The Stanley Cup Playoffs are unbelievable. No other sporting event brings out so many different emotions as each series is a best of seven battle that takes right turns when you expect left and left turns when you expect time to relax in the swimming pool. The playoff are awesome on television, but being at an NHL playoff game is exhilarating.
Enough generality, the other day, Miss. Caster and I had tickets to game four of the Sabres and Flyers best of seven playoff series. Instead of just going as a spectator, and since greg enjoyed the last one so much, I apped (I just made up that word and it means simply; loading your iPhone with the necessary apps and accessories needed to complete a given task) up my phone and decided pictures would be taken and a picture essay would be written.
As you can see, I had a beautiful date. A sexy, polish, cute little thing that I have been talking to since 1999. I am not sure how serious it is, but we will see. I give her credit for this, she is a great pal at a Sabres game and a cheap date at Zebbs before the game. I had a delicious half pound burger with mushrooms and some cheese. Miss Caster had a double order of chicken wings (hot), an order of mozzarella sticks, four beers, and a hot fudge sunday.
Since the lockout ended, and the Sabres have made it a semi-annual tradition to make the NHL Playoffs, the powers that be have organized a big party outside of the arena for folks who dont have a chance to enjoy the atmosphere inside of the arena, In the end, a Buffalo Sabres playoff game is usually attended by 18,690 people on the inside and 5,000-10,000 partying in the plaza. The parties are rain or shine and this year rain and mixed precipitation is polluting our usually springlike April weather. The Party in the Plaza is a cool event. It is free to come. There are two huge video boards to watch the games on. Beer and food is served at reasonable prices. They often have contests for those who get there early to have a chance to go inside for the game. A band usually entertains the crowd before the game and I heard a rumor that Chad Michael Murray usually attends when he is in town.
We got to our seats just as the warm up was concluding and I stood up and looked at the large Stanley Cup Playoffs banner for a few minutes. What do they do with these giant tarps during the regular season? Do the employees get to take turns and hang then from their garages? Do they just roll them up and toss them in the basement like we do with Christmas decorations?
At least ten minutes before the puck dropped the arena was already full and loud. The crowd started the "Let's Go Buffalo" chants before the teams came out and the jumbotron played some really cool videos that got the crowd all fired up.
When the puck was finally dropped the fans were treated to a great game. Jason Pominville scored a first period goal and the Sabres missed plenty of chances in that period to burry the Flyers. Brad Boyes hit a post, Tyler Myers hit a post, and Flyers fans everywhere figured that ugly lady that used to sing the anthem in their dump of an arena was looking down on them.
This dumb old hag here took the old Bandits commercials where they promised to "sell you the whole seat but you will only need the edge" way too seriously. She literally made it hard for me to see the game about 90-95 percent of the game. The good news was she made really interesting comments during the game and had a lot of knowledge. No, no that isn't true at all. She just plain sucked.
Since I said something bad about that old hag sitting in front of me, I wanted to balance it out with a shot that shows how awesome and rocking the crowd was for most of the night. As you entered the arena, a nice man gave you a pom-pom and a program and manny people waived these pom-pom during important moments in the game. We wont get into the little debacle during the 5-minute power play.
Isn't it awesome to hate that ultra-mega douchebag, Carcillo? After this scrum he and Gerbe got penalties and I loved it. This picture is cool because you can see the scrum still breaking up, 13 being lead to the box, and 13 being led to the box on the jumbotron.
For most of the third period the Sabres took their foot off the gas and decided to just try to hold on and win with defense and good goaltending.
Ryan was awesome all night. He made a great save on 48 point blank and made a few other saves with his feet that I didn't think he could get to. This was one of the rare times that I had the chance to get a clean shot of him without all kinds of orange jerseys in the area.
For the last minute and a little more of the third period the Flyers played with there net wide open. This strategy allows the Flyers to include an extra scumbag in the play and create a power play like situation.
Also late in the game, the coach of the Flyers called a timeout so he could make sure his guys knew that if they didn't end up scoring late in the game they should revert back to being scum bags and start a fight so that the Sabres couldn't enjoy the win.
During the timeout, the jumbotron showed all of the fans outside at the party in the plaza. Well past 10:00 PM at this point, and well below thirty degrees, over 5,000 fans were still in the plaza making noise and cheering on the boys.
Sure enough, the Flyers couldn't loose with class they had to channel the 70's and make sure they were as big of scum bags now as they were then. Miller looks like he wants to jump in and fight so badly, but he thought better of it.
Finally, all of the Flyers went into the locker room to cry to the media about the officiating and the Sabres were able to celebrate the victory with each other and their fans.
Walking out of the HSBC Arena after a playoff game is an experience every Buffalonian should get to be a part of at least once before they die. Fans are screaming, people as banging on the escalators, beautiful women are showing their breasts and making out with strangers, the free pom poms are flying all over the place and the LETS GO BUFFALO chants are loud and out of sync.
I was taking a very cool video of the last thirty seconds of the game when I got a phone call for a number not stored in my phone and not one that I recognized. Not much happened in that last few seconds so this video mostly does its job, but dam that random phone call!
Let's recap: After game 1 and the Sabres 1-0 victory the Philadelphia media made JVR the first star. After game 2, the Philadelphia media made JVR the first star. After game 3, the Buffalo media made N. Zherdev the first star after his 8:00 minutes played and 1 tap in goal performance. Finally, after game four, the Buffalo media came to their senses and made Ryan Miller the first star.
A few notes:
- Make sure you cancel Easter dinner. Do you really want to be eating a piece of lamb as the Sabres are playing a playoff game? Jesus died and came back to life many years ago and the Pope has given all of Buffalo permission to not pay attention to Easter this year. We should all thank the Pope.*
- Someone accused me of sounding drunk on the game four reaction podcast. I wasn't drunk but just to confuse some of you I did talk with three marbles in my mouth.
- Did you hear that I interviewed Deuce McAllister? Well, I did. Check it out at http://www.sports-casters.com
- Game five is hard to predict.Will Ryan Miller play like he did in games 1 and 4 or soft like he did in games 2 and 3? Can the Sabres generate enough scoring to keep up with the depth of the Flyers? Who in the world wrote the script for the third Fockers movie?
- It would be nice of the Sabres to win the next two games so they dont play a game 7 on the day that we are scheduled to record a podcast.
- Wasn't the interview with Rob Pizzo super cool at the end of the game four reaction podcast?
- NBA Jams is on the iPod and it is awesome. I am jonesing to play right now so its time for one of my dogs to say goodnight.
* I made this up. The Pope has not commented on this series.