Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Some Day, and the Hockey Game Remains

Not even counting the overly warm weather, today has been a day to remember, then forget. First, Val had to turn down a ticket for Game 6 of the NHL Eastern Conference Finals between the host Buffalo Sabres and the Carolina Hurricanes, which starts in a few minutes, because she is teaching her photography class for adults (Tuesdays until 9 p.m.) at the Buffalo Arts Studio. We will be watching the game on a one-hour DVR delay.
Next, on my way home, I stopped at Rite Aid at Elmwood and Bryant to get a condolence card for my sister-in-law, Janet (my late brother Brian's wife in Arizona), because her mother, Jessie Rumsey, died Sunday. When I tried to start my car, I heard a whirring, then just clicks. I walked home and called AAA, then met the truck back at my car; the guy gave me a jump, said the battery, which was the original on my 1999 Chevrolet Cavalier, was done, and hoped it wasn't the alternator as well or I wouldn't make it to the shop. Well, I did make it, but yes, as well as a new battery, I had to get a new alternator (I did check the meter and saw the problem). So, more than $400 later, I at least got my car done right then and there and got home late, walked and fed the dog late and I am blogging with my work name tag and clothes still on and dinner yet to be made.
The cost is bad enough in and of itself, but Val and I are saving for our trip in late June to her hometown of Chicago, so that took a chunk out of our cushion.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Yard Progress ... I Think

Like many people, including a decent number of members of the Buffalo Blogosphere, I spent just about every day this past weekend (including Friday, which I took off from work) doing yard work of varying sorts and, when it was raining too hard Friday, a bunch of indoor projects. Val got into things in a big way today, doing a bunch of weeding, clearing of the front yard gardens, sweeping, hosing down the walkway and spraying feed to our plants. Saturday was a day of small indoor projects because we had the wedding and reception of Katie McGowan and Frank Quebral (Steam Donkeys bassist), and then the Peter Case concert, to attend.
But despite a pair of really tired legs, lots of dirty clothes (including my beloved Sligo Rovers Irish football/soccer shirt) and, as I write this, a pretty decent case of BO, why doesn't it appears that I got much done? I am happy that I can see where the ground actually meets the back fence and left side of the garage finally, but still ...
I also picked up a dumb injury; I usually don't turn on any hall lights when I go from the living room to the kitchen to give our dog, Walker Evans, his 11:30 p.m. dinner, and I often put my arms in front of my face as I go through the narrow pantry way. It's a good thing I did that last night, because I was a little bit off course and hit the edge of the corner wall, leaving a jagged inch-long cut on my right arm near my elbow. As I measure it by holding my arm up, I would have hit my face somewhere near the cheekbone on the corner otherwise.

Sabres Faith

After the Buffalo Sabres lost the home advantage by losing two games to the Carolina Hurricanes in the NHL Eastern Conference Finals this weekend to fall behind, 3 games to 2, a lot (too many) Sabres "fans" could and still can be heard saying that the series is over and that Buffalo's season is over.
As a Sabres fan since the franchise started and as a person very fortunately married to another Sabres' fanatic, Val, we say BS; yes, the Sabres are behind and are playing a very, very good team in the Hurricanes, but please, to give up at this stage not only shows how little some people really care/root for the Sabres, it shows how little they know about what Buffalo has done his season, a season in which they have rallied in games and stretches of the season when no one outside of the team itself and maybe its fans expected them to succeed.
Two incidents today reinforced our continued rooting for and faith in the Sabres; while I was walking the dog, I passed a house on Norwood Avenue with about 8-10 people age 25-30 on the porch. We exchanged hellos, and as the man nearest me said "Happy Memorial Day," his eyes went up to my blue and gold Sabres hat. He smiled and said, "Thank you; thanks for keeping the faith." We talked about how the Sabres were not out of the series yet and should gain momentum from the home crowd tomorrow and how we noticed some people seemed to have given up on Buffalo. "There are a lot of people with broken ankles from jumping off the bandwagon," the guy said, shaking his head.
A bit earlier today, Val and I ate a late brunch/lunch at Ambrosia on Elmwood Avenue; while we were eating, Rich Wall, who works in marketing and events for the Buffalo Sabres and is an old radio/music friend of ours for 15 years or so, came into the restaurant. He came over and we talked about the Sabres and our playoff attendance and game watching, as well as commending his musical choices at HSBC Arena (you can thank Wall for the frequent use of U2, as well as the addition of music by the Alarm). Before he went to his table, Wall thanked me for the Sabres' hat I was wearing and for keeping the faith, and noted that the vintage/classic Sabres colors I had on would again be the actual team colors.
Can the Sabres win tomorrow? Yes, of course they can. Will the Sabres win? Who knows, but we can watch tomorrow and Val and I are still hopeful and faithful.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Hope you didn't miss it....

I'm talking about the Peter Case show at The Sportsmen's Tavern last night. Kevin and I were a bit late due to wedding obligations (congratulations Katie and Frank!), and I know that a lot of you did not miss it, because the place was packed! Again, another great show by Peter and the hometown guys, Mark, Jim and Rob. They were out of control. Rock n' roll. Yep, there were Case originals, but also Whitford and Winsick songs too; everyone supporting each other's songs excellently. Now, Kevin will be writing a real review on the site shortly; I just wanted to mention what a great time we had before we slip back into hockeyland...
If you did miss it we spoke with Al from WNY Podcast. They recorded the show and said there would be a podcast available on their site shortly. He also works with All WNY Radio (I think...).. I went to the page today- this is an excellent concept. I do, however, think that they need to be flooded with CDs yesterday. I don't see anyone I know represented there, and this is the most internet radio exposure anyone from around here can ask for. I'll admit, we did not know about it until last night, and we poke our noses into much local. I have a lot of emails to write about this....

Friday, May 26, 2006

We interrupt this blog...

Seems that we're writing mostly about hockey these days...
Well, one of my all-time favorite songwriters, Peter Case, is playing tomorrow night at The Sportsmen's Tavern- around 9. He's gonna be joined by Jim Whitford (one of my other all-time favorite songwriters), Mark Winsick and Rob Lynch. They did this in the fall (check the blog archives for a story about the last time Peter Case was in town), and it was the best show I've ever seen Peter do (and I've seen him just about every time he's been here since '92 or so), and one of the best shows I've been to. Period. We have pictures of that show and some other stuff about Peter on BuffaloRoots.
Go. There is no hockey game tomorrow night. It's gonna be good!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Sabres Take 2-1 Series Lead

The Buffalo Sabres took a 2-1 lead in the NHL Eastern Conference Finals by beating Carolina, 4-3, last night, in a nail-biting finish after Buffalo took a 4-1 lead in the second period that Carolina narrowed to 4-2 going into the third period. The Sabres did a lot of things better than Games 1 and 2, but probably went into a shell too early and almost paid the price. Val was able to go to the game last night with a friend from work, and yes, her voice sounds a bit like Lauren Bacall again. And what is that orange fur on her Sabres' t-shirt and jersey?
Unfortunately, defenseman Henrik Tallinder left the game with an injury (possibly arm), and the Sabres certainly do not need another injured defenseman. Jeff Jillson played a good game in place of Teppo Numminen, who still has a "mid to lower body" injury.
I spent the game at home with Walker Evans (our dog, not the late photographer) and Bfloblog, enjoying both immensely, and am hoping the Sabres continue their attacking and more physical approach in Game 4 Friday.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Going Too Far for the Sabres?

OK, there are a few things about the Sabres Mania (beyond the bandwagon jumping by some media and people) sweeping Buffalo and Western New York that bother me. I've mentioned how annoying various local media outlets are not only by treating sports new as actual news, but making every Sabres bowel movement so important that the first 5-6 minutes of a newscast on an off-game day are all Sabres/Sabres related stories. Remember, my first journalism job was as a sports reporter, and I was fortunate enough to receive a first-place award for sports coverage from the New York State Press Association, so I do like my sports and sports journalism.
But I have never been a big fan of the several Sabres (and Bills) songs; I can go for an occasional, as in once a week, "We're Gonna Win That Cup," and if a new recording of it is/will raise money for a charitable group or two, cool, I'll handle listening to it more often. On the other hand, I never liked the "Buffalo's Going to the Super Bowl" song Bills' linebacker Isaiah Robertson came up with one year.
I now have a new Buffalo sports related song that makes my colon clench, "Let's Go Sabres, Let's Get Stashu's Cup Polka" by Jerry Darlak and the Touch. While the Hoseys may have been one of the very few families in the Depew portion of Cheektowaga to have no Polish blood (Irish, with a bit of Scottish and British), I enjoy a good amount of polka music, live and recorded. There is a strong similarity between polkas and Irish/Celtic music, German "oompah" music (having been a pretty decent tuba player, I know why) and Spanish/Mexican traditional music, and I have enjoyed Darlak's music live, but this Sabres polka song is AWFUL. It sounds like a joke or a cliched polka song written and performed by people who don't like polkas and are making fun of the genre to my ears.

Sabres Return to Buffalo With a 1-1 Split

After Carolina beat Buffalo in the NHL Eastern Conference finals Monday, 4-3, to tie the series at 1-1, play is shifting to Buffalo for the next two games Wednesday and Friday. The Sabres have to step things up intensity wise and get back to their skating game and hit earlier and more, but I am not scared of things at the moment. Being tied 1-1 and coming home for the next two games, Buffalo has a realistic chance of returning to Carolina up 3-1. But I am not predicting that this will happen, because the Hurricanes are a very good team that, as they proved last night with a win in which they outplayed Buffalo more than the score indicates, is just as skilled and focused a team as Buffalo.
The closest I will come to a prediction is that if either team sweeps the two games in Buffalo, they will win the series; if the teams split the two games and return to Carolina tied 2-2, it's anyone's series. The Sabres not only need to come out strong tomorrow night, they need to be consistent in their intensity.
But I will predict that Sabres fans, as well as almost all regular hockey fans, watching OLN for the rest of this series will be either aggravated or shocked (if it improves) by the broadcast, particularly the play-by-play and color commentary. I know some people complained about the camera work, but really, it is the direction that is at fault. The camera operators have assigned areas to shoot, but the director and his/her team decide which shot to use.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Looking Forward to Game 2

Excited as Val and I are over the Sabres' 3-2 win over Carolina in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals, we know that Buffalo can improve its game in a few ways heading into tonight's Game 2.
First, and this is nothing new these playoffs, the Sabres need to be more effective on the power play (no, I will not say PP and PK; I hate it when writers, broadcasters and so on mindlessly pick up on lingo like this, which usually happens in sports and government/military reporting) and need to clear the puck from their zone better. But in the end it is good that Buffalo seems to continue to be underrated or simply not give any credit, both in general and surprisingly specifically while killing penalties.
And yes, you can join us and many others again in the live open thread on Bfloblog during the game.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

As Hairy as a Buffalo or Two

Playoff beards can be seen on many/most of the Buffalo Sabres as well as a lot of the players on the remaining teams in the NHL playoffs, and some are more impressive than others. In particular, Sabre J.P. Dumont has one notably hairy face right now; Val and I saw him in WGRZ-TV news at about 5:35 p.m. today, and we just looked at each other and commended his virtual mountain man beard.
The Buffalo News had some mention of playoff beards today as well, and I got a laugh out of the writer calling defenseman Brian Campbell "hirsute," one of my favorite words and a rather gentle expression for overly hairy. On the other hand, Val and I are not too impressed with Daniel Briere's attempted beard so far; of course, Val was extremely impressed with the advertisement at the beginning of the season that featured a shirtless Briere. While I noticed that he was in better physical shape than I expected, Val noticed that and a little, er, more. I thought I was going to have to give her one of my high blood pressure pills.

Outlyers' New CD, Release Party

As our mission statement explains, one of the reasons for this blog to exist is to be an adjunct of our website, Buffaloroots.com. So I would like to tell you fine readers that a new story and photos have been posted to our web site, that being a combination interview and in the studio piece with the Outlyers, one of Val and my favorite Buffalo bands which is releasing its new CD, Hits and Myths, with a concert and shebang Friday, May 19, at Nietzsche's, 248 Allen Street, Buffalo. We hope to see you there.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Slow Motion

So, how many other Sabres fans are trying to make it to Saturday afternoon's series opener against Carolina without turning your clocks and calendars ahead?

Monday, May 15, 2006

Still Recovering

This household joined many others in Buffalo and Western New York in going a bit nuts when the Buffalo Sabres defeated the Ottawa Senators in overtime Saturday, 3-2, to win their NHL playoff series, 4 games to 1, and advance to the conference finals against the Carolina Hurricanes.
I have to admit that I screamed and cheered as if I was at the HSBC Arena when Jason Pomminville scored the game-winning, short-handed goal in overtime before catching myself doing so and breaking into laughter, then a long kiss with Val. Val and I spent the game live blogging with Kevin, Mark and many other guests at Bfloblog, with 263 comments filed. Our hands and fingers, and Val's laptop, will now get a bit of rest before the Sabres continue their playoff schedule Saturday.

Avoiding Having Your Intelligence Insulted, Presidential Stupidity Edition

Because Val and I could not face the pain of having our brains, ears and humanity hurt, we did not watch and/or listen to President Bush's address tonight; we have subjected ourselves to this punishment too many times.
Instead, we watched the 30-minute DVD film on the recording of Bruce Springsteen's "We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions" (a very well-done film and yes, we feel Springsteen and Pete Seeger are good remedies for Bush and Company) and then watched the episode of "Family Guy" that we DVRed Sunday.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Blog Reader Increase

This little old blog has seen a substantial increase in hits and readership since we started going heavier into our Buffalo Sabres mode, and first, we welcome all of you new readers, regardless of why you stopped here and even which team you're rooting for in the Buffalo-Ottawa series ... as long as it is the Sabres.
We continue to see a good number of hits from Ottawa and Toronto, as well as from Europe and South America (I still don't totally get that), and the two leading topics at the moment are "Buffalo Sabres" and "Rick Jeanneret," as you might imagine. More specifically, Buffalo Sabres songs at the HSBC Arena and the old blue and gold Sabres logo and hats are also popular hits. Keep up the reading and don't forget to comment, friends.

A Suggestion for the Sabres

There are a lot of things that can and should happen tonight for Buffalo to beat Ottawa and end their NHL playoff series, and one of the main ones is no surprise, that being that Buffalo needs to get its power play working better. Another suggestion that is entwined with this suggestion is that Brian Campbell needs to contribute more.
Campbell has 4 assists in 10 games, basically right on mark for his season total of 32, but he has no goals so far, and a power play goal from him would really help things tonight. It isn't that Campbell is playing too bad, but what have we really heard from him since his hit on R.J. Umberger in the Flyers series?

Two Thumbs Up for Springsteen

We just got the new Bruce Springsteen CD, "We Shall Overcome: the Seeger Sessions," and upon our first listening, Val and I are very impressed by and enjoying the music; on top of that, Val's mother, Jan, asked for it for Mother's Day, and we just bought her a copy from New World Record. The Springsteen CD is actually a two-sided disc, with a 30-minute film on the making of the CD, two extra songs and artists' comments, so we heartily recommend its purchase, say, from New World Record.
One of the reasons that Jan is probably interested in this CD, and to bring this home even more, is that Jan and Val met Pete Seeger at a fundraiser Seeger was playing for then-Presidential candidate Jerry Brown at at the Village Gate in New York City in 1992. Jan was a Brown delegate to the Democratic National Convention and Val was there doing abortion clinic defense,

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Oh. My. God.

Kevin posted that I got EXTREMELY lucky and got to go to the game last night.
First, I must say,that that was the most amazing experence I have ever had in that building. Into overtime, there wasn't one fan , Sabres or Senators, that was not completely on edge, totally sure their team would win. Most of the third period and all of overtime, I don't think I was breathing.
I know that I can't write about the game as well as the Bfloblog guys, so I would suggest going directly there after reading this. And catching their thread during the game tonight (sorry Stu Boyar, the channel 2 thread gets a little tired...). Then go to In Da Buf, because he's got a link to RJs call on each goal. Of course, when you're there, you don't get to hear them, so I listened to them this morning (thank you Chris), and I actually got choked up.
Buffalo fans, though, are great. I can't even say how impressed I am with us. Last night I saw throngs of screaming Sabres fans, but only good hearted joshing to the Senators fans. From what I understand (please comment if i'm wrong) it was the same way in Ottawa with them. Thanks to Leaf and Flyers fans for giving us an opposite to compare with. It seemed that most of the crowd was singing along with the Canadian National Anthem, too. It just felt really good being there.
After being there through the pre-lockout days (and I'll give a warm welcome to the bandwagon-jumpers), watching the team play like this is completely mesmerizing. Like a team (Satan who?). I saw Max hit the ice to block a shot last night! A TEAM, I say! 6 hours and 20 minutes? I'll be watching Hockey Night in Canada. Hell, I'll sing the anthem.....

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

A Few Buffalo-Ottawa Game 3 Thoughts

First, it is good that at lest one member of this household will be at tonight's Sabres-Senators NHL playoff game, and no, it's not me.
Second, as I said to Val yesterday when we were talking about the pre-game party at the HSBC Arena, Nik and the Nice Guys? NIK AND THE FRIGGING NICE GUYS? What, is this the Sabres' or the Arena's idea of crowd control, knowing that as soon as the band starts to play, that people with taste will flee screaming into the HSBC Arena?
All of you readers who need some online commentary and discussion during the game, join me and others again at Bfloblog.com for the open thread; we got to 98 entries during Monday's 2-1 Sabres' win, so let's see if we can get to 100 tonight.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Sabres: Wow

How much more can you say than "wow," after the Buffalo Sabres defeated the Ottawa Senators in game 2 of their NHL playoff round, 2-1, last night, to take a 2-0 game lead and bring these wins back to Buffalo for games 3-4 Wednesday and Thursday? I may have eventually predicted a Sabres' series win in in 7 games, but I don't know of anyone who said/wrote that Buffalo would win the opening games on the road.
You can bet coach Lindy Ruff and the veteran leadership on the Sabres (Chris Drury, Mike Grier, Jay McKee, Daniel Briere, Teppo Numminen) will try to make sure that the team aims to take care of business these next two games.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Getting Ready for the Road

On my way home from work tonight, I stopped at the AAA offices on Delaware Avenue in North Buffalo to pick up a city map, road map and event book for our mini-vacation this summer. The destination will remain secret for the moment, but for those of you in the know, it is Val's hometown, somewhere I have only driven through and am really looking forward to visiting. Let's hope we can brag about a certain team, as we already can to another part of Val's family, which lives in New Jersey and are Philadelphia Flyers fans.

Oh, Yeah, We Have a Web Site ...

Between work, other commitments, blogging and the Buffalo Sabres, Val and I (especially me) have not contributed too much to our companion web site, BuffaloRoots.com, recently, but we do have one story about to be posted and a second coming soon this week. Thank you for your patience.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Sabres win in OT, 7-6

It is hard to imagine anyone in either Buffalo/Western New York or Ottawa/Eastern Ontario who is unaware of the results of last night's first game of Round 2 of the NHL playoff series between the Sabres and the Senators, but just in case, the Buffalo Sabres came back repeatedly and eventually beat the Senators in overtime, 7-6.
To say Val and I are thrilled would be a major understatement; we sure did a lot of screaming, yelling and cheering last night during and after the game, and we also did some blog reading, mainly between periods, at Bfloblog.com, something we don't normally do during games.
While we mainly enjoyed the CBC Hockey Night in Canada broadcast of the game (we didn't check out OLN after their pre-game show until after the game had ended), I had a few problems with some comments, not because they were anti-Buffalo (the Sabres were allegedly on their heels and lost after giving up a power play goal that started with a two-man advantage for Ottawa), and Val smartly pointed out that the announcers made way too may identification mistakes with the players, and even one with the coaches. We were also curious of Rick Jeanerette's call of the winning goal by Chris Drury. Well, if you want to hear it, check out Brendan and Becky's blog at Irish Trojan.
I hope we all realize how tough the wait until Monday night will be.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Senators Snooping?

It can be amazing who hits your blog.
While I was making dinner last night, Val called me from the living room: "Hey, hon, you have to come take a look at this." I knew she was using her laptop, so I figured it either had to do with something sent to us, posted to our blog or web site, written about us or pertaining to the Buffalo Sabres. Well, it was a combination; Val was checking our blog stats, and found that at 4:59 p.m. Thursday, May 4, our blog had been hit by someone with a home address at ottawasenators.com, and the IP address description was "Ottawa Senators Hockey Club." I checked the site and as far as I can tell, this is the official site for the Ottawa Senators hockey team.
What makes this even more interesting is that our site was hit following this Yahoo search: "buffalo sabres bad photos." Yeah, nice try, people, but not here; also, you really made a friend in Val, who our friends to the north apparently don't know is a professional photographer.
My prediction? My heart says Sabres in 7, my head says Senators in 7, so ... Sabres in 7.