have spectacular odds.) AND, don’t forget, the person who wins the first prize gets to choose between the Catwalk tickets, and the Sabres tickets.

Let me remind you why you want to go to the Catwalk for Charity:

  • It’s a great cause.
  • Ladies: the Sabres are literally just wandering around waiting for you to talk to them. It’s fun to talk to Sabres in real life.
  • Gentlemen who are single: the Catwalk for Charity is FULL of young women, dressed to the nines, who will NOT be snaring a Sabre. Just think about that for a second.
  • Gentlemen who have a girlfriend or wife: I ASSURE you, you will win many points if you bring your lady to the Catwalk for Charity and then encourage them to get their picture taken with various Sabres.

Let me remind you why you want to go to a Sabres game in the 8th row on the shoot twice side:

  • Because it’s effing awesome.

4. Please welcome Trevor (frequent commenter, and maker of delicious chili mix)’s new blog swordplay to the Sabres blogroll. Check it out. It’s terrific so far. Trevor is an old school throwback to the days of Bfloblog, so you can rest assured that he’s worth a look.

Please also welcome The Puck Stops Here written by twitter friendie,  Caitlin. I don’t know too much about this blog, but it seems to be mostly about the Sabres, and she’s handed out some interesting quarter-season grades, so, it’s going on the blogroll! Check it out, yo.

5. I know you’ve all been concerned, and I don’t want you to lose anymore sleep over this issue, so I want you to know: Today I bought a gravy boat at Target for $7. I will NOT be serving Thanksgiving gravy out of a Koolaid pitcher. I know! I’m so grown up. It turns out I was wrong, and you CAN purchase your own gravy boat. Buying one at Target seemed a lot easier than finding someone to marry before Thursday and putting a gravy boat on the bridal registry, so that’s what I did.

Your basic gravy boat: It'll get the job done.

Heather B Is So Right

Before you read another word of this blog, I insist that you go read this post that Heather B wrote today. Go on. Git.

Did you read it?

Okay, good. I agree with every word of that post.

Heather put into words a lot of things I’ve been trying to say all season. I’ve been feeling “off” about this season almost from game one. I’ve been frustrated by and overly sensitive to the barrage of opinion that I subject myself to via the MSM, blogs, and twitter. I’m experiencing Sabres overload and I’m finding it to be very unpleasant. It’s my own fault that I wandered too far into the deep end of the, “Sabres opinion” pool, but here I am, and damn do I need to get my head above water.

One thing that Heather wrote about the general state of Sabres fandom really jumped out at me. She wrote:

We seem really, really unhappy.

That sentence just cut through me like a knife. We DO seem unhappy. In my opinion, our unhappiness is way out of step with the reality of the situation. The current tone of Sabres fandom is just off.  There is something unhealthy going on here, at least for me.

I feel like I need to make a confession right now: I like these Sabres. I think they’re fun. I find their struggles interesting, and I find their wins every bit as satisfying as I always have. I truly believe the Sabres are a team on the rise. This might not be their year, but their year is coming. I still love Ryan Miller. Not only do I NOT care if he’s a brat in interviews, I LOVE IT WHEN HE’S A BRAT. I enjoy rooting for Ryan Miller. I love Goose, and I don’t care who he did or did not beat up in Boston. I even kind of like Derek Roy. I refuse to give up on Ville Leino, and I’m telling you, he’s going to be a great Sabre.  I’m STILL psyched that Tim Connolly is gone. Tyler Myers and I have had our struggles this season, but now it looks like we’ll have a few weeks apart, and I fully anticipate rediscovering my love in his absence. I LOVE it when Jason Pominville plays well, which he’s been doing all over the place this year. Jhonas Enroth is INFINITELY interesting, and hobbit-like and all-around wonderful. I’ve even developed an appreciation for Brad Boyes, whose pleasant, open face has finally won me over (it doesn’t hurt that he’s shown occasional bursts of snazziness). And then there’s Thomas Vanek. THOMAS VANEK GREW AN ODDLY FOXY BLOND MUSTACHE, YOU GUYS. A mustache.

I don’t want to be the type of fan who can’t see the mustache through the trees. I enjoy enjoying things. I spend a lot of time and money on the Sabres, and I want to maximize my enjoyment. Being so angry about losing to the Devils than you can’t be joyful about an unexpected blond mustache is NO way to live. You can call me a fangirl all you want. I don’t care. I’m readjusting my Sabres-priorities, and I’m putting “Love the shit out of Vanek’s mustache,” at the top of the list.

I’m going to follow Heather’s lead. I’m taking back control of my Sabres experience. I haven’t decided if I’ll follow Heather’s exact rules, but I’m definitely going to go on a dramatic Sabres-media diet.

What does that mean for this blog? Well, probably nothing much. I still intend to blog, only now instead of being mostly uninformed, I’ll be pretty much TOTALLY uninformed. (Let’s face it, I’m way more fun when I don’t know what I’m talking about, anyway.) Also, I’m scheduled to be in the press box for the three home games right after Thanksgiving, so I’ll have a professional (*shifty eyes*) obligation to blog. I’ve been thinking a lot about how to make my time in the press box interesting for my readers, and I think, “having no idea what’s going on,” might be the ticket. Heh.

Let’s go Buff-a-lo!


5 Things

1. The raffle is coming along, but we’re a looooong way away from hitting my goal in terms of ticket sales. You people need to fork it over for the Steadfast Foundation. FORK IT OVER, I SAY!

FYI, I will NOT relent until every single one of you has bought at least one raffle ticket, so if your plan is to just ignore me until I stop yakking I ASSURE YOU, YOUR PLAN WON’T WORK.

Considering the awesomeness of the prizes (on the table: Two tickets for the Catwalk for Charity, AND two 8th row Sabres tickets), your odds of winning are RIDICULOUSLY high. I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that buying a raffle ticket is the RIGHT MOVE here, not only from the standpoint of ,”it’s the right thing to do,” but also from the standpoint of, “wise financial investment.”

2. I’m going to sweeten the pot by adding one more prize.

I think I’ve mentioned before that this season the BPO is playing an educational concert that opens with “Sabre Dance”. We’ll be playing the concert a few more times before the end of the season, and I would like to offer the following Sabre Dance-related raffle prize:

Prize #3: Right before we begin playing Sabre Dance, I will call you from my phone onstage so that you may listen to it live as heard from the viola section at Kleinhans.

Now, this prize has no monetary value, but it MIGHT get me fired from my job, so there’s that.

3. I had the great pleasure of attending the (poopy) Devils game with the lovely and alluring Heather B on Wednesday. Despite the Sabres’ poopiness, Heather and I had fun, and on the way home we had a really interesting conversation about the current state of Sabres fandom.

I’d just like to state for the record that I love Heather B.

4. Obligatory Sabres analysis: I remain unmoved or concerned about the Sabres current poopiness. My calendar still says “mid-November,” so, whatever.

5. This has nothing to do with anything, but… I’m hosting Thanksgiving this year, which is ridiculous because I’m not a good cook and I’m a TERRIBLE hostess. But the people need turkey, so I’m going to do my best to provide. My guests are all close friends who know me well, so it’s not like my invite list is intimidating, but still.

One thing that hosting Thanksgiving has made me realize is that I own nothing in the way of “company china.” I’m not married, nor have I ever been married, so I don’t even have a dusty gravy boat lying around. (I refuse to believe that there is ANY way to procure a gravy boat other than a bridal registry. No one in the history of time has EVER purchased their own gravy boat.) This morning I sent out an email to my guests in which I threatened to serve gravy out of a plastic juice pitcher, which is an image so funny to me I’m very tempted to actually do it.

Win Two Tickets to the Catwalk for Charity (Or, Sabres Tickets)!

I have a very exciting announcement to make:

Thanks to the good people at The Catwalk For Charity, I have TWO tickets to the “Catwalk for Charity: Wrangling for a Cause” on December 4th to give awaaaaaaay!

THAT’S RIGHT! An open bar! Sabres! In cowboy boots! Wandering around holding drinks! Just waiting for you to ask to take a picture with them! RICK JEANNERET IN A DOLLY PARTON OUTFIT (I have it on very good authority that this is actually happening)! Open bar! Many awesome auction items for you to bid on! I’m not kidding about the awesome auction items! Hilllllllarious and WONDERFUL people watching! Delicious snacks aplenty! Have I mentioned the open bar?! Crunchy is your host! There will probably be a puppy in attendance (there usually is)! FUNNEST! NIGHT! EVER!

Okay, allow me to explain.

I’m not exactly giving the tickets away, but, if you’re lucky (and honey, you look VERY lucky to me), you can win them for the low, low price of FIVE (5) AMERICAN DOLLARS!

We’re about to get our raffle on, yo.

This raffle will actually have TWO fabulous prizes:

PRIZE ONE: Two tickets to the Catwalk for Charity on December 4th (donated by the The Catwalk For Charity)

PRIZE TWO: Two tickets to the Sabres/Ottawa game on Tues, December 13th. Section 114, row 8. They’re fun seats. (donated by me)

The first place winner will get to choose between these two prizes, and the second place winner will get the other prize.

These prizes will be raffled off, with all the proceeds going to Ryan Miller’s Steadfast Foundation, an organization dedicated to serving patients and families in WNY effected by cancer. The Steadfast Foundation sponsors programs offered by Carly’s Club and the Roswell Park Cancer Institute. It’s a legitimately good cause, and one that I feel very proud to support.

Here’s how it’s going to work:

In order to “buy” a raffle ticket, you make a donation directly to the Steadfast Foundation. I will not be personally handling any of the money. After you donate directly to Steadfast, you’ll take a screenshot of the confirmation email and email THAT to me. (More on that later.)

The raffle tickets are only $5 each. BUT for every 4 tickets you buy, you get one free. So, a $20 donation gets you 5 raffle tickets.

All money donated to the Steadfast Foundation is 100% tax deductible.


Here’s how you buy the raffle tickets:

1. Follow this link to donate directly to the Steadfast Foundation.

2. Choose your donation amount. The donation can be for any amount, but the more you donate, the more raffle tickets you get.  Remember, a raffle ticket costs $5, but for every $20 you donate, you get one extra ticket for free.

3. Complete your order at Steadfast Foundation.

4. THEN, and this is IMPORTANT, after you make your donation, you will get a confirmation email (hilariously, this email comes from “Dean,” aka, Papa Crunchy). You need take a screenshot of your confirmation email. If you don’t know how to take a screenshot, here are some directions.

FYI, the confirmation email will have two bits of personal information about you. It will have the last four digits of your credit card number, and it will have your home address. Feel free to black out both bits of information if you’d like, but seriously, you guys can trust me with this info. I’m the only one who will process these emails, and I’m a classical musician from Minnesota (very trustworthy). What I DO need: the screenshot must include the “sender” email address (dean [at] steadfastfoundation [dot] com), your name, the invoice ID#, the date of your order, and the payment amount. Your screenshot must match up with Steadfast records, obvy.

5. Email this screenshot to Do NOT simply forward the email to me. It must be a screenshot.

6. You’re done! Sit back and wait until the winner is announced on MONDAY, Nov 28th. I’m SURE you’ll win!


Various Rules and Reg-you-lay-shuns:

1. I will stop selling raffle tickets at 12:00pm on Sunday, November 27th. All the eligible screenshots must be in my inbox by then. The raffle winners will be announced on Monday, November 28th.

2. You must be 21 years or older to attend the Catwalk. They will I.D. you at the door, and if you’re not 21 you are back out on the street. I’m sorry, Sabres fans who are younger than 21. Thems the rules. Someday soon you’ll be old enough to go.

3. If you go to the Catwalk you must email me the next day and tell me everything that happened. I can’t go to the Catwalk this year because I’m working, so, I’ll need to live vicariously through you.

4. If you go to the game, you must drink a big beer for me. (Just kidding. You don’t HAVE to do that. [But you can if you want.])


Now, let me attempt to really SELL you on the Catwalk for Charity.

Last year I had the opportunity to go to the Catwalk as my dear friend Glenn’s plus one. I’ll admit, before I attended the Catwalk, I was a tiny bit wary of the event. I’m sort of scared of real-life Sabres, and I don’t like clubs, so I was unsure about the whole thing. But, Glenn had been to the Catwalk before, and he assured me that was genuinely fun, so I decided to go.

Let me tell you, and I mean this VERY sincerely: THE CATWALK FOR CHARITY IS REALLY FUN. Like, really fun. I talk a lot of bullhonky on this blog, but I promise you, I would NOT lie about something as important as which events are fun and which events are lame. The Catwalk is FUN. F-U-N. Also, HILARIOUS. H-I-L-A-R-I-O-U-S. This isn’t like the time you saw Tyler Myers at Wegman’s and then tried to pretend you weren’t staring at him. That was fun too, but this is waaaaaay better. This is like that only this time not only are you allowed to go talk to him, you’re ENCOURAGED to talk to him. AND, if you’re like me and it turns out you don’t really have much to say to Tyler Myers other than, “Hey, big fella! Can I get a picture with you?” that is ALSO perfectly acceptable.

Here is something I wrote the day after I went to the Catwalk last year:

I can sum up the Catwalk for Charity thusly:  You go there. You marvel at all the people dressed to the nines in funny 80s outfits.  You say hello to Paul Gaustad like it’s a perfectly normal thing to do [acting!].  You have a drink. You happily ask Cody McCormick for a photo but then slink away when you see Derek Roy coming. You think to yourself, “That guy over there looks a lot like the guy from ‘thirtysomething’ but why would the ‘thirtysomething’ guy be here?  Surely that’s not him.” You gawk at various Sabres, some of whom you don’t even recognize because they’re wearing 80’s disguises [private to Steve Montador: I am KICKING MYSELF for not realizing you were the guy in the CHIPS-style cop uniform, because I’m preeeetty sure you and I should be BFFs]. You have another drink. You wander around looking at silent auction items, making sure that people are bidding on Glenn’s fabulous BPO dinner/concert/backstage tour extravaganza package (they are).  You have another drink.  You realize that that IS the guy from ‘thirtysomething’ but you still have no IDEA what he would be doing at this party.  You giggle because someone keeps sternly saying into the PA system, “If you are a Buffalo Sabre, please report to the backstage area,” and it amuses you that apparently the Sabres refuse to be wrangled.

You watch some of the live auction and marvel at the adorableness of the auctioneer (who would have EVER guessed that they make auctioneers young and adorable these days?  Not you). You encounter Tyler Myers who seems perfectly happy to gently careen throughout the room hugging strangers and enthusiastically posing for ridiculous photographs while Tyler Ennis (who, for reasons you do NOT understand, is wearing an identical outfit to Myers, only with a pillow stuffed underneath his shirt to make it look like he has a pot belly) sort of follows along behind him, tugging at his jacket and saying, “I think we’re supposed to be backstage, man.”   You get your picture taken with Harry Neale and Rick Jeanneret, and that makes you very happy.You watch the catwalk and you figure out that the reason the Tylers are dressed alike is because they’re supposed to be Schwarzenegger and Devito from “Twins.”  You realize your feet are starting to hurt from these shoes.  You go over and look at the Vezina trophy. While you’re looking at the trophy, Miller takes a picture with his phone of the place where his name is engraved, and you overhear him tell his mom, “This is the first time I’ve seen my name on it.”  You think that’s pretty cute.  Then, you thank Glenn a million times for taking you, for being such a great date, and for being the totally responsible designated driver.


Please support The Steadfast Foundation by buying some raffle tickets. (Raffle tickets are $5 each, or 5 for $20!) This is a great cause. AND, if for some bonkers reason you don’t want to go to the Catwalk for Charity, you can go to the Sabres game and sit in the Official Willful Caboose Seats instead! AND, if for some MEGA BONKERS reason you don’t want to to the Catwalk OR the game, this is still a GREAT cause, and you can always give your winnings to someone you love.

A huge thank you to Therese Forton and Kristin Etu (PR ladies extraordinaire), for greenlighting this raffle and for being all-around awesome. During the process of setting up this raffle and writing this post, I had approximately 45,000 questions. Unfortunately, I thought of the questions one at a time, spread out over three days. So, Kristin has patiently, and with infinite good humor, responded to 45,000 emails from me.  And of course, a HUGE thanks to the Catwalk for Charity for donating these tickets for this raffle. I want to raise them lots of money, so everyone go donate!

Finally, I want to encourage everyone to consider actually purchasing a ticket to attend this event. If you really want to go to the Catwalk for Charity (and you should) you don’t want to take your chances on a raffle. The best way to ensure you get a ticket is by buying one here.

Let’s Go Buff-a-lo!

Stay Strong

The last few days have been difficult to endure as a Sabres fan. First the Sabres were complete a-holes, and then the entire hockey media had a two-day THE-SABRES-SUCK-A-THON. It’s been gross and demoralizing.

The game last night didn’t go exactly how fans would’ve drawn it up (I guess we wanted the Sabres to rip the heads off of various Bruins Habs? Or something?) but it was still a fun one. I know some Sabres fans will disagree with this, but the Sabres played with guts last night. Personally, I’ll take “come from behind and beat the Habs in their own building,” over, “try to fight everyone on the Canadiens because of something that happened in a game against the Bruins,” almost any day of the week.

Like any fan, I loved that game because the Sabres came from behind to win. (Oh and BTW, I went all “Hockey Prophet” for a few minutes on twitter during the game.) The mischievous part of me really loved that game. Those of us who have been not-so-secretly rolling our eyes at the league-wide fury over the Sabres lack of response to Lucic, get to be all, “WOOOOOOOOOOO! The Sabres are 5-1 in their last six games! ‘THE CODE’ CAN SUUUUUUUUUUUUCK IT!” It might not be the most mature (or intellectually sound) reaction in the world, but after the non-stop pounding of the franchise we’ve endured for the last few days, it is a fairly satisfying response. The win provided some respite from the crankiness.

“Respite from the crankiness,” is good, because I’m simply not in the mood to flip out over the Sabres right now… probably because it’s mid-November. Last night at the beginning of the game I was feeling VERY out of sorts about hockey, and listening to the Versus crew go on and ON about the multitude of ways in which the Sabres suck sort of tipped me over the edge. It’s not that I even disagreed with them, I just didn’t want to hear it. I muted the television, and watched the game with some mellow music playing. I cannot recommend this practice highly enough. My frustration just drained out of my body, and it felt like I reclaimed hockey. It was just me and the game.

The Sabres are currently better than last season, and I expect them to be better next year than they are right now. If the entire team as it’s currently constructed is mentally and physically soft, that will take a while to change. If it’s Lindy’s fault they’re soft, he’ll have to be fired eventually (probably at some stage where they’re NOT 11-6 and 1 point out of 1st in the East). But for right now, in the grand scheme of things, I believe the Sabres are making progress.

The Sabres sure aren’t perfect, but they’re what we’ve got.

That isn’t to say I didn’t fire everyone during the first two periods of game last night. I did fire everyone. The Sabres looked like complete poo in the first two periods and that was disappointing to say the least. But, in the end everything worked out just fine.

“In the end everything will be just fine,” is sort of my new Sabres motto. It’s mid-November. If last season taught me anything it’s that things around here CAN change. In the mean time, I highly recommend simply muting the television/radio/internet. Take what you enjoy from the games and let Mike Milbury’s stupid jaw flap impotently on mute.

Stay strong, Sabres fans!

The Obligatory Tantrum

There’s losing, and then there’s having-the-guy-who-ran-your-goalie-basically-call-you-a-bunch-of-pansies-while-everyone-in-the-NHL-nods-their-head-in-complete-agreement. The Sabres opted for the latter last night, which is a shame because even good teams get creamed 6-2 every once in a while. A typical 6-2 loss is something we could handle with grace (I mean, not all Sabres fans could handle a 6-2 loss with grace, but most of the sane ones could), but a 6-2 loss AND allowing Milan Lucic to completely emasculate everyone both on and off the ice? NOT COOL, SABRES. NOT COOL AT ALL.

I’ll be honest, I didn’t watch much last night because I was playing a concert, so I’m not exactly in a position to analyze/throw-overblown-tantrums about this game. For the sake of this post I briefly considered watching the DVR recording this afternoon, but I quickly came to my senses. I mean… no. I watched 3/4th of the Bills game today, and that was quite enough soul-scorching suckiness for one Sunday afternoon. (BTW, thanks for nothing, Bills. Geez.)

But since when has a lack of, “watching the game,” or, “knowing what I’m talking about,” stopped me from loudly proclaiming my opinion? NEVER! That’s when! Why start today? So, here’s what I think, in convenient, easy-to-read bullet points.

  • Seriously Sabres, that was lame.
  • Most people reading this blog know that I’m not a big fan of fighting in the NHL. In fact, if I had my way, fighting would be eliminated and instead of everyone freaking out about how so-and-so should’ve clobbered Lucic (which may or may not have led to success), we’d be freaking out about how HARD the Sabres defense SUCKS ASS.
  • It’s not that I don’t think it would be satisfying to see someone clobber Lucic, but it seems to me that the best way to handle someone like him is to calmly score on the power play, and then WIN THE GAME. Then, after the game you can be all, “Yeah, that guy’s a dick. It’s a good thing we’re so much better at hockey than those clowns.” In my opinion, punching is not the only correct response in a situation like that. Winning convincingly also works. Sadly, instead of turning steely, the Sabres turned spastic, and everything went to hell.
  • Although… I’d like to point out that the game did not immediately go to hell after Lucic’s hit. The Sabres played 14 minutes of decent hockey between the hit and when Boston tied it up, and another 6 minutes after that before the [feces] really hit the fan. There isn’t much evidence to suggest that the hit or the lack of “stepping up” lead directly to a team meltdown. It’s seems to me that playing terrible hockey was the Sabres biggest mistake last night.
  • Last night I was reminded of Game Six of the playoffs when Mike Richards completely boarded Tim Connolly, thus providing the opportunity for the Sabres to SUCK ON THE ENSUING POWER PLAY IN HUMILIATING FASHION. (I think there might’ve even been a 5-on-3 involve with that play if my memory serves me right. [And my memory probably doesn’t serve me right because I was both drunk and extremely desperate to forget after Game Six.]) That play and the ensuing power play was where I think the Sabres lost that Flyers series. Again, I’m no proponent of hockey violence, BUT, in the absence of punching, you sure as hell better not get all scared and emo about your game. If the Sabres are going to get all, “hold me mommy, I’m scared,” every time something hardcore happens, they’re doomed to repeat Game Six forever. (Only, in the future it won’t be Ville Leino scoring against us in OT, because sadly, he plays for us now.)
  • What I’m trying to say is this: You have two choices, Sabres. 1.) Be really good at hockey and make teams pay for being a-holes by winning, or 2.) Punch Milan Lucic into submission. (I’m not going to lie, punching Milan Lucic into submission sounds really hard to me too. I’d go with option #1 if I were you.)
  • I have no idea what’s wrong with Tyler Myers (AGAIN), but now he’s getting his stink on Sekera, and HE MUST BE STOPPED. BENCH HIS SKINNY ASS, LINDY.
  • And since we’re talking about the defense, you know who probably would’ve been willing to get his butt kicked by Lucic in the name of “revenge” last night? MIKE WEBER.
  • We learned last night that the Sabres are a bunch of weenies, but despite the tone of this post, I don’t think it’s the end of the world. The season is still really young. The Sabres are still settling into the New World Pegula Order. Ryan Miller is still all wonky and not right (the hit to the head probably didn’t help with that). This was no ordinary loss. Losses of this magnitude don’t come around every day. Mid-November is the perfect time for a loss like this. If Lindy is really the coach that everyone believes he is, he’ll find a way to turn this loss into an overall win. A loss like this can galvanize a team. I’m not ready to predict that this loss will galvanize the Sabres into positive change, but I do believe it’s possible. This was, if nothing else, a gut-check game. Maybe the Sabres needed this humiliation and maybe (just MAYBE, I’m saying) it will ultimately do them some good. *fingers crossed*

…A Blog About the Buffalo Sabres

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

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