Friday, January 30
First my computer got a Trojan virus which caused it to crash yesterday. Luckily for me though I had saved most of my stuff onto a flashdrive, which thank god is not infected. But it turns out that my computer wasn't completely fried which meant I was able to run my virus software to get rid it. My uncle works on computers and he told me that if I could reboot it and get to the desktop that was a good sign, so I count myself lucky, but that I should keep running the virus software everyday for the next week just to make sure that the virus was completely gone. One plus to the whole situation is that I got to flirt with the cute boy from the computer services office at my school, when I went in there to ask him to check if the virus was completely gone, this morning. For right now I think everything is fixed, at least I hope, but I'm running the battery of tests on my computer just to be sure.
My second bad thing happened this morning when I feel down the concrete stairs in the parking lot at school. I landed on my side and have a huge bruise on my left thigh that hurts like a bitch and is turning just about every color of the rainbow. Well there's certainly no pot of gold at the end of that rainbow. So suffice it to say that it hasn't been a great two days. Plus I slept really badly last night because I was worried about my computer and the paper that I had just finished writing that was on it.
But anyway enough about my crappy life back to the Sabres who were equally as crappy in that appauling loss to Calgary. I have a feeling the pigeon was probably dropped from the rafters of the Pengrowth Saddle dome on Wednesday after the game. (Which wouldn't hurt it anyway, it being a taxidermied pigeon, the gesture is more symbolic than anything.) I can't wait to see what happens tomorrow well if anything it should be interesting, hopefully there will be good news to report tomorrow after the game. But if not we'll regroup and hope that things turn out better in Anaheim on Monday.
Wednesday, January 28
But I do have this.
Enjoy, loves. You know I do.
Oh, and like I said on Twitter, if this game against the Flames shows even a fraction of the effort on the Sabres' part as they put forth last night, I will be one happy girl. That was, as Kim alluded to, a damn fine game.
But like I said, here you go.
Tuesday, January 27
So tonight's game was just, wow....10 goals, the most scored all season and Drew with the hat trick, Timmy with 2 goals, Vanek with number 29 I believe (I'm too tired to check for accuracy), Paetsch with his first on the season, Jaro pulling of his second of the season (Jaro get puck, score goal, win game), Hecht with number 6, and Derek who has been on fire lately.
I have to say that the commentators for Sportsnet were actually good they even went so far as to complement Buffalo a number of times, mainly on their chicken wings. The first image we got of one of their commentators was him chowing down on a chicken wing but I have to question his sanity...what no blue cheese? I'm sorry but if you're going to eat wings you've got to smother them in a healthy dose of blue cheese.
So let's start with the beginning of the game DREWWWWWWW!!!! my mom turned her back to the TV and because Jennerette wasn't doing the commentary I had to tell her that he scored she didn't believe me until they showed the replay 9 seconds SWEET. Then she was on the phone in the kitchen and her only indication of them scoring at 1:11 into the game was the fact that I was sitting on the couch squealing like a pig at a hog tying contest. I couldn't believe my eyes and I was pretty sure at this point I was hallucinating but hey give me all the 'shrooms you want if the Sabres keep playing like that I'd be more than willing to spend the rest of the season in a drug induced haze.
I couldn't believe that they just kept scoring, every time I looked down at my computer to try writing my paper it seemed like they scored again which gave me a good excuse to stop looking down at my computer. This lead to me writing 3 words which I later erased because they were OH MY GOD and this is not a religion or theology paper so they weren't entirely relevant.
I'm pretty sure everyone by now has seen the shot of Craig Rivet getting hit in the nads with a skate which I'm pretty sure is about equal to having them sliced off with a plastic spoon. Let's just say that he's probably going to be singing backup for Bjork for awhile, stick him in a Renaissance flick he could be one of the adolescent choir boys or a eunuch which is scarily appropriate considering the circumstance. I hope Mrs. Rivet doesn't want anymore children because Craigory's little swimmers are probably not going to be taking any long vacations any time soon.
Throughout the game Cari and I were texting and repeatedly asking each other if we were dreaming. I told Cari that if she was still dreaming she should keep having Sleeping Beauty Syndrome for the rest of the season and that maybe Derek could be her Prince Charming. If this was all a beautiful dream, which I'm pretty sure it's not considering I have the nail marks in my arm to prove it, I don't want to wake up. Speaking of waking up, I'm going to go to bed and hopefully update tomorrow, before I go to school, when my neurons will be firing properly in my brain.
Oh and I don't know if anyone caught it but with about 3 minutes left in the 3rd the fans still left in the area, coincidentally most were disguised as chairs, started chanting 'WE WANT 10'. So either they're really masochistic, have a really bad sense of humor or there were a lot of Buffalo fans in the arena. I like to think it was the latter and that Buffalo fans are pretty much taking over every arena in the league. Okay I'm done now, another game tomorrow, we'll see how well that one goes, it should be interesting.
Maybe it's because the sun 25 degrees all of a sudden after dreary, almost sub-zero temps make me feel like we're in the middle of an Indian Summer in October, prompting me to drive home from school with my car window partially open... (Hey, mine wa s only cracked. There were plenty of people on the road with the windows all. the. way. down. Yeah.)
Or, maybe it's because I haven't seen my Sabres in exactly a week, and honest to God, I feel like I'm about to go to the season/home opener right now.
I think it's all three, with a very, very large emphasis on the third. Yeah, that must be it.
But I also can't deny that I'm sure some of my excitement stems from tennis's Australian Open. Please excuse me while I only partially explain my love of this game. Okay, well, I'll spare you, and won't. But let me just tell you this: I have two favorite male players in Andy Roddick and Novak Djokovic. I kind of liken my love for them to my love for Tim Connolly and Derek Roy. I've loved Connolly (Roddick) since the moment I knew who he was. And it's fantastic because Connolly was doing so well (Roddick won the US Open in 2003). But then Timmy got hurt (and Roddick started sucking). And then Derek Roy (Novak Djokovic) came along and stole my heart by stepping up and trying so hard to begin filling a hole left by certain co-captains (Novak did things like this and won the Australian Open last year).
So you can imagine how distrought I was Sunday when I found out that my two tennis loves were to meet in the quarterfinals. I remember Kim asking me who I would cheer for. To tell you the truth, I hadn't a clue.
I figured Djokovic would win, because he's ranked higher, and he's just fantastic, but I was hoping that Roddick would win because I just want him to do well. I'll always have a soft spot for him, seeing as his slam-winning match was the first that I ever really watched.
And to my surprise, he did.
But anyways, is this a tennis blog or a Sabres blog??
Sheesh, Cari, what are you doing?
Really though, I just hope we can get through this roadtrip relatively unscathed. I'd love for 6 points, but I'm thinking 4 or 5 would suffice for me, especially with the looks of things on defense.
I suppose we'll see tonight...
Oh, and I have to add, isn't Tommy Vanek always Mr. Humble? I mean, I adore him for it, but at some point, take some credit for yourself, okay man??? Gees...
From Sabres.com: "It's awesome," Vanek said [of being selected to play in the All-Star Game]. "A few of the other guys probably deserved to go, but I was fortunate enough to be picked and represent my teammates and the Buffalo organization."
Monday, January 26
But, if you don't have a ton of time to actually sit around and be completely unproductive all day, like I have the luxury of doing this morning, if you have to pick and choose what you watch, I suggest Blackhawks TV for your viewing pleasure. It's pretty much the best thing going these days.
Okay, are you ready? You sure?
We'll start with Michael Ryan. The Schenedtady Gazette had a nice article about his surprise of getting an AHL All-Star nod. (Yes, this is for you, MJ, but I'm not so sure you'll appreciate it once you've reached the fourth paragraph... Unless that's you?)
This next one is a commentary from this morning's TBN, by Jerry Sullivan. Now, more often than not, I disagree with Sully, but I'll give him credit where it's due, and it's definitely due today. John Brownschidle, son of NHL-er Jack, is a senior at Buffalo's Canisius High School. What's so special about him? He's a cancer survivor.
I know it's not Christmastime anymore, but the Rochester Americans in this trainwreck is just fantastic. There's a blooper reel on the site, as well, which is always good.
Patrick Sharp: Sharp shooter? Or Sharp dressed man?
No way. Even Jonathan Toews knows that listening to him be mic'ed up is brutal.
No, actual Jon, listening to you and your teammates sing a song about the Blackhawks is brutal.
(Can you tell that I really enjoy Blackhawks TV??)
I adore Patrick Sharp and Adam Burish. Their cheeky shenanigans are fabulous. Ordering the boys breakfast? Soaking hotel rooms? Stealing bags? I just love guys who shamelessly act like they're twelve. What's worse is the team is encouraging it. No, really, I do love some good pranks.
The Carolina Hurricanes were told to make a dinosaur noise. Um... What?
Up close and personal with Steve Bernier? Okay, where do I sign up? Parts 1 and 2.
Oh, one more Blackhawks video. This one was on Sports Soup last night: Kris Versteeg filling in for Ludacris on Fergie's "Glamourous." Kris? Please keep your day job. Please.
And while we're at it? Sean Avery? Ummm, plays with dolls? Somehow, I'm not surprised. Please, Sean, if you know what's good for everyone, you won't come back to hockey, and you'll just go work at a doll store. (This video is edited a bit in some spots, as I'm sure you'll notice, but it's funny, nonetheless.)
Sunday, January 25
Honestly, though, why am I bothering? We all know it's going to be ridiculously high scoring, with not excitement because there won't be any hits, and I'm 99.999% sure there won't be any penalties. What does that spell? Boring.
All I can hope is that maybe someone will do something funny. (I'm hoping he does, Frostee. For your sake and mine.)
Here goes. (All I reallt want is Vanek to do well, by the way.)
- Acrobats? Really? And one playing the violin? Okay, that's sick. But... What does it have to do with hockey?
- I just love the cheers for Lecavalier. I love him playing for Tampa, because that means I can see him play for virtually nothing when I go visit my grandmother, but it would be awesome to see him play for a great team like Montreal.
- On a side note, I'm super stoked that my migraine decided to go away.
- Another side note: I think the NHL needs to copy the AHL in a way when it comes to the skills competition. I think it's cool that the teams go up against each other, and that the players still get rewarded individually.
- MARC SAVARD IS MIC'ED UP AGAIN!! WOOHOO!! Listening to the Versus idiots is totally worth it if one or more of the guys are commentating.
- 1-0 West. Keith Tkachuk. I still refuse to like him since he hurt Connolly. No, I don't hold grudges or anything. I'm not your stereotypical redhead. Nope. Not me.
- Savvy just described himself as "stiff." Hmmmm. How about we keep it PG, okay Marc? Can you handle that?
- Just a thought: How many people think that Derek Roy could have been voted in had he rushed out of the gates, playing like he is now back in October? I'd love to see him on a line with some of these guys...
- Okay, I just have to put this out there, but I hate, hate, HATE that the Montreal fans do the "Ole" chant. THE OLE CHANT IS FOR SOCCER/FOOTBALL, depending on where you are from. NOT HOCKEY. And yes, I'll admit, I did it at the Bandits' game last week, but that's different.
- 1-1. Yeah, Alex!! I love a good give-and-go.
- I always feel bad for the goalies in the ASG. Yeah, it's cool that they got in and all, but damn are they going to get chased. That's why I was so proud of Miller last year, when he allowed only 3 of the East's 12 goals against.
- 2-1 East. Eric Staal puts the East ahead on a nifty little play with some neat passing.
- Is it wrong of me to cheer for the West?? I mean, they've got Campbell, Kane, and Toews. I adore them.
- Is Eddie Olchek going to get suspended from Versus because he's "a little banged up" and skipping the ASG? I still think it's ridiculous that the NHL is benching Lidstrom and Datsyuk because they've opted not to play.
- During any other game, I would absolutely despise the on-the-bench interviews, but during the ASG? Anything goes, I suppose.
- Okay, I really, really wish the Sabres could mic guys up during games regularly. It's pretty awesome. I used to go to Amerks games a lot and sit right behind the bench. Let me tell ya, I've never heard words strung together like that before... Quite the experience!
- A 4-on-1. You'll never, ever see that in a true NHL game, because as Savvy said, the coach "would hang us all."
- 3-1 East Alex Kovalev with a beautiful fake on a breakaway. And, of course, a wonderful reception from the Montreal fans.
- I have to say, this weekend has kinda won me over for Malkin. Seeing his performance in the accuracy competition last night and the little move he just pulled... I kinda like his style. Kudos to you, man, and I apologize for the trash-talking I've done in your direction.
- Honda is the official vehicle of the NHL?? WHAT? Since when? I do want a Civic Hybrid, though, but only if they'd come in coupes...
- They're interviewing Sidney. As much as I don't like him, he should be playing, and it is unfortunate that he's hurt, because he is a truly gifted player.
- To be honest, I find it pretty difficult to get into
- 4-1 East. Savvy gets an assist on Markov's goal!! As does Ovie. Nice little set up, too. I wish the Sabres' passes could be that quick and crisp.
- 4-2 East. Marleau cuts the deficit in half right before the intermission.
- NO!! SAVVY, YOU CAN'T LEAVE ME!! WTF is this shit? Seriously, though, if Versus doesn't have someone else mic'ed up in the second, I'm switching over to CBC. The Canadians call hockey INFINITELY better than Americans. Exhibit A: Rick Jeanneret.
- I love how all the guys are running around and getting each other's autographs. So cute.
- NELSON MANDELLA!! Oh, he takes me back to global studies, sophomore year in high school with Mrs. Reidell (Anne, you know who I'm talking about, right??). We had to sing "Free Nelson Mandella." Oh, good times. You had to be there, I guess.
- Aw, Mrs. Kennedy is too cute, too. idk, maybe it's just the nursing home employee in me, but I love it when the old ladies rock the animal prints and velour sweat suits.
- Well, it's obvious that the Staal boys take after their mother, blonde hair and pale skin. Whatever. At least Eric and Jordan are good-looking.
- Ovie says he'll hit someone if he gets the chance. Um, yeah, probably not the smartest thing to do in the ASG.
- Martin St. Louis is mic'ed up. =] He's very quiet, though...
- He says he's impressed by Zach Parise's play. I'm impressed that Drew Stafford has such good-looking friends.
- 5-2 East. Good thing Marty said "gotta go boys," because he scored on a yummy backhand. Did I really just describe a goal as "yummy?"
- 6-2 East. I think Vs should keep St. Louis mic'ed up if it means that Parise is going to keep notching the points.
- 6-3 East Nice, quick release from Souray again cuts the West's deficit in half.
- Random thought: I stand by the notion that soup is the best thing to eat while one is sick. Delicious.
- I just now noticed Vanek on the ice for the first time. Some fan I am, eh?
- 6-4 East. Shane Doan beautifully sets up Dan Boyle. And I should mention that Brian Campbell assisted on that.
- Seriously? Who gets their nose broken five times, and then their jaw broken? Talk about a tough guy...
- I love these drinkability Bud Light commercials... =]
- 7-4 East. Like I said, Malkin really is winning me over. "The Malkin Special..." Haha.
- Cary Price was just on the phone with his mama. Adorable.
- 7-5 East. Rick Nash goes top shelf. I must say, thus far, this is one of the closest ASG's I can remember.
- 7-6 East. Hejduk puts it up high, as well, the pull the West within one. Another thing of beauty. That's what I love about this game; you get to see all of these ridiculously incredible goals that you'd never see elsewhere.
- 7-7. Souray ties it up. Again, the passing tonight is continually blowing my mind. It's perfection, just like Mike Ryan's eyebrows, right MJ??
- Random thought: I'm writing a ton more on this liveblog than I've ever written on a Sabres liveblog. There's something wrong with that, right?
- One of the commentators just said that Montreal's fans are in a bad mood all summer if the Canadiens miss the playoffs. Um, excuse me, but isn't any truly dedicated hockey fan upset if their team misses the playoffs? I mean, I for one am absolutely miserable whenever someone mentions the Sabres in the off-season even if we do make the playoffs. Then again, that's just me, little ol' maniacal me.
- 8-7 East. Beautifully executed breakaway by Kovalev, beginning on his end of the neutral zone. You don't see that every day. Absolutely incredible.
- Kovalev missed the perfect opportunity for a hat trick by cranking one off the post. Oh well. Not that he won't have many more chances, or anything.
- I love the Sports Soup commercials. What's more is my adoration of Sports Soup itself. I never thought I'd have that sort of appreciation for a show other than Talk Soup or Late Night with Conan O'Brien. (I told you I have a thing for redheads. Don't judge me. Don't you dare.)
- I think we need to get Vanek some new linemates. He needs to put some points up.
- 8-8. I told you that this was the closest ASG I can remember. The proof is in the pudding, my friends.
- Tommy tried a nice little move, attempting to go "right through the kitchen, there." Um, what? Yeah, I don't know either. I'm still proud of him for his performance last night.
- Patty K got robbed. (Wow, I feel like I'm talking about Kaleta. That makes me sad. I want him back.)
- St. Louis couldn't wait to get that earpiece out, I guess, seeing as he was struggling to get free of it before the Vs guys even bid their adieus.
- Aw, Tim Thomas is a mama's boy!! You can't hold that against him, though, as his mother is a cancer survivor.
- They suggested that Luongo wear body armor. Yeah.
- 9-8 West. Shane Doan is feeding off of the fun he had last night.
- 9-9. Heatley ties it up. Another thing of beauty with a guy camped out at the top of the crease. Not something I'll get used to.
- Seriously? Who schedules hockey games on Super Bowl Sunday? Are you stupid? Even if it is a matinee game... Sheesh.
- 10-9 West. YAYYY BOYTOY TOEWS!! That's what I've been waiting for!
- Haha, the fans are chanting "Thomas." The goalie chant gets old, though, because it usually backfires, unless you're chanting "Miller," at which point, who the hell knows what will happen?
- I have to admit, the commercial with Ovie, Chara, and Savvy was very cute.
- Aww, PKane. So modest. Typical Buffalonian.
- Uhm, Joe Thornton so obviously does not know how to discreetly look at the Teleprompter. Shame.
- 10-10. Marty St. Louis ties it up, finally getting one past Roberto, for his second of the night.
- Shots are 46-41, with the West leading. That's incredible, if you forget how many goals have been scored.
- I'm a tad bit disappointed that no player is mic'ed up this period, but I'm too lazy to get up, get the controller, and change the channel.
- Ovie has to be kidding me. You can't seriously be looking for a penalty in the ASG. Come on now, boy.
- 11-10 West. PKANE!! Yeah boy! Way to get it done. So all three of the ChiTown boys have gotten on the board in at least one column; now I'm just waiting on Vanek to get some.
- 11-11. Wow. This game isn't back and forth at all, or anything. JBo! Can we get him? Please? Just make a nice little package of Max, some other dead weight, a draft pick, and a bag of pucks and tape, and I think that should suffice, don't you?
- How awesome would it be if this game went to a shootout like the ASG did a few years ago?
- Interesting factoid: The ASG in Buffalo back in '78 was the first to go to OT, and Gil Perreault ended it.
- This is probably one of the most intense extra five minutes I've ever watched. Amazing saves. Unbelievable.
- Oh, you've got to be kidding me!! Why would you call a penalty now? The first penalty in the All-Star Game since 2000, and you're going to call it in overtime? Get outta here. West PP.
- Beautiful PK by the East. Textbook play, and it couldn't be better.
- First of all, did I call it, or what??
- Isn't it fitting to put Shane Doan in the shootout? Taking notes Wayne?
- Oh, there's the garden gnome. (AKA Gary Bettman.)
- Round 1: Lecavalier? Unsuccessful. Doan? Saved.
- Round 2: Kovalev? Scores! Nash? Missed. 1-0 East.
- Round 3: Ovechkin? It's good! 2-0 East.
Final: 12-11 East.
Not too shabby!! A
I just wish Vanek had put up some points, and hadn't finished in a tie for the worst +/- in the game (-3) along with linemates
And Bettman is getting booed. I love it.
Kovalev gets the MVP. Deserved, seeing as he had 2 goals and an assist, as well as the game winner in the shootout.
Well, I assume I'll be back tomorrow, hopefully with something interesting. If not, I'll definitely post Tuesday afternoon after school. No more early morning posts for me. At least, not on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday, seeing as I have to be at school for an 8 am class. Yuck.
Time for Sports Soup. xoxo.
Well, my friends, my life is not always that exciting, and as much as it saddens me to say this, none of that happened, and I know you all have lives, so you weren't really worried. It doesn't hurt that I talked to at least a few of you on Facebook or through texts or emails.
But really, I had probably the shittiest week known to man. Not only did school start, but I think I'm going to resort to rearranging my ethics
I have to say, I'm in love with the photographers from this weekend. A while back, when the Sabres started taking those ultrasexy black and white pictures of the guys and throwing them up all over the arena, I was in love. But, at the same time, I was thinking, "Ummmm, no. These guys are not the most photogenic (coughTimConnnollycoughBrianCampbellcough), so why am I gushing over these pictures?"
But I've taken it all back, because they're really cool. They're artsy and they show the guys a little bit differently. I still like going by Connolly's because you can see his terribly receeding hairline, and Kaleta's because his face is mangled. Oh, and Mair's and Lydman's are pretty good, too, because the shadows allow you to see all of their scars. They're actually pretty neat.
So you can imagine my glee when I saw all of the ridiculous pictures they were taking this weekend.
Like this one:
But then you get true winners like these ones:
But I'm sorry, because Vinny takes the cake for the best looking boy of the night:
So the SuperSkills Competition was pretty entertaining. I can't stand Versus, so I watched on CBC. I figured some of the guys were mic'ed up when I saw the CIA-esque wires sticking out of their jerseys, but I didn't equate them with the Versus broadcast, so I missed out on that fun. Oh well. I was pretty amused by Ovie's antics with the sunglasses, and I just love his use of my ancestor's flag in his hat. Adorable. And I totally called Vanek using the Around The World. I didn't know he'd use it twice though. Cool deal.
I'm still undecided if I really will give the All*Star game my full attention this evening. I might. Really. As much as I am disgusted with the whole voting process and all, it could be entertaining. But if it starts to look anything like the YoungStars game was last night, I'll leave it on, but I'm moving on to the endless hours of psychology reading I have. Not that that is any more fun or anything. I just want Vanek to do well.
What's more, though, is my excitement that next week's games actually will be televised after all. When it was made known to me that no one in WNY could watch it at all, I was almost tempted to get into my car and drive somewhere--anywhere--that didn't have an ip address that I do, just so I could watch it. But I'm glad I don't have to do that, because it saves me a bunch of money, and a whole lot of sleep.
Seriously, though, I hate west coast trips. The guys never seem to have their feet under them during the first couple games, so it'll be interesting to see how they do. I think it would have been beneficial to get them out there a day or two early, but that can't happen because of the break. They should be quite rested, although that doesn't always seem to help, either. Vanek, in my opinion, is the only guy with an excuse to not play well.
Well, maybe he and Marc-Andre Gragnani. Yes, we called him up last night. Last time he put on the blue and gold, he skated with the forwards. This time, he's filling in for Henrik Tallinder, who injured his shoulder and is out indefinitely. Cool. Should be interesting, to say the least.
Even though I was one of those ones, complaining that we had too many defensemen up here a couple weeks ago, I knew something like this would happen. I really think Regier needs to make some sort of move to get an established d-man here, because we can't afford to throw our prospects in the lineup, especially with this roadtrip. Chris Butler has been exceptional thus far, and we've received much more than we could have imagined from him. But that's not going to hold true to everyone, so I'm just praying that Gragnani can at least keep it simple and not screw things up. The Sabres can't afford to do poorly on this trip because Carolina is only two points behind us; Pittsburgh and Florida only three behind.
These next four games will be vital to kicking off the playoff push. I just hope we can pull at least 5, but more ideally at least 6 points, out of this trip.
Monday, January 19
...for Henrik Tallinder. (Don't even get me started on Genero. I've said it before, I want her job, and I'd stop at nothing short of lumping her up to get it. That is, if I weren't afraid of the ensuing arrest.)
Really, though, I've always liked Hank and thought he was a decent enough defenseman. And it didn't hurt that during practices or whatever he always, always is smiling, and you can often her him shouting in celebration or just because they're having fun. And that's what I want from the Sabres. I want them to play well, but I want them to have fun.
Everyone knows that when you're having fun and you're getting satisfaction from your job or task at hand, than you'll perform better while doing it. So if the Sabres are having fun, then they'll most likely be playing a hell of a lot better than we've seen out of them this season.
Anyways, I just thought it was adorable during the Sabres Show, when Henrik was talking about sledding with this wife Ann(e) and their children Nathan and Amelie. He smiled and went all cute and sentimental on us when he said he loves to hear the kids giggle.
Come on, now. Big collective AWWW. =]
But that's only the first part of my conviction.
The rest has to do with the long-term injuries suffered by Teppo Numminen (fractured jaw) and Andrej Sekera (ankle).
I've been saying it for weeks: The Sabres somehow needed to devise a defensemen rotation of sorts. Yes, before you even say it, I know it would screw up the pairings and the chemistry, blah blah blah, but we all know that our defense corps tend to break down and fall apart (i.e. every single one gets hurt) from the middle of the season, down through the stretch, and into the playoffs.
(I honestly believe that, had Jay McKee not contracted a ridiculous staph infection in his leg, due to a laceration from his pads, we would have a Stanley Cup banner in the rafters at the HSBC Arena.)
But now Chris Butler is really going to know what it's like to be a regular NHL player. Teppo Numminen is not going to be there to show him the ropes now, and he's going to have to step up even more than he has already to carry this team. Yes, I said carry this team. Out of the six defensemen that are going to be dressing now, I believe that Butler is the most consistent and most reliable. At least he has been since he was called up before Christmas.
And Nathan Paetsch?
I've been saying all along that Lindy Ruff needs to change the ways he deals with his seventh defenseman and his back-up goalies. If they have one bad game, they never again see playing time. You can't expect a guy who sits about 10 games or more to come back to the lineup and play better than your starter(s). It just won't happen. They either have to be played more often, or given a string of two, maybe three, games, depending on who it is (i.e. position).
Lindy did it last year with Thibault, and he's doing it this year with Lalime.
The sad thing is, this thinking and method has seeped it's way up to the press box, which has become much like a prison for Paetsch, I'm sure.
No matter how many bag skates this guy does, no matter how many extra minutes he logs with James Patrick, no matter how many times he hits the stationary bikes, he is not going to be used to game-play. It just won't happen.
I can only hope that Nathan has a good game tonight. Well, actually, whether he does or not is slightly irrelevant, because no one is going to be getting a flight from Portland to Buffalo any time soon. Not a defenseman, at least. Mike Weber has been injured for some time now, and Mike Funk is recuperating in his hometown of Abbotsford, BC while he recovers from his second concussion since training camp of this year. (The first was suffered during camp, I believe the opening day. He returned from that on November 7, 2008, which just so happened to be the night I was there. The second concussion was suffered from a vicious hit from behind into the boards (which I still can't find video of), mid-December. Funk has only played in 13 of Portland's 37 games.) Out of the other d-men there, only two have seen any time up in Buffalo (Mike Card and Marc-Andre Gragnani, the latter used to play as a winger).
So like I said, hopefully Paetsch will have been worked in practice hard enough to be near game speed. I really hope he does well, because I'd hate to see him go. And the likely scenario is that he will if he doesn't play well.
Die By The Blade has already furthered the trade rumor that could be bringing in veteran Mathieu Schneider to bolster the blue line in exchange for the mostly unwanted Maxim Afinogenov.
Could something along these lines happen? It will be interesting to see which rumors turn out to be actual moves once the trade deadline passes. But if this one does go through, the Sabres will be in a rut as far as bodies go. We've got too many defensemen, but most of them are very young. I'm anxious to see what Darcy and the management will do, come February and March.
Anyways, Go Sabres! (And Derek? Remember what I said about no friends on the ice. You shouldn't even be friends with Greg Campbell off the ice, so definitely no niceties on the ice.)
Oh, and I just feel the need to tell you that Thomas Vanek giggles like a girl, and he and Drew Stafford stuck Butler with the bill at Chef's on Saturday. He laughed it off when asked about it, but still. Way to treat the rookies like that.
Saturday, January 17
Let me first touch on the Sabres/Stars game.
I kid you not, I was seriously going to turn the game off when it became 3-0, Dallas. I mean, my brother had already vacated the room, my father had fallen asleep in his recliner, and my mother had picked up her Stephen King novel. At that point, what's a girl to do? Her family has "abandoned" her, and the only love(s) in her life weren't measuring up.
And don't even get me started on how angry I was with Drew Stafford. Seriously? How do you get in the box twice in one period and then how do the Sabres allow them to score twice?? Honestly, I didn't think there would be a doghouse big enough to fit Drew in at that moment. And I really did not envy the ensuing brunt of Lindy's anger, either.
But then Paul Gaustad came along.
Kim, I know that Paul is your favorite and all, but I love him. I've definitely fallen for him (at least until tonight's game).
So it was all good during our little comeback. We came within one goal, thanks to Jochen Hecht, but then we allowed the Stars to pull ahead a bit more, which was extremely disconcerting to my feeble heart.
But, then again, cue Paul Gaustad!! Seriously, this guy knows how to make a girl's heart flutter.
And I could barely contain myself when I thought Jaro Spacek had scored, but then was even more excited to find out that it was, in fact, Clarke MacArthur! There we had it, folks. A tie game, headed to overtime.
But you all know how much I hate overtime. And I hate the shootout even more. Don't get me wrong; it's entertaining as hell. I just don't have the patience/strength to endure it.
I really thought Tim Connolly would help a girl out and win the game for us, but no. Anyways, what can I expect from a guy who had all but concluded his 10th game of the season? And can I just say that when Jere Lehtinen beat Ryan Miller in the shootout, I feared all hope was lost? But then Derek Roy rescued me from the depths of despair (yes, I'm being dramatic), and Jason Pominville (who I've taken to calling JPom for some reason...) put the nail in the coffin.
I have a flair for the dramatic. That's why I love games like these. And wasn't it just adorable to see the guys pushing, shoving, and punching each other at the end? They were just so happy!
Note to the Sabres: See how happy you are when you win? And when you're happy, your body produces more serotonin. And when you're producing more serotonin, you'll probably play better. Which means you'll win more. See where I'm going with this??
Oh, and congratulations goes to Craig Rivet, who put up his 200th career point with his assist on Gaustad's first goal of the game.
So guys, let's keep the serotonin flowing tonight, eh?
But on to the Bandits game, where there was an overabundance of serotonin.
23 goals??? Seriously???
For those of you who don't know, last night was my first Bandits game. I'm a big lacrosse fan, and when they used to show the games on Empire back in the day, I'd watch them. But now they're not televised (that I know of), so I never get to see them.
But the Bandits sure know how to instill false expectations in a girl.
So we all know that Derek Roy is my favorite Sabre, and that Trent Edwards is my favorite Bill (sort of by default). But I needed a favorite Bandit. So, who do I choose? Mark Steenhuis. The reason, you may ask? Well, there's a few. He has ridiculously hair, which is basically the reason I fell for Tim Connolly during his Sabres introductory press conference. He also was born in Niagara Falls (Ontario), so he's basically a hometown boy. And he has bright orange sneakers, which is just fabulous. It doesn't hurt that his adorable son has his hair.
Little did I know that I'd walk away with my adopted favorite Bandit scoring 13 points. Eight goals and five assists. Um... What??
Yeah. Pretty much the best first Bandits game. Ever. Maureen (Kim's mom) probably hates me now, because whenever she can't go to a sporting event, I take her ticket. And whenever I take her ticket, they (usually the Sabres) win. And in spectacular fashion. So last night fit the mold perfectly.
Kim just looked up some factoids on her phone as I was writing this:
That game (in which the final score was 23-6) now holds the Rochester Knighthawk's records for most goals against and most lopsided loss. Pretty sweet, right?
But at one point during the game, the guy who sits next to Kim just looked at us, dumbfounded, and said, "So, tomorrow, when I want to read about this game, should I look on the sports page, or in the obituaries?"
Damn good question, Aaron. I think the latter would be more appropriate.
Well anyways, Kim and I are finally getting to a game-day skate today, barring any unforeseen occurrences in the next half hour. I'll put up some pictures before I go fulfill my duties to the work-world.
Thursday, January 15
Yeah, well... That didn't happen.
Yes, I did have a wonderful evening at Shea's, watching my favorite musical ever (RENT! Go see it!), but I couldn't stay away from the Sabres. I couldn't resist.
During intermission, no matter how much Kim protested, because I made her promise to not let me, I pulled out my cell phone and checked the score.
"Ehh... Not bad." It was 0-0.
A moment later, Kim nudges me: "Al scored!" Cool deal.
But then, a few minutes later, 2-1 Chicago. Um, what? Excuse me?
Cue "Seasons of Love," and the powering-down of the phone.
So then, once the play was over and we were crossing a slush-covered Main Street (Sorry, Britt, but your boots have salt marks on them now. I'm trying my best to get them off!), I again, couldn't resist, so I checked the damage. And damage is right. It was 4-1 at that point.
Needless to say, after listening to the third period on the radio on the way home, and then my brother admitting to me that we blew a six-minute power play, I was less than thrilled.
The only part of the game I watched were the last few minutes that I caught upon entering the house, and I watched Stafford's hit on Keith this morning, just to see if it really was all that bad. And it wasn't. Unfortunate that he struggled after the hit, but it was clean, and the way Ben Eager reacted was absolutely ridiculous. I understand sticking up for your teammate, but do it, and then let it go. The hit was clean.
And Ben Eager is going to get himself a reputation if he keeps behaving and talking trash like that... Well, not that he doesn't already, or anything.
I only hope that the game I will actually see will be better.
But can someone seriously explain to me what is going through Lindy Ruff's mind right now/last night? Why on Earth was Butler sitting in the press box? He's been one of the best defensemen on this team since he arrived in Buffalo, and there is no reason good enough to satisfy me as to why he shouldn't be in the lineup.
Okay. Now that I sort of got my ranting out of the way (seriously, though--go see Rent), I can just say Go Sabres, and hopefully we'll
Wednesday, January 14
I'm going to be completely honest with you, friends. I love Brian Campbell. No lie. I've told you that before. And it's not just because he's a redhead, but I'm not going to go into the depths of my attachment to him, so just know it's there. Oh, and it's been there for a very, very long time.
What I am willing to divulge to you, though, is my behavior last year on February 26, 2008. (And I can almost guarantee that I will act in basically the same manner if another of my favorites gets sent packing on March 4th.) I woke up that morning just like any other morning and packed my bag for school, triple checking the battery level on my MacBook. I had TSN's TradeCenter set to my homepage on Safari, ensuring that I wouldn't miss a thing.
I drove the 15 minutes to UB's north campus, and was sitting in Chemistry (one of the few times I actually went before I just stopped going because I had already failed), not paying too much attention to Professor ("Winston") Churchill, only hitting refresh continuously on my browser. Oh, and all the while, IM-ing Kim, discussing the trades and how I wasn't too sure if I'd be able to deal if Brian left.
At 11:27 am, my heart dropped and shattered on the lecture hall floor. Literally, this is what I said to Kim: "HE'S GONE. KIMMY, HE'S GONE."
From then on, I'm not entirely too sure what I did. I know I almost felt like crying, and thankfully I was in one of the last rows of the biggest hall on campus, and it was dark, because Winston likes to use Powerpoint.
But then I discovered Steve Bernier, and I was willing to accept him with open arms, especially with his debut in blue and gold.
Really, though? I miss them both terribly.
The one story I will always remember about Brian Campbell is highly entertaining. Well, at least it was to the 15-year-old me, before I heard about his galavanting ways.
It was late March or early April 2003, and the Dairy Queen in Kenmore had just reopened for the season. My friend and I wanted to go get some ice cream, so we walked the, oh I don't know, maybe seven blocks down Elmwood to get some.
The topic on everyone's mind was the SARS pandemic. But it was hitting home for Sabres fans, with roommates Rhett Warrener and Brian Campbell under house arrest/quarantine, because Campbell's sister-in-law was showing symptoms after coming into contact with SARS patients at the Toronto hospital she worked at. They were shacked up in Warrener's Kenmore home, not all that far from my friend's house.
Anyways, while we were standing in line to get our ice cream, who should get in the line opposite ours? Brian Campbell and Rhett Warrener. I'm pretty sure Campbell got a twist in a dish with chocolate sprinkles.
Basically, they could have killed me. Except, neither one of them actually contracted SARS, so I guess that's alright.
(ETA: In retrospect, I guess I didn't really do the story justice. I just think it's funny that, when they might have had SARS, Brian and Rhett are sneaking out of the house, disregarding regulations from the World Health Organization, to go to Dairy Queen and get their ice cream fix. Hmm.)
Even so, Brian, I'll never boo you. Well, at least not baring unforeseen occurrences. I'm impressed at how you and your Blackhawks have done this season, and I'll always cheer for you, as long as you're not playing the Sabres. Hey, I drove my family nuts on New Years Day because all I wanted was for it to be 1 o'clock so that I could watch you in the Winter Classic (even though it was better when you were wearing blue and gold).
Now if we could get Steve Bernier back, I'd be a happy girl.
There is a positively awesome article about Derek Roy in the TBN today, surprisingly written by Bucky Gleason. I knew there was a reason I loved Derek. I mean, for his hockey skills, not his ridiculous off-ice behavior.
About tonight's game? Well, I'm not going to be watching. I know, I know, that's outrageous since it's my one legit change to really watch Brian Campbell and not want him to win this season. But Kim and I are going to see Rent tonight at Shea's. Totally worth it. So excited.
But I am taping the game, and I've already told all of my hockey-obsessed friends and my family not to breathe a word of a score or anything related to this game to me until I finish watching it. Yeah. We'll see if that actually happens. Not counting on it.
Sunday, January 11
But still I've been going to hockey games since I was little and now my family splits season tickets with my uncle so I go to at least 20 games a year and watch all the other games on TV. I know the hand motions for penalties and I know all the players, I've had guys behind me at the games ask what a certain call means or what icing is or off-sides is I am in no way a PUCK BUNNY. Most guys assume that because I like hockey I'm in it for the men and while yes the good looking players are an added bonus the fact that I like hockey has very little to do with that fact. I like hockey for its intensity and its ability to make me forget about everything except grown men pushing a disc of galvanized rubber around a big sheet of ice while occasionally getting it into a big netted contraption which means that team gets a point.
While Mark Mancari was up from Portland there were two guys sitting behind my mom and me discussing him. They were saying that they knew he had the fastest shot in the AHL but they weren't sure how fast it actually was, being me I turned around and told him matter of factly that the slapshot registered at 102.8 mph which was .4 mph less then Zdeno Chara. The guy looked at me like I had grown three heads and said "wow you know a lot about hockey for a girl." And there they are the magic words I would have been fine if he had just said that I knew a lot about hockey but then he had to go and add the words 'for a girl' I hate that stereotype and that's exactly what it is a stereotype that because I have boobs and ovaries that I somehow should know less about sports then they do.
So guys if you ever meet me anywhere and want to know anything about hockey please for the love of all that is holy don't add the words 'for a girl' on the end of a sentence. As a matter of fact I'm pretty sure that any of my fellow girl bloggers would appreciate it if you would refrain from using the words 'for a girl' and 'Puck Bunny' in their presence.
Saturday, January 10
I have to say that I didn't watch much of the game mainly because I was standing in a crowded bar with fellow bloggers discussing hockey related things (most of the time). It was also hard to watch the game with no sound because the bar was also showing the football games that were on tonight so the sound for the Sabres game was turned down so as not to distract the other patrons from watching grown men tackle each other over possession of a pig skin (not that I'm dissing football, I just think that hockey is more interesting but I've got to be PC here I couldn't risk pissing someone off but then again it's our blog we can do what we will with it anyways back to hockey).
When the Sabres scored I almost let myself believe that maybe we could pull it off (yay Derek Roy) but once again it is the Sabres curse to get your hopes up only to have them dashed at the last second, or the last 3 minutes, which was how long it took Detroit to take a game that was relatively evenly matched to a game that was most certainly a Detroit win.
Even though the Sabres lost I still had fun tonight it was nice meeting everyone and being able to put faces with blogs. Now I'm off to bed to get ready for my return to the academic world on Monday I've got to get all the sleep I can because once school starts it's going to be in short supply.
Really, though, where has Daniel Paille disappeared to? (Do I really need to put this picture on the side of all milk cartons in Buffalo?)
I mean, last season, he was our diamond in the rough. He played in 77 games, had 19 goals and 16 assists, and finished a plus-nine. He showed great potential as being a guy who would go into the corners, battle with the opposition, and he showed signs of playing without fear.
Aside from the first month of the season, I haven't noticed him on the ice, and that worries me.
At the start of the season, Paille came storming out of the gates in a presence-sense, hitting everything in sight. That tapered off in a matter of games, surprising for a guy who was voted the hardest checker in the OHL back in the day.
That, however, is not the only upsetting thing about number 20. What is? The fact that he has been wildly inconsistent and unreliable is what worries me.
In October, he only registered points in four games. Paille had one goal and four assists for the month, and was a plus-one. This was across the Sabres' 10 games. That's not that bad, considering that he produced an average .5 points per game, which would land him a pace of 40 points for the season.
November, though, was a travesty. Dan missed two of the Sabres' 13 games in the month, one as a healthy scratch up in Boston (Nov. 8), and the other (also against Boston, on Nov. 26) due to illness (the flu). So he played in 11 games, in which he put up points in three, leaving him with one goal and two assists on the month. He was also a minus-three. That's a terrible performance, if you ask me. I like to judge a player's offensive production by averages of points per game, if you hadn't noticed, because I think just goals or just assists doesn't tell the whole story. But Dan's tells a very scary story, because in November, he was only at .27 points per game. Yeah. Enough said.
The month of December was hardly better to Paille. Appearing in all 14 games for the team, Dan only racked up two goals and two assists, those coming in three games. A minus-three on the month, Paille's points per game stat sat at .29.
Thus far in January, Paille has played in the Sabres' four games. He had an assist in only one of those games, putting his points per game at .25, and he's at an even zero on the plus/minus.
What does that leave him at for the season? Well, after 39 games, Paille has four goals and nine assists, totaling for 13 points, that's .33 points per game. And he's at a minus-five. Pace for the season? At this rate, he'll appear in 80 games, and his stats will improve to eight goals and 18 assists, for 26 points (still only .33 per game), and finish at a minus-five.
How do I feel about this?
You all should know by now that I am a Daniel Paille fan. If you don't, you do now. I really took a liking to him last season, but thus far in 2008-09, I'm not impressed at all. I should definitely be seeing more from a first-round draft pick, especially when he tore up the OHL. This, however, is about the level he produced at in Rochester while there.
I think, though, if someone needs to be packaged up in a trade to clear some room, or to Maxim Afinogenov look more appealing to other teams, Paille would be the guy I would send, as much as it would break my heart. Many people would say Drew Stafford would be a better guy to send packing, but Stafford is doing well on a line with Derek Roy. I'd leave him alone. Paille has struggled all year, and that could just be a general struggle.
But can we really afford to have a guy who is supposed to be one of our more gritty lower-scoring forwards on our team? It could be a deal-breaker if we're fighting for a playoff spot come March. That's all I'm saying...
Alas, Kim and I will be joining the other bloggers down at Casa di Pizza tonight for the game, as she mentioned last night. It will most definitely be a good time, and hopefully the Sabres will finally be able to solve Ty Conklin. I'm really sick of him having our number. Let's get his for a change, eh?
Friday, January 9
That's him on the left.
Today marked the halfway point in the Sabres season and before tonights game they were dead even in wins and losses with 20 each counting shootout and overtime losses. Tonight's game was also the 4th win in a row for the Sabres putting them at 4-0 since the New Year if this streak continues the Sabres can say hello to a playoff spot (let's hope) because as it stands right now they are tied with Carolina for 7th place in the Eastern conference.
As the guy in the booth at the parking ramp said tonight it was an important win for the Sabres tonight because tomorrow we play (shudder, cringe) Detroit who we haven't played at all this season and who I'm not looking forward to playing at all for obvious reasons mainly Henrik Zetterberg and Ty Conklin (why is it that we get rid of a player and they do fantastically on another team it's got to be part of the Buffalo curse I tell you).
Well I'm attending the blogger get together tomorrow so for those of you who are going it'll be nice to put a blog with a face I look forward to meeting you.
Leadership. Cliche, yes, but it's the honest-to-goodness truth. The first step to team chemistry (which we all know the Sabres have; most of them came up through the ranks together, and you know they consider each other to be the best of friends) is a well-defined leader. It obviously hasn't worked thus far this season too much, with the absence of Captain Craig Rivet. The guys have not been holding each other accountable enough, and that's the main reason I wish that we had never lost tonight's foe, Chris Drury. But, with Rivet back in the lineup (hopefully, for good, now), this snafu should be cleared up. (Although, it was nice to see Gaustad call out the entire team the other night after the debacle against Washington. As I said, he had my vote for captain.)
Balanced scoring. The Sabres need to roll three lines in order to have this. That means everyone, and not just Thomas Vanek, Derek Roy, Drew Stafford, Jason Pominville, and Clarke MacArthur, need to step it up and bury the biscuit a little more often. Hopefully, again, with the return of Connolly, a little spice might be thrown into our game, and mix it up a little. True, seven Sabres have over 20 points, but only four have more than 10 goals. You might say I'm asking too much, but when we've got guys like Paille, Hecht, Connolly, and Kotalik have eight goals or less, something's got to give.
Discipline. Plan and simple, the Sabres have taken too many stupid penalties. How many times have we been whistled for too many men on the ice? Take that number, and add ten. That's that many too many. And some people might say the refs are out to get us, or they're still bitter over the Miller situation, but that's water under the bridge. Even if the officials are calling a biased game, no matter our opponent, the Sabres need to overcome that. It's what good teams do, and if the Sabres can't do it, well then we've got a very big problem.
Strong penalty killing. Yes, we're sitting at third overall currently, with an 86.7% average, but that needs to be maintained. And bettered at home.
Killer instinct on the power play. The Sabres have only converted on 20.6% of their man-advantages. That's only 11th in the league. Enough said. Basically, and it's easy for me to say, because I've never played hockey; but hey, I've only watched it since I was, oh, about three years old. Get the puck to the net, and have a guy down low. That's where Vanek had a ton of success last season, and Gaustad is effective there as well. Like I said, easier said than done, but it's an effective method. Again, Connolly's return will help with puck movement and pulling the opposition out of position. His presence will definitely have an impact.
Health. Thus far, we've lost 107 man games to injury. There have been 15 different instances of injury, many of which occurred to the same players. This doesn't even include games lost to illness (Paille, Toni Lydman, etc.). We've struggled mainly due to inconsistency of lineups. Hopefully, with Connolly and Rivet off the shelf (for the time being, at least), it will begin to improve. Now if only we could get Patrick Kaleta back into the lineup. It will be interesting to see what does happen with the roster when, or if, we reach full health, because there will be way too many guys in the locker room.
Effort and heart. I cannot tell you have many times I've left the arena in years past saying, "Well, it's too bad they lost. At least they played hard," or "at least it was a good game." I haven't been able to say that much at all this season. Honestly, I don't mind watching them play, even shelling out in the neighborhood of $100, if the Sabres play hard and battle, and then lose. It's part of the risk you take buying tickets, or even sitting down in the evening to watch a game, rather than write a term paper. What I hate most is when I do that, and the Sabres barely show up, and I wonder if my residents at the nursing home could play a better game of hockey. All I ask is for consistent effort, 100%, 60 minutes, night-in, night-out. It's what they're getting paid for, after all.
This barely scratches the surface of the issues with this team, but if they could get the ball rolling on those, this team could be great. They've all got the potential and the talent, but that only goes so far. That needs to be put into action to translate into wins. They're not going to post themselves automatically. I only hope that the Sabres can keep on the path that 2009 has them on, because if they continue to play that way, they'll be one of the teams to beat, come the stretch.
Thursday, January 8
For me the actual All-Star game is boring because we all know it's going to be a high scoring game with very few penalties, very few hits and no fights (not that I can remember at least). Now that's not to say that I'm not going to watch it because I will but I'd much rather watch the skills competition which I believe to be the most exciting part of the All-Star break.
Now as Cari said in a previous post we are trying to make this blog less puck bunny and more intelligent hockey discussion which means that I have to curb those puck bunny tendencies that seem to want to surface every time Paul's name is mention. They include giggling, swooning and making keening noises when someone mentions his name or when he's on the ice during a game. I lead a sad and pathetic life, don't judge me. Now just because we're saying that we're going to try and make this blog not so puck bunnyish doesn't mean that it's not going to be puck bunnyish some of the time because we're girls with hormones and lots of 'em.
Back to intelligent hockey, now I don't know if any of you have heard about the live chat that the Buffalo News hosts Thursday mornings but if you haven't it's basically a question and answer session when fans send in their questions and Bucky Gleason answers them. One question in particular caught my eye someone asked what was up with Pat K. considering they said he would be out for three weeks after being put in a hard brace for his neck injury and it's already been two weeks with no word as to a date for a return. Bucky said in response that it's a ligament in Pat's neck that has been giving him trouble since being suckerpunched by Denis Gauthier. Correct me if I'm wrong but the Sabres haven't actually come out and said what's wrong with Kaleta's neck so at least now we know it's not a concussion or something really serious like a cracked vertebrae. The live chat is still up on Buffalo News.com under Sabres Edge for anyone who is interested.
Alright. Now that I've gotten that out of the way... Seeing as how Timmmmaaaay is returning tomorrow night, I thought it might be interesting to examine his case.
If you asked me if I could sum up Connolly's career in one word, I'd chose unfortunate, the definition of which states that it is something marked or accompanied by or resulting in ill fortune. Tim Connolly is incredibly gifted and is a fantastic hockey player, but the poor guy has had more injuries that I can count.
The serious ones began back in his junior year, while playing down the 90 in Erie, with the Otters. In the 1998-99 season, Connolly broke his leg during a game, resulting in a rod being placed in his tibia.
This injury hardly affected his draft status, as the New York Islanders took him fifth overall that year. Despite just coming off of his broken leg, Connolly made the team out of camp. He played 81 games in his rookie season, recording only 10 goals, but snagging 20 assists for 34 points on the year. Not too shabby for a rookie, especially in the Old NHL, but more would definitely be expected of a first-round pick.
In his sophomore season, Connolly appeared in all 82 games, this time posting 10 goals, but 31 assists, improving his points total to a high 41.
The summer after that season, Tim was attending the high school graduation of his younger twin sisters, Caitlin and Shannon. Their graduation coincided with the second day of the NHL Entry Draft. Connolly admitted being excited, due to NYI's acquisition of Alexei Yashin and Chris Osgood, and since the first day is usually when the wheeling and dealing occurs, he was completely shocked when GM Mike Milbury called--during the ceremony--to tell him that he and Taylor Pyatt had been sent packing to Buffalo, in exchange for Mike Peca.
So, Connolly suited up in the red and black. In his first season for the Sabres, Connolly again played all 82 games, but struggled to produce, improving on his previous totals, but hardly significantly. He scored 10 goals again, and tallied 35 assists, heightening his points total by four to 45.
In his fourth career season--second with the Sabres--Connolly severly underachieved, only netting 12 goals and 13 assists, for 25 points. Tim appeared in 80 games, and only missed the last two of the season due to a suspension, warranted due to swinging a stick at an opponent.
At this point in time, Tim looked reliable, at least health-wise. He was one of the leading Iron Men in the league, playing over 300 straight games (I believe he had a run of over 320, but I can't find the exact number, and I think that put him at third in the rank).
But it all went downhill from there.
In the preseason of the 2003-2004 season, the Sabres were playing an exhibition game against the Chicago Blackhawks. This is what Tim had to say:
I took a mid-ice, shoulder-to-head hit with Scott Nichol from the Blackhawks. It was a clean hit, but I had just taken a shot, so I was in a vulnerable position where I couldn't really brace myself. I didn't get knocked out, I skated to the bench, but I was out of it. My legs gave out a little bit. I had never suffered a concussion before, but it was one of those situations where it wouldn't go away. It took more than six months before my head was clear and I was able to work out and get back in the swing of things. (From ESPN.com)
Needless to say, as I'm sure you're all well aware, Tim missed that entire season.
Cue the lockout. Tim opted to play in Switzerland, with HC Lugano. There, he played 16 games, had seven goals and three assists. His stay in Europe was cut short, though, due to a knee injury.
So Tim returned to New York, and rehabbed his knee to be sure that it would be ready for the upcoming NHL season.
In 2005-2006, Connolly was limited to 63 games in the regular season, due to a controversial knee injury. This happened when Darius Kasparaitis, then of the New York Rangers, checked Connolly low, causing him to miss time. In this season, though, Connolly recorded 16 goals and 39 assists, combining for 55 points, career highs across the board. At this point in time, he was registering .87 points per game. Hardly anything to sneeze at.
In his first playoff appearance, Connolly only played in 8 games, but registered five goals and six assists for 11 points, which would be 1.375 points per game. He did not conclude the Sabres' playoff push with them, though, because he suffered a second concussion, thanks to a vicious, but clean, hit, from the Ottawa Senators' Peter Schaefer, now with the Boston Bruins.
Because of problems thought to be related to his second concussion, Connolly sat out all but the last two games of the 2006-2007 season. In those last two games, he recorded one goal.
In the playoffs that year, though, Tim played 16 games, recording nine assists.
On to the 2007-2008 season. Connolly struggled throughout the year with bone spurs in his hip, which eventually required surgery. He suited up for only 48 games, scoring only seven goals, adding 33 helpers, but in the end only posted 40 points. Obviously more is needed from Connolly, whose points per game total for the season then sat at .83.
Thus far this season, Connolly has had fractured vertebrae and a broken rib, limiting him to only six of the the Sabres' 40 games. In those six games, though, Connolly has put up two goals and five assists, for a points per game average of 1.167.
None of this goes to show how skilled Connolly is, though. He has long been Ruff's PP QB, and always sees ice time on the PK. His teammates will always say how gifted he is, and how difficult he can be to play against.
But what do his numbers really mean to us? Why is he valuable to this team?
Let's allow his career totals to do the talking, shall we? In the nine seasons Connolly was with an NHL team (the season he missed due to concussion symptoms and the current season included), he's only played 444 of a possible 696 games (only 63.8%). In those games, he's recorded 72 goals and 176 assists, for a total of 248 points. That's only an average of .558 points per game, which would equate to 45.8 points on a season.
Like I said, I love Tim Connolly more than the next Sabres fan. I have since we acquired him, but that's a whole 'nother story. My point is, his numbers suck. They definitely do not portray the player we all know Connolly has the potential to be. The problem is, he is so injury-plagued that he probably will never live up to his own expectations, let alone ours.
But I'm glad to see he'll be back tomorrow. Our power play sure as hell needs him, and it wouldn't hurt to have a center who can really see the ice and find good passing lanes out there.
The question remains, how much longer will Timmy be wearing blue and gold? Will he be gone by the trade deadline? Is he going to leave that day? Over the summer? Or will he stay with us? Your guess is as good as mine, seeing as how Afinogenov is a bigger problem, and Kotalik would probably garner the most interest from other teams. It doesn't hurt that the coaching staff loves Connolly. If he does stay, though, he'd better be willing to take a sizeable pay cut, because there is no way, talent aside, that a guy that injury-riddled deserves a salary of $2.9 million per season.
Speaking of trades, there are rumors spreading up in Portland. They've hit a snag this season with goaltending, as Adam Dennis recently required season-ending hip surgery. That means Jhonas Enroth has been shouldering all of the duties, now coming up on his (I believe) 11th game in a row.
Their need of a goalie, combined with the Sabres' supposed interest in keeping Chris Butler (we'll see about that one) and Matt Ellis up in Buffalo, would obviously present the Sabres with a predicament. In order to keep extra bodies up in the NHL, they'd have to clear roster space. The obvious bodies to move would be Afinogenov and Paetsch, Max for obvious reasons, and Paetsch because he's the odd man out. Kotalik and Connolly could also be moved due to contract years, but that's hardly likely; Kotalik is a force on this team, and Connolly has virtually no stock.
Maine Hockey Journal reported that Kevin Dineen, the coach of the Portland Pirates, had some interesting sound bytes one the subject, suggesting the Buffalo brass have something in the works:
"(Goalie search) has been put off for a reason and won’t be clarified til Friday at the earliest,” said Dineen.
It'll be interesting to see what happens, that's for sure.
And seeing as Derek Roy actually called up Kiss 98.5 this morning, I can tell you what he had to say. Honestly, though, I think this is the first actual D.R.R. in about a month, mostly due to the holidays falling on Thursdays...
- Andrew Peters' thumb is bruised, was bleeding yesterday, and it still hurts.
- Derek suggested that Andy's fingers taste like chicken wings.
- He says you shouldn't bite people unless your life is in danger. Nick added, "Unless you're on Chippewa."
- He's excited to play against Chris Drury.
- Is he doing anything differently? No. He's sticking with his system.
- VitaminWater flavor? Endurance/Mango.
- Sometimes works out after games.
- January has a ridiculous travel schedule. He may just leave his suitcase packed.
- Doesn't have any pets.
- Did he send a baby gift to Rob Ray? No.
- He was 3 when he first skated. His brothers were about that age as well. He was awful, falling everywhere. Couldn't stop until he was "like 10 years old."
Finally, he called them, and finally some oddball information.
Well, kids, it snowed again. Big surprise. I'm off to shovel, and the hopefully I'll feel spry enough to head to the gym. That's my plan, at least. I'll be back if I hear any juicy information.
Tuesday, January 6
So my New Year's Resolution for SC is to return to smart and intuitive hockey blogging. I'm still going to gush on my love for the guys, but I'm going to make an earnest effort to supply much more clever blogging.
And I'm hoping that begins now, and continues.
I had no idea that when I turned on the game, not only would I almost miss Matt Ellis' fourth goal of the season, but I hadn't a clue that I would be watching Jarkko Ruutu's best imitation of Tyson v. Holyfield.
(I enjoyed Andrew Peters' comments on that, as he spouted cliche after cliche. True, he has to hold himself accountable for his own actions, and no doubt knows that if he said something stupid, he'd be in deep, but still. Who didn't want to hear Petey call out Ruutu and just say, "Yeah, I'm aware we play them again on Saturday, February 7th, and don't worry, I know Jarkko's number." Hopefully the NHL will step in and hold Ruutu accountable for that action, which was not only embarrassing to himself and the Senators, but also the league, and the game in general. And if the NHL doesn't step in, I'll be angry, but it wouldn't surprise me since they all but ignored Denis Gauthier's sucker punch to Patrick Kaleta, who is still out, mind you, due to that cheap shot.)
But it was nice to see Ellis continue on his little goal streak. Four goals in three games ain't to shabby if you ask me.
I was slightly disappointed the game lost a lot of it's intensity after the first period. I know the coaches probably harped on the players to get their heads in the game, cool their tempers, get a grip, blah, blah, blah, but seriously, I had planned on watching a highly spirited game with loads of fisticuffs and all that jazz, you know, seeing as how high emotions were running the last time we faced off against the Sens. But Captain Craig didn't disappoint in his return, that's for sure. He all but took on every guy in red and black on the ice, and bloodied up one of them, just because they got too close to Ryan Miller. It's nice to see someone standing up for Miller and immediately and instinctively jumping the culprit. That's the leadership this Sabres team has been missing for the past season and a half, give or take the games Rivet was healthy for.
And thankfully that puck tipped by Derek Roy bounced into the net off of Carrie Underwood's boyfriend Mike Fisher's skate, or else Miller probably would've been kicking himself tonight.
Oh, and anyone else notice how similar Drew Stafford's little move in front of the Sens' net was to Jason Pominville's playoff game winner, way back when? If Roy hadn't been in the corner and had fed the puck to Staffy, and instead he had broken in all alone, those two goals could possibly have been identical.
There's one other thing I want to point out: Thomas Vanek's 27th goal was scored with 26 seconds left. The only thing that could have made it better would be #26 scoring his 26th with 0:26 left. How weird would that be?
So, my stars, for the game, since I haven't done that since October:
(1) Derek Roy. (Not just because he's my guy, but because he had a solid night, with one goal and two assists, that goal being the game winner.)
(2) Jason Spezza. (Yes, he's a Senator, but still, a two goal game is quite impressive, especially when the only guy who scores is one of three who make up half of the scoring for the entire team.)
(3) Ryan Miller. (True, he single-handedly allowed the Senators a chance at a comeback, but if he hadn't snapped out of whatever funk he had gotten himself into after that second goal, the Sabres would have been in real big trouble.)
Overall, very good game, boys. I'm very impressed at the little streak you've put together for yourself, but I'm not holding my breath. We'll see how it goes on Friday, and we'll see how happy I am with the NHL in the next couple days.
Well, anyways, I haven't been around since Friday. And I must apologize for that. I was going to post Saturday morning, around 6 am, and tell you that I was going to be up in Toronto for the weekend, but I woke up late, and seeing that I woke up at 6, had to be out of the house by 6:45, pick up Brittany and be over at the guys' house by 7:15, yeah, a post was nowhere to be found.
So I was up in Toronto for the UB Bulls International Bowl. Yes, I'm sure you all know how that went. But the rest of my weekend was fabulous, because we spent the night up in TO, and let me tell you, this club up there--Circa--is my favorite club now. It's awesome. And we met some super creepy people up there. All in all, tough, a great weekend because while we were eating at Hoops on Saturday (it's kinda like a Buffalo Wild Wings, fyi), they were showing the highlights from the Sabres game, and we all started cheering (there were eight of us, so it was kinda loud). I can't even tell you how many dirty looks we got, especially from our waitress, who was wearing a Leafs shirt.
But whatever, because I'm back now. And I must say that I missed you and this little blog terribly in my three day absence.
I had this really killer idea for a post today, but today I can't remember the one line I wanted to throw in it, and it happened to be the punch-line, so I'm not quite sure I want to post that anymore.
Really, though, the only things I'm concerned about are Craigory and Timmykins!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I don't have a whole lot of time now, so I'm going to go now, but I plan on liveblogging the game tonight with Kim, as she is going to be watching with me at my house.
But I'll leave you now with this gem:
Yeah, I'd like to see plenty of this tonight.
And does anyone else remember what happened the last time we played Ottawa?
Really Jarkko? Is that what happened? Well, Adam remembers it a little more clearly, I think.
Hey Jarkko, it's after the holidays...
In the least, it should be a damn good game. See you later.
Friday, January 2
(Read this post and try not loving AO. I DARE YOU.)
Guys, I think I might love Alex more than Derek right now, and that's even after Derek's two-goal, three-point night. Yeah.
(But wasn't that a great game???? I was very impressed with that. It seemed like it was the only game thus far, or at least in a long time, that the Sabres have put in a solid effort for the whole game. And it was good to see Roy, Miller, Vanek, Pominville, and Stafford step up and fill up the score sheet. Alright, my heart is too full of rainbows and butterflies to talk hockey, so we'll talk Alex instead.}
BUT DON'T YOU DARE JUDGE ME. DON'T YOU DARE. I have a legitimate reason to be in love with AO.
FROSTEE!!!!! PLEASE KNOW THAT AS SOON AS MY MOTHER TOLD ME THIS STORY, YOU WERE THE FIRST PERSON I THOUGHT OF (hence, the note I left on your wall). Just please don't die on me... I need someone to search Ovie with me when the Caps are in Buffalo....
Okay, so my mom and I were walking out of work last night (yes, I work with my mother), and she goes, "Okay, listen to this!"
So I listened. And this is what I learned:
Our supervisor, Betty, is like, in her mid 70's. She's pretty awesome, and she's got a son in his late 40's/early 50's, who has real bad MS. What I didn't know is that her son is a hockey fanatic.
I guess he used to play hockey when he was younger, and was friends with Danny Gare and some of the other Sabres from that era. But since his MS has gotten so bad, and considering his age, he and his friends have stopped playing hockey, but have taken up competition through a fantasy league.
Now, Betty's son bleeds blue and gold, more so than I do, which is a lot. But his favorite player is Alexander Ovechkin. Not surprisingly; I mean, he has amazing skill, and I honestly think he's the best player in the league (Crosby, who? Malkin, who?). Anyways, he has Ovie on his fantasy team.
A while back, he writes a letter to AO, just briefly explaining his situation, where he's come from and what he's become, and told Alex that he loves his game, blah, blah, blah, and basically just says something along the lines of "if you wouldn't mind, I'd love it if you could send me an autographed picture of yourself."
So a good amount of time goes by, and Betty and her son never heard a thing. Until the other day.
The phone rings, and it's the Sabres calling for him.
(At this point in the story, I'm like, "Please don't tell me that he met AO! OMGAH He didn't meet Ovie while the Caps were here did he? AHHHHH!)
Whoever it was said, "Mr. Lawson, the Washington Capitals were in town recently, and I have instructions from Mr. Ovechkin to deliver a package to you."
(Please excuse me while I AHAHAHALSGKJALWKNG;AKYGOIH AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!! Phew! I'm good, I swear.)
"He is very adamant that this gets to you as quickly as possibly, and made sure to tell us that he will be checking back with us to be sure that it got to you."
So obviously, Betty and her son jump in the car and drive down to HSBC Arena immediately, and sure enough, there was a package waiting.
Betty's son opens it up and finds a handwritten letter from Alex himself. The letter goes on to say how his story is very touching, and Alex appreciates the support, blah, blah, blah.
The best part, though? This is how the letter reads: "I don't have any pictures of myself to send to you, so I hope this will be alright."
What was "this" you might ask?
An autographed, game-used All*Star jersey.
ALKDSGJLAHGD;LAHFSL;GJALFH I KNOW, RIGHT??
So this is why I love Alexander Ovechkin, because he would give up something so valuable, something so memorable to himself, and something so rare collector-wise, to a person he's never met, just because of a touching letter. Not only is this story heartwarming to me because it's a hockey player doing something nice for a fan, but because Alex's gift made the world for Betty's son. Ovie isn't just a good hockey player, he's a damn good human being, and his act of kindness, which wasn't really too much for him to do, makes me feel better about humanity in general. So next time I hear someone trashing AO for whatever reason, I'm going to think of this story and know how wrong that person is.
Do you think Sidney or Evgeni would do this for a random stranger, who isn't even someone from their hometown, the town they play in, or a town they have a personal connection to? I don't think so.
ETA: After getting numerous e-mails and comments saying I'm a bitch or Crosby-hater, etc, for that last statement, I feel it's necessary to reiterate something I myself commented on this post. When I wrote that, I wasn't so much doubting that Crosby or Malkin, or anyone else for that matter, don't do amazing things for perfect strangers. I know they do, and I've heard countless stories of it. A good portion of those stories and experiences, though, are due to extenuating circumstances, such as work done by the Make A Wish Foundation. Now, I'm not saying that those groups and organizations aren't amazing, because they are, and I applaud the guys for working with such foundations. My point was that Alex has no connection whatsoever to Buffalo. He's not from Buffalo, and my supervisor's son isn't from Russia, and doesn't live in the Washington area, nor did he meet AO through a charitable organization. He approached Ovie and asked for an autographed 8x10 picture. Alex went above and beyond what was necessary and made this guy's life. It's no secret amongst my friends and I that I don't care much for Crosby and Malkin, but hey, even if my worst enemy were to do something like this, I'd love him too. I'm not trying to step on any toes or ruffle any feathers, so I could really do without the criticism and the judgement. All I wanted to do was share a heartwarming story..
Seriously, though? I respect Malkin and Crosby for their skills and what they do for the game, and also what they do in the community. Is it wrong that I happen to like Ovechkin more? No. This is America, and it's a free country. I admit some of my statements come off as whatever they may, and I can live with that, but I've come out and explained what I meant. That being said, you can stop with all of the proof that Crosby and Malkin are just as good, if not better, than Ovechkin. They're nice stories to hear, yes, but I could stand to hear these stories without the putting down of Alex, and the exalting of Sid and Evgeni. And that might make me sound like a bitch, but so be it. I like to hear stories about any person, not just Ovie, doing great things for other people, and one good dead by the president does not make a good dead done by a regular person any less special. Get what I mean?