Put a Stop to Counterfeit Sabres Jerseys

There’s an epidemic sweeping through First Niagara Center and there doesn’t seem to be a cure. Counterfeit jerseys continue to show their ugly face in the arena and there seems to be more this year than ever before.

Bad Jersey1
Why?

Perhaps the most unfortunate factor is that there is no precise way to address this growing trend. Most fans who are wearing fake jerseys – let’s call a spade a spade and just call them fake – have purchased them for the drastic cost savings compared to what you pay through NHL Shop or the Sabres Store. I’m sure there are fans who think the jersey they bought is in fact real and they’ve simply been duped, but I’m willing to bet those fans are in the minority.

There are a few things that really rub me the wrong way when it comes to fake jerseys. First and foremost is the fact that they simply don’t look good. At all. The entry image for this post is a really bad fake jersey and most at least look a tiny bit closer to what’s being worn on the ice. However, every other fake jersey still looks terrible and I’ve yet to see a fake NHL jersey that made me think it was close to the real thing. Continue reading

Sabres phone backgrounds featuring Ristolainen and Bogosian

Over the past few months I’ve tossed a few phone backgrounds out for anyone who may have been interested. I started with Mr. Eichel (there’s also a Bills Cold Front version) and I’ve slowly added a couple more to the collection. Below you’ll find the newest additions to the 2ITB phone background collection with wallpapers devoted to Rasmus Ristolainen and Zach Bogosian. Enjoy.  Continue reading

Offside review has become a detriment, not a benefit to the NHL

The clamor over adding a coach’s challenge to the NHL game wasn’t necessarily deafening, but it wasn’t silent either. Over the past few seasons various occurrences (looking at you Matt Duchene) led to a stronger case for teams to have the ability to review certain plays on the ice. Beginning this season the league obliged and provided coaches the ability to challenge one play per game.

It’s become a disaster.

Instituting a coach’s review for goalie interference or offside plays was brilliant, in principle. Mounting examples of each play made for a strong case to give coaches this option and the league was wise to research it and ultimately institute it. The negative impact continues to mount, however and it would seem wise of the league to backtrack on the offside rule at the very least.

Okay, now show me where Angry Birds is again.

The length of the reviews and the size of the tablets used by officials have been the focal point of the new system’s naysayers. That coaches have managed to use the new system as a loophole for much longer timeouts has been another unexpected consequence. The flaws are really coming to the forefront as more and more plays are flagged for review.

I will add that while I am a Sabres fan, my view on the rule does not reflect that Buffalo has been victimized four different times on offside reviews. While that sad bit of irony likely irritates many in the Buffalo fanbase, my criticism rest solely on the flaws I see in reviewing offside plays.

In fact, I’ve grown so tired of the offside review that it upsets me to hear and read the narrative bemoaning the tablets and length of the reviews. While those two features are certainly giant red flags, nothing outweighs the fact that a goal starved league created a rule which removes goals which would otherwise be perfectly legal. There are many out there crying to change the size of the nets – a fundamental alteration of the fabric of the game – while there’s a brand new rule stripping goals off the board. Continue reading

More Thoughts on the World Juniors

Waiting two full years for the World Juniors to arrive at our door once again will certainly test the patience of Western New York’s hockey fans.

The build up to the tournament will certainly bring plenty of cries about #OneBuffalo, #Buffalove and the like. What I hope to see more of is chatter and planning over activities surrounding the tournament.

The NHL Fan Fair from All Star weekend. A simply copy/paste of this in the Convention Center could certainly be a nice addition to the 2018 festivities.

Downtown Buffalo is a much different place today than it was in 2011 and I hope to see it change even more before the start of the 2018 tournament. But outside of big development projects, I’m hoping the city adopts an Olympic-type vibe for the 2018 tourney. I’m thinking of various activities and attractions around town. Pulling inspiration from All Star weekend or the non-event attractions many Olympic cities utilize. Continue reading

World Juniors can Serve as a Catalyst for Downtown

The countdown to the 2018 World Junior Championships in on. We’re just about two years away, on the nose, from the start of the tournament which will culminate in early January 2018.

That’s two full years before the eyes of (most of) the hockey world are directed on Buffalo. Two years to plan and two years to prepare the city.

Based on Buffalo’s previous run as a host in 2011 and subsequent USA Hockey and IIHF events hosted in Buffalo, it’s clear that the Sabres organization has their ducks in a row when it comes to hosting international events. I have little doubt that the efforts made by the Sabres will eclipse the work that made the 2011 tournament a success.

While every ticket at the 2011 event wasn’t sold – in fact there were many Team USA games with open sections of seats – I don’t think it’s a stretch to expect a better turnout for 2018. That’s without taking the planned outdoor game into account. Western New York’s hockey culture continues to grow and if the participants are sold the right way I’d expect to see fans turn out well. One of the many goals that needs to be met by the 2018 WJC

The biggest area of opportunity, in my opinion, is how the players, media and fans who are converging on Buffalo will feel about the city. Two of the more infamous moments of the 2011 tournament were the criticisms leveled by European journalists and Emerson Etem of Team USA. Etem’s comments on the city brought boos from the home crowd whenever he touched the puck in following games. Having home fans boo one of Team USA’s own was terrific.

Obviously the city and region have grown quite a bit in the past five years. The improvements will certainly reflect well upon new and return visitors. However, there’s so much positive energy downtown that the World Junior tournament could serve as the catalyst to wrap up some of the most promising projects in the city. Continue reading

Sabres Likely to Dot World Cup of Hockey Rosters

The return of the World Cup of Hockey coincides nicely with the Sabres’ resurgence. The puck will drop on the event over two years after Sam Reinhart was selected in Philadelphia, casting one of the largest stones of Buffalo’s rebuild.

As the Sabres continue to grow from cellar dweller to competitor, their roster will gain more and more notoriety. Jack Eichel already commands a great deal of attention and players like Reinhart, Ryan O’Reilly and Rasmus Ristolainen are growing into stars in their own right. Thanks to the format of next fall’s World Cup, the Sabres will have an opportunity to have a number of players represent the team at the re-tooled international tournament.

The introduction of the North American Young Stars and European All Star teams opens additional for many of Buffalo’s players to step onto the Air Canada Center ice next fall. Some of the names that will follow are going to be no brainers in terms of participation while others will be admitted long shots. Here’s a look at which Sabres players will be, at the very least, on the watch list for next year’s World Cup. Continue reading