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.


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!


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.