Here and There

by Ryan

Just a few thoughts for the afternoon.

- I was watching the Monday Night game last night and realized something: I would be really, really satisfied with the broadcast if Tony Kornheiser wasn’t involved. I’ve always liked Jaws, and Mike Tirico has done an excellent job of growing into the role. He actually gets excited, rarely says stupid things, and he doesn’t rely on the tired cliches that bother most people when it comes to announcers.

Most importantly, he seems to really understand football and doesn’t dumb down the game at all. It’s probably a result of sitting in the same booth as Ron Jaworski for five months, but he will describe blitz packages, notices when a quarterback checks down or reads a defense, and is willing to inform the audience of these things without sounding like a complete tool. You can tell he takes his job really seriously, and it’s just nice to see that in such a high profile guy. Last night’s game was almost a complete waste of time, but I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t watch the whole thing.

- It looks like the Nathan Gerbe Experiment will be on hold for a bit. I’m not exactly sure what this will do to the roster, but Kaleta coming back will help a ton. Hopefully other teams didn’t notice that Montreal figured out how to handle him.

- Craig Rivet being out for an extended period of time is disappointing, but letting rehab and stay on the shelf for a bit is not a huge loss as far as his level of play. Of course having your captain in the press box is tough, but he has been visibly struggling for the past month with the variety of injuries he’s had.

Chris and I have sent “he’s definitely still hurt” text messages to each other at least a half dozen times since he’s returned from that knee injury. Letting him heal will be better for the team down the road when it (hopefully) really counts. That said, Paetsch hasn’t been the best and when he’s paired with Teppo I slam my face on the panic button the entire shift. Add in a struggling Sekera and we have another season of shaky D play in front of sometimes iffy goaltending.

- Mirtle has been looking at where NHL players come from, and a few days ago he did New York State. It’s pretty cool to see that the youth hockey in WNY has made a legitimate impact on the league. We all know about guys like Stempniak and Kane, but you might forget about Foligno and even that Timmy’s from Baldwinsville.

James is right, the fact that a lot of former Sabres stay in the area after retirement does help the hockey landscape around here. Try going to the Pepsi Center and not hitting a former player coaching or watching their kids, let alone the practices the current Sabres put on there. We knew a lot of guys in the league were from the area, but 15% of all U.S. players is a huge number, and it looks like that number is only going to increase with guys like Thomas McCollum and Tim Kennedy in the NHL pipeline.

- I like that we have players on our teams that make stories like this possible. Lots of good quotes in there, but he didn’t call Vanek “Atlas” once. Bummer.

- I messed around with the template yesterday, so let me know what you think of the changes. I basically made the links on the sidebar a bit darker. Too dark? Don’t care? In a related story, I really want to widen the main column but I’m not exactly sure how to alter the html like that. Any ideas?