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.

27 Responses to “The Press Box: Part One”

  1. 1 Jonah November 26, 2011 at 7:27 pm

    I’m enjoying this! Say hello to Bill and Mike for me.

  2. 2 Heather Bermingham (@topshelfcookies) November 26, 2011 at 7:30 pm

    Kate, hilariously, due to my Twitter ban and lack of access today, I *just* missed finding out Stafford was out tonight from you. Mark barely beat you out. How funny would that have been? You ARE a journalist!

  3. 3 CrotchetyOriginalSam November 26, 2011 at 7:40 pm

    SO jealous of your press box adventure! I’d stick around for the live blog if I didn’t have an opera to play. Good luck!

  4. 4 Heather Bermingham (@topshelfcookies) November 26, 2011 at 7:42 pm

    Hey, is that cup of Coke there free? Because maybe I should reconsider a press box visit…

  5. 6 deafjeff November 26, 2011 at 7:53 pm

    Very good job so far. I’ve decided SzcheZchechura is going to be Rooster Sauce. Feel free to steal it.

  6. 8 mikehaim November 26, 2011 at 9:10 pm

    You weren’t alone in laughing at Ovechkin’s wa-a-a-a-y wide shot. You mean to didn’t hear our snickering at the other end of the box?

  7. 9 Heather Bermingham (@topshelfcookies) November 26, 2011 at 9:23 pm

    Better you than me tonight, Kate. If Jochen scores on a shorthanded breakaway, I throw my notes into the crowd, run around the press box waving my arms, run out, and never look back.

  8. 10 Browndog November 26, 2011 at 10:16 pm

    Is there (or has there ever been a case of) “Conductor Killer” in the orchestral world ?

    I’m really happy for Jochen, if I had a bra I woulda thrown it!

  9. 12 Steve Anderson November 26, 2011 at 10:28 pm

    Great stuff, Kate! I had the lady’s bra next to me half unsnappedmyself on that second Hecht breakaway. :-) @sabrerattler

  10. 14 Mikey B November 26, 2011 at 10:30 pm

    But was there beef on weck in the press box? Inquiring minds have to know!

  11. 16 Katebits November 26, 2011 at 11:08 pm

    Thanks for reading and commenting, guys! That was a very fun night.

  12. 17 mikespub November 26, 2011 at 11:09 pm

    Fun adventure. I got to do it a bunch of years ago. Ain’t it cool

  13. 18 Kathleen November 26, 2011 at 11:57 pm

    Katebits, I love you. I want to be you when I grow up.

    Looking forward to future WC correspondence from the pressbox. Because the Sabres will do it if whey know what’s good for them.

  14. 19 Jason November 27, 2011 at 1:26 am

    Looks like you were basically sitting right above me. If you heard any f-bombs from the seats below you while the Caps were busy tackling the Sabres in the 3rd period penalty-free, yeah that was probably me. I like keeping it classy.

  15. 20 Trevor November 27, 2011 at 9:29 am

    If there were beefs on weck in the press box I would literally apply for a press pass and drive up from Maryland three games in a row.

  16. 21 ToonTom November 27, 2011 at 10:06 am

    Was that Coke or Cherry Coke? When I came to Buffalo last year I searched everywhere for Cherry Coke, which is not available in my part of Canada. I was thrilled to find it flowing at HSBC Arena. So there I was enjoying a slice and drinking Cherry Coke while surrounded by thousands of Sabres jerseys moments before seeing a game.

    Self: Is this Heaven?

    Self: No, it’s Buffalo!

  17. 23 Kevin November 27, 2011 at 12:31 pm

    I always debated if I should have you in my sports folder of my RSS feed or my humor folder in my RSS feed. Since you are now a press box goer I feel like you are now cemented in my sports folder although with an asterisk saying you are funny.

  18. 25 Scott November 27, 2011 at 7:10 pm

    This is the neatest blog that was ever blogged. I think someone should take this blog entry and use it to cure cancer or solve the mysteries of cold fusion.

  19. 27 Mikey B November 28, 2011 at 11:54 am

    Free hot dogs…but were they hot dogs on weck? I bet that would be AWESOME.

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