Ahhhh... 95 degree weather, shorts and flip flops. Yep, it's the perfect time to start talking hockey again on Swordplay. I guess we can officially call this "Day 1" of the new blog year.
I must admit, Regier has been impressive: He's drafted (what appears to be) well; he's brought much-needed toughness to an incredibly once tough-less team; and he's already foreshadowed the possibility of using his many assets to score that "big name" superstar (hopefully a true #1 center). Albeit subtle, I honestly didn't think that this off-season was going to turn out this exciting at all, let alone this quickly.
But amid all my excitement I still find myself overwhelmingly bummed out. And if you're one of the eleven readers of this blog, I know you probably think I'm gonna start taking shots at Ruff and Miller. Not the case, homeboys and girls.
Now, I don't want to get all "Bucky Gleason" on you right away, but I'm really disheartened over the amount of ignorance that bleeds through the veins of Sabre Nation. And I'm not just talking about many of the fans, but the likes of both Buffalo hockey media -- state-run and non-state-run.
First, you have Kevin Sylvester (I honestly don't know if I really need to expand on that topic, but I will, I will). I think we can all agree that he was the worst play-by-play man in the history of sports. Duh, the Sabres obviously knew that too. But they're nice guys up there in Buffalo, so they took the only broadcaster worse than Phil Simms and Joe Beninati and gave him his very own morning show. Q: Harmless, right? A: Holy shit, no! I'm definitely on the fence, but I'm pretty sure that he's even more horrifying as an analyst.
He just lacks the ability to give any real insight when it comes to anything Sabres or hockey in general. For one, he operates under the cloud of Terry Pegula, so even if he did have anything slightly detrimental to say about the team, he couldn't (which ultimately renders the show irrelevant). But even more so, he's barely educated enough about the players on his own favorite team, what do you really think he knows about anyone else in the league?
It just seems that he hears something or reads something and then, BAM!, it's all of the sudden the topic of discussion for the next two hours. It's extremely tiring to me. First it was Bobby Ryan Day (he's so last season); then it was Shane Doan Day (great, another winger); then it was Rick Nash Day (the prize of the league, yet another winger). Wednesday was Brenden Morrow Day (another winger yet again, but anyway). I read Tuesday night on nhl.com that St. Louis was inquiring about Morrow. Ok, I took it all in. Found it kind of interesting. But then thought to myself: Would ol' Kev have mentioned his name had he not read that article yesterday? I don't know for sure, but I'd put most of my chips on probably not.
And I won't even get into how much the show reminds me of an episode Beavis and Butt-head when Sylvester welcomes Andrew Peters on as his sidekick.
But for reals, I've wasted far too much of my fingertip breath on him already, so let's move on to Howard Simon.
Now, I don't want any of you to be confused over what I'm trying to say here. A comparison cannot be made in any way, shape, or form between Simon and Sylvester. Howard Simon is a true professional radio host. Loud and most of the time funny, he puts the "personality" in radio personality, while Kevin Sylvester is just the luckiest guy on the planet (a guy blessed with more "right place at the right time" shit than I would have in 30 lifetimes).
But regardless, Simon's POV is still off-base. It was only ten days ago that he said something along the lines of "Vanek AND McNabb for Bobby Ryan." Seriously? It's apparent that he hasn't been watching the same Buffalo hockey that I have been for the past seven years. Maybe not even the same NHL.
Maybe he's overpaid when it comes to his productivity, but Vanek is basically the exact same player as the other guy Simon covets: Rick Nash. Crazy, am I? Hardly. Rick Nash has played 520 games since the lock-out. In that stretch he's accumulated 451 points. Not bad, that's an average of .87 points per game. In that same period of time, Vanek has played 27 more games, scoring only 4 less points, giving him a .82 point per game average -- 5 hundreths of a point less.
So these dipshits in the Buffalo media spend their whole day wet-dreaming over a guy that they pretty much already retain. And on top of that, Howard would apparently give up this much for Bobby Ryan when the Sabres already have a statistically superior (Nash-like) player. So let's change it up a bit boys.
I'm not saying they never have, but one would think that they would spend a little more time talking about the number one center this team desperately needs rather that the array of identical flavors of the week floating around this time of year. God knows how long we've been doing that.
But I'm not gonna sit here and say it's only the fault of the people on the airwaves. The Buffalo fans have to take responsibilty for their own stupidity as well. I ask you to start watching and understanding the games rather than reading stat lines and yelling "SHOOT!" on a power play. And educate yourself on other players around the league rather than just focusing on Milan Lucic.
Sabres fan are given the benefit of the doubt for living in a cold (hockey) climate, selling out the arena even when their team sucks, and talking shit about having ice girls because it's an "insult" to their team. But this doesn't ipso facto mean they necessarily understand hockey. As my brother likes to say, any team that doesn't have ice girls doesn't really deserve to win the Cup in the first place. But I digress.
Take the article comments in the Buffalo News, for instance. I realize a few dozen regular commenters in a newspaper aren't necessarily representative of all of Buffalo Hockey, but at least half of them can't even spell the players' names correctly. So, I'm sorry, if you don't know how to spell Pominville or Hecht after seven years, you're a goddamned idiot who -- wait for it -- ipso facto doesn't know shit about hockey. So I don't care what you think about Ruff and Regier.
I think it's pretty safe to assume that at least 80% of Sabres fans comprise the silent majority who buy their tickets, attend the games, sit quietly until someone scores, and generally understand the organization and ice hockey in general. Sadly, however, it's the other 20% that we have to hear from on a recurring basis that's basically starting to drive me insane.
I know we can't do much about mental midgets in the media, but you'd think the Sabres organization would at least try to put a little better veneer on its broadcast team when it comes to complementing Rick Jeanneret.
So Mr. Black, would it be too much to ask to at least be able to look at some friggin' ice girls?