Toronto has once again proven that they're bat-shit crazy. Signing Connolly to a contract with $4.75 million hit only makes sense when you consider how completely garbage that team was last year. Yet, here I am, a couple days out, and I'm still seeing asinine defenders of the contract, of Connolly himself. Maybe its just that those of us happy to see him gone are calmed by the knowledge that we won't have to live in a constant sense of worry that he'll shatter into a million pieces when he takes a body check into the boards. Or maybe we're also happy to know that Buffalo's per capita interest in water sports has just decreased significantly, and that's never a bad thing. Either way, the anti-TC crowd has been largely quiet over the past few days, and we're left with some apologists who want to rewrite Timmy's history with the Sabres.
Now, before I go off on my journey of debunking a particularly absurd thread of this thinking,it bears mentioning that I like Connolly. During Episode #8 of the CrapTastiCast, while talking about Stafford's signing, I made it clear that I would have been happy with resigning him for the right price. I estimated my threshold at around $2 million/yr, reasoning - like many fans - that such a salary was commiserate with TC's actual value to the team. More than that, though, I wanted Connolly to come back and succeed as a Sabre. I'm not that complicated of a man, and when a player dons the Blue and Gold, I want nothing more than to see that player set the league on fire. Such was my hope for TC, always, and no one was more aware of those flashes of brilliance that we saw from time to time. I saw those moments and knew this was a dude who was trying, who cared about winning and winning with the Sabres. And, for all the talk about fans being unfairly harsh to the guy - and the speculation about the emotional toll that it may have taken on him and his play - I'm sad that TC never learned the reality that Sabres fans were just as eager to see him succeed, to cheer him on with full voice, to forgive him for the past failures as he rediscovered his ability to produce, to score.
One of the things mentioned about Connolly, and the reason for this post in the first place, is that he has always been a producer, a creator, even if not a scorer. And, the statistics bear this out of late - in 2009-10, especially, TC was on an absurd pace, and really ramped up his assist total during the Sabres' Northeast Division campaign. This year, while that production dropped a tick, it was still decent, not to mention his utility as a PK and PP guy. I get it, and its those considerations that made me think him worth a look at $2 million. But, the dealbreaker for many fans, myself included, will remain the the counterpoint - that he was goal-less in 29 playoff games - and that there is simply no justification for that kind of play when you're making as much as TC was with the club. As Yachter and I discussed last night after craft beers in the heart of Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, Connolly had the misfortune of being one of the guys who we kept instead of #48 and #23. Expectations were high, as was his price tag, and he simply has not delivered.
Surprisingly, in response to this central, unassailable point about Connolly's playoff production, I recently saw the most ridiculous claim coming out of one of the Sabres' blogs twitter feeds the other day: That we who refer to "no goals in 29 playoff games" stat should basically shut it, because TC was still productive over that time, with 12 assists and a +2.
Worst idea since this asshole started leaping over babies.
I'm not even going to bother attributing this argument about TC's assist and +/- totals since (a) my plan is to demolish this thought so thoroughly that I could really care less about demolishing the person that wrote it, and (b) I think its all-too-likely that a lot of fans would make, or have made, this same argument, so really, this post is meant to put you all in your place as well.
I could spend a few paragraphs of rage on the stupidity of thinking that 12 assists over 29 games is actually an argument for Connolly. I mean, that's just stupid. Stupid, stupid, stupid. But, too easy. I could also mention how the +/- statistic is both overrated and that it, as applied to this situation, drastically distorts the reality of Connolly's play., as it was simply padded 2007 playoff run, when he was a +6. He was -2 in both 2010 and 2011. [As for run in 2007, his +/- breaks down as follows, for anyone who cares: +2 against the Isles (no games in minus); +3 against Rangers (no games in minus), +1 against Ottawa (Game 1, -2; Game 2, +1; Game 3, even; game 4, +2; Game 5, even)]
But, these are obviously points lost on some in the remote corners of Sabreland, since we still get the argument that there is value and creativity evident within Connolly's meager playoff stats. So, instead of just concluding that his less than a 1/2 point per game over this span is reason enough to throw his scraps to the dogs just up the QEW, we'll just assume for a second that such assist production, when one isn't scoring any goals one's self, is at all justifiable. Fine. You want to actually argue that those 12 assists tell us something about the great player TC is, or that he's worth the cap hit to the Leaves?
Sabres vs. NYI, 2007 ECQF, Game 1
Here's the first of his moments of "creation" that we're all supposed to be impressed by. Cue it to 0:40. TC leads the odd man rush, passes back to trailing Campbell. Pedestrian pass. Solid goal.
Sabres @ NYI, 2007 ECQF, Game 3
Cue it to 2:20. Sabres on the 2-man advantage. TC feeds to Briere down low, and Danny creates that goal by swatting the puck out of mid-air. This is why fans were sad when Briere left, and why anyone with a brain knows that Danny is worth big money and TC just isn't. I won't pretend this wasn't a good pass - TC threaded the needle to a certain extent, fine. But, the fact that it was during a 5-on-3 sort of reaffirms what I always feel about Connolly - that he can be a beautiful, creative player, but only when he has a ton of space and time. Put him under pressure, maybe with a few booing Sabres fans in he mix, and he falls flat.
Incidentally, you know who else scored this game? ADAM MAIR. The first goal, if you care to check. Adam Mair produces more than TC in the playoffs. Print it.
Sabres v. NYI, 2007 ECQF, Game 5
Watch from the start, it's the first goal. TC cycles the puck with a feed to Stafford who is dropping down low. Stafford comes back up high, bodies his way to middle, scores a sick backhander. God I love Stafford. He's a good hockey player. Someone should sign that guy or something.
(Also, while we're here, watch the 4th goal, too. ATLAS!!!)
Sabres v. NYR, 2007 ECSF, Game 2
Cue to 0:40. Sabres on the PP, and Connolly makes a simple pass to Campbell who walks in and buries it from the slot. Again, pedestrian. I am sensing a trend here.
Sabres @ NYR, 2007 ECSF, Game 3
Cue to 2:45. Sabres on the PP again. TC makes easy, rather uncontested pass to Briere, who scores a beauty from about 15 ft out. Man, Danny is good at hockey. Too bad he broke his ankle during an offseason erotic asphyxiation incident. #UntrueBriereFacts
Sabres @ NYR, 2007 ECSF, Game 4
Cue to 2:24. Nice feed from below the line to Ales Kotalik out front. First assist, other than the one enabled by the two man advantage, that one can claim was anything but ordinary. Those passes from below the line are always a little tricky, espcially if you want any hope for the shooter to bury the shot quickly. Good job, Tim.
By way of full recognition, I will also say that this was a GREAT game from Tim. The highlights are full of even better moments from him, including a sick toe drag to his backhand shot as he dances through the defense. One ofthose moments of potential that don't mean shit when he hasn't put that potential to any real use in the years since.
Sabres v. NYR, 2007 ECSF, Game 5
Cue to 3:04. Oh man, this was a great fucking goal. TC takes desperation shot that is saved, rebound comes to Drury who ties the game in by far my favorite moment of the playoffs that year. Well, either that or Maxim's GWG just seconds later in the highlight reel. See? Max scored, too. The much maligned Russian, also with better playoff production than TC. Yikes.
Sabres v. OTT, 2007 ECF, Game 2
Cue to 2:33. Another desperation shot from TC, blocked, drops to Briere who buries it to tie the game. This would have been my favorite moment of playoffs if we'd actually won. Jesus H. Christ I hate Ottawa. Right about now, I'm rethinking this trip down memory lane.
Soldiering on, as I must...
And, again noting who else scored that game - Jochen Hecht. #55, who now has a $3.5 million cap hit, had 4 goals in 2007 playoffs. Injury-plagued since then, at least during the postseason runs of late, he's only played one playoff game since then, registering one assist.
Sabres @ OTT, 2007 ECF, Game 4
Cue to 1:27. Decent feed to Drury, who scores a sick tough-angle shot to the goalie's far side. Drury made this happen. Well, Drury and the shit stain of a goalie that is Mr. Raymond "Mama Said Knock You Out" Emery.
Does anyone else miss playing against Ray Emery regularly? Yeah, me too.
Sabres @ BOS, 2010 ECQF, Game 4
Cue to 5:16. Mike Grier works hard on forecheck, causing puck to squirt around boards to Timmy, who's on the side board. TC makes routine back pass, under pressure of the back check, granted. Montador buries a slapper from the right point, benefiting from a deflection off of Wideman.
Sabres @ PHI, 2011 ECQF, Game 2
Cue to 0:52. Connoly fakes a slapper and passes to Vanek down low. Vanek basically jams the puck through Bobrovsky to earn the goal. Credit to TC for the feed, though it didn't create the opportunity. Really, there was no genuine opportunity on this play. Bob just pooped the bed and and got out-worked by Atlas.
Sabres v. PHI, 2011 ECQF, Game 3
Cue to 1:33. Timmy fires a wristshot from the point that results in an absurdly fat rebound. Gerbe picks it up about 15 ft out, buries it home with a quick wrister of his own. Yet another moment of curious Flyer goaltending in this series. But, seriously, I don't doubt that there's skill needed to execute a hard, low shot that leads to a juicy, buriable rebound. You know what takes more skill, though? Actually beating the goalie yourself, and not relying on the goalie's ineptitude and quasi-flukey physics to give your teammate a chance to put one in.
Sadly, I feel like this advice might actually come as news to some folks, TC included
Again, the fundamental point is that Connolly was a joke in the playoffs for someone now getting almost $5 million a year. It's been said that it won't matter, since the Leaves won't make the playoffs, and it's also been said that TC on a line with Kessel may be just what the doctor ordered. Maybe.
But you can't get on Twitter and tell the world that Timmy was actually producing in the playoffs just because he was getting a few assists, and expect people to think you're anything but a mindless, apologist twat. And this is coming from the guy on the blog with a guy named The Apologist. Seriously, Aps is NEVER that stupid, trust me.
Of those 12 assists, I count eight that I would classify as completely ordinary. Of the four that I find at all impressive, one was only an assist because TV is a stud (Game 2 v PHI), one needed Drury to be a magician and Emeery to blow (Game 3 v OTT), and one was on the 2-man advantage with an inordinate amount of space (Game 3 v NYI). That leaves ONE ASSIST. One out of twelve, and already absurdly low number, where I can legitimately say that Connolly created the opportunity that led to the goal. Maybe my standards are too high, but I've watched enough hockey to know when an assist is either (a) the result of the goal scorer being a pimp, or (b) the result of nothing more than luck. Connolly benefited from both of these factors on 11 of his 12 playoff assists since 2007, and to state otherwise is both asinine and ignorant.
So, if you want to bemoan the fact that we lost TC, or you want to credit Toronto for the signing, fine by me. I disagree, but I also get that he is a good player who might do well with a change of pace But don't get on twitter and tell me, by implication, that my reference to Connolly's playoff lack of production is somehow misguided. It makes you look like a contrarian boob who is picking a fight just to pick a fight.
NOTE: Video below changed as per suggestion of @ScottyMCSS, hereby anointed as most excellent dude, and savior of this post. I may like Monty Python, but this is FAR better. I give you,. Philip Seymour Hoffman, playing the part of Connolly Apologist.
This post was inspired by twitter. And thanks to Aps for this lovely image.
Thursday night, amidst the crazy happenings of the NHL, yours truly was becoming extremely bored staring at my twitter feed while awaiting the news that Robyn Regehr may be headed to Buffalo. So in true DGWU fashion, I dropped a Bob Corkum joke. With no news on the NTC being reported I exchanged a couple of more twitter jokes with fellow blogger, Scott Michalak of BuffaloSabresNation about the current whereabouts of Mr. Corkum.
Several other Buffalo bloggers that I respect jumped in on the action and what ensued was a litany of hashtags representing a "Where Are They Now?" of former and current Buffalo Sabres personalities. Scotty said I should turn it into a post and I jumped at the opportunity.
I realize we have many readers who don't go on "the twitter", so I have compiled a list for those of you who missed it. If you have been wondering what some players may be up to in their post-hockey careers, or even off-season shenanigans then look no further. I also took the liberty of adding a few more for fuck's sake. Where Are They Now?
I'm sorry, where am I going?
Brian McCutcheon: Drinkin' the brown drinks at the end of the bar at the Adams Mark all week long. -Scotty of BSN
Mika Noronen: Sitting at his PC up-bidding his memorabilia on e-bay
(sidenote: I actually have a goalie stick and several rookie cards signed by Noronen that I got from him personally. That's a story for another day)
Sully's house? Or City Honors senior prom?
Tim Connolly: Sitting silently in his car outside of Sully's house, drinking a 5th of Jack and plotting... -Scotty of BSN
Mark Mancari: Playing as himself on NHL 2011 on a line with Vanek and Roy. Scored 42 goals, 103 points and took the Sabres to the cup. Offsides were set to off.
A young Willem Dafoe
Max Afinogenov: Pleading with NHL GMs in broken English that he's committed to 2way play. -Brian of Buffalo wins
Danny Briere: Kicking puppies. Punching babies. Campaigning for Newt Gingrich. Hitting on your mom. Training with Al-Qaeda. Listening to Air Supply. Defending the Lost series finale. Marrying a Kardashian.
The 2nd handsomest member
Patrick Lalime: The soon-to-be newest member of @DGWUSports!
Ales Kotalik: at home feverishly hitting redial to get ahold of Regehr to cancel their trade to Buffalo -Scotty of BSN
You need back rub?
Dmitri Kalinin: Still sucking at everything. Only this time, in Russia.
Nathan Paetsch: At Borders buying the German version of "Rosetta Stone." -Scotty of BSN (this one literally made me spit-take my beer)
Andrew Peters: Running his own medical equipment sales company -Phil from BBG(This one is apparently real)
Actual Myspace photo
Jim Lorentz: Sleeping in the 300's wearing his old uniform with Batman underoos on the outside, holding an old hockey stick & listening to the dulcet tones of Mr. Ronan Tynan. -Tag team ofScotty & myself
Daniel Paille: Um....never mind.
Dominik Hasek: Shit-Faced on 190 proof vodka while prank calling Ryan Miller
There was plenty more and I have some brewing on my own, but I'll save them for another time. Feel free to add your own "Where Are They Now's" in the comments. And if you are not on twitter, get the fuck on that grandpa and follow me!
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