Governor calls for special election

The 145th Assembly district representing parts of Buffalo, some of Lackawanna, all of West Seneca, and Orchard Park has been vacant since Mark J.F. Schroeder resigned right before midnight on January 1st to take over as Buffalo City Comptroller – a position he was elected to last November.  The seat will remain vacant until March 20th, the date chosen by the Governor for a special election.  At that time, voters will go to the polls to cast their vote for the next Assembly Member from the 145th.

Since the date for the special election has been chosen, the question remains who will run to fill the remainder of Mr. Schroeder’s term that expires at the end of this year?

As of today, only one candidate has officially announced his candidacy for the Assembly seat.  Democrat Chris Fahey, Deputy Chief of Staff to Congressman Brian Higgins and former top aide to Assemblyman Mark J.F. Schroeder, has been actively pursuing the seat.

Other Democrats have expressed an interest in the seat.  Former Lackawanna Mayor Norm Polanski, who due to term limits could not run again, and South District Buffalo City Councilman Michael Kearns have all been mentioned as possible successors to Mr. Schroeder, but have yet to formally announce their intentions.

Unlike a general election in November, The nominee for the Democratic Party will not be chosen by registered party members in a primary, but by the party leaders.  Due to it being a special election, the Executive Committee of the Erie County Democratic Party, led by Chairman Len Lenihan, will meet next week to endorse a candidate that will run on the Democratic line in March.

There is no doubt that the Democratic nominee will be a considerable favorite heading into the March contest due to the huge registration advantage Democrats have in the 145th district.  There has been no word yet if Erie County Republican Chairman Nicholas Langworthy will field a candidate come March due the huge advantage Democrats have.  But, since it is a special election, turnout may be lower than a general election in November and therefore a key factor in the upcoming race.

Along with the special election for the 145th Assembly seat, the Governor has called for special elections on the same date to fill three other vacant Assembly seats and one vacant Senate seat.

What I’m listening to – The Edge of Forever

I am probably the biggest John Hughes fan ever, and I consider him one of the greatest film writers, directors, and producers of all time.

He was the voice of teens everywhere growing up in the 80’s and early 90’s and can be enjoyed by people across time and of any age, writing and directing such greats as Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, The Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink, Sixteen Candles, Uncle Buck and many more.  He may have provided the voice of a generation, but his selection of music was definitely the soundtrack for the lives of his many characters and loving fans.

Not only could he provide for situational comedy, but he was able to tackle to greatest problems for teens including love, friendship, and family.  He used pop music to get at the emotions the audience should be experiencing and one of the songs was The Edge of Forever by The Dream Academy that I never would have been introduced to if it wasn’t for Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and the final scene with Ferris and Sloan ending with Sloan saying “he’s gonna marry me” as Ferris runs off to beat his parents home from work . 

Way to share in the sacrifice Mitt

It was reported yesterday that GOP Presidential candidate Mitt Romney plans to nearly quadruple the size of his $12 million oceanfront home in California.

The oceanfront mansion is only 1 of 3 houses that the former Massachusetts Governor owns as he also has a townhouse in Boston and a lakefront home in New Hampshire.

Romney is campaigning to take control of another house, the White House, by criticizing current President Barack Obama for taking a 9 day vacation while unemployment in the U.S. is still 9.1% and not doing enough to bring America’s fiscal house in order, but can’t we say that Mr. Romney is the one that is out of touch with Main Street America.

Americans are still struggling to make ends meet and looking for jobs, while Mr. Romney is renovating one of his three homes, calling corporations “people”, and saying that he understands what the unemployed are going through as he is unemployed himself.  Mr. Romney, a multi-millionaire, may be the prime example of shared sacrifice that President Obama has been talking about lately.

Unemployment is no joke Mitt

The Last of the Coyote?

Last nights Game 4 loss against the Detroit Red Wings may be the last NHL game ever played at Jobing.com Arena and Phoenix, Arizona.  Detroit won the game 6-3 and swept the series 4-0 in which they dominated the Coyotes.

Canadian news outlets have reported that the NHL will announce after the playoffs that the Coyotes have been sold to a firm in Winnipeg, Manitoba with the intentions of moving the franchise back to its birthplace.

Its the end of an era for me as I practically grew up watching hockey with the Coyotes as a part of the NHL and will forever miss the coyote “howl” that could be heard after every goal.

The Phoenix Coyote (1996-2011)

Let’s Pay Homage to the Playoff Beard

It’s that time of year again when men all across the U.S. and Canada put down the razor to honor the tradition of no shaving while your team is in the playoffs.

The tradition dates back to 1980 when the New York Islanders refused to shave until they won and went on to win 4 straight Stanley Cups.  Unfortunately, the beard was left behind until the New Jersey Devils donned the Grizzly Adams look for their run in 1995 and went on to win their first championship.  The playoff beard was 5 for 5 and the NHL and its players never looked back.

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Lanny McDonald lifts cup with facial hair

Mitt Romney is in, well sort of

Former Governor of Massachusetts Mitt Romney, has become the second GOPer to announce that he is “officially” exploring a Presidential campaign.  The announcement came Monday that Governor Romney was setting up an exploratory committee that enables him to start raising money for a run that will more than likely be an expensive one. 

Romney joined Tim Pawlenty as the only “declared” GOP candidate, with many Republicans still on the sidelines but testing the waters, and the only declared Democrat in the race, the President.

Romney’s campaign definitely chose a unique day to make his announcement, only a day before the fifth anniversary of enacting his health care plan in Massachusetts that was a champion reform of his, while in office, but has quickly shied since the passage of Barack Obama’s controversial Affordable Care Act.

Democrats in New Hampshire and Iowa, the first two states of the 2012 campaigning season, are using the anniversary of the passage of “RomneyCare” to bring it to the attention of the voters and discrediting Romney within his own party.  According to an article in Politico, New Hampshire and Iowa Democrats are asking voters to send thank you messages to Mitt Romney as  “without Romney, it’s hard to see how President Obama would have been able to provide quality, affordable health care for every American”, said Ray Buckley Chair of the New Hampshire Democrats.

It is unknown if Romney’s campaign team forgot what date it was, but nevertheless it is a tactical error by making the announcement 5 years to the date of the passage of “RomneyCare” further drawing attention to the controversial bill that will be a very big issue during the primary and into the general election.

The Austrian Icing on the Cake – “Sachertorte”

The Buffalo Sabres secured their spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs on Friday by taking the Philadelphia Flyers to Overtime.  The Sabres had to come from behind 1 goal leads twice during Friday’s game, including a 3-2 deficit that was negated by the behind the back shot from Nathan Gerbe. 

The game tying goal made the score 3-3 and the Sabres were able to hold on in front of a cheering crowd the last minute of regulation.

Thomas Vanek

The Sabres were not done as Thomas Vanek sped by the Flyers defense in Overtime to put the backhand behind Babrovsky for the win.  Vanek’s goal was the “Austrian icing on the cake” to the Sabres unforgettable trip to the Stanley Cup Playoffs that ignited when Terry Pegula took over the team in February.  The Sabres are 15-4-4 since then with one game remaining Saturday against the Blue Jackets.

Sachertorte of Victory

Sabres Fail Major Test

The Buffalo Sabres failed to pass a major hurdle in the race for the playoffs on Thursday night by losing to the 8th place Carolina Hurricanes. 

Buffalo had a one goal lead twice in the second period only to allow the Hurricanes to come back to tie it quickly afterwards.  The 3-2 loss in overtime was not a complete loss as the Sabres left Raleigh with one point and see themselves down only two points from the current 8th place team New York Rangers after their loss to the Minnesota Wild still with three games in hand.  I addition, the Sabres are still only 3 points down from the 7th place Hurricanes with 2 games in hand.

In addition to failing to jump into a playoff spot with a win, Buffalo failed to show they were a playoff contender.  The Sabres had five opportunities on the power play only to come up scoreless.  The last power play was late in the third and would have almost certainly guaranteed to win the game for them, but they couldn’t connect.  In order for a team to survive in the playoffs and have a chance to win, they need to have playoff caliber special teams and going 0-5 on the power play is not superb.  The way the Sabres played today did not give confidence for Sabres fans if time comes for them to compete in the playoffs.

The next game will be against the number one team in the East Philadelphia Flyers (40-17-6) in an afternoon matinee on Saturday.

Note: The playoff race in the East is tightening as Thursday’s win by the Toronto Maple Leafs over the Philadelphia Flyers puts them in 10th place only three points out of a playoff spot.  The one thing benefitting the Sabres currently is that they have the most games remaining of any team fighting for the final playoff spots

Battle in Carolina

The battle for the last spot in the playoffs in the Eastern Conference continues tonight with a showdown between the 8th and 9th place teams, Carolina Hurricanes and the Buffalo Sabres.

The Sabres come into tonight’s game only two points out of the 8th and final spot with 2 games in hand on the Hurricanes.  This is the second game on a seven game road trip for the Sabres that began Tuesday night with a crucial win against the 7th place New York Rangers at MSG.  With that win, the Sabres moved within 3 points of the Rangers with 3 game in hand.

The Sabres look to stay hot on the road as they have a road record of 16-10-4, which puts them 5th in the East, but they are going up against the Hurricanes who are 17-10-3 at home.

The matchup definitely will come down to goaltending as Ryan Miller looks to be getting hot for the final stretch as he has not allowed more than 2 goals the last  5 games and made 24 saves in the second and third periods against the Rangers to steal victory and move the Sabres closer to the playoffs.  The Sabres will most definitely lean on the back of their goalie on this run to the playoffs as Miller comes into the game playing 38 of the last 39 games in net for the Sabres and the Sabres are definitely hoping he’s hot down the stretch.

This is the second meeting between the two teams with two games remaining.  Buffalo won the first game 3-2. Game time is 7:00 Eastern and will be shown on MSG in Buffalo and can be heard on the radio at WGR 550 AM.

The Economics of Hockey

Being a student of economics, it was awesome when I was able to apply economic theory to yesterday’s NHL trade deadline.  Ever since the lockout of 2004-05, the NHL trade deadline has proven to be a day of excitement, not only for the big names being moved, but for the number of players and trades being made.  This all changed yesterday as the lowest number of deals were made on deadline day since 2000 when only 12 trades were committed.  The lackluster day of trading gave us 16 deals involving 35 players and 12 draft picks.

This was a dramatic decline from last years record highs of 31 trades with 55 players, but what is the reason for this sudden decline?

One only has to look at the standings to find the answer.  As of yesterday, it could be said that 24 teams still considered themselves able to make a playoff push.  In the East, 7 points separated 7th place from 11th, while in the West the standings were tighter than ever.  The 4th place Coyotes with 76 points has to fear not making the playoffs as 5 points separate them from watching the playoffs from the outside in 11th place.  I cannot recall the NHL being this competitive this late in the season, this can perhaps be credited to the new NHL and the CBA signed ending the lockout.

With this many teams still believing they had a chance to make the playoffs, few sellers were in the market as most teams were looking at being a buyer to add that extra player(s) to make that push.  Therefore, simple understanding of supply and demand economics lends itself to this situation.  When the demand for teams seeking players exceeds the supply of teams offering players up, the price goes up for these players.

I was surprised by the assets that buyers were giving up in order to boost their roster.  Sellers demanded higher prices for their players in terms of draft picks and prospects.  This is why nothing happened.  Sellers demanded too much, but buyers were not willing to spend.  This was except for the Los Angeles Kings.  The Kings, in 6th in the West with 74 points, wanted to add a scoring threat to their roster.  They were being talked about as potential options for Brad Richards, but LA was finally able to pull off its and most likely the days blockbuster move by getting Dustin Penner from the Edmonton Oilers.

Penner has amounted 21 goals and 39 points so far inthe season and was looking to be a star for the Oilers if he stayed with the team.  The Oilers have been struggling in recent years and were doomed to miss the playoffs once again, but their young talent did not miss the eyes of the NHL as Oiler’s management was talking of trading some stars if the price was right.

The price was definitely right for the Oilers as they received a 1st round pick in the years draft, a 3rd round pick in 2012, and King’s prospect Colton Teubert.  Teubert who was the King’s first round pick in 2010 won Gold with the Canadian World Juniors team in 2009 looks to be a future star of his own.  Why did the King’s give up so much?  The answer again was the high prices set by the market this year.

Most trades that did occur were for second tier players, which even commanded the respect of 2nd and 3rd round picks.  The lack of trades this year can only be explained by the competitiveness of this years playoff race.  More teams feel they can make it, so fewer teams were willing to play the role of seller this year and part with their players along with their playoff hopes.  Teams demanded too much in return that some teams didn’t want to give up, but then some gave away the house for that chance to hold Lord Stanley’s Cup.  Only time will tell if the buyers are content with giving up draft picks and future success for the chance at success today.

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