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...

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 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 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.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Breaking the Habit

We are creatures of habit.

There is a rhythm to life as a hockey fan. Ever since I discovered hockey back in the spring of 1994, my very existence has been measured, and at times, governed by this rhythm. Starting from that time, following the awarding of the Stanley Cup (and the breaking of my young hockey heart, when my team didn't win), I then spent the summer collecting hockey cards and learning about the game in any way possible. There was a lot of catching up to do, but I did what I could with the tiny bookstore across the street and no internet. But, for a small bookstore in a state where NHL hockey was still 6 years away, it wasn't so bad. I bought the place out of hockey cards and memorized players and stats- found every magazine I could get my hands on that had season reviews (and a little later in the summer, PREviews) and basically taught myself about the game.

It was a glorious time and by September I was fully ready to put this newfound knowledge to use. I had all the preview magazines, I had an NHL pocket schedule, I had my first hockey jersey- and was learning how to ice skate. I was READY.

Then the '94 lockout happened. I was only 13 at the time, and remember, there was no internet, much less social media, so I didn't fully understand what was happening, only that there wasn't hockey when there should be and it was distressing. But they eventually settled on a deal and we had hockey by January.

Touching again on the idea of rhythm and habits, every morning in 1st period (which was algebra), I'd chat with 4 friends- Doug, Jon, Nate and Garrett, about hockey- someone would bring in a newspaper, and we'd pore over scores and game recaps and guess (and occasionally bet) on the outcome of future games. It was great fun and camaraderie and made algebra much more interesting!

So eventually, over the past 18 years, I've settled into a pattern. October means hockey is starting. I used to wear my jersey on the first day of the season, no matter what the weather was like. It was a sign of the times. I would watch any and all games I could. They used to publish the tv schedule in The Hockey News's guidebook and I'd note the particular games I wanted to watch, but would often just turn on a game to have it on. Many a highschool notebook had hockey stats and info in the margins. January meant the All-Star game (which was the first hockey game I ever watched). I loved All-Star games- they were super fun and they used to do cool player features and whatnot. (Anyone remember the MTV/NHL All-Star Faceoff they did for a few years? Good stuff.) Of course my boy Pavel Bure was a perennial participant, and any chance to see him shine was worth it in my world.

Then it was late March and every game suddenly mattered- and soon April and the playoffs and HOCKEY.EVERY.NIGHT which was glorious. Thus began the grind of the playoffs, and usually (if you're me) seeing your fav team flame out early but picking a backup that made it quite far and sometimes won it all (Wings, Devils). April and May meant even more late night hockey binges and bleary-eyed days. But it was worth it because it was the playoffs and hockey mattered. In June, school was ending and everyone was worrying about exams but I was always more concerned about who was playing for Stanley and what time the games were on. Always.

Then it would be over and The Cup would find a new summer home/traveling companions and hockey would sleep for the long months of summer. I'd do other things, travel and relax, but hockey was never far from my mind. There's the draft in June, which I have often watched closely, and the awards show- always entertaining, then Free Agency on July 1. Hockey still has a presence and a pattern in the summer, it's just different.

During the summer of 2002, I spent half my time in Columbus, following the prospects in the CBJ system, many of whom I knew/would come to know from their time spend in Dayton of the ECHL. That was a glorious summer, filled with hockey.

And I always knew, at the end of the summer, that I could go buy my The Hockey News Yearbook and start studying up for the coming season.. come September, players would start trickling back to their teams for training camps, and we'd start it all over again. Late summer has always been great for me as a hockey fan because it brings optimism. Maybe THIS will be the year, maybe THIS TIME our team can make it. Everyone starts from the same place, and maybe for once my guys would go all the way. Hope springs eternal (or perhaps for a hockey fan, it should be hope FALLs eternal?)

But something is wrong this year. The end of summer brought me my The Hockey News yearbook, just like always. And, just like always, I diligently read it- this summer it gave me something to do on my breaks at work- and studied up on the next big thing, heck, I even went through team-by-team. I was SO ready!

But then September came.. but the training camps didn't. Instead the LOCKOUT came. The players and the owners can't seem to agree and so it's nearly the end of October and we haven't played a game yet. The arenas sit empty and dark. The game-day employees are out of work. Arena district bars and restaurants are suffering. And every long-time hockey fan's internal rhythm is completely out of whack.

We are creatures of habit, and habits can be hard to break. Sometimes they're broken for you, and you can't relapse even if you wanted to.

I want to.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Hello Again

Hi, I'm Sam and this is my hockey blog. Somehow I've only posted 12 times this year. I'm such a slacker.

It's not that I don't care about hockey- I still do, but I was so busy with real world things (which, sadly, didn't involve hockey much) that I wasn't able to watch many games or document them. I want to change this and get back to writing.

But wait, there might not even be a season this year. Those greedy bastards. I can't even begin to express my anger and frustration.. but maybe I'll get something coherent put together. See, I've read about the last lockout, and the one in '94 and why the players' union even exists in the first place. (required reading for a class I took.) I still have the books. It's all about money and power and politics. And the losers in the fiasco are the fans, who spend countless hours and dollars on their favorite teams only to be let down and thrown to the side when the owners and players wish to quibble over millions of dollars.

If there's a lockout this year, don't expect fans to come rushing back. This league can't handle another work stoppage. The last one nearly did them in (and it was a HORRIBLE time for a hockey fan. I think I literally suffered from depression that year) and another one would be doom for many markets.

There's more to say but I have to put it together better. Stay tuned..

And possibly I'll get my act together and post some of my hockey songs.. I've got a a few in the works. :)

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

I have something to say about that

I love Pavel Bure. I have loved him since I started watching hockey back in 1994 and I will love him til the day I die. He's my ultimate #1**. I have other favorites, some short term, some long, but he will always be there. I've written about it before, so I don't need to go into it again.

Similarly, I wrote a post back in 2008 about Bure getting dissed by the Hockey Hall of Fame. http://intotheboards.blogspot.com/2008/11/in-defence-of-pavel-bure.html
In the piece, I talked about what an exciting player he was and broke down some statbits to back it up.

And now, FINALLY, 4 years after he was first eligible *and denied* to be inducted into the HHOF, someone wised up and added his name to the ballot. My boy is going to the Hall of Fame!

I am thrilled. At last, Pavel Bure is getting some long-due recognition.

I may be making a trip to Toronto in November. :)

**if you look at the sidebar with the labels, Pavel Bure is the only player name that is capitalized. I did not do this on purpose. But I find it appropriately symbolic of his status.

Monday, June 11, 2012

I'm baaaaaaack!

It seems appropriate to post randomly after saying nothing through all the playoffs and then post when it's done.

My life has been busy lately but I did tune in for game 6... which was the last game.. and I have a few thoughts:

-egads the Stanley Cup makes me cry. Even when it's not my team. There's just something heartwarming and amazing about watching grown men skate around like little kids, realizing the dream they have had since they were little kids. I love it.

-Similarly, the handshake line at the end of a series is one of the best things about hockey. It gets me every time.

-The Kings truly had an incredible run and earned the win. They came alive in the last month or so of the season and kept it up all through the playoffs. Can't take anything away from that.

-Likewise, the Devils played some great hockey to get to the finals, then pushed it an extra 2 games that many people thought they wouldn't get to- so props to them!

-Marty Brodeur is still the man. :)

My sister just said something about wanting to go to the Hockey Hall of Fame again.. I think it might be a good idea. I want to see The Cup in person again! (I need to take a pic of Patrick Sharp's name on it!)


-Is it October yet?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Star Wars- Sabres Style

So a comment on my sister's fb wall got a little out of hand the other day.. and it was my fault. We were quoting Han Solo, and I said "hoCkey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid."... and didn't even realize, till later, that I said hockey and not hokey. WHOOPS!

However, it led to some silly comparisons of NHL-folks to SW folks.. and since I am both a Star Wars nerd and a hockey (Sabres) fan, I thought I should take it one step further and start assigning some characters. It's a work in progress, and if you think of any other fellas from around the League, feel free to contribute. (or if you're a fan of another team and want to give me YOUR version, once again, feel free to comment here or e-mail me. )

C-3PO- so worried about doing everything correctly that he can't think straight and so messes things up- Thomas Vanek

R2-D2- the brains of the operation- Ryan Miller

Princess Leia- They are all boys, I can't do that!

Darth Vader- The big baddie- he takes no prisoners- Lindy Ruff

Random Rebel Fighter who dies in the first scene- Jochen Hecht (alas, we hardly knew ye!)

Jawas- take all sorts of junk and make it work- Matt Ellis

Tuscan Raiders-nasty bad guys- The Philadelphia Flyers

Uncle Owen- barely even qualifies as a character because he's only on screen for a few minutes, but has a purpose in the plot- Any of the 1 or 2-game Amerks call-ups

Luke Skywalker- kid with a DESTINY and a famous name, but turns out to be pretty dargonne badass- Marcus Foligno

Old Obi-Wan Kenobi- crusty old Jedi Master who is still awesome- Teppo Numminen

Han Solo- the most brilliant captain in the universe with the best ship- Ted Black (he did restore hot water to the restrooms! and set up blogger summits. He's pretty great)

Chewbacca- fiercely loyal to his buddies, big and strong- Tyler Myers

Greedo- the bounty hunter who's too slow on the draw- (anyone who faces off against Goose)

Random Cantina Patron with 2 seconds of screen time- Mike Weber

Grand Moff Tarkin- The only one who can call Vader to heel- Darcy Regier

Wedge Antilles- The guy who is always there on your wing when you need him- Jason Pominville

Biggs Darklighter- helps out in the fight against the Death Star but doesn't last long- Brad Boyes

Admiral Ozzel- So bad he gets force-choked through the video-screen- Ville Leino

Captain Needa- couldn't get the job done so Vader took him out- Derek Roy "Apology accepted, Captain Needa" (you're next)

Emperor Palpatine- The one who is really running the show- Terry Pegula

Snow Monster- nearly destroyed the hope of the future- Milan Lucic

Dak- one of the revolving door of Luke's wingmen- Corey Tropp

Rogue 2- the guy who finds and rescues Luke when he's lost in the snow- Tyler Ennis

Yoda- Jedi Master man with the plan- James Patrick

Boba Fett- kicking ass and taking names, literally- Robyn Regehr

Lando Calrissian- Kinda slimy but usually a good guy- when it works for him- Drew Stafford

Denziens of Jabba's Palace- a disgusting mix of the universe's worst thugs- Boston Bruins

Nien Nubb- random co-pilot who shows up at the most important time- Alexander Sulzer

Wicket- the cute furry awesome little guy- Nathan Gerbe

Storm Troopers- the guys who do Vader's dirty work for him- Patrick Kaleta and Cody McCormick
And just to have enough characters for all the players, I'll get into the new movies too, even though I find them to be not NEARLY as good.

Teenage Anakin-lots of potential, lacks some discipline- Andrej Sekera

Qui-Gon Jinn- good but not around long enough to make much difference- Cody Hodgson

Young Obi-Wan Kenobi- smart, powerful, will go far- Christian Ehrhoff

Jango Fett- smart guy but operates behind the scenes- Jordan Leopold

Mace Windu - good but not quite good enough for top billing- Jonas Enroth


And there ya have it. The Sabres, complete with Coaches, GM, Owner, President and some rivals. What do you think? Ready to set it up for your team? :)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

California knows how to party

I'm going to a LA Kings/Redwings Game tonight! In Los Angeles...

California is weird. We'll see how hockey in Cali is...

More to follow.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Well so much for that idea

(In which I use a ridiculous number of (parentheses) for some reason that is probably grammatically wrong, but I'm too tired and lazy to sort them all out. You get the point.)

I had this New Year's resolution of a sort to blog more.. then MSG and TWC decided to have a little spat and I wasn't able to watch my team for most of January and half of February (aside from a few games on NBCSPorts) It's hard to write about a team you can't watch.

So I fell off the wagon a little. But now the boys are back on tv, and they are playing much better hockey since the All-Star break so there's something to be said for all that.

They will probably still make a valiant (but ultimately too late) push to the playoffs, only to fall short by a point or 2 and thus getting a middling draft pick. (we should be used to this by now). or they might surprise us and squeak in at the 11th hour. Time will tell.

But tomorrow is DOOMSDAY - (AKA Trade Deadline Day) Last year I missed the madness because I was in New Zealand (or en route, the "time travel" to get there was a little whacky and kind of made my head hurt) and away from internets and computers and anything resembling hockey, as I was chillin the summer of the southern hemisphere (totally weird, btw, in a cool way) and didn't really worry too much about it. (ANd the Sabres didn't do much so that was little to worry about.)

But this year is (or may be) different. Roy is a name we've heard being tossed about quite a bit, as well as Gaustad (even The Hockey News mentions him as a decent pickup) and the thing is.. unlike last year when I was practically BEGGING someone to take Timmay Connolly off our hands and please for the loveofSabretooth SELL SELL SELL Stafford (while the selling was hot) I actually LIKE those two guys. I mean, really, who doesn't love Goose, with his funny nickname and his GreenTeam-ness and his good attitude and foxy faceoff skills? Right?

And Royzie, well, he's Royzie. He's infuriating at times, and occasionally quite skillful and brilliant with the puck (when he's not giftwrapping and presenting it to his opponents' sticks!) When he's playing hard (as he has been lately and did in the early days of his career when I fell for him in the first place), he's a great asset. When he's being lazy and boneheaded, he's a nusicance and you want him as far away as possible so he doesn't contaminate anyone else. He seems to be one of those polarizing player- you either love him or he drives you nuts. (And sometimes he does both at the same time, what a multi-tasker!)

But, from the time when I really started watching the Sabres in earnest (the playoff run of 2006, though I was living far away at the time) and the next season (when I came back), Roy always stood out. I picked him as "my" Sabre, and thus he remained. I officially switched my allegiance to Nathan Gerbe (you may recall my many soul-searchings and arguments with myself on the blog about it)... but even though I went with my gut and bought a Gerbe jersey with my Christmas money this year, I still love Royzie. He's still one of my favs and I will always have a place for him in my heart.

I don't want him to leave Buffalo, but I've felt it in my gut that he's going to be gone for a while now. (I even wrote about it here.) He's young enough and talented enough that in the right setting he could really thrive. His contract is not insane. The Sabres could actually get a decent return for him and he could be a legit #2 center on a team with a solid #1. He doesn't seem to do that well in the #1 role (though his faceoffs have improved significantly this season, I've noticed.)

Back to Goose for a second. On paper, he's not all that thrilling. Not a lot of goals, not a lot of flash and dash. BUT he owns faceoffs (and is very consistent about it) and he is the definition of "intangibles". He's a tough customer who will stand up for his boys (put aside for a moment the "Lucic incident-- I still maintain that the referees were letting nothing happen that night- I was AT the game and I noticed that from the beginning, AND any Sabre who had challenged Lucic would have been destroyed and they didn't need that. Moving on..) He generally plays tough and is not afraid to get his hands dirty. I like that about Goose. He seems to be a good guy in the room, and is a proven leader- again with the intangibles, things that aren't recorded, other than in the visual of watching him play. But those are the details that win hockey games, not just the goals and statbits.

So who knows what the next day will bring.. but we'll be here watching it happen. And I'll write some sort of recap of what news there is.

(Also in my "guys I don't want to see leave" category is Rick Nash from Columbus. He's the face of the franchise, and though he's maybe been coasting for a bit, during this terrible run of a season, I still think he wants to stay there- he SAID HE DID in an interview a few weeks back. And I'd prefer to see him in a CBJ uniform for a few more years at least. Just till they get a legit shot at the playoffs. It would be good for my home state.)

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Goodness, I feel like I should be live-blogging this game just to keep track of the randomness that is Doc Emrick.

He was just talking about a pass that didn't make it... and it went something like this.."he was hoping it would connect, but we all have hopes in this world..." and then back to the play. What the what?

haha so yeah with that great intro, here we are in the 2nd period of the Sabres v. Rangers. it's so nice to see the Sabres on tv. *And a decent game, so far. Better than the Chicago game.. yesssh that one was rough. They are playing decently tonight, other than some turnovers. But the pressure is there and their defence is pretty legit.

I like this Gerbe-Ennis-Kassian line. It's pretty solid.

Speaking of my boy- he is really fast and feisty tonight. He REALLY wants a goal. Maybe tonight will be his night?

Wow I totally bailed on this blog. I saw parts of the 3rd period but we had a friend stop over so my attention was divided.

And then the boys lost in a shootout.

BUT this was not a bad game at all. The Rangers are very good but the Sabres hung with them and Miller played very well.

Good job fellas. Keep building!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

All Star Skillz time

So here we are in Ottawa- sorry, Kanata (which really isn't quite the same thing), Ontario for the NHL All Stars Skills Competition. (And yeah, I'm not just being lame, I've been to ScotiabankPlace and it's actually a really cool place to see hockey, but it's a bit outside of the city.) However, Ottawa has the Rideau Canal so they totally get the win. (and a lot of jealousy from me)

The intros were cool- I liked the pics of the players as kids. My nephew was pretty upset that the announcer wasn't getting excited enough about their names though. LOL

The fastest skater was fine- the goalie race still cracks me up.

Now we've moved on to the Breakaway competition.
So far, Corey Perry wins- that stickwork was INSANE- the puck was GLUED to his stick.. then he scored!

okay, PKane with the superman dive was pretty funny.. and I didn't even catch how he slid the puck from his hand to his skate.

Tavares hitting it off his stick was pretty slick, especially the switching hands.

3rd round..
Carey Price- he saved it facing backwards!? that was great.

Did the puck really just break on Kane? Or did he plan that?.. ah okay it was planned.

Perry is cracking us up with the mini-stick.
I just voted for him.

Oh come on. Perry was better than Kane! Though Kane was creative, Perry had more skill. (and creativity)

On to the Accuracy Competition:
-Poor Cody...
-Stamkos' gum is really bright.
-Wow Jamie Benn. I was wondering why he looked so unhappy early, he just had an appendectomy. Wow.
*I don't like how there's no scoreboard keeping track of how many targets they've hit. I can't always tell if they hit them.

Jamie Benn with the win there.

And on to the Skills Challenge Relay- I dig this one.. they have to do such wild stuff.

My favs are the stickhandling through the obstacles.. so amazing. And I would get SO DIZZY going through the pylons- reminds me of the hockey class I took in college- we used to do figure 8s between cones- they were a little further apart and we were nowhere near that quick. LOL

Letang just owned that One-timer deal. 3/4
Hank Sedin seems impatient with the passing thing at first then starts owning.

Team Alfie got the win there- way less time.

Love how Pommers is hanging with all the Sens. I thought you guys were enemies! ;)

I am amused by how the "cones" are Gatorade bottles.

Pommers takes it in the Clutch for Team Alfie. :) Good job! (Ottawa fans should know about Pominville and clutch- see Playoffs, 2006, Round 1)

You're not Tim Thomas.. This is Tim Thomas... *kissy kissy* (This commercial will never get old.)

--Hardest Shot time:
Luke Adam from the Sabres acquits himself well with a 98 and wins his round. :)
Alfie is killing it, 101.1, 101.3. WOW
Team Alfie is owning it so far.
WAIT 106.2 Chara. What the WHAT?
And hold the phone.. 108.8. Weber came back with a 106 but Chara's 106.2 and 107 were all over it. Who would stand in front of that?

Team Alfredsson still winning but Chara caught up with that ridiculously hard shot.

What's with the R2-D2 Verizon commercial? I'd totally buy him over a phone. He'll talk back to your snooty C-3PO droid, navigate your X-Wing, talk to your hyperdrive and fix it, he'll serve drinks on your party barge, keep your lightsabre and handily toss it to you at the right moment.. I mean he's pretty indispensable really. :) And that other thing.. just a phone.

Only 11 players (and a rookie) in the shootout? I thought it was everybody.

This part is usually all about the goalies.. let's see what happens.
NO goal for Datsyuk- wow. But we know Lundqvist is sick.
Stamkos with the fake.. nice one bro.
Whoa Malkin snuck it right under the leg..
Tavares scores- Team Alfie still winning-and 2 goals so far
CoreyPerry just misses high- he hit the post.
Spezza pulls Price out of the net but keeps the puck and sneaks it in far side.
Team Alfie up 14-10 now.
Thomas stones Giroux (good, I don't like him)
Gaborik tries to flip it on the glove side and Elliot says NO!
Alfredsson goes 5-hole on Thomas for the score. (Maybe Tim was being nice.. LOL)
Kane stoned by Elliot and it's 15-10 Alfie
Thomas with the poke check on Neal.. no goal!
Iglina sneaks one in.. through the 5-hole. Wow.
Michalek stopped by Thomas and it's 15-11 Team Alfie
-Wow why does Gary Bettman look so angry? This is great!
Round 3
Quick stops Benn to keep the score where it is. He's so good this year- too bad his team is not.
Pominville scores a snapshot high glove side on Howard! :) Let's Go Buffalo!
Lupul gets robbed by Quick, much to the fans' delight.
Letang slips one by Howard on the backhand. It's 17-11 now.
Timmonen does some voodoo and somehow scores on Quick.
Suter hits the crossbar on Quick
Daniel Sedin misses.. and we're done with the initial round. Only 6 players remain.
YEEESH Lundqvist with the split for the stop.
Stamkos with a SICK spin-o-rama.
Iginla goes wide.. he's done. He's so smiley though!
Tavares still in with the high backhand. Team Alfie up 19-12 now. Only one Team Chara player still left.
Timmonen misses and Team Chara is DONE. We still have a few more players though, and we need a winner.
Spezza's up- he's stopped by Price. The crowd sighs.
*sidenote- Pommers looks lost without his Sens buddies*
Alfredsson gets stopped by Price. Crowd loved that. Or not.
Pominville scores on Thomas! The crowd cheers. :)
Tavares Misses..
Pominville comes in 2nd! Good job!
Stamkos is the winner. :)

Phew. Team Alfredsson with the win 22-12. :)

and there we have it. Tomorrow is the Game.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Analyze this!

Apparently, according to my post labels, I haven't talked about google analytics in 2 years! *It's possible I've done other posts and just not labeled them.*

So today I checked it out- I have now been visited by every state in the US! Montana took the longest to come on board.. but I'm everywhere. Whuhahahhaaa. I also have many visitors from Canada, then the UK, France, Russia, and Germany are up there. I've been visited from all the continents (except Antarctica) and many many different countries. :) (of course these people never comment so it's probably random pageviews but whatevs.. makes me feel good.)

And then we get to the fun- search terms!

There are the usual thousand and one about Derek Roy and Travis Rycroft (still don't get that one) but I found some fun gems in there..

-"Hilarious randomness"- totally something I said, I'm sure. It was searched not once, but twice!

-"i hate shoes" - who knows? but I agree.

-"2legit Montreal" just amused me

-"bad ass Howie Dorough" ? Hahaha yeah right, the backstreet boy known as "Sweet D" is not BA , sorry.

-"you hurt me so bad but I keep coming back" - yep, Sabres, I'm talking about YOU!

-"explain the theme of rough all over again"... I have no idea about this but I find it intriguing and I may have to use that one of these days..

-"is my Blackhawks ticket legit"? Dude, I have no idea but for your sake I hope so.

-"Patrick Sharp and Samantha"-- YES.

-"Samantha hunt hockey Sabres"... how did you find out about that?

-"there's this that I like about hockey, my lad"- again I have no idea but I need to keep this and use it one day.

.... and there ya have it. All-Star skillz tomorrow. I will be watching (I think) and live-blogging (I plan to anyway)


Thursday, January 26, 2012

Food for thought


I finally got around to perusing some of the Blogger Summit #2 videos on Sabres.com today. (So I'm a little late to the party, nothing new there- I've been avoiding that place lately, nothing but bad news. I actually went to Sabres.com looking for some highlights (found 'em) and possibly an interview (no dice) from last night's game (WIN!) against the Devils.) I listened to the first 2 periods and then got home (no radio service and I didn't want to break out the computer) and waited by the phone for my text.. and waited... and waited. That was a long one, eh?

But it was a win!

Sorry, got excited for a sec. What I was saying is that it was cool to watch some of the videos- I'll probably go back and check a few more- but I noticed something.

There were only 2 lady bloggers that I could see.

What is up with that? I know there are a ton of quality females out there writing about hockey.. where are they? Were they all at the first blogger summit?

And what does a person have to do to be asked to attend such an event? (update their blog more than once a month? Hmm.. maybe I should get on it.)

I guess what I'm saying is- if any Sabres-folks are reading this- I'm more than just a spastic, roster photo-obsessed, make-up-conversations-with-players-and-post-them, hockey parody song writing (got a real good one coming soon), sporadic-posting fool. I actually know hockey and love hockey and the Sabres and would really dig going to an event like that.

Just sayin', ya know, in case anyone is wondering. *shuffles feet*

......and now back to your regularly scheduled hockey (related) drivel. All-star game this weekend- you know I can't resist blogging about that! :)

Saturday, January 14, 2012


I'm so tired of the Sabres telling us that they lost because they didn't battle hard and they didn't start off well.

Guess what guys- YOU are the only ones who can control how hard you battle and how quickly you get it going. Hockey games are 60 minutes long. Everyone knows this. So why do you only show up for 23 minutes? Or 43 or 58?


Luckily for me, I'm in Louisiana hanging with my sis and eating delicious food and doing other things with my life than watching a losing team play like losers who don't care about playing well or winning. And on a night like tonight, that's actually a good thing.

I'm not giving up on the Sabres, but I'm pretty annoyed with them right now. Let's say we're taking a "break". It's not me, it's them.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

One word fail

On Twitter tonight (my new go-to for dialogue while watching listening to Sabres games (sorry about the lack of blogging, it's hard to blog a radio-only game), Scott, from Buffalo Sabres Nation tweeted "Well, if I had to sum up the Sabres' players, coach and GM in one word this season: "complacency." You?"

And it got me thinking:

My initial response was:



Frustratingashell (that's one word!)

But then I got to thinking about it some more and other, highly descriptive one words came up:


I'm sure I could come up with others (I can actually be pretty good with words, on occasion) but you get the (depressing) picture.

This team is NOT getting the job done. Sure, they have dealt with some adversity- crazy injuries, bad hits, non-calls, etc- BUT so has every team in the league. There's a point when excuses just become empty, just like the platitudes the Sabres mouth after each game and practice-
"we've just got to stick to our system and stand up for each other.
"we've got to settle down and not grip our sticks too tight"
"We have to play our style of game and not let the other teams run us around"

Blah blah blah the System won't do jack if you can't play with a little HEART. That's one of the biggest things I see missing from this Sabres squad. This team has no heart, no pulse, no grit or determination. I don't even think they are necessarily soft (a common complaint) but more that they aren't tenacious at all. They don't look like they care.

And that's where the breakdown occurs.

Back when the Sabres got fun for me- in the playoff run of 2006 (I wasn't even living here at the time) and during the subsequent season- 2006-07, they played with HEART and SOUL and GUTS and SWEAT. They came from behind again and again and again and again and it was FUN. It was fun to watch, it looked like they were having fun playing- and this whole city was alive with Sabres fever. That was a glorious season. They ran out of gas in the playoffs but it was a great run.

Where did that team go? I don't think it was Briere and Drury (that's so 5 years ago). Other than those 2, the core of this team is the same guys who were there then. There have been some minor changes, but for the most part, the guys who made that glorious season such a great experience are still in the room and on the ice. But they can't seem to get that magic back. They aren't playing with the hunger and the desperation and the fever that those players had (even though many of them ARE those players.)

Let's look back on the roster: Roy, Pominville, Vanek, Miller, Gaustad, Stafford, Hecht, even Kaleta were there. That should be enough, considering that this is the basic "Core" that the organization has been built around.

THOSE guys need to step it up and lead the way. They are old enough now to BE "that guy" and lead this team out of the basement. Someone needs to take it upon himself to make it- something, ANYTHING, happen for this team and soon. Else they are dead in the water and it will hurt. It may feel like spring in WNY, but it's only January and the Sabres still (barely) have enough time to turn their season around.

And if they can't, or won't, then it's up to one of the "new" fellas to step up and step in and grab this frickin bull by the horns and right this ship and all those pithy cliches about getting it right. JUST DO>.... SOMETHING!

And if everyone on this team would play with half of the fervor that little Gerbe does every night, they would make some progress. I know, I might be biased, but seriously, he is really standing out to me right now- he's hitting and taking shots and TRYING out there- the rest of the team needs to get it in gear.


Let's Go Buffalo!

Monday, January 2, 2012

I caved

This may be the longest post ever.. (but does anyone even read my blog anyway?)

I said I didn't know if I was going to watch the Winter Classic.. but I was wrong.
I'm going to watch it, even though it's the 2 worst teams EVAR!
-Because it's hockey and I love hockey and I'm totally snowed in so there's nothing else to do today anyway.
-Because it reminds of watching the first one with my besties and having a HILARIOUS day inventing the "87" club!
-Because it reminds me of GOING to the Winter Classic in Chicago.
-Because I got a little choked up watching/listening to Jeremy Roenick talk about the alumni game.. it reminded me of when I first started watching hockey.

I almost cried during NBC's Olympic review thing.. what is wrong with me? (Oh I know.. hormones)
And maybe I missed it but I didn't see the "Do you believe in Miracles? YES!"... not sure how I missed it or not sure how it wasn't there.. so I'll just chalk it up to my lack of attention-span.

............moving on...........
-Sorry it's not hockey time yet, they are still talking about the Olympics- I'm actually getting pretty excited for the summer Games. And they used such great music to introduce it- Jurrasic Park and then Robin Hood. :) Niiice.

Oh please don't talk about the Vancouver games. It's too painful. :(

..it's snowing again. Ha. Welcome to my life.

ooooh they're showing a documentary about the '72 Summit Series? SWEET! I've read about it but this looks awesome.

Speaking of reading and Soviet Russia (where Book reads YOU!), I'm reading this really awesome book called "From Behind the Red" by Tod Hartje- the first American to play a hockey season in Soviet Russia. So far it's pretty cool.

Great SUBWAY commercial, Phelps! I liked it. :) Eat Fresh!

-----now we have hockey- warmups time---- gosh I don't like these teams!----
I'm more or less ignoring the warmup chatter. But I gotta say how much i LOVE hearing Darren Pang! He is my favorite announcer of all time- I want to be like him when I grow up!

What's up with the funky old golaie pads that Biron and Bryzgalov are wearing? And HELLOOOO Mr. Lundqvist- yeesh he's pretty.

This pond hockey thing looks SO FUN! (and colder than cold)Love the MsConducts "fishnet" hockey socks. Awww getting all teary again about the G-Men. (gosh, settle down)

Ok Bryz seems pretty hilarious. Kinda wish I had HBO so I could watch 24/7 but alas..

LOLZ Milbury just said "BlueSHITS" on air! LMAO

In their Winter Classic montage- why did they show 2011 before 2010? Sid v. Ovie is more important than Philly v. Boston? RUDE.

Psh.. 40 degrees these guys are lucky! It was way colder than that for the Chicago game and worse for the Buffalo one!

Almost game time! Teams are taking the ice. Interesting music..

This is a good rivalry game but again, I dislike giving it to teams that have already played over teams who haven't had a turn yet!

I like the nod to the "roots" of the game by singing "Oh Canada" at a game between 2 American teams. Just like we do in Buffalo! (It's actually weird for me to go hockey games when they *don't* sing Oh Canada)

And then I wonder- do I have to stand with my hand over my heart for the "Star-Spangled Banner" when I'm home? Never sure what the proper protocol is here.

.....Interesting rendition of the "Star-Spangled Banner", and mad *drool* over the F-18s! YAY AIRPLANES!

Goodness I don't know about playing Puck Daddy's drinking game,I'd probably already be drunk! Should I try it? I have some wine and some beer here.

WOW great block by Henrik! (he's pretty so I can cheer for him)

I guess if I was FORCED to choose, I'd go for the Rangers. They have fewer players that I absolutely can't stand.

I totally forgot Danny Briere played for the Flyers. Gross.

Hopefully the weather that arrives will be snow rather than rain- rain at the winter classic is just wrong! (PITT!)

WOWZERs another solid stop by king H. That was pretty redic. Good job keeping that little punk Giroux from scoring! I don't like that guy!

I love how the players have to walk to the lockerrooms. :) Hockey in Baseball stadiums is totally cool!

I also love watching goalies walk in all their gear. For some reason it's very entertaining to me.

Awww Bill Clement! I love him even though he was a Flyer one day. That's okay to me he's just a kickin announcer. :)

Even not being a Flyers fan (furthest thing from it), the Alumni into is pretty cool!

WOW they mentioned Paul Gastad before Crosby OR Ovechkin (re: old Classics)! GO GOOOOOOOSE! :)

mmm Winter Classic hot chocolate! I still have my cup from the Chicago game, it was a really cool travel mug. :)

I always expect a guy with a cool name like James Van Riemsdyk to be attractive, but he's just..... not.

I'm doing some serious multi-tasking here: watching the game, blogging, checking facebook, tweeting, texting, drinking, eating and of course spending a little time writing about Gerbs on my livejoural (I'll spare you guys). Phew. This is tiring.

And then my brother called! Add to the multi-tasking!
EWW the Flyers scored, I may have to chug my beer!
EWW they scored again, DEF have to chug it. (so I did)
Then the Rangers scored. I cheered. What is wrong with me?? LOL

3rd beer in!

"how long as Lilija been a Flyer? he used to be a... what do you call those bloody people?"
"Red Wing?"
Yeah, Red Wing! (Love chatting with my sis during the game!)

Who are these guys playing in the intermission? The Roots? Eh.. not impressed. Then again, I was on the phone so I was only sorta appreciating it.

I'm glad it's snowing. Seems appropriate!

YAY SUBWAY ad placement! :) Eat Fresh!

3rd period is underway. What will it bring? Do I have to call my sis and bro again to have some goals scored? (no one scored till they called me and then there were 3 goals while we were chatting!)

*I might be a little drunk. Halfway through my 3rd beer in the last 2 hours. I'm a lightweight!*

Mike Rupp is the king of clutch goals- remember the 2 he scored for NJ to win it in game 7 back in 2003? I DO!!!!! Cleveland boy for the win!

Rupp did it again!!!! I love that guy. :) (back to the NJD days...)

HOLY WHOA it's 3-2 Rangers. Never thought I'd be cheering for the Rangers EVER but I'm kind digging it. I know I hate them LESS than the Flyers, at least on an individual level.

And with that last overhead shot, I've finished my 3rd beer. Yeesh I know I'm a lightweight but I haven't had 4 beers in a night since.. I don't remember when- maybe last new year- I had several beers and a bottle of arbor mist and it was an awesome drunken moment.

Crap, Laviolette called a timeout- that's 2 drinks. I need another beer!

Holywhoa... Briere for the penalty shot! ?

SAVE! In your eye, Danny boy! When you left Buffalo, you were dead to me. I am happy you missed it.

Time for more chex mix. Then maybe some dinner, if I can manage it.

Wow never thought I'd be happy to see the Rangers win a game! IthinkI need to drink nmore! (as you can see, I can't type) LOLZ I'm leaving it.

Oh no, a final aerial shot (takes a drink)

Wow, really, no post-game?

Okay I'm out. Peaceeeee homies. This was fun.