Gold on the Ceiling

I like the Black Keys a lot, but I worry the Buffalo Sabres‘ inconsistent offerings might be ruining a couple of the groups’ bigger hits. The Sabres take to the ice to the tune of “Lonely Boy” and goals are celebrated with “Gold on the Ceiling.” It’s like if the music isn’t update, fans won’t cheer as hard.

Only team with literally its own theme song, we’ve got to shoehorn more tunes in there because that’s what keeps the fans entertained. So, on Fan Appreciation Night,  to make up for Season Ticket Price increase afternoon, I got to hear from folks literally complaining that balloons weren’t going to get to their aisle. Is that really the most important thing? When one of the Sabres’ fetching p.r. interns came to get a seat holder to receive a jersey from a play at games’ end, that shut that up.

It was nice to close it out on a high note.

934888_10151365369932466_184817924_n“Yay, Me!”

It was nice for the game to end on that note, where fans and star goalie remembered the big picture and it was nothing but love and all.  T’was a nice vibe to end it on, as the days of working both jobs were starting to have quite the negative effect on the following day for me. I’m ready for the break. I don’t think the home team needs a massive over haul, but some things could stand to change. As Miller has been one of the most consistent Sabres this season, I sort of hate to see him potentially be out the door.

But as three days of NFL Draft coverage has reinforced, nobody knows nothing. Anybody who has spend anytime talking about what team picks what guy I think has forfeited his right to complain about weathermen.

But Sabres’ leadership, bring back the Sabredance!



For the first 18 minutes, the Sabres and Rangers played a good game Friday evening, two flukey goals later, the wheels came off. They weren’t Ryan Miller‘s fault. Stuff or skates happen, especially on those first two goals, but when four straight shots over two periods amount to four goals, it was hard to watch the wheels come off. I don’t begrudge Miller’s wave after some sarcastic cheers for a save. Actually from my ushering vantage point, it was pretty funny considering. A few of the sportwriters were talking how it was a Patrick Roy moment, referring to Roy’s last moment on Canadiens ice before winning two cups in Colorado (by the way, I’d love to see Roy, a current OHL coach, get a shot with Buffalo, if Rolston doesn’t return).

I sort of hope not. I couldn’t blame Miller. He’s been statistically pretty good this short season. Given how inconsistent the play in front of him has been, the good numbers are a flippin godsend.

Yeah, fans made noise once again. There were a lot of Rangers fans in the house. There’s a lot of frustration in the air and in the aisles. Nobody wants a season to end this way, to be on the outside, while the Leafs (the LEAFS!?!?!) are the most charming hockey team in the region.

I’ve never been a BOO-er, doesn’t do anything for me. But you have to see it as a sign that the fans (you know the folks in the 300s) care, it’s how they show their love, that they are watching, not just applauding the goals (like in some rinks).

The post Drury/Briere hangover lingers and it sort of feels like Miller and Thomas Vanek‘s primes got a little squandered as we shoot for an identity.

But I got to tell you a balanced team that shows up and plays hard gets respect, even when the scoreboard doesn’t smile on em.

Yep, still Lucic’s fault

Another rare hockey blog. I was thinking how usually Sabres Leafs games are must see tv, but the cable squabbles have taken care of that as a problem. The guys who started out so well, and that game in Boston really exposed them.  As the cartoon from the Buffalo News shows, Ryan Miller hasn’t been himself (wonder if the concussions are really healed and all), and the team has been more of a collection of bodies instead of a team, sometimes passionless ones at that. It made me wonder about all the twitter discussions that if Lindy Ruff was let go, who should replace him. I got an answer for that one, Ted Nolan. Think about it, Nolan’s guys weren’t always the most gifted kids, but they never took the night off. I’m saying dump Lindy by any means, but some kind of shakeup needs to happen to give this team some life.

Passion does lead to production. And while the new ownership raised expectations, the bulk of the current Sabres’ nation remembers 2006 when a lot seemed within reach, which only adds to the frustration considering the so called “Core” of the current team was there riding the coattails of Drury, Briere, etc. You’d think what they saw then would be helping them now.

Something got awry quickly, remember October? That was fun. Sure, there were injuries, but other teams have dealt with those too.

The Sabres GM, who is looking more and more like Niles Crane, earned points with me when asked if the team would be worse without Drury and Briere and he answered yes. I respected that because he was honest with us. The guy got Briere, Drury, Doug Gilmour, J.P. Dumont and others, so he knows how to deal. It’s just hard not to wonder if he forgot how.

Aside from fining players for uttering “work hard” “move your feet”, “play the whole game” cliches, with the proceeds going to a list I almost have at the ready, the home team hasn’t been itself since the Lucic incident and needs an injection of some soul soon.

That and MSG (and it’s cable company parent) and Time Warner needs to get this slap fight settled. Getting NBA-TV isn’t compensation. There’s no good side in that discussion. I do know that anybody thinking of switching services should be careful as who knows when the Direct connection expires.

So, do something Darcy, maybe a simple gesture could trigger some good karma.

Lucic’s fault

Things aren’t quite right.

Ever since Milan Lucic barreled into the Sabres’ Ryan Miller in early November, things have been a little askew.

The Sabres have been an uneven mess ever since. They have been a collection of players occasionally a team, after starting the season so well. Definitely Lucic’s fault.

Our former outworldly goalie has had trouble finding his game after coming back from the injury inflicted by the collision. Again,  Lucic’s fault.

A record amount of Sabres have gone on the injury list since. Probably Lucic’s fault.

Sabres-Senators games used to have that fine scent of rivalry, now, because of all the rookies are just another game. I think we connect the dots

Perhaps, thinking about his home team, Fred Jackson tried to do too much and suffered a season ending injury which derailed a promising Bills season and paved the way for the Patriots to take control of the AFC East, a coincidence you say? Well, Lucic plays up the road from, yeah, the Patriots.

Seems to me that after the holidays, the Sabres’ brass should lift the Lucic curse by doing something radical, like trading for him.

This is Sportscenter

Alright, the Bills played a game against the Jets that made them out to be posers in the playoff race. This too shall pass. The world isn’t collapsing and if they can go 5 and 3 the second half of the year, the combined 10 and 6 should steal a wildcard sport. The pragmatist in me says enjoy that, realize that, and know full well that the Packers would make them look like a Pop Warner team. It would sure be fun for them to beat the Cowboys next week, though.

The Sabres crisis? Please, it is a long season and I’ll say it, Ryan Miller is the number one goalie. In Jhonas Enroth, we have the capable hand that hasn’t been there since Martin Biron was in town. Remember Marty’s 12 game undefeated streak when Miller was hurt. In Enroth, we have a number two that allows Miller to catch a breather, work on his game, and receive silly tweets from the missus about movie premieres.

I saw a guy walking down Delaware Ave sporting a St. Louis Blues Jersey. This, to me, was interesting as the Blues don’t seem to be the team to inspire jersey purchases this far north.

I did have a theory blown today with the Bills’ debacle. I put forth the notion that I didn’t pay a great deal of attention, the greater their fortunes. As my sister is a Jets fan and my dad is a bills fan, and they reside in the same house, and how I didn’t want any of “That” getting on me, I did other things Sunday (Sorry, Mom, everybody for themselves).  I figured me being out and about would at least ensure a respectable performance. So, sorry fellas, better get the Cowboys on Sunday.

Not Fade Away

A reading from Book 2, verse 12 of Angry Birds….

While continuing to not care about the lack of an NBA season, I started to pay attention a little to the World Series a bit as it progressed. It was sort of hard to get terribly worked up about the Rangers and Cardinals. Both have had their good sides and bad sides. I mean the Cardinals’ ownership has inflicted mediorce beer on the world for a long time and when President Bush was involved with the Rangers, they dumped Sammy Sosa off to the Cubs where he and some chemicals gave chase to some home run records. Given the timing, you’d think that would have been a little foreshadowing for Dubya’s presidency. But, you set all that aside, there was some actual interesting baseball there and without a villian, just two teams slugging it out.  I do agree that the frequent cut aways during Game Six to Rangers poobah and pitching Legend Nolan Ryan made it look like he wanted the damn ball to finish off the Cards. He looked like he probably could have done it too.

Yeah, so Ryan Miller might have a problem or two with the Tampa Bay Lightening at the moment, but I don’t care. He’s our guy, it’s a long season and stuff will happen. Remember the start of last hockey season. Stuff happens. You can’t help but like Jhonas Enroth, but everybody should just chill. Enroth will play the needed 20-25 for Miller to stay fresh. I’ll take this year’s start over last year’s anytime.

Glad the Bills signed Fitz, with Johnson and Jackson soon to follow. Now how about some defense now that Merriman has crashed and burned once more.

Being a Mets fan might have wrecked my baseball attention span. When you measure a good game for its nap quality, it might be time to afford the Blue Jays more attention.

My tv made my chest hurt

Playoff hockey is the bestest!

There I said it. Ain’t this fun? I never would have thought the Sabres would have made it this far in talking Hockey back in December.

It is a hoot in general. I’m getting a kick out of watching how Nathan Gerbe is getting under the Flyers‘ skin, how Tyler Myers is playing even taller and how Ryan Miller shut everybody up with a stellar performance including that robbery of old friend Daniel Briere.

Enjoying the ride and I’m looking forward to being late for dinner on Sunday to go work at Game Six. It has been the best of the playoff series thus far, but I sort of think whoever wins, might just be too spent to go much further.

(from the Buffalo News)

That said, I’m looking forward to working the Sunday game. The arena doesn’t always have the pulse that the Aud did, but occasionally the personality, the buzz is palpable. That feeling of shared excitement makes friends out of complete strangers, and being part of something bigger than you is well, kind of cool.

So, yeah, Jason Pominville, when the powerplay stinks up the joint for five whole minutes, we’ll voice displeasure. When the refs are befuddling, (to both teams), we might make some sounds as well.

This all bodes well for the future, not only for the good vibes coming from the new ownership, but the way the young guys are finding their games and making the building shake in the process. And last night, made the guys across the courtyard in my apartment building nearly scream both their flat screens off the wall.

It’s all part of the fun, cuz I don’t give an expletive either.

Crossed Swords

If I need somebody to wear a yellow tuque on a regular basis, I’m calling Patrick Lalime. He does it well, but apparently that ain’t enough. So, either make Enroth the permanent backup and either cut LaLime loose, ship to Portland or do something crazy like play him every third or fourth game to keep Ryan Miller‘s prime from going up in smoke. Yeah, he’s made a couple of interesting choices on the giveway front, but everybody does. Perhaps had he played more, the Sabres as a whole might not completely lose their sense of self when he does start.

Other Icy thoughts:

Why, oh why, are semi-normal adults following the daughters of owner in waiting Terry Pegula on Twitter? That just smacks of too desperate for a brush with greatness or fame. Love all the perks of social media and so forth but there is a line there too and for many they have to look behind them to see it.

I’m not hating the rumored first hire of the Pegula adminstration. Ted Black helped right the ship in Pittsburgh. Hopefully he is your team president and a clean slate of GM relieves Darcy. I think Lindy, if for no other reason than he didn’t want to slip a Jauron like extension past people, should be retained.

I kind of want to see the rumored list of who could be dealt and who shouldn’t be.

With each succeeding hat trick, I’d wager Drew Stafford‘s price at the end of the year is getting higher. Um, Darcy, this would be a good time to step up.

What is it about this year’s New York Islanders that the Sabres keep confusing with the late 70s Montreal Canadiens? It happens every season or so, that there is one team that seems to have their number, but the Islanders?? That ain’t right.

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.