Buffalo gets dissed by NBC, Mark Recchi, and the NFL—again
March downpours bring April mud. April mud ... well, that can only bring more Blogosphere Pollution.
It's wonderful, isn't it? I can freely pump all kinds of mindless smog and chloroflourocarbons into this cyber-ecosystem with no negative effects. More importantly, I can throw a bunch of bullets at you when I'm out of ideas that would fill an entire post.
Uninspired and lazy? Maybe. Ripped off from more respected columnists? Absolutely. Will I apologize for it? No way ...
• NBC can't get enough of showing images of Niagara Falls during Buffalo Sabres games, following the lead of CBS, which goes to that well during any Buffalo Bills broadcast. I'll wager that the average Schmo-hawk outside of Upstate New York and Southern Ontario is dimly wondering why they're seeing the Falls, wholly unaware that it's in Buffalo's backyard. That's why I always ignore trash talk about Buffalo from folks who have never even set foot here--they have no clue what this place is all about, yet they bash it because it's what everyone has done for decades now. These are the same ignorant clods who love to pile on France for being passive, surrender-flag-waivers because they heard Rush Limbaugh say it and the New York Post print it. This, of course, ignores the fact that no group of soldiers in the history of mankind fought more bravely and valiantly--in the face of impossible odds and almost certain death--as the French did throughout World War I. Maybe we should convene with the French and start a defamation support group.
• Mark Recchi using Tim Kennedy as a tackling dummy to set up Boston's game-winning goal in Game Three says bad things about the Sabres' suddenly waining chances to make it out of the first round. It's pretty troubling to see Buffalo lose every single physical battle for the puck in each of the first three games, but outwardly distressing that the team's best forward has been ... Mike Grier? Ouch.
• Of course, it would've helped to have Thomas Vanek in Games Two and Three. Like everyone in the hockey world outside of meatheaded Bs fans, I'm incensed with the sheer classless nature of Johnny Boychuk's offending play. His two-handed slash on Vanek's right knee, which could land him a guest spot on "Ax Men," was clearly intentional, but you have to let it slide these days as "playoff hockey." What you can't possibly let slide, however, is Boychuk blatantly falling down onto Vanek against the boards, which caused the actual injury. As the immortal Ron Burgundy once said, "That's Bush. Bush League!"
• Take solace, Sabre Fan. This team would be thoroughly outplayed, out-classed and out-everything if they played the likes of Washington or Pittsburgh later in the playoffs. Then again, was it too much to ask that it make it past a banged-up, overrated Bruins club? Apparently.
• Great to see West Senenca's Lee Stempniak (Coyotes), East Amherst's Brooks Orpik (Pittsburgh) and South Buffalo's Patrick Kane (Chicago) all playing key roles for their respective teams in the playoffs. Kane might want to remind his teammates that they're in a playoff series, though. Kane and his teammates have about a two-year window to win the Cup before salary cap constrictions smash his Blackhawks to smithereens, so a loss to Nashville this spring would be devastating.
*Think NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and his merry band of yes-men were kidding when they said they'd save divisional games for the end of the season, thereby stopping teams from sitting starters in meaningless December games? Buffalo's schedule in the last three weeks sees them visit Miami and the Jets and host the Patriots in between. It's still a solid bet that at least one of those teams in Weeks Sixteen or Seventeen will be able to take that Sunday off against the Bills.
• Hey! The Chicago Bears will play the Bills in Toronto in Week Nine!! Yawn. Has anything in franchise history been so overblown and overexposed by the organization and league marketing cronies? As they host more and more games, I think Canadian fans will care less and less, and I'm told to feel bad about that because it jeopardizes the Bills' future in the region. But admit it, these games have all the electricity and atmosphere of afternoon tea in Amish Country.
• No surprise that Buffalo won't get a prime time spot in any of their games this year, joining the Browns, Lions, Raiders, Seahawks, Rams, and Buccaneers as teams the NFL would rather have the nation ignore. So did we get that Monday Night spot in Week One last season just because Terrell Owens was in the lineup? That speaks to the league's affinity to sell contrived "drama" to the lowest common denominator known as the average NFL fan. At least no primetime game means no horrible, embarrassing failure before a national audience. Whew, that was close!