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.
The Commander, guest contributor
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.
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
AS IF YOU NEEDED ONE, AMIRITE??
I hate having to write this, but I'm a sucker for accuracy and specificity and setting the record straight when it's been sullied by knuckledragging journalists who couldn't care less about accuracy, professionalism or personal hygiene, and today was a perhaps overlooked adventure in misrepresentation in media and the willingness of fans to fall down a rabbit hole of obfuscation.
How's that for a fun potshotting intro? You're hooked! You're blissfully unaware I'm just a hack, basement-dwelling blogger!! Success!
The good (great) news is that this isn't a fan piece on booing. It's a fan piece on why the #WhiteVanBrigade has failed us, again.
Today... NEWSFLASH: RYAN MILLER AND RON ROLSTON CALL SABRES FANS ASSHOLES FOR BOOING; FANS RETORT BY CALLING THEM UNDERPERFORMING PUSSIES
It's probably more fun to just believe that our favorite players and our coach are talking directly to us after a game, giving unsolicited comments about the game we just watched. It's more fun to think of just those comments, and not the context of those comments when assessing a game story because, among many reasons, Paul Hamilton and Mike Harrington are both creepy and weird looking and who wants to think that they're part of the scenario. Hell, I can't be bothered to watch locker room interviews after a Sabres game anymore for fear of a walrus peeking out in the corner of the frame, voice recorder in hand, pastrami sandwich in pocket.
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!?
The Barrister and The Apologist
I don't even care that the title of this episode rips off 'Friends' - it's accurate. We're mean in this one. Well, really only with respect to certain creepy members of a certain local newspaper's sports staff.
Recorded during and after the Sabres' most recent game - a win?!?? - against the Maple Leaves of Toronto, we talk plenty about the Sabres, how sad we are about the lack of silver linings this season, and then whistfully predict the inevitable Cup run. Oh, and Joe from Buffalo Wins makes a cameo to talk about striking out with the smokeshow bartender at Gleason's, further adding to the list of things we'll make fun of him about when he returns to Twitter on Easter.
Musical additions by the way of Jefferson Airplane, Homeboy Sandman and Kasabian.
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The Grouch (guest contributor)
One of the most unique attributes of the American culture, or any culture, really, is the way in which that culture deals with its most basic problems. Think about death for a second, and the many ways in which different places in the world handle that issue. The predominant American method, on the other hand, is a stridently Anglo-fied rendition which includes a whole mess of things from grief, to fundamental Christian religion, to economics. There are, as it goes, surely better means available to us.
This is the usual derivative, trash of a piece on the failings of, *sigh*, us as a people, but so it goes. At the more finite levels, our failings rear their ugly head in all manner of pithy domestic issues. Put broadly, it is, essentially, this: we are not particularly good at sorting out the many messes that entail any problem, and certainly no good at handling foresight.
My favorite phrase for this is that we are hopelessly addicted to building fire stations after the fire.