The Outlander Top moment of season until today
I really didn't know when I was going to write another post here. The Red Sox season- while for me magical and enthralling- has been described in many different publications and blogs by many different writers than myself in much more satisfying ways. Not to mention our readership's approval rating of the Red Sox has got to be hovering in the same ballpark as Congress' and I don't need to put something out exhalting my joy just for all you to shit all over it.
You're not my real dad dammit.
As for our local teams, up until about 9:15 this morning, what could really be said? Our Bills weekly previews and reviews capture this season's varying degrees of optimism and hopelessness, especially now that we just got clocked with the 2x4 of reality watching the Pittsburgh game. The best Sabres forward of the past fifteen years got traded and the team has embarked on a journey that many fan bases have endured but virtually no one who has ever watched this team has had to witness: the laughingstock year. The year of catching shit from every friend or coworker who roots for other teams or generally enjoys the despair of others; the season of watching them in numb resignation, too indifferent to yell at the television, not because the team didn't look terrible but because you knew that they simply couldn't do any better. They're a cast of guys who may be perfectly likable and able to contribute to the right team (except Stafford, fuck him), but to watch them skate around for two and a half hours chasing their own tail just simply wasn't a good use of our time.
The constant theme to make us want to tear our hair out- those of you with any considerable remaining scraps anyways- was the decision-making of the coach regarding lines, scratches and ice time, really the only things that a coach does that are pretty easy and straightforward. A coach watches the players and puts the best ones on the ice, with the most offensively skilled players matching up with others of their like. It's literally the only thing that someone playing NHL '14 can do as well as a real coach. And somehow, someway, this team managed to place a man in this position who could not even be passable at this task. These are not mistakes - as Doug Marrone, for instance, freely admits to making when they appear - it was a failure of philosophy; a flaw in Ron Rolston's hockey DNA that poisoned the entire franchise in a matter of months and has at the very least set back the development of young talent and possibly derailed it permanently. It's easy to not care about who wears the "C" when they're in the rightfully earned position for their skill set. It is much harder to ignore when that same player is being double shifted in the third period of a game you're being outshot by thirty.
So where did this get us, or me more specifically? I was offered tickets to last night's game and had not even the slightest bit of interest because there was a UB FOOTBALL game on television. Tickets were hovering in the low teens and I didn't even consider heading down to the FNC to take in the carnage. The overhead of attending a game (traffic, new security measures, parking, a late bedtime on a weeknight) had become too much to see what has been my favorite local team since well before I was a teenager. I've spent thirty bucks on weeknights just to yell at Patrick Lalime about how much he sucks, but I could no longer be bothered. A 3-7 Bills team appeared light years ahead of their NHL counterpart and it wasn't close. Any optimism for the future, be it trades, draft picks or free agents could be dismissed simply by mentioning those who were in charge of acquiring talent and developing talent. I am confident in saying there has not been as dark a time regarding the cumulative future of our professional teams, and while the Bills have had bright spots in the midst of an objectively dismal record, what did we have to look forward to regarding the hockey team? The jersey retirement of a guy who hasn't played for them in a dozen years? The failure of the young kids to ultimately develop and trigger the long overdue firing of Rolston some three years down the road? The hope that maybe the third time the seemingly immovable General Manager failed at rebuilding a team from the ground up, it would be his curtain call?
Over six years removed from their last playoff series victory that distant hope for the future was too far off for many, including myself.
News happened yesterday. We blew the conch, gathered, and produced this. Enjoy.
Music by, well, I won't ruin the surprise. You're welcome.
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Another guest contributor? Another guest contributor.
By Peter Berkes
I’m going to try to keep this brief. Last year, they lost me.
Fresh on the heels of another mediocre season and a prolonged, acrimonious, and completely avoidable lockout, the Buffalo Sabres started out the 2012-13 season like dog mess stuck to a boot. At that point, my frustration with the franchise reached critical mass, and I cashed out. I think I actually said to a TV, “Look, call me when you’re interested in being good again, because this shit is not working for me.”
That was somewhere between games five and ten last year, and since then, I haven’t watched more than a stray minute or two of the Sabres. To be perfectly honest, I haven’t missed them. Sure, I stayed up to date with what was happening on twitter since there’s no way I could unfollow everyone in Buffalo twitter, but I was pretty much completely disengaged from the team.
It’s a really and truly weird thing to actively dislike your favorite team. Sure, we all have that on some level with the Bills, but it was different for me with the Sabres. And it all came back to God damn Darcy Regier.
I can handle failure. I mean, Jesus, I’m a Buffalo sports fan. Failure happens, but this franchise has been a walking, shambling corpse. It felt like Terry Pegula, the man we all thought was going to spend this team to a championship in short order, was nothing more than some stammering Whiner Line regular who was still stuck in the 90s. But after finally pulling the plug on Regier and Ron Rolston, it feels like there may actually be something good that comes from all this.
The thought of Regier attempting to rebuild this franchise after he personally steered it into the ditch was, for the lack of a better term, completely fucked. We don’t know if Pat LaFontaine and whoever he hires to be general manager will be any better, but it’s different, and that’s enough to get my attention. Yes, that’s pretty sad, but that’s where we are. This is Progress. Capital P. I don’t really care about Ted Nolan. He’s not going to be around next year anyway, so just play the kids a lot every night and get the team working hard and I’ll consider his return a success.
There have been a lot of people that think this move is just more bullshit from the Sabres because they brought back two guys with ties to the team. It’s certainly possible. LaFontaine doesn’t have any real experience as an executive, but he at least realizes it. He seems smart enough to hire someone who has done this before. But the larger point is this: Just because someone has ties to the organization doesn’t mean they’re clueless. It makes for an easy joke because hurr durr Buffalo, but anyone who says so is more interested in humping away at narrative than assessing the situation honestly. I want the best possible people to be the coach and GM of the Sabres, and I don’t care where they’re from. Hopefully Pat can put those people in place. If not, hopefully it doesn’t take a billion years for him and everyone else to be replaced.
So am I back in? I don’t know. What I do know, though, is that they have my attention. Let’s go.
It's getting to be that time where dreams come true, our frustration assuaged by a single decision by Pegula.
Shit is long overdue.
Get the fuck away from our hockey team you goddamned joke.
When people tell the story of this piece of garbage's reign of mediocrity in Buffalo, it's gonna be a simple narrative.
God fucking dammit. This team is really bad.
I see it has been some two months since I last posted, which is utterly unacceptable especially given the fact that I have more "free" time than I had back then. Of course there's also little movement from both of our professional sports teams and even college football season is a full two months away. This is a time for outdoor drinking, golfing and camping, not sitting around complaining about the Sabres and the draft or the Bills schedule. However, I'd like to think we won our little Trending Buffalo vote for reasons that didn't involve going months without posting, and when The Scizz even finds time to make a couple of posts, it's time for me to step it up, even if this disjointed post turned into complaining about the Sabres draft.
I'd like to talk about a team; a team with only a couple aging veterans with any memory of playoff success; a team filled with prospects barely removed from the minors; a team forced to cut ties with it's most loved and most successful coach, a team for which 2007 seems exponentially farther in the rear-view mirror than it has in six years; a team chosen by the local and national press, not to mention its die-hard fans, to find themselves chained to the basement of the division for years to come. This is a team that claimed to make offers to the top-flight free agents but for whatever reason continued to be turned down, as most speculated that the team brand had been tarnished, or at least that other franchises held much more appeal. Although the stars of this team are still capable of showing their brilliance when not struck by injury, it had become apparent months ago that those players were unhappy with management as well as the direction they felt the team was headed in. It's a team that is coming off their most disappointing season in well over a decade, whose fans were approaching this season just hoping for any reason to believe the team was heading in the right direction and maybe, two or three years down the row could simply return to the postseason. As for success there, well, let's not get ahead of ourselves.
As if you couldn't tell, this is obviously a post regarding the American League-leading Boston Red Sox.
So hey there! I learned this morning that I’ve “graduated” from my trial period and will soon be getting my name on the little sidebar thing over there full time. I’d like to thank everyone for the opportunity, and I hope to do them proud until I graduate to Deadspin or Trending Buffalo!
I had no plans to write anything until at least the NHL Draft because I heard once you get a full time gig here, you don’t actually have to write, you just sorta hang out and make fun of people on Twitter. But then Bucky Gleason decided to regurgitate his annual GM For A Day column and I couldn’t resist busting into the old blogger standby and giving it the Fire Joe Morgan treatment. I also want you to know that after doing this, I clearly hate myself and I’m apologizing in advance for making you read part of a Bucky Gleason article.
Let's get on with it.
Our Buffalo Sabres announced that Ron Rolston will be staying on as head coach today. You can hate this move. You can wish the team went another way. You can kick and scream and wish for something better. But you can't for a second believe you know what the fuck you're talking about.
We are fans and,. by definition, amateurs.
I don't care that you study the game and used to play hockey and think that fucking matters. I don't care that you trust the unsourced quotes from other "NHL GMs" that Sully and Bucky like to shove in our faces more than you trust Darcy Regier. You may be a plenty smart, reasonable individual, but YOU DON'T KNOW SHIT.
Neither do I, for the record.
Super big wieners.
super bigger huge wieners
God help me for bothering to do this today. Pretty sure it's that asshole Dan Sterlace's fault, but whatever. I'm in too deep now.
Today, unless you're a Sabres fan living under a rock that doesn't allow for decent wifi, you know there was a press conference with Ted Black and Darcy Regier. Awesome! I seem to remember they didn't have one of those last year! I bet those pros over at the Buffalo News were so excited and put on their nicest Burger King pants for the occasion. I bet they even decided not to be their usual turd burgling selves and act like adults for once.
Oh mannnnnnnn, was this a terrible shit show. Everyone walked away from this looking like a terrible human being - Darcy, Mike Harrington, Jerry Sullivan, Paul Hamilton (though to be fair he waddled away looking like a walrus with terrible grammar, as per usual), Ted Black, some asshole from Channel 2 named Scott Brown and one or two guys named John, one whom I can only assume was Jon Vogl and the other who I learned was John Wawrow. Of course, the key players of Rusty Tromboning were to be expected, but fuck. The dipshittery was flying from every direction. Pretty sure I've interviewed inmates on Rikers facing murder charges evince more of a commitment to civility than I saw on display.
Oh, and they also talked about the terrible hockey team we inexplicably love. Good times.
What's the solution? Oh, I'm going to FJM this motherfucker. It's the only way we get right again.
HERE WE GOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!
Tomorrow night the longest lockout shortened season in the history of sports is coming to an end. Seriously, it’s only been three months; I have the schedule in front of me and everything. If you want highlights only, this will be a quick read for you: season opener, three Boston wins, comeback against Montreal, snapping Pittsburgh’s win streak. There, you can go back to whatever it was you were doing before you got here; I’m only writing this because the Wild Card is some sort of wunderkind and I’m feeling inadequate. Actually I’ll give you one more highlight: waking up at the gate in JFK at 7:30am after Occupy Newark, surrounded by dozens of people with only hazy recollection of how I got there. Probably should have just taken Scizz’s couch invite instead of taking a cab to the airport at 4am, but I am thankful for whatever TSA agent kindly let me through security.
That still-intoxicated confusion amongst the chaos of a crowded airport terminal is indicative of the season we just watched. What happened? Why was everything so terrible? Why am I still wearing this Vanek jersey? Well, I watched nearly every game and I don’t have the slightest goddamn clue. All I know is this is the first season I didn’t see a win in person since 2003-2004 and I’ve spent nearly all of those seasons in between living hours away. Well that, and that there were many specific things that came together like some sort of horrifying, malevolent Captain Planet to ruin our evenings three times a week.
At first I was just going to list all the things that were horrible about this season but as I got to eleven it struck me that first, with enough time this list could go on perpetually as if I was writing out the decimals in pi, looking for an end, and second, I wanted to identify what was worse than all the others; what, when matched up against the other “worst” things on the list, made the others look better. Think of this like a Bill Simmons' NBA trade value column, except you’ve heard of these names and I don’t get paid for it. To properly settle this, I decided to seed the eight worst entities about this season and match them up in a tournament format to see what exactly would come out on top (bottom?), along with my analysis.
To the seedings: 9 (Honorable Mention): John Scott
- I definitely bitched about his presence on the ice more than some of the things found below, but when compiling this list I felt he may have gotten a bad rap from me. First, we all knew coming in he wasn't skilled at hockey. Two, it wasn't his decision to put him in the lineup constantly, leaving talented- err, less awful
players scratched. However, he would have cracked my top 8 if it wasn't for his photobombing post-game interviews
late in the season. So, thanks to some stellar off-ice moves, Scott does not make the most hated tournament. But seriously, get the fuck off my team now. 8) Jochen Hecht:
I’m not sure what I hate more, his complete ineptitude on offense, the rare moments when that ineptitude disappears, or the fact that everyone involved in making organizational decisions loves this guy for reasons beyond understanding. Ruff, Regier and Rolston have raved about this statue and I haven’t the slightest fucking clue. Giving Hecht top line minutes was effectively hoping for a 1-0 win or a 2-1 overtime loss, and despite this I STILL don’t trust them to cut ties after this season. He’s a fucking 80’s horror villain. Go away. 7) Drew Stafford:
Fuck Drew Stafford. Thanks for those two shootout goals I guess, dickface. 6) The Buffalo News:
This is primarily a credit to their belief that all the teams ills would have been solved if the owner had commented about Regier or the Pominville trade. Watching them slowly melt down during the season into petulant children was pretty funny when I wasn’t annoyed by the pettiness and lack of professionalism by people who actually do get paid to write for a living. Plus they’re fucking creepy. Solid dark horse as a six seed
Guest Contributor: The Wild Card
HOCKEY HEAVEN -- (Trade Deadline minus 25 hours, 8 minutes. Associated Mess) -- With Leopold and Regehr gone it's pretty clear now that Darcy intends to blow this motherfucker up, burn this motherfucker down and otherwise do things to this motherfucker that make it different tomorrow. Cool. They need to look different, but now I'm wondering if they'll be different. And the reason to think they won't be is the common denominator: Darcy.
A lot of people want Darcy gone, and I tentatively count myself among their number. The case against Darcy is easy to make, and it usually comes down to results. No cups. 1 cup appearance a long time ago. Drury, Briere, yada yada. I'm not telling you anything new. My problem is that I can make a pretty strong case in Darcy's favor too. He did have the sense to bring in said Chris and said Danny for next to nothing. He got a 1st for a goose. He just traded two 32-yr old defensemen with 12 games left on their contracts for 3 second round picks and a 4th/5th. Not too shabby. He moves Van/Pom/Mil and we could suddenly picking every 5 minutes in June. And with promising guys like Armia, Grigorenko (yes, shutup you shit-sniffing troll, the kid's going to be fine) and Leggio in the organization, I have to think Darcy's done a pretty decent job assembling some young talent.
But here's why I still think I want Darcy gone: with all that being said, under Darcy's regime these teams have been largely the same - dispassionate, soft, leaderless. The Drury/Briere era was the exception. We had clear leaders, and the other players had clear roles. But the leadership on that team wasn't drafted by Darcy. Drury and Briere were trades. McKee was drafted pre-Darcy. Lydman was a trade... Darcy just doesn't draft leaders. Name a guy Darcy drafted that would be a suitable captain on an NHL team. ... anyone?
I just can't get around it. I think about all the moves that Darcy has made here. I think about what he's tried to do. What the general philosophy of the team is. I have to admit, I agree with all of it. I even like the philosophy of building out from your goaltender, playing good defense and not droppin' cash like Tyrone Biggums in Free Agency.
But for 16 years he has failed to draft a true captain for this team. That's just not acceptable. ALL the good teams have good captains. Let's have a look down the list:
Chi - Toews, Sharpe, Keith (not to mention Kane)
ANA - Getzlaf, Koivu, Selanne (not to mention Perry)
MIN - Koivu, Parise, Suter
LA - Brown, Richards, Kopitar
PIT - Crosby, Malkin, Orpik
MTL - Gionta, Markov, (and Gorges... but fuck that.)
BOS - Chara, Bergeron (not to mention Horton, Marchand, Lucic, Seguin, and Thornton... good god I'm jelly. OK, back to grown-up talk.)
These guys are ALL-STARS, and most of them are gritty, intense, tenacious. Our guys are just good. Them: MEN. Us: Whiney little boners. I mean, do Vanek and Pominville stack up to ANY of these guys? If they were traded to any of these teams, do you think they'd say "shit, we gotta put a letter on this guy" ?
Maybe Darcy can change his stripes, I don't know. I think he's always been pretty good at seeing this team's weaknesses on the X's and O's front. Steve Ott is a good example. We needed to get tougher at the top and he knew it. So we got tougher at the top. But Ott is also a guy I like a lot as a leader. Could it be that Darcy knows we need leadership too?
He might only have 24 hours to prove it.Comment below or hit me up on Twitter @DGW_WildCard