My intention was to throw this little PSA up as an addendum to a recap post, but since I didn't watch the Sabres-Pens game in real time, and since the outcome made me opt out of catching up on specifics through which I might actually formulate a worthwhile opinion, I really couldn't be bothered today. I watched the transition from Season 1 to Season 2 of Doctor Who (Eccleston to Tennant) instead of thinking about hockey for the day, and let me tell you - it was marvelous.
Anyway, not really the point of this post... which is, quite frankly, for me to get down on my hands and knees and hope that at least a few of you readers will see this and step up to the plate with a few dollars.
A dear friend of the Deeg, Alissa (@aristeia on twitter) has a dog. This dog is adorable and, unfortunately, this dog is very, very ill.
Adorable. Needs your help.
Vet bills are expensive, and Alissa - proud and loving dog owner that she is - has already broken the bank trying to pay for those bills over the past several weeks. Her pup, Apollonia, who is only 4 1/2 years old, is still in desperate need of care, and Alissa is looking for some help.
If Buffalo is anything, it's a community that wraps it's own up in love and compassion, and for that reason we felt compelled to use our soapbox here at the Deeg - such as it is - to amplify the call to help Apollonia to our readership in the hopes that maybe a few of you will feel compelled to chip in.
Alissa has set up a tumblr page - http://saveapollonia.tumblr.com/
- and she has a Paypal "Donate" button there so that we all can contribute as we are able. She's also posted additional information about Apollonia's current status in case you're looking for some more details about where your money is going to. Me - I am an unabashed canine-enthusiast, and think Alissa kicks ass, so it was a no-brainer for me to contribute when Alissa put the tumblr page up yesterday. I don't expect it to be as easy a decision for all of you who may not know Alissa (though, if you're on twitter, you should give her a follow. Seriously), but even if you can only spare a few dollars, it would really make a huge difference in the lives of this stellar lady and her stellar dog.
Thanks for reading, if you still are, and thanks even more for heading over to http://saveapollonia.tumblr.com/
I wish I was as excited as this guy.
The Scizz w/ The Apologist and Joe Pinzone
It's that time of year again. The Sabres are making their ever so late playoff push, the Bills are preparing for the draft after a mediocre....waaaaaait, I mean spectacular free agency run, and the biggest event in pro wrestling is about to go down.
Wrestlemania. This Sunday, the 28th in a series of awesomeness continues. It is the day where a bunch of adults who run this god-forsaken blog get together, drink beer, and watch grown men in their underwear wrestle with each other. HOT.
It should also be noted that during the year, most of us pay little to no attention to the "sport" or "sports entertainment" if you will. Yet, for some reason, when the Super Bowl of wrestling goes down, we get sucked in. It could be just another excuse for all of us to get drunk together and make asses of ourselves, but what it really comes down to is memories. Memories from childhood through teenage years through college debauchery in which wrestling played a weekly role in our lives. That's what this post is about: Three grown men sharing their favorite Wrestlemania moments. SAD.
I'll start with Joe Pinzone, on loan to us from Buffalo Wins, from....himself. If you follow Joe on twitter (and WHO DOESN'T, RIGHT GUYS?), then you'll already know that Joe is probably the biggest fan of all of us. Which also means his write-up of his fave moment is definitely the most interesting and well-written.
Take it away, Joe. @JoeBuffaloWins
To me, the 90s seemed to represent an era when the younger generation wanted to be heard and say fuck off to the authority. No one wanted a superhero. Superheroes are for chumps. You felt it in music with the grunge scene and every rock band trying to either kill themselves or their parents or tell someone else to fuck off. You could sense it in television as no one wanted to watch happy sitcoms like Full House or Urkel. Instead, they wanted to watch a white trash family like The Connors in Roseanne. In other words, the audience was looking for an edge. No more cookie cutter shit. That's not how the real world works and I want to relate to something that feels real.In wrestling, the cookie cutter image was still running wild. You had guys like Bret Hart, Macho Man (RIP) and Hulk Hogan, who all had a couple of catch phrases and gave out chicken scratch autographs to appease the fans, but they were epically lame when it came to personalities. People wanted an edge. Someone they could live vicariously through. That man was Steve Austin. Steve Austin's rise to being a wrestling icon wasn't suppose to happen. It was a mistake, just like The Scizz being conceived. (Editor note: This is actually very accurate) He was suppose to be a mid-carder. Nothing more. Through hard work and the changing of pop culture, Steve Austin's rise happened pretty quickly. Before Steve battled Bret Hart at Survivor Series (November) in 1997, he was as a heel. No real difference from some of the past bad ass heels like the Four Horsemen or the Free Birds, but as I said, the times were a changing. More importantly, so was Steve. Austin didn't have this great range with his promos in WCW or when he first debuted in WWE, but once he found himself, the game changed. If you youtube some of his interviews with Bret Hart up to that point, they are goldmines of humor and toughness. Austin ended up losing to Hart at Survivor Series, but because of his awesome, badass approach, he started getting more cheers than boos. More signs were showing up in the crowd. Whether you were a 8-year old or a 24-year old, you loved the son of a bitch. Fast forward 6 months to his rematch with Hart at Wrestlemania 13, which in my opinion, changed the business and set the standard for what a wrestling match should be. It was an "I quit" match, which the only way you could beat your opponent was if they said those two magic words: I quit. The best thing to do right now is youtube the match. My words won't be able to describe the bloodbath that occurred. It was one of those physical matches that made you think wrestling was real (Which it is..duh!). Yes, wrestling can be laughable when done half ass with poor matches, and even shittier interviews, however, when you can get it right, it can be downright epic. Austin vs Hart was that epic confrontation. It was about Hart's frustration with the WWE fans, who thought his old 80's schtick was finished, and he couldn't deal with it. It was about how Austin wore his anger like a cloak, because of a perceived lack of respect from authority, it became his ally...his darker side. Two things that I can point out:1) Austin was the heel and Hart was the baby face heading into this match. Yes, there were probably a good 30% of the crowd rooting for Austin to begin with, but WWE had tried to force feed Bret as the face in this one. However, in a moment that I haven't seen since and the Russian crowd turned on Ivan Drago, they cheered like crazy for Austin. It wasn't because of a microphone or a something force fed by the writers, it was something genuine. The fans believed in Austin because he was anti-establishment, just like them. They wanted to tell their parents, teachers, and bosses to fuck off, and Austin was doing it for them. 2) The crescendo for this moment came when Austin was in Bret Hart's finishing move, The Sharp Shooter. With the crowd at a fever pitch, Austin's forehead was dripping out blood like a faucet. It was awesome. It was a holy shit moment. As the ref asked Austin if he wanted to quit, Austin, being the badass that he is, kept yelling "no" while the blood kept coming out. At one point, he almost broke the hold and the crowd went crazy thinking he did. Alas, he broke it for a few short moments, but Hart snatched it back in. Instead of quitting, Austin passed out. Hart won, but Austin didn't say those two words. A star was born. Austin walked back to the locker room getting a standing ovation from the fans and they didn't stop cheering for the rest of career.
Alright, my turn to be lame. @TheScizzFor me, this was incredibly easy. No need to over think it and narrow down from some excruciatingly long list, the choice was simple. The Rock. Hollywood Hulk Hogan. Wrestlemania 18.The match dubbed Icon vs. Icon was never expected to be the match it became. It was there for pure entertainment, as nobody, including me, ever though that 107 year old Hogan could still put on a quality match, even if he was being carried by "electrifying one", The Rock. In fact, as a Junior in college and preparing to get blitzed on a Sunday night and watch with friends, I remember being more excited for the other matches on the card, namely HHH vs. Chris Jericho and Ric Flair vs. Undertaker.What went down, is still one of the coolest "sports" moment of my life. (Yes, I understand it's fake, hence the quotation marks shithead) The build up to the match was somewhat laughable. Owner Vince McMahon no longer loved the company he created and had decided to bring in the posion known as the NWO, who lead the WWE's rival company, WCW, past them in rating years ago. The members: Hogan, Scott Hall, and Kevin Nash were never expected to work for the company ever again, but here they were taunting the WWE wrestlers and causing "problems" at every turn. The most innaproppriately hysterical being when Hogan, driving a semi-truck, ran it full speed into an ambulance supposedly a just injured Rock. Hogan uttered the words "I'm going to cripple his candy-ass as you could see him visibly shaking from the effort just to climb into the big rig. The Rock returned two weeks later. From a SEMI smashing into an AMBULANCE at FULL SPEED that was INSIDE OF. Isn't wrestling great?Anyways, with all of that build up said and done, Hogan was the obvious villain heading into the match, with the Rock as the crowd-favorite hero who everyone, including my friends and I, absolutely loved. But then something happened. After the two traded punches, body slams, and siganture moves, the crowd slowly stopped cheering for the Rock, and started cheering for Hulk. I know, I know, this sounds just like Joe's Hart Vs. Austin pick, but it was different. The crowd wasn't cheering for Hulk Hogan because he was an anti-hero, they were cheering because a flood of memories and emotions from their childhood started entering into their minds. They were watching their childhood idol, Hulk Hogan wrestle in his first WWE match in over 10 years against "The Great One", and it looked like he never missed a beat. In an instant, Hulkamania was reborn, and it didn't matter how popular the Rock was, every adult in that crowd, and at home immediately returned to the days of Hogan telling them to say their prayers and take their vitamins. I was one of them. And, in great Rock fashion, as he started to get booed, he IMMEDIATELY relapsed into his old villanious persona, staring down the crowd and talking shit. It was awesome.In the end, the Rock won, but the crowd gave both men a standing ovation, and the next night on RAW, the WWE officially turned Hogan back to a crowd favorite, soon to be followed by his old red and yellow gear, complete with "Real American" blaring as his entrance music. Now, if only he could get rid of that sex tape, gold-digging ex-wife, manly daughter, and murderer son, he'd be all set.
Icon vs. Icon
and hot off the presses, it's the Apologist with another Hogan moment, but from way back in the day. @Sam_HartmanThere never has been, nor will there ever be a bigger match, in my eyes, than the Ultimate Warrior facing Hulk Hogan for "the Ultimate Challenge" at Wrestlemania VI. Even people who have never given more than a second glance at pro-wrestling know who these two stars are. Since slamming Andre the Giant, Hulk Hogan had been far and away the biggest star in professional wrestling for most of the 80's. But when the Ultimate Warrior broke onto the scene, people could tell this was the future star of the WWF. So Vince McMahon, set them up for one of the biggest main event's in wrestling's history. Champion versus champion.
To be fair, I was hardly aware of wrestling at the time. It wasn't until years later, strolling through Blockbuster (Remember those? No? Nevermind.), that I discovered it on VHS (Remember THAT? No? Geez, I'm getting old.) and ran home to watch it immediately. It was everything you could ever want in a wrestling match. Two huge stars at the height of their popularity, both defending titles, both with the crowd on their side. It was one of those rare moments in pro-wrestling where no one will be disappointed in the outcome, as long as the match is fun to watch. And the Hulkster and Warrior did not disappoint. For twenty minutes they fought in and out of the ring, using every move in their respective repertoires. And did I mention the match was called by the best commentating duo of all time, Bobby "The Brain" Heenan and Gorilla Monsoon? In the end, the Warrior survived Hulk's signature finishing routine, counter-attacking with his own finisher (Editor Note: The Gorilla Press!) and took both titles.
Now, maybe this match would be considered a snoozer by modern pro-wrestling fans, but I believe it's charm still shines through.
Sure. Hulk & Warrior's moves and theatrics shown against modern wrestling seem dated. Certainly Hulk's legdrop was never very impressive. But don't tell me we've moved WAY beyond this. The only difference between Hulk's legdrop and say, "the People's Elbow", is a couple dance moves. And besides, wrestling has never been about wrestling. It's about the pomp & circumstance. It's about the spectacle. And maybe there have been equally touted superstar vs superstar main events in similarly grand settings, but this one set the standard for how you treat a match of this magnitude.
Aps' choice makes much more sense now.
Still not enough wrestling? Stay tuned for the next CrapTastiCast, as we plan to record it this Sunday, before, during, and after this epic event. Watcha gonna do, brotha??
O Captain, my Captain. You. Are. Filthy.
The Barrister and The Apologist
I won't dwell too much on a recap of the glorious evening that we had last night. The Sabres continued their great play and winning streak, and while Aps and I weren't able to meet up until the third period due to some office basketball playoff duty that I had to tend to (Championship game next week, baby!), we took the opportunity to wax poetic about how happy we are to be watching this team make their playoff push.
This episode is, unsurprisingly, ALL SABRES...and, also unsurprisingly, it's all overwhelmingly happy and positive. No basketball or baseball talk seeps in, apart from brief mentions at the end, and we actually avoid the Bills completely. Also, as opposed to other episodes where we've recorded in small segments over the course of a game, Episode 4 was recorded in one big chunk after the game was done. Not to short change you listeners of musical interludes (and with recognition that you very well may need a few breaks from our flawless stream of consciousness analysis), we cut up the segment with some Mos Def and Phoenix, and have Apologist's little Brother Doctor Ooo (@DrOooMD
) and his Buffalo-based project Kinda Like Dreamin
take us out when all is said and done. And, because I couldn't get over how great Jason Pominville's post-game interview was on the NHL Network last night, I threw in a couple of his better quotes over the Phoenix track for good measure. My editing skills may not be good yet (as you can hear from a couple of the rougher cuts towards the end, not to mention how quiet Pommers is), but they are improving. RIGHT? RIGHT?!?
Please love me.
Moving on.... This is turning real, Sabres fans, and there's plenty of room for everyone on this bandwagon. Aps is buying the beer.
Stream and download the .mp3 below, and throw a comment below with some constructive criticism and/or love poems. We love doing these, but also want to please YOU, dear listener, so feedback is always appreciated as we try to keep these going in a good way.
Let's Go Buffalo.
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WARPATH. God bless Google images for reminding me of this awful excuse for a video game.
After looking ahead to last Friday night's game with a certain sense of dread, only to see the Sabres pull out an absurdly uplifting victory over the East's best (well, best for now, at least), I'm yet again scratching my head in equal parts befuddlement, excitement and fear. Remember when I noted that the team's playoff chances were around 22% before Friday night? Well, now - after the glorious win at MSG on Friday, and then the solid 3-1 victory at the FN Center on Saturday - they're at 41%. And, with six games remaining, they only need to go 4-2-0 to kick that percentage up to 84%. (And, as @JeremyWGR tweeted this morning, tonight's outcome amounts to a 47% swing in probabilities for the team... not to freak out TOO much).
THIS SHIT IS FLYING OVER THE CUCKOOS NEST CRAZY BALLS. And, if you're curious, playing the role of Miss Ratched is Bucky Gleason, but only because he likes that sexy white uniform and I promised him I wouldn't give the role to Paul Hamilton.
Meeeeowwww! /worst photoshop job ever?
Nothing is as simple as statistics would have you believe, of course (hear that CV?), and until the team has clinched - a moment that will, in all likelihood, not come until the last game of the season - we'll all be sitting with bated breath, wondering if this team can keep this thing going. If you're like me, you've already looked at the schedule to see just how tough it will be these last two weeks.
We continue this Warpath adventure with Washington tonight in the biggest game of the season since the media and fan-manufactured rematch against the Bruins in the wake of the Lucic incident last fall. The Caps are coming off a convincing 3-0 win against the Wild Sunday, effectively eliminating Minnesota from playoff contention. Much like the Sabres, the Caps have failed to put anything close to consistent hockey together this season, ranging from frightening to pathetic. A couple weeks back, Washington seemed like it might have been dropping off the face of the playoff map, but the team has gone 6-2-2 since then, largely holding off the bottom teams of the conference and gaining some ground on the Southeast leading Florida Panthers. This leaves the Caps in a pretty similar spot to our Sabres, in that they've chosen to ramp up their play for this final playoff push, shaking off the reputation of a season of largely failed expectations.
Speaking of failing to meet expectations - AMERICA!
These similarities leave me and the rest of Sabreland at a complete and utter loss for predicting what kind of result we might see tonight. But, that certainly doesn't stop me from going all in with some classic poorly constructed analysis. HERE WE GOOOOOOOOO.... We need WAY more of this.
First, the negatives:
1. Thomas Vanek.
Conceding that the guy scored a goal on Saturday night (albeit one that relied on luck and hard work by Cody Hodgson), his all-too-frequent absence from the score sheet has been one of the more frustrating parts of the past three and a half months. Sure, the team is playing well despite this, but I tend to be skeptical that this is a good thing. Winning is great and all, but when you're winning even though your best forward is playing like hot garbage, you're still left with your best forward playing like hot garbage. Not. Good.
There are a lot of theories popping around the interwebs about his struggles lately. Some of the most asinine have speculated on his work ethic, aka the "Lazy Thomas" meme - always an absurd opinion lacking any basis in reality, I think - or him being a head case, aka the "Weepy Thomas" meme - again, something I tend to not give too much credence to. Personally, I think the guy is hurt, that Lindy is predictably keeping that information quiet and that TV is playing through a lot of pain during each game. Ribs? Shoulder? Your guess is as good as mine. Of course, my belief in this theory is, in part, dependent on my disbelief in the other possibilities of lazy and/or weepy Vanek, so take it with a grain of salt. But, for the punishment he takes in front of the net, and for his proven desire to bleed himself dry for the team, it certainly seems to be the most likely explanation.
If the Sabres have any real chance at taking this Warpath to the playoffs and beyond, this is a guy who has to get it going. OBVIOUS FACT. Tonight would be a great start. SECOND OBVIOUS FACT. I'm great at this.
2. Lindy's Ever-Baffling Line Shuffles
Has anyone figured out why Lindy seems hell bent on ruining each and every good line combination this year? I get that he's been swimming upstream against a team of underachievers in a season where he has been expected to push the franchise closer to a Stanley Cup, but I really wonder if there's a method to his madness. First we saw the Vanek-Adam-Pominville line deconstructed for the sake of getting other players going. All well and good, but we know how that experiment played out - Ville Leino still shitty and Luke Adam wallowing in the AHL. JACK ADAMS HE IS NOT.
When the team started tanking, the tendency to line shuffles was probably a necessary evil, but now that we're back in great form, the lingering question is whether Lindy will continue to tinker or whether he'll just allow the growing chemistry on these lines to continue that growth. Shit, even during the games this weekend, we saw glimpses of inexplicable line combinations. I'd cite them for you now, but I can't seem to find them on the google and Lord knows I was drunk as shit when I watched the games. No wonder my points are so unassailable. For now, the line of Ennis-Foligno-Stafford is still together and has been nothing sort of magical for the past couple weeks (more on that below). Will it continue with Gerbe's eventual return to the team, or will Lindy yet again sacrifice one of his greatest assets? Or what about the Tropp-Hodgson-Vanek line, which has also found some chemistry over the past week, allowing Hodgson and Vanek to each start making progress? If Kaleta comes back, is Tropp destined to leave that line in some grand reshuffle that makes room for Kaleta on the 3rd or 4th line while likely sending Tropp to play in the KHL? Kaleta ужасен в борющихся русских. Bank it.
In short: this is a team that is winning now, and winning in grand and unexpected fashion. DON'T FUCK IT UP, LINDY.
3. MORE LINDY HATE - WHY ARE OUR BEST PLAYERS PLAYING SHIT MINUTES?
This point is plagiarized from Yachtsman, but I suspect he'll likely (a) never even read this post, or (b) never post on this small issue, so I'm in the clear. Robyn Regehr averages 18:33 TOI for the year. This is less than Ehrhoff and Myers, our top D pairing, by more than 3 minutes. That wouldn't be insane if it weren't for Andrej Sekera, Mike Weber and Jordan Leopold also having more ice time than Regehr. This is monumentally stupid, and another example of how Lindy might not be the guy to lead this particular group of players into battle. Incidentally, if you need more evidence, Derek "Nobody Likes Me, Everybody Hates Me, I'll Just Go To Chippewa in My Mandles" Roy averages almost 2 1/2 minutes more than Vanek. Nice tie, Lindy. You're doing it wrong.
There. I feel better. Now on to the good:
1. Ryan Miller
What can't be said about this guy? He turned around an epically bad season to re-find his All-World self, let the team ride his coattails as they finally remembered how to score, then gave a stellar interview to Pierre LeBrun wherein he got the media's and a not-insignifcant part of the fanbase's panties in a bunch when he yet again points out that his job is really hard and that the negativity bred by beat writers in the locker room is not necessarily appreciated. Translation: fat guys who don't no how to play sports should take it easy when tempted to take potshots at pro athletes for shitty performances. Duly noted, Ryan. I'll try to be mindful of that in the future. In the meantime, keep playing well so us fatties can keep our traps shut and enjoy watching your crooked eyebrows track down pucks. We love it when they do that.
With Miller playing better, suddenly anything seems possible for these Sabres (well... not ANYTHING. Baby steps). He's hit career numbers in shutouts this year, despite having a garbage squad in front of him on most nights and despite suffering two concussions this year. His overall averages are still mediocre (though, really at par with his sometimes mediocre career numbers, but that undercuts my general point so I throw it in a parenthetical), which is really an indication of how bad he was earlier this year and how lucky the team is to have survived to this point without imploding. Since the All Star break, his GAA is 1.87 and SV % is .937, with 5 shutouts. Make no mistake about it - the team's fortune is dependent on this guy, and for that we can actually all breathe a little easier about where this all might pan out within the next couple weeks. 2. Foligno-Ennis-Stafford
With all of the injuries this team has had to fight through this season, the most recent spat has brought about perhaps the luckiest bounce of the Sabres season. Marcus Foligno's call-up to the big club led to immediate success for him and the team. As if destiny was playing some part, his arrival coincided with Lindy's use of Tyler Ennis as a center. Add in Drew Stafford and his apparent revival as an actual contributor to the team - I know. WEIRD - and suddenly we have a line that is as explosive as the Vanek-Adam-Pominville that dazzled us at the beginning of the season. Apart from the fact that this suddenly makes me feel much better about this overzealous gem
I dropped about Stafford last summer, this is the line that is making up for the loss of production from Vanek lately (not to mention the continuing shit production from Ville Leino and Brad Boyes. Way to be consistent, lads).
Apart from their production, watching this line is fun as hell. They're buzzing every time they hit the ice, their goal celebrations are unadulterated moments of pure joy, and each of them bring their own unique slice of talent and skills, all of which compliment each other in a way that none of us could have predicted. Ennis suddenly seems like he could be the second line center to replace Roy whenever we're able to find the #1 center we've been looking for and can then ship his dead weight out of town. For this all Sabres fans can fervently rejoice. And finally...3. Two games left against the Leafs.
Listen. I get that the schedule looks rough for the last six - games against Caps, Pens, Flyers, Bruins - but it also includes two against hated rivals and perennial jokes, the Toronto Maple Leafs. For as frustrated as Sabres fans have been this year, we're yet again looking at a possible playoff berth and a Leaf team left holding their hats. Tim Connolly, fragile as ever, has proven all of us right (well, not ALL of us... I won't name names... but boy you look stupid, guy) with this season and his $4.75 million cap hit. He's missed about 15 games, which is actually on the low side, but has only scored 12 goals on the season. Which, incidentally, puts him five back of the aforementioned Drew Stafford and his $4 million cap hit. GLOATING IS FUN.
This may be tempting fate. Hell, having this blog at all may be tempting fate, so fuck it. These are two games that the team should win and has to win to make the playoffs. They are a gift from the hockey gods in the midst of an otherwise troubling last bit of games, and I am looking forward to a couple of nights where I don't sit down for the game with a deep and lingering sense of dread. The little things, folks.
Hoping like hell for a win tonight. Make it happen, boys.
Let's Go Buffalo.
“To truly hate is an art one learns with time.”
-Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Enough with the happiness. I feel like being miserable. Every time I let my guard down when positive situations continue to occur within the organizations I cheer for, something terrible happens and my soul is crushed. So, with the Sabres streaking into the eighth playoff seed, and Ralph Wilson and the Buffalo Bills finally opening up their wallets to fix the team, I need to even things out. It's time for some good old fashioned H-A-T-E. Rage Storms keep me regular.
I'm as excited as the next guy about the signings of Mario Williams and Mark Anderson to anchor the d-line. I'm thrilled for the re-signings of key UFA's like Stevie Johnson and Scott Chandler. Hell, I'm even pumped up to see some of my favorite role-players, like Bryan Scott back in the mix. HOWEVERZ, there are still numerous Buffalo Bills players that I'd prefer to never see in a Bills uniform for the rest of eternity. This is for them.
5. Roscoe Parrish - I fully understand that Parrish is a free agent and his career is probably not only done for the Bills, but for the entire NFL, but Buddy still makes me nervous with his love for "offensive toys". He just re-signed Tashard Choice for fuck's sake. My new found dislike for Roscoe is three fold. First, he hasn't played a full season since 2007 because of injuries. When you are smaller and weigh less than every member of the Buffalo Jills, a full 16 game season will never be in reach.
Second, seeing him play always reminds me that he was, in fact, our top pick in 2005 due to the previous year's trading of the 1st round pick for J.P. Losman. Ugh. Fuck that scene.
Finally, I actually own a Parrish jersey. After Bledsoe left the Bills, I didn't feel like spending the money on a new jersey, so a friend had somebody back in Buffalo remove the "Bledsoe" and toss a "Parrish on the #11 for a few bucks. Great idea. I'd rather have the Bledsoe jersey now. That's what I get for being a cheap asshole like Ralph.
4. Lee Smith, Mike Caussin, Kevin Brock, Fendi Onobun - No, it is not the 1982 Los Angeles Dodgers bullpen, these are the other Tight Ends on the roster. Seriously. I'm happy as hell that Scott Chandler finally looks like the answer at TE the team has been looking for since Metzelaars, but is this really the best we can do for back-ups? C'mon, Buddy. I know this is not a top priority, but I'm sure Desmond Clark isn't doing anything important right now.
3. Terrance McGee - Restructuring his contract was lovely, but honestly, what other real choices did he have? Most likely the front office would of cut him loose if he didn't, and on the open market, McGee probably would have got no more than a little over the league minimum. He is not who we once thought he was. Almost as injury prone as Parrish, McGee is one of those guys who will end his career with Buffalo, if only because no other team will take a chance on his frail body. Speaking of which, if he loses any more weight, I fully expect lil' 'ole Terrance to get ripped in half in the end-zone, ala the only entertaining scene from Not Another Teen Movie.
Walk it off, Marty.
2. Chris Kelsay - Ah yes, the great white joke. With Mario Williams joining Kyle Williams and Biggie Smalls Dareus, everyone thinks Kelsay will get to have a big season. I mean, even I have said that this fucker will probably lead the team in sacks with all the double-teams elsewhere, but that doesn't mean I still don't hate him. Nobody has EVER been able to justify all of the awful contracts he has signed, and fuck that "high motor guy" bullshit. High motor for Kelsay means he is really good at running into the backfield and right by the Quarterback, who simply has to take one step up in the pocket to avoid him.
I've heard people say he is valuable because of his run stopping skills, which is a joke. I've seen him get ran over more than any other Bill on the roster during the last several seasons. He's garbage, has always been garbage, and will always be garbage. I'd rather see guys like Spencer Johnson and Alex Carrington get the reps this season. Hell, even Thwomp himself, Shawne Merriman has more upside in my eyes now.....well, maybe that's a bit too far.
$100 says he missed this tackle.
1. Leodis McKelvin - OVER IT. I wanted to forgive you for costing the Bills that win against the Patriots in 2009, I really did. But now I wish those kids not only vandalized your lawn, but your face too. Leodis is officially a BUST. His retrun game is uneven, especially due to fumbles, and his coverage is fucking awful. His stone hands have cost the team so many picks, it's unreal, but that's only when he gets in position to make interceptions, which is rare. He is the king of blown coverage, and over the last couple of seasons, guys like Reggie Corner and Justin Rogers constantly outplay him. Yet, here he is with not only a roster spot, but a consistent starting position. I decided to make a quick list of people I'd rather start over Leodis McKelvin.
1. A 60 lbs overweight Nate Odomes
2. Matt Ellis
3. The guy who played "Sweet Chuck" in the Police Academy movies
4. The exhumed body of Dick Lane
5. Tim Tebow
I leave with you with my man Augie Garrido, who would coach for both the Bills and Sabres in his spare time if it was up to me.
It's been a loooooong time comin'....
The Scizz & The Yachstman
The title says it all. Two weeks ago, Yachtsman and I went out in Manhattan and decided we would record a new episode of Apostles. Segment one was recorded live from the back of a cab, but due to our "should-of-seen-it-coming" drunkenness, we never recorded anything else that night. We were about to scrap the whole thing until five days later, we listened to the tragedy that was segment one, and decided it was too ridiculous to not release. We talk a little about the Knicks, PRE D'Antoni firing, but mostly attempt to chat with our cab driver, Jose Bravo, as well examine the shambled life of Mr. Boat Shoes himself.
A week later, while Yachter and Aps were outside smoking heat sticks prior to CrapTastiCast 25
, the Barrister and Scizz sat down and recorded segment two, mostly focusing on the firing of Mike D'Antoni as the coach of the Knicks, and who his possible replacement could be.
Finally, this week the Yachtsman and I reunited in a moving vehicle to talk about the streaking Knicks, their interim coach Mike Woodson, trade deadline moves, and our unabashed love for the Black Mamba himself, Kobe Bryant. So yes, a lot happened over these two weeks, but we still think you'll enjoy.
Classic hip-hop musical breaks are put on hold this week in favor of Van Halen, who we both went to see last month at MSG. Our love for Eddie and David Lee Roth was rekindled, and now we can't get enough and pass the love onto you. Follow us on twitter @Y_vo
and be sure to check out all of our archived podcasts at the Deeg Industries link
on the top of the page.
Seven games left and here we are, back for another season's finish where our Buffalo Sabres have inexplicably put themselves back in the playoff hunt after having looked dead in the water not six weeks ago. We've been here before, all too recently, and while there's no shortage of frustration at the current state-of-things with this, at times, underachieving and, at times, overachieving hockey team, the fan in me knows this is better than some of the alternatives (see: Maple Leafs, Toronto; see also: Lightning, Tampa Bay).
Last year, the Sabres' late season inspired play was one of the things that got this blog going again, and certainly was a driving force in my own friendship with Scizz, Yachter and Aps, not to mention my interest in jumping along for the ride that is DGWU Sports. This season, the Sabres uninspired play through early February was one of the things that kept us away from our keyboards many nights, as we just couldn't stomach writing about a team that had promised so much and delivered so little. But now, here we are, faced with a team of many new faces playing the same script out and encouraging us all to dream big yet again. The lingering questions remain, though: Can this team pull off another miracle, despite having put themselves in an even bigger hole than they were in last year? And, more importantly, if they do, will that be the only miracle we see? Could there be another, perhaps one that pushes them past the first round for the first time since 2007? Will we actually start to see the promises of Pegula take shape, or will those promises be deferred another year as has been an annual Sabres custom?
For all the hope I have for this team, I certainly don't have any answers, and my recognition of these questions can just as easily be interpreted as "mailing it in" as genuine befuddlement at what this team is and could become. I may talk a lot about how great Ryan Miller is, for instance, but even I couldn't have predicted his stellar bounce back into form during the past 25 games or so. Even the most ardent of homer fans (pot calling kettle black, admittedly) would not have put money on the kind of progress this team has made up the standings over the past six weeks, so it makes absolutely no sense to start predicting where this all may lead. The statisticians say the team has a roughly 22% chance of making the final cut, a number that is encouraging only when compared to the absurdly low 5% chance the team had about four weeks ago. And while a lot of the fan base is encouraged by the team "controlling their own destiny" now that the Sabres are a mere 1 point behind the Capitals with a game against them next Tuesday, there's really no such thing as destiny control in the NHL. Sure, you can skate your tails off and control the amount of effort you put out onto the ice, but so much of the game is about luck and bounces and what kind of team effort you see on the other side - among thousands of other variables outside of a team's control. We're left then with a rather meaningless assurance that the team will make the playoffs if they win out, set against the reality that they will, in all likelihood, not win their last seven and that we all have a lot of hoping and praying to do as we depend on the rest of the pieces falling into place.
Translation: Things will happen that I can't predict, and until they happen I can't really say much about them beyond emotive ramblings that are equal parts hope and despair. Analysis.
Despairing game predictions aside, there is a lot to look for in this game, not the least of which is the possibility that this could very well be a preview of the Sabres' first round match-up if there's one to be had. The Sabres' poor results against New York this season came, in large part, during the utterly forgettable parts of the season, when Ryan Miller looked like a shell of his former self and the team couldn't string together back-to-back wins if their lives depended on it. Now that we're looking like a threat on most nights, with a goaltender showing reminiscent shades of his All-World talent, the one thing I'm looking for tonight is a glimmer of what this team might be able to do if they do manage to get in the playoffs. Are they going to be pushed around by a team that has dominated the conference all year, or are they going to fight tooth and nail for sixty minutes as they have been for the past several games? Again, they're likely to lose a couple of these last seven - we all need to accept this - and we can do little else than hope that neither of those losses is against Washington and that the Caps cooperate by losing a couple more of their own. Yet, assuming those pieces fall in our favor (knocking on wood SO HARD), I'm really looking for the team to show what that run might look like against the likely #1 seed tonight.
Bloviating, overstated opinions having been thoroughly exhausted, I can't forget to mention three quarters of the Deeg will be in attendance at MSG this evening (along with friend of the Deeg and star of CrapTastiCast #25
, The Pink Elephant), which means that, no matter the result, fun will be had and drinks will be poured down our overserved gullets, leaving us perhaps less (or more) inclined to despair should the final score tonight end up as I fear it will. This magical run of the past month and a half began, some might say, with the Sabres shootout victory at Nassau Coliseum, with the Deeg in attendance
, so we're looking to continue that good fortune even if good sense tells us otherwise. If memory serves me right, MSG can tend to be a black hole of cell phone reception, so our twitter feeds may not be as current as they might otherwise, but be sure to follow us @theycallmedubs
, not to mention @DGWUSports
, for potentially nonsensical, poorly worded and/or genius musings on the game. Let's Go Buffalo.
This stretch run, to the extent it arbitrarily starts with the timing of this post, begins tonight with a monumental task of beating the East's best team with perhaps the league's best goaltender in the World's Most Famous Arena (having been crowned as such because soccer stadiums aren't arenas and because New York City self-anoints itself the "center of all that is good in the world," despite the lingering smell of piss and vomit emanating from the streets. But I digress...). This Rangers team has owned the Sabres all year, having won every game thus far (including two that went to OT/SO) and, coming off solid efforts against the Devils and Red Wings this week, the Rags don't much look like they're letting up as they round out their season. I'm as heartened by the Sabres' recent effort and success as anyone - perhaps more than most - but I really don't have a whole lot of confidence heading into tonight's game. A point would be great. Two points seems like it might be too much to ask for, even if it is exactly what we need. "Must win" or not, this is one of those games on the schedule that just look like losses going in, meaning that there is still a lot that needs to go right elsewhere in the league for the Sabres to get into the playoffs.
The Barrister and The Apologist
Well, that game last night sure was a treat wasn't it? Almost don't quite believe it happened, a feeling certainly encouraged by the multiple beers and shots and hookers and... crap. Scratch that.
Emboldened by another week beginning with the Sabres fighting for a playoff spot - enough to get us excited, but not quite optimistic - the Apologist and I headed back to Kelly's Sports Bar in the East Village to catch the game. And the team certainly rewarded us with a stellar effort en route to their 7-3 win over the Lightning. You know them - the team that sucks harder than we do, following a year that saw them go to the Eastern Conference Finals, who appear to have one of the most precarious goaltending situations in the sport. Those 50 goals from Stamkos don't mean shit when you have a bag of bratwursts between the pipes.
Aaaaanyway, on to the reason for this post, which is to present the next episode of Aps and Barrister Present the Legal Limit! This week's episode, far more timely than prior Legal Limit installments, was recorded in two segments during the second intermission and immediately after the game. Bizarrely, with the team playing so well, we didn't have too much to dwell on and/or rant about, so we also took some time to discuss the upcoming baseball season, as well as a little bit of basketball (giving Apologist some solace as Yachter and Scizz continue to inexplicably black ball him from recording The Apostles of Bob). Musical interludes include "Serenade" by Steve Miller Band, and a cover of "Psycho Killer" by Moxy Früvous. The Underground mario theme also makes an appearance, because, well, WE GOT MARIO WILLIAMS AND WE'RE ALL STILL STUPID EXCITED.
Episode 3 can be downloaded or streamed below.
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In stores this September.
The Apologist I say, I say, I gone and done it.
It’s alright. I know your heart is telling you it’s too soon to fall again, but it’s ok. There’s reason to get excited, to believe. You’ve been hurt before, but this time, it really is different. We’ve truly never seen anything like this. So it’s ok to already be excited for the Bills’ season to start.
In the 20 years leading up to last Thursday, since the NFL implemented an unrestricted free-agent system, the most money Ralph & Co. had ever handed out was $7 million-a-year to Derrick Dockery. You know, the Derrick Dockery who has started four games in the last two seasons.
Ok, bad memory. But seriously folks, this time it’s different. The Buffalo Bills, owners of the longest playoff drought in the NFL today, went out and signed the top free agent at his position in the market to the largest contract for a defender in the history of the league.
Aside from the lift this gives the entire defense, Buddy Nix gets a huge boost in stature from this signing. In my eyes, this deal legitimized his leadership. All Foghorn Leghorn jokes aside, it cements his position as a straight shooter who sticks to his guns.
Maybe he won’t be able to keep that up. Life as a coach or GM in the NFL, or any other sport for that matter, seems to preclude the possibility of standing by your word (right, Boeheim? …too soon?). But he said he was going to find someone who had head coaching experience. He said they would always use draft picks to find the best athletes. He said he wanted Stevie Johnson back. He said he would make every effort to sign Mario Williams.
Done, done, done, and done.
Will he be able to keep it up by restructuring Fred Jackson’s contract and finding difference makers in this year’s draft? Only time will tell. But for now, you can’t find much to fault in the Bills’ GM.
But enough about the signing itself. After a while the luster of all those zeroes at the end of Williams’ contract will wear off and the big questions will still need to be answered. How good can this defense be? Will the 4-3 mask the fact that our linebackers & secondary are less than great? Is Dave Wannstedt the answer at defensive coordinator? Are we really going to pay Shawne Merriman $5 million to salvage his reputation?
I’m not sure I’m smart enough to answer any of these questions well. Obviously adding a player as talented as Mario Williams will only make us better, but how much better is impossible to determine with any certainty. No sport exists with more variables than football. Serious speculation is simply a waste of time. (Peter King’s 2011 Super Bowl Prediction: Falcons over Chargers. Oops.)
Simply let the excitement wash over you. Your Buffalo Bills made the biggest splash of the NFL off-season.
Hey. Mind if I take your job? / Ummm...
Ok, maybe not the biggest splash. But still, think back to where you were when the Bills’ season ended. Luckily for me, I don’t have to think too hard, because I vented all my rage here
. I was distraught and depressed. A few days after writing that, I had basically stopped thinking about the Bills. I refused to look at a single draft board or even consider the Bills’ chances of reaching the .500 plateau, let alone the playoffs.
Today? I’m excited for the draft. I’m excited to see what our schedule looks like. I honestly believe the Bills have a shot at a playoff spot.
Foolish? Probably. Fun? Definitely.
As I’ve said time and time again, sports should be about fun. Splitting the hairs on Mario’s head is pointless until games are played. In the meantime, I'm enjoying the feeling that the organization finally cares and maybe, just maybe, has a clue. Yes, that says more about the level of my standards than anything else, but still, improvements were needed and they have been made, with more coming on the horizon. It's hard for me to find bad things to say about a team I shredded to the best of my ability two months ago.
Are things definitely going to be different? I don’t know how much, but they already are. The Bills of the last 12 years never made moves like this. These Bills resigned a true #1 receiver, then went out and got one of the two biggest jewels in the free agent market. And neither of them ever entertained offers elsewhere.
No one saw this coming. But it happened. So go ahead. Let yourself fall in love all over again.
For once, there’s a really good reason.
True Colors....shining through.
The Deeg Crew, feat. Joe Pinzone & The Pink Elephant
Twenty-five episodes? Buffalo for real? Yikes.
Not only are we shocked that we have actually recorded 25 episodes, but the fact that we have kept a steady listenership and continue to gain subscribers blows our freakin' minds. So, on the eve of Yachtsman's 30th birthday, the Deeg drank lots of craft beer and gathered at the Apologist's apartment to record the big two-five, or the silver anniversary edition if you will. We open with a new theme dedicated to Mario Williams, and from there we go into rants of happiness about the big signing of our new high-paid, defensive monster. You will also notice that the Yachtsman probably had a little too much fun with Spotify during the recording (a lot of True Colors), but all in all, it made for some pretty funny moments, including actual hand-holding, high fives, and group hugs... and maybe some dry-humping.
The second segment is a little crazy, as we attempt to talk about the Sabres, but our overall excitement for beer and Mario leads us astray. We are joined by Apologist's roommate and friend of the Deeg, the Pink Elephant, for a good portion of the podcast, whose non-love of sports becomes hilariously apparent early on. However, he spends a good deal of time making fun of us for being idiots, so that evens it out.
It also would not be a silver anniversary edition without our dear friend, Joe Pinzone
of Buffalo Wins
! Joe skypes in from home and most likely regrets it immediately. His take on the Bills and Mario is fantastic, and as always, so much better than anything we can come up with. Well done, Joe. Phil
was supposed to be on, but technology is hard for us drunk idiots. Maybe next time.
Musical breaks from Toto, Wings, The Meat Puppets, and Puff Daddy & Mase. Yup.
Download from Libsyn here
or iTunes below. Easiest way is to hit the streamer.