BERLIN, Germany -- Wow.
I can use a ton of words to describe Berlin. Breathtaking. Jaw-dropping. Eye-popping. Inspiring. The list goes on and on and on, but it comes back to one word:
This place shot to the top few cities I've ever visited, with its history, architecture and culture staring you right in the face with virtually every step you take. Thankfully, I made sure to take in all I could despite not getting settled in Germany till 4:30 a.m. I'll sleep some other day. Today was about see this place.
It's unreal. I'll put pictures up Sunday, but the journey included the big-name places such as Checkpoint Charlie and Brandenburg Gate, and the day's Three Stars: the Berlin Wall, Reichstag and Olympic Stadium. I wish I could expand on them more, but if I'd saved time to do that, I wouldn't have gotten to experience them. So, again, check back Sunday for a look at this amazing place.
We're about an hour from faceoff for Buffalo-Los Angeles, and it will be the first time on the O2 World ice for both teams when the pregame warm-up starts. They both canceled the morning skate after late night/early morning arrivals.
"It's even for both teams," said Sabres coach Lindy Ruff, who will start Ryan Miller in goal.
We'll be back when the puck drops at 2 p.m. in Buffalo.
1:30 p.m.: Just a quick pregame update -- the NHL again fails to supply its media with adequate working conditions. The Internet works great in the media workroom ... but the real workroom is the press box. The Internet does not work great up here.
2:21 p.m.: Thanks to my (drinking) buddies over at Sabres.com for lending me some of their Web equipment to get online now that we're down to 13:26 left in the first period. And thanks to the NHL for ... nothing. Well, I guess I should be thankful they picked the Sabres to come to Europe. Other than that ...
2:23 p.m.: It's 0-0 and they're playing "Rock Me, Amadeus." Nathan Gerbe got stoned by Jonathan Bernier early on a breakway. Bernier stuff Patrick Kaleta at the side of the net, and a 10-skater scrum ensues with 13:19 to go.
2:26 p.m.: The fans here are WAY more into the game than the Finnish crowd last night. And the folks in O2 World are backing Buffalo.
2:28 p.m.: Fans again break into an arena-wide, "Let's go, Buffalo."
2:32 p.m.: As the teams head to commercial with 9:19 left, the fans break out the wave. Meanwhile, on the ice, the rink crew breaks out the shovels to clean the ice. Don't forget, Tom Golisano said his ownership group invented that. Glad to see it made it all the way across the pond. Good job, Tommy Boy.
2:37 p.m.: It's weird. Teppo Numminen said the official sport of Finland is hockey, while soccer rules Germany. But it's a hockey-focused crowd in here. Still 0-0 with 6:00 left.
2:39 p.m.: Christian Ehrhoff crumples to the ice after a check in the corner by Jarret Stoll. Athletic trainer Tim Macre comes out and helps up Ehrhoff, who heads right to the dressing room.
2:41 p.m.: Roughing call on Stoll.
2:43 p.m.: Kings kill the penalty as play stops with 3:44 to go.
2:48 p.m.: Vanek called for interference with 54 seconds left.
2:49 p.m.: and the teams head to intermission in a 0-0 tie with Los Angeles holding a 12-9 shot edge.
3:06 p.m.: Ehrhoff is on the bench as the puck drops. And yet another bratwurst has dropped out of my sight. Mmmmmm.
3:08 p.m.: The Sabres kills the Vanek penalty. PK is perfect this season.
3:11 p.m.: The crowd gets to cheer Vanek again as he sets up Luke Adam for a goal with 17:20 left, giving the Sabres a 1-0 lead. Vanek, while prone on the ice, feeds Adam in the slot, and the center slips one through Bernier's pads.
3:15 p.m.: Adam strikes again, giving Buffalo a 2-0 lead with 15:00 left. The center tried jamming the puck at the side of the net, was stopped in front and made sure the third time was the charm, punctuating the goal with a windmill.
3:23 p.m.: The Sabres head to the power play after Jack Johnson, who hates Canada, interferes with Tyler Ennis with 10:07 left.
3:27 p.m.: Kings again kill the penalty, but Sabres take a 2-0 lead into the commercial break with 8:01 to go. I can't believe the game is half over. When it's completely over, we head back to Buffalo. I really could use another day in Berlin, but RC Land is fine, too.
3:31 p.m.: The pro-Buffalo crowd gets another reason to cheer, as Paul Gaustad deflects Nathan Gerbe's pass from the right boards by Bernier with 6:41 to go. A "Goose" call goes out as the Sabres take a 3-0 lead.
3:40 p.m.: Drew Stafford heads to the box for tripping with 1:44 to go.
3:42 p.m.: Anze Kopitar blasts a one-timer from the top of the circles, giving the Kings a power-play goal and sending the Sabres into the dressing room with a 3-1 advantage.
4 p.m.: And we're 20 minutes of hockey away from heading back to North American. (I promised myself I wouldn't cry. Dammit.)
4:06 p.m.: Kevin Westgarth of the Kings goes for cross-checking with 17:38 left.
4:08 p.m.: Gerbe shoots and Drew Stafford scores on the rebound, giving the Sabres a 4-1 lead on the power play with 16:02 left. I hope my passport is in my bag.
4:14 p.m.: The Sabres' apparent 5-1 lead is under review, as Ehrhoff's point shot is tipped by Cody McCormick in front and Patrick Kaleta may/or may not have nudged it in with 12:42 left.
4:17 p.m.: No goal, as officials say Kaleta didn't get to the puck in time after McCormick hit it with a high stick. It's 4-1.
4:23 p.m.: Only 10 minutes left till the mad dash to the dressing room and the airport.
4:28 p.m.: After Stafford runs over Bernier, the Kings take exception. The resulting scrums with 9:01 left include penalties to Gerbe (slashing) and Brad Richardson (roughing).
4:33 p.m.: I love the accent in "Let's go, Buffalo." It's 4-1 with five minutes left.
4:35 p.m.: Kopitar keeps the Kings afloat, cutting to the net and accepting a pass from Justin Williams, then depositing a backhand past Miller with 4:14 to go.
4:42 p.m.: The Sabres wrap up a 4-2 victory, and we're wrapping up a helluva week. So long, Europe. See ya Sunday morning, America.