Surveying the Summit: Meet Sabres bloggers
blog by BuffaloDotCom • January 13, 2012 @ 8:00am
Compared to the first Sabres Blogger Summit in June, which brought together 10 influential bloggers to discuss additional privileges for the alternative media, Thursday’s “Live Suggestion Box” chat with team president Ted Black signaled a statement of growth from the local hockey bloggers.
Nearly twice the number of blogs were represented, and relevant—and occasionally contentious—issues were brought to the fore. Truthfully, the hour-long chat became more centered on the “state of the team” rather than a “Live Suggestion Box.” The majority of player personnel inquiries were dodged by Black, although the team president did squash rumors of Lindy Ruff’s possible six or seven year contract, calling the speculation “completely inaccurate.” Regardless, it was great to see the Sabres’ willingness for discourse with the non-traditional media, and Black’s knowledge and sincerity in responding to questions.
Who were the bloggers in attendance? We know you’re dying for a detailed rundown, and Kat and Ben T. did their best to profile as many as possible. Of course, you can visit these sites for their analysis of the Sabres Blogger Summit, particularly on weighty issues like game presentation, the team’s higher administration and possible trade activity in the near future.
Sabres Hockey Central
Representative at Summit: Assistant editor Ryan Wolfe
Quick profile: Although the content staff varies between 10 and 15 contributors, the two primary administrators are Wolfe and site creator Kevin Freiheit. Recently, the content—exclusively Sabres—has been focused on news, but there are popular columns like Fact or Fiction that Wolfe mentioned in my brief talk with him. Wolfe also noted the blog’s strong appreciation for Sabres history, and that’s no more apparent than Brandon Hess’ flashback piece on Dominik Hasek’s 70-save performance in 1994. The blog is social media savvy, too, as Wolfe (@rwolfe09) and Freiheit (@kevinshc) update regularly on Twitter.
3rd Man In
Representative: Founder Eric Schmitz
Quick profile: Since its birth in 2008, the 3rd Man In Sabres blog has been the project of founder Eric Schmitz, with a few other contributors lending a helping hand along the way. His work is predominantly opinion columns—he’s not a fan of newsy pieces—and he offers considerable snark and even some twisted humor. If you want to know the origin of the blog’s name, look no further. Schmitz has covered “seven or eight” games from the press box this season and says that the Buffalo Sabres have been very accommodating to bloggers. Follow 3rd Man In’s rather amusing Twitter account (@3rdManIn).
The Goose’s Roost
Representative: Contributor Corey Griswold
Quick profile: Active since May 2007, The Goose’s Roost is the brainchild of Chris Ryndak, Ryan Nagelhout and Jon Campbell, with Corey Griswold—the Blogger Summit representative—entering the fray one year ago. The blog—cleverly named after the Sabres’ Paul Gaustad—boasts thoughtful long-form pieces on various Sabres topics and even posts the occasional podcast! Once a UB Spectrum writer, producer for WGR and later WECK, Griswold balances his contributions to the Goose’s Roost with another side project, the Griswold Post Gazette. With the media careers of Ryndak (now with Sabres.com) and Nagelhout (a sports reporter for the Niagara Gazette) on the ascent, Griswold has put his humorous stamp on the site’s identity. Follow The Goose’s Roost on Twitter (@goosesroost).
Die By The Blade
Representative: Editor Zachary Zielonka
Quick profile: A blog that began in July of 2007, Die By The Blade acts as a catch-all for Sabres’ content. Zielonka, who joined as an editor in 2009, is proud of Die By the Blade’s interactive nature, citing the blog’s regular commenters and “fan post” participants as the life-blood of the site. Andy Boron pairs with Zielonka as the editorial staff, while seven other contributors post on occasion. Die By the Blade balances Sabres news with opinion columns, while doing a fantastic job of linking to other relevant Sabres sites—both traditional and alternative media. Follow them on Twitter (@diebytheblade) and on Facebook.
Two in the Box
Representative: Founder Chris Ostrander
Quick profile: Ostrander is Two in the Box’s founder (summer 2010) and sole contributor, although he admits there’s growth potential. A former Sabres employee, Ostrander credits his relationship with Mike Gilbert, the Sabres’ VP of Public and Community Relations, for a chance to cover the Winter Olympics with NBC. Through Two in the Box, Ostrander has tried diligently to toe the line between criticism of the Sabres’ organization and respect for his former employer—he admitted that he wants to avoid sounding “venomous.” A former club hockey goalie at John Carroll University, Ostrander infuses his articles—from pre- and post-game write-ups to longer columns—with invaluable knowledge gained from his playing days. From a goalie’s mindset, he’s particular adept at evaluating Ryan Miller and Jhonas Enroth—two of the team’s more heavily-discussed players. Follow his Sabres coverage on Twitter (@2ITB_Buffalo).
Representative: Dave Davis
Quick profile: Unlike the other bloggers I spoke with, Davis is a contributor to an NHL-wide blog network called Kukla’s Korner. His personal contribution, the Sabres Observer, focuses on his own personal reflections on the team he’s covered since 2003. Formerly the senior writer for the Fourth Period and a contributor to Western New York Sports and Leisure magazine, Davis’ work has been syndicated throughout the web, appearing on major sites like NHL.com, Fox Sports, Yahoo! Sports and others. Like several other local bloggers, he’s less concerned with game recaps and dry news. You can follow Kukla’s Korner on Twitter (@kuklaskorner), but if you’re more interested in Davis’ work, follow his personal account (@DaveDavisHockey).
Queen City Sports
Representative: Founder Mike Straw
Quick profile: Queen City Sports is a fairly new phenomenon, launched on July 1 of last year by Mike Straw. Straw’s goal was to bring exposure to all of Buffalo’s sports—not just the Bills and Sabres—but that shouldn’t subtract from his ability to lend insight on the city’s major sports teams. Straw has spent over 20 games in the Sabres’ press box as a blogger this year, penning game recaps that also contain his own perspective on the team. His personal goal for QCP is a consistent following, one that doesn’t waver when the Sabres or Bills are struggling, and the creation of exclusive content. Mike Bundt, an Ohio University student, also contributes to the young site in covering local college basketball. Follow Straw on Twitter (@MikeStrawQCS).
Sabres in Seven
Representative: Founder Brittany Champagne
Quick profile: As one of the only three females in the room for the Blogger Summit, Sabres in Seven takes a different approach when it comes to Buffalo hockey commentary. Brittany Champagne started the blog at the end of last season with hopeful playoff aspirations—hence the name Sabres in Seven. Champagne is currently the sole writer for the site and describes the blog as “yet another hockey blog focusing on the Sabres, but with the sassy spin of a female blogger.” She gives a unique perspective to the Sabres blog scene, yet doesn’t stray far from important topics and issues. Having a fairly new following, she has done well to provide commentary and make a name for herself in the Sabre blogging community. You can follow Sabres in Seven from Champagne’s twitter account (@BLMC88) or the blog’s Facebook fan page.
Buffalo Sabres Nation
Representative: Contributor Tamara Sutcliffe
Quick Profile: With a mantra of “one nation under Pegula” you know these are some serious Buffalo hockey fans. Tamara Sutcliffe, who is fairly new to the BSN writing scene, represented the BSN staff of three writers which also includes Scott Michalak and John Monahan. The site does a great job by bringing a humorous approach to a lot of their blog posts, including posting a game day Bingo board with team specific occurrences and jokes. Their posts are well informed, yet have a great satirical approach to the game, with content involving “whatever is ticking us off that day,” Sutcliffe said. Both Sutcliffe and Monahan have their own personal twitter accounts, but Michalak keeps it funny and hockey centric. You can follow him at (@ScottyMCSS).
Roll the Highlight Film
Representative: Founder Michael Tracz
Quick Profile: Started in Sept. 2009, Roll the Highlight Film has turned into a great game recap blog with all the facts and stats you need. Following every game, Tracz gives a complete game follow-up with pre-game standings, positive reactions to the game, negative reactions to the game and a short preview for the next game. Tracz is no newbie to the Sabres blogging world, as is also writes more feature type stories for Buffalo Wins. His blog keeps it clean with very few frills and graphics—he seems to stick to the facts and tell you what you need to know. You can follow him on twitter at (@mtracz).
Last summer, the Sabres’ organization chose to credential local hockey bloggers on a game-by-game basis, allowing the alternative media access to the press box and Lindy Ruff’s post-game press conference, but no entrance into the teams’ locker rooms—home or away—after the game. The NHL has allowed its individual teams to determine how bloggers are to be handled, and Yahoo!‘s Puck Daddy writer Greg Wyshynski reported in Aug. 2010 that treatment varies widely.
If you participated in the Sabres Blogger Summit and don’t see your blog listed here, don’t fret! We simply didn’t have the time to speak with everyone there. Email Ben Tsujimoto—btsujimoto [at] buffnews.com—and he’ll write up a short blurb. Thanks!