Sunday, January 13, 2008

Dear God, When Will It End?

Okay, I've calmed down a little bit so I think it's safe to talk about the game for real. And while Ryan was terrible on both Clarkson's goal and in the shootout - what has happened to him in the shootout? - I know he's extremely tough on himself and I doubt he went to bed very happy after that game. That said, Ryan has to be great when his team needs him to be great. It was a big deal that the struggling offense managed to put two by Martin Brodeur. He needed to lock it down and he didn't.

In his postgame conference Lindy said, "We have not had ham and egg. We've had a lot of ham, had a lot of egg but we haven't mixed it up very well." While his choice of metaphors is... interesting, I get what he's saying and I actually said the same thing not that long ago. For whatever reason, the Sabres just cannot get every part of the game clicking at the same time. If the defense plays well, the offense struggles. If the offense looks good, the defense or goaltending struggles. It's so frustrating to watch because we've seen that both units can play well but the ineffective unit just completely kills what the other unit is doing.

Okay, I can't talk about this game anymore. Let's move on. Some random thoughts:

I was glad to see that Lindy Ruff finally kind of called out some players by praising the guys who have been killing themselves the last few games - Daniel Paille, Clarke MacArthur, Adam Mair, Mike Ryan - and saying that the guys who are not currently in the line-up - Derek Roy, Tim Connolly, Maxim Afinogenov - need to play better than they have been. I thought it was curious though that Brian Wheeler said on his blog on Sabres.com that Lindy was not saying "some guys need to play better or they're benched" but was saying "players need to play better for us to be successful." Now I'm willing to admit that Brian Wheeler probably has a better feel for Lindy since I'm assuming he actually talks to the man and I, unfortunately, do not, but that seems like an interesting interpretation of his words. Of course maybe I'm blinded by the fact that I hope that Lindy did mean "some guys need to play better or they're benched." Is Clarke MacArthur a better player than Roy, Connolly, or Afinogenov? No, probably not. Is a hard-working, enthusiastic MacArthur more valuable on the ice than a lazy Roy or an overly dipsy-doodling Connolly? Yeah, I think so. If they're playing hard and just not connecting - Jason Pominville and yes, Thomas Vanek - fine. If they're making the same mistakes over and over and over because they refuse to do something different, show them the pressbox for a game or two and see what happens.

I love them. I do. I'm really tired of all of them. I'm so tired of them that I changed my desktop wallpaper to a non-Sabre which is unprecedented during hockey season. At this point I would be fine with Lindy, Mike Robitaille, Rob Ray, and James Patrick starting the next game.

What was up with Brian Campbell getting the C for the game instead of one of the guys wearing the A? Although I will say - and it pains me a little to do so - he did have a couple of really nice defensive plays tonight.

Speaking of which, while Campbell probably deserves to be the All-Star rep for the Sabres - I'd say Jochen Hecht has been our best player but I know he doesn't stick out enough compared to the rest of the league - I think that a) he wouldn't have made the squad if there didn't have to be a rep from every team and b) he wouldn't have made the squad if there was more appreciation for what defensemen are primarily supposed to do which is, of course, play defense. How else do you explain Anton Volchenkov sitting at home? And yes, I am partly complaining about this because I know fans and some media are going to use the All-Star selection as ammo in the on-going "WE MUST SIGN CAMPBELL NOW!" arguments and that's ridiculous. Yes, it's very nice that he was selected by the players, I'm glad everyone knows who he is but that said, All-Star games mean nothing and don't belong in a discussion about how valuable a player is or isn't.

Why is Paul Hamilton the only guy who ever asks questions during postgame interviews with players? There are tons of people standing there with microphones, but Paul's the only one who ever talks. Is he pushy? Are other guys happy letting him handle that? What's the dealio?

And how badly did Paul Hamilton want Teppo Numminen to say he was angry with the Sabres and/or the Sabres' doctors in the most recent interview up on Sabres.com? Every question ended with, "Are you angry with the Sabres?" (Okay, it was two questions but still!)

And speaking of Teppo, while I know everyone is up in arms about the possibility of the Sabres mistreating yet another player, I think when you're talking about a guy's sternum healing, it's best to err on the side of caution. That's, you know... kind of serious. Geez.

In closing, I would just like to announce that I hate that frakkin' Reebook Edge pop-up ad on NHL.com. While trying to get the Sabres blog link for this post I inadvertently rolled over it atleast six times. I'm not buying your stupid jersey, Reebok. Leave me alone.


(For the curious, my new wallpaper.)

15 comments:

Gambler said...

Awwww, look at Pommerdoodle's biggest fan!

Dude, could you imagine Yo-Yo at the All-Star Game? In the superskills competition? In accuracy shooting?! HAH! Poor Yo-Yo.

The Sabres have got to start winning sometime, right? Right?

Becky said...

Do the goalies have their own coach? How about a shoot-out specialist? If so, fire him.

Miller is playing out so far in the shootout that all they have to do is skate around him.

Becky said...

At this point if a veteran leader were brought in the guys would probably just resent him, sort of like they seem to resent each other at times.

Instead of working harder when called out or when someone else is praised for their work ethic, they seem to pout.

"You like him so much let him do all the work."

"You thought THAT was no effort? Check this out."

Meg said...

Becky, every team does have a goaltending coach. The Sabres coach is Jim Corsi, who has been with the team since 2001, I believe.

Sara and Anne said...

I agree with most everything you said, but I especially reacted to the reebok edge pop-up ad comment. It drives me absolutely crazy. Its gotten to the point that I feel if I don't roll over it, my visit to an NHL website isn't complete.

Question: is it possible to bench Vanek? I mean, isn't there some clause in his contract that says you can't? (I have no idea if there is, it just seems like there could be).

Amanda said...

Whew! This is a lot of stuff to answer, but lemme give it a shot.

If they're making the same mistakes over and over and over because they refuse to do something different, show them the pressbox for a game or two and see what happens.

I doubt that Ruff is going to bench any of these three guys. Besides, they're all hurt - they're already watching from the press box. If that doesn't help benching won't help either.

What was up with Brian Campbell getting the C for the game instead of one of the guys wearing the A?

I have no idea. Maybe he wanted to try to jump-start Soupy after a couple of rough games. From what I saw, it worked. I don't have a problem with Campbell's defense, or really anything about Campbell.

Some guys are offensive defensemen and some guys are defensive defensemen. At least he doesn't make Kalinin-like mistakes. Much as I love Tri, good Lord, when he messes up it's a catastrophe.


Yes, it's very nice that he was selected by the players...

The players don't select the rest of the All-Stars. Some committee made up of NHL reps, GM's etc do.


Why is Paul Hamilton the only guy who ever asks questions during postgame interviews with players?

There's a couple of reasons. 1- If everyone was trying to talk over each other it would be a nightmare to listen to, and 2- Paul's been doing this a long time. He asks good questions and has the respect of others in the media, so he gets the floor more often than not.


And speaking of Teppo, while I know everyone is up in arms about the possibility of the Sabres mistreating yet another player, I think when you're talking about a guy's sternum healing, it's best to err on the side of caution. That's, you know... kind of serious. Geez.

I think Teppo was mad at first, but I think he's ok with it now. I'm sure he talked to his Cleveland Clinic docs again and such and realized that he really isn't ready. He's been playing for a long time, and it takes a toll on your body. Open-heart surgery IS a big deal, I agree, and the Sabres are just being cautious. That's what they do.

I didn't like suspending him, but I'd be willing to put money on that being a Quinn decision. Regier cares about his players, clearly, and I don't think he would've taken that tack.

Ok, I'm done.

amy said...

That picture is so adorable.

I know in the big picture we're only three points out of a playoff spot with games at hand on 95% of the teams in contention, but if the team doesn't win soon, its not going to be pretty in this city.

Paul's been doing this a long time. He asks good questions and has the respect of others in the media, so he gets the floor more often than not.

I think Paul H. also has the respect of a lot of the players as well. I remember Goose saying once that Paul is usually the first reporter in the room after the game, and knows who to go to first, and who to give a few minutes to calm down.

Becky said...

I've heard mutterings among the disillusioned that maybe we should send Vanek to the Amerks. Passing through waivers might open $10 mil in salary cap room.

Not saying getting rid of Vanek is an option right now, just said what unenthralled people were tossing off.

But I have to agree with Bucky on one thing(gag)that trading any player for somebody, even a prospect or draft pick, is better than the nothing we got for other players that walked away.

He was talking about Campbell by the way, if they decided not to sign him.

Heather B. said...

Gambler, is there a target in the middle where the goalie usually is? Because Yo-Yo could probably hit that one :-)

sara and anne, Vanek is one of the few players I don't have a real beef with right now. Yes, it would be nice if he would start burying those chances but I think he's playing a lot better than he was a short time ago. He's taking the puck to the net more and hey, he's shooting!

Amanda:

Some guys are offensive defensemen and some guys are defensive defensemen. At least he doesn't make Kalinin-like mistakes. Much as I love Tri, good Lord, when he messes up it's a catastrophe.

With all due respect to your opinion, I think Soupy makes just as many big blunders as Tri. Defensively speaking, I would take Tri over Soupy any day of the week even though I know I'm in the minority there. I know Soupy is an offensive defensemen. My point - which was admittedly a little muddied - is that defensive defensemen are vastly underrated and offensive defensemen get all the glory and big contract money.

And thanks for the clarification on the All-Star selections. After I posted that I wasn't sure, but I admit, I was too lazy to figure it out. Remember, I'm not a professional, people! :-)

All the stuff about Hamilton makes sense. It's just funny to see a herd of people and hear one voice over and over. I do think he does a good job so none of my comments were meant to be critical.

Amy: I love the picture, too. I awwww'd over it for quite a while. But yeah, a win would be nice.

Sherry said...

While his choice of metaphors is... interesting

Maybe he was just hungry?

Heather B. said...

Becky, I get the frustration with Vanek but sending him to Rochester is ridiculous. And that's not directed at you since I know you didn't say you agreed... just a general reaction.

I do agree with Bucky as well. I'd hate to give up Campbell for a rental player - I don't know if we're in the position to get much use out of a rental player - but if we can get someone of quality who would be around for a while or some good draft picks, I could part with Campbell.

Gambler said...

It's just funny to see a herd of people and hear one voice over and over.

Kevin Sylvester likes to make a joke like "How can one guy hold all those microphones?" And Kevin is adorable, so I laugh every time.

Heather, I agree with you 100% about Campbell vs Kalinin. Soupy definitely has more than his share of defensive disasters, but for some reason or another (maybe it's his point total) fans put on the blinders.

Heather B. said...

Heather, I agree with you 100% about Campbell vs Kalinin. Soupy definitely has more than his share of defensive disasters, but for some reason or another (maybe it's his point total) fans put on the blinders.

Gambler, I think it probably is Campbell's point totals earning him a pass. And I understand the idea of his offensive strengths balancing out any defensive weaknesses but as a fan who loves watching good defense it drives me a little batty that so many people are so quick to completely overlook Campbell's weaknesses in his own end. I don't think he's a disaster, I just think he's pretty average.

TheTick said...

re: the wallpaper...I need me some Kaylee wallpaper. As the geek alive watching Firefly, I am falling in love with her. What a cutie.

Oh yeah, I think the Sabres are fine, but Miller needs to get some backwards skating lessons from his D-men if he's going to challenge that far out from the net. My (perhaps overly optimistic) view is that the team needs a blowout to really get going...aaaand the Leafs suck just enough for it to happen against them.

Heather B. said...

tick, I'm more of a Zoe girl myself but I do understand Kaylee's appeal. She's cute as a button. Jayne is my go-to wallpaper when I can't really think of anything else I want to look at.

And I appreciate your perhaps overly optimistic point-of-view. It's a nice change of pace.