14 December, 2009


So I've been a lazy blogger. I've been reading and writing other things and bored out of my mind. Unemployment doesn't suit me at all. I'm really looking forward to going back to school next month just to have something to do. Anyway on to hockey-related thoughts.

I'm not going to lie. When the Sabres lost 4 in a row I was starting to worry they were falling into old habits, but they've pulled out. Kudos to LaLime for his win over Chicago of all teams. I have much more confidence in our back-up than I did before. I'd like to take a moment and reflect on back-up goalies. A few years ago I met John Blue, former back-up for the Sabres (and the Bruins) at a church-planting conference run by The Chapel. He is now working with a new church in Orange County, California. I definitely didn't expect to meet a former Sabre there, but it was cool. After one session which was held over Buffalo wings the guys from my church and I were talking with him. One of the guys from my church brought up hockey, and Mr. Blue mentioned how as a back up goalie they have to be ready for anything. They never know when they will be called up to jump in the middle of a game due to an injury or start with very little notice. Yet if a back-up loses a couple games then all confidence in them can be easily lost. I never really thought of what kind of nerves they must have to fight before that. But think about it -- a good back-up is easily forgotten. They come in for a game or too and if they are good they win them or at least keep it close, yet no one will remember the good back-ups because if they were really good then they'd be a starter. It is assumed that a back-up isn't that great. On the other side of the coin a bad back-up goalie is remembered for being, well, bad. Why did Lindy Ruff fide Miller so much last year? Because we had no faith in LaLime. I'm very glad that LaLime has improved and I think he can become a very dependable, (and, unfortunately, forgettable) back-up.

How great is it to see different guys stepping up? Hank has double his goals from last season already, which rocks. Who really expected Kaleta to have 2 goals in a game and get us a win the other night? Certainly not this guy. It's great to see our rookie defenseman getting in on the scoring action as well. Yes, I know, the top six need to contribute more, but it's refreshing for me to see more guys stepping up that Goose and Miller. Granted my perspective on last season is a bit skewed since I had very very limited internet access last season (it still blows my mind that I actually had a more dependable connection in Iraq than I did at the posts I was at for training before then). Mid-November to the week before Christmas last year was a total loss for following the team, but it seemed that when I would check in on the Sabres it was the same comments from bloggers (and at times Miller and Goose as well) about lack of effort and how 2 guys were carrying the team. This year more guys are stepping up in enough ways to pull wins out of games that would have been lost last year.

Finally the reason for the title of the post. I was looking up funny pictures today and this one just made me think "What in the world is going on here?" It's one of those 1 in a billion shots where you can't help but think "That is the most awkwardly timed picture ever."

That's certainly not how I remember Brad May. For more entertaining sports pics go here

12 November, 2009

Yes, I finally got to see this. Apparently the owner or co-owner of the Allen Americans is a Stanley Cup winner (Red Wings, 2002, or at least that's what I heard. I'm too lazy to look it up right now)

I also got to see some good hockey last night with a 5-1 win for the home team and a good fight right in front. It was the first time my cousin Kim has seen a hockey fight live.

As always I ran into some other Sabres fans and was able to let them know the score because I have a fancy phone now that lets me follow my team from anywhere I have a cell signal. (I can even listen to RJ's play by play in my car, which is nice when I'm driving around Scranton)

Here's a few more pics from last night.

I was just able to get my camera in since although it has a nice lens with great zoom capabilities the lens does not detach.

07 November, 2009

So I give up on listening to the Sabres game tonight sine every time I try to I hear Boston score right away.

So right now I am on a road trip. I am currently visiting family in a metropolitan area which is home to both a NHL team a CHL team. I plan on taking in a game on Wednesday. Feel free to guess which metropolitan area I am visiting!

Well looking at the score that did indeed suck so nothing missed.

30 October, 2009

My new favorite player is...

It's nice to see a game tonight, though it looks they're content to sit back with a one goal lead in the third.

I bought a new book last night! "Perrault said to Rico..." is about stories from the Sabres as they started a thriving NHL franchise in a city that many thought could never support a pro team without drawing heavily from southern Ontario. I have to say that I think I have a new all time favorite Sabre -- Kito Tsujimoto, drafted from the Tokyo Katanas, and the man who never existed (though his bumper sticker reminded all those who can read Japanese to "Think Stanley." The book seems to be a must read for Sabres fans and also comes with a CD. I haven't listened to the CD, but I'm enjoying the book (though I've just started).

Perhaps I'll post more after the game.

21 October, 2009

Thoughts on a young season

The Sabres are off to a sharp start (cue rimshot, sorry, I couldn't resist) with a 5-1-1 record and currently sitting in 2nd place in the Eastern Conference. The defense sounds like it is starting to lapse, however, so Lindy had better start cracking down. The biggest thing that stands out to me this early in the season are the first 3 games where the Sabres stayed in to grab at least a point in some close games. It seem like the kinds of games they lost last year they are staying in and battling through to victory this year.

BUT they also show signs of going back to their old frustrating ways. I haven't been pleased with what I've heard as far as the defensive corps goes for the last 3 games. Sure, they won 2 of the 3, but the Thrashers game shows how much they depend on Miller (who is off to another great start). Tonight's game and last Friday night's game both sounded like the defense went into a "Well, we have enough points to pull us through" coasting mode that just won't cut it. Sharpen up, boys.

I'm not sure what's up with this "condensed" schedule, but it doesn't seem that condensed to me. The sabres are playing 3 games a week until the end of November. That's right, every Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday are game days, and only those 3 days, every week until a Thursday night game sometime around 30 November. What is this, football?

In this early season we've seen one trade already because of our problems with extra wings. (Great, now I'm hungry for wings and there's no good places around here) I'd like to see a trade to get a better back-up goalie, but I don't think that will happen with the current cap conditions. We need to have someone we can trust when giving a much deserved rest, and I just don't have confidence in Lalime.

So here's the question: Who would you offer as trade bait for a back-up goaltender?

09 October, 2009

When one is entering WNY from the East on I-90 the first radio station to come in is WBEN. AM stations tend to have a bit better coverage than FM as far as strait up distance. I can pick up WBEN somewhere around the 390 (maybe a bit before). The next stations to come in are the FM stations, which start to come in good enough for listening about when I'm passing the RIT Conference Center. Why is it that I have to wait about 30 more miles until I reach the Pembroke exit (48A) in order to hear the Sabres game? WGR really needs to up their power. I heard the last few seconds of the 2nd and the first two goals before I headed into my parents' house. Why, WGR,must you torture me? Apparently there's some app I can get for my I-phone to listen to WGR, but I'm cheap (yes, even though I have an i-phone I can still be cheap and not pay for the extras. I saved up my money for my car, motorcycle, and phone while in Iraq, so I have the right to do so) and thus will only get it if it's free. Or if I find I must get the app to listen to WGR anywhere in the country.

I just watched The Kaleta's hit and he did not leave his skates until after the initial contact. It was a legal hit, so toughen up, Phoenix.

I won't be watching or listening tomorrow night as I will be at a friend's wedding reception.

05 October, 2009

Well the Sabres lost in OT but I am going to focus on some of the good things I saw. The team was much more willing to get into scraps and looked a lot more physical than last year. Granted, last year I was stuck following the team a day late on blogs or listening at 4 am though I was able to watch a couple games. But the fact remains that last year the Sabres wouldn't have gotten into as many scrums. I loved the way they all had Miller's back on Saturday night. Good job boys. Secondly the penAlty kill seemed on top of things as they went 5 for 5 on the kill. The power play may need work but at least I can have some confidence in the PK. Finally I got to buy a T-shirt and bumpersticker for my new car from my friend Renee.

-- Sharpie

03 October, 2009

17:20 in the 1st -- Timmy Ppg goal great view

1435 -- my hockey terms need refreshed

OK so this live blog will have to waitt til the intermission

after the 1st-- Sabres PK looked alright buut the 2nd PP looked as craptastic as last year's sounded

1-0 Buf after 1

0826 in the 2nd -- can't cplain about Buffalo's grit
17:20 in the 1st -- Timmy Ppg goal great view

02 October, 2009

I am at Best Buy (tm) right now and just saw a great site -- all the display TVs had Hockey on! Tha is right, NHL hockey clips were able to be seen on about 50 TVs in high def.

29 September, 2009

quick hits

Just a few random, mostly non-hockey related thoughts tonight since I feel like throwing something up on here.

1) I almost have a car! I'm just waiting for the inspection (of sorts -- since I live outside of NY it is basically getting a New York inspection without the sticker. I'll have to get a PA inspection when I get it there) then I can pick it up. I'm getting a Ford Explorer with about half as many miles as I was hoping. God certainly provides

2) I might be getting a motorcycle soon. I plan on getting one this fall and tonight saw a good learning one at a great price.

3) What ever happened to music that wasn't over produced and music that was written by the bands who actually have talent? I'm listening to some Sixpence None the Richer on Youtube! (and yes, Youtube! should always be spelled with and exclamation point) because I only have one of their songs. It takes me back to my high school days. They have such a signature sound (well, really it's Leigh Nash's voice). Now days we get over-sampled music that's greatly compressed so the highs and lows are squished together. I heard a cover of "Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You" and it seemed far too subdued. I miss the raw sound of earlier rock bands, which is probably why I liked what I heard of Deathcab for Cutie's latest EP. But at least pop has moved out of the '80s synth faze.

4) The season starts on Saturday! It will be great not only to see or hear a meaningful hockey game but also to do so at night instead of 3 or 4 AM. Time to dig out my Sabres shirt that I last saw when I put it in a footlocker in Iraq to send home.

24 September, 2009

Just a few quick updates...

I plan on catching 3 Ahl games this season as the Pirates will face the Scramton/Wilkes-Barre Penguins twice away and the Hartford Wolfpack twice away. I hope to live blog from at least one game via my new phone.

I am still hoping to go to the season opener.

I am still getting used to the fact that games are on in the evening not at 3 am. This also goes for listening to Bauerle on the morning not the evening.

10 September, 2009

Hockey is coming...

Just a few random things on my mind right now (since I actually have extra time)

I hope to get tickets to the Sabres season opener this year. I've never been to an opening game.

I was thinking today about how in less than a week there will be NHL games. Yes, they're pre-season games that don't count for anything, but it does mean that the season is right around the corner.

Speaking of games I hope to see the Portland Pirates a few times this season. They're coming to Scranton a couple times and playing in Hartford, CT twice. Since my sister goes to college near there now I'm hoping to see one of those games with her. It will probably be the second one since it's right before one of her breaks.

I was about to post a comment on a friend's facebook wall about hockey almost being here when I saw she posted a new status update a few hours before. My friend has an interview with the Sabres on Monday! Working for the Sabres would definitely fit her well. (Even if she does like Detroit as well.)

-- Sharpie

26 August, 2009

I've managed to stump one of the greats...

First of all I am NOT dead or missing! Life got busy here in Iraq for quite a while. (getting up very early and being up relatively late will do that, but someone had to make breakfast and dinner). My job has since changed, and I hope that by the time the hockey season starts I'll be back to updating regularly!

As some have reported Direct TV is dropping the VS network at the end of the month. (barring a last minute negotiation) I decided to e-mail one of the hockey blogosphere's greatest minds in an attempt to find out how this will affect us fans. The following is from me:

With Direct TV dropping the VS network at the end of the month (barring last minute contract negotiations) what would it take for the NHL to opt out of their current contract with the network? Is there any chance that those of us who have Direct TV will be able to see more of the NHL than just our local teams without buying the Center Ice package?

-- Sharpie"

I figured that with his vast knowledge of the hockey world and how he keeps track of everything from salary cap figures and trade possibilites to the lastest on the Jim Balsillie saga he would have some light to shed on the matter. Imagine my shock when I received teh following e-mail in response:

"Jeez, Justin I really don't know. We don't have all these stupid television issues with the NHL here in Canada fortunately and there are tons of games on basic cable

Lemme see if I can get an answer to that from the league.


At least as a well respected hockey journalist he knows who to talk to in the league to get the info. As much as I hate the Versus announcers I just don't have the money for the Center Ice package. (Assuming I do get satellite or cable when I get back.) I am trying to expand my hockey knowledge, especially in the Western conference.

We can still blame Gary Bettman for this one, right?

16 February, 2009


So I was casually checking the hockey scores during my break today when I noticed that the Sabres lost 3-0 this morning (last night for those of you in the states). My first reaction was "WHAT!" Come on, I mean after the Sharks game I figured they could get at least ONE point! Instead of dwelling on it I'll e-mail some friends and take a nap. Besides, the news won't have coverage online for a few more hours. Lousy time difference.

14 February, 2009

So it's been a little bit, but here's an update on a few things.

First, since this is a Sabres blog here are my thoughts on my team. I think our boys did nicely with their road trip, and the victories over Toronto and Montreal showed that they had some left. Unfortunately Ottawa proved too much, especially for Vanek, but the way this team is built we aren't doomed to a losing streak just because one talented forward. The victory over the Sharks was big, both for the community as a whole and to show we are very capable of making a good play-off run.

This leads into the second area I want to comment on. My prayers are with the families and friends of those killed in the Continental Airlines crash. My mom e-mailed me about it. I flew on one of those planes from Newark to Buffalo and back for my Christmas leave, and my sister flew out today on the same type of jet through Continental on her way to Peru. My grandpa and uncle live in Akron, right near the Clarence border. (their street is off of Clarence Center road) I think Heather B. put it well when she pointed out how much of a small town Buffalo really is.

As for me I'm alright here in Iraq. I moved again so I won't be listening to games any time soon, but I can follow the Sabres decently enough! I'm cooking here and we have a stray dog that some of the infantry guys adopoted. Some call her Lizzy while others call her Gimpy. It's funny to see these grunts come in and ask for some leftovers for the dog.

That's all for now,
-- Sharpie

05 February, 2009

Ah, hockey, my old friend!

So I did something partly stupid -- I got very little sleep last night in order to listen to the game. I missed the first period because I messed up the time zone conversion, but it's alright. (In my defense I knew I'd have a few extra hours today to get a nap in.)

It was great to hear RJ again (it's been longer for me than most Sabres fans), and I always enjoy hearing us crush the Leafs. It sounded like at the Sabres were sharp tonight, and it helped that the Leafs didn't show up. (Have I ever mentioned how their team name bugs me? The plural of leaf is leaves, not leafs. It really bothers me!) I would have loved to see the game just to see the silent leafs fans. And to top it all off our boys wore the good jerseys tonight.

Congratulations to Vanek on his hat trick and to Miller for his shut out. Now lets keep this up against Montreal

04 February, 2009

Oh please, oh please, oh please...

IF the internet doesn't go out here and IF I can wake up at the right time then I can listen to the game at 3:30 am local time. I hope I FINALLY get to listen to a game.

02 February, 2009

I swear I typed this when it was relevant

Ok, so I was without internet access for a bit, but when I saw an article about the Stars after Sean Avery I typed up the following that day (on or about 27 January:

2 things happened yesterday while I was sitting in the barracks tent with nothing to do that made me smile. The first was an article I came across in the sports section of the free newspaper we get here. (Stars and Stripes) The article showed that Sean Avery is an overpaid loser. The stars have won more games in the last 23 games without him than they did in the 22 games before they got rid of him. According to the article his (former) teammates blame his attitude and causing distraction in the locker room. I predict his next team will be in Russia.

The second thing that made me smile was the clip in Bruce Almighty where the entire city of Buffalo is rioting after the Sabres won the Stanley Cup. That clip always makes me laugh. Really – if you're having a bad day just got to Youtube and look for the the clip! Or better yet just click the link!

Buffalo, the bar has been set for that one day when you win. We'll show Montreal how it's really done and when it's truly the right time to go on a city-destroying bender.

22 January, 2009

So once I get my own internet I plan on listening to the games. But it will be odd to have the games starting at 3 am.

One thing I love about the blogosphere is that I can find out about the games first thing in the morning which is the next evening for most of you. It is odd to look up the scores in the paper and find that they are a day behind. But hey, that gives me incentive to get my butt down to the internet center to look up what is happening.

So the boys got together and decided to make a good run. I hope they can keep it up after this this morning's last night's game. Keep up the winning boys so I can don my Sabres hat in Iraq in late April.

That's all for now,
-- Sharpie

P.S. I saw camels on the road yesterday. Our busses had to stop because some of them are in the road.

12 January, 2009

4-1-0 for the new year -- I'll take that since I think we were still in the game with the Red Wings deep into the 3rd. Unfortunately I'm not quite sure because the router here kept kicking me off every 2 minutes and I missed the first half because of a meeting. How sad is it that I'm looking forward to Iraq because I'll have a better internet connection that I have here in the States? But I digress.

Rutuu is a total retard. I mean really, biting the other guy's thumb? Tysen at least went for the guy's ear. I might expect that from a 5 year old in a Tim-bits hockey game, but even then I'd like to think that at 5 year old hockey player knows that you only bite in fights off the rink. As for whether or not Peters was truly hurting after the bite I'll just ask you if you've ever been bitten. If not then shut up, morons. Yes, it hurts when you get bitten. The jaw is quite strong, though I don't feel like looking up exactly how many pounds per square inches of force the average adult human's jaw exerts.

Well, that's all for now.
-- Sharpie

03 January, 2009

I suck at coming up with titles.

So after that last update I found that the Sabres were playing today. How did I miss that? I mean really, I saw it on the schedule and then yesterday i was thinking about it, but somehow I guess I just assumed that the Army would make it impossible for me to listen to any of the game. Yet that wasn't the case, and I listened to the game. From what I heard it sounded like we didn't suck, but when we start to suck again Lindy can just come look at my last post for coaching advice.

I could get used to this whole following my team by listening to games the day they happen thing. It's fun to read peoples opinions and reactions with some sort of context to them.

Advice for Lindy Ruff and other random thoughts

I watched my last Sabres game I'll see for a while on Thursday night. My brothers and their families were at my parents for a good-bye dinner for me. (We had ham, sweet potato pie, [My mom makes and AMAZING sweet potato pie] pumpkin and apple pies, and some other assorted junk food. I put on the Sabres game and got to see them show up and play, and what do you know, they won. From what I've read about them this season I'm expecting them to start to slack off again soon, but I'm hoping that they shock us all and show they still care about hockey after all.

Changing the locker assignments, is that the best you can do, Lindy? I've got some ideas for you to pull out next time the Sabres play like crap.
  • After the game have them wait until everyone leaves then have them do skating drills for about a half hour. If they ask why tell them that if they didn't want to work during the game they can work now.
  • Have a long practice where for the first half they spend time changing into their uniforms, getting to the ice, then send them back to change. Once again you can feel free to remind them that it's because they didn't want to work during the game. Remind them that they have to earn those contracts and the people of Buffalo deserve to get their money's worth out of them. (Yes, technically it's Tom Golisano getting his money, but telling them the people of Buffalo will make them feel like they're helping more than just one really rich guy, plus the people of Buffalo do buy the tickets and merchandise, so it is true from a certain point of view.)
  • Run the next practice like they are a high school travel team. (or younger) Have them do pointless drills that are far below what they would use in an NHL game. Don't let them wear official practice jerseys during this either. As the practice begins tell them that since they don't feel like playing at the NHL level you are going to treat them like the high school (or younger) team they act like. (I would love to see them practicing with the cages on their helmets with over-sized Timbits jerseys.)
  • Have a day of practice where you have them show up for 20 minutes, then release them but have them report back an hour later. Do this all day. I'm sure they'll remember this and will try to avoid it again.

These are just a few quick ideas. If you want some more just try and contact any Army or Marine drill sergeants. You'll learn plenty of creative ideas.

While watching the game the other night my 2 1/2 year old nice climbed up next to me on the couch to watch. That's right, Uncle Sharpie is getting them hooked young. I'd post the picture, but it's on my sister-in-law's camera, not mine. I also got my older nephew to watch with me. He's lived in SC for most of his life, so he's new to hockey.

I watched about half of the Winter Classic. I don't feel bad about calling it the Winter Classic when it's not in Buffalo. Here's a few quick thoughts on the game.

  • Man, this is nice -- a real hockey game.
  • Did the announcer just say Ty Conklin's in goal? Wow, that guys's been in every outdoor NHL game! I bet he tries to get traded to a team that plays in next year's Winter Classic. It's probably part of his contract.
  • Wow, the seating really sucks at this game. Unless you're at the corner you're pretty far from ice even in the front row. What was the NHL thinking? Please let them stick with a football stadium in the future.
  • Ah, pond hockey. I remember going out and skating on the frozen yard out back, but lets be honest, how do people who live any farther south that the Mason-Dixon line identify iwth that? Apparently the NHL plans on attracting new fans by not identifying with them.
  • How do you make and outdoor rink at home anyway? I always thought it was a 3 step process. 1) Find a lake or pond or something that can be skated on when frozen. 2) Pray for freezing weather 3) Skate on it until it gets warm and melts. Now I find out that people's dads made outdoor rinks in the back yard. Do they have the power to conjure up subzero temperatures or something?

Here's some pictures I took before (and I think a couple during) that horrible excuse for a game on Tuesday night. At least the seats were good.