Monday, January 26, 2009

A Letter About Photographic Evidence

Dear All-Star Photographers,

As diligent readers of this blog, I'm sure you remember last year, when I used one of your photos as evidence of Eric Staal's serial killer-ness. Well, here's more unwanted fuel for that fire:

Yeesh.

Sadly, this time around it's you getting I'm writing the letter to, because I'm pretty sure this is a scare me once, shame on him, scare me twice, shame on you situation. Last year you did your part with the throne series, producing mostly appealing and sometimes downright adorable results (see Chara, Zdeno). It's not your fault Staal chose to make threatening gestures with his stick and ruined the whole intended vibe. But this year you were asking for it. You really didn't expect to take a close-up portrait of Eric Staal dressed in all black and have the vibe be anything but "I want to stab your eyes out with this knife I found in your back," did you? Well, lesson learned. I expect better from you in the future.

Regards,
Gambler

P.S. Then again, I'm pretty sure Staal could manage to look creepily murderous perched amongst a pile of beagle puppies, so maybe the only solution is to not photograph him at all? I think it's worth some consideration.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Playing Catch-Up

Just to be clear, when I made my resolution at the new year to post at least once a week, I was intentionally vague about how a week was defined. Did I mean there wouldn't be more than a week between posts, or would I be going by the calendar week? Well, considering it has been more than a week since my last post, I'm going to define it right here and now as the calendar week. So since my last post was on the Sunday of the last calendar week, this totally counts. Just so you know.

There's been a lot to say about the progress the Sabres have made in the last few games, but I haven't really had a chance to write about it until now, so instead of writing a series of focused and more in-depth posts like a real blogger would do, I'm going to have to do a bit of recap style of the past five games:

1. Considering watching the Winter Classic made me want to listen to Elliott Smith and lament the sorry state of my hockey team, I thought the outcome of the Detroit game was pretty okay. Sure, it would have been great to have held onto that lead for two minutes longer and steal at least a point, but at the end of the day, we didn't really deserve it. Miller played just as out of his mind as he did in the game before against the Rangers, but the skaters were largely overwhelmed and openly scrambling for most of the game. Still, it was a far better effort than I had been expecting/prepared to see, and I'm willing to give them a pass for it. Maybe I'm being too soft of a fan, but the Red Wings are just so damn good, that I'm just happy it wasn't a blow out.

2. Actually, I was so pleased with the effort in that game that I came out thinking we had a legitimate chance against Chicago, even with Lalime starting. Which, once again, when you consider the way the Winter Classic made me feel, is kind of incredible. Well, I'm not exactly sure what happened. Maybe I tricked myself into thinking the team had started giving a damn when they actually hadn't, maybe Miller was the glue that held it all together, but one thing's for sure. That game blew. It blew so hard, I can't even remember at this point what the big picture of that game was like. When I think back on it, all I see is this one Numminen pass that happened, I think, sometime in the second period. There were at least three other Sabres around him as he was crossing into the neutral zone, in varying states of pass availability, and he chose to float the softest pass I've ever seen right between all of them for an easy interception. As I said to my mom, as we rewound our TiFaux to watch and wonder what the hell he was thinking, it was like he was trying to use his pass to describe the axis of the center of mass for all the players he could have passed to. (I'm so glad I took AP Physics in high school, so that I could use it to find new and creative ways to describe how my hockey team sucks.)

3. In any case, it's a good thing they won the Dallas game the way that they did, or they would have put me dangerously close to breaking out the Elliott Smith again. Truth be told, I didn't end up seeing the game in it's entirety. I missed the OT period altogether, and only saw the shootout the morning after, because I broke the cardinal rule of TiFaux and forgot to record the show directly after the game in case it ran over. In my defense, I was under the impression that we were going to catch up to the recording before it finished, and at the point in the game when it still would have been viable to record the next thing, the Sabres were looking so lackluster and destined to lose that it never even crossed my mind that it could be going past regulation. Anyway, it's been a while since we saw the team come back like that, and on a day when Mike Schopp's assessment of the team as "gutless" wouldn't stop running through my head, it was nice to see them gut out a win. To be sure, the Stars aren't as solid a team as they once were, and have apparently had trouble holding onto leads all season, no matter how cushy they might seem, but taking the momentum back when the other team is running away with it is something this team has done far too seldom lately.

And I know I might be biased, but while Goose definitely stole the show, I thought this was Hecht's best game in a while. Given the fact that I reacted to him getting the puck in front of a wide open net by wanting to shout "I cannot believe he missed that!" there's definitely room for improvement over his recent play. Even with the goal aside, he was hitting (well, what passes as hitting from Yo-Yo anyway), actively backchecking, and moving the puck well in the offensive zone, at one point laying a beautiful pass right into the crease that Pommers couldn't get to. Sure, he was his usual stone-hands self at a couple of points when shooting at the net, but he's sitting past the halfway mark of the season with 5 goals, so I'll gladly take normal levels of offensive dysfunctionality as long as he looks like he cares.

4. Those of you that read Top Shelf and The Willful Caboose (which should be all of you, if you know what's good for you) already know that I spent Saturday's game with the lovely and talented queens of the Sabres blogosphere, Heather and Katebits. That's right, I have star power. If you want to know how you too can lure famous bloggers to your house, apparently the perfect bait is a combination of HDTV, various kinds of wings, and, in Heather's case, an Andy Van Slyke baseball card.

Aside from the HD feed acting up, it was pretty much the perfect game to spend with people you've been in touch with for over a year, have a lot to talk about with, but have never met. As Kate said before she left, it's been a long time since the Sabres have had a game that they've just straight-up won, without much drama or fanfare, and that sets the perfect background for a "getting to know you" type situation. Not interesting or boring enough to be a real distraction, and a pleasant result for everyone, especially since I still have a healthy hate for Carolina.

The HD problems were kind of maddening, though. Since I'll be spending the rest of the season trying to stream the games online, this was going to be the last game I'd see that was even vaguely in focus, and I wanted it to be the best. Instead we got to hear the same obnoxious guitar riff over and over again most of the time, and when we finally did get RJ, the audio was a second or two ahead of the video, so that we already knew the outcome of every shot, sometimes even before the shooter had the puck. Which was very comforting when the Hurricanes were shooting and we already knew it was going high and wide, but it was kind of a downer to know that Kotalik's slapper wasn't going into the net like we hoped. It was definitely frustrating, but also kind of surreal and hilarious, and the high-five celebration of Connolly's second goal was tinged with me giggling about watching that move set to the soundtrack of what sounded like someone diligently practicing Guitar Hero.

In any case, it was definitely a blast to have Kate and Heather over to my house, and I know my parents and I all enjoyed it. I think the Sabres did as well, to be honest. The first few minutes of the game were a little hairy, and we all got ready to brace ourselves for an oncoming disaster, but as soon as we got really settled--I needed to put my jersey on, and Kate had to use the bathroom--they scored and never looked back. Also, the second Heather started to pull out of my driveway just as the third was starting (she had to leave early to pick up her husband from the airport) the Canes scored and Tallinder got called for a penalty. Coincidence? I don't think so. Clearly the three of us present at one time is a force to be reckoned with. Clearly we need to do it again sometime, for the good of the team.

5. In all honesty, I didn't see the last game against the Panthers. Aside from the fact that I was somewhat out of sorts moving back out to school and busy reuniting with my friends after break, I just completely forgot that the game was even happening. And since it seems the routine text I got telling me the outcome and goal-scorers doesn't even come close to telling the whole story, I'm not even going to try to pretend like I know anything about what happened. Suffice to say, those were two points we needed, and I'm glad we got them.

I'm having problems with the internet right now, so it's looking like I won't be able to watch the game tonight in Tampa. In fact, it's looking like this post won't even make it online until after the game, but trust me when I say I wrote this beforehand: This isn't a team we need to beat to keep our place in the standings, not like Florida, but I believe it's a team we need to beat to keep our honor. Hopefully the boys keep that in mind. In the meantime, I'll be keeping my eye out for a text.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

I Stand Corrected

(I know I'm a day behind, but I was running all over yesterday, taking my brother to the airport and doing some post-holiday shopping, and didn't have time to get to my planned post about Friday's game. So pretend like it's still yesterday.)

So Vanek didn't have a big game against the Rangers, although he had a nice assist and was literally inches away from having a highlight-reel goal on a couple of occasions. He's been a little quiet lately from a goal-scoring standpoint, with just 3 in the last 12 games, one of which was on an empty net, but the intensity hasn't left his game. It shows in his assist tally, which reads 7 over the same 12 games, more than half of his season assist total of 12. (Look at how statbitty I just got, there! Thanks, hockey-reference.com, for making me look like a somewhat legitimate blogger!) Just watching him play, though, I can't help but think he's due to go on a goal-scoring tear any day now. He's been working, and he's due.

In other news of things pertaining to this game I was wrong about, Tim Connolly didn't get injured, and the Rangers didn't win. (But Drury does eat his boogers. Of this I am sure.)

Speaking of Drury, I had planned on spending a little time in this post talking about him, but then I read Heather B's post about him over on Top Shelf, and felt the need to comment. And, to quote Tobias F√ľnke, it looks like I've prematurely shot my wad on what was supposed to be a dry run, and now it seems like I've got a bit of a mess on my hands. So, uh, if you want to know what I think about Chris Drury, go check over there. (And don't forget to read Heather's great post!)

I don't really have much to say about the actual game, except that a) Miller was obviously the only reason we even had a chance at winning, b) that second period was so putrid that I was almost angry with Roy for scoring and taking away my excuse to boo the team going into intermission, which I had expected to be the only fun I was going to get out of the game, and c) that was the most consistent officiating I've seen all season, in that it consistently wasn't there. But, since I'm me, that being all I have to say about the hockey doesn't mean I don't still have shit to say.

For whatever reason, the crowd seemed much more into this game than the Penguins game I attended not too long ago. Maybe it was because the Sabres have actually looked alive of late, or maybe Buffalonians just can't help voicing their misery and delight, and this game provided opportunities for both. The loudest the crowd was all night, aside from the celebrations of the goal and the win, was in the booing of Drury right before his shootout attempt, followed closely by the sarcastic cheering of the first shot in that awful second period. I'd say that's as complete a reflection of the game as any.

As much as I don't agree with all the "Fire Lindy!" talk that's been circulating, I'd like to make a suggestion. If the Sabres find themselves in need of a new coach sometime soon, I think they should take a look in section 106. One guy behind me had a serious commitment to scoring, since he'd shout "Scooooooooooooore, Buffalooooooooooooo!" at pretty much any time, including when the other team had the puck. With those kinds of reminders from their bench, the Sabres could never forget what scoring is, right? For a different approach, see the guy sitting next to my mom, who had a similar obsession with hitting. To be fair, for the most part he was right that the Sabres could hit more, but it appeared to be his singular solution to every situation. Heading into a corner with someone? Hit him! Someone stole the puck from you? Hit him! Someone skates remotely close to you? Hit him! He's your goaltender? Hit him, anyway! I think these guys would make a great coaching team.

One of my favorite things about going to the arena is going on jersey watch. I love seeing who and which designs are represented, and I'm usually pleased with the variety. This time, though, I noticed something disturbing. There seems to be an acceptable threshold to how many Hecht sweaters I can comfortably see, and on Friday night, we passed that threshold. The first one I saw, it felt a little like finding a kindred spirit, but by the tenth (or what felt like the fiftieth), I was whining, "But he sucks! Why do people want his jersey?!" (I feel like that was a little harsh, Yo-Yo, I'm sorry. It's just that I like to feel special.) One interesting thing I noticed was that most of the Hecht jerseys were of the new third variety, which means they were purchased this season. I know you've not exactly been on your game, Yo-Yo, but apparently a lot of people think you can turn it around. Just remember, I believe in you the most!

So that's it, crazy cheerers heard and inane insecurities revealed: just another day at a Sabres game for me!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Gameday Post: 3 Things to Remember

As I prepare to head out to old Hot Sauce Blue Cheese arena, here's what's running through my mind:

- Tim Connolly returns tonight. I'm glad my family ended up with these tickets, because a healthy Timmy is a rare sight indeed. I'm pretty sure in a couple of years I'll be able to auction the memory of this game off for a pretty penny. Even given his 7 points in 6 games, I'm not expecting much. At the very least, I'll be able to witness to whatever injury he's destined to suffer that will keep him out for the rest of the season. I don't often pretend to know what goes on in Lindy's head, but putting him on a checking fourth line doesn't seem like a good way to ensure he stays uninjured. (And putting him on a line with another center in MacArthur doesn't seem like a good way to ensure Yo-Yo stops choking in the role of center, but I digress.) I guess we'll see if he stays there as the game progresses.

- Thomas Vanek has certainly been a dangerous man against the Rangers in his career. I snuck a look at his stats page today (okay, I happened to click on it while setting my fantasy team roster), and liked what I saw. 11 points (7+4) in 13 career games played, including two goals, one on the power play and one shorthanded, in our last meeting. I know the Sabres were practically a different team the last time we played the Rangers, but those numbers sure seem to prognosticate a big game from #26. I know I'd like to see it.

- No matter what happens tonight, the only thing that really matters is this:



Let's go, Buffalo!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Another Year, Another Sabre at the All-Star Game

Except this time he actually deserves to be there.

It was around this time last year when my relationship with Brian Campbell really started to sour, as the trade deadline started to loom, and everyone - most notably himself - started to publicly worry about his future with the team. In fact, I cited "Brian Campbell is annoying" as the 15th thing I learned from the Ice Bowl. And his naming to the 2008 All-Star roster didn't exactly help matters. I suppose I should have actually been mad at the rest of the Sabres for sucking so much that the league had no choice but to say "Hey, I've heard of this Campbell, guy! He must be good!" when trying to select the Buffalo player for the roster, but I was at a point where I was so fed up with hearing arguments that he was an all-star defenseman (despite the fact that all-star defensemen should probably, you know, play defense), that I really didn't need the league confirming it. Needless to say, I wasn't at all upset when it turned out being in Europe meant I was unable to see the game.

And needless to say, I'm more than relieved this time around to have a player to root for that I actually like.

I don't have much more to say about Thomas Vanek that I haven't already said, except that he definitely deserves this appointment and that I hope he enjoys himself.  Oh, and that I think he should make this his personal theme song:

Dangerous man, indeed.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Well.

Color me surprised. That makes two games in a row the Sabres have put in a good effort to gain and keep the lead. Sure, at times they looked like they were barely hanging on, but the important part is that they did hang on, I guess. Lindy said last night that this was the type of game the Sabres have usually let get away from them pretty easily this season, to which my household said "You're tellin' us!" Obviously it would have been better if they hadn't let Ottawa back into it in the first place, but it was definitely encouraging that they staved off the complete takeover that we've gotten so used to seeing this season. I'm not saying I'm totally convinced that they've turned a corner - they still have some proving left to do - but it sure is nice to see something different.

This morning a thought snuck into my head that I was almost too scared to consciously think let alone type into my blog. But if I lived in constant fear of the wrath of the Hockey Gods, I wouldn't be able to think or write anything, so here it is: Wouldn't it be sweet to get a winning streak going out of this, especially considering the completely different kind of streak we were in at this time last year?

That said, I'm almost certain we're going to lose on Friday, not least because the Gamblers will be in attendance, and I can count on two fingers the number of Sabres wins I've seen in person. You got lucky this time, Rangers.

My marriage (as is accepted tradition with proposals, I'm taking a non-reply as a "YES") to Matt Ellis is still going strong after last night. Scoring on the Sens is usually enough to get an offer for dinner and a movie from me at any time, but score 15 seconds into the game to extend your goal streak to 3 in 2 games, and I'm ready to marry you for the second time this week. If he keeps this up he could find himself with not only a regular job in the NHL but also a longer-term long-distance second wife! It's like all of his wildest dreams coming true, I'm sure.

Finally, I guess I have to talk about the bite. If you'd asked me directly after the incident, I would have had this to say:

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

Yeah, it may make me a bad person, but I was definitely more amused than outraged when I first realized what was going on. But I think you have to cut me a little slack. I've lip-read some funny things in my time as a hockey fan, but I don't think anything can prepare you for the moment when you read one of your players saying "He fucking bit me!" Now that I've had some time to take it in and think it over, however, I have this to say:

Eh, whatevs. 

Don't get me wrong, I still think it was uncalled-for (not to mention disgusting; there's no way hockey player thumb tastes good) and I still think the league should look at it, but I'm not going to concern myself with thinking about what the possible suspension/fine should be. I have better things to worry about, and so do the Sabres. So I was happy to see that Lindy was very low-key about it, turning the attention of his postgame press conference quickly back to the game play. When your captain gets cheap-shotted to the ice, you should make a big deal about it, but when your enforcer is on the receiving end of a mostly benign, albeit bizarre, attack, you let the league figure it out and keep your team focused on playing hockey. That's just the way I think it should be.

Still, I was pleasantly surprised to see how diplomatic Peters was in his postgame interview. It's no secret I'm not his biggest fan, but it was refreshing to see him defending the refs for the call they made and insisting that the Sabres have to focus on their next game and not the next time they play the Senators. Especially when you consider that this is a guy who doesn't spend a lot of time in the spotlight, you have to appreciate the fact that he didn't grab the opportunity in front of the cameras to declare, "RUUTU MUST DIE!!!" He may be mostly useless on the ice, but he's no attention-grabbing Sean Avery type, and for that I can't hate him. 

Sunday, January 4, 2009

A Letter of Proposal

Dear Matt Ellis,

I know we don't know each other very well. (Well, I don't know you very well, and you don't know me at all.) But I was hoping I could ask you something.

Even though I was very pleased with the Sabres' win over the Bruins, I'm still very wary of trusting them to keep it up. And even though I love Yo-Yo deep down, we're still on the outs because of him missing four (4!) open nets yesterday. 

So, I was wondering if maybe you wanted to marry me? You know, for a little while?

You played like a fox yesterday, a fox that is very good at spunky hockey, and I would like to reward you accordingly.

Please circle YES, NO, or MAYBE.

Best,
Gambler

P.S. This is totally how marriage works, right?

Saturday, January 3, 2009

It's Pronounced Canada: The 2009 International Bowl

Despite the fact that Macalester's main cheer ("Drink blood, smoke crack, worship Satan, go Mac!") was basically the primary reason I decided to apply there, I haven't exactly taken full advantage of the college sports scene. I've been to a couple of soccer games, which are always fun, an odd rugby game, and one lone football game, which we lost something like 45-10. I can't remember the exact score, but I'm almost certain that's no gross exaggeration. (For those not familiar with Macalester, we're not exactly known for our athletic dominance, which is probably the reason I've not been a dedicated fan.) In any case, today was my first taste of "real" college football. (Bowl games! They're big! Who knew?) I'm largely indifferent to the sport of football, but at this point I'm just so starved for entertainment from a Buffalo team, that I'll take whatever I can get. (See what you've driven me to, Sabres?! Football!) And while the outcome wasn't ideal, I definitely got the enjoyment I came for. 

In my opinion, the non-verbal noises that best summarize each quarter of the game are as follows:

1st - Ummmmmmmm...
2nd - WOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!
3rd - Uh-ooooooh...
4th - OooooowWOOooooooooooooooow

To be clear, while that looks like the typical Buffalo-team soul-crushing game arc, that's at least 15 minutes more WOO than I've been getting from the Sabres recently. I'll take that.

I was totally chill watching this game, and I think it had everything to do with my relationship (or lack thereof) to this sport. I'm hardly a football dummy. There's no way I could have grown up in my household and not siphoned off some amount of football knowledge, not with the parents I have. So, though it's not my particular cup of tea, I know what good football and bad football look like. (Or, at least, bad football. My parents are Bills fans, after all.)  Where the ignorance-is-bliss part comes in is with the fact that I have absolutely no ability to analyze football. For instance, I know that it's not good when you go from 2nd and 1 to 3rd and 18, and I know it's awful when you throw an interception in the end zone that gets run back more than 100 yards for a touchdown, but hell if I know how to fix it. So while the people around me are getting all worked up, throwing around words like "play calling" and "bad tackling" and "poor run coverage," all I really have to offer is, "They need to... play better." And then I get to sit back with my peanuts and beer, decidedly unworked-up, and enjoy the delightful fact that, while we have no offense to speak of, we're scoring almost all of our points off of hilarious blunders by the other team. It's a beautiful thing - especially after all the stress the Sabres have been putting me through lately - to remember that sports can still be fun, even when the team you're rooting for is losing. It's enough to make me never want to learn anything analytical about football, just in case I need this outlet again. Today I was completely free to cheer my lungs out when appropriate, boo when I wanted, and otherwise forget about what was going on. Who knew life as a bandwagon fan was so good?

And there was plenty to keep me entertained besides the football, too. As much as I love the fact that cheerleaders will never come near my favorite team, I was all in favor of them today, as they provided some fun moments. The UB squad was right in front of our seats for most of the game, holding four signs with "BU-FF-AL-O!" printed on them, which they held up in isolated succession, apparently to get the crowd to cheer along. I had way too much fun over-exaggerating the "FF" whenever it came up. For some reason, there was nothing funnier to me, in that moment, than trying to scream "FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF!!!" in unison with the UB cheerleaders. My brother and I also had a fun time sabotaging all of UConn's cheers: "Give me a U!" "P!" "Give me a C!" "M!" "Give me an O!" "X!" etc. So, while I'm usually not too big on cheerleaders, today was a good day for us.

Probably the biggest laugh I had was during the Bull's intro video, which they played on the Jumbotron before they took the field. I don't know if they showed it on TV, but it contained the typical fast-cut highlights and dramatic close-ups of any sports intro video, interspersed - quite randomly, as far as I could tell - with footage from a construction site. Like, one minute there'd be a Bull hitting some other team's player, or glowering intensely into the camera, and then the next minute there'd be a steam roller or a bull dozer trundling by, with no explanation. UConn's video, on the other hand, while set to a rocking score (Rage Against the Machine's "Renegades of Funk," that song brings me back), seemed to show little more than the fact that the Huskies are really skilled at lacing up their cleats and pulling on their jerseys. I had absolutely no idea what to make of either video, but I took full advantage of the opportunity to giggle. 

By far the biggest chill came when the assembled players from the 1958 team came forward for the coin toss. It's a good thing I already knew the story behind it, since all the Buffalo fans were cheering so loudly that I couldn't even hear the announcer's explanation of the Tangerine Bowl that happened without us. I'll admit, even this stoic, unsentimental blogger's eyes got a little misty something in them. What a wonderful thing for the University and the city to be proud of, even if most of us are only hearing about it 50 years after the fact.  

Maybe my favorite part of the whole experience, though, was after the game, with all of the UB fans pouring out of the Rogers Centre and onto the Toronto streets, when a lone man in a Maple Leafs beanie called out the masses, "Anybody want hockey tickets for tonight?" I couldn't repress my grin. He wasn't harassed, as far as I saw, beyond a snarky, "Not for the Leafs!" but the general attitude made it clear that he would have more luck selling a tablespoon of cinnamon to a man dying of thirst than selling overpriced Senators @ Leafs tickets to this crowd of Buffalo fans. Maybe he was banking on someone wanting to buy them just to spit on them, tear them up and burn the pieces. Not outside the realm of possibility, I suppose. Anyway, as I took this all in, and as the thoughts I just wrote started to form in my head, something occurred to me. I felt different. I felt like a rejuvenated hockey fan. I felt like a fan ready to go to the Hockey Hall of Fame (more on that later), and then drive back to Buffalo and start the Sabres/Bruins game on TiFaux delay with something like - could it be? Hope? Optimism? - in her heart. 

So, I want to thank you, 2008 University at Buffalo Bulls. I know this probably wasn't the game you were hoping to have, and you're undoubtedly really disappointed in yourselves right now. But, even though you didn't get all the way there, you still accomplished far more than anyone expected you to. And in a 2008 that saw Buffalo's teams (Bandits notwithstanding) falling short of expectations, don't think that that went unnoticed. And today you helped a Buffalo fan remember, just a little bit, why she loves Buffalo sports in the first place. Call me self-centered, or whatever, but I think that's not nothing. It was fun cheering for you today.

Let's go, Buffalo!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Resolution

The sports fan in me waved 2008 goodbye with no lack of relish. I even considered writing a hate letter to the calendar-year 2008 Sabres, before I decided that, even given my sporadic blogging style, I had already wasted enough time and space writing about them. The real person in me (because everyone knows sports fans aren't real people), however, is approaching 2009 with no lack of apprehension. This is the year I graduate from college, provided everything goes according to plan, and enter the real world. (Even though I'm pretty sure there's no such thing as the real world, because John Mayer doesn't lie.) This is the year I have to start making important decisions like where I'm going to live and how I'm going to earn income and just exactly how much I'm going to starve myself in order to afford Center Ice. Though I know nothing I do immediately after college is necessarily permanent, I'm sure this year will be a turning point in some way or another. If ever there were a time for a serious New Year's resolution, 2009 would be it. So. Here goes:

In 2009, I resolve to post in this blog at least once a week.

Hah! That's right, the real world can kiss my ass!

My life will be a mess this year, but that doesn't mean I have to be serious about it. Spending my last semester trying to balance my crazy workload with living it up in the last few months together with my friends won't leave a lot of time left over, and while I could decide to spend it fretting about my future, I'd rather be doing this. Wherever life takes me over the next year, it probably won't be Western New York, and if I'm going to need blogging and the Sabres to keep me in touch with my roots, then I better keep this baby in shape.  For better or worse, writing and this hockey team are important to me, and I've been disappointed with the way I've let this blog go.

Now, I realize this is a huge commitment. We in the blogosphere like to call a commitment of posting once a week "being a blogger," so that right there should tell you how intense this is going to be. I was tempted to up the ante to twice a week, but that seemed like setting myself up for failure.

If I'm being honest, all this resolution is really going to accomplish is a few headaches and major over-usage of the "I'm a Horrible Blogger" tag before I eventually abandon the cause, but I still think it's worth a shot. And as a preliminary measure of showing my re-dedication to blogging, I've finally posted a contact e-mail to the right, for those of you who have been wondering where to send your love letters and death threats. I'm looking more and more like a real blogger all the time!

Quick note, I'm heading up to Toronto today to take in the city, the Hockey Hall of Fame, and the International Bowl. That's at least two posts of potential content right there, and if I spread it out over the next two weeks, I'm 3/52 toward accomplishing my goal! (Surely finding ways to cut corners in your resolution in practically the same breath as declaring said resolution is the secret to success.)

Happy 2009, all, and good luck with any resolving you decide to do!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

2009 Winter Classic: A Reaction

So that's what good hockey looks like?

Shit. 

The Sabres are never going to be able to do that.

Full Circle

Last year, my sister and I rang in the new year like this:


This year, we did it like this:


Good memories. More on reminiscing and resolutions later, but now it's time to enjoy the Winter Classic from the other side of the TV screen.

Happy New Year, all!