Posted by Scott Michalak on September 24, 2011 at 8:20 am
This is a good one.
While we’ve all been gearing up for our first full year of Pegula hockey, “Hockey Heaven” (sponsor) has been very busy – making t-shirts, giving away tickets, and putting together some really great Sabres videos.
In Hockey Heaven, a toque is our winter time halo.
The latest installment from their Youtube channel, “Buffalo Sabres Owner Speaks with NHL,” is a venture into the world of animation, and superheros.
And it’s outstanding.
There is so much that is awesome in this video that it’s hard to nail down one singular thing that makes it great. Maybe it’s the Superhero outfit. Maybe it’s the Justice League-like “Fortress of Solitude” at the F’N Center. Maybe it’s the… oh never mind, just click “play.”
Love that Pegula cartoon swagger.
13 days until our season opens in Helsinki. Until then, we have our preseason, and we have our home-grown businesses like “Hockey Heaven” that have sprung up in Pegulaville to make this ride even more important, and even more fun.
UPDATE: I asked demanded “Hockey Heaven” to produce more cartoons. Their response:
1Posted by Scott Michalak on September 22, 2011 at 8:50 am
What does it take to lead?
Last night, Roy donned the “C” for a preseason skate against the Montreal Canadiens. While most eyes (who had access to video of the game) were watching Christian Ehrhoff’s strong debut, Roy was putting up a hell of a game.
Say what you want. It’s not like we know who says what in the locker room, or on the bench. As fans, we all have our opinions on who is a strong character on and off the ice. But we lack insight.
Here’s what we do know:
The Sabres’ last captain, Craig Rivet, was strong in the locker room – voted as captain by his teammates – but he couldn’t follow through on the ice as a healthy scratch. We knew that Chris Drury was a strident and powerful leader, because that information was made very public. He lead in the locker room. He lead on the ice.
Last night, Roy lead on the ice.
After the first period with the “C” on his sweater, Roy had 1 assist, was a +1, had a .667 faceoff percentage (one of the talking points of the Montreal RDS broadcast team during that intermission), and his 5:45 time on ice trailed only Pominville’s 5:55 for forwards.
Maybe it's time to " #BroneItDown," as Roy said on his Twitter recently, and let the man lead after all.
After the second period, his faceoff percentage dropped to .538 and his points remained the same – though he should have had two more assists as Thomas Vanek and Jason Pominville whiffed on gimme chances. (Those two, ironically, are his likely competition for the captaincy.)
At the final buzzer, he had 1 assist, was a +2, .556 on faceoffs, and enjoyed 17:35 of ice time (second in forwards behind Stafford).
His skating was strong. He was in midseason form. It looked like he’d been doing this for ages – well, he has. He’s a part of the core that has been here for years. He knows the system, the coaches, the players, the fans. He knows it all – how the team has lost in recent years, and what it took to win.
Yes, he's been around this long.
He may not be your favorite Sabre, and he may not be as gritty as Rivet or Drury – but hs motor doesn’t stop. He’s the #1 center on a team looking to win it all, and if last year’s point-per-game pace tells us anything, he’s matured on the ice enough to take this team to grand places.
He has what it takes to lead, folks – he puts it all out there on the ice. He’s not the diving rookie that we shook our heads at anymore. He’s grown up into a leader, an example, and a big piece of a Stanley Cup puzzle.
The captaincy has not been guaranteed by Lindy Ruff, yet. But last night, Derek Roy made a strong, strong case for it.
Posted by Scott Michalak on September 20, 2011 at 9:23 pm
Georgia is on the minds of Hockey Heaven.
Based in Duluth, Georgia, the “Gwinnett Gladiators” have been named the new ECHL affilate of the Buffalo Sabres. Interestingly enough, the Gladiators became affiliated with the Phoenix Coyotes on August 17, whose AHL team is the Sabres’ recently orphaned Portland Pirates. Buffalo and Phoenix will now embark on a shared affiliation.
“We’re very excited to share in an affiliation with Gwinnett,” Buffalo Sabres Director of Amateur Scouting Kevin Devine said. “We take pride in building our team with competitive players from our minor league affiliates and Gwinnett will provide us with even more opportunity to succeed in developing young talent.”
The Gladiators have fielded 156 call-ups that have involved 112 players over the first eight seasons the team has been based in Gwinnett. The Gladiators have had at least 22 player call-ups to the American Hockey League in each of the past four seasons. During the 2009-10 season, Gwinnett saw a record 28 call-ups to the AHL, while the 23 call-ups last season were the second most in team history.
“Buffalo is an appealing affiliate to us for many reasons,” said (Gladiators President Steve) Chapman. “They have always been an organization that builds within their own system. The new ownership in Buffalo supports the philosophy of building from within. In addition, Wrobo’s (John Wroblewski) relationship with Ron Rolston, the head Coach in Rochester, cemented the connection. We’re looking forward to beginning a strong relationship with the Sabres of developing talented players and upstanding individuals.”
The Gladiators are members of the 20-team ECHL, America’s Premier “AA” Hockey League and play all home games at the 11,355-seat Arena at Gwinnett Center, located just off I-85 on Sugarloaf Parkway in Duluth, GA.
The franchise originated as the Mobile Mysticks in 1995. The team suspended operations in 2002 and moved to Duluth in 2003.They have qualified for the Kelly Cup playoffs for six out of their eight seasons of play as the Gladiators. They were the South Division and Eastern Conference champions in 2006, falling one game to four to the Alaska Aces in the finals.
Looks like we’re not the only team in Hockey Heaven now hungry as Hell for a championship (for them, it’s the “Kelly Cup,” named after Patrick J. Kelly, the league’s first commissioner).
Follow them on the Twitter at @gwtgladiators, and on the Facebook, here. UPDATE: on the Twitter, you can also find Head Coach John Wroblewski at @CoachWrobo and broadcaster/media guy Dustin Bixby at @dustinbixby.
Posted by Scott Michalak on September 19, 2011 at 8:38 am
Yes, I know, I said that in the title already – but it’s worth typing twice, especially on such a big day.
I'm putting all slugs on notice.
Today is the Sabres first preseason game (against the hated Hurricanes). If you have tickets, meet me somewhere around the corridors near the 312 section and buy me a beer. If you don’t have tickets, well you can still buy me a beer using the “tips jar” on the side bar over there.
Remember it’s also “Slug Appreciation Day” (otherwise known as “Slug Whacking Day” in my house).
Sorry for the poor quality on that video, but you get the point. My hockey stick is polished, and as soon as I hit the publish button, I’m going outside for some mid-September slug hunting. Oh yeah, there’s also that Sabres Store discount thing going on:
Fans are encouraged to wear their old Sabres merchandise featuring the ‘Slug’ logo to Monday’s game to receive a 41% discount – to honor the team’s 41st season – on a matching item featuring the Sabres’ current logo.
Doors to the Sabres Store will open at 10 a.m. and will remain open until the conclusion of Monday night’s game. Fans are cautioned, however, that they will need a ticket to enter the building after 7 p.m. The sale is not a ‘trade-in’ sale, fans will be keeping the old ‘Slug’ items. This is a one-day sale and cannot be combined with any other offers or discounts. Previous sales are excluded and products are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Rain checks will be issued for sold out items.
Fans wearing their ‘Slug’ attire will also be eligible for several contests running throughout the night. For a chance to win current Sabres jerseys, fans can follow the team on Facebook (www.facebook.com/bufsabres) and Twitter (@SabresDotCom).
Posted by Scott Michalak on September 18, 2011 at 10:10 pm
Hockey, that is. Oh, and Sabres BINGO! too. If you missed hockey as much as me, then you’ll be all over this game tonight against the hated Carolina frickin’ Hurricanes.
I mean seriously, screw these guys. Get your Twitter feed and your sharpies ready, because the winner of tonight’s BINGO! receives a free tooth from Eric Staal. Lemme’ at him! (Or not – that dude and his murderous eyes are scary.)