So... this whole game diary thing. I'm not sure how successful it was - I think it was heavy on the hockey, light on the entertainment - but I did kind of sort of enjoy it and since I started it, I feel like I should finish it. I'm going to try a slightly different method tonight. Last night I wrote everything down in my trusty notebook and then typed it up when I was done with the period. This isn't unusual for me. There's something about the feel of a pen (black ink, medium point) on paper that typing doesn't match and I almost always atleast start sketching my blog entries out on paper before I post them here. Last week we changed our internet service - you suck, Time Warner - and in preparation for a home study, moved the computer out of the back room and into the living room. So now it is possible for me to watch TV and type at the same time. I seriously did not even think of this last night. It was late, okay?
The first period recap is here. Let's get on with the second!
Jim starts out talking about trade deadline day and how quiet the mood was among the Sabres that morning because of the departure of Marty Biron. I remember this day very clearly. I was saddened by the news but not surprised but my buddy and then co-worker Sue was devastated. Practically hysterical. Sue was utterly devoted to Marty and firmly believed that he was every bit as good as Ryan and should be starting more often. (I love Sue but no, I don't think so.) I spent the afternoon trying to soothe her broken heart. At one point, the phone in the classroom rang. Each classroom has a phone so we can call other classrooms and offices. My desk happened to be right next to the phone so I reached up and answered it. It was Sue, calling from her office. "Marty's on the radio! I'm going to hold the phone up so you can hear him!" And for ten minutes Sue sat there with her phone against the radio so I could listen to Marty's lovely farewell interview and for ten minutes I completely ignored everything going on in the classroom. ("What? Not right now, I'm talking to Sue about something very important!") I pointed out to Sue that Marty seemed pretty happy about getting a shot to start somewhere and she agreed and seemed slightly cheered up by that.
19:48 Jim wraps up his trade deadline bit by saying that they all love Marty and wish him nothing but the best. And I think almost everyone in Buffalo would agree with that, even now. Marty's awesome.
19:01 Hank loses the puck behind the net and comes pretty close to tying up the game. Ryan has to sprawl across the crease to scoop up the puck before Stajan gets to it, but it's partly his own fault for wandering so far out of the net. He was practically at center ice! I hate it when he does that. (Yes, I'm trying to distract you from Hank's rare misplay. Is it working?) Hank does look slightly sheepish. Awwwwww.
18:26 Kalinin blocks a shot. I'm just saying.
17:23 Brian! I can't really recall seeing Campbell since his penalty in the first few minutes of the game. Jim calls him "Soupy" which seems odd. I can't decide if it's adorable or weird. I'm going to go with weird just because I know it does bug me when announcers from other teams refer to guys by nicknames during play-by-play. In Jim's defense, this was after the whistle but still. I'm drawing a line in the sand.
15:40 According to Rick, Hank just "flattened" a Toronto player but it was really more like delicately latching on to him. The guy did go down though. I'm not sure sure how that wasn't a penalty unless the ref decided Hank was just too sweet about it. I'll echo Kate and say, "That was weird, Hank."
15:04 Hecht makes a nice pass up the ice to Stafford while trying to get off the ice. Stafford tries to take the puck around a Leaf defender and bobbles the puck a bit. Fortunately ol' man Numminen was there to tap the puck to Stafford as he swung around the net for a wrap-around. 2-0 Buffalo. Great effort by Stafford, heads up play by Teppo. Too bad neither of them is going to be on the team this season. What's that? They'll both be on the team this season? Interesting.
14:21 Spin-o-rama! Soupy stumbles but manages to get away from the defender while hanging onto the puck. I'm terrified he's going to get leveled in the middle of that move one of these days, but I'm not going to lie, I love it. I clap my hands and yell, "Wheeeee!" like a little kid every single time.
13:50 Toronto takes advantage of a slow line change and gets a great scoring chance. Miller stones the shooter from point-blank range.
13:05 Miller makes another great save in the middle of an offensive flurry. Marty who?
12:13 A replay of the last goal shows that it was Vanek who tipped the puck back to Stafford. I think. I watched it a few times and couldn't tell for sure. The number suggests it's either Vanek or Pominville but it looked more like Vanek.
12:02 Lindy lets Mancari back on the ice.
10:59 Someone - I can't tell who and I watched it atleast 18 times, including slow motion - pokes a perfect breakaway pass to Vanek. Vanek misses. Thomas, for seven million, I'm really going to have to insist that you bury that every time.
10:04 Kaleta mixes it up in front of the net. Okay, I get that he's a local kid and everyone's excited about him playing with the big team, but I can't believe how many fans want Kaleta in the line-up next year. Right now, this is pretty much his entire game. It's nice to have someone physical out there, but he needs a little more maturity and discipline yet, I think.
10:02 A replay of the missed breakaway shows that it was Stafford who passed the puck up to Vanek. I was a little weary of the "DREW STAFFORD IS THE FUTURE CAPTAIN AND THE GREATEST SABRE EVER!!!" stuff that was going on during this period last season, but he has been very, very good in this game.
7:59 Roy, Vanek, and Stafford put on some nice pressure. Kalinin stops a Vanek rebound from leaving the zone and puts a shot on net. (Not bad for a useless head case.) Derek Roy is there to scoop up the rebound in front of the net. 3-0 Buffalo. This game has me seriously reconsidering putting Connolly with Vanek this season. This Roy, Vanek, Stafford line is causing all kind of chaos. Too bad they can't all play together next season. What's that? They can? Interesting.
7:58 I try to fast-forward the Tivo with the computer mouse. It doesn't work. Kevin Sylvester jumps in to tell us there are only two more Games to Remember left. I'm a little sad and then I realize what that means: New hockey is right around the corner!
6:45 Ryan goes behind the net to retrieve the puck even though the zone is full of Toronto players. Surprisingly, disaster does not ensue.
5:40 Rick reminds us during a break that the Sabres are a man short tonight because Briere is back at the hotel suffering from a sickness of some sort. He's totally on the phone with Marty right now, swearing that he'll follow him wherever he goes and that they'll be together again soon.
4:11 Mair, Peters, and Mancari get stuck on the ice in a situation where they have to do stuff like play defense and it doesn't go well. Leafs score to make it 3-1. Seriously, that was a great shift by Toronto. They fought to keep the puck in and it paid off. Total side note: I went to the Leafs' website to see how to spell "Ponikarovsky" (he scored the goal - great name) and was amused to find that the leading story on the front page is the unveiling of Sidney Crosby's new Reebok line. I know it happened in Toronto but really, that's it? I'm disappointed that I can't get the accompanying video to play.
3:28The Leafs seemed to have picked up some energy and the Sabres look sloppy. Everyone's skating around in circles. Ryan makes another big save. The Sabres haven't really looked terrible in this game, but Ryan really has been very good. He's kept them in control of the game.
1:31 The Sabres collect themselves and manage to keep the puck in Toronto's end for more than a couple of seconds. Lydman rips a shot from the point that bounces off Hecht who looks like he's actually trying to get out of the way. The puck totally changes direction and speed and gets past Raycroft. Next season, when the team is adamantly refusing to shoot the puck unless they have the perfect set-up and the perfect shot, Lindy should tie them to chairs and make them watch goals like this. Put it on the net and good things happen, especially against average goaltenders like Ray Emery. And no, I'm not thinking of any games in particular. Why do you ask?
Can I just say, I love when Jochen Hecht scores? He always gets this tiny little grin on his face like he's just so tickled. Kate, if you're reading this (God bless you), that was definitely a green mouthguard. There's a shot here of him popping it out of his mouth and then back in. Too bad because I love the idea of him blowing bubbles while he plays even if it would quite the choking hazard.
END OF PERIOD