According to my stat tracker, I've been getting an increased number of page views over the last couple of weeks. Either the regulars are so anxious to hear something new from me that they're re-loading the page over and over (that's a joke, regulars) or some new people are wandering this way.
If you're new to Top Shelf, welcome! Feel free to poke around, read some old posts, and leave comments. If you're looking for the best place to start, I'd recommend checking out a series of posts I wrote called Why I Love Hockey. I started Top Shelf a few weeks before last season ended - yeah, I don't know why - which left we with a lack of actual hockey to talk about. It turned out to be a very active off-season in Buffalo but it was also a very tumultuous one. There were endless weeks of he said/he said, debates about who screwed up what, panicking fans, and a lot of anger and frustration, some of it genuine, much of it fueled by the increasingly shrill and narrow local media (my opinion, of course). If I hadn't stopped to think about why I love hockey, I might have forgotten I did.
I'll probably add to this series occasionally - there are a couple of things on the original list I sketched out that I never got around to - but it won't be as regular as it was this summer. For those of you just joining in, here's a list of all the reasons I've written about so far along with a link to each entry. If you asked me to narrow this list down to a few must-reads, I'd recommend Community (which is in the same post as Brian Campbell so you get a bonus reason), Lindy Ruff, Street Hockey, Goalie Fights, Henrik Tallinder, and LET'S GO BUFF-A-LO! I don't know that they're necessarily the best written (I like the Lindy entry a lot but I'm not sure I really captured what I wanted to about Hank) but I think those posts will give you a pretty good feel for the style and mood of Top Shelf along with some ideas of what I appreciate about hockey in general and the Buffalo Sabres specifically.
Thanks for checking things out! Here's the rest of the list:
Playoffs/The Stanley Cup
There's Always Somebody Else (Choosing and Losing Favorite Players)
Because Most People Don't
The Sounds of the Game
Line-Up Flexibility and Debatability
"Let's Go Buff-a-lo!"
Seeing Games in Person