Archive for January, 2012:

Tim Thomas’ Children Dragged into White House Fray

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By now, you’re probably well aware that Tim Thomas skipped the Bruins’ Stanley Cup White House event.

Also, by now, you’ve probably noticed the wild arguments online about his decision. Goodtimes.

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When politics and sport mix.

The worst yet to come of this may have already happened, and it has nothing to do with Thomas’ political stance, or even about his decision. No, the worst to come of this was the publication/distribution of the names of Thomas’ children by TSN’s Dave Hodge.

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Hodge had to make a decision before this tweet – how to claim TT is racist, without bringing injury to his own reputation. He uses the phrase “Don’t know if it’s fair to point out,” which alone insinuates that he knows that he is doing wrong. Then, instead of simply saying straight out that TT is somehow associated with the KKK, he instead publishes the names of his children.

He who would endanger the names of children – all of which are minors – in order to protect his reputation, is a danger not only to political conversation, but a menace to society.

Hodge later came out with this retraction correction “gotta try and save my cowardly ass” tweet:

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Because publishing the names of each other's kids' names online is HYSTERICAL.

Wow.

I would hope that TSN will correct Hodge for this, but sadly, I doubt anything will come of this for him. I just hope that Thomas’ children do not become targets now that they’ve been widely exposed by this cruel online perversion of rhetoric.

Edit:

For those who saw Hodge’s tweet as an honest attempt at humor, take a moment to reconsider.

Even if this truly was pure satire, Hodge still made the decision to place the names of three minors into a growing debate that was teeming with agitated vitriol – a debate which was becoming one of the top ten trending topics on Twitter.

Ask youself: if such an argument was over you, would you like the names of your children advertised during such a widespread and heated national argument?

Where, (please explain in the comments section below), is the humor in that?

UPDATE:

From this afternoon’s Globe and Mail:

TSN had trepidations about Hodge using the names of Thomas’s children to connect him to a racist organization known for lynching and burning crosses. “Just to be clear, yesterday we corroborated Dave’s follow-up tweets that clarified his intention was not to offend, and be humorous,” TSN president Stewart Johnston told us in an e-mail. “While I believe 100 % in the sincerity of Dave’s intent, I also believe the tweet was in poor taste. We have discussed the matter at length with Dave. Beyond that, this is an internal matter and will be dealt with as such.”

Hodge has a reputation for being cutting edge. His legendary pencil-flipping indignation at the end of a segment on Hockey Night In Canadaled to his departure — and Ron Maclean’s arrival — from the show in 1987. We often find Hodge’s tweets a voice of wit in a storm of pap. But on this one he should be glad he works for such an understanding network. Other organizations might not have been as understanding.

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In which Sabres Fans are Given to Philosophy

In honor of this season’s growing “WTF Sabres?!?” blog file:

Aut inveniam viam aut faciam.

As the Sabres fans continue to stupor over their team, which now languishes in last place in the Eastern Conference, rants have been typed, spoken, argued over, recanted, re-delivered, and ended without any answers to the team’s dilemma of failure, left only with that same numbness of stupor that begins and ends all current themes.

Does the fault lie within the general management of the team? Have the acquisitions and acquiescences of Darcy Regier doomed this brood of players, not only within the last 12 months, but over the course of his long tenure?

empedocles In which Sabres Fans are Given to Philosophybuffalosabresnation.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/empedocles-150x150.jpg 150w" sizes="(max-width: 220px) 100vw, 220px" />As Empedocles once mused over the gestation of a child – our backbones were once solid in the womb, but through the rigors and movements of birth our backs are snapped and snapped again until, finally, we emerge with a serviceable backbone. Did Regier exert enough in the creation of this thing, that it was broken enough times so that it could stand upright? Or is it that he preferred to let it slide out from his watch smooth and unbroken, rigidly structured but flawed to the Core?

Or is it by the hands of his trusted champion, who too has been with this thing since its questioned inception, he who had coached it with fatherliness, and then with barks and punishments of frustration, when the feeble thing failed to function properly among its peers? Is it up to this man to make right of this impudence, or is it by his means and methods that the impudence even exists?

Or is this impudent child of this strange marriage of business simply a mutation, something that walks, speaks, and would appear to be normal as any other, but somewhere among its parts and pieces is simply self destructive, or inevitably prone to fits of mental feebleness?

Or is it now the new caretaker of this thing, who has lavished upon it feasts and nourishment, this owner who has propped up what might be a handsome but spineless giant on a mattress of reward before any reward is due – thus coaxing the giant thing to uninspiring fullness and vexing complacency?

Or is it by fate, or dumb luck, that we choose to cast aspersions on – that this thing is already perfectly right on its own, but ceases to work properly under the forces of the undulating planets and stars?

All the while throughout our stupor, this wonderous thing continues to languish like some doomed, overgrown monster, poisoned by none or all of these things, heaving what sounds like its last breaths, compelling the world around it to fascination – each day a contest, each day without the rattle of death, only the expectation.

Be it removed from the custody of its manager or coach, or its pieces carefully incised and strewn about the league to try to jog the thing back into a healthy course, we cannot say.

But revel in the sight of it, this monster. What spiked pits might unfold next in its path to further bruise and bleed it keep all eyes fixed.

It is unto the fascination of ruination that all of us are left to.

Unless there remains some miracle yet to behold. Aut inveniam viam aut faciam – when there is no path left, invent one anew – but only if there are any paths left to invent before this invention finally lies as a breathless carcass, to spite all arguments.

Go Sabres.

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Sabres bring New Hope: #FailForNail or #FailForMikhail

The Sabres are now in 26th place.

Welcome to the bottom 5, Buffalo fans! The hearts of the players on this squad have bled dry this season, draining any hopes for this team to make the playoffs. Their consecutive road loss streak continues to grow at a numbing pace, as the team stumbles through one undisciplined trainwreck after another.

People are calling for the heads of players, coaches, and the GM. On the Twitter, they’re chirping Pegula’s daughters and Ryan Miller’s wife.

Goodtimes!

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"The System."

If there is anything positive about this slow motion trainwreck, it’s that the Sabres are now in contention for the 1st overall pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. Location: Pittsburgh –  a place Pegula and Ted Black are very well acquainted with, and a place where high draft picks have historically proven priceless.

Sure, sure – the season is far from over, but here’s a quick refresher on how the NHL’s draft lottery works:

 At the conclusion of the regular season, the 14 NHL teams not qualifying for the playoffs are entered in a weighted lottery to determine the initial draft picks in the first round, seeded according to regular season standing. The 30th-place team has a 25% chance of winning the lottery, with odds diminishing to a 0.5% chance for the 17th-place team. A single selection from the lottery pool is made, with the winning team improving its draft position by up to four places, and no team dropping more than one place. Therefore, only the 26th through 30th place teams are eligible to receive the first overall draft pick. Consequently, the 30th place team’s chance of retaining the first overall pick improves to 48.2%. The order in the remaining rounds is unaffected by the lottery and is based on regular season standings.

The Sabres, of course, have picked 1st overall twice in their history – Perreault in their inaugural season, and “Sneaky Pete” Turgeon in 1987. Not too shabby.

For all the calls to fire and trade everyone in the organization, what this team has really needed for years is a game changer. Trading for Ryan Getzlaf would be an answer to that dilemma, but it’s unfathomable to think that the Anaheim Ducks would get rid of such an elite talent. They aren’t easy to come by, save through the draft.

And so by their hideous losing ways, the Sabres are giving fans that one hope – the chance to finally snap up a bonafide  game changer.

Here’s a quick snapshot of a couple of the players that we can hope to adorn with a #1 Blue and Gold sweater on June 22nd. From DanSallows.com:

RW, Nail Yakupov, 5-11, 183 lbs. 

Despite most rankings listing the dynamic Russian winger as the number one prospect for the upcoming 2012 NHL Draft, I think his performance at the recent 2012 IIHF World Juniors could hurt his status a little. Not that 9 assists in 7 games is anything to shake your head at, but Yakupov is more known for his ability to be a goal scoring game changer night in and night out, not an assist man. And, those totals were helped by the fact the speedy winger was playing on Russia’s top line. Still, his resemblance to Pavel Bure is uncanny, and he can get fans out of the seats when the puck is on his stick as his plethora of offensive weaponary is off the charts. There is no doubt he is a Top 3 pick, but first overall is no guarantee.

C, Mikhail Grigorenko, 6-2, 185 lbs.

I have had the opportunity to watch Grigorenko play live numerous times over the past two seasons, and have been impressed each and every time by his play. The lanky Remparts centre has had a tremendous season in the QMJHL thus far, and has quickly adapted to the North American game. He is a mixture of Joe Thornton and Evgeni Malkin, as he has excellent vison and hockey sense, a nice shot, and is a great skater all wrapped into a 6-foot-2, 185-pound body. Despite his defensive shortcomings, to me Grigorenko has the makings of a big, number one centre that NHL teams crave, and I don’t see a team looking to rebuild passing on him unless they’re already loaded down the middle.

By far, those are two most exciting paragraphs in this post.

Enjoy the games we have left this season. Enjoy each moment with Lindy Ruff and Darcy Regier. Enjoy watching your favorite players skate every shift. Enjoy listening to RJ. There’s no guarantee any of these guys will be with us next year. Oh, and please, please, leave Pegula’s daughters and Ryan Miller’s wife out of it all.

In any event, we’re assured of one thing – change is on the way.

Hopefully, some of it will be big change, and will it come in the draft.

#FailForNail

#FailForMikhail

Go Sabres.

 

 

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Hockey History 101: The Windsor Swastikas Take to the Ice

From the file cabinet: since no one really wants to read about the Sabres right now, here’s a curious old post from March of 2011. Enjoy the weirdness.

And you thought the “Broadstreet Bullies” looked mean.

Have a gander at the Windsor Swastikas – a Canadian team from Windsor, Nova Scotia, that enjoyed a lot of regional success during its 1905-16 tenure:

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Not the kind of pennant you'd buy the kids these days.

What are the odds of a name like that, eh?  Well, this was the happy go lucky pre-WWII and pre-Nazi era, when the swastika symbol still stood for good luck and fortune.  (Yea, the Nazis pretty much screwed up everything.)  Ok then, who were these guys, and just how good were they? From “BirthplaceOfHockey.com:”

The players (were) all of notable Windsor family names – people like W.A.”Billy” Stephens who later had a department store, and “Mac” Geldert who ran a dry goods store, Walter Regan who was a grocer in Falmouth, R.G.Morton a clothier in Windsor and Halifax, Frank “Sanky” Brown, a stone mason, H.S.Smith, a coal merchant, Clarence McCann, a trainman for the Dominion Atlantic Railway, Frank Sharpe, a N.S. Dept. of Highways engineer, “Ses” McMonagle a well known barber, and of course, and “Lew” Shaw, one of Nova Scotia’s greatest hockey players, who ran a very popular pool room.

Word has it that the Swastikas were flashy, exciting, entertaining and very seldom beaten.

Two Rovers who starred for the famous Windsor “Swastikas” gained wide recognition for their stick-handling and scoring ability. Lew Shaw is an honored inductee of the Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame, having been inducted in the founding year of the organization. Blaine Sexton left the team to fight for his country in World War I and took his hockey gear overseas with him. He is credited with advancing organized hockey in Britain and Europe. He became known as England’s “MISTER HOCKEY” for two decades. Newspaper articles of the time show that he was the best and fastest hockey skater, player and goal scorer in Europe. He played hockey for England in the 1924 and 1928 Olympics.

Sexton was a big reason why Britain actually won a bronze medal at the Olympics of 1924.

The boys from Windsor weren’t the only ones to carry the doomed logo on their chests.  In fact, the name was actually pretty popular before Hitler started launching V2 rockets over the English Channel.

 

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The Fernie Swastikas. My guess is the surly one in the bottom row, center, wasn’t afraid to cross-check an opponent into a snow bank.

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The Edmonton Swastikas. No history on how much those pantaloons slowed down their skating.

The Fergie Swastikas formed in 1922, and went on to immediately blitzkrieg the Banff Winter Carnival Women’s Ice Championship in 1923, taking home the “Alpine Cup.”

Not much is known of the Edmonton Swastikas, save for the fact they wore those fancy pantaloons, and that their goalie was stuck with a stick from at least before 1915, (a style which was wide on one side only).

The “Mister Hockey” of Britain.  A bronze medal for England in 1924.  Pantaloons as acceptable wear for competitive hockey.  Goalstick trivia. I’d say we have all learned a lot today.

Class dismissed!

Go Sabres.

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Sabres Lose Again; Pegula Daughters Bullied Online

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Forget the season.

It doesn’t get any lower than this:

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Bullying is big in national news right now. It’s something we’re all very much in tune with, or at least, supposed to be in tune with. Ted Black had just discussed the Sabres’ own anti-bullying campaign at the Blogger Summit last week.

Unfortunately, there’s something about a mob that can’t help but get ugly as the losses pile up. This time, the mob was faceless, anonymous, just a series of icons and twitter handles giving the Pegula daughters grief  – kids, let me remind you – because their daddy’s team is floundering.

Let me quickly assert that it wasn’t a whole lot of people that bombarded their accounts, and that there were many that came to their defense. But my oh my, how low we sunk as a fan base last night, due to this rottenness.

Call out the players, the coach, and the owner, by all means the voice of the fan must be heard. But for anyone who reared up their ugly head to snap at Pegula’s kids, please stop watching the Sabres.

Just walk away.

Pick up your lazy, misguided hides and crawl along to some dark place, wherever it is where the diseased rats hide. We don’t need your fetid poison creeping into the hearts of Pegula’s, or anyone else’s children.

As unfortunate as this incident is, it’s not something that we didn’t see coming. From February 22nd’s “buffalo74:

Today, at 11am, Terrence Pegula will deliver what will easily be the easiest public address he will ever make in his life.

Well, at least since the one at Penn State.

“We’re going to win the Stanley Cup, and then you know what, we’re going to win it again.”

Since Pegula declared that sentiment to John Murphy of Channel 4, Sabres Nation has been supplicating to their incoming new owner, salivating at the thought of multiple Cups and All Star players stampeding to join the Blue and Gold.

It’s been fun, and the presser is going to be quite a pep rally.

But when he finishes answering that last question, gathers his papers, and walks away from the podium, the real work actually begins.

Players have never lined up to come to Buffalo.  Besides that fact, players and agents alike don’t hedge contracts on rookie owner promises.  The superstars of the NHL are going to want to see results – real progress, not words – before they see the Sabres as a viable destination for their careers.

Perhaps the greatest work Pegula faces now however, is not the maintenance of his team, but the protection of his own daughters.

And he has Channel 4 to partially thank for that, too.  I am not going to post a link to the article that 4 posted online yesterday, but I will quote a choice bit of it:

“Maybe they’ll be like our Kardashians or our Hiltons. These cool girls that want to talk to their fans on the internet and obviously have a lot of money.”

Paris Hilton?  The Kardashians?  Didn’t Paris Hilton set off the whole celebrity “videotape” thing?  Didn’t Kim Kardashian follow that trend?

The Pegula daughters innocent celebrity is already being transformed into a weird, tabloid suspense.  Just imagine how many creeps on the internet that have read the article, and immediately jumped on Twitter and pounded on that “FOLLOW” button.

No one can blame the Pegula daughters for embracing their sudden celebrity and trying to make something positive out of it – that’s great initiative to see.  But folks, they are minors.

Buffalo74 touched on the subject of simple respect regarding the Pegula Daughters before.

Let’s hope that after this goodtimes presser – that when fans don’t get the Brad Richards they were expecting, and when the Sabres don’t win a Stanley Cup overnight – that the upset and ire isn’t directed at these girls now in the spotlight.  It’s not their team.  They didn’t expect or ask to be thrust into an arena of adults.

Frankly, just by inheriting a team in Buffalo, Pegula has enough on his plate.  But his greatest task, as Channel 4 accidentally pointed out, will be something far, far more difficult and important.

 

I’m embarrassed.

Shamed.

But I won’t be silent. I just hope this blog post finds those bullying eyes, and helps them to blink, think, and say “I’m sorry.”

Go Sabres.

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