Wednesday, April 9, 2008

This and That

- The draft lottery might very well be the dumbest thing I've ever watched on TV. Where were the balls? Where was the ball spinner mcdoohickey? Where was Gary Bettman cranking the handle with that ridiculous smile? And what's with the whole "One team can win the lottery but not win the first pick" thing? No! I get what they're saying but if you don't win the first pick you did not win the lottery. Winning the right to move from fourteen to ten is not winning the lottery. And worst of all, nothing changed! The teams ended up in exactly the same order they would've been in if they'd been lined up by record. Why don't we just do it that way every year, NHL? Because once upon a time Ottawa really wanted Alexandre Daigle? I'm officially not a fan of the NHL draft lottery.

- Mark emailed me a couple days ago to tell me about a Larry Felser column that he thought I'd enjoy. When I went to pull it up on my laptop it came up as blocked. That's right. In my desperation to avoid certain Buffalo News sports columnists, I actually blocked the URL. Porn? That'll come through just fine. Bucky Gleason? BLOCKED! (Yes, I am pathetic.) (Oh, and for the record, Sabres Edge technically has a different URL than TBN so I've been able to access that. I do sometimes wish there was a way to block out the comments because there's where I usually get into trouble. Although I've been better lately. Really.)

- Another day, another article full of annoying quotes from Brian Campbell. I won't go into a lot of detail now because I ranted and raved about Kate and I discussed one of the quotes in an upcoming episode of SabreCast. But I will say that Brian Campbell is officially dead to me which is really bumming me out. I know I spent most of the season here disparaging his play and contract demands but it wasn't anything personal. And while I think he's probably just talking and talking without really thinking about what he's saying or how it might come across to other people, he's really getting on my nerves and it's really genuinely upsetting me. Kate also reminded me that I said not that long ago, "If Brian Campbell isn't a True Sabre, no one is." Which is sad in many different ways.

- If you haven't watched the interviews up on from locker clean out day, I highly recommend them. The boys all look depressed and down in the mouth - as well they should - and Ryan Miller even says, "We're embarrassed." It totally stinks that they're not in the playoffs but I think maybe it really will be a good thing in the long-run for them to miss out after playing so badly for a lot of the season. I've been saying that for a while but I have to admit, I wasn't entirely sure I believed it. It was more of a comfort thing. But all of them said some variation of, "We've always made the playoffs even in Rochester. I don't like the feeling of not being in the playoffs and I don't ever want it to happen again." They looked and sounded disappointed.

But! They all also sounded really determined to make next season a better one and they were a little defiant to even the slightest implication that the team is lacking in talent and they were even a little defensive of management. Pommers praised Brian Campbell's abilities and said there weren't many d-men in the league like him but said he felt the team made the right choice in trading him. Paul Gaustad said he liked the direction of the team and felt like the organization had the right idea. Ryan said, "I like talking to Larry Quinn," which you know made some of those reporters gasp and jump back in horror. I realize that most players are not going to stand at their locker on the last day of a disappointing season and lambaste their teammates or management but I also don't think they're going to go out of their way to say such positive things if they don't mean them and feel them on some level. I'm really glad to see that the Sabres, as a group, sounded disappointed but determined and even a little chippy. That's what I was hoping to see out of them this season but maybe they needed a year to flounder first. Guess we'll find out next season.

- Teppo Numminen's interview was a breath of fresh air. He looks great - the haircut is perfect, Teppo - and he was smiling and laughing throughout. And he wants to come back to the Sabres which totally tickled me because one, I so want him to come back and two, everyone seemed pretty determined that he be too upset to come back.
Are you done here, Teppo?
No, I really love Buffalo. Coming back here would be my first choice.
Are you bitter about the suspension?
Nah. Business is business. The team was supportive of my case and situation. No hard feelings on my part.
Yay, Teppo!

- Last night I had to think all the way through the playoffs for another playoff pool I'm in - an old-fashioned fill out the brackets pool - so for the record, here are my official picks. I have Minnesota and Detroit in the WCF and Montreal and Pittsburgh in the ECF with Detroit beating Montreal in the SCF. And then the Red Wings will celebrate their Stanley Cup by wooing Ryan Miller to Detroit. (Just kidding. Ryan Miller is not going to be a Red Wing.) (For the record, you should not be placing money on my picks. In case you were tempted.)


Katie said...

Glad I found you on TWC, Heather; this blog is great!

Did you get to read the Felser column yet? I loved FINALLY hearing someone with sense write a piece about the promising future of the team!

I, too, was ecstatic to hear the Teppo wants to come back. He's just so steady and dependable that even if he was 100 I'd want him leading our "baby D" next season.

Thanks for pointing out the interviews from especially loved that Goose talked about the organization's competitive direction, which seems quite the opposite of a former player's "they're not committed to winning." I think I'll choose to believe the Goose.

Speaking of Grier...that Campbell piece really depressed me for some reason. He was one of my favorites, less as a player and more as a person. Now, I feel like a jaded girlfriend who just wants him to miss me, and here he is talking about how happy he is. Miss us, dammit!

Meg said...

Your mentioning playoff pools reminds me that I completely forgot to set my team for your fantasy challenge. We'll, uh, just write this week off as a loss then. (Now I totally have an excuse for coming in last.) I suck.

In happier news though (for me that is) I totally loved Battle of Alberta's Matt writing, "even if I were inclined to do so, I wouldn't want to say 'Brian Campbell has improved the Sharks' team defense'." in a post and supporting it with stats. I love it when people use stats to tell me what I want to hear.

Also, that's hilarious that you actually went so far as to block the URL to the Buffalo News. I love it!

S.A.M. said...

hey our conf finals and Cup final almost match! I have Detroit and Minnesota in the west, and Montreal and Washington in the east. BUt I have Montreal winning it all. (though I'd prefer the Wings, they are still my boys)

either we're great or totally off.. only time will tell!

now I've got to watch some interviews!

amy said...

I'm now trying to figure out which Campbell quote killed him forever for you.

Heather B. said...

Katie, I'm glad you found your way over here. I haven't read the Felser column yet but I am planning to. I have to admit, as much admiration as I had for him as a player, I never really warmed up to Grier. I think maybe just because we didn't see as much of him as other players. I know what you mean about wanting players to miss us though!

Meg, maybe someone else will get zero points this week? No? :P And you'll be shocked to know that I also enjoy that quote from Battle of Alberta. Like you, I love stats when they prove my opinion to be correct :-D

Sam, I like Washington but I don't know if they have enough to get out of the second round this season. We'll see!

Amy, I'd tell you but I don't want to ruin SabreCast episode 3. (Coming soon!) I wasn't fond of the article in general but there was one remark that really got under my skin. And Kate totally instigated me because I hadn't seen it until she pointed it out.

Anne M said...

At this point, my feeling about Campbell is that I should have stuck with my original opinion of him, which was pretty much to hate him. He pissed me off when he was an Amerk; he pissed me off when he became a Sabre regular; I gave him a break when he seemed to turn it around (he even made it onto my list of possible jerseys, shocking all who had heard me rant about him for four years). But he proved me right in the end.

I did watch most of the videos, but I had to stop Pominville's because I watched them all in a row and I was sick of hearing "what about missing Briere and Drury?" I'll have to go back and watch that later. Anyway, I was pleased that many players, particularly Teppo, recognize that hockey is a business and everyone involved is a big boy who makes his choices.

TheSharpie said...

Reading that Teppo still wants to play in Buffalo and has no hard feelings made my day, which is a pretty big feat today since I had a great day with which to start. With Teppo bringing his veteran leadership to the team I'm looking forward to great things next year. I agree that missing the play-offs may be what this team needs (I commented on my opinion of dynasty teams a few posts back on my Sabres blog), though yes, it still sucks as a fan. Thanks to you I'm going to watch those interviews instead of going to sleep like I should.

Heather B. said...

I was pleased that many players, particularly Teppo, recognize that hockey is a business and everyone involved is a big boy who makes his choices.

Yeah, I liked that too. When someone said something about the Sabres not wanting to keep guys, I was glad that Ryan immediately jumped in and said that he thought it wasn't the Sabres didn't want any of those guys so much as it ws that what the Sabres wanted and what the players wanted didn't jibe.

And while it's totally off-subject I cracked up when he responded to Bucky's question about losing all the smart players with, "I wouldn't say Danny, Dru, and Soupy are the smartest guys in the league." He immediately backed off it by saying he wasn't trying to be mean but in my version he was thinking, "Seriously, you saw Soupy's choices in the defensive zone, right?"

Sharpie, this is all assuming the Sabres want to bring Teppo back but I'm hoping they're planning on it. And I'm sorry to have messed up your sleep plans :-D

Anne M said...

I liked that Miller also seemed to hint at criticizing Campbell for talking about his negotiations in the media. It bugs me that not many people have commented on that, so I was glad that he outright said he wouldn't be discussing that stuff with "you guys." How will Bucky ever tell us about the 5 years for $25 million deal Miller would have signed if Miller won't tell him about it??

Heather B. said...

Anne, that bothers me too especially in this regard: Management always said, "We don't negotiate during the season because it's a distraction" and people said, "That's ridiculous. These guys are adults. They can separate business from hockey." So they negotiate with Campbell all season and it's a TOTAL distraction for him and everyone else. So... maybe management was kind of right? (Granted, if you're not going to negotiate during the season, you should probably talk earlier rather than later but that bugged me all season. Clearly, Campbell was not capable of separating business from hockey.)

Katie said...

Heather, I'm glad you laughed at Miller's comments about our "smart" players, too. I was in my car, and it made me smile my whole ride to school.

It never fails to make me happy to hear Ryan put Bucky in his place, and to hear him bring those guys down a few pegs made it even better.

twoeightnine said...

$25/5 $25/5 $25/5

I think that's going to be my next jersey.


Heather, it's also not cool to tell us about an article and then not provide a link to it, even if you can't read it. Now I have to go poke around the BN site which is one of the worst designed news sites out there. If I click on a Bucky link there will be blood.

Heather B. said...

289, you're so right! I apologize! I didn't read it when Mark mentioned it and then I couldn't find it when I looked later. (You're also so right that TBN website is confusing to navigate.) If you accidentally bump into Bucky I will take the blame.

twoeightnine said...

Campbell just got pwned. He's such a good defensive player.

twoeightnine said...

I'm guessing it's this one.

Katie said...


Yep - that's the article. I love how he calls out the "cranky" attitudes, which we all know is a code word for Bucky and Jerry Sullivan.

And I just saw that Campbell play, too! At first I felt bad, but that went away after like 0.2 seconds. That, ladies and gentlemen is a $7 million defenseman...or not...

Tessa said...

Campbell just got pwned. He's such a good defensive player.

That play sure brought back some memories...

Go Flames. :)

Lee Andrew said...

As far as I know the NBA is the only other league that does a draft lottery and they don't show anybody drawing teams from the spinning doohickey either. Somebody does it ahead of time and then puts cards in envelopes and gives them to the commish. He then opens them up one by one like he's about to announce the winner of the Oscar. It's pretty lame. There are also rarely teams that move up. Even the year that Patrick Ewing went to the Knicks and everybody said it was a conspiracy they were only 2 games worse than the last place team.