Tonight the Buffalo Sabres take to the ice in the land of meth labs and man-eating sinkholes to attempt to do something they haven’t done once during this mercifully shortened season: win their fourth hockeypucks game in a row. If Winnipeg and Philadelphia win their games in regulation, the Sabres will suddenly find themselves one point removed from the final playoff spot with a game in front of 13,000 empty seats on deck Thursday night in the Everglades. Ten of their final fourteen games will be played at home and, despite all of this, some of you are despondent, downtrodden, terrified that they might win, that they might turn that puncher’s chance into a playoff berth.
Why is this case? Well the prevailing logic seems to be that the team is better served by finishing with a top three draft pick, buttressed by the sweeping assumption that if the Sabres sneak into the playoffs, Darcy Regier will be rewarded with keeping his job and this team will be thrown into some sort of perpetual mediocrity as true as our orbit around the sun. I can’t say I don’t understand this logic; the idea of giving this general manager a second crack under Pegula at assembling a roster would accomplish little more than hemorrhaging the fanbase and leaving us a few more years closer to death without a sniff at a cup. What I don’t understand is how people are willing to assume that this is black and white, that wins equal the general manager staying. Because drive-time radio pronounces it true? Because a WGR beat reporter who spent the entire football season telling you Chan Gailey wasn’t going anywhere is now saying the same about Darcy? Because TBN staff members that haven’t broken a team story since the Ford administration pronounce it true? For shame.
I don’t know what the owner thinks about the general manager’s future. Neither do you and neither do any of the local media. What I do know is management espoused a three-year plan to win a Stanley Cup (that has been shot to shit) and pledged to win multiple Stanley Cups under the new owner. I know the owner allowed or ordered the firing of a coach that had been involved with the team for the better part of three decades. I know that perennial eighth place finishes and first round exits are quite removed from the sixteen wins that it takes to win a championship. I know that no one who builds a business worth more than a billion dollars does so by accepting continuous underachievement and incompetence.
I also know that telling the fans that they’re being neglected, ignored and mistreated sells papers and ad space, and allows fans to wallow in the “woe is us” attitude that gets ingrained into your DNA at conception in this region. I know it’s the safe column to write, the safe position to take. I know Pominville, Vanek and Miller have contracts that expire after next season and the general manager himself has already bucked tradition and stated to local and national outlets that any changes that will be made will be focused on next season.
My point is that there’s at least enough empirical evidence to argue that the general manager is gone no matter what happens short of a conference finals appearance, right? There’s more than enough evidence to support the idea that columnists and radio hosts are trolling the fanbase by using Darcy as a boogeyman to get you to tune in or use one of your ten free page views (I’m not silly enough to assume any of our readers are also TBN subscribers).
Making it harder to accept even a slight run of success is the fact that we had finally embraced, welcomed the idea of hitting rock bottom. After half a decade of mediocrity this was going to be the year we finally said “fuck it,” and took the losses laughing instead of crying. We were ready, and then these, these ASSHOLES had to go and start winning! God can’t they do anything right!?
Charles Nelson Reilly (CNR) is the unofficial mascot of DGWU
Welcome to the final post of my summer movie preview series. I’ve had some fun comparing the likes of Drew Stafford to bad teachers, and even Nathan Gerbe to bridesmaids, but this month was slightly more difficult. As some of you may know, the biggest films of the summer hit during the months of May, June, and July. August tends to be a spot for big studio films with some question marks, or maybe a little less star power. With that in mind, digging up movies that included a Sabres tie-in was not exactly easy and I definitely had to reach. In fact most of these guys won't even be on the team next season. Plus I have to agree with good ‘ole CNR up above and say that most of these films look pretty effin’ boring. However, I promised a preview for each month and the nerd in me needs to press on. Enjoy the show....
Rise of the Planet of the Apes: - August 5th
Craig Rivet, Steve Montador, and Shoane Morrisonn
"Hey Mr. Pegula! Over Here! Hey we're on the team too! Where's Craig?
There is a good chance chance you may disagree with me when I’m done with this one but I don't give a shit. In fact, Yachtsman and I have been going back and forth via e-mail arguing about the quality of Montador all day (I prefer Weber). These three stooges gave me fits over the past season. As we all know, Rivet has already left the organization, Montador should be closely behind with playoff benchings, and unless the Sabres want to take a cap hit of $2,075,000
,Morrisonn may be around for at least one more awful year. (sidebar: get rid of that stupid extra “n” at the end of your last Shoane! And while you’re at it, change the first name to Shane! Douche.)
All three of the players came in as UFA’s meant to add veteran leadership, and in Rivet’s case immediately become a captain, but each failed to deliver on the ice, leaving the youth to take on the brunt of the workload. I’m not sure how this compares to a new “Apes” film, but the last Tim Burton take had high expectations and was an absolute disaster of a film. I mean it was gouge your eyes out awful. Therefore I am unfairly assuming that this one will be terrible, just like these three veterans who came in with expectations that were never close to being met. I just hope I never have to add Jordan Leopold to this list.
Final Destination 5 - August 12th
Poor Patty Lalime. A truly great guy that has been forced to face mountains of disdain from Sabres fans the past three seasons (including plenty from me). The job of backing up Ryan Miller is not an easy task, and many have failed before him. Just ask Jocelyn Thibault, Ty Conklin, Marty Biron, Mika Noronen, and Mikael Tellqvist. With the emergence of the Demon Swede, this appears to be the end of the road for Lalime.
During his 12 year career in the NHL, Patrick completed full seasons with Pittsburgh, Ottawa, St. Louis, and Chicago; making Buffalo his 5th and FINAL DESTINATION. See what I did there? I amaze myself sometimes. Unless Lalime gets picked up by another team for a one year deal and then this whole paragraph is null and void. Stop judging me.
Conan the Barbarian - August 19th (Not that we are ever SFW, but this red band trailer contains some ridiculous violence & very brief nudity....a DGWU first!)
Stay away ladies. No secret babies needed.
Who else but future captain Thomas Vanek can match up to a wordly conquerer like Conan? Although this new Conan was raised in Iowa and use to star in Baywatch, we all know who the true Conan is. This
Aaaaaahnold was a 'roided up freak for the original Conan, and it is still one of those epic fantasy/action films that I can watch over and over, much like I was able to enjoy the play of Atlas Vanek
this past season. They are both a dominant force who leads their civilization/franchise to better days (Please do not cue up the Goo Goo Dolls right now). The best part has to be that both Arnold and Vanek are native Austrians. Hopefully both will be known for wearing C’s on their chests at points in their career. I’m just hoping that T.V. has no secret babies
Update: I had to throw this up on here after I watch the trailer again and realized that the new Conan is Jason Momoa, aka FUCKING KHAL DROGO FROM GAME OF THRONES
!!! Now I need to see this movie. DROOOOOOOOGOOOOOOOO!!!
My Idiot Brother - August 26th
This is not meant as a potshot at Rob Niedermayer. Despite a forgettable regular season (one in which there were contests to see when he would score his first goa
l), Niedermayer played an admirable playoff series against the Flyers and you could argue that he was the hardest working player on the ice. This has been his MO for years. By no means an idiot, he has always lived in the shadow of younger brother Scott. They both won a cup together, but let’s be honest; when you heard that a Niedermayer was coming to Buffalo, how many of you at least for a split second said to yourself “Oh god I wish it was Scott!” I know I did. Thus is the curse of having a more talented sibling.
From what I have seen of the trailers for My Idiot Brother, Paul Rudd definitely plays a huge screw-up, but he has a heart and always has to live in comparison to his much more accomplished siblings. This is the only "indie" film I tossed in any of these posts, but Rob has a very indie feel about him. I bet he listens to Fleet Foxes when he has a scoring drought.
That’s that. Thanks to everyone for reading my clever little connections between these two major loves of mine. Feedback has been strong to quite strong, so I may continue the series into the fall with Buffalo Bills players...probably not.
Stay tuned for more ramblings and rants from the DGWU crew, including a group road trip this weekend to the Poconos to see FC Buffalo in action. Also check out episode 10 of the CrapTastiCast
if you haven't yet...it's a doozy. Enjoy your summer and if you have any other great summer movie/Sabres connections, leave them in the comments or contact me. Maybe I’ll put 'em up. E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
or hit me up on twitter @TheScizz.
Atlas knows the depth of all the sea, and bears the long columns which keep asunder...
The YachtsmanLast evening, the Sabres continued their march towards Pegula-Powered Playoff Destiny.
The Demon Swede performed admirably once again, stopping 23 pucks fired at him by one of the NHL's best offensive squads. The Sabres offense, led by TV Party Tommy Vanek, put three goals + an empty netter on old friend Dwayne "Rolie The Goalie" Roloson. Highlight of the night, of course, was a hatty by Atlas Vanek (pad tap to Ryan at The Goose's Roost's AM ode to TV
.....some of the best sabreweb musings I've read in a while). In keeping with my new tradition of matching songs with fantastic Sabre performances, I've decided to match up TV with Daft Punk's amazing Television Rules the Nation/Crescendolls from Alive 2007. I was in Europe for this show at Paris' Bercy and then in New York the following week when they played the McCarren Park Pool and I missed both shows. That still burns a puck-sized hole in my soul that will never close.
As Ryan at Goose's Roost points out, if you're not on the TV train by now, you never will be. Last night was another reinforcement of Regier's decision to sign Vanek to that "huge" contract. Vanek's play, demeanor, and hustle are clear indicators that he should be the official leader of this team. I've been racking my brain all morning to figure out why Ruff hasn't slapped a C on his chest and called it a day. Maybe some of you readers (okay, reader - singular) can help me out with this. Is there some sort of vote that would need to occur? Is there a lockerroom rift that would prevent Vanek from Captaincy that we can't see? If so, who would those players be?! If the Sabres go deep and God almighty do the unthinkable and unspeakable, who would Bettman pass that thing that I don't talk about around this time of year to first?*
'It's OK Lindy, trust me....he can handle it.'
SIDENOTES- Apparently, I'm an idiot, because this has been up for a while but I've missed it: the 7 for Rick Martin in the trapezoid? Amazing. Little things like that are making me (Grand Imperial Doubter of Doubting Thomases) really believe in this Pegula fellow.- A nagging doubt was planted in my head months ago when Vanek made the remark about Roy's puck hogging
. Now that nagging doubt has turned into a fantasy trade scenario in which we offload Roy, save the money to re-sign Stafford, and make it rain all over next season with cap space, picks, and a marquee FA. Am I taking the Douche Train to Idiotville on this one?- For some odd, strange reason....this team is looking very talented right now. Not only because of their respectable-to-great play as of late, but because of the awfultudinal play by the other top Eastern Conference squads - namely the Bruins & the Flyers. Friday night will be full of stark revelations for the hockey communities of Southern PA and Western New York.
However, The Caps & The Pens still scare me like "The Ring".- Also on Friday, Pegula has invited 75 Sabres' Alumni to the Arena for Fan Appreciation night. All the big names of course, but perusing through this list, their are some massively unintentionally hilarious names & some awe inspiring awesomenitude.....here are some highlights:
- Richard Smehlik - the man who inspired the Lexington Avenue Street Hockey League Favorite: "You just pulled a Smehlik"- Michal Grosek - the most frustratingly talented no goal scoring goal scorer of the 90s (and we had a quite a few)- Wayne Primeau - the Frank Stallone of the NHL!- Mike Wilson - YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO COVER HASEK'S RIGHT POST!!!! WHY DID JUNEAU GET IN SO GD CLOSE!?!?!?- Phil Housley - the best Sabre Defenseman ever. EVER.- Pat Lafontaine - God it's been too long Patty...- Jim Lorentz - oh, Jimmy, how we miss you so- Brad May - hardest punch of the 90s...arguably the greatest goal of the 90s too...- Gerry Meehan - we need more ex-Captains to come by and give TV a vote of confidenceIf one of you kind readers would do me a favor and record/send/upload the pre-game ceremony to me and/or youtube, it would be much much much appreciated. These are the moments when NYC makes me sad because I can't be on the golden shores of Lake Erie.* The Daughters Pegula, of course.
You don't go out looking for a job dressed like that? On a weekday? / Is this a... what day is this?
Yes, I blew it already. It only took a few days for me to fall behind and for that loyal readers (do we have loyal readers yet?), I apologize. To be fair, this has all happened so fast.
It seems like only a week ago that the Yachtsman, Scizz and I were three sheets to the wind in a midtown bar throwing around the idea of "getting the band back together" and relaunching the blog. So of course I said, "SURE! I can get a post up by Monday!"
But enough about that. The best way to restart this all seems like to recap where I am as a fan these days. Why? Well, my last post was almost a year and a half ago. Plus, I am one of my favorite topics.
Let me start off by apologizing on behalf of myself and the rest of the DGWUS crew. The last few weeks have seen us fall off the map when it comes to following our favorite bumbling Buffalo squads. Between the inactivity of the offseason and the activities of our daily lives, we've been unable to find the time to get caught up.
With that in mind, I'm going to attempt to go a little more in-depth with my coverage of all the things we missed. 'Attempt' being the key word...
The Buffalo Sabres announced today that they had reached agreements with Andrej Sekera and Clarke MacArthur. Sekera signed a multi-year contract while MacArthur & the Sabres accepted an arbitration settlement. Neither figure was reported by the team, but the Buffalo News' Mike Harrington says a news outlet in Sekera's home country of Slovakia (known for it's... something) is reporting that the deal is 2 years at $1 million per year.
I could throw their numbers from the last few seasons at you, but it seems obvious that no one is sold on these guys just yet. Otherwise, I would imagine it'd be a lot tougher to keep them around so briefly and so cheaply. Hopefully both of them will show that they're worth investing in this coming season. Not that we'd invest in our young talent, but maybe we'd get a playoff run out of it. If it doesn't look that way by the deadline, I'd bet Regier would look to deal MacArthur for picks.
These moves leave Drew Stafford and Mark Mancari as the only restricted free agents left unsigned by the Sabres.
The ink is dry on another new Sabres contract, albeit not a very exciting one. The Sabres signed winger Matt Ellis
to a one-year deal. The value of the deal has not been disclosed yet. The 27-year-old forward was picked up off waivers from the Los Angeles Kings just before the start of last season. Over the course of the season, Ellis contributed 12 points in 45 games and was a rare physical presence (6'1", 210 lbs.) on the ice for the Sabres. Well ... physical by the Sabres' standards.[DGWUS Super Special Fun Fact: Matt Ellis would go on to become the biggest man-crush in the Scizz's sports world!]
The one-year deal seems to be the only kind that Regier is interested in writing these days. Earlier this off-season he signed new defenseman Steve "The Matador" Montador (It's too easy, I know, but it has to be done) for one year after Jaro Spacek rejected a one-year deal.
Meanwhile, former Sabre Ales Kotalik (seen right firing a puck directly into the goalie's chest) has returned to the Eastern Conference after a brief stint in Edmonton. Kotalik signed a 3-year deal worth $9 million to rejoin fellow former Sabre Chris Drury with the New York Rangers. Kotalik, you'll remember, was traded to the Oilers at the deadline last season for a second-round draft pick that Regier then turned and traded to Toronto for forward Dominic Moore. Moore is no longer employed by the Sabres, but that may only be temporary. Supposedly Moore is hoping for a deal in the $2 million range (he made $900,000 last season) which is why the Leafs were looking to deal him. If Regier had no intention of signing Kotalik for 3-mil, I can't imagine he plans on signing Moore for 2. But I bet we'd pick him back up if he'll take a one-year deal in the $1 million range, like Montador. Otherwise, he'll join Steve Bernier and Dainius Zubrus in the Hall of "Guys We Traded Former Cornerstones For Only To Let Them Walk Out The Door Too".
I almost feel like I liked it more when they let guys finish out the season as Sabres and then sent them packing...
MacArthur Accepts Salary Arbitration
According to a statement from the NHL Players Association, forward Clarke MacArthur has accepted salary arbitration with the Buffalo Sabres
. Typically a player must have four years of NHL experience to be eligible for arbitration, but since MacArthur signed his first contract after turning 20, that term is reduced.
MacArthur just finished his first full season with the Sabres, but with no numbers to gasp at. He finished the year with 17 goals & 14 assists in 71 games (Side note: he only missed three games the entire year, due to injury). Over at Die By The Blade
, this blogger has calculated
MacArthur's worth to be in the $1-2 million range based on other players with similar season stats.
Assuming blogging calculations aren't good enough for Tom Golisano to write a check out to, the Sabres & MacArthur will now have a hearing with a neutral third party to decide what salary he'll receive. Once the hearing makes it's decision, the team will have 48 hours to either accept the deal or release MacArthur as an unrestricted free agent. Our guess is Clarke will be back on the bench next season... but Lord only knows what sort of difference that will make.
Here at DGWUS, we like to bash the hell out of Mr. Regier and the rest of the Sabres front office. I'll be the first to say we have a "what have you done for me lately" mentality when dealing with them. But we do give props when they are deserved. And today, folks, I have to give a little hats-off to Darcy.
SI.com has a little write-up and slideshow of the top 25 free agent busts over the past several seasons. 20-percent of that list are players that Darcy let walk. Of course, he may have let them walk for numerous different reasons, and had no clue they would be busts, but then again, this makes him look like he actually knows what he's doing, and we have to accept that (especially that Brian Campbell contract which becomes more and more ridiculous every day). So please check it out, and pay close attention to #3, 7, 13, 20, and 26.
Now let us sit back and watch all the hot free agents get picked off the market.
[Editor's Note: This was the second of two posts by the Scizz that day on the Sabres' free agency moves, or lack thereof. To read the other post, click here.]
WGRZ is reporting that top blue-line scorer Jaroslav Spacek has signed with divisional rival Montreal Canadiens.
Darcy said he tried to keep him, but who the fuck knows. 3 years for 11.5 million is completely within reason, especially after the asinine contract he gave Tim Connolly. But I think it is a distinct possibility, that after watching the front office torpedo this team the past 2 seasons, that Spacek said "screw it" and decided to move on.
I also just realized Spacek is 35, so he is getting old. However, he never seemed to lose a step over the past season, and if anything appeared to be picking up the slack for the rest of the dweebs around him.
The worst part for The Scizz? I found out over the Spring that when Spacek is in town to play the Rangers, he goes to a Czech restaurant around the corner
from me and gets hammered with New York's Czech players. Then again, the last thing I need is another restraining order.