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

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Is it just me, or is there a general lack of enthusiasm for the Playoffs?

At least Versus didn't call him Tim Myers.

Well the Sabres regular season is winding down pretty rapidly. And the Sabres are pretty much entrenched as the Northeast leader. (knock on wood) There are only 7 games left and the last game is on April 11th. So 7 games in 11 days. A bit of a grind left. I would imagine Lalime starting a couple more games this year. They only need 3 wins to win the division, or if Ottawa loses tonight, 2 wins. With games vs Florida, @ Toronto, @ Montreal, Vs NY Rangers, @ Boston, @ Ottawa @ New Jersey, there are some tough ones left and some winnable games left. The last game could really be important since it could determine if New Jersey could finish, 2nd, 3rd or 4th.

This is what I call a playoff test. Play playoff hockey to end the season, so when you go into the first round, you are playing at an optimal level. Of course the last 3 games against playoff teams on the road, should really show their character.

But my question is, how are Sabres fans not really that excited? Or in my opinion not that excited. We are 2 weeks away from the start of the Playoffs. The Sabres are in the playoffs. They will probably have a home ice advantage. They probably will play Montreal or Philadelphia. Who they are a combined 7-1-1 against this year. It seems Ottawa is going to find themselves stuck at that 5th position. Being 6 points out of 4th, and 5 points ahead of 6th. Which means the Sabres fans will probably dodge the one opponent they fear in the 1st round. I'm more if they are good, they will beat whoever. You don't win the Stanley cup, playing cupcakes. You earn the Stanley Cup.

I just don't read or hear any excitement, no one expects this team to do anything in the playoffs, even with Ryan Miller. Everyone is down on the players, the coach, management, the owner, even Sabretooth. The playoffs are supposed to be fun, and when you go into them as a fan with not just low expectations, but expect them to fail. Wheres the fun in that? Sure I guess you can't be disappointed, but I'd rather be disappointed, then be right in my low expectations.

The team has a lot of players from the previous playoff teams. There are 11 players from the 05-06 playoff team still on the roster. Sure 4 of the top 5 scorers are gone from that team. But you know who is still on this team from that team.

He is pretty clutch and pretty hot right now. With 7 goals and 15 points in the last 11 games. The Sabres need him to score. Derek Roy has 5 goals and 15 points in the last 11 games as well. So two of the Sabres top scorers are starting to produce when they need them too. Even secondary guys like Tim Kennedy and Paul Gaustad are starting to produce.

So Sabre fans, lets get excited. Lets get ready for the Playoffs to come back to HSBC Arena. We got a great goaltender, pretty decent defense. And a lot of forwards who have done this thing before. Have some faith, get some positive attitude. And most of all lets have some fun. The playoffs are meaningless if you don't have any fun during them.


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Thomas Vanek Appreciation Society

I am a fan of Thomas Vanek. I think he's a great player, that gets a ton of grief for a contract that some idiot GM gave him. Not one he held out for, or demanded, but was given. So now he has to play up to that contract. He is in a no win situation, unless he produces like Alex Ovechkin. And Thomas Vanek isn't Alexander Ovechkin and never will be.

He is a quality player, who is a goal scorer and having a down year. He isn't lazy, like most of his critics call him. He sits in front of the net, takes a pounding and goes to corners and works for the puck. Derrick Roy is lazy, Thomas Vanek is not. People aren't fans of many players on this team,Connelly, Roy, Pominville, Stafford and unfortuntely Vanek gets lumped into this group. I remember being excited when Vanek was drafted, because he just came off of carrying the Gophers to another National Title. (In Buffalo btw) I thought he would a top guy the Sabres could use and a winner. And I have been somewhat proven right. He puts the puck into the net and the Sabres have been in the Playoffs, 3 of the 5 years of him being the team. And also 1 season in the playoffs with the Amerks. Lets look at the stats for Mr Vanek over the past five seasons.

2005-2006 25 goals and 48 points in 81 games

2006-2007 43 goals and 84 points in 82 games

2007-2008 36 goals and 64 points in 82 games

2008-2009 40 goals and 64 points in 73 games

2009-2010 23 goals and 47 points in 66 games.

Thats 167 goals over 5 years.

Lets look at players drafted right around Thomas Vanek. Forwards that is. Goalies and Defensemen don't count

Eric Staal (2nd overall) 176 Goals

Nathan Horton (3rd overall) 126 Goals

Nikolai Zherdev (4th overall) 86 Goals

Milan Michaek (6th overall) 112 Goals

Andrei Kostitsyn (10th Overall) 64 goals

Jeff Carter (11th Overall) 145 Goals

Dustin Brown (13th Overall) 105 Goals

I think we get the picture, but now lets rank those players, by goals scored and their salaries for next year.

Eric Staal 7.5 Million

Thomas Vanek 6.4 Million

Jeff Carter 5.5 Million (RFA after next year) And his price will Skyrocket

Nathan Horton 4.0 Million (Good deal)

Milan Michalek 4.25 Million

Dustin Brown 3.5 Million (for the next 4 years) Look out for the Kings.

Nikolai Zherdev Out of the league

Andrei Kostitsyn 3.250 Million (RFA)

As you can see Thomas Vanek Salary fits right in line with production. Yes he's having a down year. But most of the Sabre forwards are having a down year. I expect him back in the 30 goals to 40 goals next year.

Production is only one of the reasons why I like Thomas Vanek. Its the person. When he struggles its obvious. I like that. I don't want a superstar when in a slump to accept it and just not take it seriously. (ie Derek Roy) You can see when he finally scores, its important to him, you can see the weight come off his shoulders. The guy is a team player, he doesn't complain if he isn't getting ice time, he knows why. He doesn't get into trouble, hes a family guy. He represents the team very well.

Also he came to this county when he was 14! To pursue hockey. Can you imagine moving from Buffalo to say Paris when you were 14 to pursue your dream? I couldn't. But yet here he is a successful NHL Player, who is well adjusted and a role model for any young hockey player.

But what does he get? Grief and ridicule from the Sabre fanbase. I don't get it. Just see how bad this team would be offensively if they traded him. And you always hear, they should have taken the draft picks for losing him. Well maybe the Sabres would be better years down the road. But I never take a chance on a draft pick. Plus the Sabres would not be in the position they are this year without Thomas Vanek.

Maybe I'm one man who appreciated Thomas Vanek. But I'm proud to let everyone know that I do.

Friday, March 19, 2010

The Orange Crush

Carrier Dome West

Downtown Buffalo will be awash in Orange this weekend, with 'Cuse in town. And in order to fit in and blend in, I am wearing Orange today. Not a big Syracuse fan, but I'd like them to win. The arena will be loud even if its a blowout tonight. And really loud on Sunday, because whoever they get, it will be tough game.

There will be plenty of blue and gold in town too, with West Virginia, my colors. Having gone to Sweet Home and Canisius. Cheering for the blue and gold, is ingrained in me, so I'll be rooting for the Mountaineers.

It will be interesting walking around downtown today, to see all the colors and the visitors. It's what makes the tournament special, you get all these out of towners, plus people coming home to see their folks and friends checking out the tourney. Some people get frustrated and annoyed with visitors, I am not. The more people the better. But I love to people watch.

Its a fun time to be downtown, and I'll try to get out of the office to experience all the goings on. I can't wait for the World Juniors, when you have people from the world invading downtown.

But for now I'll help with directions when asked, and avoided places that maybe where all the visitors are. Like Pearl Street. That place must be raking in the cash this weekend, but wait till the playoffs.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Look who is coming to Buffalo sportsfans.


Everyone's favorite NCAA play by play man, Gus Johnson, will be doing to the Buffalo games, thanks to the guys at awful announcing for letting me know that. If any of the games get exciting, and the Gonzaga FSU game should be tight or if Syracuse and Vermont gets close, the whole arena will hear Gus Johnson.

I love Gus Johnson, some find him annoying, but I like my play by play guys, to be into the game. Feeling the same excitement I am. Not some dull robot like Jim Nantz or Joe Buck. Does he go a little over the top? Yeah, probably, but who cares, its exciting baby. Scream all you want Gus, plus you can hang out with your buddy Steve Tasker while you're in town.

Lets listen to some past highlights.

And something for the Orange fans. Lets hope theres not a repeat.

Including my favorite Gus Johnson clip

I know its football, but he made this sound like it won the Superbowl. And not a meaningless game. (btw they beat Revis on that play)

So Rise and Fire Gus Johnson. We welcome you to the Queen city. Hopefully the basketball is good enough for you to do your magic.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Wow, I'm a lazy blogger

Well, I haven't posted in a while, not because I'm lazy, but I am busy. Don't have the time to blog at work, and when I'm at home, I don't hang out on the computer. Not like the old days, when it wasn't as busy at work and was always on the computer at home. Then I could blog like it was a second job. So what didn't I cover.

The entire Olympics
Trade Deadline
Bills signing a guy
Bills letting TO walk
MAAC Conference play.
All Basketball conference play

Well with the Tourney in town, and the City of Buffalo about to turn the color Orange from the influx of 'Cuse Fans. I should probably start blogging a little more this week, and with the NHL Playoffs on the way, and the NFL Draft lingering in the future. There is plenty of stuff to cover this month and the upcoming months. Hey maybe I'll throw in some baseball talk. Not a huge baseball guy, but I like baseball. If the weather gets nice maybe a trip to the old ballpark to see the Bisons play would be nice.

I like to blog, I just have to be more dedicated to it. And I complain there is hardly anything good to read on buffalo blogs, yet I do nothing about. Time to change that attitude again.

About Me

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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.