Thursday, September 18, 2008

Pucks drop soon

Hey, y'all. Hope your summer was as great as mine. Anyway, hockey season is upon us, even though the Bills certainly deserve all the attention after that display Sunday. Sabres players have begun trickling back to Buffalo, and training camp officially starts next week. But as a News story will show this week, the season starts well before camp. In fact, for some players, visiting HSBC Arena is nearly a year-round event. Here's a few interesting stories to look at while trying to make the transition from beach mode to rink-rat status. *Fans who like high-scoring games must attend the next time Bulgaria's women's hockey team takes the ice. Just don't root for Bulgaria. It lost, 82-0, to Slovakia in a qualifier for the 2010 Olympics. Bulgaria gave up a goal every 44 seconds, and it was 31-0 after the first period. *John Tortorella, let go by the Lightning, slammed Tampa Bay's new owners as "a couple of cowboys" who lied to since-traded defenseman Dan Boyle and have serious troubles dealing with people. The candid remarks come as no shock to anyone who's dealt with the former Sabres assistant and Rochester head coach. One of the strangest interviews I've had came with Tortorella. I, along with the two Tampa beat writers, was ushered into a small locker room down the hall from the main one. I asked why we were going in there, and they said it was because Tortorella said a lot of off-the-record stuff that he didn't want people to hear. Sure enough, he was completely honest about the play of certain Bolts. It was good to get the background info so you got a good feel for what to watch for, but I prefer Lindy Ruff's method of saying everything on the record. If a player stinks, Lindy will say it. *Toronto still has its eyes on Mats Sundin, and so do other teams. But new Leafs coach Ron Wilson was viewing Sundin in a different way. He asked, "Where was the leadership the last three years?" in an obvious shot at the big Swede. But Sundin, who can't decide whether to play, did decide to shake off the comments, according to the Toronto Star. * is doing "30 teams in 30 days," and today's look is at the Sabres. Well, take care for now, and talk to you soon. ---John VoglSource

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