Wednesday, April 2, 2008

God Bless Marty, Sid, and Geno

Here at the B. Household we have plain ol' ordinary cable. No dish, no digital cable, no Center Ice. (One of us has pleaded for all of the above but the other one of us is constantly pointing out things like, "Hey, that's kind of expensive and we have no money." I'll let you sort out which is which.) I'm far too lazy to actually leave the house and go to a sports bar (and I also fear I would have to kick the ass of the first drunk guy who yells, "Why don't you just retire already, Tallinder?!") so tonight I scoreboard watched the old-fashioned way. I fired up the laptop and watched Yahoo Live refresh every thirty seconds.

(Side note: I love that that's now the lame way to watch a game from afar. If you went back in time and told my 14-year-old self that some day I'd be able to sit at a computer in Birmingham and watch a pitch-by-pitch account of a Pirates game as it was happening I never would've believed you. If you'd told me that the Pirates had just enjoyed their last winning season for at least the next fifteen years - we're still counting! - I wouldn't have believed that either. But at least they got the most beautiful park in the country out of the deal. But I digress...)

Seriously, so beautiful it looks fake.

Anyway, it was kind of fun. It's totally absurd but I really enjoyed watching the Boston-NJ game go to a shootout - just like I said it would - and then trying to figure out if Boston getting that loser point was going to kill us or not. (If I have it figured out correctly, we can still catch them if they lose out and we win out because we'd have the second tie-breaker over them.) And it was totally fun watching Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin take on the Flyers. Granted, I'm sure part of the reason I enjoyed it is because nothing happened to eliminate us which means there's still a chance! It's a small and preposterous chance, but it's a chance nonetheless.

I don't care though. I'm delusional. I know we still have to beat Montreal which is dicey (although we totally had them over the barrel before we gave up 18 goals in 30 seconds) and I know the Capitals or the Canes, both of whom seem to be playing really well right now, have to bottom out. (Maybe. I'm actually not real clear on that part.) I know Ottawa has to pull themselves together and beat Boston which seems unlikely. It's a long, endless string of events, most of which we have no control over. But I don't care.

I don't listen to a ton of WGR but I happened to catch a bit of a conversation Schopp and the Bulldog were having a couple of days ago about how there are a lot of sports fans who throw in the towel on their teams because it's easier and they have this notion that it's cooler to sneer and say, "They're never going to pull it out" then to be hopeful and then have it not work out. They compared it to the kids in school who don't study that hard because they think it's cooler to not care about their grades.

Well, in case you guys haven't noticed, I am decidedly not one of those people. I would much, much rather hope the Sabres win and end up being wrong than expect them to lose and end up being right. I try to be all reasonable and intelligent but I'm not. I'm really not. I haven't been able to make myself write anything that even suggests the Sabres are going to be done playing in a few days because I just can't do it. I cannot make my fingers type the words "Here's who I'm cheering for in the playoffs" (um, except for that time) because I can't think about it until the final nail is in the coffin. For now, we live to fight another day. As frustrating at this whole "let's drag this out until the last day of the season" thing is, it sure beats watching games that don't matter at all.

I kept meaning to mention this and I'd forget but I'm going to throw it out there now. A few games ago - I think it was the last Boston game - MSG showed a stat that amazed me. Since the All-Star break Derek Roy and Jason Pominville have been outscored only by Alexander Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin. Ovechkin and Malkin, in case you haven't noticed, have been tearing it up in the second half but there are little Roy-Z and Pommerdoodle nipping at their heels. I love that stat. I love it. If it were possible to marry a stat and have its baby, I would choose that stat. I've always liked Derek Roy a lot but I've especially enjoyed watching him the last few games. I was really tickled to see him get his own little video feature during the other night.

(My favorite part is when he says, "That's one of my strong suits. Making plays and scoring goals and getting points and doing that and playing defense." Derek, man, that's way more than one thing. But you're good at all of them so we'll let your math skills slide.)

(Dude, that video is trying to eat my blog!)


Lee Andrew said...

Woohoo! I scoreboard watched tonight too. 13 - 0. Go Mets!

Jennifer said...

I have never cheered so hard for non-Sabres teams before. I was constantly flipping channels back and forth. I don't know what's come over me, I just don't do that.

Heather, I too will not throw in the towel. As long as there is the slightest chance, I will NOT give up hope.

Meg said...

We can't catch Carolina now, so what they do doesn't matter. To make the playoffs the Sabres need to win out and then two of the following three things need to happen:

1) Boston gets 0 points in their next 2 games

2) Philadelphia needs to get no more than 1 point in their final 2 games

3) Washington needs to get no more than 1 point in their final 2 games

Boston and Philly can wind up with 92 points because if the Sabres win out they'll have the tiebreaker. Washington can only get 91 because they have the tiebreaker over the Sabres.

Hey, according to Sports Club Stats the Sabres have almost a 4% chance of making it. That's totally better than yesterday. :D

coolman856 said...

I will admit it, I threw in the towel. I just dont think with the way that this team plays and its inconsistencies that they could do this. Hopefully, they can pull this out tonight because if they win tonight and it is setup for Saturday then I would relax more.

Anne said...

Two things:

1. Sabres videos have serious self-importance issues. They cause whatever page their on to INSTANTLY jump to them when it's opened

2. While I secretly hope against hope that they can squeak in,my focus is mainly on the Senators missing the playoffs. This is a pro-Sabres self preservation techniquie. And I'm also pro-Pens, and them winning only helps us.

Vanek's Hair said...

Do not be afraid of sports bars. Perhaps because I generally hang out at a bar that is full "newbie" Sabre fans who treat me as the "Hockey Yoda." I get lots of questions (What does icing mean?) But I have found that the "bar fan" is much more tolerable than the person who sits behind me at HSBC (regardless of what section I end up in). Don't get me started on that guy. "SHOOOOOOOOOT!!!!!!" "I wish they would trade (insert Kalinin, Afinogenov or Kotalik here) because he is an absolute waste"

Nice shot of PNC Park. It really is a great place to watch a game. I have been once and really enjoyed it.

Jennifer said...

vanek's hair - "I get lots of questions (What does icing mean?)"

What do you tell them, it's that stuff that you put on cakes??? Just kidding, "Hockey Yoda".

Vanek's Hair said...

Jennifer - No, I tell them (quoting Dave Barry) it is a hockey rule, that as far as I can tell, involves the ice.

I very much enjoy talking with all the people who are trying to learn hockey. THey are all genuinely interested in learning the game. I don't know why I have become the bar's official hockey expert. But they frequently tell me "Wow, you know a lot about hockey" I sure hope I can continue to keep them fooled.

Heather B. said...

Lee: Go Mets!

Meg: Okay, I had the Caps in my brain so I got that. The Canes were confusing me. But now I don't have to worry about them so that works for me.

Coolman: Intellectually, I know you're right. Even if they make the playoffs, they're going to get trounced if they keep playing for 50 minutes. But I just can't SAY, "They're not going to do it" or worse "I hope they don't do it." (Which I get is NOT what you're saying.)

Anne: A small part of me was hoping that Philly would lose, keeping us in, but that Boston would win so I could, with no internal conflict, cheer for them to beat the Sens in their game. Because I would really enjoy watching the Sens lose out and miss the playoffs on the last day of the season.

Vanek's Hair: I'm not a big bar person - I don't drink and I hate small spaces crammed with people - but I am glad to hear they're a little less obnoxious than the fans who inevitably end up sitting behind you at games.

The friends I sometimes go to the games with think I'm really, really smart and it really boils down to me knowing everyone's jersey numbers. They were upset because I had to skip a game a bunch of Rochester guys played in and I wasn't there to tell them who everyone was.

Hey, according to Sports Club Stats the Sabres have almost a 4% chance of making it. That's totally better than yesterday. :D

It's double our chances a mere two days ago. We're so in!

Jennifer said...

vanek's hair - well, your worshipers are lucky to have you. It has taken me forever to learn what little I have and I was thrilled when I could actually spot an off-side or a penaly BEFORE/WHILE the whistle was being blown. Before that I kept compaining about how many times they kept stoping the game.

Meg said...

Because I would really enjoy watching the Sens lose out and miss the playoffs on the last day of the season.

This would have been fun except for the fact that there is no possible way for the Sabres to make the playoffs while the Sens miss. No matter what happened the Sens still would have ended up ahead of the Sabres.

danielleia said...

That music they play in the background in the Roy video doesn't really seem to fit. Maybe it does and I'm being weird, but something seems off.

I try not to give up hope on the Sabres, they seem to like proving people wrong!

Heather B. said...

This would have been fun except for the fact that there is no possible way for the Sabres to make the playoffs while the Sens miss.

Well, darn. I guess I'll just have to be happy with the Sens slinking off after a first round sweep. I can live with that.

Amy said...

I try not to give up hope on the Sabres, they seem to like proving people wrong!

Its their way of giving a one fingered salute to the doubters.

Heather, that shot of PNC Park is gorgeous. I love when you can actually see the city behind a ballpark. You feel like you're a part of something, and not just sitting in a concrete canyon next to a highway on-ramp.

Vanek's Hair said...

Jennifer - Noticing little things over time is a fun part of watching sports. Understand, I am far from an expert. One of my friends, who I took to his first game, thought Andrew Peters was awesome because he had the most PIMs. I had to explain that PIM is not short for points. I know he wouldn't mind me recounting that story. It was one of my favorite game experiences, as he looked through the program and turned to me and said "Wow, so Peters is their best player, huh?"

Jennifer said...

Vanek - Oh, I know. I've learned so much over the past year. I have a friend (who actually plays hockey) that I email once in a while and he has enlightened me with some of his experience and wisdom. He is actually the person that introduced me to the Sabres (even though I'm from "redneck" country). Thanks D!

And that is SO funny about Peters. Buffalo's best player? NOT!!! By the way, whatever happened to him?

Heather B. said...

Amy, PNC really is a great place to watch a baseball game. (Which makes it all the more unfortunate that the Pirates have to be one of the teams involved in every game.) I love that there's a bridge in the background because they're my favorite thing about downtown Pittsburgh.

I'll consider myself a full-fledged hockey genius once I understand why guys get kicked out of the face-off circle. As it is now, I have no idea.

Jennifer said...

HeatherB - The way it was explained to me is that they "go after" the puck too early (before it's dropped). I still don't entirely understand it though.

Vanek's Hair said...

I play hockey. Not well, but I play. I only started a few years ago, but it has helped IMMENSELY with my understanding of the game.

As for the faceoff, it is basically just random mood swings of the official. A few years back, the NHL implemented a rule that no more than 30 seconds could elapse between the whistle and the dropping of the puck. I loved it. It ended all the farting around (can I say farting around?) before the the drop. Oh well, typical NHL, eliminate a good thing.

Jennifer said...

I have hard enough time standing on my own 2 feet without falling sometimes, so I don't think I would do well on ice skates. I would love to learn how, but you know that saying: "you can't teach an old dog new tricks", well sometimes that is correct.

See, sometimes your first instinct is right. I always thought that someone was running their mouth and pissed off the official.

Vanek's Hair said...

Jennifer - You can teach an old dog new tricks. I did not know how to skate five years ago. Then, after consuming a few too many adult beverages (which, good or bab, is the preface to much of my life) I bet someone I could skate and play hockey. So now, here I am, playing three times a week. It is an absolute blast.

Heather B. said...

As for the faceoff, it is basically just random mood swings of the official.

That's kind of what I suspected. (I am a full-fledged hockey genius!) (Just kidding.)

Jennifer said...

Congrats Heather!

Amy said...

As for the faceoff, it is basically just random mood swings of the official.

And I do know that the road team must put their stick down first, and then the home team. Though what that really has to do with how to win a faceoff, I just don't know. Its like good hockey etiquette instead of a rule that makes sense.

Lee Andrew said...

I don't know what you're talking about. The Pirates are a .500 team. They only need to go 80 - 80 the rest of the season to break their losing season streak.

danielleia said...

"Its their way of giving a one fingered salute to the doubters."


Vanek's hair- you don't by chance play hockey at the old sabreland do you? And I must tell you, every time I see your name, I think of when Vanek was drafted. That horrible blonde mess.

TheSharpie said...

I refuse to give up on any play-off hopes, after all this is Buffalo, which is known for sports flukes, and not all bad. (remember the greatest comeback in NFL history? That game is the reason my friend NEVER leaves a game before it is over, no matter how much the losing team is down by.)

Because I'm a nerd this is where I go when I have a question about a hockey rule --

That's right, I look it up in the official NHL rule book.

From rule 76.3 (face-off procedure):
"... At the end of five (5) seconds (or sooner if both centers are ready), the Linesman will conduct a proper face-off. If however:

i) One or both centers are not in position for the face-off,

ii) One or both centers refrain from placing their stick on the ice,

iii) Any player has encroached into the face-off circle,

iv) Any player makes contact with an opponent, or

v) Any player is in an offside position,

the Linesman shall have the offending center(s) replaced immediately prior to dropping the puck."

Now Heather can declare herself an official hockey genius. (And maybe the rest of us too.)

Heather B. said...

I don't know what you're talking about. The Pirates are a .500 team. They only need to go 80 - 80 the rest of the season to break their losing season streak.

Funny :P Also, when that actually happens, we'll celebrate. For now,I wouldn't bet my house, car, dog or children on it.

Really, my main problem with face-offs is that while I do kind of sort of know the rules (thanks for the breakdown, Sharpie because I didn't know a couple of those), I don't recognize a violation when it happens and I'm left scratching my head about why Goose got tossed from the circle again.

S.A.M. said...

I think the faceoff thing is a total power trip on the official's part. and yes, that's a technical term! ;)

Good for Royzie, getting some press during the game the other night and an article on today- Way to step up buddy! (even if you're "one" strong suit is about 4 heeheee)

As for being a hockey genuis, I like to watch hockey with my dad, because HE asks ME what is going on, which is what I have to do to him for technical stuff during football or baseball games. LOL It makes me feel special. Also, if anyone is visiting our home during a Sabres game (and if a game is on, I'm probably watching it), I am the translator of all things hockey.

Beautiful shot of the Pirates park. I love the city in the background. Ya know who else has a nice place- the Cincinnati Reds- it overlooks the Ohio River and it's real neato. I have a pic I took from the cheap seats behind home plate a couple of summers ago, I'll try to dig it up and show ya. Great view of the game and the water. ;)

and it's fun to be a delusional hockey fan, it's part of what makes the game so fun.. when it comes down to the wire like this. I hope the boys can stay in it because at this point it would be a surprise! I'm still not over the negativity of the Buffalo media on the situation. grrr.

Playoff scenarios hurt my brain. We'll know one way or the other by Sunday..

and I think the livestats thing is AMAZING! Heck, I still thank my stars every day I have internet access to help my hockey addiction. I started watching hockey (and picked the Vancouver Canucks of all teams- only about 3,000 miles and 2 timezones away from me) to cheer for. Their games were seldom televised (at least after the 1994 playoffs which is when it started, i was spoiled by all that hockey!) and when they were I had to stay up all night (and go to school the next day) just to watch them! So I lived and died by boxscores in the newspaper (which could have cared less about hockey and half the time didn't even have the scores for the west coast games.) Phew. so YAY Yahoo live, and other refreshing scoreboards. I'm about to hook it up tonight since I'm not at home but still in Buffalo helping my brother-in-law at work.

I think I'm done now..

Go Sabres!