Understand ‘Suffering’: Catch up on ‘Beyond Blue and Gold’ - VIDEOS
blog by Ben Tsujimoto • October 11, 2013 @ 10:44am
Every time you see Rasmus Ristolainen look befuddled in his own end, Mark Pysyk nod blankly at Ron Rolston’s criticism or Mikhail Grigorenko hang his head while wallowing with fourth liners, it’s worth considering a few things before launching your Cheetos off the coffee table, slugging the rest of your Sam Adam’s and cuddling up with ‘The Walking Dead’ instead of watching (enduring?) the rest of the second period.
At 0-4-1, Sabres fans have come to grips with a season of suffering ahead, 77 more games of growing pains, moderate to extreme exasperation and small victories that will feel monumental. Our delightful Sabres freelancer—Ryan Nagelhout of the Goose’s Roost lore—has the mental repertoire to cope with on-ice disaster and spin organizational misery with humor.
Instead of tuning out the rest of the season and turning into a raging English Premier League fan—well, you can theoretically do both—one of the prime resources for dealing with the doldrums is to keep pace with the Sabres’ “Beyond Blue & Gold,” the season-long series of webisodes (also posted to YouTube) that gives an inside look into the organization, player development and several scenes to which fans aren’t often privy.
We recognize the limitations in absorbing team-produced media—the slant will be positive and the future will look rosy—but this video series is exceptionally produced, well scripted and short enough where you won’t wile away an afternoon plodding through one episode. Plus, some of the music is dramatic enough to make mundane scenes—say, Mike Weber munching on a pickle—feel transcendent.
Kat Przybyla broke down the first two episodes of season two on the final day of July, but now that we’re actually playing meaningful hockey, it’s a little easier to resonate with what’s happening in the videos.
Quick insight into Season Two, Episode 3: From July 10 to 12, the Sabres’ draft picks and prospects worked with Buffalo head coach Ron Rolston and new Amerks’ coach Chadd Cassidy. The focus is on former first rounders Mark Pysyk and Zemgus Girgensons, highlighting the growth and learning process of youngsters in the NHL. Even though high expectations are the byproduct of a high draft selection, you start to get the sense that these players’ heads are truly spinning.
Quick insight into Season Two, Episode 4: Bouncing forward to Sept. 5 through 9, this episode of “Beyond Blue & Gold” follows the young Sabres through the 2013 NHL Prospects Tournament in Traverse City, Mich. Although Buffalo fails to defend its title, the Sabres reach the final against Detroit, and you see a heck of a lot more of Nikita Zadorov and Justin Bailey than you’re seeing right now.
Quick insight into Season Two, Episode 5: Personally, this was the episode I found most interesting, largely because it lends a considerably more personal side to the players—the joking around, the encouragement, the constructive criticism—that’s absent when watching a Sabres game on TV and inaudible live unless you’re sitting immediately behind the bench. The best line—obviously—is “So your visor is touching your nose…” The two-on-one empty net goal from Grigorenko to Girgensons was one of those snapshots you’ll want to frame in your mind as you ‘suffer’ through the 2013-14 season.
(Header photo courtesy of Sabres staff photographer Bill Wippert).