Since I’ve failed to blog with any regularity, I put together a smorgasbord of off-ice thoughts through two rounds:
-I’ve never liked Ray Emery as a player, but his off-ice antics are annoying, too:
“I’m not a big fan of Buffalo,” Emery said early this week. “There’s not a lot to do on days off.” ...
“He’ll find things to do,” Ruff said with a laugh. “Rent a Hummer truck, go for a ride. Drive around a little bit.” -TBN
Emery had the latest word Wednesday when asked if he'd have anything to say to Ruff if he saw him on the road - Emery quipped he'd greet him with a little ‘nudge.’ ” –CP
Don’t worry, Ray. WIVB has called fans to help him find something to keep him busy in Western New York. The best suggestions so far? “Go to a driving school!” and “Have you ever heard of a little place called Niagara Falls? I'm sure that they can find a barrel big enough to fit your ego.”
-Most hockey players have superstitions, but I doubt most involve a newspaper’s beat reporter:
"Ales Kotalik just one day asked me how my coffee was, I said it was delicious and we left at that. Then that night he scored two goals," said [TBN's Tim] Graham.
"I see him the next day and he says 'Timmy how's the coffee?' And as soon as he asked me that, I knew what he was talking about, and I said it was delicious and he kind of laughed about it and then went out and had a goal and an assist."
Says Kotalik, "It was always when he was holding a Dunkin' Donuts coffee that I had a good game, so I kind of told him make sure you have it before every game."
Check out the video here.
-Yes, Buffalo is crazy for the playoffs:
“I think [Sabres] fever is hot when I drive by the Catholic church near my house, and it doesn’t list the Mass times or the inspirational message,” Sabres public relations director Michael M. Gilbert said. “It says, ‘Go Sabres.’ ” –TBN
I also like the “Welcome to Pominville” sign on Rt. 33.
-Oh, and it’s not just Buffalo. It’s also Buffalo’s collection of fans around the globe. I’m listening to WGR right now, and people have called in everywhere from England to South Africa. Especially here in Detroit, people complain about those “late” west coast games. What if you’re a Sabres fan living across the ocean where the games don’t START until 1 a.m.? Now that’s dedication!
-Even the New York Times is taking notice of Buffalo's obsession:
"On Versus, Buffalo has the highest ratings and the most viewers. 'The Buffalo fans are a force of nature,' said Gavin Harvey, the president of Versus. 'We crushed ‘American Idol’ up there.'
In Game 4, Buffalo had a 24.8 rating from Versus, accounting for 158,000 households. Meanwhile, New York did a 1.5, the highest ever for a hockey game on Versus in that market. In Detroit, which appropriated the nickname Hockeytown in 1996, then backed it up by selling out 452 consecutive home games and winning the Stanley Cup three times, has failed to sell out its first five playoff home games this year. That has caused some hand-wringing in the Motor City, but it may be premature to cede top status to Buffalo and the Sabres."
-I’m begging Larry Quinn: Please get rid of the white pom pons! Doesn't he realize home teams wear COLOR now? And am I the only one that thinks HSBC is less enthusiastic about pom pons than other hockey-crazed cities?
-It’s no secret that Hockeytown has failed to sell out any of its playoff games. Living in Detroit, I have to chuck it up to the economy. With such a large corporate season ticket base and the decimation of the auto industry, businesses and its employees don’t have the disposable income to spend on Red Wings tickets, which are much higher than Pistons playoff tickets or the hottest ticket in town — the Detroit Tigers. Free Press columnist (and former Michigan Daily EIC) Michael Rosenberg wrote about the struggle to sell out:
“I don't blame people for staying home. People can spend their money however they'd like. It is just too bad that Mike Ilitch has chosen to alienate his fan base like this, by acting like the economy is still thriving and the Wings are still the only winner in town.
In the last few years, we have seen the state unemployment rate rise, the Pistons become one of the best franchises in sports, the Tigers make the World Series, Steve Yzerman retire and the Wings' payroll drop from almost $78 million in 2004 to $44 million this year. Yet the Wings expect fans to open the checkbook as they did in 2002.”
-Isn’t it funny how Ryan Miller sounds more and more like Chris Drury in his interviews? “It’s just a hockey game, it doesn’t matter who the opponent it is, I’m just focused on the game…”
-I was listening to the "60s on 6" channel on XM Radio this past Tuesday while driving to work. A Sabres fan called up, and he requested "A Wonderful Dream" by The Majors, in honor of the Senators matchup. Pretty sweet.
-Best quote of the playoffs thus far, courtesy of TBN columnist Bucky Gleason: “Drury’s heart never skips a beat when everybody else is ready to drop dead.” Of course, it was in reference to Drury’s game-tying goal with 7.7 second remaining in Game Five against the Rangers. Rick Jeanneret’s call was great, too: “Who else? Who else?”