Wednesday, November 14, 2007

True Confessions of Heather B.

In honor of NaBloPoMO, I'll be attempting to post something every day in November. If you're not checking in every day, make sure you're catching all the posts! That's right, two posts in one day. Blogger of the year, baby!

Before I get started I'd just like to point out that Marshawn Lynch was hurt on Sunday which is before I started publicly mouthing off about the Bills beating the Patriots. I had nothing to do with this. Nothing.

So Ottawa... They're pretty good, huh?

Okay, seriously, I have two major confessions to make here.

Confession Number One - I like the Ottawa Senators.
The affection comes and goes and I don't feel like I can pull for them too hard since they're division rivals but I really do like them. I've enjoyed watching Jason Spezza develop over the last couple of years. As a fan of defensemen, I'm super envious of Anton Volchenkov. And I love, love, love watching Dany Heatley play. He's a bit of a Sabres killer and he completely terrifies me when he has the puck but he's amazing. Love. him.

I think the rivalry between the two teams took a downward turn for some people after the brawl in February which is unfortunate. For the last couple of seasons, Buffalo-Ottawa games were always exciting games between two skilled teams playing similar styles. And unlike some rivalries, the two fanbases seemed to have some respect for each other and most back-and-forth was good-natured. I noticed a lot more sniping from both sides during the playoffs last season. I'm curious to see if any of the bad blood carries over now that Chris Drury is no longer a Sabre.

Just so no one thinks I'm going all soft on them however, here are a few things I don't like about Ottawa:
- Ray Emery. I'm so over him.
- Bryan Murray. No good explanation. He's very good at what he does but something about him gets under my skin.
- Chris Neil. No, I would not like him if he were on my team. Please stop telling me that.
- Daniel Alfredsson. You know how sometimes an otherwise decent, enjoyable guy does one thing that, fair or not, kind of ruins him for you forever? That's how I feel about Daniel Alfredsson. When he blatantly boarded Henrik Tallinder during the Conference Finals last year, I was upset. When he accused Hank of embellishing the hit in order to get a call - like the freakin' hit didn't deserve a call in the first place - and then questioned how hurt he really was, I was pretty furious. This is not Derek Roy. Tallinder hardly ever gets knocked off his feet, has broken his arm twice in similar situations, and has absolutely no reputation whatsoever for whining or embellishing. He barely shows any emotion on the ice. The hit was bad enough but I could maybe overlook it since it was the heat of the playoffs. But the comments, pushed me over the edge. I thought they were totally classless. Am I judging Alfredsson more harshly because Hank is my favorite player? I'm sure I am. Is it unfair to hold something like that against Alfredsson for so long? Probably. But hey, being totally irrational about certain things is part of being a fan. This is one of my things.

"It's okay, Trainer Guy, I'm totally trying to get a call. Did it work?"


Confession Number Two - I'm not scared of the Ottawa Senators.
I should be. Their record is not an accident. They have a very good number one line, decent secondary scoring, a goalie who's playing very well, and a great team defense. I love their defense. We couldn't buy a goal right now, our top line is barely visible, and we still have a couple of important injuries. But I don't know, I'm not as worried about this game as most people seem to be. Maybe I'm adjusting to watching a struggling team. Maybe it's the low expectations. If they're not expected to win, how can we be disappointed if they don't? If they do win, well, good for them! Maybe that'll turn the season around! And you never know... Maybe this is what the kids have been waiting for. They've been slowly righting the ship - the defense has improved, the effort has increased, most of the forwards are playing better, Ryan has looked much more solid in goal. Maybe the chance to right the terrible play in the playoffs last year will get them to finally focus and pull everything together at one time.

Or maybe I'm just crazy.

So in my continued efforts to tell off the Hockey Gods, I'm calling the game for Buffalo now. Final score 3-2, goals by Vanek, Pominville, and Roy, one of them on the powerplay. I totally reserve the right to delete this last paragraph later if need be.


brian s. said...

The other thing to remember is that last year Ottawa was in the same predicament that Buffalo was now - 1st in the East the year before with a high scoring team that bowed out earlier than expected in the playoffs, struggling after having some big name free agents leave (Chara). My memory may be faulty here, but I believe they beat a Buffalo team that was winning every game at about this same time, which completely turned their season around and we all know the ending to that story. I don't know if it's irony or symmetry or some other literary term, but it does make one stop and think for a moment.

Heather B. said...

brian, you're correct, they did beat us about this time last season. I've mentioned that to a few people but they don't seem to be into the whole symmetry thing. They're distracted by the fact that "we suck!" :-)

Gambler said...

I've noticed that the Sabres and Sens seem to be trading fortunes of late, but the one constant seems to be that they always own us in the regular season. Somethings got to give there. For what it's worth, I'm really worried about missing a great game tomorrow night.

Also, I totally agree with you about Alfredsson, although I think it was the hit on Tallinder compounded with the intentional-shooting-at-Niedermayer incident (which no one seems to remember) that really did him in in my eyes. When people hold him up as a "picture of class" I want to hurl.

Heather B. said...

Gambler, it's funny that you mention that because we were just discussing the shot on Niedermayer over at IPB. I know some people argue that it was an accident, but I'm inclined to agree that it wasn't so much.

Gambler said...

I honestly don't know how people can say that it was an accident. Not only did he glance up at the clock to check on how much time was left, but he made sure to aim his shot, too! Furthermore, this is a world class hockey player with over 300 career goals we're talking about. You're telling me he doesn't know where the net is? I'm not buying it.

Also, I remember that in the ensuing scrum he sucker punched some Duck (I think it was Moen) right in the face with his glove still on. If that's not Klass with a capital K, then I don't know what is.

Meg said...

I'm also on the not-really-an-accident side of the fence with the Niedermayer incident. Hmm.

It's funny because there are a few Sens I like: beyond Heatley and Volchenkov, I really love Fisher. He's probably the Sen I'd most like to have on the Sabres, actually. And yet I'm so utterly sick of the team as a whole.

Heather B. said...

And yet I'm so utterly sick of the team as a whole.

Meg, I get that. Despite liking a lot of the team, I did find myself pulling against the Sens in the Finals so like I said, my affection comes and goes. I do think they were more enjoyable when the rivalry was a little more under-the-radar than it is now.

Gambler, it's been a while since I've seen it but from what I remember Niedermayer was at a totally different angle from Alfredsson than the net was. So yeah.

Mark B said...

I'm latching onto the symmetry thing with dear life. It keeps me getting up in the morning.

Sabres win 80-0 tonight!

Kate said...

Only 80-1, Mark? Man, you're a pessimist. I'm thinking 287-3. Vanek is going to score forty-five hat tricks.

Sherry said...

Can I put in a sort of last-ditch, futile attempt at defending Alfie? I know you guys might be speaking from a bias of not liking him and I'm speaking from a bias of him being the Best Ever! in my eyes, but I know he's not that type of player. I know his style and he would never intentionally try to hurt somebody.

I'm not going to defend his comments about Tallinder. I know I'd be upset too but I tend to throw away comments said during the playoffs once they're over just because I know it's heated and I attribute most of it to gamesmanship. (Not an excuse! Just saying! Don't kill me!)

Heather B. said...

Sherry, your effort is apprecated. It was indeed futile but appreciated nonetheless ;-)