SabreCast Blog Archive
Friday, October 21st, 2011 11:10 am
I’m fighting back against that reflex, that everything is going to go wrong and while it is difficult, something that has been beaten into me for two decades, I’m going to appreciate what my eyes are seeing on a nightly basis. I’m also not going to repeat my mistakes from the 2006-2007 season where after winning ten in a row, I was irritated after we lost our eleventh game. It was silly, I couldn’t win and really, isn’t the whole point of being a fan to enjoy it? Really, I’m so used to focusing on the problems, the weaknesses of a team that it’s difficult for me to write about a great team without sounding like a 12 year old girl gushing about Justin Beiber. But here are some thoughts about the Sabres 5-1 start to the season:
Thursday, October 6th, 2011 12:22 pm
We have three scoring lines I love and a checking line I love. The player I scream at the most can’t suit up because of concussion symptoms (despite my hostility towards Hecht, I wish him no long-term effects from his head injury and hope he returns quickly) and suddenly I’d put our backup goalie against any backup goalie in the league. I’m sure there will be plenty to complain about as the season progresses, there always is, but it just seems there will be less than in recent years. Will they blow a few two goal leads in the third period? Certainly, as that remains my bug-a-boo about the season, especially with the fifth and sixth game against Philadelphia still fresh on our minds. But right now I can’t find anything to be negative about. I can’t wait to take a half day tomorrow and head to the bar with friends to watch them debut in Helsinki. I can’t wait to head to Pucktoberfest at First Niagara Center to drink German beer and root them on against the Kings in Berlin Saturday (“I once sexually assaulted a horse in Berlin” and other Euro Trip quotes that haven’t been used since 2005 are likely to be used after a few beers). I can’t wait for the blistering cold walks into the F’n Center in January or the overtime wins, complete with a full bar of twenty-somethings excitedly cheering and high fiving one another. I look forward to walking to the next bar in my Ehrhoff jersey, dissecting what had transpired hours earlier. I look forward to meeting some of the fellow bloggers on the “Sabres Game” Twitter list who kept me company during those games in vacant Vermont bars as I sat alone in my Mogilny jersey. I look forward to teaching my girlfriend, a transplant from Elmira, the nuances of the game and the excitement which she has only seen from the outside looking in. I love that Connolly is gone, that Teppo is a coach and that I only have to drive to Rochester to see Kassian, Foligno and Mcnabb.
Wednesday, April 6th, 2011 12:23 pm
As the 2010-2011 campaign heads into it's final two games, I find it impossible to call this season anything other than the greatest regular season in recent memory, at least it has been in my nearly two-decades long run of following this team. When I say "greatest," I think you all know what I mean. This has nothing to do with wins and losses, although those certainly play a role, it has to do with the ride, with the storylines, with characters revealing themselves as something we thought they would never be, with heroic characters entering the stage at exactly the right time, the time when we needed them most. Consider the following: -The team started the season 3-9-2 and found itself not only at the bottom of the standings, but at the bottom of ESPN.com's power rankings. I remember the line after the teams position was "Oh-No-Buff-a-lo."
Wednesday, December 1st, 2010 5:02 pm
Which leads us to the current stale team at HSBC Arena. Now Pegula hasn't met with the other NHL owners (presumably next week), and an announcement isn't expected til near New Year's at the earliest. There will be plenty of time to speculate what's going to happen personnel-wise once the keys to the owner's box are handed over. But one thing is for certain: if the change in attitude makes winning paramount, that will likely clash directly with Darcy Regier. The inability to trade prospects, the habit of holding onto players who we all know will never become what the organization hoped they will, the consistent overvaluing of the players on the ice in trade negotiations, the inability to understand the term "addition by subtraction," of being loyal to the wrong guys and disloyal to the wrong guys needs to stop. Claiming Tim Connolly is a top 20 center in the NHL, that needs to stop. Crying at the end of the season about wanting to bring a cup to Buffalo then making Rob Niedermayer your big addition, that cannot stand. Drew Stafford should have made his KHL debut long ago, along with Patrick Lalime. Tim Connolly...okay let me espouse on Connolly:
Wednesday, November 17th, 2010 5:43 pm
It's been a trying first quarter of the season to be a Sabres fan. I purchased NHL Gamecenter at the beginning of the season so I could catch every game from my current location in Northern New England and felt like I had been taken by the NHL like Peter was by that volcano insurance salesman in an episode of "Family Guy." I was left to brainstorm of bandwagons that I could join on to make the purchase somewhat less fiscally irresponsible (I've ALWAYS loved the Flames, I swear!) before grudgingly acknowledging that Bettman had won yet another round. The team had played over a month without winning a game at home, had put up a 3-9-2 record, found itself in dead last in the league and the talk had grown louder than a whisper that Lindy's time in Buffalo was up (more on that later). The problem wasn't just that they were losing- every team hits rough patches, although the beginning of the year certainly focuses more attention upon that- it was how they were losing. That always seems to be the complaint about this collection, especially in a market as hockey educated as this one. While Tim Connolly's dogging it could go undiscovered for months or years in a place like Atlanta, Tampa or Sunshine (the alligator infested swamp the Panthers stuck their arena), it was only a few weeks before someone hung up the most fitting banner seen at HSBC in years. Their performance was an affront to all those that paid money to see them play, to those who tune in every game and whose days are better or worse based on their performance. We were all beginning to settle in for the longest winter imaginable, one in which the Sabres were irrelevant.
Sunday, October 17th, 2010 3:02 pm
It's a combination of all of last year's problems, with the added caveat that the defense has been atrocious. Still, we are merely six games into the season so there's no need for a sweeping indictment against players or the system, while at the same time problems need to be mentioned.
Monday, October 4th, 2010 1:01 pm
No, the Sabres have a chance to be very good this season, and they will be very good. Nathan Gerbe will be wonderful to watch, as will Ennis. Thomas Vanek is still on the roster and will surely recover from a disappointing 09-10 season. Tyler Myers will avoid a sophomore slump and will become an anchor on our power play, a position he has already adjusted to deftly in the preseason. Mike Grier will bring it every night, so get your 2010-2011 edition of the "Doin' Work Son!" shirt, and maybe get one for Niedermayer, who will be sure to be doing work all year barring injury. Ryan Miller will make show-stopping, game saving stops. There will be overtime winners, 3 goal comebacks, shootout victories. There will be a four game winning streak, just as there will certainly be a four game losing streak. They'll have a win in the 8-1 range, they'll put out a performance like the 5-0 loss to the Islanders last year. But I feel they will be very good, and should be favored, perhaps expected to win the division again, given the talent on the roster- barring the unthinkable injury scenario that I won't even mention here but is certainly in the back of every Sabres fan's mind. It'll be a long season with many storylines ahead that cannot be predicted now. There will be great Mondays after the Sabres win both games of their weekend, there's probably going to be some bad ones where they drop both (made especially terrible with a Bills embarrassment on Sundays). For now, in early October as the long season starts, we should just soak in the enjoyment of hockey being back in our lives, and that chance of something special taking place every night we watch, whether that something "special" is Gerbe scoring between his legs or Lalime letting a puck past him at five miles per hour.
Thursday, April 8th, 2010 5:11 pm
My all-time favorite beard may be Olympic swimmer Amanda Beard, who posed for Playboy a couple years back, but in a very close second would have to be the Playoff Beard. Not shaving while your team is in the playoffs connects one to the team itself. Like wearing a jersey or having a flag on your car, but much more bad-ass. I have only been able to do the Playoff Beard once, the shaky playoff run in 2007 after winning the President's Trophy. Over a month of not shaving becomes noticeable for people like me, and after being compounded with a couple things (the Flyers finishing dead last, the Penguins being eliminated), I felt like the coolest cat on the Penn State campus. For those of us who have wives, girlfriends, or simply a job in which one interacts with people or wears a suit, growing copious amounts of facial hair is indeed a sacrifice, one made to show our determination for Buffalo to win a Stanley Cup.
Wednesday, April 7th, 2010 9:09 pm
Remember, this was the team that beat us 5-0, 6-1 and 10-4 early in the regular season, a team that ripped through the conference on its way to 113 points and the top seed in the playoffs. Sure, we had done well getting through a slow Philadelphia team built on brute force, but Ottawa was an unstoppable force, simply extending the series past five games would be something to build on.
Thursday, March 4th, 2010 10:47 pm
Have you ever seen a team so uninspired in games of such importance? It's not like mailing one in against the Islanders when you're sitting in the 10-spot, this is a team that is on the cusp of winning the division and could even make a run at the 2-seed. From what we've seen since the midway point of the road trip the team is playing like it's tanking for the top draft pick. It's disgusting, a team of clowns with the complacency of a team of sloths. Does someone need to remind these guys they haven't won anything? Would it really make a difference?
Sunday, January 31st, 2010 3:44 pm
It was a frustrating time for Sabres Nation. The march to the Stanley Cup finals was not supposed to be this difficult for a team that had led the league in goals scored on their way to the President's Trophy. The team had dispensed of the New York Islanders in five workman-like games, and had taken the first two games of the next series, which were played in Buffalo. The Sabres were going to finish off a sweep- or at worst, another five game win- and head on to the conference finals, one step closer to the Stanley Cup the team had spent all year putting reservations on. Suddenly, however, someone pulled the power on the Sabres' high powered offense.
Thursday, January 28th, 2010 2:02 pm
Okay, so staying up until one or one-thirty in the morning to watch hockey with work the next morning is not as fun as I had anticipated. Granted, the games- or at least their conclusions- were at times so maddening that it was difficult to fall asleep, so maybe had the team played better it would have actually been enjoyable.
Thursday, January 14th, 2010 12:11 am
Luckily, none of those four things are going to happen, and with the team sitting near the top of the Eastern Conference, winning nearly 3 of every 4 games, there is nothing wrong with expecting them to come out of the road trip with similar results. Ruff said earlier today that a 'successful' road trip would be nine or ten points, a number exceeding my preliminary hopes for seven or eight, simply going .500 for the next two weeks.
Tuesday, January 5th, 2010 11:47 pm
The story is pretty well known by now. Following the game five loss in Raleigh, coach Lindy Ruff left his cell phone behind in the hotel room and would depart for Buffalo without it. Upon receiving a call from the hotel offering to mail it back to him, Ruff replied something along the lines of "don't worry, we'll be back on Thursday" (the presumptive day of game seven). By this time the buzz around Western New York was electric, the birth of the car flag craze, the storefronts and signs normally reserved for advertisements now bearing messages wishing the Sabres well on their improbable run to the Stanley Cup Finals. Sure, we trailed 3-2 and sure, Carolina had previously won all four of the Game 6's they had played while in that position, but aside from feeling that there was still some magic left in the tank, there was a prevailing notion that had evolved over the series that Carolina just wasn't that good.
Wednesday, December 30th, 2009 12:17 am
It sounds silly to say, but I think we all want to say it: there's just something. Patrick Lalime, who had Sabres fans itching to pack his luggage and sell his house for him, comes in and has his third outstanding outing in a row, when it appeared to be nothing more than a conditioning assignment. Tyler Myers, the rookie defenseman charged with putting the cap on Malkin and Crosby not only did so, but put Malkin on his rather large behind with timing running out to stymie what could have been a tying opportunity.
Monday, December 28th, 2009 10:43 pm
For a team that was quite unimpressive before a lockout canceled the 2004-2005 season, it was amazing what a few rule changes could do for the Sabres, who skated to a forth seeded finish, which could have been higher had we not been blessed with being in the same division as Ottawa, but that is neither her nor there. The first round matchup with the Flyers was the clash of new versus old, of the establishment versus the upstart, of the traditionalists versus the innovators. While the Sabres had adapted to the new rule changes and offensively thrived, the Flyers maintained their pre-lockout style of intimidation and brute strength on their way to a fifth seeded finish, setting up the third playoff matchup of the decade between Buffalo and Philadelphia.
Tuesday, December 15th, 2009 11:47 pm
One warning, some of these lists may cause strong feelings of disdain and melancholy, and this one is certainly one of them, which is why it will lead us off and give us plenty of time to forget. The criteria was based on pain and disappointment, not by score, and if you feel rightly depressed being brought back to these dark days, just remind yourself the Sabres are at the top of the Northeast Division coming off last night's great win at Montreal. Even if that will provide little solace.
Wednesday, December 9th, 2009 9:21 pm
Far too often these challenges result in a simple turnover in the offensive zone or a drop pass to no one. Couple this with our defensemen's penchant for playing incredibly far up on the rush, and suddenly the teams bad habit of giving up more than a couple odd man rushes a game seems to make sense. Myers, certainly the defenseman with the best nose for the puck (but still learning what to do when he actually has the puck) has been a repeat offender this season, attempting numerous drop passes in the neutral zone which more than once have resulted in Miller finding the puck behind him. These mental lapses are not the result of poor play or taking a night off- though those certainly exacerbate the situation- but simply a predictable result of gambling one too many times.
Monday, December 7th, 2009 9:31 pm
You would be certainly be forgiven for missing it, especially if you don't watch hockey with one eye cocked at the Sabres bench, but Jhonas Enroth was in Buffalo for the team's pair of games hosting Montreal and the Rangers. Of course, like 23 of the previous 26 games this season, there was little for the backup goaltender to do but fist bump his teammates at intermission and look stylish in a team wool cap. Therefore it has been all too easy to remain blissfully ignorant to the fact that there is an achillies heel to this very talented, very scrappy team that could destroy not only our pie-in-the-sky dreams of a Stanley Cup parade down Delaware Avenue, but of a playoff appearance altogether: our backup goaltending situation.
Saturday, March 14th, 2009 11:25 am
The Sabres are only 3 points out of the Playoffs with 14 games remaining. The Sabres have the talent, but I'm not sure if they have the drive. Here is what I think the Sabres need in order to make it...