Florida Panthers

Richard Zednik’s throat gets slashed by teammate’s skate

Hockey is a sport that is not meant for the weak at heart. And we aren’t just talking about the players. If you’re the least bit squeamish then you might want to turn you head for this.

Florida Panthers forward Richard Zednik took an inadvertent skate to the throat during yesterday’s game against the Sabres, having to undergo major surgery as a result.

That is easily the most horrifying accident that can happen in professional sports and, frankly, we’re surprised it doesn’t happen more. But we’re thankful it doesn’t. In fact, once every 19 years is about all we can stomach to be quite honest.


[]: Panthers’ Zednik Cut on Neck by Skate

New York Jets

Jets fans get cut off during the team’s season finale

Normally testosterone filled men are willing to put up with almost anything in exchange for a brief glimpse at a pair of boobs. However, we did say “almost anything” because every man has a line that they just won’t cross; for `J-E-T-S, JETS, JETS, JETS!’ fans, that line in the sand has to do with booze.

After Jets fans got busted for having halftime flashing parties in the innards of the stadium, the franchise decided to ban alcohol for the Jets’ final home game this past Sunday. So, not only were the fans boobless, but they were beerless and they had to watch the lame Jets play a meaningless contest against an equally awful Chiefs squad. Needless to say, the natives were a bit restless about the situation, especially since the Jets blindsided fans with the announcement just prior to kickoff.

The beer ban was not announced before the game so that fans would not “overindulge” in the parking lot ahead of kickoff, [James R.] Minish [executive vice president of facilities for the New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority] said.

Jets spokesman Bruce Speight said the ban was primarily aimed at curbing excess at a game that, with a post-4 p.m. kickoff, allowed for lots of tailgating and took place just before a holiday.

“At times, when we think there is a greater chance of alcohol consumption, we take steps to adjust our policy,” Speight said Monday, adding the team imposed a similar ban in 2005. “This was not specific to Gate D.”

The Jets prevailed 13-10 in overtime of their season finale against the Kansas City Chiefs, but some fans let authorities know they missed their suds.

“We want beer!” some chanted at halftime, The Star-Ledger of Newark reported.

Meanwhile, over at Ralph Wilson Stadium, the puckheads were tailgating in full force. And while we feel sorry for the Jets fans that had to watch their team sober, if they were just a little more prepared, like hockey fans, then this wouldn’t even be a problem. Unlike football fans, hockey fans will do anything to get drunk before a game. No surprise ban is gonna keep them from being sloshed in the stands. Heck, who else does pregame bowling ball shots in the parking lot?

And there’s a bar set up for those interested in having a shot of Polish cherry liqueur poured out of the thumbhole of a bowling ball.

“I call it my 16-pound shot glass,” [Ken] Johnson said. “It actually tastes (awful). I don’t know why people drink it. But I go through 12-14 bottles of this a game.”


[]: Jets Plan To Resume Beer Sales Next Season
[]: Fans cook up a flurry of fun

NHL General

Friday Morning NHL Roundup

Senators 5, Sabres 2
I’d like to think this series right here might “save hockey,” in the sense of giving it a broader cultural relevance again. If Game 1 is any indication, I’m sorely mistaken. Here’s the problem: Buffalo had a lead, then squandered it (I’m not sure what else the city of Buffalo does, athletically), and the Senators ultimately won by three goals. This game, mind you, was in Buffalo, thus shifting home-ice advantage. The Sabres dropped a game at home to the Islanders in Round 1, but that’s The Islanders, and this is The Senators, and there’s a big difference aside from quality of generic nickname.

Since I didn’t write up my Eastern Conference Preview yesterday (sue me; I was at Spider Man 3), I’ll offer it up now, by way of a story from the way back. When the Red Wings and Avalanche were predominant, year-in-and-year-out rivals, they were playing in (I believe) the Western Conference Finals in the late 1990s or early 2000s. In one game, Claude Lemieux laid an absolutely disgusting hit into the boards on Kris Draper. Gary Thorne, calling the game, said (with limited emotion, which is odd for him calling hockey): “Far boards. Draper. (Pause) Draper’s hurt. (Pause) Oh, Draper’s hurt. He was leveled by Claude Lemieux.” It’s funny if you hear it, and also if you see it, because the ref just grabs Lemieux and shoves him towards the penalty box.

The relevance of that story is simple: every time I think about this series, I can hear Thorne in my head saying: “It wasn’t blood. It was paint.” No, no, that’s not it. I can hear him saying: “Far boards. Drury. Drury’s hurt.” Chris Drury, the lifeblood of the Sabres in many respects (notably being a guy consistently associated with winning, which they aren’t), is going to get absolutely leveled by someone in this series, and that’s gonna cause another brawl the size of the one they had in February. As Lindy Ruff screamed at Bryan Murray during a recent meeting between those teams, “Do that (expletive) to some hack. Don’t go after our (expletive) captain.”

Point is, this series will get personal. Once it does, I think the Sabres can show enough fire to get themselves back to a Cup – hell, they need this more than any sporting city needs anything right now, I’d argue – and contend with whoever I think is winning the West, which you’ll learn tomorrow. I’d say it takes ’em 7, and hopefully Game 7 is epic, and blood is all over the ice. Then we know hockey’s back.

[Ted Bauer will be covering the NHL playoffs for us this year. You can find more of Ted’s work at A Price Above Bip Roberts.]

NHL General

Monday Morning NHL Roundup

Sabres 5, Rangers 4
First, because – in the words of Fiddy – this is “how I do,” here’s a personal anecdote from this game: I had just played a spirited contest of touch football, and after said game, I had returned to the same house at which I imbibed on Cinco De Mayo. We still had a large quantity of beer and some meats to grill, so we got all tossed up on a Sunday afternoon for no reason. The boyfriend of the hostess, an amiable young Rangers fan, kept departing for long stretches of time. Finally, as the event was nearing its conclusion anyway, he came outside to the back – where I was polishing off my fourth Harpoon – and said, “Yo, last 2 minutes. Come check this out.”

Sure enough, the Rangers were down 1 at The Garden – the same place where so much magic has happened, and yet, so much defeat has been wrought – and across the final 2 minutes, they got about 9 looks at Ryan Miller. The problem was, none of the looks was actually legitimate; he stoned them on every ill-conceived shot along the way. However, with about five seconds left – as my friend’s boyfriend screamed “This is it, gentleman! This is your season!” – Miller was sweating profusely, reminding me of Game 7 of the Eastern Finals last year.

Speaking of the Eastern Finals, this year’s edition has a chance to be the series that “saves hockey,” in much the same way that De La Hoya vs. Mayweather was supposed to “save boxing,” or this past weekend’s Nationals vs. Cubs series could have “saved Washington, DC sports.” Uh, scratch that last one. The Senators and Sabres friggin’ hate each other. This series will go seven – mark my words – and there’s a good chance Chris Drury, the Golden Boy of the entire thing, may not make it through unscathed. These two teams had the most epic NHL brawl of the past five years in February of this season, and Lindy Ruff – who is certifiably insane – has delivered so much venom at the Senators in post-game pressers over the years, you’d think a holy war was about to break out. Also, the fact that it’s two cities a geography major might not be able to explain the relevance of makes it even more interesting; it’s literally a battle for redemption, and there’s gonna be a lot of red on that ice.

NHL General

Wed Morning NHL roundup

Rangers 2, Sabres 1
Is it just me, or is this whole “Upstate vs. Downstate New York” battle starting to look a little like Scott Norwood might come hopping onto the ice? The Sabres are falling apart a little, and doing so in creative ways they haven’t collapsed since the late 1990s. On Tuesday, Daniel Briere appeared to score a game-tying goal with 17 seconds left, but it was disallowed when it was ruled Lundqvist stopped it before it crossed the line. Somewhere, Brett Hull snickered and said “Buffalo… HA” under his breath before continuing to make out with a supermodel. The series is 2-2. You know Mike Bloomberg wants to make that bet now with the Buffalo Mayor.

Ducks 3, Canucks 2 (1 OT)
These guys don’t like to play just an entire regulation game, apparently. The Ducks took a 3-1 lead – they might wrap it up Thursday at home – when Travis Moen netted one 2:07 into overtime. Roberto Luongo has to be thinking that first round was a glorious dream at this point. Honestly, though, you should be pretty hyped about a potential San Jose vs. Anaheim Western Finals; that might take you back to the Avs vs. Red Wings days, i.e. “When hockey was once relevant.”

[Ted Bauer will be covering the NHL playoffs for us this year. You can find more of Ted’s work at A Price Above Bip Roberts.]

NHL General

Monday Morning NHL Roundup

Rangers 2, Sabres 1
The Blueshirts hadn’t beaten the – uh, Blueshirts from the other part of the state, I guess – in 7 tries this season, and for a while, it seemed like it would be eight. See, this puppy went into one overtime, and then, as is the proper style for these NHL playoffs, it went into a second overtime, and that went close to 17 minutes – we were approaching the dastardly THIRD OVERTIME – before someone (specifically, Michal Rozsival) scored on a screened off Ryan Miller. It’s 2-1 Sabres series-wise, which is the mathematical inverse of the score of this game. That’s absolutely trippy.

Ducks 3, Canucks 2
Corey Perry, who was eligible for selection in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft yet was not selected at all (feel better, Brady Quinn? You should), scored the game-winner on Roberto Luongo, who once went No. 1 in the same Draft. Here’s the lesson Quinn should take away from this: someday in the future, the Browns will play the Raiders. Now, CBS will send their G-Level team to this game, because even though both fan bases are rabid, no one gives a crap. So, with Dan Bonner somehow on play by play (“But guys, I do college basketball color…”), Quinn will oppose Russell, and with :03 left, Quinn will absolutely bomb it out – showing Russell arm strength in the process – and hit Braylon Edwards in stride for a 77 yard TD. Edwards will then break his leg celebrating. Anyway, the point is, don’t pass on Corey Perry. He can do some damage. So can the Ducks.

[Ted Bauer will be covering the NHL playoffs for us this year. You can find more of Ted’s work at A Price Above Bip Roberts.]

NHL General

Satuday Morning NHL Roundup

Canucks 2, Ducks 1
Here’s an interesting piece of irony: one of the guest bloggers for the NHL playoffs over at their website is the band Emerson Drive. Ironic, you say? But why? Their most notable single is “I Should be Sleeping,” which pretty much summarizes every game the Canucks play this postseason. No, no – they’re not boring. Rather, they start late (I mean, it is the Pacific Northwest) and they end even later. They went 4 OT with the Stars already these playoffs, and last night, they went 2 OT with the Ducks before winning to even the series. We assume Luongo is hitting the bottle pretty hard these days, nerves shaking and all. That water bottle atop the goal might just have a smidge of Irish Coffee in there.

Sabres 3, Rangers 2
In Buffalo’s City Hall, there’s a poster showing some magazine survey that ranked Buffalo “one of the 20 best American cities” (I have no idea what magazine would justifiably print that). Next to it, there’s a poster the Mayor put in there himself. It shows two pictures: Lord Stanley and the Vince Lombardi Trophy. Under it, it reads, “Need these.” Indeed they do. They’re another step closer – to a rematch with their arch nemesis Senators, nonetheless. Lindy Ruff has the boxing gloves ready.

[Ted Bauer will be covering the NHL playoffs for us this year. You can find more of Ted’s work at A Price Above Bip Roberts.]

Buffalo Sabres

Top 10 Most Gruesome sports injuries: #1 Clint Malarchuk

[Sportscolumn is running down the ten most gruesome sports injuries. Here’s #1]

There’s no doubt that hockey is a brutal sport where anything can happen and blood on the ice is often more common than goals in the net. But there was nothing common about a March 22, 1989 game between the Blues and the Sabres. Buffalo goalie Clint Malarchuk was involved in the most nightmarish accident in the history of hockey as the Blues’ Steve Tuttle collided with Malarchuk at the goal and his skate accidentally severed the interior carotid artery of the goalie. Instantly, there was a massive pool of blood collecting on the ice beneath him and with every pump of his heart more blood would spurt from his gash.

I thought I was dying then, I really did. I thought I didn’t have long to live.” Malarchuk said. “All I wanted to do was get off the ice. My mother was watching the game on TV, and I didn’t want her to see me die.

And she very easily could have seen just that, but the doctors at Buffalo General Hospital didn’t let that happen as they repaired his severed jugular vein and he was amazingly released the next afternoon.

I didn’t go into any real shock. I think maybe if I had any shock, it was this morning,” Malarchuk told the press after being released. “I’m not going off on a stretcher, I never will. The day I go off on a stretcher, they’re going to have to make funeral arrangements. I’m proud of that fact that I got off the ice on my own power.

Now, that’s one tough S.O.B. Dwyane Wade could learn a lot from Mr. Malarchuk.

And here’s the actual play call as it happened live with color commentator Mike Robitaille and longtime voice of the Sabres Ted Darling behind the mics.

Back to #2

Ottawa Senators

Ray Emery leads a good old fashioned hockey brawl

Check out this video of the brawl last night between the Sens and the Sabres. The absolute best thing about hockey brawls is that the goalies are compelled by hockey tradition to fight each other even though they probably never crossed each other’s paths the entire game. Ray Emery gets the nod for this brawl because not only does he dispatch with Martin Biron, he then turns his sights on Sabres goon Andrew Peters. They always say goalies are a little wacko. Emery is just deranged.

Don’t forget to check out our favorite Buffalo site Bfloblog for their reaction to the brawl.

[Toss in the Towel]: Ray Emery Fights Biron AND Peters! He’s Crazy…And I love It!

NHL General

Crashing the Zamboni: Thrashed By Lightning

1. As Ugly As It Gets
Talk about a severe shellacking: Tampa Bay demolished the Atlanta Thrashers on Thursday night by an astounding score of 8-0. Where did this offensive explosion come from? It came, in large part, from Vincent Lecavalier, who scored a hat trick and also added two helpers to the stat sheet–now that’s a monster night by any human beings’ standards. Marc Denis recorded the shutout but had a relatively easy night, only having to sop 21 shots from a usually potent Thrasher offense. For the Lightning, it concluded a four-game losing streak, and kept them in the middle of the road in a Southeast Division led by Atlanta.

2. BIZZARO NEWS BREAK: Florida Beats Buffalo?!
No, folks, you do not have to adjust your computer screens. The headline was correctly written, and we apologize for any sudden outbursts of shock or disbelief. Strange things happen in this game of hockey, and a very strange thing happened on Thursday in Florida: the Panthers defeated the Sabres, 3-1. Stephen Weiss had a solid night for Florida, contributing to the tune of a goal and an assist. For the Panthers, it was their second straight victory–but perhaps more importantly, their offense was able to put pressure on Buffalo goalie Ryan Miller. Miller made 35 saves, and gave a solid performance despite the loss. Don’t look now, folks, but we think a Panther comeback is in the works…

3. Beantown Shreds The Leafs
The Boston Bruins made sure that Toronto stayed cold on Thursday night, downing the Leafs by a score of 3-1. Boston’s Wayne Primeau had a goal and an assist– and also assisted netminder Tim Thomas to a easy night. Thomas stopped 23 of 24 shots to earn his twelfth victory of the season. It was the sixth straight loss for Toronto, who has dropped back down to the middle of the road in a busy Northeast. The Maple Leafs could be in danger of slipping to last if they keep performing as they have been of late.

Check It Out
CBC Sports takes a look at the retirement of Joe Nieuwendyk, and explains why he decided to hang it up without regret. With a guy like Joe Nieuwendyk, it doesn’t seem too surprising that he’s not dissatisfied or unhappy with his decision.

Game of the Night: Edmonton at Dallas
Stars have won three straight games

The Last Shot
San Jose winger Mike Bell was arrested and charged with a hit-and-run as well as a DUI on Thursday. Reports say his vehicle slammed into a truck waiting at a stop sign… can you say “dumb”?