Music from The Jambrones, LCD Soundsytem, Pearl Jam, and Electric Guest
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|Dear God Why Us Sports||
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 gang, Commander here. I decided to forego a “season preview” of sorts for the Sabres based on what we’ve seen already. I don’t think anyone hasn’t figured out that they’re going to be fucking terrible.
I’m pretty sure that I couldn’t log on, type up “The DEEG 13-14 Sabres Preview” and just post “They fucking blowwwwwww” in 36pt font, because that covers things pretty nicely. (At least not yet, give me a few more months and some job security and that might be funny).
Is it fair to demand better from the Sabres?? I’d say absolutely. But I’m not talking on ice product. Let’s face it, we’re not a storied franchise like the Bruins or the Blackhawks. There’s no real history of success to draw from here. Your best hope for the on ice thing to work out is these kids ending up pretty good, a sprinkling of vets when they are good and one or two of them to be great. It’s the same recipe that created 05-07. Right now you’re in like 2003, this is going to go on for a few years and that’s fine. They flat out told everyone it’s the plan. Later on in the year we’ll talk about how it’s going, but for right now we need to take a look at the bigger problems in Sabreland.
Face it, the Pegula Era came with a lot of hope and promise and we all had the warm fuzzies that things were going to be FUCKIN RAD from now on.
We’re so far away from there that I’ve seen people wondering what Larry Quinn is up to.
The Buffalo News got their press conference and it was just amazing so I'm going to make fun of everyone now.
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!!!!!!!
This evening the Buffalo Sabres host the Boston Bruins in what will be the fifteenth game of a forty-eight game season. With the season nearly a third complete, they find themselves tied for not the division, not the six seed, not the eight-seed, but for dead last in the Eastern Conference. I have watched the “L”s string along on the schedule I keep on the wall at work, next to schedules of other teams with their own impressive collections of losses. We’ve all grown accustomed to the Sabres being a fairly “streaky” team with no shortage of peaks and valleys throughout the seasons, of a team that will run out to commanding division lead only to go .500 the rest of the way and get bounced in the first round (09-10), or a team that will piss all over themselves like a bro after his first night out in Canada for four months and then become the hottest team in the league on the valiant run to eighth place (10-12). They are four points away from eighth at the moment, could conceivably find themselves there by the time I return to the office on Monday. But they won't, and that's why I'm here.
I don’t apologize often, for what I’d like to think are two reasons. The first is that in recent history, the words coming from my mouth that I regret the most have been apologies, apologies that were not warranted or deserved, even in abstract form. The second is related and offered with a grain of salt- I just believe I’m wrong less often than other people. Many fields demand that from those they employ, mine is no different.
So it is with gritted teeth but sincere repentance that I apologize for ever believing that this team, with these players, with this coach could ever put together a shortened season that could be described as anything other than a soul-sucking death march to the draft. We’ve spent many words here at the deeg eviscerating Ralph for not firing Jauron when it was called for, not firing Gailey when it was called for. I called him a “villain from a Dickens novel” and published it right after he had fired the coach I was ripping on him for not firing.
Ask how proud we are about "regionalism"
Ralph Wilson turned his franchise into a sideshow, an embarrassment. Perhaps they always were and we were just born at the right time to think otherwise. But I think at this point it is only fair to begin taking an objective look at those pulling the levers at the foot of Washington Street, because 2007 is rapidly disappearing in our rear view mirror and if all you need to do for immunity in this town is commission a bronze statue and plop an admittedly wonderful complex steps from the waterfront, then we deserve to be ridiculed by other fans, we deserve to be irrelevant.
The eeriness of the similarities is becoming disconcerting and I wonder if Ted Black follows Buffalo’s other hapless franchise enough to see those similarities, or if he is too busy digging through his thesaurus for new ways to explain “Terry’s” dedication to winning a Stanley Cup. We all love a good orator; myself probably more than most, and we cannot deny- especially in light of the last occupant of the owner’s box- that money talks. Throwing godfather offers at Richards and Doan, upgrading the arena, putting up the Harbor Center if for no other reason than we don’t have to watch Carl Paladino erect some lifeless structure only a 1970’s East German architect could love, mean something. But “something” is as far as I’m willing to go anymore.
Ted Black has emerged as Russ Brandon 2.0, with a wardrobe upgrade and a new fan interaction feature. The talk remains about the brand, about how dedicated the owner is, how they communicate daily, how passionate he is to win and how distraught they are about the losses. Now I fully believe that Brandon is shoveling shit while Black is being at least more sincere, but the similarities of listening to these two men offer red herrings and parlor tricks to a disgruntled and desperate fan base is insulting. I’ll enjoy the Harbor Center as much as anyone, but Pegula can take the flaming tap water from “Gasland” and turn it into the fucking Bridal Veil Falls if it means there’s a parade down Delaware. I won’t fault this owner for not dealing with the Buffalo media given their current bullpen of hacks and has-beens, but that silence, pious as it may be, has a consequence to the fan base and that consequence is assumptions.
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.
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.
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).
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.
Due to the popularity of the first "Where Are They Now" post, and the sheer enjoyment I got out of writing it, I have decided to come back for round two. There are plenty more former and current Buffalo Sabres personailities that we all need to catch up on. I have searched far and wide and even enlisted the help of other Buffalo bloggers in order to bring you the whereabouts and actions of these men. You should know how professional I am after listening the latest CrapTastiCast. Remember, everything in this post is 100% factual because DGWU only reports the TRUTH! If you have any new leads, please fight the good fight and leave them in the comment section.
J.P. Dumont: Stomping his feet and asking himself how the fuck Kotalik pulled that one off!?!
Dave Hannan: Agonizing wife at the dinner table with 1080th recounting of the goal against NJ -Scotty from BSN
Bob Boughner: Just bussed the table next to Darcy Regier - FakeDarcy from Buffalo Wins
Chris Butler: Arguing with a sales rep at U-Haul on Transit Road over price of a 24 foot truck, one-way to Calgary. The words "what do you mean you don't know who I am" were uttered.
Jiri Novotny: Just e-mailed me to ask if he can be in the next "Where Are They Now" post.
Mike Wilson: Slowest windup in the sanitation engineer industry. - Scotty from BSN
Jean Luc Grand-Pierre: Losing his MMA debut. Threw fury of punches that hit no one, fell, and tapped out to a basic arm bar in .3 seconds.
Ted Nolan: Still banging Hasek's wife. -The Yachtsman
Mike Grier is knocking on Terry Pegulas door begging for a front office job. -Brian from Buffalo Wins & Buffalo Power Play
Ted Black: Shamelessly flirting with female bloggers....and some male ones too.
Rory Fitzpatrick: Currently ranked #3 in voting on Canadian Idol. Bryan Adams and Tom Cochrane are PISSED.
John Rigas: Spending a day in solitary for refusing to eat his prunes. -Scotty from BSN (I also had one written but it was way more inappropriate...use your imagination)
Darcy Regier: Posing as @FakeDarcy on twitter to throw us off his trail.
"I guess we have ourselves a reckoning." - Bills vs. Steelers Preview, Week 14
"I got a nose for white supremacy, and he smells like bleach." Monday Night Football is back, folks.
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