I'm feeling pretty okay with the loss to Calgary. Yes, Ryan Miller let in a couple of big time softies and yes, it stunk to tie the game back up only to watch it slip away again and no, it doesn't do anything to dissuade the feeling that the Sabres are just a horribly streaky team. But since a number of problems (namely, a ton of shots allowed and some painful turnovers) can be chalked up to a hurting defensive corp, I'm willing to give everyone a little slack this time around.
A couple of weeks ago I mentioned some complaints about the Sabres Show and since we had an extra day off here I thought I'd go into a little more detail. When I first heard that the Sabres were looking to expand their web content and start up a weekly magazine show, I was really excited. I've been watching YouTube clips from San Jose's Shark Byte for a couple of seasons now and the idea of that kind of thing with players I actually know and love was really cool. Unfortunately, I don't think it's really panned out.
First up, the one thing I really do appreciate is that the player interviews have mostly stayed away from the guys we see and hear on TV and the radio all the time, Ryan Miller, Jason Pominville, Derek Roy and Paul Gaustad being the big four. Goose is the only one in that group to have a feature so far. It's been nice to see a little bit of focus on guys who don't get as much media attention especially some of the European players.
But most of the interviews have been extremely generic and not at all enlightening. The only thing I can think of that I learned that I didn't already know was that Ales Kotalik designs his own hats. Henrik Tallinder played soccer growing up? Toni Lydman listens to really heavy metal? Even though he's a really quiet guy? Seriously, we're going with that as the main thrust of the Toni Lydman interview? Doesn't everyone know that already? Don't we make a big deal about that EVERY SINGLE SEASON? And now we're going to act like it's a huge revelation? Or does the casual fan really not know that?
The interviews have also been almost completely interchangeable. Take "It was really hard moving to another country," combine it with "I always dreamed of playing in the NHL," and, where applicable, add just a dash of "Kids are great, I really like mine a lot" and you get a Sabres Show interview. If you removed the very brief soccer footage from the beginning of Hank's interview, changed family member names and substituted Germany for Sweden, it could've been about Jochen Hecht instead. I realize it can probably be a challenge to come up with something new about players who have been around for a while but come on, that's your job! That's what you're supposed to be doing!
I also think there hasn't been enough player oriented material. Shark Byte does all kinds of little goofy player segments that are really fun and I imagine, not that complicated to shoot. "How Well Do You Know Your Teammate?" is probably my favorite. It's stupid and silly but it's funny and it really allows fans to get a feel for guys' personalities. Or what about some actual hockey segments? Put Kotalik on the ice and have him break down his shootout move. Let Thomas Vanek demonstrate the art of tipping a shot. Explain one of those funky drills that are so much fun to watch even though you have no idea what's going on. Seriously, I'm not watching the Sabres Show to learn how New Era makes a baseball cap. I'm watching it for the Sabres. More Sabres please.
Really there just needs to be more period. A couple of weeks ago they showed the Hank interview during the intermission of one game and the Mike Weber/Ott family piece during the game the following night and boom, everyone had now seen half of that week's show before it was aired on TV or put on the team website. If the Sabres are going to use that material to fill intermissions during road games, there needs to be a ton more material so we're not all watching the same thing over and over and over. I think I could recite Goose's interview for you, I saw it so many times. Do a load of different segments and interviews and make some of them TV only and some of them internet only. Spread the wealth. As it is right now, I never watch the Sabres Show on the website and I'm not sure that was the Sabres' goal.
One of my biggest problems with the Sabres Show however is Maria Genero. Part of this is just personal preference. I hate, hate, hate that sing-songy newscaster style of speaking. I'd rather watch the Buffalo News guys talk at me because while they occasionally stumble or hold the microphone in the wrong place, at least they're talking to me like normal human beings. I feel like an interview should be more of a conversation and Maria's overly serious, everything I'm saying is very important and dramatic, up and down voice pulls me right out of that.
I also feel like she doesn't know anything about hockey. Maybe I'm wrong about that and she's a huge fan but it certainly doesn't come across that way. And while technically I suppose you don't need to know anything about hockey to ask Ales Kotalik about his hats and Toni Lydman about heavy metal, I don't know, for some reason it makes the entire interview ring false for me. Kate writes silly little player things all the time (Kate would be great at Maria's job btw) but they're always based in something that's going on with the team or player at the time (i.e. she knows what she's talking about) and I think that makes them even funnier.
I also feel like there's just a weird vibe between Maria and the players sometimes. I'm treading carefully here because I certainly don't want to suggest that women shouldn't be doing what she's doing because hello, woman writing this blog. I'm all for talented, qualified women in sports journalism. But this particular woman? I dunno. Her Adam Mair interview was... kinda skeevy and while part of that was Mair, the way she handled it didn't help. Or maybe it's just that she hasn't - and as far as I know, doesn't - spend that much time around the players. They're not comfortable with her. I think Shark Byte is helped along immensely by the fact that Sharks color man, Drew Remenda, does most of the player stuff. There's clearly a high level of familiarity and ease between him and the players. Now, I am in NO way suggesting that Harry Neale take over. No, that would merely be another kind of disaster altogether (although probably a much funnier one - I wonder if he would mix up Goose and Pommers even while standing right in front of them). But I'd love to see Rob Ray doing some stupid segments with the players. I think that would lead to a much more natural and relaxed vibe on both sides of the microphone.
So yeah... I think the Sabres Show is a good idea that just hasn't been worked out yet.
(This post is probably completely scattered but I gotta get to work now so I don't have time to make sense of it. Sorry, dudes.)