0Posted 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).
0Posted 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.)
See? There's criminal intent in those eyes. And by criminal I mean MURDER.
2Posted by Scott Michalak on September 16, 2011 at 3:10 pm
Look mom, I’m taking on City Hall!
Remember when Terrell Owens came to town, and was awarded the key to the city? He was supposed to catch 10 touchdown passes in return. Well, he caught 55 passes before his one year contract was up, and off he went.
That wasn’t the best decision regarding keys to cities, but since that debacle, someone has arrived in the Queen City who actually deserves the honor – Terry Pegula. I brought this up during the Ted Black chat on Twitter today, and while Ted didn’t respond to the idea (a wise choice to keep his words away from politics) many others did. Seems like folks want to get this done, so let’s give it a try.
There are those that see a key to the city as an empty gesture (especially after the Owens mistake), but I disagree. It’s quite meaningful, especially if it is awarded to Pegula by a legion of fans. From wiki:
The Key to the City is a similar award that is descended from Freedom of the City.It is used in several countries, but is especially popular in the United States.
An ornamental key is presented to esteemed visitors, residents, or others the city wishes to honor. Evoking medieval walled cities whose gates were guarded during the day and locked at night, the key symbolises the freedom of the recipient to enter and leave the city at will as a trusted friend of city residents.
I can’t think of a better way to say “thank you, Terry” than that.
Or at least buy him a six pack of Blue.
And we have a lot to be thankful for. Here’s a list of things he did for us fans that I compiled back in April. In yesterday’s Buffalo News, Bucky Gleason wrote a piece reviewing all that Terry has done for us, for this team, and for this city since then. He was gushing.
He’s a wealthy man who carries himself as if he didn’t have a dime in his pocket, a great fit in outposts like Buffalo. He’s doing deeds that don’t cost a penny but make him a rich man. He has surrounded himself with sharp, creative minds such as team president Ted Black. They’re covering the details, right down to televisions in the bathrooms and cup holders on urinals.
The Sabres for years had problems with soft ice, so he paid for a dehumidifying system that they believe will give them the best surface in the NHL.
He thought the Sabres’ dressing room was outdated, so he committed $6 million toward a new one. Then it was $8 million. Some say it’s nearing $10 million. It will have everything you can imagine, including a fireplace. If this keeps up, it might have a separate fire department.
Ten months have passed since Pegula’s name surfaced as a potential owner, but I still haven’t heard one cross word about the guy. You would think somebody would have pointed out a flaw — any flaw by now. So far, nothing. If anything, more people gush about him as they come to know him.
In an interview yesterday, Pegula was asked how much money he’s poured into this project to build Hockey Heaven and win Lord Stanley. “We’re investing our hearts,” he said.
0Posted by Scott Michalak on September 16, 2011 at 7:59 am
Does it make sense to pay a 21 year old $22 million dollars to play hockey next year?
No. And surprisingly, yes. His deal is part of a pattern now, and Darcy Regier’s plan to bring Lord Stanley to Buffalo is becoming clear. Who cares about how much Terry Pegula pours into this team? Buffalo’s opponents do. They’re sweating this Myers contract, and I can understand why. But it’s not about the money.
1st of many.
With his seven year deal, Myers will make a cool $12 mil in the 2012-13 season, along with a $10 mil “signing bonus.” That’s a lot of money to heap onto a player who’s just played two years of NHL hockey. It’s the silly money normally reserved for players who have earned UFA status, and are hitting the market as such.
But the Buffalo Sabres aren’t concerned about money anymore. They are concerned about winning Stanley Cups.
Is Myers really worth $22 million? (Note: math error here. See edit below.) Goodness, no. But he is certainly worth $3 million, which is what he’ll make in the 2018-19 season. Sure, Myers is young, too young for UFA money – but this deal gives him prime time money, while also being structured to allow for the Sabres to add to the team in the coming years.
Pegula doesn’t care how much money he spends – he “spends with his heart,” as he said in a press conference yesterday. It’s up to Regier to decide how the money is spent, and now we’re seeing a pattern: this team is building up for something big. By paying big now, they will have the space to add more players later. It’s pretty simple, really.
Christian Ehrhoff (winner of Vancouver’s “Best Defenseman” award for the past two seasons) is making a monumental $18 mil in salary and signing bonuses this year. However, his deal tapers off as Myers’ does – he’ll be making $1 mil to play from 2018-19 to 2020-21. The cap hit for the former best dman of the Canucks is a paltry $4 mil.
Even for top defensemen, $21 million and $18 million is silly money. $5.5 and $4 – a combined $9.5 million for two stud defensemen, is smart, smart, smart.
Sabres fans aren’t used to this kind of math. Words like “cap,” “circumvention,” and “signing bonus” sound like they come from a foreign language. Buffalo is accustomed to being on the other end of the transaction (July 1st, 2007 should ring a bell). I understand why some folks may cry foul over this deal.
After all, they aren’t really upset about the contracts that lockout year was supposed to prevent, unless they have selective amnesia. We were all taught that the lockout failed when Drury, Briere, Gomez, et al were handed the largesse contracts that changed the monetary culture of the NHL.
2007 was our turn to cry. We’re over it. So again – let the cryers cry, and the naysayers nay. The Sabres are building. Tyler Myers will help Buffalo win a Stanley Cup. His friendly long-term cap hit will help Buffalo win a Cup again.
Yea, let ‘em cry folks. It ain’t fair. We get it in Buffalo. It wasn’t fair in 2007, and it’s not going to be fair in 2012. It’s not going to be fair when we take the best players from other teams.
But we’re going to do it.
NHL fans outside of Buffalo have been put on notice with these deals. Sabres fans can tune out all that money talk. The only thing that matters in this town is Lord Stanley – and that is what the other teams and fan bases are really worried about. Cry all they want, Terry Pegula, Darcy Regier and the Sabres aren’t done yet.
EDIT: As Jeremy White from WGR55 pointed out to me, “The 12 includes the signing bonus. Salary year one is 2 million. Bonus is 10. 12 million next year, not 22.” I guess I definitely am tuning out this money stuff already. Thanks, Jeremy.
0Posted by Scott Michalak on September 13, 2011 at 7:12 am
On February 23rd of 2011, a day after Terry Pegula took over the reins as the owner of the Buffalo Sabres, the team cut ties with its captain, Craig Rivet.
Today we’ll focus on two other dates: September 13, (today, and the day Rivet was born in 1974) and February 13, 2009.
Happy birthday, Captain Craig!
Always a class act and reputed leader, Rivet was elected as Sabres captain – by his teammates – immediately after he was acquired from the San Jose Sharks in 2008. Now in 2011, his grit and character would seem to be exactly what the team was looking for, but age and injuries had slowed him down.
A decision had to be made. And for all parties, it was the right one. Rivet was waived, and found one last shot with the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Sabres were able to move on with their season without the distraction of a healthy-scratch captain.
For me, I’ll always remember Rivet for two things. The first is how he manhandled the Sabres forwards when he lined up against us in his earlier years in Montreal. The second is how his incredible leadership and resolve all came together in one incredible moment, on February 13th, 2009.
I swear, that video still brings the water out from behind my eyes. Rivet launched a rocket that found its way into the net (Rivet would be credited with the primary assist on Pominville’s tip in, one of a career high three assists on that night), and the Sabres would go on to find a way to bring a little bit of a fairy tale footnote to that horrible, nightmare of a day in Clarence – Rivet’s own adoptive town.