Wednesday, January 8, 2014

One of my new year's resolutions is to blog more. I wrote an entry in my lj-first one since.. September I think so here is the first blog entry since November. I hope the next one will be more eloquent- but I'm pressed for time at the moment.

SO all I have to say is

SHARPIE made Team Canada! WOOOHOO I'm so happy for my boy. (but of course I can't cheer for him cuz USA !)

So yeah, go Sharpie. Silver is lovely, isn't it?

But for my brilliant countrymen (and women!) I say GOLD GOLD GOLD!

Can't wait. Winter Olympics are SO. MUCH. FUN !


Monday, November 25, 2013

Questions

So...

If the Sabres only have 5 wins (25 games into the season), 79 goals against (that's a little over 3 per game, for those keeping track at home) and a -35 (I'm almost choking while typing that number) goal differential,

can we still refer to Ryan Miller as an "elite goaltender"?

Now, I know it's not all on him, the whole team is in shambles, they can't hit the broad side of a barn most days, and Enroth is no better, but Miller is supposed to be "the man".

Not feelin it.

Not really feelin anything about the Sabres this year. They look uninterested and uninspired on the ice, it's not fun to watch (and I've been quite busy) and they wouldn't know a win if it bit them.

I get that they are "rebuilding", if that's what you call selling off every player I remotely liked in the 6 years I've been a Sabres fan. But they aren't bringing in much of substance, and I'd love a couple of veterans to keep the ship a little more afloat.

I don't like Steve Ott, I think John Scott is a joke, and I'd be hard pressed to name 5 Sabres, let alone pick 5 that I like this year.

Ugh. I'm not jumping ship, but this sucks! It's a good thing I've got a lot of other interests to keep me occupied, and I'm a fan of other teams, because otherwise I'd probably throw myself into Lake Erie.

Let's go Buffalo. Let's go anywhere but here.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Support Sally

Hey guys..

I still have a hockey blog.

And I still read other hockey blogs.

This link- http://www.buffalowins.com/buffalo-bills/articles/mcfaddens.html

from Joe over at BuffaloWins is a MUST read.

I saw that, and read the whole story of beautiful little Sally Sunshine and her fight against Leukemia and it's breaking my heart, but she and her family are strong.

Don't take my word for it, go read and then if you can or you want to, there are ways you can help.


Thursday, July 25, 2013

Pavel Bure finally getting his due

As my long-time readers are aware, I am a Pavel Bure fan. I had advocated for his inclusion in the HHOF for years, and finally, this past November, it came to pass. (as I'm sure you recall. Everyone I know probably remembers, because I was giddy as a schoolgirl for days before and after. You can never forget your first (hockey) love. And Pavel was mine.)

Now he's getting the same treatment from the Vancouver Canucks, the team that drafted him.

And you can read it here .

Even though Pavel left the Canucks  on slightly uneasy terms, his years there were good ones. I honestly think he just needed a change. From everything I remember reading at the time, he was just tired of the small-town vibe of Vancouver, having his every move noticed and criticized and needed a break from all that. (Do remember that he is from Moscow, and he is a very private person. And those were the days before social media. He'd probably be a wreck/criticized half to death in today's cutthroat world.)

Also, when he parted ways with Vancouver, in a trade to Florida along with Bret Hedican, the two of them were the last vestiges of the 1994 Cup team, aka my first hockey team. So when they left, I went with them.

There will always be a place in my heart for the Canucks (again with the first love), and I greatly enjoy the current incarnation of them (see this post for a refresher), but at the time I needed to move on.

Enter the Florida Panthers. A sad-sack franchise for many years-aside from the random Cup-run of 1996- they couldn't ever quite get it together. The never had a really strong core and struggled for years to find an identity to call their own. I think they hoped that by getting Pavel Bure they could build it around him. But, while I adore Pavel, and his playing skills cannot be overstated, he is not a Leader, in the "capital-L Leader" sense of the word. He isn't the guy to carry his team, it's not his style. Not to say that he's a selfish player, because I don't believe that, but he's not in the mold of a Steve Yzerman or a Trevor Linden or even Mark Messier. He is more of a behind-the-scenes guy, let his work on the ice speak for itself. I think this is a) why he was never the captain of an NHL team* he shared Captain duties with Paul Laus in 2001-02, but was never just the C* and b) part of why it took him so long to get to the HHOF. But I digress. Bure may have been a good piece of the puzzle, but even with Ray Whitney and a few other talented players, they Panthers didn't really have enough skill to make a run for it, and he was not enough to carry the team on his own.
 
 When Pavel was traded to the Panthers, it was time to get myself a Bure jersey. I had wanted one since the beginning, but it wasn't something that happened. My first hockey jersey was a black Canucks jersey that I got for my 14th birthday. My parents had to go to Cincinnati to find it (in August, no less) but they managed. A Bure one would have been virtually impossible at that point. But by 1999, the internet was a real thing and I had access to all sorts of hockey catalogues and whatnot, so I was ready. I asked for it for Christmas, a red Florida Panthers jersey with his name on it. And I got it. Ironically, they put a C on it instead of an A *he was only an Alternate Captain* but my mom fixed it for me. I LOVED that jersey, I wore it all the time. I was finally able to represent for my main man. But I never got to wear it to a game, as the last time I saw him play was in November 2000, but I didn't get the sweater til January of 2001. (I did wear it to the HHOF game though, so all is well.)

I still want a Bure Canucks jersey. I actually have found it on e-bay. The one I want is white, with the 1994 Cup Finals patches on it. I saw someone wearing one in Buffalo at the game I went to a few years ago and it made me so jealous. One day I'll get one for the collection. One day..

Moving on- Pavel had several good years in Florida. I still remember the day I learned he had been traded. I was happy (because he hadn't been playing that season) but a little sad to be leaving my Canucks behind. However, Pavel adjusted quickly, scoring 13 goals in 11 games before injuring his knee (again) and missing the rest of the season. It was a sign of things to come, as Bure had 58 goals (and 94 pts, missing the Art Ross trophy by 2 points to Jagr that year) in 99-2000, and 59 goals ( 92 points) the following season. The Panthers made the playoffs in 2001, losing in 4 games in the first round, and that was the last Bure saw of the playoffs, and the Panthers last appearance for 10 years. (Again, a sign of things to come?)

The following year Pavel was joined by his brother Valeri, and it was fun to see the Bure brothers together. But it was a rough year for Pavel, as he was hampered by injuries again (this time a concussion) and only played 68 games. He did manage 68 points but only 34 goals and was not up to his usual speed. Also, during this season, the UNTHINKABLE happened. He was traded to the Rangers. It still makes me hurl just thinking about it. The Rangers are the ENEMY, the "grossbadguys". They ruined my first hockey season and broke my heart. I can NEVER, NEVER like the Rangers. This will not change. I may have grown to respect and perhaps even like a former player or two, but I can NEVER cheer for the team. And now my first (and only, at the time) hockeylove had been traded to the WORST.TEAM.POSSIBLE.

I didn't know what to think. Of course I still loved Pavel and I wanted him to do well, but I wanted his team to lose. That's a bad combination. But it didn't really matter, because the next season was his last. He only played 39 games- but I got to watch a few- the only consolation to him playing for the Rangers was the fact that their games were more televised than the Canucks or Panthers had been. And while he managed 39 goals, he was struggling more and more with knee injuries.

It was one of the great tragedies in sports that Pavel Bure only played for 11 seasons. He was forced to retire due to injuries (not the first player to go through this, but arguably one of the most talented) and with it went my dreams of ever seeing my favorite player win the Stanley Cup. I have since discovered other players to enjoy, and some of them have even won (Marty Brodeur, Steve Yzerman, Patrick Sharp) but none of them are Pavel.

So what is the bottom line of all this rambling? It's that Pavel Bure will always be a Canuck to me, even though I own his Florida Panthers jersey. His time with the Panthers was fun (and we won't talk about that other team anymore), but he began with Vancouver and that's how I first met him and how and when I first learned and loved hockey.

It is fitting. It is good.

Now I just have to figure out when it is and find a way to get there!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Totally weird NHL season keeps getting weirder

Um, so the season isn't over yet. We're still in the finals (at this point, only 1 game in- Go Blackhawks!) and yet they have already handed out awards?

The Awards show used to be a pretty big deal. The Stanley Cup winners were there with their prize, and the players got to actually accept the trophies on the spot, rather than through video chat.

Did I miss something? Is it because it was already scheduled for some skank hotel in Vegas (I STILL don't agree with this, btw), so they couldn't change it? Still though, this is kind of early for an awards show. The season didn't even end until June 14 in 1994 (the end of the first season of my hockey-watching life) and it's been getting later.

Or am I just an old lady who likes to complain about the "good ole days"? and remember what things were like back when I was a young hockey fan..

Maybe so.

But it's my blog (when I remember I have it) and I can say what I want. And I say having the NHL Awards in Las Vegas is lame, and that having them without everyone present is even lamer.

So there.

Monday, April 1, 2013

kthxbye

Dear Sabres,

Feel free to trade anyone *pleasetradeStaffordpleasetradeStaffordpleasetradeStaffordpleasetradeStafford*

EXCEPT Nathan Gerbe. I know Gerbs isn't lighting the world on fire, but he's not really a liability. AND I have his jersey.. and haven't worn it to a game yet. I'm going to Friday's *and Sunday's* game(s) and would prefer to not be sporting an outdated look.

Anyone else is fair game. These bums gotta go.

Sincerely,

Sam

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

hockeybrain

Last night I dreamed I played for the Red Wings, and my sister Renee' did too. She was the captain. In the dream, no one seemed to think it strange that there were (at least) 2 women on the team. We were just part of the team. We were playing in the finals against the Kings (premonition to the days when Det will be in the East?) and we won game 1. I was convinced we were going to win in 6- We were in LA and I wanted to win at home. *dunno why it wouldn't be 4 games..?* I was very clearly visualizing the dogpile on top of Captain 'Nee when we would win. It was pretty awesome actually.

Then the dream shifted, and I was in the audience for a game.. I think it was an Oilers game in Edmonton with my friend Mindy. We had decided to take a trip (why Edmonton? No clue.) That went on for a minute, then I'm walking down the street.. somewhere.. wearing my Sabres jersey.

I dunno where ANY of that came from.

I just read Bob Probert's (Tough Guy) and then Theo Fleury's (Playing with Fire)
autobiographies. They were both really good and really intense. Wow.

Hockey on the brain?

So why haven't I been writing more or watching more games?

Friday, January 25, 2013

Why do I have to be a female fan?

Oh hey guys, hockey is back. Well, NHL hockey, to be more specific. There was always hockey. But now the Sabres are back!

But right now we're not going to talk about the Sabres. We're going to talk about the Rangers and the nonsense that is being a "female hockey fan".

Here's the thing. I'm a female. I'm a hockey fan. But I never felt like I needed any "special" guides or cheat sheets to learn about hockey. Why should I, just cuz I happen to have a vagina and breasts? Does it somehow give me less ability to understand the game? Why is this always a discussion?

But somehow it is. There are books like "the girlfriend's guide to hockey" yes, it's real and yes, I read it. 
And today, the NY Rangers posted a link on twitter to "A Girl's Guide to Watching the Rangers". You may read some commentary and screencaps of the article here-Because they took it down.

Now I don't object in any way to more ladies becoming hockey fans. I don't object to ANYONE becoming a hockey fan. Hockey is amazing and the more, the merrier, I say. However, why should ladies have specific guides? Why can't they just learn about the game like anyone else- by watching and reading and asking questions? Why must it be this big mysterious deal that their brother/boyfriend/guy friends all understand but they don't? That's ignorant and asinine. I don't know much about football- because I don't watch it. It doesn't interest me the way hockey does. If it did, I could very easily learn about the game. The same way I did with hockey.

Maybe I'm just defensive. I'm clearly not the target demographic for this "guide". But, as I discussed with a friend on twitter today- if it was just a "beginner's guide to the Rangers", that would be completely fine. The suggestions aren't even terrible. She says to ask questions (just not in the middle of a play), watch replays, take a peek at the roster to familiarize yourself, get to know Henrik Lundqvist.

What she doesn't offer are any actual practical ways to start to learn about hockey: watch the players, not the puck at first (it's easier that way), learn what icing and offsides are (the more confusing rules of hockey) and then ask any questions you want. Odds are if the person you're watching with is a hardcore fan, he or she will be more than willing to gab about their team. (I know I am.)

That's the bottom line. No cutesy shopping ("News of the NHL lockout's end caused as much excitement in the male world as a 70 percent off sale does in a woman's.") Come the fuck on. There are plenty of women who were THRILLED that the lockout is over.

... or television show references. ("If you're completely oblivious to what the end of the lockout means, think of it as the premiere of the newest season of "Girls" being delayed by months, and then suddenly, it's announced that it will be coming back but with a lot fewer episodes to make up for lost time.) I mean really? Can't you just get that 48 games in 99 days is going to be exciting? Is that too hard to understand?

No obvious comments about what to do if you don't like the game. ("If you feel too forced and uninterested, at least know the Rangers' schedule so you can schedule a girl's night for those times. ") Duh. If you need to be told when to take some time to be with your friends, then you have your priorities out of whack anyway.

What is all boils down to is why people (men or women) seem to think that women need special guides to learn about sports. (maybe this happens in other sports, I don't know because I don't follow other sports. It happens all the time in hockey and it's infuriating.) When can we just be "fans" and share the game between "fans"? Until that day, I will continue to speak out about such publications (especially when they are endorsed by NHL teams) and be frustrated. I'm not really a feminist, and I don't really feel oppressed, but just don't get why there isn't fan equality here.

I managed to learn about hockey without the benefit of a "Girl's Guide", or even a brother, boyfriend, guy friend or any sort of family member/friend influence. And there wasn't internet or a pro team within 4 hours of my home. So how did I possibly do it? (as a mere girl?) Simple. I watched the game. I read magazines. I found some friends who liked hockey and talked about it with them. I read books. I bought hockey cards. I educated myself about the game and in so doing discovered just how amazing it is. And I have dragged many a friend- male and female- to hockey games with me over the years, with a few simple instructions: 
1. If you get confused about where the puck is, look at where the players are and where they are going.
2. Explanation of icing and offsides.
3. Feel free to ask any questions (at any point!) and I will answer any that I can.
4. Have fun.

I like my guide better. And it's not gender specific.

And I think that's all I have to say on the subject. (for now.)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Finding fun elsewhere

With the NHL feeling like it's on (semi) permanent hiatus, I have to look elsewhere for my hockey fix. And 2 weekends ago, I found it. In spades.

It was what I was calling "An Epic Hockey Weekend" in 3 parts. 3 hockey games, 3 different levels of competition, 3 cities, 3 nights, 3 different sets of people I was viewing with. And each one was fantastic.

And none of them were the NHL (well Sunday sort of was, but not really.)

So let's recap...

Friday:
I had some free tickets to the Canisius/Robert Morris hockey game that night. it's D-I hockey. Small school, but still D-I and still funtimes. I decided to take the little nephews- but it was a surprise. They know there's no NHL hockey and I didn't tell them where we were going, only that it was in Buffalo. So they started guessing.. a concert? A baseball game? (even though it's November. They're kids!) A museum? A play? They did guess hockey but even then they weren't sure.

So when we arrived, they were happy. It wasn't too busy so we went right down to the front row to be right on the action. :) Good choice. Canisius lost 4-0 but the game was closer than you'd think by the score. There was a nice bit of hitting and some pretty fast-paced action. All in all, a good night at the rink. The kiddos enjoyed themselves. They stood right on the glass for the 3rd period, and every time a player would run into the glass close, Benjamin (the 6 yr old) would turn to me with a HUGE grin and say "SAM! Did you SEE that?!" It was precious and totally made the night. :)

Saturday:

Saturday it was off to Erie to connect with some of my CBJ tweeps and peeps to see some CBJ prospects Oskar Dansk (Erie Otters) and Boone Jenner (Oshawa Generals). I knew nothing about either team and hadn't heard of most of their players but it didn't matter. It was hockey. And it was OHL hockey, a new experience for me! WOOHOO! We had super fun. I got to see my bf Cyrus and my bff Dannie and several other friends. We even made it to the CBJ website- http://bluejackets.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=12073 I would totally go to Erie for another game. The fans were loud and fun (it helped that the Otters scored 5 goals) and the tickets were cheap. Good place for hockey. :)

Sunday:

Sunday was PAVEL BURE DAY. I had been waiting for this day since I heard Pavel was going to be inducted into the HHOF. I bought the tickets to the Legends game back in September. Finally I was getting to see Pavel play hockey again. Nothing short of death was going to stop me *(and luckily, I didn't catch the plague until AFTER my epic hockey weekend)* I could hardly sleep the night before from anticipation. My friend Eric came over and we left at 8am sharp. (I haven't found it that easy to wake up at 7:15 in a LONG time!) The drive to Toronto was super smooth- border crossing was fast, there was no traffic, it was brilliant. We parked and had lunch at Gretzky's- it seemed appropriate for the Epic Hockey Weekend, and Eric had never been. The food was tasty and the atmosphere there is fun.

Then we wandered to the ACC for the game! I was getting a little giddy.. I was kinda bouncy. We couldn't go down to watch warmups and it was open seating (except for the first 8 rows) so we found a spot 20 rows up or so in front of the stairs so there was no one in front of us. It was a nice vantage point. The game was cool. There were NHL Alumni from all different teams on "Team Trottier" and then Leafs Alumni on "Team Gilmour". We got to see Dino Ciccarlli, Theo Fleury, Paul Coffey, Doug Gilmour, Wendel Clark, Trevor Kidd, Curtis Joseph and others. It was pretty fantastic all around. 

And then of course they got to the presentation. Pavel was first. I almost cried when they did his intro.. but I manged to turn it into a scream instead. ;) There were several Bure fans in attendance. I chatted with a few guys with Canucks jerseys on. :) He got his jacket and watch. Then they did Adam Oats, Joe Sakic and Mats Sundin (all totally legit players who I could cheer for... even Suckic- he's legit, just played for the wrong team LOL) so that was spiffy. Of course being in Toronto, the peeps went nuts over Sundin. That was cool. He's really tall.

Then they started the game. The honorees had to get changed so they didn't start. But it was a fun game- they kept the clock running and did random announcing/interviewing during the whole thing. It's hard to explain but it worked. Finally, about halfway through, the honorees got to take the ice. Pavel was a little slow at first.. like he was getting back into it. He had a couple of chances right off but nothing happened.

But in the 2nd half (yeah they did 2 halves, instead of 3 periods), things got fun. Pavel seemed to get his groove back. He had a few really good chances and started to look better. He got an assist on a goal (and I got it on tape!) and then scored 2 more! I videoed a lot of his shifts. It's not the best quality, but it's PAVEL. BURE. SKATING. which is something I will probably not ever see again. And it was amazing. I feel like words can't actually describe it. I never got to see him win a Stanley Cup but I have seen him play a few times, and I got to see it again. Even if it was a fun game, it was still the best skater I've ever seen. And he was clearly having fun. He was taking super long shifts- like he didn't want to leave the ice ever!

It was a glorious day. He was incredible. Theo Fleury was really funny and the other players too- they were all having a grand time playing in this game. They had some 5 and 6 yr olds come out for a while and they played with the kids too. it was pretty adorable.

After the game, Eric and I headed home. The drive home was also very smooth, and again the border crossing was super fast.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

All in all it was a fantastic hockey-filled weekend. I got to see lots of different hockey and hockey fans and spend time with wonderful people doing something that I love- watching hockey.It was more of an effort than turning on the tv to MSG and catching a Sabres game, but it was well worth the time. Hockey is always worth it.

In closing, here is a pic that I think sums up the joy of the game. Noses pressed to the glass, not wanting to miss a second of the action. That's what being a hockey fan is about. Not revenue and collective bargaining agreements and players' associations. Ice, and puck and flying bodies and goals. And love.


Saturday, November 3, 2012

We are closed for the season

WTF- NHL? Seriously guys.. did you just cancel the Winter Classic? Might as well say the season's over and leave us in peace rather than stringing it along for the poor unsuspecting optimistic fools among us. (which might sometimes include me, though my optimism about an NHL season is waning by the day.)

Egads, if I could care about another sport, I would. I would drop the NHL like a bad habit and peace it to something else that would be less likely to hurt me every 7 years or so.

But I can't. Like I said in the last post, they are forcing me to break my hockey habit, but I don't want to.

Obviously I still love the game (well maybe it's not obvious, but I do love hockey in all forms), but the NHL was the easiest one to consume on a regular basis. There's a decent bit of college hockey in the Buffalo area (we have Niagara, Canisius and Buffalo State) and the Amerks aren't terribly far away either. BUT I don't live *in* Buffalo, I live an hour away. And the Sabres were on tv.. so it was an easy way to get a hockey fix several nights a week, with a few live games thrown in along the way. I don't have that anymore.

I will probably take the nephews to a Canisius or a Niagara game at some point this season. We used to go to at least one NU game a year after I stopped working for them and this year we have free tix to Canisius through work. But if we don't have NHL hockey back, there will be no road trip to Columbus to spend the weekend with my sis Brett, as we have for the past 3 years. The kids look forward to that "Weekend at Brettie's house" all year. My 8-yr old nephew has declared himself a Blue Jackets fan based on those 3 games- completely notwithstanding the Sabres and Purple Eagles games I've taken him to- Brettie took him to 3 CBJ games and he's a fan for life now. (true stories)

I've been having a hard time explaining the lockout and billionaires fighting over billions of dollars to a 6 year old and 8 year old because it doesn't make much sense to this 31 year old. Yeah, I've read about the union and revenue sharing and all that but it's still bullshit and I'm sick of it. (and 57% or 53% or 47% of $0 is still $0 just sayin.)

Give me back my hockey.

With the cancellation of the Winter Classic, it doesn't look likely.

Now we just have to wait for the announcement.