Thursday, January 24, 2008

Hockey Players Are Not Smart

Today I was put in the very uncomfortable position of agreeing with Jerry Sullivan. On his blog, Jerry informed us that one of the players approached John Vogl, one of the Sabres beat writers, and requested some positive, morale-building stories. (Thanks to Amy over at Shots Off the Crossbar for the link because I might have missed it otherwise. Hey, Amy, did you know shots off the crossbar were going to be a theme this season when you named your blog?)

First of all, why are you guys even looking at the media for encouragement? Are you crazy? Have you read the Buffalo News? I know this is my bias showing, but I haven't found them to be particularly positive even in the best of times. You really expect that to change now?

Second of all, are you kidding me? John Vogl is a REPORTER. He REPORTS what's happening in front of him. You're not really giving him a lot of good stuff to work with. If you want some positive press maybe you should try winning more than one game in a row. Maybe you could start by atleast looking like you care that you're not winning. Maybe you could try playing really, really hard for an entire sixty minutes. I'm a fan who desperately wants to be positive and I can't think of anything nice to say about you as a group. Not a single, solitary thing.

Third of all (watch out, I'm on a roll!), the Buffalo News has been pretty damn generous considering how crappy you're playing. They're (rightfully) criticizing Tom Golisano and Larry Quinn and letting you guys slide on a ton o' crap. They're harping on how much the losses of Chris Drury and Danny Briere have hurt you. They're giving the Sabres grief for getting backed into a corner on Thomas Vanek's contract and not completely ripping Vanek for signing a contract he clearly wasn't ready to handle mentally much less hockey-wise. They seem to just be getting around to you guys and you turning into whiny little boys is not very becoming.

Seriously, you guys are professional athletes. This is your job, it's what you're paid to do. (And quite well I might add. I'd love to see any of you do my job for my pay.) You're supposed to play for pride and your teammates and yourself and all that rah-rah crap. If you really need the local media to boost your morale, well, you're just not very good at this professional athlete thing. Time to grow up, boys. You said you could handle new roles and expectations. Stop talking and do it.

Gah! Do you guys have any idea how painful it is for me to side with THE BUFFALO NEWS?! It burns!

All that said, I'm dying to know who it was that approached Vogl because even if you are pissed off at negative attention, that just seems completely stupid. Even I know better. I've discussed this with quite a few people today and heard a few different opinions, but my money is on Brian Campbell. I don't know, he just strikes me as the type for some reason.

Jerry Sullivan is also running a Most Overrated Sabre poll. The five choices he gives us are Tim Connolly, Maxim Afinogenov, Ryan Miller, Thomas Vanek, and A Defenseman That Heather Is Choosing to Eliminate From Said Poll. When I voted at 2:12 a.m. Wednesday night/Thursday morning, Ryan Miller was leading with 30.5% of the vote which is harsh, man. I have to agree with Jerry (AGAIN!) that some of that is just the nature of his position. I know a lot of people who pretty much blame the goalie for everything. Ryan and Thomas have had rough seasons but I think they'll both be fine so I wouldn't call them overrated - underachieving maybe is a better word. Max drives me crazy but I think he does bring some positives, even when he's not scoring. There's no doubt that his speed does scare a lot of teams into backing off. He probably came into this season with a little too much hype considering that last year was the first year he's consistently finished. But no, I have to go with Tim Connolly. I like Timmy as a player. I really, really wanted him to be great this year. I believe that somewhere on this blog I made a prediction for his points output that would be pretty darn embarrassing now but at the time, I really believed it. I still think he has a lot of talent but it's looking more and more like the 2005-2006 season where he was both productive and reasonably healthy (until the playoffs) was an anomaly. Too bad.

My most disappointing Sabre of this season though is Derek Roy, but I'll save that for another because it's late and I'm tired. How about you guys? Who's your most overrated and/or disappointing Sabre?


Meg said... pick for most overrated Sabre is different then my pick for most disappointing, I think.

Campbell would be my choice for most overrated, I think, but I'm not disappointed in him because he's playing exactly how I expect him to play and how he's played for the majority of the last couple years. He is what he is and that makes him a valuable contributor to the team, but just not as valuable as some people make him out to be.

Most disappointing for me is Connolly or Vanek. Connolly because I had high, and in retrospect unrealistic, hopes for him. Vanek because I didn't expect him to struggle anywhere near this much.

Mark B said...

Overrated - Have to agree with the poll here. Ryan Miller. I still like Ryan but I've come to the conclusion that he's not a great goalie, but a slightly above average one.

Disappointed - Thomas Vanek. I was expecting him to carry this team. Maybe he just isn't ready for all the pressure yet but he's not that guy at this time.

Pookie said...

I cannot believe a Sabre complained to a beat writer about the negative press. If a Devil did that, he'd be traded to LA for a 10-lb catfish an hour later.

I'll agree with Meg that overrated and disappointing are two different things, and say that Soupy is most overrated, and personally, Staffy is most dissapointing (of course). I was expecting him to pick up where he left off, but it's taking him an awfully long time to get comfortable again considering how many games he played with the big club last year. Staffy stomp sadly.

Kate said...

Tim Connolly FOR SURE! I actually dislike watching him play.

Becky said...

Vanek as overrated, Miller as disappointing, although honorable mentions in both categories to Campbell.

My thoughts as I was reading this post -

The guys have been getting a pass on their play since before they even started. No Briere, no Drury, they're doomed, and it's all Quinn & Regier's fault.

That is so much BS! There is never any mention whatsoever of whose responsibility it is to play the game. Are they that willing to be labeled incompetent? Can't do it without 2 f**king guys?

Next time there's an optional practice, for the rest of their lives, maybe they ought to show up.

They don't need to put on a pretty show to impress the hometown fans. Just win, I'll be impressed.

PS - IMO the team started tanking after the All-Star break last year. Maybe this year it will reverse the process.

brian s. said...

Maxim, although he has some positives, has always been the most overrated for me. Too many turnovers, not enough goals. I also think Lazy Tom and Hank (sorry Heather, he was touted as a long-shot Norris candidate at the beginning of last year and hasn't lived up to that since getting hurt during the Carolina series) are up there with him.

As for most disappointing, this year it has been Vanek and Lydman this year.

On a positive note, I am extremely glad that Paille has played so well this year and is finally proving himself to be a capable NHL player.

Sam said...
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Sam said...

Most overrated= Vanek. I think he could be (and may one day become) so much more but he's not getting it done this year. Close 2nd place goes to Connoly. Don't see what's so great abotu this guy. he might have some moves, but he's never healthy enough to employ them so...

Disappointing= Afinogenov. We know he can do good things, but it wasn't happening this year for some reason. He skates better than anyone on the team, and has a good bit of puck control too. He's the only one who can actually pull off that fancy crap they all try to do. But he's not a very good team player. I'd forgive the unteamness if he was scoring. He's not.

and Roy? Well he's tied for team lead in goals, and 2nd in points. He could be better, but on a team full of slackers, at least he's getting something done.

Most surprising/inspiring? Paille- this kid is hot right now. He actually shows up and gets it done.

Hecht- Jochen has quietly gone out and scored 16 goals this year. He battles every night and actually seems to open his eyes and look for teammates when he has the puck instead of trying to always do it himself.

Mair nd Gaustad- tHey play hard every night. What more can you ask for?

Oh and it does sound like Campbell to whine to the media. Take it elsewhere Soupy. We're SICK of you crap. Can we please trade him? I'd take a box of used pucks for the dude and throw in Vanek too to make it worth the shipping.

I HATE HATE HATE whiny professional athletes. They get paid insane amounts of money to PLAY A GAME. (and right now they are barely doing that) and they have the nerve to ask the media to present their slacking, lazy play of late in a better light? HA!


ALl that being said, I think tonight could be the turnaround. Go Sabres! ;) (hope (delusion?) springs eternal... )

Okay I'm done. Let's talk about books again.. it is better for my blood pressure. heh heh