Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Around the League

-- I paid about as much attention to the Carolina game as the Sabres did - i.e. not very much - so I don't really have much to say about it. (I know. Bad blogger!) I will say that despite the disappointment that they didn't drop the hammer on the Hurricanes when they had the chance, I'm still not overly concerned with the Sabres missing the playoffs. The Eastern Conference is just too weak for them to miss out without completely falling apart. I am slightly concerned about how they'll play once they make the playoffs but I figure that's a post for another day.

-- The wretched Carolina game was really almost balanced out by the absolutely delightful Rangers game on NBC Sunday afternoon. I've complained before about how Versus/NBC seem to decide ahead of time what the storyline is going to be but when the storyline is "The Rangers SUCK!" I'm all for it. Please understand that I'm sure Chris Drury is a very nice man but I'll be honest, watching him and the Rangers flail around after people declared that the Sabres were going to implode and the Rangers were going to win it all when he first departed has been absolutely delightful. The entire thrust of the Chris Drury Flashback and intermission report was that he was really, really good in Buffalo and really, really not good in New York City. Again, we've missed him but he's missed us just as much. I mean, good grief. As Kate said when we were talking about this yesterday, the Rangers are allegedly talking about solving their problems by signing Sean Avery. That's how screwed up things are in Ranger Land right now: Sean Avery might be their solution. Ahahahahahahahahaha!

-- Michel Therrien probably deserved to be fired but let's give it up to Ray Shero for screwing up the Penguins in the off-season. It was only last year that a certain contingency of Sabres fans were lauding the Penguins organization and how they were doing things the right way (by, I guess, really sucking for many years and earning a lot of number one picks) and set-up to be good for a really long time. Turns out Miroslav Satan is not the same thing as Marion Hossa and that's just the most glaring of a number of poor choices.

-- The point? Being a GM is not easy. While Darcy Regier is certainly not perfect - yeah, even I admit that - sometimes caution and responsibility are smart, especially in a cap system. The Sabres are not a juggernaut by any means but compared to some of the teams around them in the standings, they're in a decent position: lots of young talent still maturing, no outrageous and unmovable cap-killing contracts, a pipeline of talent in the AHL, and a scouting system that seems to be working pretty will despite rumors of its demise. No, the current roster is not going to win a Stanley Cup without a lot of intervention from the Hockey Gods... but they're not an embarrassment either. Or maybe I'm just a fan happy to watch mediocrity. (Enter sarcastic eyerolling here.) At any rate, it is interesting how suddenly there's no one clamoring for the Sabres to be more like the Penguins, the Rangers or the Lightning.

-- First big trade before the deadline was Mathieu Schneider to Montreal for second and third round draft picks. Seems a touch steep for an old guy with a handful of power play points especially since that seems to be what the Canadiens picked him up for although there's certainly more talent in Montreal than Atlanta. Even prorated, Schneider's cap hit is a little on the high side too. Seems like this might be a case of slapping a jersey on the nearest old guy and hoping he can step in and help right the ship. Still, like I've said numerous times, the Eastern Conference is very average and Bob Gainey is probably right to not wave the white flag just yet. If I'm a Canadiens fan however, I'm not holding my breath that Schneider is going to be the answer.

-- I need some help. I'm in the mood to read a good baseball book but nothing at the library today struck my fancy. Anyone out there have any recommendations? I'm not picky. It can be fiction, nonfiction, about a certain period, certain team, certain player. Whatever. As long as it's good and baseball related, I'll be a happy camper. If it helps at all, the last baseball book I read was David Maraniss' Clemente and I loved it. Please leave any suggestions in the comments. Or if you're comment shy, feel free to email me at the address in the top right hand corner of this here blog. (Clemente in paperback is on clearance at Amazon right now and I whole-heartedly recommend it to anyone who hasn't read it.)

-- In memory of Michel Therrien, here's what I consider the greatest postgame performance by a head coach ever in the history of the world:


Porky said...

"The Boys of Summer" by Roger Kahn, "Once More Around the Park" by Roger Angell, "Summer of '49" or "October 1964" by David Halberstam. I highly recommend all of them. Buster Olney's "Last Night of the Yankees Dynasty" is good too if you want something more recent.

"Clemente" is next up on my list. And yes, I actually have a list of the books I'm going to read next.

Heather B. said...

Porky, I've actually read almost all of those. I haven't read "Once More Around the Park" however and I've liked all the other Angell I've read so I'll definitely check that one out. Thanks!

(I also have a list of books to read but it was short on baseball books at the moment. I think you'll really like "Clemente." I've always been fascinated by him and read a lot about him and there was still a lot of good stuff there.)

Pookie said...

"The Iowa Baseball Confederacy" by Kinsella. I read it when I was a kid but remember being really, really charmed by it.

S.A.M. said...

wow that interview is amazing!

And I have no baseball book recommendations. but if you're looking for hockey, THAT I can help you with! ;)

Heather B. said...

Pookie, I never got around to that one so I'm definitely writing it down. Thanks!

Sam, I think my favorite part of the Therrien video is how calm he is. Most coaches would be screaming and yelling. His matter of fact tone makes it much, much funnier to me.

And I'm sure I'll get around to hockey books soon enough! I have a couple on the TO READ pile right now ("When the Lights Went Out: How One Brawl Ended Hockey's Cold War and Changed the Game" and "Then Perreault Said to Rico... The Best Sabres Stories Ever Told") but after I read them I'll need more. I'm in my February hockey swoon right now where I'm kind of anxious for the season to get on with it already so I'm in the mood for different reading.

S.A.M. said...

well you have my e-mail if you need to borrow some books. :)

War Penguin said...

I liked The Card: Collectors, Con Men, and the True Story of History's Most Desired Baseball Card.

But I don't know if I would consider it a baseball book in the sense you're probably looking for. (I am not an actual baseball fan, I have a really poor sense of these things.)

And, yeah, let's not talk about the Penguins. Please. --;;

Jennifer said...

Again, we've missed him but he's missed us just as much.

AMEN! I've thought that about Drury starting mid way thru last season.

brian s. said...

I second "The Iowa Baseball Confederacy" and have more or less the same comment as pookie. I also would recommend "Shoeless Joe" by Kinsella if you haven't read it, though you probably already know that story.

Heather said...

brian, I have read "Shoeless Joe." Many, many times. I found it very charming as well so I probably would like Kinsella's other stuff. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

have you tried "underworld" by don delillo. it's a stretch to call it a baseball book the shot heard round the world is integral to the plot.

and hey, i'm just a lurker here, not a regular commentor. but great blog. i'm a buffalo ex-pat and really enjoy reading your take on the sabres. thanks.

Heather B. said...

anonymous, I've never read "Underworld" but it sounds kind of crazy and entertaining so I put it on my list. Thanks! And I'm glad you enjoy the blog. Always nice to hear. Feel free to de-lurk anytime!

Anonymous said...

Heather, I know I am a little late to the party but pretty much all I do in my spare time is read baseball books; here is a couple that I really love.

-Iowa Baseball Confederacy- As a couple of people mentioned above, it is excellent. It gets a little sci-fi-ish towards then end, but if you have read other Kinsella stuff, it is a must

-Veeck as in Wreck- This is the autobiography of former baseball owner Bill Veeck (Browns, White Sox, Indians). It leaves you in stitches at times with its humour and the foresight shown by a man in the 40's that is visible in today's game is unbelievable.

-False Spring- Pat Jordan might just be my favorite writer ever. This is the true story of his life from Bonus Baby to Rick Ankiel (pre out fielder)

I have finished all of those in the past two months, they are well worth your time, trust me.

Heather B. said...

FTLT, I read "Veeck as in Wreck" - I've been completely fascinated by all things Veeck since I was a kid - but I'll add the Pat Jordan. I've read some of his magazine stuff and liked most of it. Thanks!

Heather B. said...

Oh, War Penguin somehow I missed your comment! That book actually looks really interesting. I knew before I even clicked on the link it had to be about Honus :)

Yeah, sorry about the Penguins. I thought they might struggle but not like this.

talkinproud said...

If you like the history, rise and decline of old ballparks and the effects they had on their surrounding neighborhoods:

To Every Thing A Season (Shibe Park & Urban Philadelphia) by Bruce Kuklick.