Music from The Jambrones, LCD Soundsytem, Pearl Jam, and Electric Guest
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Back from the dead, The Scizz joins The Barrister for some delightful conversation wherein the pair take endless potshots at everyone, talk about the pitiful Buffalo hockey club, ponder Donald Trump and the meaning of life, and discuss the Wayans brothers. And other stuff probably.
Music from The Jambrones, LCD Soundsytem, Pearl Jam, and Electric Guest
Download here or here. RSS feed here. iTunes button below. Streaming player below. Protect ya neck.
Hey kids, it’s been a long time (unless you listen to the Podcast, and you probably should listen to the podcast). Everything about Buffalo sports sucks complete monkey dicks and when I think about it, I want to die. So sitting down and putting those thoughts into long form isn’t exactly something I look forward to doing. But let's give it a shot. As a bonus, there’s some mailbag-ish Twitter questions that I chose to answer below about cats and other neat stuff.
First off, before we get to the mailbag, I feel the need to throw some additional dirt on the corpse of Ralph Wilson. I’ll keep it brief because others have made the same point I’m about to more eloquently than I probably will, but it needs to be reiterated. Don’t ever forget while you’re sucking back Genny Cream Ales at the Ralph Wilson Memorial Tailgate Party that Ralph was a cheap old fuck who did absolutely nothing to secure the future of the Bills in Buffalo. When he died, my mind didn’t go straight to “Oh man, this sucks…we should celebrate everything that nice old man did for us!” and jump into the “My Favorite Bills Memory of the Time I saw Ralph at the Stadium and He Shook My Hand And It was Fucking Magical” circlejerk. My first thought was, “How soon do the Bills leave Buffalo?” It’s sad, I wish I could have been able to say goodbye to Ralph without sounding like a petulant little shitbag, but that’s his legacy to me. He left that door open and I ran right through the motherfucker. Not in a rude way, but not with the reverence that would have been deserved had that stubborn old codger actually given a fuck about us. Compared to The Outlander and The Barrister, I was downright polite.
Ok, lets take some Twitter questions, because hey I hate myself and so should you! There’s a definite Ted Nolan theme to all the questions that I was asked. I think I’ve made it pretty clear that I have a mild dislike for Captain Compete Level, but we need to dive deeper. I’m totally going to ignore the Buffalo Blue Collar Compete Level Work Hard bullshit, because I’ve made it abundantly clear in this space that I fucking loathe it. Steve Ott, Blue Collar, Ted Nolan, Work Hard - all of it can go die in John Ramsey’s wine cellar for all I care.
I picked this question because of the way it was asked, I think the two things go hand-in-hand. Part of the issue I have with Nolan is that he’s just flat out the wrong guy for the development of young kids. If you’re paying attention, you’ll notice that aside from noted superstars Matt D’Agostini, Mike Weber, and Jamie McBain, we have a lot of youngish kids and like 50 billion draft picks coming through here the next few years.
Now, I know that realistically not all of them will become NHL players, not to mention GREAT NHL players. But I think the odds of either just decreased with this Nolan extension. He’s never shown that he likes to play rookies in any meaningful way until this year with Zemgus Girgensons. s that a testament to how good Zemgus is? Or was it “hey, this guy is on my Olympic team, so I should probably keep him around me.”? It’s probably more of the former, but who the hell knows…the latter wouldn’t shock me one bit based on Nolan’s past or the fact that he plays D’Agostini 20 minutes a night because the guy coaches at his hockey school. Hopefully he’s on-board with developing these kids, and not giving John Scott their ice time because “THEY DIDN’T EARN IT,” but based on his magical Try Real Hard Fairy Dust crap, that is the only thing he understands or ever talks about.
He's a singularly focused creature that can't be bothered with the nuances of good hockey, keeping his dick out of the vaginas of other dude's wives, or waiting a reasonable amount of time between meals. So, yes, Ted Nolan is a zombie.
As far as Mikhail Grigorenko and Joel Armia?? I’m writing them off now. There’s no fucking way they amount to anything under Nolan. He’s not going to let them. So this move has already cost them 2 quality young players, both first round picks. How long will the final trail of Marek Zagarapan-ish dead be?
The other aspect of Ted Nolan, NHL Coach that’s been surfaced by many people is the fact that he readily admits to having no knowledge of X’s and O’s and that he’s not an X’s & O’s guy. Cool, that’s good news. I mean, it’s not like over the course of the next 3 years there will be – lets say 10 – guys who have never played NHL hockey coming to him for advice and knowledge that he doesn’t have. TRYING SUPER HARD AND STUFF is fantastic don’t get me wrong. I’m probably a shitty person to confirm that for you, because I do just enough to get by and it’s worked for 30+ years, I’m basically the Cody Hodgson of life. So if they don’t bring in assistants who have exceptional knowledge of NHL systems and what it takes to play in the NHL besides “try hard”, there could be some serious trouble ahead.
So when will the Sabres be good?? Before this extension I would have said 3 years to playoffs, 4 years to serious hockey team. Now?? At least 5 years to maybe hitting 8th place, and I’m basing that off of the fact that 2 first overall picks will have enough natural talent to overcome the bullshit they’re going to be subjected to the minute they pull on that sweater.
The other part of the Nolan thing I hate is that it’s not a hockey decision by any means. It’s bullshit pandering to all the fucking horrible assholes who (I hope) are a very vocal minority and drink the Berry Blue Collar Kool Aid that Nolan dispenses, like a modern day Jim Jones – wherein Cheektowaga is like Jonestown. One day I hope to come home and find a bunch of fat, dead Pollacks in PatrickKaleta jerseys laying on Union Road with blue lips. Whereas Ralph Wilson died and did some shitty things, at least he never let the fucking WGR Whiner Line influence his decisions as it relates to his team.
You know, Buffalo is a tremendous hockey town…people will go watch hockey, even if it’s real bad. If the Sabres had a marketing department that was worth a shit, you wouldn’t need to hire bad coaches because people like them to keep people coming to games. You seriously waited until last week to do “Fan Appreciation” events?? Fucking Christ, teams around the league do all sorts of cool shit to get people to go to games. Promotions for students, promotions for LGBT groups, bobblehead giveaways, trading card giveaways, t-shirt giveaways, Star Wars Night, Lord of the Rings night…whatever. The Sabres do so fucking little of this that I understand why that arena has become a silent, miserable place. It has a little to do with THEY BAD and a lot to do with “going to games isn’t fun”. You have a market that will eat the shit you put out for it, and you can’t even put out some ketchup or mustard to dull the taste a little for them. Give some incentive for people to not race to StubHub and get that $7 for a Florida Panthers game. Make losing a little bit more fun than it has to be, there’s always going to be people mad that you suck shit as a hockey team that you won’t be able to placate – but those people aren’t going anywhere – do fun shit to keep fringe people interested in whatever the fuck it is you’re doing over there.
Fuck, lets move onto some fun questions before I start hemorrhaging.
NOT HELPING!!! Yeah, as it turns out I have to leave California this summer and head back East to live on Long Island for a year. I’m not real thrilled about it, because I fucking LOVE California…but the fact that I can meet up with Dubs and the gang for beers and sports will help dull the pain of leaving paradise. After that, we will end up somewhere else…so don’t get too attached. I have no idea what to expect from Long Island, other than it apparently costs more to live there than where I do now and it’s full of Jews. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but fucking seriously, that's what everyone who hears I'm moving there makes sure to tell me. It's weird. Oh, and I heard they have a Bennigans.
As far as other teams go – the Penguins will always be my second team, and I’m partial to the Sharks as well.
Our cats are exceptionally lazy. Most cats are. One of them likes to curl up on my lap and sleep for hours on end. Which also shows how lazy I am, because I’m available to stop being a sentient being and instead just be a chair for hours on end. The only compete level in our cats revolves around food or occasionally staring at shit outside wishing they could go out there and get hit by cars.
Clawed. Which means we don’t have nice furniture and will never have nice furniture. Or children.
I never play anything without a cat napping on my lap helping me shoot brown people or robots. I even announce that I’m going to shoot people and usually one of them will hop up and join me.
I’m always down for some man shooting or hockey pucks on the video game systems, but I usually don’t play until you east coast shitbags are sleeping. I have both Xbox One and PS4 (and Xbox 360 too) – you can hit me up at essbeeay on Xbox Live or essbeeay on PSN. I might not always jump on the headset if I'm being sensitive about making a shitload of noise and risking my dick being removed by an angry Vet Student.
You can also follow me there on Twitter, @essbeeay which is how I usually sign off…so bye!!
FOR. FUCK'S. SAKE.
I don't subscribe to the Sabres email list - this email was sent to people who do, and the homie @Mechaphil tweeted it and has told me that he believes this is the first instance of any such emails while he's been signed up on this list for the last 6 or 7 years - but if I did, I would expect some degree of care and respect and, I don't know, not this fucking garbage. This email is (a) not hockey-related, (b) not Sabres-related, and (c) bullshit.
Hockey Heaven this is not, assholes.
This is a fundamentally asinine and abusive use of fan interest to increase revenue by a team that deserves far less fan interest than it currently gets. This is the Third Jersey of emails. This is the Big John shirsey of emails. This is the Terry Pegula of emails.
Monty Python would write sketches about stupid shit like this and we'd all laugh and it would be grand but instead THIS REALLY HAPPENED AND CHRIST YOU ARE AN AWFUL FRANCHISE.
When people ask me why DGWU Sports has basically become a soccer-and-soon-baseball website, at least until the Bills get going again, this is now going to the top of the list. This is inexplicable.
You're now worse than the Bills, in almost every way. Congratulations. You did it.
Mr. Pegula, you've purchased a local hockey team that ought to be held in public trust, with community ideals held as sacred, and fan faith and love and interest cherished above all else. Instead, not only do you not win, and not only do you show scarce signs that you have any fucking clue how to win, and not only do you miss the mark with team marketing more often than you hit it, but now this. It's so fucking easy to not be the corporate behemoth that treats its fan base as money trees to be slaughtered and left to waste, but I guess it's also equally easy to do exactly that.
We shouldn't be surprised. You've made your billions by raping the environment, and now decide to dig wells into your fan base, rip cracks into the foundation of a city's love for its team, and take whatever you can straight to the bank. We don't even really know how inept the organization is, but we see signs enough to make us fear the worst. We ignore those signs out of little else than fear that these past 10 years might actually be the glory years when we're looking at the first pick in the 2035 NHL Draft, the Presidents Trophy and Divisional banners looking just as lonely as they do now.
I fucking love the Buffalo Sabres. But, as surely as I do, I hate the people insistent on ruining it.
Fan goodwill is forfeit, you money-grubbing pieces of shit. If you wanted my attention, you've gotten it. Hell, maybe this will be a Sabres site again. I guess I was probably waiting for something like this.... maybe now I'll come here much more often to talk about how much I loathe you vile sacks of excrement parading as Buffalo's next generation of revitalization heroes.
Back with actual Buffalo sports talk in a Dear God Why Us? Sports podcast, The Barrister, The Outlander and The Commander form a critical mass of the Deeg and break down what happened with the Sabres over the last few days. Good God, it was messy and beautiful and let's do it again soon.
Musical interludes by way of The Jambrones, The Mooney Suzuki, Talib Kweli, Architecture in Helsinki and Basement Jaxx. Throw your hands up.
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In the midst of what is, if not rock bottom for the Buffalo Sabres, at least the lowest any of us have experienced up until this point (have to always consider the possibility for things to deteriorate further), I can say from my observations that no one seems to be handling it particularly well. That is not to say that everyone is handling it in the same way, just that no one seems to be handling it well. Maybe a good way to handle a situation like the one the Sabres find themselves in doesn’t exist, at least not for the fans who follow the team closest and have done so for years. Everyone is pissed off at someone, or some group, whether that be ownership, management, or the media for using the vulnerability, confusion and disappointment of the team’s fans to push what in the end is nothing but rumors, conjecture, and scapegoats in an effort to prey on their attachment to the team for page views and newspaper purchases. The fire sale was always coming, yet its arrival has brought fewer calm and reasonable voices than it has frenzied debates that have no winners.
In the end it’s sadly appropriate that this is how Ryan Miller departs, an afterthought, overshadowed by larger front office and ownership disarray, being merely the first domino in the final gutting of a team that has been rotting from the inside for years. He couldn’t even have the transaction to himself, had to share the podium with a guy that had spent barely enough games here to constitute a full season, couldn’t have the final home game before the deadline to himself, getting yanked from the lineup with most fans in traffic on the way to the FNC or downing their pregame wings and beer at Cobblestone. Aside from the RT’s of the St. Louis Blues twitter- which aren’t in any way as interesting or applicable as some think- the discussion has already shifted to who’s next, what’s next for a team that seems at once to be rudderless and piloted by capable hands. Discussion about what Miller looks like in a Blues jersey, or says about his new home, or produces for his new team is only relevant in what conditional draft pick the Sabres end up receiving in return. I’ve never understood the purpose of keeping a dossier on a player’s actions following his departure to a new place, I think it’s far better to look back at the time he was here, the times we got to watch him and remember how lucky we all were for that.
I could wait on this, but I won't. Better writers than I with less acute emotional nonsense will tackle this, perhaps even here, and they'll do so with appropriate timing, eulogizing the player's departure when it becomes reality as opposed to jumping the gun with a preemptive shot of woe.
Yes, I'm woeful at the idea of losing this player. When it happens, I'll probably (definitely) cry. I'll put on my circa 2010 Miller jersey and silently laud the memories he gave us while cursing the franchise that wasted his immense talent; a franchise that chose eyes-slammed-shut-there-will-be-better-days hope followed by incredible mediocrity followed by riding Vezina coattails followed by, we're told, suffering. Though it was all suffering, after all... watching a team achieve so very little while being led by one of the absolute best in the game.
Maybe watching Miller play with a better team will confirm what we've always known but what has been clouded by a squad so verifiably shit: that the dude has massive, bona fide chops. That all the talk of Henrik or Marty or Roberto or Quick was fine and all, but this player we had at our disposal was legit. Maybe watching him these next couple weeks will give us that confirmation. Fitting, then, that our goodbye starts in earnest while the rest of this nation of hockey fans can cheer with us. We're going to have to get used to other people cheering for him, and at least we get to give it one more shot.
I gave so few shits when Pominville left, perhaps a few more, but barely, when Vanek left. I was sad about Briere and Drury, but I was also incredibly stupid and thought that the team's magic remained fit to be sowed. So, then, now? Left anticipating the likely departure of a player who stood taller for me than each of those guys is a feeling of hardened love for a team that is little else than a complete fucking waste, making it so very difficult to resign myself to watching Miller skate for another club and another fan base.
We're fans, nothing more. Our money doesn't buy us anything except an open door and a seat, even if we wish to think we must be given more. We deserved no better than we got these last eight years.
But Ryan Miller definitely did.
And maybe that's all that's left when a player so good and so utterly hung out to dry is on the verge of leaving your club ... a community of shared disappointment and regret, desperately wishing that Miller might stay and, more importantly, that the Sabres would finally make it worth his while.
Hey there kids!! The Commander here. Hopefully everyone had a nice holiday and Santa brought you all sorts of cool shit. After the bombs that Dubs dropped the other day, it appears that we’re all well-rested and ready to get back to work here.
We’ve had some interesting times in Sabresland lately. There’s a new GM, Craig Patrick is here, there’s even new players like that Italian guy with the apostrophe in his name, YouTube guy, and rabbit guy!! I totally understand if you’re not excited about all this, but stay with me here. We’re still dug in for the long haul as far as losing goes as none of those guys address any gaping holes in the lineup.
And yet, I’m perfectly ok with this shitty, dark time in Sabres history for one reason:
I have had more fun this year making jokes and cracking on that festering pile of shit than I’ve had with any Sabres team since the Briere/Drury days. They’ve almost become lovable to me because the material just flows and flows. You know how many Grigorenko jokes I have in my stockpile? Trust me, it is a truly staggering amount and I’ll keep using them when he’s in the KHL playing for CSKA Moscow 3 years from now.
You need HOT JOHN SCOTT TAKES?? I’ve got those too, they’re layups. Ted Nolan scratching rookies or doing stupid Ted Nolan shit?? Yep, I’ve got enough of those that 2 years from now they’re going to have to sell the excess on Woot.
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.