Just kidding! It's totally nice to be missed. I have been working on a really
We've been out during the other Sabres games this week but tonight we were in. (My little brother cooked dinner and hey, he can cook! Who knew?) Yes, that's right, my family was introduced to the glory that is Rick Jeanneret calling a hockey game. I had it on my laptop in my bedroom but WGR kept coming in and out so I hobbled into my brother's room and put it on in his room too. So everyone on the second floor - all of us for most of the night - could hear it and my little brother even pretended to be somewhat interested. While I miss watching the games with Mark - especially ones like tonight's - being far away gave me the opportunity to ring him when the Sabres scored which I don't often get to do since we're usually in the same room when that happens.
I know I've mentioned this before but when I was working my part-time job at the grocery store I really enjoyed sitting out in the car during my break and listening to the game on the radio. I'd lean the seat back, close my eyes, and soak it up for a bit. Hockey is a great radio game anyway because it's one of the few sports you can really hear even when you're not seeing it - the skate blades cutting through the ice, bodies banging against the boards, shots ringing of crossbars, the crowd chanting - but Rick really elevates it. He's just so fabulous at getting across the pace and emotion of the game and probably could make a snoozer at least sound good. Harry Neale doesn't really have the TV/radio simulcast thing down - there were a few times he'd make a comment like "look at that" without explaining what he was talking about - but RJ more than makes up for it. Nothing goes without explanation. There was one point where the crowd starting booing for some reason and RJ immediately jumped in with, "The crowd is looking at a replay on the big board and they don't like it" and then explained what the replay was (some guy taking a hack at Danny Paille's legs). I'm just going to be so sad when RJ retires. I don't want it to ever happen.
I vote for Paille to get benched every six or seven games by the way. He tore it up after his last benching and he's doing it again now. Man, alive. Part of me is a little exasperated with the team. Why oh why can't they play this hard and look this good every night? Why? Why are they still insisting on coasting through so much of the average game? Let's face it, we've seen this before. They explode for a big night, go on a little streak, and then put it back in neutral. But mostly I'm glad to see them fighting at least. They've put themselves in a hole and really they deserve to be on the outside looking in right now. But if they miss the playoffs - if! - then I'd much rather see them fighting than looking like they're just ready for the season to wrap up.
Somebody help me out with a report of the defensive babies. I know they were all pluses or evens but how'd they look?
Oh, yeah, I'm too lazy to look right now but I think I might have accidentally left Erik Cole off my "Don't let it be that guy" list. Ugh, I can't stand that guy. I know I'm supposed to be all sympathetic about him breaking his neck and I am definitely glad he's okay and playing hockey again but for a guy who almost had his career ended and screamed that Orpik should have had the book thrown at him, dude is dirty.
For the record, vacation has been really great. "Family" here consists of my mom and my brothers Chris (ten years older) and Lee (two and a half years younger). I have another brother (11 years older) but John and his wife and son (Luke, see post below) live in Florida. Both Chris and Lee live with my mom so we're all under the same roof. My mom and usually one of the boys visit us in Buffalo every summer but it's been a few years since I got down here so it's been really nice visiting the old haunts. Outside of the sudden death of my dad when I was young (I was 4) I had a fantastic childhood/adolescence. My mom is crazy awesome and I'd gladly hang out with all my brothers even if we weren't related. (When we went out today Chris wore a Monty Python Black Knight shirt and Lee wore a Thundercats shirt. I flipped out when Chris showed me a link to a Han Solo in carbonite desk. We, by the way, talked about making a Han in carbonite coffee table, complete with little cupholders where his hands are years ago. I think that all about sums up how cool we are.) I've been sleeping in my old bedroom (though I keep hearing it referred to as "Luke's room") which is kind of strange but cool. I slept here for the first time as a six or seven month infant and for the last time the night before I got married (we kick it the traditional way in the Henderson family) so there are a ton of memories here. I'll be honest, growing up I couldn't wait to get out of Alabama but it turns out I like it after all. (Insert sappy "Sweet Home Alabama indeed" comment here.)
Before I sign off for the night, I just want to give a Top Shelf glove tap to a couple of people. War Penguin, a Penguins fan who was at the game Wednesday night, was kind enough to email me all the photos he or she took of Henrik Tallinder that night. How awesome is that? And regular commenter Sam, of the newly minted blog Face First Into the Boards, was kind enough to offer to pick me up a Henrik Tallinder pin on Monday since I'll still be in Birmingham. I was kind of refusing the pins since I was super annoyed with the Buffalo News at the time they started (I also have nightmare memories of working at Tops when the coins were out last year) but what can I say, I'm totally weak. It would seem that a lot of people think of me when they think of Hank and vice versa. I wonder why that is? (Thanks, guys!)