Not the best weekend to be a Buffalo sports fan.
Buffalonians were dealt the following TKO in less than 24 hours:
The Gut Punch
The Bills decided that 1950′s economics still make sense when building or maintaining a brand in the 21st century, as they retained the right to blackout television coverage if the fans fail to fill every seat in Ralph Wilson Stadium.
Here’s a study by leading economists on why this is stupid.
Here’s what Forbes Magazine had to say on why this is stupid.
Meanwhile, a WGR poll shows that 29% of Bills fans say “it (the Bills’ stance) doesn’t bother me either way.” Here’s a run-down on what Stockholm syndrome is, which is stupid.
So, what is the difference between a 100% sellout and an 85% sellout at Ralph Wilson Stadium? $90 grand. That’s about 4 Hyundai Elantras. Yea, that loss would really sink the Bills’ ship. Stupid.
You may have noticed that I just had to type “Ralph Wilson Stadium.” We’re arguing over $90k/game while Ralph Wilson refuses to sell naming rights to the stadium. Here’s a link to what other team owners are making based on naming rights. Stupid.
And here’s Steve Ott showing you how I feel about Ralph Wilson right now.
The Glancing Blow
Sergei Fedorov, GM of CSKA Moscow (the crap-assed KHL team which I will not waste my time linking to) has made an enormous offer to Mikhail Grigorenko. I’d be surprised if Grigs abandoned all of his work and progress towards a very successful and very lucrative NHL life in Pegulaville. Plus, the new rookie class of Sabres SEALs would kick his ass.
Then again, he hasn’t signed yet. From “Sports.ru” (translated via Google Translate):
Sergei Fedorov: “Grigorenko guaranteed a place in the team of CSKA with very good financial condition”
The general manager of CSKA Sergei Fedorov said that CSKA are going to rely on young players, adding that it would very much like to see in the striker Mikhail Grigorenko.
- What are your plans for the young players? How can they prove themselves in the company of such masters as Alexander Radulov?
- According to the regulations in this part of four hockey player gaming. But we have to produce on the ice at least two. If we have two worthy candidates, of course, they will play. We would very much like to have, for example, Mikhail Grigorenko. You can even bring a few names, places to eat. And without them, the application will be very difficult to apply the match. In general, the famous CSKA and will be famous for talented youth.
- And you have a decent selection of this year.
- It is. Of course, it is necessary to make tough decisions, competition is very high – we tried this. I gave the example of Grigorenko, because he really guaranteed a place in the team of CSKA with some very good financial condition. But our young people want to try overseas. Therefore, with such players as Grigorenko, it is difficult to negotiate. But we still try – quoted Fyodorov Sportbox.ru.
Recall that Grigorenko was selected “Buffalo” in 2012 NHL Entry Draft by the 12th number.
This afternoon, the old Sega Genesis is coming out of the attic. Line changes will be set to off. Buffalo versus Detroit. Line of Ray-Sweeney-May, Donnelly and Sutton will be dressed for the Sabres. Fedorov goin’ DOWN.
Fedorov’s offer to Grigorenko might actually garner a little more leverage if the NHL CBA talks endanger the NHL season. Right now, it’s at least in danger of being postponed. Link.
Screw the smelling salts. This is a beer breakfast kind of day in the B-lo.
Well, we did get news of the Girgensons signing, which is great news for the short and long term future of the Amerks and Sabres. We also were awarded the news of the French Connection Statue that will be built at the FNC – in the newly named “Alumni Plaza.” Fans can buy a brick for a hundred bucks, and get their name inscribed to join the legacy.
Hell, that’s where some Buffalo sports fans might find relief from all the bad news. Anyone who just cancelled plans to buy a ticket to a Bills game this season can redirect that money towards a Sabres brick.
Buffalo Sabres Nation does not, in any way, condone throwing bricks through Ralph Wilson’s windows. This is just a stupid metaphor. For a stupid day.
Enjoy the rest of the weekend, everybody.
And god bless the fans.
OK, technically this is a Stars or Oilers GIF.
But Steve Ott is blue and gold now, so it’s time to start digging into his colorful NHL background.
Today’s Sabres GIF features Sam Gagner trying to climb his way up into the stands to avoid being hit by Otter. Bad decision. It doesn’t start well and it ends worse. Unless there is room for “downward facing dog*” in hockey. And there isn’t.
Glorious. Who’s up for a Kaleta-Gerbe-Ott line? Kaleta-McCormick-Ott? Kaleta-Ott-and John freakin’ 6′ 8″ Scott? Throw in Myers and Regehr on the blueline for a faceoff.
To coin a phrase: the “Annihilation Line.”
Welcome to “Hockey Heaven,” Kevin Porter.
Or perhaps more fittingly, welcome to the Sabres’ self-proclaimed “Hockey University” of Rochester. Indeed, Porter has struggled mightily to find success at the NHL level. Here’s a blow-by-blow account of how Adrian Dater of the Denver Post summed up his 2011-12 performance:
It’s not the fun part of my job, ripping on a guy. Kevin Porter was/is a nice guy.
Ouch. That was his lede for this analysis. Moving on:
But he was a D player for the Avs this year. (BSN Note: some of you haven’t gotten it. The “D” in the title up there comes into play now. It’s never funny when I have to explain it. Got it? OK, resume reading.) His stats: 35 games played, three goals, four assists, -2.
The Avs have to stop believing that players like Porter are going to do anything for them. He’s the kind of player who scores goals in meaningless games, and can fool you. In a game that counts in the NHL, if he’s a regular player for you, you’re going to lose.
He scored 14 goals for the Avs in 2010-11, but it was somewhat of a mirage. A really bad team with a guy who scored 14 goals – that and $3.50 will get you a grande non-fat latte at Starbucks.
GM Greg Sherman can’t keep making mistakes like this. He signed Porter to a new deal, when everyone who saw him play knew he wasn’t a guy you’re going to win with at the NHL level. He was a good college player (a Hobey Baker winner in fact), but that didn’t translate to the NHL in his case. And everybody who knows the game knew that last year.
It’s just a fact of life: sometimes you’re just not good enough for the next level. It’s not an indictment of Porter’s character that he’s one of those guys. It’s just a fact.
EVERYONE BACK OFF AND GIVE THE KID SOME ROOM TO BREATHE. Dang, Dater, you really brutalized this poor guy. Honestly, it’s pretty surprising that this is what has become of a prospect who once carried a very impressive resume on Wiki:
In his 2004–05 freshman season with the Wolverines, Porter scored 11 goals in 39 games to finish with 24 points, second among Wolverine rookies to fellow USNTDP product and Coyotes draft pick, Chad Kolarik. Establishing his scoring touch as a sophomore with 38 points in 39 games, Kevin returned as a junior to lead the Wolverines with 24 goals and place second among points with 58 to earn player of the Month award (November) and nomination to the CCHA Second All-Star Team.
With the departure of prolific Michigan scorer T.J. Hensick, Porter returned to captain the Wolverines for his senior year in 2007–08. For the fourth consecutive season Porter improved his season totals posting 33 goals and 63 points in 43 games to lead the U of M and place second only to Nathan Gerbe in the NCAA. He set a NCAA Tournament record with four goals in the East Regional Semi-Final against Niagara, as he captained the Wolverines to the Frozen four for the first time since 2003. Named as the University of Michigan Male sports person of the Year, Porter’s standout season was also awarded with selection to the CCHA First All-Star Team, CCHA Player of the Year and the NCAA West First All-American Team to culminate in winning the Hobey Baker Award as the top collegiate player in the NCAA.
It’s not for me to say what happened to Porter since he beat out the Sabres’ own Nathan Gerbe and Ryan Jones (who now skates with the Edmonton Oilers) to win the Hobey Baker. There’s gotta’ be some good hockey left in this now 26-year old. It will likely be under the tutelage of Rochester Americans Coach Ron Rolston to figure that all out.
If he earned himself a D, I suppose “Hockey University” is the best place for him. In the end, who knows, maybe he’ll be able to bring his A game to the NHL level.
This is your 2nd chance, Kevin. Study hard. We’re all rooting for you.
And nuts to you, Adrian Dater. You don’t have Kevin Porter to kick around anymore.
And go Porter.
UPDATE: Let’s return to one of Dater’s “insights” for a moment.
He’s the kind of player who scores goals in meaningless games, and can fool you. …He scored 14 goals for the Avs in 2010-11, but it was somewhat of a mirage. A really bad team with a guy who scored 14 goals – that and $3.50 will get you a grande non-fat latte at Starbucks.
Interesting. I wonder which regular season games Dater designates as “meaningless.” Most hockey minds would be quick to rebuke anyone who would claim that any of those 82 regular season games are meaningless. And about that whole “mirage” thing – did his 14 goals merit any value at all?
Well, it turns out that of those 14 goals that he netted in the 2010-11 season, 3 of them were game winners, and one of those was in overtime. 21% of his goals – game winners.
Meaningless? I’d like to hear Drater’s definition of that word. Last I checked, that definition doesn’t include the word “clutch.”
Again: nuts to you, Dater.
“C change.” Get it?
“Sea change.” It’s not funny when I have to explain it. Moving on…
Say what you want about the latest Sabres moves making the team grittier. There’s a different dynamic shift happening at the FNC, and it’s one that can have a much larger impact in the locker room, and on the ice.
Remember last year, when the great debate was “which one of these Old Core guys deserves the C?” As a fan base, we never came to a consensus on that one. Eventually, Lindy Ruff held his unemphatic little Letter Luncheon and handed the C to Pommers, and the A to the rest of the Old Core. I like Pommers – he’s as consistent as they come on the ice, and I love a guy who leads by example – but Jason just isn’t the general that troops follow into the gates of Hell.
Our captain, by default?
Heck, remember when Craig Rivet arrived, and the team (including said “Old Core”) voted to name him captain instantaneously? Goodness, that said volumes about the lack of leadership character on the roster.
Call the Sabres of seasons past “soft” if you want to. Fair enough. But besides the addition of sandpaper, it’s time to recognize Regier’s success at adding some heavyweight captain material to this team, both in the draft and on the markets.
We began “the conversation” fittingly on Twitter last night:
After a little digging, we added to the list:
- Marcus Foligno – was captain in Sudbury
- Zemgus Girgensons – captain in Dubuque, highest-touted leader of the 2012 draft class
- Brayden McNabb – captain in Kootenay
I stopped digging there, realizing how far the leadership dynamic has shifted since that luncheon last year. In a small space of time (and some work in previous years’ drafts), the Sabres have gone from a team of followers to a cast-iron squad of “Follow me, boys!” trench warriors.
The added grit is going to be nice. But the addition of so much depth of strength of character is really the thing that will right the ship and get us sailing back into the playoffs. Just the sea change we needed.
As usual: well played, Darcy. Well played.
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Currently, #UFADay continues to be #UFADay.
But to this point, the Sabres haven’t made a move. Aside from parting ways with Brad Boyes, who signed an actually reasonable contract with the Islanders – 1 year for 1 mil – there hasn’t been a reason to shuffle the locker room stables just yet.
And I couldn’t be happier.
Sure, many Sabres fans wanted to be this guy today:
And I can’t say I blame them. Landing a Parise would bring a heckuva lot of excitement to our #UFADay, but as I mentioned in my last post, can we really afford another “Vanekontract?”
- Knowing full well that we were losing Boyes today, I still was secretly holding out hope that the Sabres would somehow sign him for 1 mil for 1 year, while simultaneously packing Leino off somewhere – anywhere, really. Didn’t happen, and there’s no surprise about that.
- With the run on grit in the UFA market today (including the aforementioned Konopka), you gotta wonder what the Sabres’ plans are to get bigger. Perhaps now is Corey Tropp’s time to shine.
- After losing so many Amerks to Europe and the KHL, I was surprised to not see Regier make some moves to bring in some solid AHL talent. It’s still early.
- I can’t say how relaxing it was to have a “day off” from the UFA frenzy for once. After making the big splashes last season (Regehr, Ehrhoff, and Leino) there wasn’t a pressing need to show how seriously intent Pegula is on turning this team into a championship team. The “we’ll award you handsomely” point was made last year, so kudos for being more money-wise this time around.
#5 gets it’s own private space on this commentary. Feeling bored with all the non-happenin’s from the FNC? Count your hockey gods blessings.
For once, we’re not the mickey mouse organization of the NHL (thank you Devils for possibly taking that crown of thorns from us, as Parise and Brodeur are looking for greener pastures – we’ll see how that works out. My thoughts and prayers are with you, Devils fans). We’re not mourning the loss of Brad Boyes here.
Remember, on July 1st, 2001, Sabres fans woke up to the news that we had indeed dealt Dominik Hasek to the Wings for Slava freakin’ Kozlov (not sure who was more unhappy, the Sabres or Kozlov) a first round pick (Paille), and “future considerations” (which yielded us nothing).
Aw, hell. Who can blame him?
This isn’t 2007, when we lost Briere and Drury (mine as well count Grier, Campbell, McKee, Dumont et al as a part of the overall losses from that Sabres generation, too).
And it’s not 2011, the year of the big money bang.
It’s 2012. We’ve got a glut of defensemen, and suddenly a glut of centers. As I said in my UFA preview post, our best value return for investment is in the trade market. After all, why pay Zach Parise a signing bonus of $12 million dollars this season and the next, when you can use the assets you’ve patiently collected over the last few years in a cap-friendlier and rink-deadlier trade? Bobby Ryan, I hope you get a call from your agent soon, and I hope he has something to say to you about how lovely the architecture is in the Queen City.
I’d love a “wacky inflatable tube man” celebration today as much as the next fan, but that’s not for this year. Instead, we need to be patient, and keep building for the future, you know, for a Stanley Cup celebration.
That’s the kind of party we want to have.