Take 10 With Buffa

Hello folks and readers,

Let’s tear into a few things lingering in my head.   I’ll roll into a neat little number for you.  10 things with Buffa.

1.)Less hockey does suck when it comes to fierce NHL action, but look at the bright side because that’s all you can really do.   The Blues will play 45 games instead of 82 and there are good things to be found.   First, there is no lags in the schedule.   Weeks where only 1 or 2 games are played.   As fans, we can appreciate that.  As players, well, I suggest more cardio, less booze and better food.   Teams can’t relax at all and the urgency is heightened.  Second, all the games will be played inside the the conference, so if you hope to make the playoffs, losing a game will seriously hurt your chances.   A four point swing could push a team down.   If the Blues lose two in a row to the Blackhawks and the Canucks, with the two teams above them in the standings, it’s a huge blow.   There are no fanfare outside conference games against the Capitols or Penguins.   It’s being kept in the family in 2013 and the Blues are going to duel with their neighbors more often.   Third, the Blues are set up well in this situation.  We have a very young team and several players didn’t lay down at home and do nothing during the lockout.  Matt D’Agostini, T.J. Oshie, David Perron, newcomer Vladamir Tarasenko, and a few others played in different leagues and countries to remain fresh.   This will help in the short run.  Another huge factor and reason to be happy to be a Blues backer is the fact that we have two #1 type goaltenders.   Most teams have to find a way to incorporate a backup goalie they really don’t want to use.   With a short schedule and limited rest, teams can’t weigh too heavily on their starters.   The depth of a roster is huge as well.   The Blues got great production from Jaroslav Hakak and Brian Elliot last year.   When Halak struggled, the journeyman Elliot pushed him and filled in.  When Elliot was being exposed as a career backup, Halak stepped back in and cleaned up.   It’s a great situation to be in.   Most teams don’t have this.   I don’t want to be too excited here, but this shortened season is the best chance for the Blues, a small market yet incredibly homegrown talent built team, to make a run at the Stanley Cup.   Our defense was stout last season and will remain under coach Ken Hitchcock.   Our offense was fantastic when most of the roster was intact, with several players contributing 20 goals or more.  The Blues start play a week from tonight at Scottrade against the Red Wings before heading to Detroit on Sunday for a home/away series.   This is the perfect way to start the season.  With a stiff test and energetic doubleheader with a bloody rival.   Two weeks ago, I didn’t think hockey was happening.   Now, Blues fans can get ready to punch a Red Wing next Saturday and today if it makes you happy.   Scottrade Center will be fired up because let’s be honest, downtown has been quiet most days at 14th and Clark.  You can cart old rockers like Paul McCartney and Bruce Springsteen in there and try to replace the fury and adrenaline that comes with hockey, but in the end sticks, pucks, and attitudes are required.  I am a devoted Blues fan, and have been all my life.  The Die Hards will dismiss me and others for not knowing every line arrangement, meal and tweak and quirk of the game.  I know plenty and can tell you quite simply at the moment that the St. Louis Blues are a feared hockey team in this 45 game bull rush.  While the know it all’s break down this paragraph, I’ll hit up some other subjects.

2.)Zero Dark Thirty is a fascinating look into the hunt for Osama Bin Laden.   Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal spare nothing on our eyes with their brutally accurate and blunt depiction of the CIA’s efforts to bring this man down.  Save your politics for the door and go see this movie.   Rust and Bone is in theaters in the Midwest as well.   A dark French romance that is a quiet powerhouse of drama, love and sacrifice.   One film you know and the other you probably don’t.  I recommend both.

3.)I will write a post on film-addict about the Oscars this weekend but I will say I was pleased, disappointed and surprised by the nominations.  If you don’t care for the Oscars, that’s fine.  Go read US weekly.  This awards ceremony is the World Series for filmmakers and actors.   Forget the other awards with a slight exception for the Screen Actors Guild and the Critics Choice awards.  The Oscars are the ones that are remembered.  Without diving too deep into it here, I will say I have a huge problem with Ben Affleck and Kathryn Bigelow not getting director nominations.   They each handled a fascinating true story that made the USA look good and produced a superb film loved by critics and fans alike, so why they were left out for Ang Lee and the director of Amour I will never know.   Affleck is still living down his troubled past and Bigelow directed a movie that included the torture of very bad men.   She got to enough government suits with her tale of a female CIA agent tracking down Bin Laden for 12 years, so maybe they pushed her out by whining about the film.   I am happy for the Silver Linings Playbook, a devilishly charming romantic drama that scored a boatload of nominations.   Robert DeNiro and Jacki Weaver scoring looks was as special as Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence getting nominated.  This film was a genre film spiced up with crazy characters, a heartfelt ode to sports fanaticism and an improbable yet game cast.  Lincoln scored the most with 12 nominations, and while the film is flawless and very well done(scoring a spot on my top 10 list), it was a predictable greatness.   With Steven Spielberg, Daniel Day Lewis, Tommy Lee Jones, Sally Field and writer Tony Kushner writing his screenplay from a novel called Team of Rivals, there was little doubt.   I was moved by the film but not as much as others.   It isn’t a smack on the film but it is my way of saying that other films(Zero Dark Thirty, Argo, Silver Linings, Rust and Bone) hit closer to home without banging a biography over our heads.    Read more about the Oscars on my website tomorrow.

4.)Reports that Rob Ryan is the new Rams defensive coordinator are false, at least for now.  He is being considered but a few reports on Twitter and other sports outlets saying Ryan was hired aren’t true.  I text a few friends about it and tweeted about it, but will rescind those words now.   Ryan is an intriguing option for the defense and similar to Gregg Williams because he loves to blitz and prefers a 3-4 defensive arrangement.    He didn’t fare too well in Dallas leading a 19th ranked defensive unit but suffered from several injuries.   He is the brother of Rex Ryan so there are those bizarre connections.   His coaching skills aren’t that great so I wonder why this hire would even be considered.   Jeff Fisher can answer that.

5.)Kyle Lohse can’t find a job and that’s unfortunate.  He fired off 3 injury free solid seasons in a row for the Cardinals, anchoring the rotation in 2012 with a marvelous performance.   His agent Scott Boras more than likely spiked up his asking price, trying to score on the Cy Young caliber season last year but so far there are no takers.  Lohse is too expensive for the Cardinals and other teams are backing off.   Post Dispatch writer Joe Strauss suggests it is the draft pick compensation coming to the Cards from the team that does sign him because the Redbirds offered him a 1 year tender contract.  My feelings are that they are weary of the Lohse that came before the last 3 years.  The erratic, average record holding pitcher capable of being smashed.   I think Lohse has turned the corner and learned something here, but my bet is other teams with millions in their pockets are taking their time.   He will land in either Texas, Baltimore or Milwaukee, and get a 3 year deal and no more unless a team goes stupid.  He will not be as good as he was in St. Louis in 2012.  NO WAY.

6.)Baseball starts in one month.   On February 12th, pitchers and catchers report to Florida or Arizona.  When you are down and need something to perk you up, remember that baseball fans.

7.)My thoughts on the NFL round of action this weekend.    Green Bay will get rid of San Francisco and Seattle will beat Atlanta.   Seattle is playing too well, runs the ball like mad and will overwhelm Matt Ryan and reveal his playoff weaknesses yet again in Atlanta.   Pete Carroll and his incessant cheerleader antics will continue and drive me insane but his quarterback and running back are too good right now to be stopped.   Green Bay will play just enough defense to throw off Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers offense while shredding their defense.   Aaron Rodgers got tossed by the Giants last year and wants revenge.   The Denver Broncos will send Ray Lewis into retirement in Denver because they didn’t win 12 games in a row for no reason.  Peyton Manning is playing better than ever, they can run the ball and get enough of a pass rush to disrupt the overrated Joe Flacco.  Tom Brady and the Patriots won’t beat the Texans by four touchdowns tomorrow but they will win 28-21 and give us the Manning-Brady matchup again.  In the end, Arian Foster won’t be able to carry this team any further.  Like the Falcons, the Texans are a regular season giant made small in the playoffs by an inability to execute and dominate.  There you have it.

8.)Raise your hand if you can’t believe we are nearly 2 weeks into 2013.   Time flies when you work for a living and have a life at home.   My days seem to be flying by so fast that the only time I feel it can slowed down is when I am sitting in a quiet room.   Then, I fall asleep and the next day begins.   Two jobs, a family, and a little passion leaves me worn out but ready to tackle the next day.   I will say this.  If you don’t like your job, get in line.  Nobody REALLY likes their job unless they work for themselves and have their own money making company.   That doesn’t guarantee happiness.  Ask any owner of a startup company, restaurant, bar or business.  It’s taxing and leaves you with shredded nerves but save me the bitching and moaning.  You can change it if you want.  Nobody is tied to a job so I hate when all I hear is whining.   With millions out of work and struggling to make ends meet, be glad you have a clock in card or corporation that doesn’t mind paying you money to help their production.

9.)I turn 31 next month.   Say hello to meaningless birthday #1 on the road to 40.   Once you hit 30, the following years are just stepping stones to the next goal, which is 40 large loud bells.   Individual birthdays are overrated.   Milestone decade marks are important.  Just keep breathing.

10.)Finally, some parting shots.    I still prefer Peyton Manning’s career over Brady, because of his versatility and minus a Spygate scandal.   The Cardinals shouldn’t let David Freese and Jason Motte go to arbitration.  They have proven themselves enough to get 2-3 year deals.    I don’t know why they insist on one year deals.   Freese is injury prone yet productive and cheap.   Motte solidified himself as the closer in 2012 and fixed a huge problem with this team for the past 6 years.  He gave us a shutdown closer.   John Mozelaik is smart but this I don’t get.  Spread the money Mo.  I do think Vladamir Tarasenko will be an exciting player to watch but his production relies on his health.  I have seen plenty of young quick players come into this league and only a handful can avoid concussions and injury to put up great numbers.   Look around at Perron and McDonald, Vlady, if you want to understand the collision of skill and human frailty in a physical sport.   Junior Seau’s report coming back showing significant brain damage is expected when you play in the NFL for so long.   When one man chooses a brutal sport to make his living, brain damage is on the docket.  You just can’t take that away.   All Roger Goodell will do is dumb down the game and make it weaker.   Seau didn’t kill himself because he had brain damage.   If that was true, a lot of ex-NFL players would be dropping daily.  The evidence is skewed here.  Sorry vulnerable people.  I like nice weather or cold weather but only wish it would be more consistent.   I am not afraid to drive a 24 foot truck on city roads.  I like riding over everybody else.   Our company truck needed an oil change so a colleague and I took it around the city trying to find a building tall enough for our rig.  I took my dad to a screening on Thursday(Zero Dark Thirty) and for the first time, he started to understand that his son actually HAD a website and was a legit movie critic.  Evidence is required for a parent to buy into an operation that doesn’t yield money slips yet.

I better stop here because I can’t give it all away in one blog.  Thanks for reading.

Goodnight and good luck,

Dan Buffa

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