When I left NHL Network for the Sabres more than three years ago, a longtime co-host/analyst/friend in Kevin Weekes (@KevinWeekes on Twitter) had always been pushing for me to utilize or brand myself with “Duffalo” to enhance my love of Buffalo and the Sabres.
I thought it might be a tad presumptuous, or premature at the very least, to incorporate something like that into my profile (be it social media or otherwise) right away. But it’s always rattled around in my brain since we made the best move of my career.
So, without further adieu, I welcome you to Duffalo - a semi-regular blog-type-writing-attempt here on Sabres.com that will try to capture some of the day-to-day dealings both at the rink and around this place we call home.
Tyler Ennis. Wanna know what we have in common?
Edmonton, Medicine Hat, and Buffalo.
Seriously, how many people on this planet have lived in all three places?
Aside from this hockey triangle, we also share some other interests: caps (not hats, as I learned during a recent stop at the stunning New Era Headquarters on Delaware Ave) – and Ennis is rocking his #HockeyFightsCancer Sabres cap this week! – music/concerts and hair.
Well, I’m a fan of his flow, but my guess is he’s a long ways from ever ending up with my look - although come to think of it, he was the first player to compliment me on the “new look” about 13 months ago/
Anyway, the first conversation we had at training camp this year, he asked me, “What concerts did you see this summer?”
Foo Fighters (x2), AltBuffalo’s Kerfuffle (featuring Gaslight Anthem and The Airborne Toxic Event), I immediately replied. I must have forgotten the July 1 trip to Artpark for Marianas Trench!! Lately the conversation turned to one of his favorites/recommendations - The Growlers. I can’t wait for his next musical suggestion!
So how was your week?
On Columbus Day everything was going great. The Sabres were en route to their first victory of the year, and my Houston Astros had a chance to wrap up their ALDS at home in four games.
But then came a tweet...which was followed shortly thereafter by another one...
The tweets came while the Sabres game was ongoing. I was aware of course that the Astros were leading 6-2 after 7, but I didn’t need everyone else to know that I knew, so therefore I didn’t favorite or RT Kevin’s original tweet. Now I wonder if things would have been different if I had?
It only got worse from there. Flew to Florida Wednesday, Astros lost game 5. Sabres lost Thursday, Sabres lost Saturday, and when we landed back in Buffalo late Saturday night, my truck wouldn’t start...But thanks to Sabres Media Relations man Chris Dierken, I was able to get a boost and make it home long before the sun came up. Then again, I was going home to a Royals fan and a Jays fan...
A definite highlight of the road trip though was the play of Ryan O’Reilly. Against some elite forwards on Saturday O’Reilly was a force everywhere on the ice. And at times it seemed like he was never off of it. Click here and scroll down to see his shift chart, especially from late in the second period on.
That’s not a misprint - he was actually out there for the final 2:38 of the game! Granted there was a timeout in there, but still. What it helps to confirm was his desire to make a difference, and the coach believing he could. And if you think it’s too early to get overly invested emotionally, check out his postgame interview with Brad May and me.
O’Reilly acknowledged his linemate Sam Reinhart who scored his first NHL goal. Reinhart was excellent on the team’s best line. And had O’Reilly been able to tie it at 2 late in the third, we would have been gushing even more, as Sam’s setup to put O’Reilly in alone was masterful.
Two nights prior in Sunrise it was Jake McCabe’s first. Couldn’t be happier for this young man. He entered camp with a steep hill to climb based on sheer numbers on the blueline, and yet he’s still here, now forming a nice pairing with Mark Pysyk. They jokingly referred to each other as Dumb and Dumber when I went to talk to them after the morning skate that day. Their play has been anything but.
As noted earlier, it is Hockey Fights Cancer month in the NHL and our night to host is this Saturday at First Niagara Center. Last year was unforgettable - seeing RJ and Jim Kelly at center ice - Cancer Free!!! - and getting a thunderous ovation for their ongoing inspiration, and personal victories.
Do me a favor and watch the opening few minutes of the postgame show from that night:
And come to the rink Saturday ready to support, honor and remember ALL of those who are battling and have battled this dreaded disease.
Roswell Park Cancer Institute, by the way, is the presenting sponsor this Saturday night. And for me Roswell is Buffalo.
For years I only knew of it from a distance, and even then it was a beacon. But to live here now, and to have had the privilege to walk the halls during some Sabres’ visits, and to know so many people who are connected to it in some way or another...Saturday is going to be another special night.
Oh, and one last one regarding Roswell – there’s a cool event happening at Waiting Room on Oct. 30.
And 100% of the proceeds benefit Teens Living with Cancer at Roswell Park. Thanks to Emily Konesky over at Sephora Walden for the heads up on this one! Being a teenager can be tough. Imagine facing cancer on top of it. Hope you can help make this event a big success!
Speaking of success, big tip of my Sabres cap to Southside Elementary School! Thanks to the NHL and NHLPA Future Goals program I was lucky enough to tag along with Mark Pysyk and Jamie McGinn as we took part in the Hockey Scholar Challenge in front of more than one thousand super-energetic kids!
Future Goals (powered by the very cool folks at EverFi) helps students build important science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills, and in this case, applying it within the incredible game of hockey that we all love. Principal Jesonowski should be proud - as our on stage participants all aced the Hockey Scholar Challenge!
|(Photo Credit: Bill Wippert) |
Three games in five nights for the Amerks this week, starting Wednesday in Utica. Friday night and late Sunday afternoon they’ll be at Blue Cross Arena in downtown Rochester. I made the trek for the opening two home games and I hope others will too.
Lots of good and interesting players to take note of - for me Jean Dupuy and Linus Ullmark were terrific. Hope to see you down there.
My inaugural Duffalo three stars - for the period ending October 20, 2015
1. New Era
2. Hamburg Oktoberfest
3. Allen Burger Venture
See you soon!