Monday, December 22, 2008

Home Sweet Home

Well, here I am, safely ensconced in my childhood home, surrounded by warmth and love. After a day of visiting old haunts, followed by a dinner of real southern barbecue, I'm settled in on the couch and ready to share the beauty of hockey and the Buffalo Sabres with my little brother, long-time reader of this here blog.

Except none of that is true at all because I'm still in friggin' BUFFALO. Right now we're not scheduled to get out of here until Wednesday morning which means I'm only going to be in Birmingham half the day Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and half the day Saturday. That sucks. If I didn't really want my presents Golden Rule BBQ Chic-Fil-A to spend time with my beautiful family, I wouldn't even bother. Buffalo, I love you but sometimes I need time to be by myself. It's nothing personal.

Here's a glimpse of Top Shelf HQ as of this afternoon:

In addition to the change in travel plans I've managed to break my digital camera and my laptop cord is on its very last legs, my screen flickering as we speak. We're playing the increasingly obnoxious Penguins and we're doing it on Versus. I'm not in a good mood. So what better to do than live blog? Consider the above your Heather B. pregame show.


For some reason the volume on Versus is really out of whack. We have it jacked up full strength and we can barely hear it. Maybe God doesn't hate me, after all.

Joe Beninati informs us that, "As usual, everyone will be talking about Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin." At least he knows it?

I will give Versus a little credit for pointing out that Derek Roy has finally come to life. Sixteen points in the last 18 games is nothing to sneeze at. As much as I'd love to see Thomas Vanek stay on his current pace, he's more likely to have hot and cold streaks. Nice to have someone else scoring when he isn't.


19:46 You know who really hasn't been that noticeable in any of our games with Pittsburgh? Brooks Orpik. Funny that. I thought he was a GAME CHANGING DEFENSEMAN!

18:58 Well. Danny Paille scores on a wrister that went off either the goalie's skate or the d-man's skate. Nice. Just put it on the net and see what happens. Kate and I were giving Paille a really hard time at the game the other night so it's nice to see him do something.

14:58 The Versus team is actually spending quite a bit of time talking about Derek Roy. I'm... not sure what to make of that. They seem to have given the goal to Adam Mair but I'm not sure he was even on the ice so I'm refusing to give it to him. (Okay, he probably was on the ice but I like Paille more than Mair.)

14:10 Teppo makes an egregious pass up the middle of the ice. I love Teppo but I just want to be clear that it was not Hank. One of the announcers followed a discussion about Teppo's heart problems with a "Teppo just gave his team heart failure with that pass!" joke. I'm not sure if that's funny or not. (If Phil Kessel had tried to do that and the announcer had responded with, "Boy, that pass took a lot of balls!" THEN it definitely would've been funny.)

10:04 Hank poke checks the puck away from Crosby. Just wanted to point that out.

5:30 Lost a couple minutes answering the phone to talk to my mom. She's seems to have forgotten we were supposed to be watching the Sabres tonight and needed some suggestions for candy for Mark's stocking. (Kit Kat, Twix, O Henry which set us off on a discussion about whether they even make O Henrys anymore and what exactly is in one.) Anyway, the Sabres are on a power play due to an interference call.

4:10 Versus calls Vanek "smooth and graceful" and Sid "a rhino." I appreciate them trying to give Vanek a little love but I don't know about that description. I guess if we're talking about his hands I could go along with that. I can't believe some of the stuff he pulls off in small spaces. But watching him skate down the ice? Rhino on skates is actually pretty fitting. He's a big boy and not exactly swift

Usually I have a pretty low tolerance for commercials and I'm not super interested in the game itself, but I love the Winter Classic Take Me Out to the Ballgame commercial. Mark doesn't like it because "hockey isn't baseball" but I love the tip of the hat to Wrigley Field which is a huge part of the draw here. I grew up watching Harry Caray and the Cubs on WGN though so it's possible the spot just hits an emotional soft spot.

0:00 Period ends with the Sabres leading 1-0. A lot of back and forth but not a ton of chances thus far.


19:39 Satan (booooooooooooooooooooooooo!) goes to the box. Andrej Sekera makes a very nice cross-ice pass to Spacek and Vanek has a chance right in front of Fleury but nothing comes of either chance.

17:20 Malkin intercepts a pass and tries to breakaway but Sekera keeps up with him and pokes the puck away. He had a rough few games there so I'm glad to see him being a little less of a disaster tonight.

15:10 This is boring. I can't complain about Versus OR the officiating because neither has been particularly offensive tonight.

14:50 A while back I wrote about the Bermingham family's tradition of ringing for a goal. Basically when the Sabres score, Mark and his family call each other, let the phone ring once and then hang up. It's like a long distance high five and it's pretty fun. I think it's cute. Occasionally we pause the DVR for some reason and forget to catch up and someone rings us before we've actually seen the goal. It's like a message from the future. We just got one of those messages.

14:37 Hey, whadaya know? Ales Kotalik scores! And not on a slap shot. I didn't know he could do that. (Very nice little breakaway created by some hard work from Mair and Paille and a good wrist shot from Al.)

13:42 Pascal Dupuis makes it 2-1 Sabres. Hmmmm, I seem to have missed which defensive pairing was on the ice there...

12:23 We're encouraged to go to and get our Sabres into the All-Star Game and Beninati talks about how the game has "become a popularity contest." Become? Isn't that pretty much what it is? I quit caring about who makes All-Star teams a long time ago. It would also help if I didn't have to give the NHL all my personal information before casting a vote. Sorry, Versus. Not that interested.

9:46 Seriously, I think I might be falling asleep. I try to fast forward but unfortunately, we're really caught up now. Too bad.

Michel Therrien is interviewed on the bench. (You know the coaches love that.) After the Pens got drubbed by the Maple Leafs there were reports that Therrien responded to a question about a leadership void with, "It's Sid's team." That's awesome. That's up there with, "I think they're trying to be the worst defensive corp in the league." And then there were reports that Therrien didn't say that at all, the AP made a mistake. I'm just going to go on pretending he said it because again, awesome.

9:10 The Penguins somehow muff a 4-on-2. Good thing since I don't know what Ryan Miller was doing there. He just kinda... flopped over. Ah. Replay shows that his skate blade hit a rut or something and got stuck. That was funny.

7:37 Goligosky puts one in Miller's five hole (heh) to tie the game at 2. Ugh. I'm regretting this blog right about now. I don't like where this is going.

5:14 Andrew Peters and Goddard hug and then fall to the ice. Miraculously, Peters manages to not completely negate the penalty called against Pittsburgh. That would actually be my biggest complaint about Peters. Not only is he an ineffective enforcer, he's a stupid one. And while I like him more than Peters, that goes for Mair too. Getting a little tired of watching him take stupid penalties.

4:02 Clarke MacArthur scoops up a rebound right in front of Fleury to put the Sabres back on top 3-2.

3:01 Versus kind of sort of criticizes Sidney Crosby. It's a Christmas Miracle! Right on cue, Hank makes a nice pass up the ice and totally catches the Crosby line off-guard as they try to leave the ice. Stupid forwards can't convert though.

0:43 "Malkin can't get loose of Tallinder." I'm pretty sure Hank's the best player in the game tonight. (I'm kidding. Mostly.)

But hey, speaking of Hank, check out the snowman I made today:

The snow wasn't packing very well so I couldn't really get the chin right. But I think it's a pretty good resemblance otherwise, don't you?


19:01 Pittsburgh's only two points ahead of us? Wow, I didn't realize they'd come down to earth that hard.

18:11 Mark just said, "I can't believe we haven't had a single penalty called on us yet." Pretty sure he shouldn't have said that. (Power play? Ugh-worthy.)

12:31 I'm losing steam here. This game is not that good. The Penguins look pretty listless. No one except maybe Malkin looks particularly interested in winning. I would also like to know what's going on with Jochen Hecht who hasn't been on the ice in forever, but Versus is evidently not concerned.

9:23 Annnnd there's our penalty. Good job, Mark.

Versus teases their exclusive conversation with Wayne Gretzky. Is it just me or has this conversation been going on all season?

8:30 Pens tie it up on the power play. Good job, Mark.

I hate this game. Games with the Penguins are supposed to be fun and spunky. This game is boring, yo. This is one of the worst 3-3 games I've ever seen. I've had a terrible three days, one disaster piled on the next and this is what I get for entertainment? Bah humbug!

7:00 We get a graphic showing the Sabres home record for the past 4 seasons. It's gone from very good in 2005-2006 to absolutely abysmal now. One of the announcers says an elite team has to be able to take care of business at home. If our record was the reverse and we were great at home and terrible on the road, I'll bet he'd say elite teams have to take care of business on the road. I don't say that to pick on him, just to say that really, elite teams should be able to win in both places. I think you have to be wary about any team that wins almost all of its games exclusively on the road OR at home. Have I mentioned that I'm really, really bored?

4:00 Toni Lydman takes the body when Crosby tries to go to the net. Very nice. Crosby has no shots on goal tonight. Crazy. Toni Lydman has been the unsung hero of the Sabres this season. He's been hands-down our best d-man, I think. A cynic might look at the way the rest of out defense has played and said that's not much of a compliment (okay, I might have said that very thing to Kate last week) but he's been good. Any time Toni and Have have been split up in the past, it's been Toni who really struggled so it's good to see him playing well regardless of his partner.

Ugh. OT? Really? God is torturing me at this point. Really, this is completely unnecessary.


Oh, good it's over. Wait, what are we talking about? Why are we talking about this? It's oooooover!

Oooh. That was close. But whatever. I just want to go home. Is that asking too much?

SIDNEY CROSBY IS A HERO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


S.A.M. said...

I LOVE your snowman!!

Hope you get home for Christmas.. travel delays suck!

and eat some Chik fil-a for me when you're there. ;)

Anonymous said...

I hope you get to go home tomorrow. I think the weather is a little more favorable down this way.

Bummer, sorry about the game. If it had been Morrow instead of Crosby it would have been no goal.:P

And that Gretzky interview has been going on all season.

Vanek's Hair said...

Sorry about your travel woes. At least Western New York got help pulling through a tough storm by the Sabres playing inspired, exciting, up-tempo...

OK, maybe not, but the Village of Lewiston does a nice job keeping our quaint roads clear.

Seriously, can these game be any more tedious? I honestly don't know how much more dump and chase I can take before I do something drastic. Like shave my head. Keep up the good work ignoring this NHL. I feel like I hopped in my Delorean complete with a flux capaciter and am watching games from 1997.

Good thing replay was brought into the sport about a decade ago. No more officiating controversies.

Way to go NHL ignoring a cowardly, gutless sucker punch from behind on Friday night. Just when I thought your "disciplinary" system couldn't be more of joke. I guess since Gauthier kept Kaleta's girlfriend out of the conversation it's OK.

Yippie, a point.

Vanek's Hair said...

As for the Wrigley Field commercial, as a guy who watched a lot of Cubs' games growing up (because WGN was inexplicably a part of my "local" cable package), I watch that commercial and find myself saying, "Too bad Harry Carrey isn't around to sing 'Take me Out to the Ball game' at the Winter Classic." It would be fitting.

Lee Andrew said...

Good times, good times. That southern barbecue was delicious! And then Tortuga's immediately afterward! I had no idea I could eat barbecue and pizza in the same night. Oh and wasn't it cool that Jennifer Connelly and the Green Lantern popped by?

Heather B. said...

Sam, I will GLADLY have some CFA for you. I don't need much encouragement there :P

Myra, the airport seemed to start running again halfway through today so I think we'll be okay by Wednesday. I'm bummed but I suppose it's better than nothing!

VH, you sound like you're sharing my mood. I would've said that the Penguins games have, for the most part, been a fun exception to the dump-chase travails but tonight was a snooze. I give you props for the Back to the Future shout-out. But don't shave your head. It's not worth it!

Harry Caray singing Take Me Out to the Ballgame at the Winter Classic would be awesome.

Lee, that's a bummer. Did Jennifer bring Paul along? I miss EVERYTHING!

Grrrreg said...

I'm SO jealous of the snow you have for christmas. Here, it looks like freaking september. Like every year.

And I totally agree with you about the pens being increasingly obnoxious!

amy said...

That sucks that you're stuck in Buffalo for a couple extra days, but at the same time, at least you can wait out your flight delay at stately Top Shelf HQ. You're not stuck at an airport or in a hotel.

And your Snow Henrik is cute. I totally see the resemblance between SnowLlinder and Hank.

Caitlin said...

DUDE. HEATHER. If I were you, I'd run straight off that plane and into a Chik-Fil-A. Don't know how long it's been since you've been there, but they now have these awesome tasting, 9,000 calorie (approximately) shakes that are divine.

I hope you enjoy being back in the South! :D

Jennifer said...

Sorry your trip home has been delayed, but better late than never. CFA is the BEST! And I love your Hank snowman. I'm so jealous of the snow. Well, I don't actually want a foot of snow, but a few inches would be nice, make it look all Christmassy.

Have a safe trip Wednesday and wave as you pass over Virginia.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Lee Andrew said...

Yes, ever since I first tasted the Chick-fil-a milkshake I never get a milkshake anywhere else. And right now they have the yummy Peppermint milkshake.

Heather B. said...

Caitlin, the last couple of times I've been home CFA has had the shakes. I tried one because Lee (as you can see) is a big fan. They're are really, really awesome. I tried the peppermint one in March when I was nursing my broken ankle so I'm glad it's still around (or back around) because I really liked it a lot. I'll have to make a few trips so I can get various flavors. It's a sacrifice but I think that's what the holidays are about :P

Lee Andrew said...

I did not realize until it was pointed out here that Chick-fil-a's milkshakes have a ridiculous amount of calories compared to other milkshakes. Now I can't eat them as much as I would like. Thanks a lot Caitlin...