Friday, July 6, 2007

Why I Love Hockey - Part 11

Why I Love Hockey #11 - The Sounds of the Game
No sport has as many amazing and distinctive sounds as hockey. Baseball comes closest with the crack of the bat meeting the ball just right and a flaming fastball slamming into a mitt, but even baseball doesn't beat hockey. Hockey has sticks rapping off the ice and each other as players fight for the puck. It has bodies crashing against the boards and boards clattering for a few seconds after the impact. It has skate blades swishing through the ice. It has the bang of a puck against the boards and all the different sounds a puck can make when it bounces off the goalpost depending on where and how it hits - clang, clunk, and my personal favorite, ping! It might drive my husband crazy but when the puck makes any kind of distinctive noise off a post, I spend the next 45 seconds doing my best imitation. Ping! Ping! Ping! Ping! Ping! Ping! Hockey also has the blaring goal horns - some arenas more blaringly annoying than others. It has the tweeting of the referees's whistles. It has players tapping their sticks against the ice to call for a pass and the goalie slamming his stick against the ice to alert his teammates to the man coming out of the penalty box. I love Rick Jeanneret and Jim Lorenz, but I would happily listen to stretches of hockey games without any announcers at all. Nothing but the beautiful, recognizable sounds of the best game in the world.

19 comments:

Gambler said...

This is so true. Hockey noise is awesome. I love how a puck hitting the post in a playoff overtime period makes either the most beautiful or the most disgusting sound in the world, depending on which net it is.

Kate said...

OMG! I know this post has something to do with the sounds of hockey, (and yeah, the sounds of hockey are RAD), but I am currently running around my apartment banging into walls trying to comprehend Vnaeks new contract. What the hell?! WHAT?!?!?!?!

Heather B. said...

You're yipping and circling like a Poomerdoodle again, aren't you, Kate?

On one hand, I can't believe we're paying that much money to a 23-year-old kid who's had two good seasons. On the other hand, I'm so glad the Sabres didn't walk away because we need him and he is exactly the guy we need to be building the team around (along with Crunchy).

On one hand, I'm so pissed at Vanek for signing an offer from another team instead of sitting down with the Sabres, trusting them to treat him right, and perhaps take a little less so the team has a better chance to stay together. On the other hand, after listening to him on the radio, I'm really nervous that the poor kid has stars in his eyes and has no idea how much pressure he's just put on himself and no idea how a contract like that is going to affect his relationship with fans and teammates.

On one hand, I think Bucky Gleason has shown once and for all that he is a complete and total moron. On the other hand, well... I still think Gleason is a complete and total moron. I'm a little surprised Larry Quinn hasn't had him killed yet.

Schnookie said...

I think an important thing to remember with Vanek is that this isn't really THAT much more than he was going to be able to ask of the Sabres even without signing an offer sheet. And he gained a lot of leverage when the Sabres cleared out their budget for him by letting the UFAs go. So really what it comes down to is what a huge affront it is that a) the Oilers did this in the first place, and b) that Vanek was enough of a doofus to sign the offer sheet at all. But on the bright side, at least the Sabres swiftly and decisively matched -- no waiting around for a week to see how things are going to play out, right? ;-)

Meg said...

On one hand, I think Bucky Gleason has shown once and for all that he is a complete and total moron. On the other hand, well... I still think Gleason is a complete and total moron. I'm a little surprised Larry Quinn hasn't had him killed yet.

Isn't it nice that there are some things we don't have to be equivocal about?

Kate said...

I can't really blame Vanek for this. He's just trying to get the best deal, and I think it would be a little naive to pass this kind of money up in the hopes that the Sabres would treat you right. In that case he could have just as easily ended up making whatever the Sabres qualifying offer was, and then where would we be? Screaming that the Sabres don't take care of their players, that's where. I'm sure that Vanek knew the Sabres would match, I mean hell, Darcy has been all over the place announcing they'd match.

I just....can't believe this. It's so nuts. I said over at IPB, on a purely emotional level, I'm really glad they matched. We just need to kep Thomas Vanek as a Sabre, and in a lot of ways, I'm kind of glad the market forced the Sabres to go out on a limb and lock him up for a long time. 50 million is INSANE, but now we have Vanek for 7 years! Seven years! Maybe I'll buy his jersey! Seven years is just not that scary when you think about how young he is (assuming he doesn't start cracking under the pressure [please God, grace him with maturity, please]). I mean, at the end of this contract, he is only going to be as old as Drury is now. This kid has a lot of miles on him yet. Of course, it's also a gamble because he's so young...

I don't know Heather. I really don't. This is nuts. Can you even believe how much time we spent yammering about Drury/Briere without nary a concern about this coming down the pike?

Also, the Rangers have to be feeling pretty nervous right about now.....heh.

Kate said...

Schnookie, I don't understand how you can blame Vanek for signing. If no one signs an offer sheet, why would the Sabres negotiate at all? What leverage would Vanek then have? In the absence of another offer, wouldn't the Sabres have all the cards?

There is something about this that I don't understand.

Heather B. said...

Gah! So much to say but I have to go to work! Booo!

Meg said...

If no one signs an offer sheet, why would the Sabres negotiate at all? What leverage would Vanek then have? In the absence of another offer, wouldn't the Sabres have all the cards?

Vanek's recourse would be to sit out if they didn't give him a fair deal. I imagine that if they were only offering him the qualifying offer he would have done just that. But they would have negotiated and offered more than that. I imagine that they would have wanted him on a 3 or 4 year deal.

Kate said...

It sounds like Vanek wasn't willing to deal. He was shopping for an offer. Sigh. That is a little assy, isn't it?

Whatevs. It's done.

Meg said...

It sounds like Vanek wasn't willing to deal. He was shopping for an offer. Sigh. That is a little assy, isn't it?

Any agent worth his salt would have done that with a client in Vanek's situation. And Vanek's agent appears to be a good one. Although he doesn't have a reputation for being a complete ass like, say, Meehan, he was clearly determined to get the best possible deal for his client (and by extension himself). Good on him, as he's just doing his job. I'd rather an agent do this than encourage his client to hold out.

I have a difficult time being irritated with Vanek. It's a business. The Sabres management certainly treats it as such, so why shouldn't the players?

Gambler said...

Meg, I'm with you. I don't blame Vanek for signing this offer sheet one bit. But I believe completely that he did so trusting that the Sabres would match it. He definitely wanted to stay in Buffalo, but he also wanted to get paid. I can't fault him for that. Instead I'm pissed at Lowe for making the offer in the first place, since he's only making his and other GMs' jobs harder pulling stuff like that.

The pressure's really on Vanek, now, though. He's gotta perform or everyone's in trouble. Currently he's making more than TRIPLE what anyone else on the Sabres' roster is making next season. That's insane. I'm glad management went out on a limb to keep him, but it certainly is a gamble. Here's hoping is pays off.

I didn't hear most of the presser today. I only had enough time to catch the dramatic announcement of "We've decided to... ... ... (an eternity elapses)... match" before I had to run off and do some stuff, but it sounds like it was a good day for Darcy. I'm glad. He deserves one. I liked that he stuck to his guns on keeping Vanek here. I'll admit when I first heard what the offer was, I was like "So long Thomas," because that's the kind of money and term that usually makes Darcy feel faint. But there was never any question about them taking the draft picks. They told the fans that Thomas was going to be here, and they told Lowe not to bother making the offer because it was going to be matched and all he was going to accomplish was setting a dangerous precedent, and they came through. Sure, maybe it will blow up in their faces, but the other way could have just as well, so I'm glad they took the risk while taking a stand.

I'm listening to the WGR audio vault clip of Thomas Vanek right now, and honestly, I can't help but love this guy. Sure he's costing us a pretty penny, but it's obvious he's really really excited to be staying in Buffalo (stressing that the best part of the contract for him isn't the money but the 7 years). And he cried hearing Darcy talk about how important he is to the team. Sure he could just be blowing smoke up our asses, but I'm very glad he's going to be back.

Meg said...

The pressure's really on Vanek, now, though. He's gotta perform or everyone's in trouble.[...]I'm glad management went out on a limb to keep him, but it certainly is a gamble. Here's hoping is pays off.

Yup, this is how I feel too.

I only had enough time to catch the dramatic announcement of "We've decided to... ... ... (an eternity elapses)... match" before I had to run off and do some stuff, but it sounds like it was a good day for Darcy.

I listened to the press conference when I got home from work on the Buffalo News website. I don't know if it was a good day for Darcy (although you're right that he deserves one), but it was a good day for me. Why? Our friend Bucky didn't even know that you can only extend a player on a multiyear deal in the last year of his contract. Now I can understand a fan not knowing it, but this guy is paid to know that stuff, and he wanted to know if Darcy was going to work on extending Crunchy, who has two years left on his deal.

Needless to say, I enjoyed Darcy telling Bucky how wrong he was. Also, needless to say, my hatred of Bucky is reaching BfloBlog levels and that just can't be healthy. I do such a decent job of ignoring his columns and yet I still have to put up with him in press conferences? The world is not fair.

Heather B. said...

I suppose I can't really blame Thomas for going for the big bucks. I just would've liked for him to hear what the team had to offer. That said, they were clearly willing to give Chris 7 million and I'd say it's better invested in Thomas who is much younger and has the ability to change a game by himself.

Gambler, I also couldn't help but really like the kid after listening to his interview on WGR. He seemed very excited about Buffalo and the team and genuinely touched that someone would invest that much money in him. He sounded so innocent though and I hope someone really sat and talked with him about what getting this kind of contract so young is going to do to the level of expectations. I have a good feeling about him.

So overall, despite some mixed feelings at first, I'm feeling pretty good. We have a 23-year-old kid who scored 40+ goals in his second season locked up for 7 years. There are worse things, you know?

I would say it was a good day for Darcy. Unlike the last press conference, he sounded confident and upbeat about the signing and its importance to the future of the team and suitably angry with Edmonton and Lowe.

And I hate to beat a dead horse, but what the hell is Bucky's problem? Does the Buffalo News realize how idiotic he makes himself and them look? Geez.

Heather B. said...

Oh, Gambler, I meant to agree that I think Thomas did sign the offer expecting the Sabres to match it. In fact, I think he would've been devastated if they hadn't. He seemed very sincere when talking about how much he loved the city, the organization, and his teammates.

Kate said...

Dear Thomas Vanek,

You are a fetus. All of this money is too soon. Do you know that? It's TOO SOON! But, you lucked out and now you're rich....really, really rich.

Listen to me.

Are you listening?

This town is going to expect insane things from you, things you couldn't possibly deliver. People are going to expect you to be both Briere and Drury AND Vanek. It's okay if you can't be all of those guys. It's okay. BUT YOU ALWAYS HAVE TO TRY YOUR HARDEST. Do you get that? You can't get lazy or apathetic. You have to always convince us that the thing you want MOST in the world, is to deliver a championship to Buffalo. If you do that, if you convince us you want it as much as we do, everything will be okay.

It's not going to be easy, but I believe in you.

Sincerely,
Katebits

Gambler said...

Heather, I think Vanek would have been really really disappointed if he had ended up in Edmonton. His shiny new contract would have helped ease the pain certainly, but I think he would have missed us.

I was so happy to hear him say on the radio, multiple times, what a great goaltender Crunchy is, and how that gives him faith in this team. After the slurping Drury gave a certain goalie he hopefully won't be playing with next year (pleasepleaseplease), I think that's what Crunchy needed to hear.

Kate, you're funny. Not that it's any laughing matter, really. Vanek has a little bit of a reputation for being lazy and taking shifts off, and if he wants to avoid fans' ire, not to mention locker room tensions, that has to stop like yesterday. I believe in him though. He'll step it up.

Schnookie said...

Schnookie, I don't understand how you can blame Vanek for signing.

I'm a total contract prude. I totally understand why guys jump for the vulgar dollar amounts, but it just drives me nuts, especially on teams with tight budgets, or teams without a lot of flexibility with the cap. There's only so much to go around, dudes. If you want the maximum salary, that's great, but who do you think your team's going to be able to sign to skate with you? Marty Brodeur and Scott Stevens both actually said that when they signed for less than market value with the Devils -- "This is still a lot of money, and now the team has more left over to keep my quality teammates in town." So basically, I completely understand why Vanek signed the offer sheet, but I still think he's a doofus for doing so. Especially now that he's got all of Buffalo ready to pounce on his every mistake, he's pissed off his management and his teammates can't help but resent him. Doofus, doofus, doofus.

KMS2 said...

I'm not going to comment on Vanek because I think everyone else did a fine job. Back to the sounds of the game:

Heather, I completely agree with you about the "ping" the puck makes when it hits the post/crossbar. But instead of trying to recreate the sound myself I instead rewind the play over and over and over again while saying to my boyfriend, "DID YOU HEAR THAT?!"