An attempt to be humorous and logical about the Buffalo Sports Scene.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Looking at the business model

The Sabres were nominated, not winner of, the sports franchise of the year category, of the Sports Business Awards. Which of course tons of people scoffed at after the year the Sabres have had. But really it has nothing to do with success on the ice. It has to do with the success off it. The Sabres are the top franchise in town. The Bills are almost forgotten about these days. They have the highest tv ratings in the league. They sell out almost all the games. THEY HAVE A WAITING LIST for tickets. All this from half empty buildings all the time 5 years ago. Say what you want about Golisano and Quinn and the team. But its a pretty successful business model. And now business first has ranked them 8th in the league in business success. You can talk about on ice success all you want, but the Sabres have turned into a successful business.

People say the ownership doesn't care about the team or the fans or they would have signed Drury or Briere and kept Campbell. Well with most successful businesses, making a profit comes first. Do you think McDonalds cares whether they win Burger of the year? No, they want you to come in spend your money on their crappy food. The Sabres want you to come to their games, wear their merchandise and be a fan. If they win the Cup, thats great, if not, did we end in the black? Yes? Good, mission accomplished.

People gotta get over the fact that the Sabres aren't some community organization that is supposed to provide the area with good will and cheer. They are a business, that is supposed of offer entertainment for a value, and if you want support it, you can. And guess what, if we don't support the Sabres, they will get up and move to somewhere where they will be supported. Its all about location isn't it? I love the Buffalo news going after them all the time, because they are just like the Sabres, the only big paper in town. Thus it can be crappy, but since its the only game in town, you have to buy it. Thus making themselves, like they are serving the community, when all it really is, is an entity of Warren Buffets empire. People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.

We the fans complain, about the loss of talent, but yet still buy tickets and buy hats and jerseys at record levels. So why should they spend more money, only to cut profit? Anyone with any sense of business, now you keep costs low to maximize profit. So if they are generating tons of money, but without paying out large salaries, then thats the most logical thing to do. They have the buzz, people talk about them all the time. And with the introduction of the new 3rd old logo jersey next year, they will sell a ton of new stuff. Plus they hooked a whole new generation of fans. I was hooked to the Bills during the Super Bowl years, and still watch with passion. The early 90's sabres never really did anything for me, thus me not being as into them as I am the Bills. Tons of star players, but never any real success. Though I know I stayed up to watch the 4 OT Game 6 of the Sabres Devils series. If there were a game to show why Hasek is going in the hall of fame, its because of that one. Hasek vs a young Marty Broduer, can't beat it.

Maybe I am a pro management type guy, because I feel this town is always too quick to blame the boss, rather the employee. But at the end of the day its the player on the ice, that determines success of the team, just like its the guy on the line that determines the quality of the car. The player turnovers the puck at the wrong time, is the same as the guy who doesn't tighten the bolt tight enough.

Larry Quinn didn't blow two, two goal leads in the 3rd last week. Tom Golisano doesn't let in that critical goal. Darcy Regier doesn't lose critical face offs. Its time to drop the hammer on the players, if they can't take it, cut them loose. This team has talent. They just need toughness, mental toughness.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Sabres Bruins preview

Well its getting bleaker by the day for the Sabres, the playoffs just get farther and farther away with every game. And its their own fault. They should be going in winning 3 in a row and 6 of their last 7. You know a team that really wants it. But they have lost 3 of their last 4, and two of those are 3rd period collapses. But due to math, the Sabres are not totally out of it. But really things aren't looking good. 6 points out of 8th and 4 points out of 9th. Its not the Bruins they should worry about. They have 2 games against them. Its the Caps. Who are hot and playing weak competition. If anything the Sabres beating the Bruins will only hurt their own chances and help the Caps make the playoffs. But its the last home game of the season, and I'm sure they want to send the home crowd happy tonight and actually put together a good 60 minute performance. They got 4 games left, no reason to hold back now.

The Bruins

The Bruins were sliding down the standings for a while now. But have won 3 in a row and looking to improve that total. Since 4th place in the conference is only 3 points away. Tim Thomas is how the Bruins go. Without Tim Thomas this would be a non playoff team. When hes on, he becomes some how unbeatable. They have been winning even without leading scorer Marc Savard who will be out of todays game, leaving Marco Sturm, Phil Kessel, Zdeno Chara and Dennis Wideman as your offensive weapons. The Bruins play tight, so if the Sabres are all loose, they will lose. I'm tired of the Bruins and half the remaining games are against them. So yay for Chara!!!


Well its the last home game, before ending on the road, probably not a bad thing, since they seem better on the road lately. And if they are going to win 4 games in a row, not having booing and the word SHOOOOOT yelled at you, is probably good for this team. But if they come out and lay a stinker, they will be booed off their home ice, not the way you want to end the campaign. Well its the end of things at HSBC probably, so take down those signs and prep for other summer events. Looks like HSBC will be in a slumber earlier then usual this year. But who really couldn't use the extra sleep.

Saturday, March 29, 2008



This banner was hanging in HSBC arena on Tuesday. And obviously it references the Journey song and the current state of things, that you shouldn't give up on these guys. My question is, when did you start. This year has been up and down all year, was there any real indication of a good team? The opening two losses against the Islanders? Them going into Christmas hot, then reeling off a 10 game losing streak? This team is something that was hard to believe in. So really its hard to stop believing, you really never start believing in. Did I think they make the Playoffs? Sure, did I think they would do anything? Not really. They don't have that killer instinct right now. They are soft. They've been spoiled. They need to be booed, and raked through the coals. The management has been taken all the heat all year long, sparing the team. Its like children who make so much noise, but yet the parents take all the heat. Sometimes its okay to blame the kids.

I hear the radio that you aren't a true fan if you give up now and you stay with the team. I hate that nonsense. Its just as bad as the over negative crap. A fan can see whats going on, you have a good base to form an a conclusion on. Is it over yet, not totally, crazy things happen. But seriously you blow two 3-1 leads in the third period in the same week! This team isn't good enough. Lets not fool ourselves. The more you realize the truth, the easier it is to change. These guys get to watch the playoffs. Most of them don't know what that is like. They've been in rochester and buffalo making the post season. Maybe they'll feel embarrassed. Come back next year with a focus.

Seriously what was the focus for this year? I never heard a goal. Playoffs? Really? For a two time conference finalist? Thats not good enough. It was all about Drury and Briere and overcoming loss, but nothing to work for. After the Boston game a week or so from now. And they are cleaning out their lockers. Unless a miracle happens. Everyone should be stood in front of a mirror and be told.




YOU, your pretty good and please sign an extension

I'm pretty excited about you next year.

So I can't stop believing because I never started. This team is frustrating, young and needs to learn discipline. They need the toys taken away and learn to play like you could be sent down any day. Really the ending of the Sopranos is a fitting embed right now. Something you look forward to all year, the ending, and how does it end?

Just by fading to black.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Sabres Canadians Preview

Well as many Sabre fans shut it down for the season, to soften the non playoff blow. Hey if they are Bills fans, you'd think they'd be use to that feeling. I am still excited for the remaining games. These are the games that show you the true character of the guys on the team. Its easy to cruise in, like last year. Which made them soft and really not hungry. They barely got through two rounds last year, before being rolled over by the Sens. This was a weak team last year. They just scored a ton and were able to put up a big lead early. So now they are playing just to stay in it. Its basically run the table to just have a shot at maybe making the 8th spot. And they run into the buzzsaw that is the Montreal Canadians, who have handled the Sabres this year. They are a strong young team, that has grown together in Hamilton, and now together in Montreal. Mmm, kind of like this team was two years ago. But this should be a good example of what the Sabres are made of. Playing a very good team at home, after playing the night before on the road. Lets see what these guys are really made of. Anyone that doesn't show up tonight, should be shipped out at the end of the year.

The Habs

Montreal hasn't played since monday, where they held on to a 7-1 lead to win 7-5. So they are rested and obviously took the 3rd period off against Ottawa. Could it make them rusty? Could it make them fresh and fast? I have no idea. But there are a lot of young kids giving Montreal a balanced lineup. Alexei Kovalev, somehow came alive this and is leading the team in Goals, Assists, points and +/-. So he is giving them some great veteran leadership. Plekanec is also having a great year with 27 goals. But you also have to deal with Koivu, Streit, Higgins, the Kostitsyn's and Latendresse. This is team that will be tough for years. Which is good Montreal should always be good. The only thing that concerns me about the Habs in the Playoffs is Carey Price, his GAA is high, but Sv% is good. So he gets a lot of shots. And if hes not used to the every game play, that the Playoffs require. He could be their weakness.


Well this is a interesting game for me. Montreal is fighting for first. Buffalo is fighting for their playoff lives. The Habs don't need to win tonight, but it would be great. The Sabres HAVE to win tonight. So is a desperation test. Who wants it more. And if the Sabres come out flat, then major changes need to be had. I don't care who goes. You don't win in this league, unless you play desperate. Fear that you won't play tomorrow if you don't play well tonight. The Sabres grew fat on success and it killed them this year. This game will reveal the character of the Buffalo Sabres. May it be good or bad, I would like to know.

Mair telling Smolinski, he's gonna wipe that smirk right off his face. God I hate Smolinski.

The Ghost

Andre Ringuette Getty Images

Well we've got to the point where we can compare the Campbell trade. Sure we really have to wait till the draft pick develops. So the trade could be looked at 6 years from now and compare it. But that doesn't help us now. I think we all know about Big Bears first game here as a Sabre and it endeared us to him. But since then? Pretty invisible. Lets look at the stats.

First game 2 goals 1 assist +3
Next 11 games 5 assists -3

Sabre Record 6-6-2 (Bernier missed 2 games)

Now its time to see how Brian Campbell has done since joining the Sharks, I know the Sharks have been red hot, but as a player has Brian Campbell done as a Shark?

15 Games 2 Goals 12 Assists +8

Sharks Record 13-0-2

Well Mr Campbell is doing quite well for himself over in San Jose. Who I keep forgetting have Curtis Brown. Its turning into Sabres West. But they haven't lost in regulation since acquired? Maybe he was the last piece of the puzzle. Well Steve Bernier is who they say he was, a guy with talent, but disappears for stretches, and that is the case here with the Sabres. I know hes young, but can you really have another guy who disappears for stretches? The Sabres don't need another Kotalik, who when on can be a great player, when not, totally unnoticeable. At least with Max he comes to play every night. Bad or good. The Sabres of several years ago were filled with guys not living up to potential. Just because hes a number 1 pick doesn't mean hes gonna be good. People give Vanek a lot of guff, but the guy puts the puck in the net. 100 goals in 3 years is pretty good and he just turned 24. Bernier was taken in the same draft and has 44 goals. The upside is he won't be worth a lot, and can't try to negotiate some outrageous contract. So you can sign him cheap next year. My question is, would you want to?

Oh and Happy 23rd Birthday on Monday Steve.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Instead of a preview

Thats the reason he's struggling, hes trying to play with his eyes closed

Well instead of a Sabres Sens Preview, mainly because its too painful to rehash what happened Tuesday, and I'd rather not talk about the Senators. We're gonna talk about a much debated topic. Ryan Miller's worth. We all know his contract status, he knows the contract status and the question is, how will it be dealt with.

There are a few options
1. Work out a new deal over the summer
2. Start talks about a new deal but leave it for the next year.
3. Just play out next year and see where things go
4. Trade him next year so you don't lose him for nothing
5. Let him walk next summer.

You can say sign him now, or wait or hes not worth what we think he wants. But you have to do comparisons to other goalies in the league to really get an idea of what he could be worth out there. Which has nothing to do with whether he deserves it, or what people think. If his numbers stack up to those around him making a certain amount, then to he should be paid that amount. The only way to go into these arguments is with numbers and rationality. Can't bring in opinion, though opinion can decide things.

Ryan Miller Career stats.

101-67-1-18 2.69 GAA and .908 SV%

Playoff stats

20-14 2.40 GAA and a .915 sv%

The win loss record is pretty good, but the individual numbers are pretty pedestrian. The win loss numbers can be associated with how talented the team has been the past 2 years. You could say they shielded Ryan Miller from a lot. The team hasn't been as good this year, so this year is a good comparison to the rest of the league. I hate to do this but we're gonna compare Ryan to Roberto Luongo. They both have been on the ice, the same amount and shots faced are pretty close. Ryan has played 3 more games so the average per game is pretty identical. And Vancouver is good, but not that good.

So lets compare.

Ryan Miller 33
Roberto Luongo 34

Shots against
Ryan Miller 1982
Roberto Luongo 1929

Ryan Miller 2.64
Roberto Luongo 2.29

Ryan Miller .908
Roberto Luongo .921

Ok hes nowhere near as good as Luongo who makes, 6.5 Million to 7 Million next year. So his argument for pay here, goes nowhere. I don't want to hear about Playoff performance. Luongos numbers from last years playoffs are unreal 1.77 GAA and a .942 Sv%. Hes way better then Miller and plays in a better conference.

So who does Miller stack up to? You can't just use a few numbers, you have to look at the whole body of work and shots and the team they play on. When you look at numbers, Ryan and Miikka Kiprusoft are pretty similar.

Ryan Miller 33
Miikka Kiprusoft 38

Shots Against
Ryan Miller 1982
Miikka Kiprusoft 2006

Ryan Miller 2.64
Miikka Kiprusoft 2.66

Ryan Miller .908
Miikka Kiprusoft .907

So based on these numbers Ryan has a case hes as good as Miikka Kiprusoft. Who probably has a better team around him this year. And looking at his contract, Yikes!. 8 Million a year for the next 3 years, the 6, 3.5, 1.5 in the following years. So total, 35 Million over 6 years. The career numbers are better for Kiprusoft, regular season and playoffs. But Ryan Miller is 4 years younger. So once again, the money is gonna probably be even.

I could go all day comparing and contrasting. But the Kiprusoft contract looks to me as the benchmark. 6 years for 35 million. I would offer initially 5 years for 29 million. 7.5 Million, 7.5 Million, 7 Million, 3.5 Million, 3.5 Million. Show you want to pay him now, and if things turn out well you get a steal come 4 years from now, when you have to start paying your new stars. If he wants seven, no, six maybe. Ryan Miller is a good goaltender. They are tough to find. And in 4 years, if Enroth is ready. You don't have hard contract to get rid of. But what do I know. Im a lowly blogger. But I hope they sign him.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

It was a cold and rainy night....

I had high hopes when I went in

I got the privilege of attending last nights game, I was pretty excited, thinking the Sabres were going to take advantage of a tired team. I even stopped in at the Sabre store and picked up a new hat since they were having a sale. I thought, thats a good sign. I headed to get to my seat and wait for my dad, since this was a Christmas gift.

Pretty good seats.

Doug Allen? Even better sign

And away we go!

Well the first period wasn't very good for the Sabres, they came out slow and timid and their usual hey we can't play 60 minutes of hockey. And of course a defensive lapse happens, the Mair line, and Christoph Schubert, who is dead to me know for trying to kill Kaleta, rockets one past Miller. That didn't make the already somewhat negative atmosphere any better. They escape the period only letting up one goal

There were some boos

I will always associate Brian Campbell with this

The ice scrapers are boring, they need to jazz them up a bit

The second period got started and the Sabres still seemed slow and just going through the motions. But they picked up during the period. Thanks to the reshuffling of the lines. Paille up with Hecht and Pominville, because Goose just isn't good enough. And the RAV line back together. That line provided the most spark. Stafford was shipped down to the Mair line, because honestly Stafford sucks most nights. He is the new Kotalik. Who seemed inspired last night for a change. Maybe Bernier lit a fire under him. Gaustad, Bernier and Kotalik would be a great line if everyone of them were inspired on the same night.

This just in I hate the Top line of Ottawa

Finally Derek Roy puts the biscuit in the basket, putting it past Martin Gerber, who was effing terrible on the play. This gets the crowd back in it. Though the Sabres were buzzing around and just couldn't put it in.

Hey did you know the Police are coming to the Arena?


Time to get the 3rd period going!

The Sabres started off the 3rd strongly, taking advantage of a tired Ottawa team they were all over them, Derek Roy again, put it in on a nice play, and the Arena was rocking and just as they were announcing the Roy goal, Pominville puts one in, on a pretty pass from Hecht. Now the Arena was loud, thinking ok, finally were taking advantage of the team.

Who knew this was the beginning of the end?

Yes, Martin Gerber, you are terrible

After a dumb penalty by Cory Stillman, the Sabres go on the Power Play and you think heres the killer shot. But just awful play leads to a short handed goal, why Roy went after the man with the puck, when Lydman had him I have zero idea. Then shortly, bang the game is tied. Son of a bitch. The negative atmosphere is back in a hurry.


At this point I'm thinking oh please just get a point at least. But then of course a tip shot from the point, goes right in. Then a tip shot from the point, makes it 4-3 then Alfie, put its away with shot Miller has to stop at that point. And its head to the exits time.

Yikes, that was quick

Another one for good measure

The Sabres head for the Exits too, and for a early tee time

Talk about having your heart ripped out at a game. It was happy and rocking in the third and this team collapsed again. They can't keep a lead to save their life. Its like one bad thing and they just fall apart. Maybe its better they don't make the playoffs. Make them feel what its like to watch. Get their heads together. This team is mentally soft. Too many guys take nights off. Is it coaching? I don't think so, motivation comes from inside and they need to get rid of the non motivated guys. Maybe thats why Drury really left. He saw the lazy play and said we'll never win a cup with this lineup. Resign Miller? Honestly I'll wait for next year. Lets see how he does in a contract year. Plus I want to see what Jhonas Enroth does in the AHL next season. The Sabres might have something better in the wings.

Well I guess the next step is picking teams for the playoffs. That should be fun.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Sabres Sens Preview

Oh its a back to back matchup with the Senators a team Sabre fans love to hate. They always seem filled with smug guys, who think they are the best and I hope many just trip and fall face first into the boards. Plus recent playoff matchups have made things more feisty, along with the Brawl from last year. Ottawa is one of the few teams I can see the Sabres just want to beat on. Well early on in the year Ottawa was a juggernaut, couldn't be beat, now they are free falling through the standings. That trade didn't quite work out as well as thought and are only 5 points ahead of 8th in the conference. That from a team who seemed they were going to run away with 1st. Since January 1st they are 16-22-1. Which is pretty bad and 4-6 in their last 10. While other teams, Montreal, Pittsburgh got hot. Ottawa got cold, real cold. The Sens are 4-2 vs the Sabres this year but they haven't played since they lost 5-1 in Ottawa on Feb 12. So its time for some held over hostility.

The Sens

Well the Sens are always led by the big 3, Heatley, Alfredsson and Spezza. Heatley leads with 39 goals and Spezza leads with 84 points. The acquisition of Cory Stillman, makes the drop off from the big 3 to the next guy not so bad. He has 24 goals and 64 points on the year. Mike Fisher is in 5th with 45 points. But has been ice cold of late. The problem for the Sens, just like always, who is net. Marty Gerber hasn't been bad this year and if it weren't for him, they might be fighting for the playoffs right now. But Ray Emery has been a disaster. From Stanley Cup goaltender to Enemy #1 in Ottawa. He hasn't played since February 28th. But the Sens are always dangerous with the top talent they do have. Chris Neil is back in the lineup, so that should stir up the Sabre faithful. Though he didn't play in the last game.


Well I'll be in attendance, so that doesn't say good things for the boys in blue and gold. But still they gotta come out and put it to Ottawa there is no way they can go out and go through the motions. Ottawa, sure I can see. But Buffalo is playing for their playoff lives. Nathan Paetsch is back, not as good if it were Spacek, but I'll take him over Funk. Sekera and Weber can stay up as long as they want, and you might as well set up their lockers for next year. Well win or lose, I'm just looking for a good time. So see you at the Arena, hopefully if Fed Ex Ground is fast with my The Kaleta! shirt on.

The excitement of going to a game.

A magical place

Theres nothing better then that all day anticipation for something, tonight its getting to go to a hockey game. I love going to Sabre games. The arena has this feel to it, the smell of the ice and the sounds of the skates going up and down. Its really so much better in person then on tv. I didn't really go to many games of late. Prior to the playoff game last year, the last game I went to was Sabres vs Coyotes in 2001. I went to a lot more Canisius hockey games then Sabres. Of course those were free, so. But just the thrill from that one game I knew I had to go to more games this year.

See I went to game 5 of the Islanders series.

So coming into this year I made an effort to get to more games. It began with a coworker doing a flex pack and offering to put in for me and the games I want. I put into the Columbus game. Thinking oh yeah, they'll win that one and I love seeing teams I never see. So me and my dad went to the Columbus game and it was terrible, not the experience, but the Sabres. Oh god, it still might be their worst game of the year. Columbus is boring and the Sabres were terrible.

There would be a picture of the game, but it was so ugly, I substituted a picture of a cute cat.

Then after for my birthday, my girlfriend surprised me with tickets to a Bruins game. I very excited. And thrilled, on top of it being my birthday, but she gives me the best gift ever. Unfortunately the game wasn't as thrilling. Somehow Alex Auld turned into Patrick Roy for the night and absolutely stonewalled the Sabres. Who peppered him with shots. And every time the Sabres lapsed, Boston scored. They wound up winning 4-1. And Alex Auld gained a new fan in my girlfriend, who was a Lacrosse goalie and had knowledge of positioning. She not a big fan of Ryan Miller by the way. The loss was tempered by the great experience and happiness.

Here's a scoreboard shot for my girlfriend, who makes fun of me for taking these kind of pictures. She doesn't understand my madness.

Now tonight, Sabres vs Ottawa. I bought these tickets as a christmas gift for my dad. I wanted the boxing day game, but read the wrong date on ebay. But I won them for below ticket price. Bonus! So me and my dad and if I'm lucky The Kaleta! Shirt will be there too. So I'm excited for tonight, disappointed I won't be spending the night with my girlfriend, since it will be too late, but hopefully the Sabres will come out tonight and take about the evil sens.

Pictures will follow tomorrow, with even more scoreboards.

Some Bison talk

With the start of baseball today and working near Dunn Tire Park, it gets me in the mood for watching some baseball. But its hard to see who is going to be playing with the Herd this year. You look at the Bisons site and you have an idea, but its all up and down, then you have to look at prospects in the Indians camp and its like I would like to know, before I head to DTP, who the hell is playing. So lets do some digging and see who might be playing with the Bisons come April.

Well good news for Bisons fans the Tribe optioned both Jeremy Sowers and Aaron Laffey to Buffalo to start the year. Both are good young pitchers, but will need some action and we get to see these two young future MLB starters for a little. Well until there are injuries and then they will go up. Adam Miller should also be in the starting rotation for the Herd to start the year, after having a decent year last year. He is the top prospect in the organization and your typical big time pitcher. The fifth rated prospect in the organization, Chuck Lofgren, should also be in Buffalo to start the year. And rounding out the rotation looks like to be a journeyman player Jeff Harris. But with a starting rotation of Sowers, Laffey, Miller and Lofgren, the Bisons are going to be hard to hit early in the year. Especially in the cold, where the Bats are going to sting your hands. Plus coming out of the Bullpen is my favorite Bison name ever, Bubbie Buzachero. Your typical middle relief type player.

On the offensive side, looks like the big stud in Buffalo this year will be Jordan Brown, 1B. He was an mvp of the Carolina League and had an excellent year with Akron last year. Hitting .333 with 85 RBIs. His former teammate at Arizona, Trevor Crowe, should also be in the Outfield for the herd come April. Though outfield is a depth position in Cleveland, and who knows stuck in Akron. He hasn't been as productive as he was in college, but the potential is there for another Grady Sizmoresque player. Other guys in the outfield should be Brad Snyder, Jason Tyner, Jason Cooper and Jonathan Van Every and maybe Ben Francisco due to depth issues. Like pitching the outfield is going to be very deep for the Bisons.

Behind the plate Wyatt Toregas looks to be the starting catcher with Yamid Haad as his backup. Now in the infield is where the concern for me is. The Herd has a potential power source in Michael Aubrey at First and DH. He will split with another power hitter Ryan Mulhern. I honestly don't know who is starting at 3rd. Marte would, but he wouldn't pass through waivers. The infield might be filled with guys on the verge, journeyman free agents or guys a little too green for AAA.

But for Torey Lovullo, its an embarrassment of riches on the mound and in the outfield. He'll have some power and will just hope the infield comes together for them to make a run at the IL title. I hope to be there enough to watch it all happen. Because theres nothing better then a Bison game in the middle of summer.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Looking at the playoff race

Well with only a couple weeks left in the season, its time to look at the thing we really don't want to look at the Playoff picture. Yes, the Sabres are in it. Was the loss to Toronto bad? Yes, since every loss that doesn't come with a point is bad. But not end of the world. You would have thought the Tampa game would have scared them, but nope. They go out and lose to the Leafs. Like I said, they would have won unless Toskala stands on his head, and guess what he did. Of course Ryan Miller lets in a couple per usual, and the other goalie plays better the Sabres lose. He does know he is going to get a big deal soon right, and his play doesn't justify that. A good deal, but not a huge deal. But anyway lets look at the standings.

6. NY Rangers 88 Points
7. Philadelphia 86 Points
8. Boston 84 Points
9. Washington 82 Points
10 Buffalo 81 Points
11. Florida 81 Points
12. Toronto 80 Points

Well the Rangers are gone, someone you can root for now, Philly is getting out of reach, leaving the Bruins as a target. But with Washington and Florida right with the Sabres, you have to pay attention to them and who they have left. Toronto basically has to go undefeated the rest of the year which I don't see. So lets take the remaining schedules.

Philly - 6 games left 1 vs NYR, 2 vs NJ, 1 Vs Pitt and 1 vs NYI. They have a tough road ahead to move up from that 7th spot and could possibly go into a swan dive with the tough games, all teams except the Islanders looking to position themselves.

Boston - 7 games left. 2 vs TO, 2 vs Ottawa, 1 vs NJ, and 2 vs Buf. The bruins have gone very cold in March with only 3 wins this month. And with games against tough opponents, they could slide right out of the playoff race. They are a wounded animal maybe the Sabres could take advantage of that.

Washington - 6 games left. 2 vs Car, 2 vs Tampa, 2 vs FLA. The Caps are hot at the right time. Going 9-4 in their last 13 games. And have a favorable schedule the rest of the way. The Carolina matchups might be tough, but Carolina has no where to go, but 3rd. Tampa is dead in the water, and Florida, I have no idea about them. If anyone Boston has to look out for its the Caps.

Buffalo - 7 Games left. 2 vs Ott, 2 vs Mon, 2 vs Bos and 1 vs TO. Its all division matchups here on out. And tough ones. Ottawa is in a minor freefall, heading towards 6th in the East,(hey thats pretty smart) Montreal is in 1st and doesn't want to leave it. Boston is fighting for their lives and the Leafs are the Leafs. I have no idea where the teams head is at. And I can't say whether they will get into 7th or 8th or fall apart and wind up in 12th. But that last game at Boston, just screams make it or die written all over it.

Florida - 6 games left. 1 vs Tampa, 2 vs Atlanta, 2 vs WSH, and 1 vs Car. The panthers have a favorable schedule with 3 games against bottom feeders, and 3 versus better teams. But I just don't see them making the playoffs over a team like the Caps. I don't think they are good enough and no one needs the Panthers in the Playoffs. But hey stranger things have happened.

The road ahead is tough for the Sabres, they do have a game in hand on their closest teams, except Boston. They have a good couple days off here to get their game in order. Put on their game faces, because the Playoffs already started for the Sabres. They just need to play that way. Every shift, every period is important. There is no Drury or Briere to score that important goal. Its up to the Vaneks, Roys, Staffords and Hechts to score. Its time to see what this team is really made up of. Otherwise its gonna be a looooooong offseason for Darcy and friends.

But I have to take issue with Mike Harrington in this post, about the sabres "record". There is no way you can take a SO loss and put it in the loss category. All he did was slam OT/SO losses into the loss category. If I were adjusting the record. Shootouts would be ties. So the Sabres record in my eyes. Would be 33-31-11, not that bad of a record. You don't get points for losses, so they shouldn't be lumped in to the loss category. Thats why in my record scheme. OT losses are no points, and game that would go to the shootout are straight ties. So Mike Harrington you can use stats to slam the team, but they aren't a below .500 hockey team, close, but not quite.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Sabres Leafs Preview

Hey its the Leafs at HSBC, yay, for dumb leaf fans streaming into WNY to see their leafs play in person. One of these days I'll go to a Sabres Leafs game to see what its all about. But I'm glad in staying home to watch. I'd rather not be arrested for Assault. But seriously they are Leaf fans, so you really should feel bad for them. Especially with Sundin and Antropov not in the lineup tonight. And their playoff hopes pretty much over. Good job jerking around your fan base by sucking most of the year, then when the calender says March, actually start playing. Good job overpaid Leaf players. But who knows what Sabre team shows up they might be all about wednesday game think they got this one in the bad and totally flop. Or realize if they win, they tie the Bruins, and put themselves into a playoff spot. I'm sure Lindy has let them know the situation. But you always have that fear with this team, they'll get mentally weak and let down. But they are in a hot streak, and when in a hot streak they tend to stay in that hot streak. But if Vesa Toskala comes to play and stands on his head, they could get out of the game plan. But its always a worry.

The Laffs.

The Leafs come in winners of 3 of their last 4, of course their last loss was to these Buffalo Sabres. They come in banged up and with little hope of making the playoffs. Even with their great run of late, they didn't make up much ground. Now with Sundin out for a decent amount, they have not many offensive weapons left. So I imagine they will try to lock down on the defensive side and not give up a lot of chances. Their last game was against the Islanders so thats not a good measure what to expect. Probably what happened last time is a better measure. So guys like Kaberle, Steen, Blake, Stajan and Ponikarovsky are the ones to look out for. But it will be all about the defense and goaltending. If Toskala doesn't have his "A" game, this one is over before it starts.


Well with the Sabres not playing till tuesday, and the Leafs with a game in Ottawa tomorrow. I expect the Sabres not to hold back, especially if Lindy said if they win and play well they get the Easter Weekend off. A couple days off is an incentive for anyone to play balls out. I just can't see the Sabres laying an egg tonight. But I've been known to be wrong. And if a couple soft goals go in. The Sabres could do whatever. But lets hope they know whats at stake and after the almost Tampa disaster, they won't screw around again. Lets hope they make Good Friday a good one for the Sabre fans and finally put the Leafs out of their misery.

Tournament Memories


Watching last nights Duke Belmont game, reminded me of last years Duke game. You know a no name school versus big bad Duke. The best part, I was at last years Duke VCU game. Its one of those personal stories that make sporting events great. Tickets to the NCAA tournament here are few and go a year before the event. But due to personal luck and being in the right place at the right time, I was able to attend the night session. Which held the marquee teams Duke and Pitt.

So lets go back in time. Its mid march I'm not sure if i got the ticket the day before or that day. But the Boss was trying to find tickets to the tournament to give out, you know for business reasons. He came upon two suite tickets to the night session. These tickets were sitting there for a couple days or so, right on the secretary's desk. I looked at them like they were a million dollars. If no one wanted them or could take them, they would go to me. I held my hopes low, to dull the pain of loss. But as the hours went by, there were no takers. I couldn't believe what happened. Two tickets to the tournament, DUKE! IN A SUITE!!!!!. WITH FREE FOOD AND DRINK!!!!!!! Jumping up and down giddy, doesn't really put my feeling in the right words. So I get my dad on the phone and say hey were going to the dance! He thought it was cool, obviously not as excited as I was, since I am a sports dork. So working was tough that day. But I got through and headed down to the Arena.

See I was there!

Well the only mission I had for the game, was to write down all the suite owners down, for future reference and of course work the suite for any business. I'm not super great at that, but I can do it in my own way. But I get in, early, no one was really there and it was another companies suite so I acted properly. The game gets started, its close, but those games usually are. But eventually Duke started to pull away. Which made the arena kinda quiet. But something happened in the second half. VCU started to make shots, Duke didn't. The lead quickly diminished, and the crowed got very into it. Which no doubt helped VCU. Which led to the final shot by VCU, after Maynor hit it, I don't know if I ever been to a sports event where it got that loud. Maybe, the Bills Jaguars game where Flutie ran it in in the last minute. But I went to the Sabres Islanders game 5, and it never got that loud. Well maybe because everyone held their breath for the final minutes. Lets relive that final shot by Maynor


VCU was quite happy after the game, and yes very blurry.

A scoreboard shot for my girlfriend, who says I take too many pictures of scoreboards.

Unfortunately the Pitt game was a blowout after and I left early. But that night will always be special for me, since its one of those events you gotta go to. Next time the tournament comes to town, the day tickets come out, buy them. You won't regret it. Theres nothing better then the college atmosphere. The NCAA Tournament is truely a great American event and College football is missing out, if Football had a playoff, it would be a great winter event.

Enjoy the games today!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Well we found the new Captain

Photo- Getty Images(duh)

Well it took till march, but the rotating captaincy in my mind is over. Jochen I thought would keep it. But he might just be an "A", but Mr Pominville has been quite consistent as the year as gone on. Plus he's been picking it up of late. The one guy you find showing up every night is Jason Pominville. He's quiet, he works hard, but the puck goes in the net. And its not shock he also plays on the same line with another consistent player, Jochen Hecht. (Who with even Danny Briere couldn't get to 20 goals) Now paired with Paul Gaustad, they form the top line. Plus they are sound both ways. But being consistent doesn't make you a captain right?

I think thats wrong. He's always taking the tough questions, hes always there for the guys. He's not a yeller, a screamer or a blame everyone else but me guy. A guy that was waived 2 years ago, and NO ONE wanted him. The Sabres I'm sure prayed to the Hockey Gods, he'd pass through. He's worked up his way through the lineup to be the leading scorer of the HIGHEST SCORING TEAM in the league. But who talks about him being a great player, no one. Hes totally under the radar of everyone. Yet if you don't pay attention, he'll kill you. So lets go to the numbers.

26 goals 48 assists 74 points and a +21

He's 17th in the league in points

So far in March he has 7 Goals 14 Points and a +10, a + 9 in the last 3 games. So when his team needs him the most and when the C anointed on him, he has delivered. The "C" can be heavy, but it just makes Pominville seem faster. This is after coming off a 17 point February. So, as the games got more and more important, he showed up every night. He feels like if Danny Briere merged with Chris Drury, you'd get Jason Pominville. Not that big, quiet, puts in key goals but also can set up anyone on the ice.

So Darcy, this summer. Talk with Pominvilles agent. Work out a long term deal. You know 6, 7 years. 30 to 35 million. It seems like a lot. But this kid is only gonna get better. Come next summer some one will put a offer sheet in on him. Lock him down, and show the team you value leadership. Don't let this one get away.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Sabres Lightning preview

Oh its the late March Sabres vs Lightning showdown. Man if this was the old days, you could probably get this game for 5 bucks a ticket. Now since the Sabres are decent and buzz worthy, you gotta pay full price. LAME! But its a big game for the Sabres. They need to win to keep pace with the Bruins, Flyers, Capitals and Panthers. They have played well the last two games and of course what do they get? A couple days off to get lazy again and feel all good about themselves. But who knows they might come out with the spirit of Pat Kaleta and just kick ass and take names later. Make Vinny Lecavalier beg for mercy. The Lightning are one of those teams floundering this year only to get stronger next year, maybe. They are kinda hot coming in on a 3 game win streak and Mike Smith, has only given up one goal in 2 games. And they also are coming in off a break, so both teams will be rusty. Mike Smith since acquired is only 3-5 as the starter. And given up 22 goals in those 8 games. Not bad numbers, but he hasn't seen the Sabres so they might have an advantage.

The 'Ning

Since the trade of Vinny Prospal and Mike Richards, there is a huge gap between the big 2 on this team Lecavalier has 85 points and St Louis has 77 points. The next guy is Jeff Halpern with 35 and Jussi Jokinen with 34 and they both came from Dallas. So they gave up a bit of offense at the Trade Deadline. If they didn't pick up a decent goaltender they would be in a ton of trouble. But still their defense is suspect, well beyond Ranger and Boyle. Mike Smith should be a good starter for them and if they can pick up a couple solid blueliners, they could be a team to contend with next season, especially playing in the Southleast division. Atlanta won't be good, Carolina I don't see being that strong. Washington will be the toughest team in the division.


If the Sabres come out and punch the 'ning in the face right off the bat, I don't see them losing. But if they come out lazy and expect to win, since its Tampa, they'll lose. The Sabres aren't good enough to coast anymore. It took them long enough to realize it, but they have to come out and want to win. Its a home game, theres positive buzz again, so there should be some energy. Just let The Kaleta! loose, and things should be okay. Look out Filip Kuba, #36 is comin for you!!!!

Its just gonna be another Kaleta Collision.


Bills fill the secondary.

Bryan Scott Will James

The Bills made a few quiet signings over the day, one in resigning Bryan Scott, and second signing William James, formerly Will Peterson. Both signings add veterern leadership in the secondary. And gives the Bills that 2nd corner, they were looking for. Jabari Greer was pretty good last year, but having him the 3rd corner on the team is something I would love to have. And looking at Will James history, Jabari will get some playing time.

Since Bryan Scott played with the Bills last year, played in 15 game with 24 tackles. Really he was signed for depth purposes and insurance for Ko Simpson to see how he recovered from an injury. Will James however had a healthier season then the past two where he played 5 games. Last year he got in 14 games and had 1 int. This pales from his 2004 season, where he played in all 16 games and had 68 tackles with 2 picks. I'm sure this is for the 2nd corner position, but Jabari Greer could beat him out, otherwise it gives depth to a position where it needs it.

It looks like the defense is way more important for the Bills this year then the offense, with all the receivers that rolled through here, none were signed, except for one tight end. Either they are being cheap or none really fit their mold. I'd rather have a team want the right guy then just sign some guy to sign some guy.

It is becoming more obvious by the day they are going for a WR in the first round of the Draft, unless they make a move for Chad Johnson. But I highly doubt that, so start scouting the top WR's in the draft because they'll be a Bill come late April.

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Buffalo, NY, United States
A Stay at home dad, who has more hot takes then your average stay at home dad.