CHEF'S DELIGHT: Hockey experts will cite a rejuvenated power play, a mediocre opponent and home-ice advantage in explaining why the Sabres broke their six-game losing streak Wednesday night against Boston. But we know otherwise. It was the lunch several teammates had at Chef's earlier in the day. Jay McKee, Ryan Miller, Brian Campbell and some mates chowed down on pasta and bread. The players good-naturedly avoided the stares from the packed house, and chatted with young fans who stopped by, wide-eyed. Maybe it was the sauce, or the cheese, or just the banter among teammates. But it worked. It's almost playoff time.
CHANNEL 2 DE-FENCE: We think WGRZ-TV -- the station that sends battalions of redcoats out after the rumblings of a single e-mail -- has every right to encircle its Delaware Avenue headquarters with razor-sharp concertina wire. For years, driving by, we've marveled at the stark suburban mentality of it. It fairly shouted: "Protect us from the bad guys whose pictures we show in perp walks." Beyond that are the serious threats. Some Chippewa Street imbibers could swipe a satellite dish, or take a remote truck for a joy ride. Then Stefan Mychajliw would have to track them down, mike sniffing the ground. Or maybe Scott Brown, the reporter turned flak turned reporter, would have to call his former boss, AG Eliot Spitzer, for help. But the station will surely be well protected when the folks from M&T move in next door. Could there be competing security fences? Show me some love. We're certain rumors are not true that the ever-competitive WKBW and WIVB will soon build their own wired compounds. Each also has a city headquarters, yet so far struggled to a draw with the need to duplicate the neo-Attica look.
OVERCOMING AN IMAGE: We wonder how much input Philip Seymour Hoffman had in detouring his movie "The Savages" to Buffalo. He grew up outside Rochester. No doubt he visited the city, perhaps the Albright-Knox; maybe his mom took him to a Sabres game. Input or not, it's fun to have Hollywood bat its eyelashes at us. But we're more concerned about Hoffman's career. So perfect was he as Truman Capote, winning an Oscar, that his challenge in this film has to be to get moviegoers and critics to see him as his new character. By bringing to life Capote and "In Cold Blood," he created a paradox for himself. Like the old "Mission Impossible" demaskings, we expect him to pull off the Capote visage, revealing the next, himself, yet it's Capote again.