Hockey Night in Buffalo

Okay, I’m ready, more than qualified and unlike most of our professional hockey representatives, I’ve touched the Cup. See. I don’t have evidence of the first time as it was when my dad and I walked into the hockey hall of fame when I was 13, but recent evidence below.

We are all general managers on the days after defeats like the Sabres’ season ending loss to the Bruins. I figured them to be a first round and out team. The surge of the final few regular season games made you think it was possible to made take it to the Bruins and surprise somebody.

When your third and fourth lines are supplying all the offense, all the desire, you know something isn’t right. It’s disappointing when the goaltender is having an all world year and the bulk of the top forwards are zombies.

Tyler Ennis, Nathan Gerbe, Cody McCormick, Marc Mancari and Mike Weber are all ready and should be in Buffalo next season from the start. Derrick Roy and Tim Connolly were ghosts, not something to look to when they are supposed to replace Briere and Drury. Three seasons should be enough to convince that that formula was a failure. Craig Rivet’s time has passed, but Mike Grier should be the captain next season. I would sign either Tallinder or Lydman as both played well this year, but we probably can’t afford both. The Sabres certainly haven’t been cheap, but have spent too much on things that just look good on the shelf. As Connolly and Roy have deals into next season, maybe we should make they can make the playoffs with the rest of the team.

When your power play is so bad, that declining penalties starts to sound like a viable concept, your offensive centers are just flat out offensive and not in a good way. When a 28 goal scorer returning is treated like the second coming of Phil Esposito, that’s more sad than anything else. If I could get a trade for Roy or Connolly I’d take it. There was a shot of the Buffalo bench with about 5 minutes left and they looked done, no energy, no passion, like they were making space for handwriting on the proverbial wall. It’s infuriating to see a mad rush to the Bruins blue line, and then a drop pass to a guy who either isn’t there or wearing a Boston sweater.

It’s only a game, as within five minutes of the end of the game, I changed from the platitude laden press conferences to the much more fun Top Gear. Hope the Bruins have fun getting whooped by the Penguins or Capitals (if they can escape the plucky Canadiens). Could Ryan Miller be any classier, not hesitating to get to centre ice for the handshakes? That, my friends, is a team leader.

Listen to me, Darcy, I’ve held the cup, and didn’t spill my drink.


“Imagine if the Tea Party Was Black”

There are a lot of hypocritical things being on all sides of the political spectrum of late. I didn’t write the following, but I wanted to share it as it is some deep thought in the midst of some of the most nasty, vitraholic rhetoric ever hurled. We’ve morphed into a nation of soundbytes and I think that has resulted in attention spans of similar length. I’m not saying he’s entirely right and there is one inaccuracy, but there is a lot to ponder. Food for thought

“Imagine if the Tea Party Was Black” – Tim Wise

Let’s play a game, shall we? The name of the game is called “Imagine.” The way it’s played is simple: we’ll envision recent happenings in the news, but then change them up a bit. Instead of envisioning white people as the main actors in the scenes we’ll conjure – the ones who are driving the action – we’ll envision black folks or other people of color instead. The object of the game is to imagine the public reaction to the events or incidents, if the main actors were of color, rather than white. Whoever gains the most insight into the workings of race in America, at the end of the game, wins.

So let’s begin.

Imagine that hundreds of black protesters were to descend upon Washington DC and Northern Virginia, just a few miles from the Capitol and White House, armed with AK-47s, assorted handguns, and ammunition. And imagine that some of these protesters —the black protesters — spoke of the need for political revolution, and possibly even armed conflict in the event that laws they didn’t like were enforced by the government? Would these protester — these black protesters with guns — be seen as brave defenders of the Second Amendment, or would they be viewed by most whites as a danger to the republic? What if they were Arab-Americans? Because, after all, that’s what happened recently when white gun enthusiasts descended upon the nation’s capital, arms in hand, and verbally announced their readiness to make war on the country’s political leaders if the need arose.

Imagine that white members of Congress, while walking to work, were surrounded by thousands of angry black people, one of whom proceeded to spit on one of those congressmen for not voting the way the black demonstrators desired. Would the protesters be seen as merely patriotic Americans voicing their opinions, or as an angry, potentially violent, and even insurrectionary mob? After all, this is what white Tea Party protesters did recently in Washington.

Imagine that a rap artist were to say, in reference to a white president: “He’s a piece of shit and I told him to suck on my machine gun.” Because that’s what rocker Ted Nugent said recently about President Obama.

Imagine that a prominent mainstream black political commentator had long employed an overt bigot as Executive Director of his organization, and that this bigot regularly participated in black separatist conferences, and once assaulted a white person while calling them by a racial slur. When that prominent black commentator and his sister — who also works for the organization — defended the bigot as a good guy who was misunderstood and “going through a tough time in his life” would anyone accept their excuse-making? Would that commentator still have a place on a mainstream network? Because that’s what happened in the real world, when Pat Buchanan employed as Executive Director of his group, America’s Cause, a blatant racist who did all these things, or at least their white equivalents: attending white separatist conferences and attacking a black woman while calling her the n-word.

Imagine that a black radio host were to suggest that the only way to get promoted in the administration of a white president is by “hating black people,” or that a prominent white person had only endorsed a white presidential candidate as an act of racial bonding, or blamed a white president for a fight on a school bus in which a black kid was jumped by two white kids, or said that he wouldn’t want to kill all conservatives, but rather, would like to leave just enough—“living fossils” as he called them—“so we will never forget what these people stood for.” After all, these are things that Rush Limbaugh has said, about Barack Obama’s administration, Colin Powell’s endorsement of Barack Obama, a fight on a school bus in Belleville, Illinois in which two black kids beat up a white kid, and about liberals, generally.

Imagine that a black pastor, formerly a member of the U.S. military, were to declare, as part of his opposition to a white president’s policies, that he was ready to “suit up, get my gun, go to Washington, and do what they trained me to do.” This is, after all, what Pastor Stan Craig said recently at a Tea Party rally in Greenville, South Carolina.

Imagine a black radio talk show host gleefully predicting a revolution by people of color if the government continues to be dominated by the rich white men who have been “destroying” the country, or if said radio personality were to call Christians or Jews non-humans, or say that when it came to conservatives, the best solution would be to “hang ‘em high.” And what would happen to any congressional representative who praised that commentator for “speaking common sense” and likened his hate talk to “American values?” After all, those are among the things said by radio host and best-selling author Michael Savage, predicting white revolution in the face of multiculturalism, or said by Savage about Muslims and liberals, respectively. And it was Congressman Culbertson, from Texas, who praised Savage in that way, despite his hateful rhetoric.

Imagine a black political commentator suggesting that the only thing the guy who flew his plane into the Austin, Texas IRS building did wrong was not blowing up Fox News instead. This is, after all, what Anne Coulter said about Tim McVeigh, when she noted that his only mistake was not blowing up the New York Times.

Imagine that a popular black liberal website posted comments about the daughter of a white president, calling her “typical redneck trash,” or a “whore” whose mother entertains her by “making monkey sounds.” After all that’s comparable to what conservatives posted about Malia Obama on last year, when they referred to her as “ghetto trash.”

Imagine that black protesters at a large political rally were walking around with signs calling for the lynching of their congressional enemies. Because that’s what white conservatives did last year, in reference to Democratic party leaders in Congress.

In other words, imagine that even one-third of the anger and vitriol currently being hurled at President Obama, by folks who are almost exclusively white, were being aimed, instead, at a white president, by people of color. How many whites viewing the anger, the hatred, the contempt for that white president would then wax eloquent about free speech, and the glories of democracy? And how many would be calling for further crackdowns on thuggish behavior, and investigations into the radical agendas of those same people of color?

To ask any of these questions is to answer them. Protest is only seen as fundamentally American when those who have long had the luxury of seeing themselves as prototypically American engage in it. When the dangerous and dark “other” does so, however, it isn’t viewed as normal or natural, let alone patriotic. Which is why Rush Limbaugh could say, this past week, that the Tea Parties are the first time since the Civil War that ordinary, common Americans stood up for their rights: a statement that erases the normalcy and “American-ness” of blacks in the civil rights struggle, not to mention women in the fight for suffrage and equality, working people in the fight for better working conditions, and LGBT folks as they struggle to be treated as full and equal human beings.

And this, my friends, is what white privilege is all about. The ability to threaten others, to engage in violent and incendiary rhetoric without consequence, to be viewed as patriotic and normal no matter what you do, and never to be feared and despised as people of color would be, if they tried to get away with half the shit we do, on a daily basis.

Game Over.

Tim Wise is among the most prominent anti-racist writers and activists in the U.S. Wise has spoken in 48 states, on over 400 college campuses, and to community groups around the nation. Wise has provided anti-racism training to teachers nationwide, and has trained physicians and medical industry professionals on how to combat racial inequities in health care. His latest book is called Between Barack and a Hard Place.

“I’m not dead…I’m getting better!”

See you Monday. Had they shown this much life once twice in Boston, the Sabres wouldn’t be this predicament. But, it’s hard not like the complete game they played tonight.

Nice to see Miller yanking former passionless Buffalo automaton Miroslav Satan away from the game ending scrum instigated by Zedeno Chara. For doing so Chara might not get to play Monday, but the NHL is famously ignorant of its own rules, both during a game and conducting the game, so I expect he’ll be in there.

Can you imagine the scene on the plaza Wednesday night if the Sabres win on Monday?

Might just have to journey down.

“Why Did it Have to be Satan?”

-Sure, Miro comes through in the clutch now. Guess he better as we await from Pominville, Connolly and Roy to wake up.

I like the play of Lydman and Tallinder, and Miller has been out of his mind, but where are the supposed offensive guys. The big six have been here from sometime. When Vanek went down, they should have the wherewithal to be step up and aim high. not speaking softly and carrying a largely unused stick.

Bandwagon gets great mileage

with people dropping off. But after Monday night’s playoff loss to the Bruins, you can’t really blame anybody. With a lot on the line, the Sabres, with the exception of Ryan Miller and Mike Grier, were passionless.

Aside from noting that Bruins Coach Claude Julien looks a little like a 3-D Version of Elmer Fudd, a few things come to mind. Emotions run high in the playoff or not at all.

This wasn’t dirty. This was more of the stuff happens variety.

So was this.

When Brian Campbell applied the same to R.J. Umberger against the Flyers in 06, the Flyers responded by every guy taking off after Campbell. What was disappointed to me that in both cases, no Sabres approached Boychuk, said anything about his Momma, checked him hard, anything. Bruins and the Garden in general seemed a little energizes

Intense hockey is the beauty of playoffs, makes them fun to watch, but the boys in blue and gold haven’t matched that intensity yet, with the exception of Ryan Miller. There were some slow rising passion toward the end, but too little too late. Little things like Tim Kennedy getting outmuscled and outskilled by a twice his age Mark Recchi was the story of things. It’s only 2-1 so it wasn’t urgent, but Wednesday night will be.

20 Innings? Let’s play two!…Not

I have a confession to make. My name is Mike and I’m a Mets fan (“Hi Mike!”). That wasn’t always burdensome. I remember when they made the trade for Keith Hernandez and things got serious. There have been some ups, some downs, and some intervening avenues that just make you shake your head.

Take saturday’s nationally televised game with the Cardinals in St. Louis. I sat down to watch a couple of innings late in the day as some plans I had fell through. 0-0 score, went and ran a errand or two, and wound up at my local provider of fizzy adult beverages where it was still on, in the 16th inning. At this point, my attitude gets a little laden with gallows humor. Wonder if Kenny Albert or Tim McCarver can sneak out of the booth to let nature take its course. After six hours on the air, ya know, somethings may have to give.

Apparently, that included the Cardinals home crowd. The St. Louis fans are regarded as some of the best in baseball, knowledgeable in all aspects and will occasionally applauded a good play because it was a good play, even if the other team made it. I got home in time to see the top of the 18th, where the score was still 0-0. Supposed genius Tony LaRussa had his second position player pitching and a starting pitcher in the outfield. Utilityman Joe Mather gave up a run to the Mets in the 19th and you could sense relief in the crowd, but when Albert Pujois scored in the home half to tie at 1 apiece, I could have sworn I heard some New York style sarcasm in the applause.

LaRussa got out managed by Jerry Manuel who put his starting pitcher from Thursday, Mike Pelfrey, in the bottom of the 20th to earn a save and put an end to the foolishness. You’d think that going 0-7 would be the sign of a bad day, but Jose Reyes scored on his eight trip to the plate. The game used 19 pitchers and finished 7 hours after it started. George Carlin was right: “We don’t know when it’s going to end.”

It was, in the words of Dan Ackroyd’s old Leonard Pimpft Garnell character “wonderfully bad, execretable.” More participants than hits, you couldn’t take your eyes off the traffic accident, but if the season got a one night microcosm, I think the Phillies don’t need to worry about one portion of the east. And perhaps Tony should get himself an actual hitting coach.