Western New York is abuzz about the new Buffalo Sabres owner, Terry Pegula.
That means that John Vogl is, even more than usual, a writing machine. As the Sabres beat writer for The News, Vogl is remarkable in his speed, productivity and dependability.
When a moody Ryan Miller recently took a shot at Vogl in the locker room -- "You write your story during the second period and just fill in quotes" -- the Sabres goalie made it obvious that he needs to keep his night job.
Miller is entitled to an occasional outburst. But he was way off target. Here's what life is really like for the Sabres beat writer on game days when the team is on the road.
*10:30 a.m.: Get to the rink to watch the home team's morning skate, do interviews, write blog summing up their morning.
*11:30 a.m.: Watch the Sabres morning skate, do interviews, write blog summing up their morning.
*Afternoon: Transcribe interviews from morning.
*Between 5 and 6 p.m.: Go to arena, start writing Notebook and the live game blog (which continues throughout game).
*First intermission: Send in Notebook for the print edition, start game story with a few paragraphs summing up first period.
*Second intermission: Continue game story, with ideal plan to have two-thirds of the first-edition story done with play-by-play from goals and first two periods of game.
*During third period: Write up the graphic box that runs with the game story and includes three main points of the game, a fast fact, the next game time and the candidates for the game's Three Stars, which readers can vote on online. Continue updating game story with new plays and the team's trend. If the game is tied, start writing two different tops -- one for a loss, one for a victory.
*As soon as the scoreboard reaches 0:00: Send in game story for first edition, conclude blog and "run like hell" to catch the elevator to head downstairs to do interviews. (If the game starts at 7:30, this story is for the second edition because deadlines don't allow us to make the first).
*After doing interviews: Transcribe quotes, send in the good ones and have the desk trim them into the first-edition story.
*Finally: Start from scratch and rewrite every word of the game story in a half-hour or less so editors can have it by 11 p.m, using observations, the mood of the arena and dressing room, and the players' thoughts.
Vogl explains: "Play-by-play, which dominates the first-edition story, isn't used as much because my stories talk more about what the win or loss means and the trends that made it happen, not the minute-by-minute details of exactly what happened on the ice."
And, often enough, it's get up the next day, travel to the next city and do it again.
Vogl -- a 37-year-old Blasdell native and graduate of Buffalo State College -- loves the work and wouldn't have it any other way.
"It's an adrenaline rush," he said.
Hired at The News as a sports copy editor in 2001, he began covering the Sabres in 2002, making this his ninth season on the beat. The News has a strong team writing about hockey, with columnist Bucky Gleason providing commentary, Mike Harrington contributing stories and senior columnist Jerry Sullivan swooping in on occasion.
But there's no doubt that Vogl is the backbone who, in Sports Editor Steve Jones' words, "remembers his print roots while seamlessly making the transition to the electronic age of wall-to-wall coverage." The addition of Web duties, such as the live blogging during games, and the constant deadlines are challenges that have cropped up only recently that have made the job that much more demanding.
Encountering him late at night still writing away on his laptop, after a long day, a newsroom colleague recently posed the obvious question: "When do you sleep?"
Vogl offered this matter-of-fact reply: "July and August."