Archive for the 'Players' Category



10 Things

1. WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!! WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!! WOOOOOOOOOO!! WOOOOOOOOOOOO! WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

2. Hot DAMN, that was a fun weekend of Sabre-y goodness. After our Friday morning concert, I zipped home, dropped off my viola, threw on my new BITCHIN’ Sabres tee, and hauled ass over to Lanette’s where I got to experience her SABRES THEMED ROOM for the first time. (She’s got a goal horn and a red light, you guys.) Then today, I wandered over to the arena, and watched the game with lots of peeps while eating bratwurst and freezing my ass off. (It’s much, MUCH colder in the arena this season. For reals.)

3. Look, I know it’s only two games, but the Sabres are obviously going 82-0 this season. It’s preeeetty much a done deal. The thing I enjoyed the most about the games was that they were just so breezy. The Sabres won with ease. They didn’t even appear to break a sweat. I’m just kidding about the Sabres going 82-0, but it sure is nice to get a good start.

4. Today Patty and I were a little confused about the lines, and we were just naming guys, trying to figure out who’s playing with who, and at one point we just sort of paused and I was all, “…It feels like the Sabres have lots of good forwards all of a sudden.” It was an odd and thrilling realization. In almost any combination, the Sabres have three really good scoring lines, and a rollicking fourth line. (Although, [and this is barely a complaint], I’m sad that Lindy seems to have broken up Kaleta, Goose, and Gerbe. I looooved that line, and they were such a fun combination of punch-y and score-y. Bring them back, Lindy!)

5. We knew Leino would be an improvement on Connolly (at the very least), but if Luke Adam continues being so compatible with Vanek, we are REALLY in business. One of the perks of refusing to learn about our prospects is that every time a new kid shows up in a Sabres uniform and he isn’t a pile of puke, I’m pleasantly surprised. I remember being fairly impressed with Adam during his stint with the Sabres last season, but obviously he wasn’t getting time on a line with Vanek back then. This is a whole new situation. Kudos to Lindy for putting that combination together, and mega-kudos to Adam for stepping up to the plate. It’s fun to root for the young guys. (Private to Luke Adam: I just made a “category” on this blog for you. That means you should go ahead and find a permanent place to live in Buffalo. The only guy I’ve ever incorrectly put on the”Sabre” list was Mark Mancari, and really, that was just a rookie mistake on my part. Find yourself an apartment, kiddo. Call me if you ever need viola or ridiculous-blogging lessons.)

6. The defense is remarkably better. Here’s how we can tell:

  • Miller’s job has looked easy (rather than terrifying).
  • Myers hasn’t freaked us out at ALL so far. Remember how scary he was at the beginning of last season? It’s hard to say how much of  Myers’ non-suckiness can be attributed to him being older and wiser, and how much of it can be attributed to the fact that he now gets to play with Robyn Regehr instead of a rotating collection of spazzes, but either way, HOORAY.
  • Ehrhoff, Ehrhoff, Ehrhoff, Ehrhoff, Ehrhoff, Ehrhoff. I love me some Christian Ehrhoff
  • Mike Weber. Perfectly serviceable Mike Weber, is sitting in the press box because we don’t need him. When someone inevitable gets hurt, it won’t be a total crisis (unless it’s Myers), because we’ll still have Mike Weber. It sucks for Mike Weber that the Sabres don’t need him, but it ROCKS for us.

7. It really struck me today how appropriate it is that this team started the season in Europe.

Europe is where North Americans go when we want to “find ourselves”. I’ve been to Europe twice, both times for viola-related reasons, and both times I came home all starry-eyed and inspired to TAKE ON THE WORLD. Europe is where we go to be young, and romantic, and to ride trains, and think Big Important Thoughts. I can’t imagine a better place for our young team to start this season. As much as I’m looking forward to the home opener I almost wish we could leave the Sabres over there for a little while longer. Obviously they like Europe. I love the idea of them having adventures, and writing flowery prose in their journals, and tasting weird fish-y foods that Ville Leino swears are a Finnish delicacy.

8. I feel obligated to comment on Lindy’s choice for the captaincy, so here goes: I approve. Good job, Lindy.

9. Heather’s talking sense here.

10. WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!

7 Things

1. I had the MOST fun hockey day yesterday. I wandered down to the arena in the morning with the intention of cashing in on Slug Appreciation Day, but I quickly realized that not standing in those lines was worth at LEAST the amount of money I would’ve saved had I waited. (It should be noted that I intended to buy a hoodie that was already on sale, so my savings for standing in line for an hour would’ve only been in the $10-$15 range. It’s not like I was planning to buy a $200 jersey. THAT probably would’ve been worth the wait.) So, I sacrificed my opportunity to buy a cheap hoodie, and I plopped down in the arena to watch practice and a scrimmage.

2. I’ve said it before, but it’s worth repeating: open practices are the B-E-S-T. You get to see all sorts of ridiculous stuff, like Darcy skipping down some stairs, and Miller strutting around, all “cool guy on campus,” and dozens of baby-faced Sabres prospects that you don’t recognize in the slightest. (Related: The Sabres are being kind of top secret about the practice/scrimmage schedule this season. In past years I feel like they’ve published a complete training camp schedule online. This year I can’t find anything on their website.)

3. Last night I attended the Sabres/Canes game. As most of you probably know, the Sabres won due to the extreme feistiness of the Gerb/Gaustad/Kaleta line, and a good time was had by all.

4. I was kind of nervous and excited about going to the arena last night because it was my first chance to see my new seats.

OUR NEW SEATS ARE FANTASTIC! When we were offered the chance to move (a giant, ETERNALLY GRATEFUL thanks to Jessica in account services for hooking us up), we didn’t have very many options. That whole “99% season ticket renewal rate” they’re always celebrating means that there just aren’t that many seats available. The tradeoff for escaping the dreaded gate at the end of our row meant that instead of row 20, we’d have to move much closer to the glass. Sitting low is kind of a double-edged sword. Row 8 provides a super awesome view when the action is directly in front of us, and a super weird view when we’re looking through the glass at action on the other end of the ice.

All this AND a women's bathroom at the top of the aisle.

Last night was my first chance to actually watch hockey in our new seats and I LOVED IT SO MUCH. I LOVED the view, I LOVED being on the shoot-twice side, and I LOVED not being trapped behind a gate! Everything that felt “wrong” about the old seats felt “right” about these. If you ever catch me whining about these new seats, feel free to pop me in the kisser.

5. I’m pretty sure I’m going to love Ville Leino. Of all the players on the ice last night, I found him to be the most compelling. Every time he was out there, I just couldn’t take my eyes off him. Maybe the Toni Lydman effect was really just a Finnish thing? I dunno. Only time will tell, I guess.  On a non-hockey note, I find Leino’s ability to instantly morph from kind-of-hideous to fully-handsome (depending on the angle) to be QUITE compelling. I’ll admit, I was always really aware of him when he was a Flyer too. I think just really like that guy.

6. How about those Billz, huh? I’m an admitted Bills bandwagoner (I lose all interest in them when they suck), but I absolutely adore happy Bills fans. I’m happy when you guys are happy, and I certainly can’t complain about the entertainment value of the first two Bills games. Go Billsies!

7. The picture I took of Vanek and Ehrhoff in the limo last week is now posted on Thomas Vanek’s personal website. His website does not link here, but still, that miiiiight be the pinnacle of hilarious weirdness. I mean… whoa.

What Might Have Been

I think I was pretty well-behaved during the limo event on Wednesday, but I did have one privately experienced moment of kooky Kate-ness during the drive.

At one point towards the end of the afternoon, I put my sunglasses in my purse and when I did, I was reminded that I’d brought Post-Its and a Sharpie along. (The reason I had Post-Its and a Sharpie in my purse is uninteresting and irrelevant, but I’d like to be clear- I never had any intention of asking anyone for an autograph. I miiiiight’ve been hoping that Ted Black would let me put a Post-It on his lapel that said, “Hello, My Name Is, Monsieur Homeslice Sir Rocks-a-lot,” but I digress.)

Anyway, I saw these Post-Its and I suddenly had a perfect vision of what I would do with them if I were living in “Kate’s Whimsical Dream World” instead of “reality.”

For a few brief seconds I daydreamed about surreptitiously taking out the Post-Its, writing a big “C” on one of them, quickly slapping it on Vanek’s jersey, and then before he realized what was happening, I’d take a picture of him.

I'll get you with this C in my dreams, Thomas Vanek.

These are the types of things that flash through your head when you’re riding in a limo with Thomas Vanek.

The Sabres: Just Like FedEx, Only Waaaay Better

Sometimes life is weird, you know?

Today I spent the afternoon driving around in a limo with Christian Ehrhoff and Thomas Vanek.

Man. I don’t even know where to begin this story.

No wait, yes I do: From the very bottom of my heart, I’d like to thank Sabres.com for inviting me to join Christian Ehrhoff and Thomas Vanek as they delivered tickets to season ticket holders today. I feel so fortunate to have been plucked from the thousands and thousands of wonderful, loyal, enthusiastic, and deserving Sabres fans to have this experience. The Sabres have recently been making some truly awesome moves to include non-traditional media in their events, and they seriously knocked this one out of the park. Thank you, Sabres!

_____________

On Friday last week the Sabres emailed me to ask if I wanted to “tag along” when the Sabres delivered tickets to a few lucky season ticket holders. The email conversation pretty much went like this:

Sabres: Do you want to tag along when we do this thing?
Katebits: I want to do that more than I’ve ever wanted anything in my entire life.
(End Scene)

In the initial email we really didn’t get a lot of information about the event, so I spent the entire weekend speculating with Heather (who was also invited) about what exactly we’d be doing.  Heather’s favorite scenario was that Lindy would drive us around in a gigantic van full of Sabres all day. My favorite scenario was that somehow I’d end up in a car with Goose, Pominville, and Miller, and at some point we’d turn up the radio and have a loud singalong, preferably to the song “Rolling In the Deep.”

Yesterday, things came into a little bit more focus when I was told I’d be riding in a limo with Tyler Myers and Ville Leino. I know. A limo! With Tyler Myers and Ville Leino!

“I bet those guys know ‘Rolling in the Deep’ too,” I thought. “THIS IS GOING TO BE THE MOST FUN EVER!”

_______

I’m not going to lie, I was quite nervous about almost everything as I headed down to the arena. A variety of panicky thoughts raced through my head: What if I embarrass myself? What if the Sabres hate me? What if Tyler Myers wants to open the sunroof of the limo so he can stick his head out like a giraffe, and this makes me laugh so hard that I have a coughing fit? What if Ted Black turns out to be only 99% awesome instead of 100% awesome? What if Ville Leino arches his eyebrow at me and I temporarily lose the power of speech? What if I somehow offend everyone and ensure that no bloggers are ever taken seriously by the Sabres ever ever ever ever ever ever again? OMFG, WHAT IF I LOOK STUPID IN THIS OUTFIT?!

Well, it turns out that driving around Buffalo in a limousine with Sabres is much like everything else in life. You almost never worry about the right things.

After hooking up with our fabulous and helpful Sabres liaison (and being told that Myers would not be available and that he had been replaced by Gerbe), Heather and I were ushered outside where there were lots of cameras and limos. I’d relaxed a little bit by this point, mostly because there are only so many times you can fret about your outfit before it gets boring. And besides, things were getting pretty interesting.

That’s when the players came out. Now, not to sound like a total goober here, but seeing a big crowd of Sabres in street clothes is really something. Honestly, my first instinct was just to stare at them. I don’t mean this in some sort of creeper way, I just mean… the Sabres are interesting in real life. I wanted to memorize what they were all wearing, and who was taller/shorter/skinnier or goofier in person than expected. But I didn’t have long to stare at them because almost immediately they popped into limos and everything got kind of confusing and suddenly I was all, “Hey, which limo do I go in?! I thought you said I was riding with Gerbe and Leino… I’m riding with Vanek and Ehrhoff? Whaaaaat?”

So, after I spent a day meticulously plotting to charm Myers and Leino into telling me all their funniest secrets, suddenly, I was going to be riding with Vanek and Ehrhoff.

For reasons that were explained to me but that I didn’t try hard enough to understand, Vanek and Ehrhoff met us in a parking lot out near Transit Road instead of driving out there in the limo. This was fine by me because it gave me a chance to bond with Carl (the limo driver [Hi, Carl!]) and also to ask John Sinclair (VP of Tickets & Services) some of my burning questions about the event.

SPOILER ALERT: My “burning questions” about the event were mostly related to my concerns that one of the people’s houses would be messy when Terry Pegula suddenly popped by.

Here’s a picture I took from the limo before Vanek and Ehrhoff got in. Vanek is being interviewed by Lorey Schultz from channel 4. Lorey and her camera guy followed our car to every stop, and Lorey was super duper nice.

This picture makes me laugh a little bit. I was basically hiding in the limo, waiting for them to join me in the limo. I think this picture demonstrates how I was both scared of hanging out with these guys and intensely curious about them.

Here’s the thing about meeting Sabres in up close, personal situations. There was one part of my brain that was all, “OMG, this is the weirdest thing that has EVER happened, EVER. Thomas Vanek is sitting RIGHT THERE, two feet away from me. Seriously, this is CAH-RAAAAZY.” And then there was another part of me that was just like, “Oh, hi Thomas Vanek!” Although I’d obviously never met him before, Thomas Vanek felt like a basically familiar person. That was very interesting to me. Christian Ehrhoff was an actual stranger (in that I haven’t been watching him play hockey for many years), so meeting him was really just like meeting anyone. Well, not quite like meeting anyone. It was like meeting someone that you know you’re going to start a ten year hockey relationship with next week.

I introduced myself to them as “your blogger for the afternoon,” which didn’t seem to faze either of them in the slightest, and we were off!

From the very beginning I was impressed with Thomas Vanek’s relaxed and open demeanor. My mental image of him is so tortured, but seriously, he was downright breezy in the limo. We chatted about Minnesota (I’m from Minneapolis), and the differences between Buffalo winter and Minnesota winter (When I confessed I’ve always wondered if those sun lamps work, because I hate the constant gray of Buffalo winters, he suggested that we put a huge bubble over Buffalo with a giant sun lamp inside), and how it’s hard to feed twins (he actually held up his arms and pretended to shovel food into two babies mouths simultaneously).

Christian Ehrhoff was a little more reserved, but then again, I didn’t “know” him ahead of time, so maybe I just didn’t ask the magical questions that could’ve prompted him to mime feeding his babies. Perhaps in three years on Ticket Delivery Day I’ll know juuuuust enough about him to carry my end of a totally breezy conversation with Christian Ehrhoff. (I did find out that he played the piano for a handful of years as a kid and that he’s got a piano in his house now. That was intriguing.) I can report that Ehrhoff seems super sweet, and a little shy, and he’s cute as a bug’s ear. Really. I wanted to pinch his dimpled cheeks.

The thing I determined right away in the limo was that I had NO desire to try to pepper these guys with a lot of questions for the blog. I write like a fan, and I wanted to experience the day like a fan. Plus, it was quickly apparent that while they would of course dutifully answer any questions I had, they probably weren’t super eager to give me lots of hilarious footage of themselves being goofy and effing around. These guys were mega, MEGA good-natured, kind, and agreeable, but, they were also at work. This realization was sort of awesome, because I relieved myself of my “media” duties, and I decided to just go with the flow. I took one posed pictured of them in the limo, and then I put away the phone.

I can highly recommend driving around in a car with Sabres. All sorts of hilarious and interesting things happen:

– At one point I asked the guys if they’d ever played together before, and John Sinclair immediately said, “The better question is have they ever played against each other?” This led to them reminiscing about a game they’d played versus each other in the AHL where the Amerks definitively beat Ehrhoff’s team. (I want to say they mentioned it was in Cleveland. Does that make sense with Ehrhoff’s history?) It was really interesting to me how they both seemed to remember the game very specifically, right away. Ehrhoff laughed and said, “I think I was a minus 5 that game.” Heh.

– They were both kind of grumpy about having to wear their jerseys, which makes sense when you think about it, but surprised me to realize. When I commented on this, Vanek said, “Yeah, but I’m REALLY glad to be back to this,” and then he grabbed the circle emblem on his jersey with both hands and lifted it up off his chest. “I did not like the slug.” Then he said something about how he always really liked the original Sabres logo as a kid. This, of course, warmed the cockles of my heart. Then Ehrhoff said, “The third jerseys are nice too.” Vanek seemed to agree that those jerseys were sharp, but he didn’t have a strong opinion about the quilting on the numbers, which I confessed I don’t like.  Hearing players discuss jerseys the same way fans do was a hoot.

– All three of our stops were corporate sponsors instead of individual houses. It was SUPER fun to see people react (some of the receptionists’ confusion was kind of priceless, actually), but it didn’t quite pack the emotional wallop that I imagine you’d get out of delivering tickets to a longtime season ticket holder’s house. When I commented on this to the guys in the limo I said, “I think we should find some little kids for you guys to interact with!” And Vanek joked, “Why? Is this not blog worthy?” I thought it was super funny that he had “blog worthy” on the tip of his tongue. I assured him that, “Oh no. Don’t you worry. This is definitely blog worthy.”

– The deliveries ranged from “totally great” to “A FREAKING HOOT”. We stopped at three offices. Ingram Micro, Great Batch, and LoVullo. All three stops were very fun, and it really was interesting to watch people light up when they saw the Sabres. On a personal note, it was also funny to realize that I probably looked like I was a part of their normal entourage. I found myself in various office lobbies wanting to yell, “I don’t belong in the limo with these guys! I’m not one of them! This is a TOTALLY weird day for me! I’m just like you people! CAN YOU BELIEVE I’M DRIVING AROUND WITH SABRES ALL DAY?!” But I didn’t.

These metal boxes were a source of much jealousy and longing for me today. The suite tickets come in these boxes, but I assure you, the regular seats DO NOT. I totally, totally want my tickets to come in one of those boxes. At one of the stops, Vanek held one up and said, "This WOULD make a good change holder..." and I was all, "I KNOW." Here, Christian Ehrhoff dutifully holds up the box when I tell him, "Make sure the box is really visible."

– One of the highlights of the day from the “HAHAHAHAHAHA! Category” was Vanek bitching about a $1500 phone bill he got after a Canadian roadtrip even though he TRIED to get the Canadian data plan. I’m not sure why it amused me so much to hear a highly paid athlete grumbling about a bill (and it’s not like $1500 is small potatoes, even when you’re rich), but it did. When he was telling the story of the fiasco, he turned to me and said, “I bought a Canadian data plan ahead of time that included [some number of data bytes which I don’t remember because both the number and the unit of measurement are meaningless to me], but I don’t even know what that number means… do you know what that means?” I was all, “Hell if I know what that means, Thomas Vanek.” So he continued, “And so, when I went in to complain about the bill, the guy in the store told me that my data plan was big enough to cover me visiting, like, five websites. I’d only bought enough for ten minutes on the internet.” And this is when I started to inwardly laugh and laugh and laugh. It tickles me to no end that this bothers him enough to tell this story months later. Also, for the record, Thomas Vanek does not take kindly to airline baggage fees.

– I found it very difficult to address them by their first names, but calling them by their last names seemed weird too. I eventually coaxed a few “Thomas”es and “Christian”s out of myself, but it was hard. I have no idea why calling someone by their first name would feel so awkward, but it did.

– At the last stop, LoVullo, the bosses there had clearly given the employees the green light to come on down and pose for pictures. The Sabres were extremely good-natured about this, so much so that LoVullo is where I fell in love with them just a tiny bit. They probably took pictures with at least a hundred people, posing in groups of 5 or 6. The reason it was so charming is that they shook hands and introduced themselves to every single person. This is the one part of the day that I REALLY wish I’d thought to record on video, because for about fifteen minutes you just heard, “Hi, I’m Christian” “Hi, I’m Thomas.” “Hi, I’m Christian.” “Hi, I’m Thomas.” “Hi, I’m Christian.” “Hi, I’m Thomas.” “Hi, I’m Christian.” Over and over and over again. It was incredibly endearing. There’s just something very sweet and unassuming about introducing yourself to people who are lining up to get your picture. This was truly the highlight of the day for me.

"Hi, I'm Christian." "Hi, I'm Thomas." "Hi, I'm Christian." "Hi, I'm Thomas." "Hi, I'm Christian." "Hi, I'm Thomas." "Hi, I'm Christian." "Hi, I'm Thomas." "Hi, I'm Christian." "Hi, I'm Thomas." "Hi, I'm Christian." "Hi, I'm Thomas." "Hi, I'm Christian." "Hi, I'm Thomas." "Hi, I'm Christian." "Hi, I'm Thomas." "Hi, I'm Christian." "Hi, I'm Thomas." "Hi, I'm Christian." "Hi, I'm Thomas." "Hi, I'm Christian." "Hi, I'm Thomas." "Hi, I'm Christian." "Hi, I'm Thomas." "Hi, I'm Christian." "Hi, I'm Thomas."

-After the last stop, they both IMMEDIATELY removed their jerseys, and then they BOTH folded them up into tidy rectangles. I’m not sure what was going on with that (maybe some sort of tidiness-peer-pressure?), but it was cute.

______

I’m sure I’ll keep remembering little things from the day, and when I do, I’ll post about them here. Maybe we should just consider this, “Sabres Ticket Delivery Day: Part One.”

For now, I’ll just end this post by saying, again, thanks SO MUCH to Sabres.com for having me today. This was really, truly a wonderful experience. Another thanks to Carl the limo driver for his masterful limo-driving-skillz, and John Sinclair, who was a super fun guide for the afternoon. And of course, a million thanks to Thomas Vanek and Christian Ehrhoff who were both incredibly generous, kind, and engaging with me today. We are lucky to have them both in Buffalo.

Meet Matt Phillips, Super Violist.

I’ve known Matt Phillips, a violist in the Buffalo Philharmonic, for about ten years now. For the first five years I knew him, he was basically just an ordinary violist like the rest of us. Matt was certainly never visibly out of shape, it’s just that he was no more or less athletic than your average classical musician.

At some point along the way, things changed. At some point, Matt started jogging. I say “at some point” because from my perspective, one day Matt was just a regular, non-runner like most people, and the next day he was… running marathons. It seriously seemed like it happened overnight. Even now, if you ask Matt, “So, let me get this straight. One day, out of the blue, you just started running extremely long distances?” he’s just like, “Yeah, pretty much.”

Matt is obviously really good at running. He’s also really good at the viola. He seems to be some new breed. A “Super Violist”, if you will.

First he will try to defeat you by playing the viola, and if somehow that doesn't work, he will beat you in a foot race. Enemies, beware.

Now whenever Matt takes a day off from work we all assume that he’s running a race somewhere. When he returns to work he’s always extremely nonchalant about whatever ridiculous feat of strength he’s accomplished.  I don’t know much about racing, but Matt always seems to place very high, and sometimes he even wins the race. (My favorite story of Matt winning a race is when he won the Erie Philharmonic’s 5k. Orchestras are very supportive of one another, because as an industry there is absolutely no benefit to being competitive. That said, it’s still amusing when someone in one orchestra wins the 5K of another orchestra.)

Why am I writing about this on my hockey blog? I’m glad you asked!

Yesterday, Matt ran in the “Hamburg Character Chase”. If I’m reading the race results correctly, he placed 5th overall, and 1st in his age group. That’s some pretty good running, Matt!

Here are the results. I’ve blocked out most of the other names because I don’t know if it’s kosher to re-post race results, but please scroll down for an amusing surprise.

It’s official. The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra has defeated the Buffalo Sabres on the field of athletics. When the Sabres feel they are ready to challenge us to a Battle of the Orchestras, we will be ready to defend our turf.  For now… advantage, BPO.

Your move, Sabres.

 

 

You Say Goodbye, And I Say Hello.

Okay, the initial burst of free agency is over, and while we’re all still holding our breaths for the magical all-our-bad-players-in-exchange-for-Malkin trade of our dreams, it’s time to take stock of the current situation. Who’s in and who’s out?

______

OUT: Mark Mancari

Mark Mancari, I absolutely refused to give up on you, and I’m sad you’ve moved on.  I’ll miss you… not so much your playing (which always seemed super fabulous to me, actually), but definitely your tall swarthiness.  Good luck in Vancouver, and don’t party too hard at the Roxy.

Mark Mancari

Now the Sabres don't have a player who looks like he might moonlight as a pirate. :(

_______

IN: Robyn Regehr

I’m totally, totally psyched that we’re going to have a stay-at-home, punchy defenseman named “Robyn” on the Sabres.  Thanks for waiving your no trade clause, Robyn. Please let me apologize in advance for your new nickname, which is “Sloth”. Yes, you do remind me a teensy-tiny bit of that guy from the Goonies, but I assure you, “Sloth” is a term of affection at my house.  There is no one I’d rather have on my side in case of a Mama Fratelli-related emergency than you, Robyn. Welcome to the team!

"Baby Ruuu-th?"

______

OUT: Rob Niedermayer

Dude Nieds, I finally learned how to spell your name, and then you had to go and move to Switzerland.

Well, thanks for that one goal you scored that one time! (No, but seriously, thanks for getting waaaay better in the playoffs. That was awesome. Hopefully some of these scrubs learned a thing or two from you.)

He's the best looking of all the Niedermayers!

______

IN: Ales Kotalik

Wait….what?

Um...okaaaay.

______

OUT: Steve Montador

This one stings a bit. There are just some guys you like, and Steve Montador is one of those guys. I wanted him to stay, and I feel a little bit like Monty got the shaft. I mean, he was totally a part of the Sabres bridge from suckiness to not-so-suckiness, and it doesn’t feel fair that he got the heave-ho. On the other hand he signed a FAT contract in Chicago, so I think he’ll survive without us just fine. (I fully expect for Monty to start showing up in the background of all the, “Patrick Kane Is On Another Bender” articles on Deadspin. As the designated driver, or course.) Good luck, Monty. Thanks for being all-around awesome, and also for wearing that CHIPS outfit at the Catwalk for Charity.

Shaone Morrisonn and Steve Montador

Nice

IN: Ville Leino

Ville Leino, I have a good feeling about this signing, but man, Darcy took a big chance on you. I know that when Darcy said, “I’d like to offer you $27 million dollars, but only if you like playing center,” the only sane response was, “I don’t like playing center, I LOVE playing center,” but, you better be good at playing center. Seriously.

I don’t really know how to tell you this, but you’re sort of the new Vanek in that we-can’t-afford-anyone-else-because-we-gave-all-our-money-to-you sort of way.

Uh, no pressure or anything though.

This expression bodes well.

OUT: Tim Connolly

Bye, Timmeh. Thanks for… everything. I wish things had ended differently, I really do. Mostly I wish you’d gone to, like, the Panthers or some team like that, so I could safely say “good luck,” but now you’re a disgusting Leaf, so you’ve left me no choice but to say, “I hope you never win again.”

Timmm-mehhh

IN: Christian Ehrhoff

This is the contract that really signaled that this is a new era of Sabres hockey. This contract completely blew my mind. Ehrhoff’s contract is mega-cap-circumvent-y and it (theoretically) extends until the end of time.The assumption is that eventually they’ll just buy him out, but still. It completely rocks my world-view that of all the current Sabres, Ehrhoff is the one slated to be around for the longest. In ten years I’ll be forty-five years old which is impossibly old. Surely I’ll be dead by then, right?

Get used to this face, because we’re going to have hoverboards before his contract is up again.

OUT: Chris Butler

There is NOTHING not to love about Chris Butler. I’ll miss you, Butts. Have fun in Calgary, and thanks for being such a good Sabre. I’m sorry I don’t have much to say about you, but this post is going on forever, and I’m really getting tired of writing it. The good thing about you is that I doubt you’ll mind. You seem like such a good sport about this sort of thing.


Good old Butts.

______

So, that’s where we stand. We’ve said our goodbyes, and we’ve welcomed the newcomers. I, for one, am ready for the new season to begin!

It’s Called Cap Circumvention, Beeyotchs.

As Sabres fans we have no frame of reference for this, but Darcy just gave some dude named Christian Ehrhoff forty million dollars in the form of a ten-year contract. The deal is structured all wonky-like, and Ehrhoff gets something like 45% of the total contract in the first two years.

I know almost nothing about Ehrhoff. I know he’s German, and I know he used to play for the Canucks and the Sharks, and I know he’s an offensive-defensman.  I hope he’s good, because he’s (supposedly) going to be a Sabre for the next ten years.

But (and this might just be the three beers I drank with dinner talking), I do not care about ANY of that.

I just canNOT believe that the Sabres are all of a sudden a team that is throwing around money like we just don’t care. WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED HERE? Terry Pegula is like some sort of hilarious DREAM. This is exactly the kind of contract that Darcy would’ve bitched and whined about last year. This is the kind of contract that I neeeevvvver thought I’d see the Sabres signing. This is a Flyers contract, not a Sabres contract. This contract is blatantly unfair to the teams operating on a tight budget, AND I LOVE IT.

Cap circumvention used to make me angry, but now it makes me smile.

Frankly, I don’t give a rip if Ehrhoff is “worth it”. It’s not my money, and thanks to Darcy’s shifty negotiating skillz, the contract is preposterously front loaded and hilariously cap-circumvent-y. If this doesn’t work out, Pegula will either buy out the contract or it will be drastically altered by the new CBA in a few years. Either way, HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! We got a reasonably good defenseman in a weak UFA year for only $4 million against the cap! WOOOOO!

And free agency hasn’t even started.

Shit just got real, yo. REAL AWESOME.


…A Blog About the Buffalo Sabres

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