Let's bounce all over the place, shall we?
- I was along for the ride on the conspiracy theories surrounding Daniel Briere - that the Flyers were keeping him on IR as long as they could to skirt cap issues - until this most recent surgery. I know the Flyers organization hasn't exactly been responsible with medical issues in the past (see Lindros, Eric and Gagne, Simon) but Briere has never struck me as stupid. I just don't see him agreeing to a surgery if he didn't really feel like it was necessary. That said, I have no doubt the Flyers are perfectly okay with him being out for a while.
- I'm really cranky about next week's West Conference games not being on TV. The Calgary game was one of the one's I had an extra big star next to on the schedule. Larry Quinn is claiming the organization decided to select those games as radio only because of the late starts which I guess makes sense but come on, how often do we see those teams? We never see those teams! The schedule was changed specifically because WE NEVER SEE THOSE TEAMS! I would gladly sacrifice a Boston game or a Toronto game or an Atlanta game or a Florida game. I'm a stupid, hopeless Sabres fan. Late starts will not stop me.
Once I dealt with them being radio only I thought, "Well, okay that might be fun." I worked evenings at Tops for a year or so a couple of seasons ago and I often spent my break in the car listening to Rick on the radio and it was actually kind of fun to sit back and let his familiar voice wash over me but then I found out he's not even doing the games? Boo. The whole thing blows chunks.
- Gary Bettman has decided to play tough guy with players opting out of the All-Star Game. If they didn't miss the regular season game previous to the All-Star Game, they'll be forced to miss the regular season game following it.
I understand where Bettman is coming from. The All-Star game is basically a huge PR event for the NHL. When fans sit down in the arena or turn on the TV, they want to see the big names and the famous faces. A few days out of the year really isn't too much to give to the league who, if you're an All-Star, has likely made you fairly rich and famous.
But I remember this being a bit of an issue at the MLB All-Star game a few years ago - everyone complaining they didn't want to be there - and you know what? It's really not that much fun to watch a bunch of people who'd rather be somewhere else pretend - or not even pretend - they're having fun. Let the guys who want to stay home - maybe even legitimately need to stay home - stay home and let some kid who hasn't had his fill of All-Star festivities (and who might even deserve to be there) go instead. They'll have a blast and we'll have more fun watching them have fun than we will watching a guy who hates being there.
- One of my favorite things about the All-Star Game is the cheesy glamour shots we get of the players. The pinnacle of this was last year's delightful throne series - fun, cheesy and adorable. (Follow the link if you don't remember them.) This year we still got some of the pictures of players posed with sticks (minds out of the gutter, please), wearing some seriously questionable fashion choices (nice sweaters, guys - I am tickled at how many NHL stars dress like middle-aged men) but someone decided to get all artsy fartsy this year and we're also getting crazy photos like this:
I find these completely hilarious but not in a good way. They're a little too self-important for my tastes. They're very Meet the Beatles!, aren't they?
All right, maybe they are growing on me a little.
Then again, all the fancy lighting in the world can't hide the fact that some people just look like serial killers:
In closing, as a Sabres blogger, I offer you one of Thomas Vanek's All-Star photos. He seemed pretty low-key about his selection, claiming that his goals are all team-oriented, and while that's admirable, the All-Star honor is certainly well-deserved. I don't even want to think about where the Sabres would be right now without good ol' Van. Thomas, try to have fun this weekend. It's okay, really. (Nice, hair. Heh.)