Hi there, welcome to The DEEG. I’m “The Commander”, which is totally a play on Cobra Commander. Confession: I’m a giant GI Joe dork, I have an entire room full of action figures and shit. I’m a grown ass man and everything. I even have a job, and a girlfriend, and a shitload of cats and dogs. If you don’t know me, that’s ok I haven’t written anything long form in forever. Basically, I’m a Twitter smartass and the people who run this place love that sort of thing so they gave me a chance to be funny and entertaining in more than 140 characters.
First a little background so that you guys get where I’m coming from when it comes to my relationship with Buffalo sports. I was actually born in Cleveland and moved to Buffalo when I was about 9 years old. Being too young to really care about the Cleveland teams, I latched onto the Bills and Sabres and grew up following them. The first Bills game I attended in person was The Comeback, so really It’s been all downhill from there. About 2 years ago I moved to California and jinxed the only pro team in my immediate area into moving to Seattle. You’re welcome Sacramento! Despite having a “9 to 5” I’ve been able to watch like 95% of every Sabres game this year…thanks to mobile devices and working from home occasionally. So now that you have an idea of the lengths I go to be disappointed in my sports teams, I feel that I can openly bitch and complain about them for you. The only difference between you and I is that at least when the Bills and Sabres suck unequivocal amounts of ass in November or December, I don’t have to shovel snow.
This is a terrible time to jump aboard the DEEG, Bills season is long over and another shitty Sabres season is behind us. But I wanted to take this time and reflect on the 5 things that I hated the most about the past Sabres season.
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!?
In one of our shortest CrapTastiCasts ever, we struggle for subject matter after the Sabres' first loss of the season. While you can't really say we succeeded, we showed up at least so that's something. During the more lucid moments of this particular installment from the Buffalo expat insane asylum, we talk a little about the Sabres, a little about Manti Te'o, a little about baseball, and a little about man tears. The Scizz was off his rocker for most of the evening so don't expect much by way of focus... which, incidentally you should never really expect from us anyway.
Musical content by way of Deeg house band The Jambrones, Jane's Addiction, Radical Face and Aerosmith.
Stream below, subscribe with our handy itunes button or download here or here.
When there's something strange....in the neighborhood.....
Guess who's back? Back Again. Guess who's back? TELL A FRIEND!
Due to popular demand and my own sheer boredom, welcome to the third installment of Buffalo Sabres: Where Are They Now?
If you are new to DGWU Sports in the last year, this all started as a dumb hashtag on twitter when I was bored at home on a Sunday night. Well, it's Tuesday morning, work is slow, and I compiled a nice little list with the help of some friends on the tweet machine. Enjoy yourself and start thinking up ideas to tweet me for "2012 - Part 2." Oh yeah, and you can read the last year's two installments here and here.
Ville Leino: Somewhere in Finland, diving into a pile of cash like Scrooge McDuck, except missing five feet wide and yet still laughing maniacally. (assist from @JG_1611)
Tim Kennedy: Filling out an application to be groundskeeper at Patrick Kane's new house in Hamburg. - from @Boner_Shorts
Dominic Hasek: Working out for his big comeback. This involves vodka, pilates, vodka, 117 cortisone injections, and vodka.
Pat Lafontaine: Staring at a picture of himself staring at a picture of himself staring at himself in a mirror. - from the Barrister
Jason Botterill: Laughing at Sabres fans on twitter who thought a Roy for J. Staal trade would actually ever happen.
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.
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....
First, the negatives:
We need WAY more of this.
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.
Those of us at DGWU Sports have been ridiculously busy lately, hence not a whole lot of content. The Yachtsman has been juggling his time between organizing some potentially awesome possibilities at his real job and his obsession for Jeremy Lin and the New York Knickerbockers, all the while hedging his bets on a Sabres comeback and blowing them off almost entirely. The Barrister has spent this week preparing for, and taking the Massachuesetts Bar exam, with intermittent periods of heavy drinking and tweeting while intoxicated. His passion for the Sabres is a continuing fluctuation. The Apologist has promised us a post about Dracy's trade deadline moves all week, but last I heard he was kidnapped by a Columbian named Caesar, who is none too thrilled with Aps moving in on his territory, selling knock off Linsanity t-shirts in Stuyvesant Town. Me? Work has been brutal and I'll be tied up all weekend with my engagement party, but I felt the need to make a few quick comments about the Buffalo Sabres as of late. So you know what that means....IT'S MAIL IT IN TIME!!!!
This week's episode was recorded from the Scizz's apartment in Hoboken, and is a mishmash of sports talk that, honestly, is way below our normal quota of offensive jokes. But you know what? Even the Deeg can get serious once in awhile.
Now don't get it twisted, there are still PLENTY of the inappropriate, spit-take inducing moments you have come to know and love, but they are put on the back-burner to some actual *shutters* sports-related discussions. What you get are three very different segments from all members of the Deeg.
Segment one includes a lightning round of talk, including Jason Pominville's captaincy, re-signing Stevie Johnson, and a hilarious moment when the Yachstman gets the Barrister's hopes up, only to rip the soul from his body.
Segment two is almost all NBA talk, which we realize is usually saved for the Apostles of Bob, but after watching the Heat take apart our beloved Knicks, Yachter and Aps have a heated discussion about Lebron's talent and Legacy.
Segment three brings you Sabres talk about the state of the franchise, being a small market/deep pocket team, and trade deadline chatter that will only make us look stupid after Darcy's surprising moves today. Finally, what do John Williams, Mos Def, and Amy Grant have in common with this podcast? You guessed it, the weirdest musical interludes yet. Get the podcast through this Libsyn link, or through iTunes or streaming option below. This episode has been Cody Hodgson approved! (Barrister's Legal Disclaimer: It has not.)
It seems all too fitting that, as I ride down the Northeast Corridor on this most bizarre and offensive of American holidays, that I get the privilege of recapping the Sabres' Euro invasion. While good ol' Chris Columbus led the charge to the Americas back in 1492, our boys in Blue and Gold did the reverse trip last week (plus a few hundred miles...), playing a preseason friendly in Manheim, and then opening the season in Helsinki and Berlin this past weekend. And while the flood of conquistadors to the "New World" brought a wave of physical, economic, virulent and cultural change to the peoples who resided west of the Atlantic Ocean, the Sabres' trip to Europe may just have signaled a changing tide in North American professional ice hockey, as the Sabres opened the season with remarkable force.
Europe, socialist tendencies and all, was fucking good to us.
Honorable mention, of course, to the Ducks and Kings, who valiantly played the roles of "unsuspecting natives graciously accepting our disease blankets and false promises." Every success story needs a loser to play their part, and boy did these guys pull through. Do not attempt to refute that gross generalization. I am too powerful. Unlike the antibody-free immune systems of certain exploited populations.
Know what's more racist than posting this picture? CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS.
If you've been keeping tabs on the Sabres this summer, you're all too aware of the lingering questions surrounding this team as we all looked forward to the 2011-12 season. Yet, here we are, after a summer of Pegulamania - both reasonable and asinine - a rash of high-profile and top-dollar signings, a Prospects Tournament championship and a successful preseason which saw the team dominant at times. Here we are with real, meaningful hockey to talk about, and damn it feels good to see that, at least for the moment, the pent up, quintessentially Buffalo mix of optimism, skepticism and outright fear can find a little release.
I won't dare overstate what these games mean for the season (false promises! continuing the theme!). After being scolded repeatedly by the Yachtsman for the apparent hubris I've exhibited in my commentary on the DGWU Fantasy Football season (more on that to come later this week), I know I need to tread the line between vicious optimist and fearful realist. I may not be all that superstitious when it comes to my teams, and particularly my effect on the likelihood of my teams' success, but I do have to sit through a USMNT match with Yachter tomorrow night in the Dirty Jerz... so I figure my self-restraint is more about self-preservation than anything else.
That disclaimer aside, the Sabres' trip to Europe, starting with Tuesday's 8-2 victory against German club team Adler Mannheim and continuing with the real deal games on Friday and Saturday, was VERY satisfying. Fans heard a lot of shit from the hockey media world about the risks associated with those big money signings this summer. Last week's games proved that our fan base need not be too concerned - for now - about whether the offseason moves will produce on-ice results. Coupled with the hot starts from the "sometimes unsatisfying, but we've been stuck with them for years, bread-and-butter" of the Sabres team, the revamped Buffalo roster signaled to the rest of the league that they're ready to get this fucking Cup run started.
That's right. FUCKING CUP RUN. I told you I'm not superstitious. If it's good enough for Terry and Teddy, it's good enough for me.
You can say "Cup," Barrister. You're a brilliant and handsome man, after all. And Yachter's a fucking narby. We know this. ~ Ted Black
The action started on Friday with a 1pm EST start against Anaheim. Four minutes in, Thomas Vanek got the TV Party started with a power play goal. Let me say that again... Vanek - who many expected would get the "C," and who many (not I...) question as one of the streakier and emotionally unstable players on this team - started the season scoring with a power play goal - often considered to be one of the streakiest and unstable aspects of the Sabres' game. Right off the bat, this was a different Sabres team than I have seen in years. Four minutes later, the newly acquired Ville Leino followed suit and gave Sabres fan yet another moment of sweet, sweet relief.
So, eight and a half minutes into the season, the Sabres were up by a pair, and suddenly some of the bigger questions about this season had some early returns. For now.
The rest of the game was more of the same - at least insofar as "more of the same" means "totally different than everything we've come to expect as we've lived and died with this team since the lockout." The Ducks cut the lead to one in the fifth minute of the second, only to have Captain Pommers extend it a minute and fifteen second later with a screened wrister from the right dot. Vanek's powerplay goal six minutes later was icing on the cake, and there the score remained for the remainder of the affair as the Sabres blueline locked it down. Word was that the Sabres failed to record a single shot on goal during the third period, but when you have a defensive corps like they do - HOW CAN THIS BE TRUE?? - I guess these kinds of things are possible. Craziness.
As for the Saturday game against the Kings, I won't pretend to have a lot to say. I was knee deep in cool, cool beers at a wedding in New Hampshire and only caught the highlights yesterday morning as I was recovering from my hangover with the help of some gin & juice... true story. I'd make a "Hair of the Snoop Dogg" joke right now if there was a way to do so without feeling like a gigantic wiener. As if that were avoidable.
From what I've read as I've bandied about the interwebs, Luke Adam had a hell of a game on Saturday. Having already tallied two helpers during Friday's game, Adam notched two goals and First Star honors on Saturday. Apparently the kid likes being with the big club and doesn't really intend on getting sent to Rochester this season (which may not even be possible with his contract and/or age? Maybe he needs to play in the juniors still? What the eff do I know? I'd check this, but DGWU standard of laziness prohibit it).
Don't look that shit up. Just effin' chill....
Also of note is that while Saturday's contest did not see the Sabres rush out to a hot start like they did against the Ducks, they did open the scoring with a flourish of goals that saw them go up 3-0. After Adam scored his two in the third and fifth minutes of the second period, Paul Gaustad extended the lead to three in the 14th minute. These are things that make hockey look all-too-easy and make me well up with pride and excitement for the next 96+ games.
That said, they're also the sorts of things that remind me of the 2006-07 season. Which, in turn, makes me want to weep openly and/or strangle a hobo under the Brooklyn Bridge. So, there are certainly things to consider.
Two games down and many, many to go. With another four days to wait before the next game as the team recuperates from their travels, it makes a lot of sense for me to end this post with tempered enthusiasm, but eff that noise. These guys just opened their season with two wins by a combined score of 8-3, and did so with contributions from guys that, as we're so often told, need to be contributing on a consistent basis. Thomas Vanek - 2 goals, 3 assists. Jason Pominville - 1 goal, 3 assists. Paul Gaustad, Drew Stafford, Ville Leino - each with a goal. Roy and Ehrhoff - each with assists. No one with a +/- worse than -1 over the weekend. These are all things to build upon, and will hopefully be a sign of good things to come over the next several months.
Which isn't to say that there aren't things about which we can have some concern. The team found itself in the penalty box way more often than I'd like - a combined 20 minutes over the weekend, constituting 1/6 of the gameplay (MATHS!!). For a team historically (read: for the past four to six years) lacking in discipline, I'd love it if they could keep those numbers down. But those kinds of criticisms - in addition to my lingering concerns about whether Derek Roy is going to be a factor as our top center and whether Tyler Myers is The Truth - are best saved for another day. Probably one when we get smoked by a half dozen shorthanded goals by the New York Islanders.
For now, though, all is roses in Sabreland, and I couldn't be happier.
Cue the disproportionately happy music to take us out... superstition be damned.
If you are unsure of who this guy is, then I am a much bigger nerd than you are. Sigh.
Welcome to the continuation of my Summer movie preview. Of course if you read the May and June posts, you know that with each look at a summer blockbuster, I tie it together with a Sabres player/personality. I have enjoyed myself thus far and I hope you have too. After going to see Thor, I truly was picturing Tyler Myers throwing a giant hammer at Chara’s face, and after seeing Bridesmaids I realized that I was totally in the right. That the movie is totally not what I originally expected. Try watching any scene with Melissa McCarthy without laughing hysterically, and if you don't, then you are inhuman or a douche-bag hipster....same difference. I should also mention the DGWU crew had their own version of the Hangover during our last CrapTastiCast. Yikes. I dare you to piece together the night before after listening to that atrocity. Without further ado, here is your July Summer movie preview: Sabres Edition.
Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon - July 1st(update: this movie has now been pushed up to June 29th for maximum coinage)
This is a long, weird reference. And no, Pommers does not remind me of Optimus Prime, nor does he have a powerful voice like the great Peter Cullen. What he does have is the ability to spark my interest and aduration, and then leave me disappointed and unsure of my true feelings. I’m aware that sounds pretty odd, but my relationship/fandom towards #29 has been a clusterfuck, much like Michael Bay’s series of Transformers films. Back in 2007, I thought Pominville was one of the most skillful players on the Sabres Roster. He finished the season with 68 points, splitting even in goals and assists (34 & 34 if you can’t do math….dummy). He quickly became one of my favorite players after his 80 point season the following year, but many of my friends (and future DGWU colleagues) disagreed with me. They thought he was over-rated and they could not understand my love for him. I went as far as to purchase his slug-head jersey a few months into the 2007 season. Similarily in 2007, the film Transformers was released and despite it’s over the top action, terrible acting, and lack of real storyline, I loved it. I know most people think that it’s crap, but I thought it was highly entertaining crap and to this day I will defend it to the bitter end. I’m not saying it’s the Godfather, but it does the job.
I tell you both of these stories because within the next couple of years, Jason Pominville started playing softer than a pomeranian puppy and completely forgot how to put the puck in the net. He always seemed out of position and was now disappointing me ALL THE TIME. Within this same time frame, the sequel to Transformers was released and that fucking disaster made the original impossible to defend. Both would immediately get lumped together and my argument that the first film was not all that bad would fall on deaf ears as someone brought up two highly racist robots that would make Mel Gibson feel uncomfortable. Same with Pommers (except the racism part as far as I know). It has become increasingly difficult to defend his first few seasons because the last few have been full of under-achieving moments. I take shit from people everytime I don the jersey. But now, as we approach the next season, my hopes for both Pominville and the newest Transformers film are high. #29 has solidified himself as possibly our top penalty killer, which became painfully obvious after he was knocked out of game five against the Flyers. He was also digging for pucks, crashing the boards, and skating harder than I had seen in a long time. And with Transformers: Dark of the Moon, early reviews are saying that Bay has made the best film in the series. I recently read that the final battle scene in Chicago is one for the ages. Here is hoping both save their potential legacy in sports and pop-culture, respectively.
Horrible Bosses - July 8th
Who else but Quinny? Can you think of a more horrible boss? Why was he allowed to be a “boss” for so long anyways? Why does he always have that smug look on his face? AND WHY THE FUCK WAS THAT STUPID PICTURE EVER TAKEN? Damnit, I hate him. I know he is long gone but that taste of spoiled milk and bile still lingers. Anyways, this movie looks pretty funny and has three of my favorite comedic actors trying to hatch a plan to murder their awful bosses. If only Adam Mair and Andrew Peters could have got on that a few years ago. Wait….can someone please put that photoshop together??? There may be a cool bumper sticker in it for you!!!
Winnie the Pooh - July 15th
Sorry but I could not resist. This was too easy to pick out when I started planning these posts. Winnie the Pooh is a soft, cuddly bear who is always getting into silly hijinks. He also has an obsession with honey that gets him into trouble; like getting stuck in a tree. Tim Connolly is a soft forward who is always getting injured. He also has obsession with booze and tail on Chippewa street that has got him into trouble; like getting punched in the face by his teammate, Derek Roy. See how much fun this is? But seriously, why is there a Winnie the Pooh movie in the middle of the summer? Shouldn’t this come out in February, where movies go to die? Or maybe around the holidays when parents take their kids to see this junk! This movie being released in the middle of the summer film season is as inexplicable as the Sabres resigning Tim Con….OHDEARGODNO!
Captain America: The First Avenger - July 22nd
This was the gem that my entire series was based on. We already know who Captain America is, and it’s not that chump who played Human Torch in those shitty Fantastic Four movies. Ryan Miller is the savior of our nation, and the fact that we was not even considered for the lead role in this film is a travesty. I mean c’mon people, this guy uses a shield to block projectiles??? Millsie only needs a stick and a glove! THAT is bad ass. He would be smokin’ Nazis left and right amidst cheers of USA! USA! USA! from anyone in earshot. The only negative is a lot of those guys look like Jochen Hecht, but hopefully he won’t take it too personal.
All joking aside, this movie actually looks pretty kick-ass. Chris Evans isn’t all that bad, and I really liked his turn in Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World. Hugo Weaving of my nerd trifecta; Matrix, Lord of the Rings, and V for Vendetta plays the Marvel super villain Red Skull with what looks to be all make-up and no shitty CGI. Finally, the fact that this is a WWII period piece that is the final lead in to the 2012 Avengers movie makes it pretty intriguing. BUT….how awesome would it be to see Ryan Miller in that outfit, only carrying his stick and glove instead of the shield? Hmmm. Halloween idea!
Tune in next week for the August round of the Scizz’s summer movie preview: Sabres edition, in which I look at damn dirty apes, old goalies, powerful Austrians, and your typical Paul Rudd summer comedy. Thanks for reading, and remember….Leonard Maltin is a dick.
You can follow me on twitter @TheScizz and @DGWUSports