Saturday, November 2, 2013

Fun With Stats And Other Such Things, Lazy Saturday Morning Ed.

It’s a lazy Saturday morning as I wait to pick my daughter up from dance, so let’s open up nhl.com and Evernote and see if any magic happens…
  • I continue to be amused that Nathan Gerbe, waived by the Sabres last summer because he wasn’t good enough at hockey, has four goals this season - which, not counting Matt Moulson (who shouldn’t count because he had the unfair advantage of playing for an actual NHL team until last Sunday night), would be tied for first on the Sabres with Cody Hodgson.  I’m not saying they shouldn’t have bought Gerbe out. He would likely have zero goals on this team.  I just think it’s peculiar - and a form of poetic justice, I suppose - when things like this happen.  I also wonder if it suggests that Gerbe’s coaching in Buffalo was part of the problem.
  • I think even people who aren’t proponents of advanced stats agree by now that plus/minus is a fundamentally flawed stat.  But, show of hands, who’s surprised that Mark Pysyk and Christian Ehrhoff are the Sabres’ only plus players right now (+1 each)?  In a season of suck, they’re two players who haven’t.
  • Conversely, my eyeballs began to spew blood as I came across Tyler Myers’ -8 and Mike Weber’s -12.  Weber averages more than -1 a game.  Insert barfing sound here.
  • Speaking of advanced stats, I’ve abstained until now because of how incredibly boring they are to read about - most writers, in my view, do not do a good job of incorporating advanced stats in a compelling way.  That said, I recognize the importance of advanced stats as they paint a much more complete picture than traditional stats alone, so I’ve been perusing extraskater.com in an effort to better understand them.  And, much to my surprise (and delight), I find that advanced stats are a hell of a lot more interesting to look at than they are to read about.  
  • From what I've learned so far, Corsi and Fenwick seem to be the most important advanced stats as they’re indicators of puck possession, something which many advanced stats gurus believe leads directly to on-ice success.  In that light, the Sabres’ Fenwick for percentage at 5-on-5 (dead last, by a country mile) and Corsi for percentage (also dead last, by an even larger margin) sure explain how they’ve been as bad as they have.  Can't score if you don't have the puck.  Can't stop the other team from scoring if they always have the puck.
  • Good on the Sabres broadcasts, by the way, for dabbling in advanced stats by presenting Corsi numbers, although Sabres fans may collectively lose their minds if the Sabres’ Corsi is ever not in red with a minus in front of it.
That's all I got.  Happy weekending, everyone.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Thought Police



I’ve been hearing some chatter about this on Twitter and the like recently about First Niagara Center staff confiscating signs critical of Darcy Regier, and during last night's game against Dallas, I can confirm at least one instance of this occurring.  (To be fair: I don't know if this is happening across the board, and I don't know if these guys had done something else to provoke the confiscation.  All I know is what I saw.)

Understandably, people are going to have different takes on this.  Here’s mine.  And please don’t mistake it for butthurt rage, I’m just… disappointed.

Look, Sabres, I get where you’re coming from.  You’re beginning yet another rebuild and you know you’re going to be terrible for a while, but you have faith in your plan and the man you’ve chosen to carry it out even if nobody else seems to.  The “Fire Darcy” stuff is becoming a distraction, a nuisance, and it would be really nice if everyone was patient with you.  In short, you’re a party host who’s horrified because the band is late and now some guy drank too much and vomited all over your brand new rug (that you didn’t pay for the Scotchgard on)… 

Except that your party guests are paying to be there. Their money should have been spent on a better cheese spread, not one that tastes like bad deadline trades and Drew Stafford.   They like to express themselves about this.   Boy howdy, do they ever like to express themselves.  Embrace that.  Take advantage of that.  Hell, be self-deprecating about it if you want.  (Always seems to work for me.)   How?  I don’t know.  You have social media geniuses on staff – you figure it out.  But if your only response is to take away signs you don’t like – something which I acknowledge you’re well within your right to do, just so we’re clear on this – know that it may make you look petty, childish, and perhaps even hostile to fans.  Is that the perception you want to create when you have 800-1,000 unfilled seats every night?

Trying to avoid embarrassment via the policing of thought only serves to be even more embarrassing.  You’re better than that.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Film Room: Sabres vs. Senators 10/4/13

Recap (NHL.com)

30-Second Summary: It was a fantastic goaltender's duel for 58 minutes and 25 seconds until Erik Karlsson found a way to get one by Ryan Miller, ruining both his shutout and the Sabres' home opener.

Pluses:
  • Miller was absolutely outstanding for the second straight game, especially in the opening stanza when his teammates decided that giving up 23 (!) shots would be a great idea.  (More on that later.) A1.53 GAA and .963 save percentage after two games really should be good enough for two wins.  Somebody wants to make the US Olympic team...
  • I liked Mark Pysyk's game last night.  I won't bother quantifying it with stats, but it seemed like he was constantly sweeping pucks away from his net.
  • It's getting easy to develop a man-crush on Zemgus Girgensons.  He was only credited with two hits, but it felt like he was throwing his weight around more than that.  He also had probably the best scoring chance anyone not named Thomas Vanek had all night, a nice wrister from the slot that forced Craig Anderson to make one of his many ridiculous saves.
  • Speaking of Anderson: a definite plus is the fact that the Sabres only have to face him three more times this year.  I hate how good that guy is.  I bet Colorado does too after they bailed on him for a guy (Brian Elliott) that is also starring for "not the Colorado Avalanche".  
Minuses:
  • I know that attacking zone time and scoring chances were roughly equivalent after the first period (sorry, I don't know the actual numbers; I happened to see it on the MSG broadcast in the hallway during the first intermission).  But really, 23 shots?  I don't care about their quality - you can't keep exposing your goaltender to that many looks.
  • Power play:  0 for 4.  Because I'm lazy, this will be an item until it's not.  Moving on.
  • It felt like the Sabres did very little to slow down Ottawa in the neutral zone and didn't do much at all to make their zone entries difficult, particularly in that 23-shot first period.  
  • I felt like I was doing something wrong because I didn't really notice Johan Larsson in his debut last night.  Turns out it wasn't me: he skated for only 6:55.  I wonder if that was the game plan or if he did something to get Ron Rolston to take his ice time away.
Random Stat Line That Excites Me: Would have been easy to go with Miller here, but I've prattled on enough about that.  Instead: Thomas Vanek, no points but 20:39 TOI, 9 shots.  The goals will come if he keeps that up.

Random Stat Line That Annoys Me: Cody Hogdson, zero goals, zero assists, -1, one shot.  Guess who's been on the ice for every goal scored against the Sabres this season?  (Yeah, I know - so has Vanek.  But Vanek is at least showing signs of possible offensive production.)

Beer Index: 1/6.  That was the best 0-0 game I've seen in 19 years - it needed no artificial enhancement.

Current Darcy Regier Suffering Index:  "Suffering", to me, means not just that the Sabres are losing, but that I'm not having any fun watching them lose.  That wasn't the case last night.  Even though that was a tough way to walk out without so much as a single point, I'll leave it at 6/10 based on the entertainment value of that game alone.

Closing Notes: At this rate, it won't be long before we start seeing a ton of backup goalies at the opposite end of the rink.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Film Room 10/2/13: Sabres vs. Wings

 (Ed. Note: Although my time is severely limited these days and the demands of parenting make it sometimes difficult to follow a game from start to finish, I still enjoy doing this so I'm giving it one more kick at the can. I'm changing the format somewhat to make it a little more fun and/or faster and easier to write.  We'll see how it goes.)

Recap (NHL.com)

30-Second Summary: Sabres lose 2-1 to the Red Wings, plagued by a poor start and a punchless power play.

Pluses:
  • Welcome to Buffalo, Zemgus Girgensons. What I liked in particular about his goal is that Girgs seemed to recognize that Jimmy Howard was going to be sliding across the crease, and so he hesitated for just a split second to let him come across before tucking the puck in behind him.  Really nice work by Brian Flynn, too, to knock down Howard's attempted clear to create the chance.
  • In a game that looked like it could get ugly in a hurry in the first period, Ryan Miller was solid and gave him team a chance to win. Hard to fault him for much of anything.
  • This was actually my first opportunity to see Rasmus Ristolainen, since I wasn't able to go to any of the preseason games. He seemed a little jittery to me early on, but he's an 18-year-old kid facing a team that's been one of the league's best for over two decades.  That would make me soil myself a little bit too, you know?  Still, one could certainly see flashes of what he might become. 
Minuses:
  • Absolutely hated Cody Hodgson's play on the Datsyuk goal.  I don't want to buy into the narrative of Hodgson's defensive play in relation to his contract extension, because it's going to be a thing all season and I'm going to want to throw things through walls as a result.  But the optics of Cody leaving the defensive zone early in anticipation of a breakout and giving Pavel Datsyuk the keys to an uncontested drive to the slot... hoo boy, is that frustrating.   
  • It's way too early for the tired "Can we decline power plays?" conversation, but 0 for 7 with the man advantage is frustrating, especially given 2:22 of 5-on-3 time.
  • In general the team just looked too sloppy and disorganized, but I suppose that's going to happen with this many young kids on the roster.
(And now for the new additions to this format that I hope will make these posts more light-hearted and fun...)

Random Stat Line That Excites Me: Mark Pysyk, 21:21 ice time.  Golf clap.  Let him play.

Random Stat Line That Annoys Me: Drew Stafford, -2, zero shots on goal.  Self explanatory.
 
Beer Index (ie, how many adult beverages were required to make this game enjoyable on a scale of 1-6): 2. Nothing too aggravating or unexpected in this game, so just enough booze to keep me from dying of thirst.

Current Darcy Regier Suffering Index (ie, the current state of the Sabres' general suckitude or lack thereof on a scale of 1-10, 1 being "everything is wonderful and puppies are farting rainbows" and 10 being "FIRE EVERYONE OR I'M BECOMING A MAPLE LEAFS FAN!"): Assuming a 5/10 to start based solely on preseason expectations, I'll call this a 6.

Closing Notes: Woo, hockey is back!  I had a very tough time getting into last season because of how much the lockout pissed me off, but this year I'm feeling a lot more energized about it.  Tomorrow night will be the first time I set foot in the FN Center since the Bandits season ended and I can't wait.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Playoff Musings and Predictions for 2013, Round 2

Welcome to the second round!

I went 7-for-8 in my Round 1 predictions, missing only on Sharks-Canucks.  I knew San Jose was streaky, but since they finished 5-5 in their last ten games of the regular season I had to guess what kind of streak they'd be on.  Swing and a miss.  Still, seven out of eight ain't bad, and I even got the length correct on Ducks-Wings and Kings-Blues. 

This, of course, means that all my second round picks are going to be horrifically wrong and/or laughably bad. 

With that caveat, away we go:

EAST

Pittsburgh Penguins (1) vs. Ottawa Senators (7)

How they got here: Pittsburgh struggled with a remarkably pesky Islanders team and its own completely incompetent goaltending, but closed out the series after finally abandoning Marc-Andre Fleury for Tomas Vokoun.   Eric Gryba's destruction of Lars Eller set the tone early for Ottawa in its series against Montreal, and the Sens dismantled the Habs in shockingly easy fashion, including a pair of 6-1 wins.

Who I'm rooting for: Like any Sabres fan worth his salt, I don't much care for Ottawa.  NBC's penchant for Sidney Crosby lovefests drives me even nuttier, so begrudgingly, Ottawa is my choice.

Prediction: Pittsburgh has far more firepower, but is facing a far more competent goaltender than it faced in Round 1.  Ottawa's Craig Anderson has tremendous numbers, but is facing a far more competent offense than what Montreal presented him with.  Something has to give.  Fleury has been Pittsburgh's Achilles heel, but if they're willing to bench him when he sucks (read:always) and go with the hot hand - think of Carolina winning a Cup by alternating between Cam Ward and Martin Gerber - then Anderson may have to stand on his head even more than he already does.  Penguins in 6.

Boston Bruins (4) vs. New York Rangers (6)

How they got here: Boston outplayed the Leafs for three games, got outplayed for the next three games and 45 minutes, then was handed a second-round berth via the most hilarious (and historic!) Game 7 collapse ever.  The Rangers traded home wins with the Capitals for six games and then blew out Washington in Game 7, shutting out the Caps twice to close out the series and completely shutting down Alex Ovechkin in the process.

Who I'm rooting for: Now that Toronto has been bounced, the Bruins serve no purpose for me and I can revert to hating them. Go Rangers.

Prediction: These two teams are actually very even in goals for and against, so I'm going with the better goaltender, and that's Lundqvist by a mile.  Rangers in 7.

WEST

Chicago Blackhawks (1) vs. Detroit Red Wings (7)

How they got here: The Blackhawks took just five games to dispatch Minnesota, but it was more difficult than most had envisioned (and by that, I mean they didn't win every game 9-0).  The Wings earned a bye to the second round by virtue of playing a team coached by Bruce Boudreau.

Who I'm rooting for: One of those rare matchups in which I don't compare one team to another to determine who I dislike the least.  I like the Hawks, and I'm sick of the Wings.  'Nuff said.

Prediction: The Hawks didn't get much production out of Patrick Kane or Jonathan Toews in the first round.  That will change, and boy howdy will the Wings wish it wouldn't.  I think the Hawks will actually have an easier time in Round 2 than they did against the Wild.  Hawks in 5.
 
Los Angeles Kings (5) vs. San Jose Sharks (6)

How they got here: The Kings outlasted their mirror image in what was arguably the best, most intense series of the first round, while the Sharks busted out the brooms against a Canucks team that has now lost eight of its last nine playoff games.

Who I'm rooting for: Tough one, as I'm actually somewhat fond of both teams.  I'll go with the Kings for a couple reasons: I think they have more potential to go deeper, and I have a couple friends who are Kings fans (and have told me I need to give them my support, or else).

Prediction: After a shaky Game 1, Jonathan Quick has remembered he's Jonathan Quick. This is not good news for the Sharks, who don't have the depth to keep up with LA.  Kings in 5.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Playoff Musings and Predictions for 2013, Round 1



NHL playoff predictions!  You’ve likely seen eleventy billion of these by now, but I have a dormant blog to restart so you’re going to get another one.  Don’t worry, I’ll keep each one brief.  Just for fun, since this is a Sabres blog I thought I’d try to dig up every Sabres connection I possibly could to each team, whether it’s a current player or a coach/executive who once had Sabre ties.  Just in case that’s the sort of thing that helps you decide on a rooting interest, you know.

EAST

Pittsburgh Penguins (1) vs. New York Islanders (8)

Sabres Connections: Eric Boulton, Brad Boyes, and Joe Finley (Islanders).  Jason Botterill is the Penguins’ assistant GM.

Who I'm rooting for: I like underdog stories, and the Islanders are sort of plucky and underdoggy, having not made the playoffs in about a million and three years.  They’re really about the only Eastern team I can stomach.

Prediction: I’ve heard it said that the Isles’ speed and tenacity might give the Pens fits, but Pittsburgh has too much firepower for the Isles to overcome.  Handicapping this series is a bit tricky though because you never know when Marc-Andre Fleury might decide to put on a gongshow. That said: Penguins in 5.

Montreal Canadiens (2) vs. Ottawa Senators (7)

Sabres Connections:  The Canadiens’ assistant GMs include Larry Carriere and Rick Dudley.

Who I’m rooting for: I flipped a coin, and the coin told me I'm rooting for Ottawa.  Money talks.

Prediction:  Montreal hasn’t played very well lately, so I’m calling for a Craig Anderson-fueled upset.   Sens in 7.


Washington Capitals (3) vs. New York Rangers (6)

Sabres Connections: Taylor Pyatt, Martin Biron (Rangers).  Calle Johansson is an assistant coach with the Caps.  Rangers head coach John Tortorella was once an assistant coach with the Sabres, and Jim Schoenfeld is the Rangers’ assistant GM.

Who I’m rooting for: I have no dog in this fight but I do have a friend who’s a Rangers fan, so go Blueshirts, I guess.

Prediction: The Caps have been on fire lately, but I think if the Rangers can shut Ovechkin down they’ll pull it off.  If anyone can do that, I think they can.  Rangers in 6, or in other words, one game per average number of unique words uttered by John Tortorella during a press conference.


Boston Bruins (4) vs. Toronto Maple Leafs (5)

Sabres Connections: Daniel Paille, Bruins; Clarke MacArthur, Leafs.  Adam Creighton is a Bruins scout.  Doug Houda, who once had a cup of coffee in Buffalo, is a Bruins assistant coach.  Bob Essensa is the Bruins’ goaltending coach.

Who I’m rooting for:  This is my least favorite matchup for which to declare a rooting interest.  You might as well ask me if I prefer gonorrhea or chlamydia.  There is no way I could ever willingly root for the Leafs, though, so I’ll begrudgingly throw my weight behind the Bruins.

Prediction: A lot of people seem to think the Leafs’ penchant for getting outshot and outpossessed is about to catch up with them.  I’m not interested in statistical analysis, I just think the Leafs suck.  Bruins in 6.

WEST

Chicago Blackhawks (1) vs. Minnesota Wild (8)

Sabres Connections: Steve Montador, Blackhawks (although he hasn't played for them in over a year thanks in part to concussion issues); Jason Pominville, Wild.  Keith Carney is the player development coach for Chicago.  Scotty Bowman is still the Hawks’ senior adviser for hockey operations.

Who I’m rooting for: Blackhawks.  They’re just plain fun to watch, and there’s not much point in supporting the Wild since they won’t be with us much longer.

Prediction: Most lopsided matchup in Round 1.  Blink and you might miss it. Hawks in 4.


Anaheim Ducks (2) vs. Detroit Red Wings (7)

Sabres Connections: Toni Lydman, Ducks.  Seriously.  That's all I could find.

Who I’m rooting for: The Ducks, because as impressive as a 21-season playoff streak is, it’s equally as annoying.  Go away, Detroit.

Prediction: “Bruce Boudreau” and “playoff success” should never be uttered in the same sentence, unless you’re talking about his lack thereof.  Wings in 7.


Vancouver Canucks (3) vs. San Jose Sharks (6)

Sabres Connections: Derek Roy is a Canuck, which is the most appropriate thing ever given their mutual love of diving.  Zack Kassian is also on the ‘Nucks roster.  Tim Kennedy and Raffi Torres are Sharks.

Who I’m rooting for: Choking underachievers they may be, but I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for the Sharks.  Also, I hate Vancouver.  Well, more specifically their fans.  Easily the whiniest fanbase in the history of sports.

Prediction: The Sharks have been remarkably streaky this year, which makes this a tough series to call.  I'm regrettably picking the Canucks because I think they've been more consistent.  Canucks in 5.


St. Louis Blues (4) vs. Los Angeles Kings (5)

Sabres Connections: Jordan Leopold, Blues; Robyn Regehr, Kings.  Former Sabres coach Ted Nolan’s son Jordan is a Kings forward.  Christian Ruuttu is the Kings’ European scout, and Mike Donnelly is also a Kings scout.  “Ryan Miller” is listed as the Blues’ Director of Hockey Administration - did we really drive him out of town that quickly?

Who I’m rooting for: The Kings, because I think it’s funny when Ken Hitchcock gets all pissy and I’m praying something will make that happen.

Prediction:  The Blues are out for revenge after getting knocked out by the Kings last spring when nearly the entire hockey world had them penciled in as champs, but I’m not sold on the Blues’ goaltending situation.  Kings in 6.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

The first, and last, post I'll write about this stupid lockout

(What I'm about to write is going to be completely unfiltered.  I usually do a great deal of editing on my posts - probably too much, actually - but today I'm going to simply write from the heart without any effort to sanitize it.  I usually take great care to censor my filthy mouth as well, but I don't plan on doing that either so if any of that slips through, well, you've been warned.   If the NHL and the NHLPA don't care enough to make an honest effort to negotiate, then I can't be bothered to make this pretty.  Yes, the two are totally the same thing.)

Today is the morning after what should have been the Sabres' 2012 home opener.  I should have been at the First Niagara Center cheering on the Sabres with either my wife and son, or by myself with my daughter (she's four years old now, so she can't sit on our laps for free anymore).  I should have been buying $4.00 bottles of Diet Coke and maybe a similarly overpriced hotdog or nachos.  Had my daughter been with me, I should have been accompanying her to Sabretooth's house for the entire second period (*grumble*). I should have been booing the hell out of Sidney Crosby - I don't care how good he is, I hate the guy.  I don't entirely understand why either.

But instead, because of a level of greed displayed by the owners and players which you and I can never understand, I did none of those things last night.  I should have woken up this morning feeling happy, exhilarated, euphoric, or maybe just plain thankful that the NHL was back.  Instead, I woke up this morning feeling two emotions: anger and apathy.  The NHL should be happy about the former, and they damn well better be shitting their pants at the latter.

See, I've been a hockey fan all my life.  My dad took me to my first hockey game in the 80s; the importance of saving ticket stubs to commemorate occasions was lost on me at that age, but I'm pretty sure it was this game from 1987 against the Oilers.  I've been fortunate enough to hold season tickets since 2006-07, during which time HSBC Arena First Niagara Center has been like a second home for me.  Sometimes it feels like I've practically raised my kids in that barn.  I spend hundreds if not thousands of dollars in the store annually on shirts, gifts, and jerseys (which my closet is nearly bursting at the seams with at this point).

None of that makes me special, of course.  The vast majority of the 10 people who read this will claim the same.  But it's important in establishing why I, and likely you, are straight up pissed off about this lockout.  We have invested a lot of time and a lot of money into a league that doesn't give a shit about us.  That I can't follow it right now gets my blood boiling. 

What really gets me angry about this are my kids.  My son - who just turned two last week - absolutely loves the Sabres.  He's at an age where he's really starting to get the hang of communication.  Whenever he sees a Sabres logo on, well, anything, he gets really excited, points and shouts "BUCKO BUCKO BUCKO!"  (That's how he says "Buffalo".  Hasn't mastered the letter F yet.)  I mean, you should see this kid - he gets so amped up simply about seeing a logo that you'd think he just ate a five-pound bag of sugar.   It's a rare moment in this house when he's not carrying around a hockey stick whacking away at a soft hockey ball.  He's getting screwed out of hockey for what will probably turn out to be an entire season, at an age where we can still take him and sit him on our laps without having to pay admission for him.  And my daughter, who will be five in December, keeps asking me "Daddy, when are we going to the Sabres?"   Just for fun, would you like to try explaining the dynamics of a labor-management dispute in terms a four-year-old can understand?  I haven't been able to do it yet.  Having dealt with 2004-05, I can cope with another lockout.  The last one proved to me that I can find other things to do.  But my kids don't understand what's going on, and they're being cheated.

That stillborn 2004-05 season is also responsible for my other emotion - apathy.  Well, it's really more of an angry apathy, as you're about to witness.

Simply put, I don't want to go through this again.  Just cancel the entire fucking season.  Do it now, before I get even more angrily apathetic.  Don't jerk me around two weeks at a time with empty promises and bullshit rhetoric.  If we really are to believe that there will be hockey in 2012-13, then get your asses to the fucking bargaining table and get a goddamn deal done.  Until that happens, shut the fuck up.  We, the fans, don't give a shit about who is wrong or right in this.  JUST GET A DEAL DONE.  (Sure, they'll argue that they need the "right" deal, so this doesn't keep happening every six or seven years.  And they're correct.  You know what accomplishes that?  Talking to each other, instead of sniping at each other through the media.  Also, pro tip: willingness to make concessions would go a long way here.  Your move, NHL.)

Every day, as time allows, I read about 25-30 Sabres blogs as well as Puck Daddy, Pro Hockey Talk, Backhand Shelf, and a number of other hockey blogs.  It's been a part of my daily ritual for a long time now, and I enjoy it greatly.  That ends today, and that will remain the case until the lockout is finally over.  With all due respect to all the great writers whose material I read, I simply can't take any more idle and ill-informed speculation on when the lockout will end and I certainly don't want to read about the fucking KHL.

The same is true of this blog.  I haven't posted much over the last year, but I intended to give one last crack this season at keeping up with my approach to game analysis and other hot takes.  As I said in the title, this is my first and last lockout-related post, so this blog will proceed to remain in limbo until the lockout is over.  It's a shame, because I really do enjoy writing this blog.   No matter how many times some self-righteous douchebag within the Buffalo sports blogopshere complains about "too many Sabres blogs" and "too many game recaps", know that I will continue to write this blog for one reason, and one reason only: because it's fun.  I don't have a journalism degree, I've never aspired to be a columnist, and I don't have an agenda to push.  I don't even care how many people are reading this.  I enjoy doing it.  Nothing else matters.

I'm also done spending money on NHL-related products for a good long while. That's a big part of the reason I'm having the Sabres refund my money for unused tickets every month.  Sure, they're offering 4% interest per annum - but it's refunded via the Sabrebucks card, which forces me to use it on tickets, in the Sabres store, or elsewhere in the FNC.  Besides, I did the math and 4% interest per annum really isn't that much.  If I got a full 12 months interest on my ticket money, I'd make about $107 - and I don't believe I'd get a full 12 months interest on all my money, either. For example, if games are cancelled in February and then a new CBA is reached in March, my understanding is that I'd only get 4% divided by 12.  So, enough for a newspaper or perhaps a 2-liter of Coke.  Sorry, not enough of an incentive.  With all due respect to the Sabres organization - and I know it's possible some of their staff may be reading this, as I've been invited to a pair of blogger summits - I know you guys are probably trying to keep as much cash on hand as you can, but why should I allow you to keep my money so I can make an extra few bucks when I could be using that money on events that are actually happening?   That's money that I can use to see the Amerks, check out a Niagara or Canisius hockey game, or take the kids to Disney on Ice.  Hell, if I really wanted to go crazy, my season ticket deposits could cover another trip to Disneyworld (again) come April.

Call me when this is over.  Until then, I'll do my best to find other ways to occupy my time.  And the NHL had better hope that none of those things are anything more than just a passing phase.