16.9.11

Glasscast #5: Quick Summer Recap.

Oh hi, I'm back again! Here's my most recent podcast talking a little about the changes that took place this summer with the Sabres.

19.6.11

The Evolution of Thomas Vanek.

Some of you may already know this but I now write for BuffaloWins.com and I just published my first post there. Here's a link if you would like to read it.
Link
The Evolution of Thomas Vanek

31.5.11

Winnipeg gets their team back.

It was officially announced today that the Atlanta Thrashers were moving to Winnipeg to give them back another NHL team for a second shot. This also made the count of Canadian teams go up to seven. It's a great day for Winnipeggers but an extremely sad one for the Thrashers fans who made an effort to try and save their beloved team down south. It's really a shame that the NHL wasn't able to do more for them. Personally, I have family members who live down in Georgia and while they were Sabres fans, they were also Thrashers fans. My uncle and I especially spoke about what was going on with the Thrashers and having an NHL team in town meant he could see the Sabres twice a year. Now that is no longer the case.

It's amazing how these events unfolded so quickly. Only about two weeks ago was it mentioned that Atlanta could possibly move up to Winnipeg. Phoenix had been in a ton of danger for maybe three years prior to that and when they were told they would stay in Phoenix for another year, the NHL looked elsewhere. I had a feeling in my gut that the Thrashers or Panthers should be moved over the Coyotes to Winnipeg, mainly because I thought moving them back to where they have previously been was just stupid. I'm sure it would have been an entirely awesome experience for Shane Doan though. Regardless, this deal going down in only about two weeks was really crazy and you have to wonder how Gary Bettman feels about all of this. I'm sure Winnipeggers don't care in the slightest, they're just glad that they have a team back.

The thing that confuses me the most is this unnamed Winnipeg team playing in the Southeast division for next season only so that they can get used to the change. Considering that they are more North than the Wild and they're playing for the East is strange to me. I'm sort of looking forward to seeing them twice next year but I just wonder how much those ticket prices are going to be. Also, which team from the West will make a move to the East? Columbus, Nashville, and Detroit are up for talks. I would personally love to see Nashville in the East to create a bit more competition. I don't like Detroit but Columbus' time zone is Eastern. It would be easier to add that onto the Eastern Conference. I guess that will be all decided within the next coming season.

Congratulations again on this, Winnipeg fans. Also, congratulations to Canada on their seventh team. You finally got it.

10.5.11

National teams that struggle - they can only blame themselves.

With the recent departure of Team Austria in the A-Division of the World Championships, it got me thinking about an article that I had read which was posted on the IIHF website prior to them being ousted. It was a little snippet into the life of head coach of the national team, Bill Gilligan, which had the wheels in my head going.

Within some European countries who do not develop many NHL players (like Austria and Slovenia for examples), they do not have many rinks or hockey programs because hockey is not the number one sport of even close to that. If you look at who has come out of Austria such as Vanek, Grabner, and Nodl – all three of them came over to North America at a young age to reach their dream of making the NHL. Do you think at this day and age; the young kids in Austria with a lack of guidance and proper hockey experience will get them to the NHL by staying in their country? Probably not.

Vanek came here when he was 14 to play in the ECHL and then played for the Gophers. Grabner came and played for the Spokane Chiefs in the WHL and was quite the star there. Then Nodl pretty much took the same route Vanek did and played for the same team he had in the ECHL. I did some research to see if Anze Kopitar had developed within Slovenia but then learned that at either 16 or 17, he left to play in Sweden. He had been told he would not have a chance in the NHL unless he ‘left the country’.

There’s probably major concern for this; seeing as if Austria, Slovenia, and some other countries could perhaps get more hockey schools, they would develop a lot more players within the country. The kids are becoming more interested in the sport thanks to the guys mentioned above but they’re only being motivated to leave the country when they get to be older. I would personally love to see Austria get plenty of rinks and schools to help kids there. I think they could be a hockey powerhouse if they tried.

Vanek actually made comments on the current situation with how the national team is run in Austria:

Now let’s talk about the Austrian squad. I’ve read Matthias Trattnig’s interview with Laola1 today and have to completely agree with his criticism. I am and always have been proud to play for Austria, the state of things in the national hockey federation just makes it hard to do so. You feel like at a summer hockey-camp when you join the national squad not like in a professional team. While it’s an important factor it’s not only to do with getting food and water but with other basics like wearing the same uniform already in practice. Other “small” hockey-countries like Italy and Norway warm up in the same tee-shirts. We do the warm-up completely mixed up. Matthias is wearing a Red Bull-shirt, Bernd Br├╝ckler a Russian shirt from his club and I warm up in a Buffalo-shirt.

Of course, that’s not all. What’s really bad is the fact that there’s just not enough staff. We have just on physical therapist and one equipment manager – by far not enough for a national squad, especially at times like a world championship where you play every other day. 15 or more guys would need a massage after a game, but there’s only time for like 3 or 4 to get one. The equipment manager is also overstrained with so much work in so little time.

The players are supposed to be professionals. True, but the same should be said about Hockey Austria. We want to come and play well, but, as I said above, the officials don’t always make it easy for us.

It’s hard to say for us why that is so. We as players don’t have any insight into the finances of the hockey federation. We have no idea if all the money is getting to where it should really end up. But I think it’s alarming that similar hockey nations like Italy and Norway can do so much better than we. We’ve talked to Hockey Austria manager Giuseppe Mion and president Dieter Kalt sen. last year but nothing much has changed.

It’s interesting to see his thoughts on everything and how truly upset he seems to be over how unprofessional the national team is. It makes me wonder if he’s going to try and make a difference after his career is over.

If you’d like to read the article I mentioned earlier, check it out here if you’re interested: Have Puck, Will Travel.

26.4.11

Ho hum.

What went wrong in this game?

To be honest, I have no idea. You can point the finger at a lot of the players on the Sabres squad and claim that they hadn’t stepped up in this game. You can look at the overall series and pick and choose at individual players; dissecting their stats. For instance, before Brad Boyes just scored in this game as I’m typing, he did not have any points at all in this series. In fact, he was the only player that played in every game (besides Miller) that did not have a point in this series. The acquisition was huge because we as Sabres fans did not expect anything like this so soon within the Pegula Era. He immediately had an impact in the New York Rangers game after the trade deadline and scored a huge goal. Throughout the rest of the regular season for the Sabres he would score a total of 14 points in 21 games. He has one more year with the Sabres so I’m hoping he shows up moreso during the regular season but we could have used his help during this entire series.

You can turn to look at the defensive play…Steve Montador, who was a +16 during the regular season, was a -1 during this series and was scratched in game seven. Chris Butler looked lost most nights and had ten minutes in penalties. If we compare Game 5 to Game 6 and also to Game 7, the defense was entirely non-existent on the ice. There was a reason Ryan had two shutouts during this season. The defense and Ryan himself had been spectacular. Injuries affected them, sure, but the defensive breakdowns were inexcusable. It’s something that will have to be looked at in the offseason.

Top six not showing up at crucial points, especially tonight’s game. If you read numerous quotes, the Sabres claimed they were ready for this game. They didn’t show up until the third period. The Flyers poured on the offensive power like they know best and proved why they are the better team. Maybe not the most respectful team out of the two, but the better one, and unfortunately that’s what counts in the playoffs. The Sabres just couldn’t match up to the adversity in the most important game when they needed it the most.

The thing that will be stuck in my head this summer is Game 6, at home. Crucial point where you could’ve wrapped things up. The Sabres were up 3-1 and then the Flyers ended up coming back from that deficit and won in overtime. I’ll be honest and say that after that loss, I lost a little faith in the team if only because they would come back to a loud building – I was right. Maybe it was my lack of faith that caused me to lose, or perhaps it wasn’t. We won’t know what the Sabres could have done to the Caps if they have moved on in this series. Now we’re left to wonder what could have been for another season. Locker clean out will come and go, then the long offseason. I think it’s going to be an exciting one, Sabres fans. Terry’s first as the owner and we’ll see what he can do. Let’s hope it instills some newfound hope into this organization that goes on for the entire season.

Let’s go, Buffalo.

13.4.11

Two Headed Monster: Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider.

The goaltending duo in Vancouver was awarded with the Williams M. Jennings Trophy to have the fewest goals scored against between the both of them. The Canucks also won the President's Trophy this year and I don't think it was any accident. The team has played just as such - a team. There have been contributions from every line, the defense has been figuring into the scoring and even though there were plenty of injuries to have happened during the season, the team played well. It helps that both Schneider and Luongo had nearly an even number of games to play so that not one goaltender was hit by fatigue. It makes you wonder if this is the key to success for a hockey team.

Now not every goaltending duo is on it's game like these two are. Not every year are you going to find a lot of teams that can play both goalies every night and have much success. The thing is, many backups tend to play better as they play more often. Let's use Patrick Lalime as the case in point. When he went down to condition in Portland last season, he came back up and won a stellar game versus Chicago. He went on to win a few more last season. When Lindy played him more frequently, he became better as time went on. Only a few goaltenders are still excellent when they sit for a long time. Nearly every other game, Schneider and Luongo switched roles to lead the team to an impressive 54-19-9 record. I really think that Canucks have a great chance to take it all this year, and I would see the even time between the two goalies to be a huge factor in that. When they're both on their game, they are on. The only case where I would hope they're not is if the Sabres make it to the Stanley Cup Finals along with the Canucks - then I hope both goaltenders are fatigued.

The hunt starts tonight as the Canucks take on the Blackhawks with a 10 PM ET puckdrop. I'm hoping the result this year is different from the past two seasons. Go Canucks, go!

11.4.11

Columbus Shenanigans.

It's nice to have slept in my own bed last night but this weekend seemed unreal. A huge win by the Sabres on Friday along with clinching a playoff spot made the trip to Columbus that much more exciting since we didn't have to be nervous about maybe not making the playoffs. Tamara and I left early Saturday morning for Ohio and arrived in the early afternoon. I have never seen so many things on the highway closed for renovations. At least it wasn't like when Denny's was closed when we were heading for Ottawa last season...

We arrived at Nationwide Arena pretty early and could already see about 40+ Sabres fans across the street at a local restaurant. There were jeers at Columbus fans of course, and one fan replied back that we could 'go back to the empty arena'. I replied to him that he should come up for a game and then see how empty it is.

The Rivet jerseys were worn for this game and we received several snide remarks from Sabres fans. Tamara and I never had this problem at home but considering we seemed to be the only Sabres fans in attendance who were wearing any sort of Rivet jersey, we were being heckled. It's about the logo on the front, not the name on the back. Of course, after his little scuffle with Tyler Ennis we took the jerseys off. I had my Vanek shirt underneath, it was all good.

Now the Columbus fans...I admire their dedication but yelling at Sabres fans that we're going to get out of the first round and saying 'let's go, Flyers!' is...well. I guess since they had nothing else going for them, they had to say that. There was an old lady one row in front of us a little ways down that was pointing and yelling at me, saying we were going to lose the 'first game'. First sweetie, a playoff series is a ROUND. Secondly, I know some badass elderly women in Buffalo who could kick your ass so sit down. Seriously, Ottawa and Montreal was fine regarding opposing fans. Columbus was brutal. Coming from a team who was only in the playoffs once during their ten years as an NHL team, they think they have a lot of firing ammunition against other team's fans. Please get out of here. It was nice to see the Sabres win their first game at Nationwide, though.

The Philadelphia/Buffalo series is bound to be a good one if Friday night's game is any indication. A lot of aggressiveness and goal-scoring I'm sure. I can see the Sabres winning this round because of their playoff surge, let's just hope I'm right.

8.4.11

The Hardware.

The Vancouver Canucks gave out some team awards last night in their 5-0 win over the Minnesota Wild and watching it reminded me the Sabres are doing the same thing this evening before the game. Within an otherwise very important night (the Sabres can clinch with at least one point), there's some fun to be had this evening too. For instance, at least 80 members of the Sabres Alumni are attending the Red Carpet Event to sign things for fans. The fact that a ton of them haven't been back to this city in a long while makes this all the more special.

I was thinking to myself about who might win what awards and I figured it would be fun to try and guess. Let's see what the awards are first:

  • 2010-2011 MVP of the Year
  • Rookie of the Year
  • Hardest Working Player
My choice for MVP of the Year goes to...

Drew Stafford.

I called it in the beginning of the season that he might get more than 35 goals (he currently has 30, I'm close). This was the first time in his career he's hit the mark. Drew has come a long way since his rookie season and perhaps he finally has become the player we wanted him to be his sophomore year. He's helped a lot in killing hopes and dreams (preferably Boston) and I believe that he has been one of the highlights of this season. I say he gets this award.
  • Runner Ups: Jhonas Enroth, Thomas Vanek, Nathan Gerbe.
My choice for Rookie of the Year goes to...

Tyler Ennis.

He's 5th on the team with 48 points and is one goal shy of the 20-goal mark. A lot of people were doubting him near the middle of the season because of work ethic and his size, but I think that he's coming into his own just fine. I'm excited to see what he has in store for the playoffs again.
  • Runner Ups: Nathan Gerbe, Jhonas Enroth.
My choice for Hardest Working Player goes to...

Thomas Vanek.

He's grown up. He had the A sewn onto that sweater and he's become an immediate presence in the locker room and on the ice during games. You're looking at your (possible) future Captain of the Buffalo Sabres. He has worked on all areas of his game. His assist total is higher than goals for the first time in his career. You can see him mature throughout each and every game. Bank on this one.
  • Runner Ups: Drew Stafford, Nathan Gerbe, Derek Roy.
Again, the most important thing tonight is getting at least a point so we can clinch. It'll be comforting to go to the Columbus game tomorrow already knowing we're going to the playoffs. Let's hope the boys make tonight more fun with a win. Go Sabres.

4.4.11

Expectations.

In 2003, Thomas Vanek was the 5th overall pick for the Buffalo Sabres. He was already deemed as 'a natural goal scorer' but many scouts considered him to be lazy on some nights. Regardless of this being the European stereotype or it being the typical terminology used with some college players, the Sabres still took him and expected huge things from him. He had a pretty good rookie season with the exception of the playoffs where he was scratched for the Eastern Conference Finals against Carolina. As we all know, he came back the next season with 43 goals, a +47, and an impending 7-year, $50 million contract in the summer.

Ever since that contract most of us have expected a lot of Vanek. We expect more than fifty goals a season, we expect him to be on the scoresheet every night, we expect him to play in every situation. Expectations go a long way with this guy. Jeremy White Tweeted the other night that he will remember this season as the year most Sabres fans finally embraced Vanek and what he's become in the past few years - except for those who still claim he's lazy and wish we had gotten the draft picks instead in the summer of '07.

Here's the problem with Vanek: it's the kind of person he is. This reflects on how he plays, the decisions he makes. It's no secret that Vanek has been my favorite player since 2006 so I've been watching him particularly close over any other player on this team which I believe causes me to over analyze on the type of person he is. I think I've only heard him throw someone under the bus in two of his interviews out of them ALL, while also throwing himself under the bus. He consistently puts himself down over and over again, even about plays he wasn't involved in. It's to the point where it's ridiculous.

He wants to work in all areas of his game which is what Lindy has wanted to do for so long, but there are Sabres fans who just want Vanek to be 'the goal scorer'. Nothing else. They don't expect more assist than goals (in fact, they abhor it). If he isn't right on a guy's ass on a backcheck, he's lazy. If he's coasting near the blueline to try and score on a breakaway, he's lazy. I always wonder if the Vanek haters have colored glasses on that block out all the positive aspects about him or what. I know I am biased but I think even if I hated the guy, I could see that he has changed quite a bit from the 22-year old who was stuck sitting in the pressbox; knowing he had to change something about his work ethic and self to be better in the fall of 2006.

This is the guy who stayed calm and collected after the Washington game to say that the game last night was more important - and they won. You have to wonder if he said anything in the lockerroom to get the guys going or if they already knew it by the look in his eyes. The faint outline of a 'C' should be stitched in Vanek's jersey in a light, gold color. Whether you guys like it or not, he has indeed grown up. You should, too.

27.3.11

Birthday Shenanigans.

LindyRuffsTie on Twitter last night decided that for Terry Pegula's birthday, a bunch of Sabres would go to the arena to sing happy birthday. Now all of us figured Terry wouldn't be there but the thought of it was still cool. Tamara and I had went and there were maybe about fifteen to twenty people present at the event. Tamara even mentioned to me when we were leaving that the sort of power Twitter has on the media and everyone else goes a long way. I think everyone at this thing was on Twitter. Scott has a picture and a nice writeup on what went down today so I hope everyone goes to check that out. Everyone should also keep an eye out on WIVB, WGRZ and YNN to see clips and interviews from today. Being a Sabres fan in this day and age are exciting times. I really wish more people had came but hey, if you think that we're taking the love too far...than you are welcome to continue being a party pooper. Myself, I'm just going to enjoy this time with being a Sabres fan.

Terry was also shown clips of it by his daughter Jessie so I consider this to be a successful event. I really hope we can do some more crazy stuff. Maybe if the Sabres win the Cup...but until then, my fellow fans. Go Sabres.

23.3.11

The Little Train That Could: Sabres Win 2-0.

Nathan Gerbe is a man on a mission these past few weeks. He scored both goals yesterday as the Sabres shutout the Habs, 2-0. His first goal had been a beautiful tip-in by a Tyler Myers shot. The second goal was all hard work as he dove to get the puck out of the zone, then won a battle versus a Habs player to ultimately shoot it into the empty net at the other end. A lot of Sabres fans have been getting on his case that he's too small and tries to act like he's a tougher player even though he tends to lose some battles no thanks to his size. Tyler Ennis is the same way but both of these guys have shown a lot of heart for the Sabres in the past few games. The two smallest players are certainly getting a lot done for the team, in a good way.

You can't say that the stellar play of Ryan Miller had nothing to do with this. He stood tall and made about three HUGE saves from what I remember. He kept the fort secure during the last minutes of play and it didn't turn into another Nashville fiasco even though the Sabres were pinned in their zone for a long time at the end of the second period. I personally thought Montreal would tie it up at some point but Miller stopped that from happening. Carey Price was great as well, and I can see why he is a candidate for the Vezina this season. Minus the almost goal he gave up, but he appeared calm and collected during that ordeal. Harry Neale mentioned Price tends to 'daydream' when he does moves like that. He clearly wasn't thinking when he gave the puck away. Good thing the Sabres sometimes forget they have an offense!

The next time the boys play is on Friday and I'll be missing it because of work. Florida isn't really a threat to us for a playoff spot but I hope that we won't treat them as a lowly team. Those always come back to bite us...

21.3.11

Crowd Control: Taking the trash out of games.

This is going to simply be a post about respect in arenas. After witnessing some really stupid antics last night, it got the wheels in my head turning and I wondered really how often this happens. More than likely a lot more than it should.

Last night at the Sabres/Predators game, there were four people sitting in our section that were pretending to be Predators fans. Now at first I thought one girl was truly a fan, until I saw her shirt ripped to shreds - as if she were thinking about attending a strip club after the game was over - with it saying on the back 'Buffalo Sucks'. Classing it up. It turns out the four of them were from the tri-county area since as we were leaving the game, three of the four people were fans of the different teams in that location. Now not only are they giving Predators fans a bad name, but their own team's name as well. It was an absolute joke. It's different if you're jokingly jabbing at fans of the other team but yelling at them and making asinine comments should not be allowed when visiting an away arena.

It all goes back to the World Juniors from this past December. Several Sabres portraits were pushed in and/or broken from fans. I don't care if you were American, Canadian or even Swedish - you do not DO that in an opposing arena. Respect it as if it's your own. No one can prove exactly who had done all that damage and it doesn't really matter. Sporting events are meant to be good times, not times where you ridicule other fans or just wreak havoc on an arena that you've never been to.

I have been to three away arenas in the past few years and I treated everyone with respect. I wanted to see this girl, hooting and hollering about the Predators to go to Montreal and yell how much their players suck. Then we would see who would survive.

My general point is, again, respect for the arena and the opposing fans. I don't care if you crack jokes but threatening another person's life or acting like an idiot gives someone the right to kick you out. There are so many joke fans in this league, it's ridiculous. Yes, this goes for you too Sabre fans.

11.3.11

The Invigorated HSBC Arena.

That carpet cost $20,000.

You cannot say enough about Terry's idea to change how the arena looks and other things that have to do with the Sabres as a team. That carpet adds a lot more to the character of the team than you can imagine. The locker room was incredibly bland before that carpet was placed there. It's the symbol of the team and it wasn't shown enough in that locker room. It was definitely a great investment by Terry to have it furnished in there.

Some other things that will be changing:
-The 'slug' logo will soon disappear from the arena all together. The logos on the Jumbotron will be gone over the summer.
-A new pregame show for the Sabres will be starting before the game on March 19th. It will be a half hour long.
-Dominik Hasek is making an appearance at the beginning of the game that takes place against the Atlanta Thrashers. I think it's known to all of us that his jersey number will more than likely be retired.
-Miscellaneous arena renovations will be performed as well over the summer.

I would be lying if I said I wasn't absolutely ecstatic for these changes. I'm attending the game on Sunday and I already want to see if there's any changes that the fans can see. The pregame show is something I've been wanting for awhile and I'm already wondering if it will include segments of seeing the Sabres actually having personalities. Sort of like BHTV (Blackhawks TV), where they have a show every once and awhile and it has funny segments with the players. If we can't have Drew Stafford on Twitter, then I will accept this as an alternative.

My biggest hope is that these changes will bring a new atmosphere to every Sabres game. The fans really haven't been into the games for the past few years; even when the team is doing well. My favorite thing about attending games was the people. I hope this shoots some immense excitement into everyone.

As a personal side note not relating to hockey at all, please pray or those affected by the earthquake and tsunami. The world has been literally turning upside down and we need to stand united. Take a moment and count your blessings. Don't take anything for granted. Live your life.

6.3.11

Huge Win In Minny, postgame 3-6-11.

I didn't see any of the game yesterday but of course, I missed a good one. That's why I didn't have a recap of that. I'm pretty sure I would've died by the time it was over anyways.

Tonight, I was able to sit and watch tonight's game that took place between the boys in blue and gold and the Minnesota Wild. There was a beautiful tic-tac-toe play between Vanek, Pominville, and Montador that led to Jason getting his 17th goal of the season. If you haven't seen the highlights then I suggest that you do for that goal. The second Sabre to score? Rob Niedermayer. I shit you not! Rob Niedermayer does exist ladies and gentlemen, and he scored after a nice feed from Reggie. Before we know it, he'll have two on the season! Bank on it.

In all honesty, I was glad to see that he scored. It was getting ridiculous and now Sir Christopher is the last to score for this season. All is right within the world. Funny story with Rob scoring tonight...once I upload my photos from the Bandits game from last night against the Rochester Knighthawks, I will explain further. It's amusing to me, at least.

The pooper play continued to be just that - poop. The Wild had two great shorthanded chances that Jhonas easily kicked away. Speaking of the baby Swede, how confident is he looking now? I'm happy for him. I want Patty to play but at the same time, I'm glad that he is looking better and better in the net. I mean this game didn't go to a shootout SO this is clearly a sign of progress. You go, baby Swede.

The Sabres did squander another 2-0 lead though so that is sort of a dilemma. At least it was against a team that's in the other conference. Two points is huge for this team right now and with that, they moved into eighth. Hey Rangers - we're coming for you.

4.3.11

He does exist!


Tamara was doing some searching this morning to see if our beloved Rob Niedermayer has actually done something in his career, and here you go. He scored in the Stanley Cup clinching game and actually did work in the playoffs. Let's hope that if the Sabres actually make it then he'll score big goals then. Maybe that's his plan all along! Not scoring at all during this season just so that he can explode with 50 goals in the playoffs. Yes, he will have multi-hat tricks in every game. Watch out for Niedermayer. He's coming for you.

3.3.11

Playing Like You Want It, Postgame 3-3-11.

It's too bad that this postgame is actually going to be the opposite of what my title says.

The Sabres came out playing well in the first and for the beginning part of the second. There were a lot of Sabres fans in the crowd and I'm sure it made the Sabres feel right at home. There were plenty of hits and some good, missed chances. For instance, Thomas had a great chance that he just missed to put in the net since it went behind Cam Ward and across the crease. There were huge saves at each end of the ice but the first period turned out scoreless. You go to the second period, and Steve Montador scores the first goal of the game. Then the Canes came right back on a horrible, defensive breakdown. Brad Boyes managed to get his second in as many games as a Sabre to make it 2-1 again and then - you guessed it! - the Canes came back after Ryan Miller mishandled the puck and got stuck spun around in his net and facing the other way. If you look at both of those goals, they were terrible reads by Miller himself but the defense gave him no help at all, either. I just wonder how Ryan reacted to this on the postgame...I never listen to the WGR postgame after away games but perhaps I should start to hear what the players have to say. I'm sure it wasn't at all pleasant.

The game unfortunately went to overtime and it wasn't even a minute in when McBain scored the game winner for the Hurricanes. The shot easily went through his pads (five hole) and into the net. People saw my Twitter reaction to that goal...let's just say, that damn five hole needs to stay closed, Ryan. Seriously.

I am significantly less angry than I was as soon as the game had ended just so I could write this blog post with some logic. I realize, you Miller apologists out there that Ryan has played 38 of the Sabres last 39 games. You know how crazy that is? I bet his body is fatigued. It isn't his fault that Lindy is making him play, but maybe he should step up and say 'hey, maybe this is taking a toll on my body. I believe that my backup can win a game or two for us.' ...Or he's a hockey player, and a lot of fans don't believe that they're human in the slightest.

The Leafs won tonight so they're one point behind us, while we are now two points behind the Rangers. Looks like it's time to catch the blue shirts if anything. Also, just read on Alex's Facebook status that Ryan had indeed admitted to playing the puck badly. You sir are starting to realize that you can indeed make mistakes. Hopefully your fans start to realize the same.

1.3.11

Boyes Boyes Boyes, postgame 3-1-11.

After the lack of exciting trades in the NHL yesterday (seriously, the Sabres had one of the biggest ones), the Sabres came to the Big Apple to scrounge two huge points against the Rangers. Carolina won their game against Florida so they are still two behind, but continue to have two games in hand on the Hurricanes. They play against them Thursday so this should be a good game we have in our sights. At least, I hope so. I'm going to assume that it'll be a pretty tight affair with a lot of hitting and chances. At the same time, I don't think a lot of scoring will happen. Both teams aren't going to want to give up much...there's much at stake for this game.

Brad Boyes scored his first as a Sabre tonight and I'm pretty excited. Yes, we've seen this happened with Steve Bernier when he came here and scored two goals in his debut. At the same time, Boyes has been productive even in St. Louis so I certainly hope that this isn't just a flash of something that won't exist in the future as well. He had a number of hits during the game and made some pretty good plays. I say that this was an excellent debut for him. Tim Connolly got an assist tonight so I think that him and Boyes together is a good combination.

So Thomas Vanek likes to scare people (not just with his intense sniffling action) and when he limped off the ice, I was mildly concerned that it was extremely bad. So I didn't see him come back because I was searching for some things in my basement with Tamara, then I came back up to see that - BOOM - number twenty-six was back out there and being a boss. He had a great backcheck on Dubinsky I think, and overall had another great game. I think that A does something to him. Whatever it is, I like it. Lindy says he shouldn't be out at all but he was still limping when he got off the ice. I can't imagine if it's painful or just uncomfortable but I admire him either way for deciding to play through it. I just hope it doesn't hinder his game too much.

I'm thinking about making a new blog that combines both the Sabres and Canucks since I rarely talk about my second favorite team here...I've been trying to come up with a name but I lack in creativity. Also, I would switch to Wordpress if anything. I just feel like a need a change to spark my ability to write more here. I use school as an excuse too frequently. I miss blogging, you guys.

5.2.11

Let's talk about LAX.

I attended my first professional lacrosse game at the Bandits home opener a few weeks ago and had the time of my life. It helps that the game went to overtime so it was even more exciting than it already was. Against a divisional rival, the Bandits played strong in front of the home crowd and they always say it's fun to play at home and I could see why! The fans have way more fun at Bandits games than they do Sabres games; probably because the Bandits are champions unlike the latter.

It took me no time at all to have a lot of the chants down and I immediately got into the game. Ironically, I chose Brett Bucktooth as my favorite player because it's an awesome last name, but then I found out he was number twenty-six. I laughed when I found out. It was coincidental, I swear. So of course, I decided I had to go to more games this season and we had gone last night to the game against the Minnesota Swarm. That's when I saw my first lacrosse fight.

I remember a time when hockey fights use to be that real and aggressive, so seeing something like this in person got me on my feet right away. There were about ten fights last night I think, and each one turned out to be pretty awesome. Seeing the players throw one another against the boards; you can tell that they almost hate one another. I thought that a whole brawl might bust out and I was kind of hoping for it, to be honest. I watch hockey fights in Sabres games now and some of them aren't that great because a lot of the punches miss. In the game last night, there were a lot of hits and the next game I go to, I'm going to want to come back for more. I don't know when that will be but I think I have officially become a Bandits fan.

I didn't watch any of the Sabres game last night except for their two goals, but I hope they can get the W tonight. The Leafs are going to be looking for something to pick themselves up tonight for obvious reasons but the Sabres do need this win with Carolina and Atlanta playing one another. Let's go, Buffalo.

Rest in peace, Brendan Burke.

4.2.11

The Pegula Era, Part Two.

On a continuation of yesterday’s post (it was late so I had to cut short since I had a quiz today and needed sleep), I’m continuing to dissect the press conference that made the sale of the Buffalo Sabres to Terry Pegula official. I spoke a lot about facts last night so instead, I think today I’ll write about some thoughts I had while listening in on the presser.

I took notice that Golisano had said Ryan Miller and Tyler ENNIS had won awards (the Vezina and Calder, respectively). He corrected himself shortly afterwards, but he seemed to be making a lot of mistakes during this press conference if you paid enough attention. I’m not saying that ‘oh, maybe he’s been away from the Sabres too long’ but I feel like he had enough time to prepare for this media onslaught so why do you sound so nervous, Tom? Maybe I’m just displeased at him screwing up that much of a height difference. Seriously. One guy is tall enough to be a hobbit, and the other is tall enough to be the Jolly Green Giant. It’s hard to screw that up.

On the shovel matter – I had absolutely NO idea that Larry Quinn possibly came up with the idea for that with the entire league. It makes me wonder how they got rid of all of the ice shavings in the first place before the ice crew was formed. Yeah, there was zamboni, but I’m sure that not all of the shavings were off the ice after a quick sweep of that. I’m sure skating on that is a major pain. Regardless, apparently he created the whole idea and should get a lot of praise for it. If he really did then great job, Larry Quinn. Thanks for not brainwashing us with the whole ‘ice girls’ thing. There’s no need for that, at least in this city. (Watch as all the men and/or independent ladies attack me for that last sentence.) There’s a place for cheerleaders but I don’t think that place is hockey…sorry.

Dan DiPofi wasn’t asked any questions this conference and considering I don’t know much about him, I can’t say anything on him. When Larry Quinn began to tell of his sendoff, I could hear a sincere remorse in leaving his position as a managing partner up for grabs. Now, I never really liked the guy because I believed he was what held Darcy back from a lot of things but at the same time, you could tell he cared about the team and community. He took a lot of the heat while Golisano was out of town as well so I give him an abundance of credit for that. It’ll be interesting to see how Larry’s departure will affect how this team does during the Trade Deadline (even though this year he’ll still be around at the time, it appears) and also during Free Agency.

A VERY interesting portion of the press conference was when the trade deadline was being discussed, and Larry mentioned there was a note given to Terry that there are certain players on this team that are untradeable – but the list is small, and they could not reveal who those players were. It makes you wonder who they want this team to be formed around. To be honest, I don’t think it’s the guys that people are most likely to think it is. Examples are Vanek and Miller. I believe that they’re tradable (not like anyone wants Vanek’s contract, but you never know) and it could be other guys; the ones who seem like they would make excellent tradebait but are also great leaders and are still developing. Oh look, I did just describe Vanek. My bad. Either way, it gives us things to think about as the trade deadline fast approaches.

I don’t know if I’m just very observant or what, but during the press conference, Tom Golisano talks about how Drury and Briere left Buffalo because they were offered contracts that paid significantly more money than they were willing to pay them. During this little tirade, either Larry or Dan (though I believe it was Larry) begins to cough abruptly. Here I am getting too analytical about facial expressions/body language but seriously – who thinks Larry is a little upset that no deal could’ve been made with those two? Briere and Drury were actually compared to Vanek and Roy by Golisano and I believe that’s a lopsided comparison. Briere and Drury are a few years older and more experienced. Also, Vanek and Roy were, at the time, on the third line when Briere and Drury were here. Totally different caliber level players. I just think the comparison is a little unfair and believing that Roy or Vanek were soon going to turn into one of them is ridiculous. This might be why Vanek’s capabilities as a sniper are being hindered back by Lindy but that’s a whole ‘nother rant I can get into. Which I won’t.

Anyone else thought it to be unprofessional that Tom still had his phone on during the presser? As soon as you heard it go off, I rolled my eyes. Turn that off when you’re giving an important press conference such as this one, or at least turn it on silent. That just pissed me off for reasons unknown, maybe it’s because I’m a Business student and slowly learning the ways of being a professional. Meanwhile as I type this, I’m slouching and awkwardly on my couch.

My favorite part of the whole presser though? The Mike Harrington/Tom Golisano faceoff. I was waiting for a microphone to smash into one of their heads; if I had been there, I would’ve grabbed some popcorn and made myself comfortable. Talk about putting a little drama into things. It figures that the owner would’ve put a lot of blame on the players and the coaching staff for missing the playoffs two years in a row but I think collectively as an organization, you have to feel like you did something wrong. Maybe that’s me but there is no ‘I’ in team and while there are 23 guys who play on this team every night, there are others involved. It isn’t just one person’s fault, everyone is to blame. Maybe Tom Golisano can think about that as he heads back to his little ranch in Florida and take care of his business there. Thanks for saving my team, Tom – in more ways than one.

A new era of the Sabres begins today as they take on the Penguins at 7 PM. I won’t be watching since I’ll be at the Bandits game tonight, but I hope that long break helped them prepare for this crucial run to try and make the playoffs. Operation: Pegasaurus is a go. Let’s go, Buffalo!

3.2.11

The Pegula Era, Part One.

I’ll admit it. This season, I have had no interest whatsoever with writing anything on my blog and it’s been bothersome to me. No matter how much I wanted to shell out some new material; nothing ever came to my mind. I began to question whether or not I just wanted to shut down the blog for good considering how school and work have kept me pre-occupied. Until now.

The impending sale of the Sabres is what has kept me on the edge of my seat as of late. Terry Pegula is a business man but he is also a hockey fan, which just makes this whole ‘buying the team’ greater than it already is. It’s what us Sabres fans have been wanting for a long time since it seems like Thomas Golisano has found other interests besides the Sabres. Not according to him though.

I spent about two and a half hours watching that one hour press conference because I was dilly dallying. I sat down with a piece of Post-It and took notes as if I were one of the media reporters sitting in front of that conference.

The first thing I noticed about Golisano in particular was how he approached this very businesslike and professionally. He brought about a lot of great points with his opening statement of the selling of the team and the purchase by Terry Pegula. It was mentioned that talks of purchasing the team were brought up before but they declined any offers, and then suddenly accepted them again because of personal reasons amongst the three managing owners (Golisano, Quinn, and DiPofi). Golisano said that he enjoyed most of his time being the owner of the Sabres, but there was one percent that he didn’t like. In my belief, I think that was not being able to win the Stanley Cup for all these years he’s been the owner. Someone brought up the Briere/Drury debacle as what might’ve been that one percent but I don’t think that’s it. In fact, Larry Quinn pretty much busted a blood vessel explaining to people that the whole thing was a two-way street and they could’ve signed the contracts they were offered. Instead, they decided to go a different route. I saw this as refreshing because I’m sick of the Briere/Drury thing being brought up over and over again. It happened nearly four years ago everyone needs to get over it.

I never knew that other NHL teams might have asked their communities for money to help out, so Golisano noting never asking for ‘public money’ kind of shocked me. I guess that in some cases (especially if your team is about to go bankrupt) you have to do whatever you can in order to keep the team in the area it was originated in. While he had done his part to keep the Sabres in town, he had then moved to Florida to take care of other matters. He claims he watched almost all of the games while he was in the Sunshine state and when he was up here, he attended all of them. Ironic considering ho most reports and other things showed him as being disinterested in the team; which is why many people thought he would sell it in the first place.
Another way to defend himself was saying how high the attendance had gotten for the Sabres. Currently, they are sixth in attendance from the Eastern Conference which is pretty damn good considering the other franchises in this conference. He also mentioned how they tried to get close to the salary cap during free agency; something fans consistently complained about in the summertime as the free agency market opened and numerous amounts of good players were gone under the Sabres radar. Many fans (and the media as well) could argue this with Golisano. Perhaps under the new era of Pegula, this could change? We shall see.

Part two of my analysis will be written tomorrow.

9.1.11

Astronomical.

Last night, I watched the Sabres/Coyotes game at my eldest brother's house. Some if not most of you know Corey, who has been on WGR 550 and now writes periodically for the Goose's Roost. During the game last night, he had compared Vanek to an asteroid - in that with his inertia, it never looks like anyone can stop him. Well, maybe besides the sun. So after hearing that, this is what I came up with today.


Photoshop skills aren't what they used to be, but there you have it. VANEK. IN. SPAAAAAAACE.

A podcast should be up shortly. I have some stuff I want to dish out against people because they suck. Go Sabres.