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So this is what Rebuilding Looks Like

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I’ll preface this by reminding y’all that I have zero expectations going into this season. I’m going to be that happy go lucky (edit: annoying) guy at the bar who, after the Sabres get scored on, says something terribly unrelated to the play such as “I don’t know who I like more right now, Zemgus Girgensons or Kiko Alonso.”

Actually, right now, we’re all That Guy. At least with throw and catch sports. We’re all in on the Kiko Alonso bandwagon, as the Buffalo Bills’ rebuilding product stretches into its 3rd or 4th or 5th generation. They’re 2-2, and look like they’re just good enough again to reach the middle of the pack, but we’re enjoying the ride. We’re enjoying watching the young guys chase the pigskin up and down the field.

I’m not saying that we’re suckers for buying into an inferior product. I’m saying that, for the most part, we’ve learned to embrace what it is, for what it is. We’ve been losing for a while. But unlike other fanbases whose teams try to rope them into the stadium by giving away free beer (-!!!), the sport and the goodtimes and the camaraderie and the drunken laughs and the city-wide venting post-loss or back-patting post-victory is, well, fun – and all of that is pretty great, here.

Somehow, “Happiness in Slavery” by Nine Inch Nails just popped into my head. But whatever. Kiko Alonso and Robert Woods and EJ Manuel, amirite? Those names bring the cheesy classic rock tailgate music right back and I’m all good again.

The Sabres have worked pretty hard to remain just ahead of the Bills in terms of beating mediocrity. Icing a mixed bag of hastily thrown together trade deadline imports and hopeful draft picks along with the remnants of the heroic 05-06 and 06-07 seasons has given Buffalo fans some limited success, and some very unlimited stress.

This year looks to be the worst yet. But I couldn’t be happier about it. Here’s a look into the mind of hockey visionary Corey Pronman from Hockey Prospectus, on our prospects this season:

Dead last. This is what rebuilding looks like on paper. It’s probably going to stay that way all season long. Places like [BN] and the Sabres’ Facebook comments sections are going to be possibly the loneliest places on the planet (the latter likely going to resemble a jumping off point for suicidal fans who are giving all of their fandom up forever because Darcy/DruryBriere/CoCaptains/Sabers).

Yes, I spelled that wrong on purpose.

Avoid those places, for the most part – because this is what rebuilding will look like on the ice:

Grigorenko Foligno So this is what Rebuilding Looks Like

BLISS. (And also currently going for a hefty $12.99 on Ebay.)

There aren’t going to be many great games this season. We all know that already. Still, there are going to be many great moments.

This is what hockey is about – those special moments that make you jump out of your seat and want to hug weird, smelly strangers that smell like beer and nachos. We’ll have plenty of moments. We’ll have plenty to cheer about. It might not look great on paper, but as we go through this thing, for the long term, it should give us the youthful promise we’re all looking for with this rebuild. We’re going to be good, maybe even great. We just need to be able to be sit in our seats and have fun as the team matures, and gets better, and better.

Take heart: the Sabres will get there.

Really, that should be good enough.

At least for one quick year.

Go Sabres.

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#Bills Week 2 BINGO, plus an Obligatory Drinking Game #BecauseItsBuffalo

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Welcome to week 2, Bills fans.

And welcome to our 1st ever edition of Bills BINGO!

I think we all need a little levity after last week’s debacle, and it’s ensuing debacles. Rodney Harrison, and “The Losing Disease” were just two of the more idiotic “media” BS sentiments that Bills fans have had to endure over this past week. Don’t worry folks, Sunday will be here before you know it.

Of course, the real tragedy of the week was the murder of Marcell Dareus’ brother. Thoughts and prayers to him and his family. I can’t believe he’s supposed to be on the field on Sunday. Safe to say all the fans will have Marcell’s back.

This week’s winner receives a signed James Hardy jersey (after the Bills grab him when Stevie Johnson inevitably surrenders to his groin). Well that sounded wrong. The Stevie Johnson part sounded a bit wrong, too.

Oh, also there’s some drinking game fun in those squares, so good luck with your hangovers tomorrow.

Now go buy a dabber. And good luck.

(As always, click the pic to upsize.)

 

Bills BINGO Week 2 300x216 #Bills Week 2 BINGO, plus an Obligatory Drinking Game #BecauseItsBuffalo

 

Go Bills. 4 EVER. #BecauseItsBuffalo

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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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Bad News, Bad News, and More Bad News

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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.

Steve Ott Salute1 300x224 Bad News, Bad News, and More Bad News

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.

NHL94 injury Bad News, Bad News, and More Bad News

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.

 The Uppercut

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.

tko knock out tyson 300x187 Bad News, Bad News, and More Bad News

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.

Brick thrown window 300x225 Bad News, Bad News, and More Bad News

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.

Go Sabres.

Go Bills.

And god bless the fans.

 

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2012 Bills Draft Preview: Prepping my Draft Day Scream

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Two words: Aaron Maybin.

Bills fans are in a prime position to be disappointed when the Bills make their choice at 10th overall today. The “sexy picks” of WR’s Justin Blackmon and Michael Floyd will likely be already taken or simply passed up by the Bills in order to fill position(s) of more pressing need (OT).

Mind you, I’m a fan of LB Luke Kuechly, SS Mark Barron, and CB Stephen Gilmore, players also mocked to the Bills at tenth overall, but there’s a chance none of them will be available at that 10th pick. Ideally, the Bills should lunge upon Kuechly if he is still there at #10. He’s an elite tackling machine who excels in pass coverage. This  guy should really be up for serious consideration: how about a player who, along with helping the Bills’ run defense, would also better the pass defense? From the Boston Herald:

The 6-foot-3 Kuechly arrived at the combine at his ideal playing weight (242 pounds) and with a head full of knowledge on the evaluation process. Kuechly was described on the combine website as the “most instinctual and technically sound linebacker to enter the draft in years.” That would explain his 532 career tackles, second-most in NCAA history, and an ACC-record 191 last season.

Basically, imagine a hard nosed guy like Poz, but who doesn’t suck. One that can actually help to stymie Tom Brady. One that can help stop that damn running game.

But this is draft day. The kind of day where the Bills might reach on a player like they did with Aaron Maybin (11th overall in 2009) over a stud like Brian Orakpo. No one needed a few NFL seasons to know how that pick would turn out for the Bills. Most mocks have the Bills reaching for OT Riley Reiff. Don’t get me wrong, Reiff is a solid player – but he’s not a top ten talent.

In other words, if the Bills pick a player at 10 that they should trade down for, this will be the sound heard’ round the B-lo (fair warning: turn your speakers down):

 

 

At least that will be the sound from my couch.

Kuechly 300x200 2012 Bills Draft Preview: Prepping my Draft Day Scream

Do the right thing, Bills.

There’s also a good chance the Bills will trade up to land the elite OT Matt Kalil, or trade up for a guy like Kuechly. That tenth spot is pretty dicey in terms of what best player available will be left – and if that guy will be able to make a big impact on the gridiron for Buffalo this season.

Trade up, trade down, whatever you do, Buffalo, do it right.

Otherwise, my neighbors will be hearing from me.

Go Bills.

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