Archive for August, 2012:

Bills Preseason Mercifully Ends

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ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?!?

 

 

Actually, no, we have not been exactly entertained.

 

BoredBillsFan1 Bills Preseason Mercifully Ends

My compliments to @Sloheim for providing the screen grab. Go ahead and check out his Amerks blog.

That picture pretty much sums up the Bills’ 0-4 preseason thrill ride:

  • “Yaaaaawn.” Yup. That was the feel of all four inspired performances.
  • 28-10? Wow. We scored 10?
  • Armpit stretch. Makes this guy look like one of our linebackers trying to cover a pass.
  • No idea what that guy in the bottom corner is saying, but I’ll just assume it’s “Hey – remember that time we signed Vince Young?”
  • Lady behind armpit stretch guy is cleaning her nails. This crap bored folks beyond texting.
  • Oddly enough, the lady on the right looks engaged – inspired. Well, that, or she’s about to call for the beer guy.

If preseason has taught NFL fans anything, it is that the NFL preseason means nothing. Yes, at the end of the day, some guys will lose their jobs. Thrilling. Mainly, the preseason is a ridiculous cash grab. (Seriously – charging full regular season price for exhibition games is laughable. It’s as if the owners invited us into a dentist’s chair to take out our gold fillings, and we bought tickets to go. Fun!)

The preseason gives us these other points of import:

  • Guys get injured. A lot of them. Wish I could say we’re weeding out the weak ones, but no, the LB corps is healthy.
  • Positional battles. How exciting. #PUNTWATCH was easily the most compelling preseason battle for the Bills. How many times does Potter have to kick the ball out of the freakin endzone to win a job? ALL OF THEM! #PUNTWATCH! Worth the full price of admission.
Potter 284x300 Bills Preseason Mercifully Ends

Kicks balls hard.

  • Some other crap.
  • SERIOUS FOOTBALL ANALYSIS ALL OVER THE INTERNET (mostly read by guys getting ready for their fantasy drafts)
  • Tailgating! Hells yes. Goodtimes. (We’ll ignore how it feels to combine a Genny Cream hangover with a bad football hangover.)

Mercifully, the preseason is over. That odd little buzz in your belly this morning is not the old “Oh geez, I think I’m still drunk” feeling – it’s the feeling of an actual football game – Week One – right around the corner.

No more bullshit, and…

THIS COULD BE OUR YEAR.

TheOldCollegeTry Bills Preseason Mercifully Ends

This little guy was on my TV last season. Was lost when the Bills hit their 5-1 mark. You all know what happened after that. Shit, I gotta find this thing.

Before anyone yaps at me, I am not predicting the Superbowl, or the playoffs, or a singular victory. All that should matter to fans, right now, is that anything is possible.

Feels great, doesn’t it?

And that, folks, is the best part of preseason – the feeling you get when it’s over, because actual football is about to happen. Everything is within reach.

No more yawns. Shit’s about to go down. Screw “baby steps,” I want the playoffs, now, and the road to that begins by ripping the faces off of Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow in Week One.

LET’S DESTROY THINGS.

FOOTBALL.

WEEK ONE.

Finally.

Go Bills.

 

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All that Sabres Fans Need to Know about the Doan Offer

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It can be broken down to two tweets:

Doan Sabres 1 All that Sabres Fans Need to Know about the Doan Offer

He’s great captain material, right Pominville – I mean, “Sabres player?”

Doan Sabres 21 All that Sabres Fans Need to Know about the Doan Offer

Pretty simple, really.

I’ve always wanted Doan on the Sabres. He and Jarome Iginla have always represented the epitome of what we want in a Blue and Gold character – hard working, talented, gritty, and with elephant-sized hearts.

shane doan sabres 300x225 All that Sabres Fans Need to Know about the Doan Offer

There ain’t any Doan billboards in town for this, but there is effort. Kinda.

Get it done, Darcy Pegula.

Also: “Don’t (Doan, duh) Stop Believing.” Journey. #SabreTunes. You heard it here first.

Go Sabres.

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The Shirt off my Back

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Warning: there’s an angry old man at the typewriter today.

abe simpson typewriter 300x225 The Shirt off my Back

Now, my story begins in 19-dickety-two. We had to say “dickety” cause that Kaiser had stolen our word “twenty”. I chased that rascal to get it back, but gave up after dickety-six miles…

Let’s talk about “jersey fouls.”

I’m not sure who invented this idea, be it some sports merchandising/marketing demagogue, or be it the simple human tendency to march into the arena of war/sport under one selected banner of names, but I am sure of one thing: it pisses me off.

I could go off on the Bills here for changing jerseys last season before this year’s league-wide switch to Nike, prompting fans to buy a new jersey two years in a row – or the Dolphins planning to switch designs next year, which is even more of a dick move, but for the sake of brevity, I’m going to stick to just one sport, and I’m choosing hockey, dammit, because I am already raging enough over the Bills’ decision to slap their fans in their frost-bitten faces by sticking with blackouts.

The best run-on sentence is an angry one. Moving on.

Brad Riter had a good piece on Trending Buffalo a little while back covering his search for some new Bills threads. I loved his angle of being an older guy looking for a way not to appear awkward with the name of some 20-something’s name plastered across your back, but for me, that search is more than awkward.

The whole jersey phenomenon has gotten strange enough and more than a little slightly cultish – but more on that later. First, I’ll bullet point my thoughts as I read Brad’s pointers (pointers in italics).

  • Don’t wear a jersey of a guy who is younger than you. Well, since the Sabres decided not to sign the 1,000 year old Dominik Hasek, I guess I’m stuck with Alumni #’s. I would be set with that, if only I hadn’t placed a LaFontaine name plate on a modern-era Sabres jersey – that’s apparently a “jersey foul” too, since he never wore that precise version of the Blue and Gold sweater. Whatever, dicks.
  • Be a little creative. Don’t get something that 6 of the 10 guys at your tailgate party will be wearing. Fantastic. That gives us 23 names (off the “active roster”) to be creative with. Hmm. I hear Sekera jersey sales are lagging.
  • Don’t get cute/Ironic. Sorry Andrej, looks like we’re narrowing the field back down to the WNY-preferred North American fold. That’s right: I went there. We hate Euros. Why? “Hockey IQ,” my ass.
  • Plan ahead. Screw this. All these guys are to eventually be traded away for, well, the next hot jersey promotion. Trust me. You’ll see the Sabres tweet the new guys’ threads on Twitter every time.
  • Consider body type – his and yours. I’ve been told I’m too tall for a Gerbe jersey. Screw that. Honey badger fears nothing. Disagree all you want: I’ve seen the body types in line for beer and nachos. How many of us are built like this? Oh, you work out? Shut up.

Brad’s cautionary list stops there. He did not make any of these rules up, and he was certainly not preaching them. But boy, he sure showed how ludicrous the social pitfalls of buying a jersey are like these days.

Sabres jersey foul 224x300 The Shirt off my Back

This and $199.99 can get you mercilessly taunted by your own fan base. Because you are stupid. And the 50,000 guys wearing Miller jerseys are fucking brilliant. Whatever.

There are many other rules to the “jersey foul.” Excuse me while I ragestorm over a few of them.

No Frankenjerseys. For those that don’t know, this is the heretical act of sewing the uniforms of two different teams together. Wear one into the arenas of the NHL, and enjoy the teen paparazzi clicking away at you with their cell phone cameras, each one hoping they might earn their glory – a mention on Yahoo! Sports Puck Daddy’s “Jersey Fouls” feature. Parasites.

The Drury. Did your favorite player leave town? Sorry. Time to put the jersey on Ebay for $2.99 and add it to the $199.99 new jersey fund.

Misspelled name. As a wordaholic, I get this one. It also makes a heckuva lot of sense to get the name right if you’re investing 200 bucks of hard earned cash on your chicken wing/beer bib. This sort of thing has no place in the NHL… oh wait. Those alphabetically challenged should just opt for an Ott jersey.

Your own name. You know what? I’d love to see a section full of Nowikis, Deyoungs, Rinaldis, and whoevers. We don’t all have to be Ryan Miller, or Tyler Myers, or whichever veteran flavor of the day is selling at the Sabres’ store. When did game nite become Halloween? When did watching hockey together begin to require us all to surrender our most basic individuality?

Anyway, there’s plenty more of these ridiculous “rules,” but I’m already pissed off enough, so if this stuff is so important to you, look up the rest on your own.

I’m done feeding into it.

Still, we are now compelled to spend our money on Millers, Vaneks, and Pominvilles  – after the tickets, the parking, the beer/pop and the food. After the NHL Ticket, after the ballcaps, the garden gnomes, the bobbleheads, trading cards, mini-sticks, socks, team underwear, did I say garden gnomes? The car flags, the stickers, the posters, the license plate frames, the pennants… (hey, remember when the Sabres won the pennant that one time? Good lord). The list goes on.

Here’s my proposal for a new 2 rule system for jersey regulation:

  1. Put whatever you want on your hard earned jersey. Hack it in two, and splice it together with some Amerks threads. Go all out and put your own name on the back. You still won’t be a member of the team. Enjoy the game.
  2. Join the mob. Buy a Name. Be Miller. Be Vanek. Be Pominville. You still won’t be a member of the team. Enjoy the game.

Funny thing is, that’s where the whole “jersey foul” notion seems to begin and end: if you do it wrong, you’re not playing right, you’re not with it, you’re not on the team. Then again, if you follow the rules, YOU ARE STILL NOT ON THE FREAKING TEAM.

You want to know why people put their own names on the backs of their jerseys, or mash them together into Frankenjerseys? Because it’s fun.

No, these people that you see are not idiots, or social outcasts, or deranged in any way. They do not deserve to have pictures of their backs plastered all over the Internet for the rest of the jersey wearing hordes to guffaw at.

You know what’s not fun? An endless sea of Ryan Millers hunched over in their seats backstopping nothing but the serving end of a gigantic beer. Or worse, actually being the fan who fouled up a jersey, and has to put up with a night of cyber stalking and smarmy giggling from the clique that bought into this BS.

Assholes: we’re at a hockey game, not a Nazi revival camp. There’s no need to fucking police each other.

IMG 3149 900 The Shirt off my Back

Whoever took this “jersey fouls” shot during the Kings’ Cup parade took “creeper” to another level. Watch your asses out there, folks.

There was once a time when you went to the good old hockey game in jeans and a shirt. Or a suit. It was the folks who came in dressed in jerseys that raised a curious eyebrow back then – those were the ones just a little too much into the game. Now, the NHL and other leagues have the notion of the “jersey foul” a little too much into the heads (and the wallets) of their fans.

Me? I’m done. I’ve been through an Audette, a LaFontaine (again, so egregiously placed on a Blue and Gold version that wasn’t precise enough to his tenure, since those are kinda hard to come by), a Drury, and a possibly soon to be obsolete Stafford.

I’m done buying into the rules. But the rules are going to persist, right? Mob Rules wins every time. I’ve given enough, I’ve spent enough, and I’m done. I’ve given this league – literally – the shirt off my back, and the blood sweat and tears of my dollar. And haven’t we all? If the guy with the fouled up jersey ain’t on the team, neither is anyone else in the stands. We’re all paying for this whole hockey thing to exist.

Again, disagree all you want. You’ve got an army of fellow Millers standing alongside you.

Oh, and whether you do the jersey thing right or do it wrong, a subtle reminder on how the league cares about how we go about this: “lockout.”

Get me the hell outta’ here, Roger Cozier and your well dressed fans.

 

Classy threads. Those were the DAYS.

Dammit all.

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Who Took The Fun Out Of My NHL Videogames?

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Videogames and hockey: two things that I love. And the intersection of those two is something that I’ve spent way, way too much time on. Over the years, the time I’ve spent playing various NHL videogames could’ve been spent doing something productive, like, oh, say earning a masters degree, curing cancer or repainting the Sistine Chapel. Not that I’d be great at actually DOING those things, but I just don’t even want to know how much time I’ve spent playing hockey on the Sega, Super Nintendo, Playstation, PS2 or XBOX 360 over the years. Thank goodness there’s no “/played” command for that.

 Who Took The Fun Out Of My NHL Videogames?

Here’s your Grumpy Old Man Warning – I.E. Things are different now and I don’t like it! (Click the picture for a link to the original Dana Carvey skit)

Recent versions of EA’s NHL series have left me wanting. I mean, I SHOULD like them; they have everything a hockey videogame fan should like. They look real, have a crazy amount of different controls you can do, very in-depth features and an a ton of different modes like online league play, Be a GM and Be A Pro Mode. Hell, you even control your hockey stick with the right analog stick.

This is all designed to make you feel like you’re really playing hockey. EA wants to simulate a real game – that’s what they’ve always been working towards. This works for the Madden franchise; I’ve always found that game fun and seems to never get old. But for hockey, this doesn’t work for me.

Sure, you can do tons of different stuff but it’s all about strategy and “realness” and … well, work. It is hard goshdarn work to win a game. That’s all well and good for people wanting to re-enact a game, but where has the fun gone? 

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Posted in: NHL, Videogames

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Grigorenko on Potential Lockout, CSKA Moscow Offer

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Mikhail Grigorenko is not interested in the KHL’s CSKA Moscow.

Reaaaallly not interested.

As we reported earlier, Grigs had received a the promise of a guaranteed roster spot and some big money from Sergei Fedorov’s team in the motherland. Well, now we know how Grigorenko feels about it, as well as his intentions on where he will play if there is a NHL lockout this season. From Sports.ru (roughly translated by Google Translate):

Forward “Buffalo” Mikhail Grigorenko said that he had an offer to return to CSKA.

- Contract nobody offered me so serious intentions to talk is not worth it. Yes, I called from CSKA Moscow, Valery Bragin and Sergei Fedorov were interested in my plans. But for myself, I firmly decided that I would try to break into the adult hockey overseas. No desire to return to Russia with me at the moment.

- And if the NHL lockout will be?

- I will continue to act in a junior league for “Quebec”. Why am I so firmly opposed to returning to CSKA Moscow? With the recent acquisitions made by the army club, a chance to gain a foothold there, I will be a little bit. Yes, and the precipitate was left on the moment when I went out of CSKA. I do not really trust it. There were problems with the coaching staff and with the leadership of the club.

- But now there was a change in CSKA appeared Fedorov, Bragin …

- I would not say that everything changed. The same people were working in the structure of the club.

That’s some pretty tough talk. It’s not exactly bridge burning stuff, but a public slap in the face of Moscow’s darling club can’t be going over well in the offices of Bragin and Fedorov.

Fedorov Grigorenko 300x225 Grigorenko on Potential Lockout, CSKA Moscow Offer

Sergei can now tote his murse full of gold bars elsewhere.

For Sabres fans, well, it’s certainly encouraging to see the young man make an impact statement on this issue. With any doubts over his commitment now resolved, we can now just look forward to watching him making some impact statements on the ice here in Buffalo.

Go Sabres.

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