Believe it or not, we are almost entirely without any snow! It never reached the predicted high here today, but it was warm, and as the rain came in,  the snow just melted away.  The lawn looks pathetic….it is so matted with leaves, sunflower seed husks,  and dead grass.  It seems pretty unusual to see grass in February, though! I took a photo from the bedroom window this afternoon with the little Panasonic camera that has such a wide angle view….

Just last week,  there was about a foot of snow on the ground there! Wow!  Our warm weather will soon disappear.  Tomorrow,  the temperature is supposed to drop throughout the day and be accompanied by some high winds. 

After taking the photo outside the window,  I saw the puck we got at last night’s Portland Pirates game.  I forgot to tell about the great deal that really helped us decide to attend this game.

If fans purchased a 4-pack of tickets for $79.50, they also received a puck signed by Nathan Gerbe or Tim Kennedy,  a bucket of popcorn,  4 sodas, and 4 hotdogs!  The seating was in a great section for seeing the game, so we decided it would be a worthwhile trip!

As we went to pick up a puck, Mark asked which one we should get. I told him Nathan Gerbe, of course!  Well, just a bit ago, I was reading the Buffalo Sabres website, and I nearly jumped for joy when I read that Nathan has been called up from the Pirates to play with the Sabres tonight!  Goooooooooooo, Gerbe!!!

Well, now that that is out of my system…..My family loves me. I made my take on Chicken Spinocoli again for dinner and everyone is smiling.  The dishes are done and leftovers put away.  The game begins in half an hour…..Ah, think I will just put my feet up and realax!

Rrrrrrrrrrrrr, Me Blood’s a Boilin’!

Wow, what a game last night.  It was filled-to-the-brim with action, great skating, and some pretty hairy moments!

Buffalo is about 80 miles from our house.  We left a little early (or so we thought) so we could stop and grab a quick pizza at a place we love.  We called ahead on our way and ordered, so we didn’t have to wait at all and the pizza was so hot and fresh!  Did I ever say how much I appreciate modern technology?  Between the GPS Mark uses and our little computer/cell phones, life sure is easy on the road!

We arrived at HSBC Arena just minutes before face-off at 7:00 pm.  We had to get in line, though, in the ticket line, where our tickets were being held.  There were literally oceans of people there! Thankfully, there were probably about 10 lines open. We didn’t get up to our seats until well into the first period. ( a period is 20 minutes long, and a game is 3 periods)

We finally made it to our seats and it took several minutes to get organized.  I had my (big) camera bag and the Biker Babe Bag, so I had to figure where to put everything!

I changed out the short lens for my long one, and as I was doing so,  apparently, Nathan Gerbe was passing the Albany River Rats’ bench when one of the players began a fight with him.  Within seconds, the whiole thing turned into a massive brawl!

Because I was not totally ready and we were sitting on the “wrong side”,  I was unable to get photos.  However, they did replays on the big screen, and I was able to capture them off that.  I am not sure why they appear so terrible, but you can get the idea…..

I have NO idea ***why*** that referee got into the “mix”.  You can (barely) see his black and white striped shirt on the bottom of the pile of bodies.

As time progressed, it seemed like nearly everyone had a “dancing partner”!

In the end, there were gloves and sticks everywhere! What a MESS!  I read this morning, there was a total of 74 minutes in penalties given to 10 different players.  The worst travesty of all was that Nathan Gerbe was thrown out of the game, along with his attacker.  NUTS! That was one of the whole reasons I wanted to SEE this game!!! I really enjoy watching Gerbe play.  Ah well,  he got the opening goal of the game! (which I did NOT see….)

While all the brawling and then discussion between referees went on, Portland goalie, Jhonas Enroth stretched and anticipated resuming the game!

The young man in the centerof the following photo is Tim Kennedy, a Buffalo native.  The HSBC Arena holds about 18,000 people, and the crowd there was over 11.000 people!  I think many of the fans came to see Tim play.  He was called up by the Buffalo Sabres to play in one game and Buffalo is very (rightfully) proud of him.

I love hockey, and I am not looking for fights and boxing matches. I hate it.  As a young person, I speed skated, and I really love skating.  I would not balk or complain at all if fighting was disallowed by the NHL and AHL.  However, we are told that fans *do* like watching fighting.  Ugh….

We were in our seats only a short time when the period ended and the Zambonis came out to resurface the ice.  Michelle was dazzled by the fact that there were TWO Zambonis!  Of course  the Canadians must have a presence in the form of an ad for LaBatts Blue Beer…….

And Tops Friendly Supermarkets are headquartered in Buffalo!

Nothing like a slick freshly resurfaced rink….complete with the Buffalo Sabres Logo on the ice!

And the friendly little “Puck Warning”……

Oops…put this photo in a bit late, but it is just for my Dear Readers in Scotland! Hmmm….is MacDonald a familiar name there?

Actually, there are many players with Scottish sounding names. Hockey is the Canadian National Sport, after all, eh?  And we all know that there are many Scots in Canada!!!

After the testosterone rush settled down and the players began to play, there was a lot of good action. I must say, however, I have never seen so many skimishes in a game! Wow! These clubs must be arch rivals! This was an AHL (American Hockey League) game that was more of an exhibition game and it was sad there was so much brawling.  There were sooooo many little kids in the crowd….

And when the Portland Pirates scored……

It was a loud and crazy crowd.  We were greatly entertained by these fans……

Yes, they were dressed as Pirates, and they danced about the aisle like madmen!  You cannot see it, as they moved so rapidly, but they each brandished a (floppy, blowup) sword and one fellow had a rat on the end of his!

The game wound down and with only less than 5 minutes left in the game, it looked like the Rats were headed for a victory.

But with less than 30 seconds left in the game, the Pirates scored!

In hockey, when the game ends in a tie, each team earns one point.  However, the game then goes into a five-minute overtime period.  If no one scores, then there is a shoot-out.  Well,  the overtime period saw no score, so each team sent out 5 players to try to score on the goalie.  It was unfortunate that one of the Rats scored and none of the Pirates came through.  It was okay, though, as the Pirates did gain one point.

What a game! We arrived home shortly before 1, to two very happy, tail-wagging Scotties!  A most memorable evening and night!  Ah yes, and tonight?  We get to watch the Sabres and Ottawa Senators again!