Archive for the 'Nolan Pratt' Category

Let’s Blow This Baby Up

I’m kind of a drama queen when it comes to the Sabres (although oddly, I’m not a drama queen in any other area of my life), so I felt a little bit of vindication when I made my morning blog rounds today.  It seems I’m not the only person who thought that that was THE WORST HOCKEY GAME IN THE HISTORY OF TIME AND SPACE.  I mean, I’ve seen the Sabres suck plenty of times before, but that game last night was an abomination.  I’m not sure that either team successfully completed a pass all night.  I will forever remember that game as ten guys standing in the middle of the rink kicking the puck around randomly with their skates.  For all I know, they didn’t even USE hockey sticks last night.

But the details about last night are neither here nor there.  The main point is that the Sabres are not a good hockey team.  I’ll admit, I’ve lost ALL patience for waiting around for this particular group of guys to pull it together.  It’s not going to happen.  Drastic steps must be taken.

I’m not ordinarily the type of blogger to play the role of GM.  I don’t feel very confident with my hockey analysis, but this situation has inspired me to go out on a limb and write a serious post about what I would do if I were the GM of the Sabres.  In my opinion, this team needs a major shake-up.

Here are the moves I would make:

Tim Connolly should be retired and sent to a farm to live out his remaining years grazing peacefully.  It’s the most humane solution at this point.

Drew Stafford should be traded for Evgeni Malkin.

Derek Roy‘s talent should be surgically extracted and implanted into Paul Gaustad.  This is a dangerous scheme because there’s a risk that Goose could be infected with some of Roy-Z’s personality as well as his talent (that, of course, would be disastrous/tragic), but I’m sure we can all agree that a Goose/Roy-Z hybrid would be a useful player to have around.  I think it’s worth the risk.  After the talent transferring procedure, the now talentless Derek Roy can become Goose’s personal assistant.  Everyone wins….except Goose, who now has a talentless Derek Roy following him around all the time.

Ryan Miller needs his glass eye removed and replaced with a real eye.  He’s done pretty well with one glass eye, considering, but it’s clear that he needs two good eyes to compete in the NHL.  He might as well get his wonky eyebrow re-cocked while he’s at it.

Jason Pominville needs to be taken off the point on the power play.

Henrik Tallinder and Toni Lydman need to be sent out into the deep forest and each be given a match, a single bottle of water, and a penknife.  They have 48 hours to hunt and kill the other.  Whoever comes out alive gets to keep his job.

Thomas Vanek should be paid $7.1 million dollars per year for the next six years.

Clarke MacArthur should be traded to the Blackhawks for Patrick Sharp and Patrick Kane.

Max Afinogenov and Ales Kotalik should be melted down and then recast as Christmas tree ornaments which the Sabres wives and girlfriends can then sell in the concourse to benefit charity.

Andrew Peters should be waived and Adam Mair should start actively practicing punching people and being punched in return.

Patrick Kaleta should be sent to Portland, and Danny Paille should start actively practicing being really, really annoying.

Nathan Paetsch should be traded for Nicklas Lidstrom.

Craig Rivet should be returned to the San Jose Sharks.  This is a mercy trade made of behalf of Rivet who is probably looking at his old team with extreme longing right about now.  This poor dude was living a perfectly happy life in California a few months ago, and now, through no fault of his own, he’s the CAPTAIN of this train wreck.  Poor dude.  I want to set him free.

Mark Mancari, Nathan Gerbe, and Tim Kennedy should all be given trial jobs with the Sabres, but they should be FORBIDDEN from socializing with any of their elder teammates.  Everyday after practice they should be chauffeured to their grim apartments at the Extended Stay America off the 290, and supervised for the remainer of the day.  If any of them even glances wistfully at Chippewa St, they should be automatically fired/executed.

Teppo Numminen should be compelled to retire so that he may begin some sort of job which involves him standing behind the bench with James Patrick looking foxy in a well tailored suit.

Jaroslav Spacek should call a press conference and then bite the head off the pigeon so that we never have to hear about that dumb thing again.  (This isn’t so much of a personnel move as it is a personal request from me to Jaro.)


So that’s what I would do if I were GM.

The Portland Winter Hawks

Say you find yourself on vacation in Portland, Oregon. Your NHL team is driving you batty, but you need a hockey fix. What do you do?

Why, you go to see the Portland Winter Hawks of course!

I find the system of minor league hockey pretty confusing. I don’t get it at all, and frankly, I have very little desire to figure it out. All I know is that there are a bunch of unaffiliated hockey teams tucked in various corners of North America. The Portland Winter Hawks are one of these teams. Whatevs.

Today I rounded up four (4) non-hockey fans and a toddler, and the six of us headed out to see the Hawks play the Silvertips.

I’m not going to sugar coat this: to my fairly untrained eye, the Hawks do not appear to be very good at hockey. To be fair, I have never seen non-NHL hockey, so to me the whole thing looked kind of Bad News Bearsy. Also, my ability to turn the home team into an ineffectual mess with my mere presence at the arena seems to extend beyond the NHL and into the minor league systems.

This was the situation when we had to leave the arena due to a toddler meltdown:

I tried to comfort the Winter Hawks by telling them that the Sabres can’t score when I’m around either, but I don’t think they bought it.

Speaking of Sabres, did you know that Goose was a Winter Hawk back when he was a zygote? I found this giant portrait of a younger, more innocent Goose hanging in the “Winter Hawks in the NHL” display.

Something about this picture makes Goose look like he should be a supporting character on “Leave It To Beaver”. It’s like, 1950s Paul Gaustad.
Maybe you already knew that Goose was a Winter Hawk back in the day…..but I bet you didn’t know about this:

Look! It’s baby-faced Nolan Pratt! I don’t spend nearly enough time yammering about how much I like Nolan Pratt on this blog. I promise to do better.


I probably should have tried to bond with this random dude over our shared Goose appreciation, but I was feeling shy.

My only real beef with the Winter Hawks is that their logo is a Chicago Blackhawks-style Indian. I’m just not into marginally racist logos, and so I couldn’t bring myself to buy a hat, which I certainly would have done otherwise. (I just looked it up, and the Winter Hawks’ logo is the exact same logo as the Blackhawks’ logo. What gives, Winter Hawks? You can’t even be bothered to come up with your own racist logo? LAME.)

The best thing about the Winter Hawks game was that I could not have possibly cared less about the outcome. Yeah, I was cheering for Portland, but it didn’t bother me in the slightest when they didn’t win. It was pretty enjoyable to watch a live hockey game in which I didn’t feel the urge to leap off a balcony in despair. Instead of feeling all angsty about the game, I merrily ate delicious hotdogs and observed the local diehards. (FYI, local Winter Hawk diehards = awesome.)

All in all, I can recommend the folksy and affordable Winter Hawks experience. Some hockey is better than no hockey, so if I lived in Portland I would happily attend Hawks’ games. Go Hawks!

Welcome To Buffalo

Dear Nolan Pratt,

This is no doubt an exciting and confusing time for you. You were all set to move to Russia, but at the eleventh hour you got a call from Darcy Regier asking if you would like to play for Buffalo. In a whirlwind you signed with the Sabres. Then, one day after signing with the team, and after six months away from hockey, you were thrust into a game against the Florida Panthers.

“No matter”, you surely thought. “The Sabres are a good team. They can absorb a new player with ease, and the Panthers are pretty bad. This shouldn’t be so tricky.”

Oh, you poor, poor dear.

You see, we have a bit of a…..situation, in Buffalo right now. I’m so sorry that your first game had to be the Florida game, but on the other hand, there is really no hiding from the reality of the….situation. As much as I’d like to protect you (at least until you are more comfortable in your new city), the…..situation….is unavoidable. Please, as you read this letter, try not to panic. While the…..situation….may seem dire, it is not necessarily permanent. We have reason to hope.

I’ll be blunt: Everyone is freaking out. The players are spazzing. Lindy is having kittens right and left. Mike Robitaille is pounding the telecast podium with increasing regularity, and Kevin Sylvester’s normally rosy cheeks are getting sallow. The fans are booing. Bucky Gleason is gloating. Fruit is withering on the vine, and dogs and cats are getting along. Something is very, very wrong in Sabreland.

The good news for you is that you will get ample opportunity to shine on this team. While the…..situation….is making fools out of some players, it also offers tremendous rewards for anyone who’s not playing like they have an anvil strapped to each foot. What I am trying to tell you is that you can probably wind up being the captain of this team, as long as you don’t suck completely.

You have joined the Sabres at an awkward time, and for that, I am sorry. If there is anything I can do to help ease your transition, please do not hesitate to ask. Try to keep in mind that the Sabres are a tremendously talented team, and with the proper emotional reprogramming, they certainly have the potential to excel. The best psychologists have been contacted, and the Sabres organization is doing everything it can to fix the mental glitch that has handcuffed nearly every player. Please, try to be patient with your new teammates. They are young, and (as I’m sure you’ve already noticed) painfully inept at adapting to change.


H.R.M. Katebits

…A Blog About the Buffalo Sabres

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

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