Thursday, January 11, 2007



New Year's Greetings to one and all. I hope that everyone had a good time ringing in the new year and that this year will be happy and safe for all. After a bit of a break for more visiting (and too much eating), it was time to drive to Buffalo. We are also leaving Buffalo to start the next leg of the journey without going home in between. We will be on the road for the next month driving by car and catching the teams in the northeast. After Buffalo, we return to Canada to see Ottawa and Montreal and then return to the States and start with Boston and work our way down the eastern seaboard. Luckily it wasn't snowing in Buffalo, but it was pouring rain. There is no snow there at all which is a rare thing for this time of year. We were lucky to be able to connect with Rich Jurrella the manager of public relations for the Sabres. He had everything all lined up for us and made our stop in Buffalo so easy and worry free for us. He is another amazing "inside" hockey person we have met that is a true credit to their organization. We have met some amazing people within the public relations and community departments of each team and there are about six or seven that are stand outs. Rich is one of them. After attending the game day skate, we were fortunate to have a visit with the coach Lindy Ruff. It was a pleasure to meet and talk with him. We were hoping to visit with Dan's former teamate and friend, Adam Mair, but he was a little under the weather and did not attend practice. We wanted to watch the gold medal game with the World Juniors, but it was only being telecast by TSN and we were doubtful we would find it being televised in the Buffalo area, so we headed back to Canada to watch what else - a hockey game. We booked a hotel room and watched the game with our eyelids closed most of the time. It was another early morning and it was nice to have a nap. We did wake up in time to see Canada win the gold medal though. After some supper, it was time to cross the border again and get to the rink. Graham and I did two interviews when we got there for the local TV stations and I was nervous as usual. The HSBC Arena is also one of the nicest facilities that we have been to so far. It was electric with atmosphere during the game and was packed to capacity. The fans are LOUD and love their Sabres. That's when it is fun to attend a hockey game. When the rink is jammed full, cheering on their team. Unfortunately the Sabres couldn't pull out a win for them and the Penguins were awarded the two points. A very nice surprise for the evening was going up to the press box and receiving a generous donation from the Sabres organization. Play by play announcer Rick Jenerette made the cheque presentation to our family. We were able to see Adam after the game along with his wife and his parents, Dave and Nancy. Adam and Dan were teamates in Owen Sound for four straight years and we got to know him and his parents well. I haven't written much about travel, because well, I guess I have travelled this route so often and it is a lot of highways, traffic and congestion. For people not familiar to the Golden Horseshoe area, it is quite a sight to go and visit Niagara Falls and see the American and Canadian falls. They are magnificent and truly a wonder to see. I should have taken some pictures, but I guess it is one of those things that I have seen so often and I didn't even think to stop for a photo. I'll try and get one another time and get it posted for those that have never seen it. Well, this is stop number 16 and our record is now 10 wins and 6 losses for the home team when we are at a game. The home teams are going to have to kick it up a notch. We'll have to see how Ottawa does on our next stop.

Graham's Game Report

Jan 5, 2007
HSBC Arena
Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Buffalo Sabres

This was our first opportunity to see the high flying Sabres this season. It's a team we have seen many times over the years at the old Aud and now in their spacious home up the street. We've always enjoyed the atmosphere at Sabres games and their exciting team has led to consistent sellouts this season and tonight's game was no exception. The Sabres jumped in frothnt twice during this one but the persistent Penguins eventually prevailed by a 4-2 margin. This marked only the second time this year the Sabres have dropped two in a row. Given the adversity faced by the organization the last number of years a two game losing streak for a first place team is no cause for alarm. Former Kitchener Ranger Derek Roy and co-captain Chris Drury scored tonight for this well balanced lineup. Whitney, Moore, young gun Malkin and even younger teamate Jordan Staal tallied for the Pens. This is our second look at the Penguins and I've been very impressed with the responsibility given the 18 year old Staal. He looks to be a long term star in the game. It was great to chat with Dan's former Plater teammate and friend Adam Mair of the Sabres who continues to play his robust style for this exciting team. We also had a chance to chat with coach Lindy Ruff and GM Darcy Regier and the character of both these men is evidenced in the great team play of the Sabres. I'm sure we'll see this team go deep into this year's playoffs.

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