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by Kevin Sylvester / Buffalo Sabres

Kevin Snow said to me the other day, “It’s about time you write another blog for the website. It’s been a few weeks. Did time stop when we went to Winnipeg? Get with the program.” Actually Kevin, time did stop in Winnipeg. At least it felt what way. That’s actually not a knock on Winnipeg; it could have been any city on the end for the Western road trip. It was a long time away from home, crossing time zones, and wondering what day of the week it was. That actually happens on long road trips. I’ll either ask or be asked what day of the week it is. I usually know the answer, but have to take a moment to think. Anyway, after a delay (my apologies), the following is the latest edition of my blog.

I was inspired by visiting so many cities the last month that I’ve decided to become a slogan writer for the visitor bureau’s of each.  Marketing of an area and its image is important. The right slogan can mean everything. Buffalo currently has the marketing campaign: “Buffalo. For Real.” This year it should have been: “Buffalo. Mother Nature vacations here.” Brilliant, but who could have predicted our weather-less winter? Maybe they’ll use it next year (just remember you heard it here first).

So, with great risk and attempt at humor, the following are my city slogans for some of the NHL cities we visited this season along with short explanations.

Boston: “Lowda Chowda” – Have you been to a game at TD Garden? You can’t hear yourself think.

Philadelphia: “Sleep well?” – This is in reference to the loudest inner city in America. We stay in a very nice place, but it’s so loud throughout the night with all of the sirens and fire engines. I guess there isn’t that much brotherly love going around.

Raleigh (Carolina): “Take back Buffalo” – I’ve noticed a growing resentment towards all of the transplanted Western New Yorkers that now live there and attend the games sporting their Blue and Gold proudly. The alternate slogan is “We do have a downtown.” I’ve never been there, and doubt I ever will.

Anaheim: “We’re not really L.A.” – Depends on who you ask. Some will say that Anaheim is really part of Los Angeles, and others will say that Orange County is definitely not L.A. I don’t really know or care, because traffic stinks in both.

San Jose: “Curfew is 11:30” – You are welcome to visit San Jose, just make sure you get there by 11:30 p.m. or leave by then. The airport has that curfew, so we had to fly to Oakland following the Anaheim game and take a bus to San Jose.  Not a huge deal, but it did add 40 minutes to our trip, and stress on the bladder.

Vancouver: “It’s wet here” – Vancouver is beautiful…in July. Other than that, it’s wet and foggy. (Sort of kidding.) The city is beautiful and diverse, but man it has to get depressing there with all of the rain in the winter.

Detroit: “For Sale” – I love going to games at The Joe in downtown Detroit. Other than that, there’s no reason to go to downtown Detroit. It’s empty with plenty of buildings available. It’s actually sad.

Newark (New Jersey): “We’re not Secaucus!” – That’s not saying much. I now know what David Letterman has been joking about for all of these years.

Winnipeg: “We’re closed.” – Try finding someplace to eat dinner on Sunday night in downtown Winnipeg. And you thought it was going to be: “Hell isn’t hot.”

-The three-game suspension for Tyler Myers is too much. The boarding of Scott Gomez was a bad hit on Myers’ part, and he was right to expect some supplemental discipline. I figured it would be $2500 or one game at the most. But three games doesn’t seem right. Myers is a first-time offender. Zac Rinaldo received nothing for hitting Nathan Gerbe, and there are other examples of hits that have gone unpunished. I think Myers is a victim of timing, with the hit occurring on the final day of the General Managers’ meetings in which player safety was part of the discussion. I also think it was an opportunity for Brendan Shanahan to send a message to the rest of the league that things will still be policed and punished despite this being the stretch run. It’s still too harsh to have Myers suspended for 25 percent of the remainder of the schedule.
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