Friday, January 25, 2008

Just When I Think I'm Out....

Well, despite the days and days of hate mail from me to the Sabres, it turns out I really do love them. I know this because a) all those days off made me miss the little brats and b) one win has me thinking, "Hey, we're not mathematically eliminated yet!" I have a sickness, people. A deep, dark sickness.

A few thoughts:

- Wow, Dallas was... not impressive. After all the hullabaloo from the Buffalo News and Lindy Ruff (They're so big! So physical! So athletic! So beautifully led!) I was expecting more. I've often wondered about the teams who have a powerplay worse than ours (okay, in fairness to Dallas, they're ranked one above us). I guess our powerplay really isn't the worst in the history of man. Who knew?

- Nice to see good goaltending make a difference. Ryan Miller was definitely looking a little cranky last night - loved the reenactment of the tripping penalty for the ref and the spearing of the guy who was hacking away at his glove. I was a little worried because a couple of times he started to do the "Hey, look at that other goalie! Me too! Me too!" routine he likes to do when he plays a goalie who handles the puck a lot but he kept it reined in pretty well. Overall I'd say he did a pretty good job of responding to Lindy's recent remarks about the guy between the pipes needing to be good.

- Lindy was not kidding about Marty Turco's puck handling abilities though. Some of his passes were pretty impressive. I really like Marty. He's one of my favorite non-Sabres in the league and I do wish we saw him more often. He makes me laugh.

- Top Shelf glove taps to Toni Lydman for blocking what seemed like eighteen shots on one powerplay and Jochen Hecht for more or less saving the game with his poke check at the end. Defense is sexy!

- Speaking of defense, I hate to get into the habit of pointing out every little thing Brian Campbell does wrong but come on, Buffalo. He totally forgot what position he was playing on the Dallas goal. (I did let out a good "STUUUUUUUUUUUUU," just for old time's sake.)

- Okay, let's talk about Derek Roy. A couple of days ago I mentioned that Derek Roy was the Sabre that has disappointed me the most this season. The Dallas game (along with the Toronto game) is a perfect example of what I've been expecting from Derek. He was buzzing, he was involved in the play, he was making his linemates better. You noticed him almost every time he was on the ice. He's had spurts like that all season, a string of games when he's had multiple points. But he's also had long stretches of games where he was either damaging the team with irresponsible play or just not there at all. In one of my hate letters I think I mentioned that I expected this year's team to be, at the very least, hard-working, determined, playing with a little bit of a chip on its shoulder. What I didn't say was that I expected a lot of that to come from the team taking on a bit of Derek Roy because when he's playing well, that's how he plays and as we saw tonight, it makes a difference. Of all the guys in that little Rochester core, I really expected Derek to be the one who stepped up to fill in some of the leadership gap. He's been the leader before - he captained the Kitchener Rangers to the Memorial Cup - and in the preseason he seemed eager to be the guy.

In fairness to him however, I probably had my expectations a touch too high for this season, especially since I even admitted in a preseason post that he had a lot of growing up to do on the ice. Between the excessive diving and the never-ending whining about every single call/no call he didn't like, he could be a total baby. It was probably too much to expect him to go from Whiny Baby to Leader of Men in one season. But that's what makes this whole "most disappointing player" debate interesting because it really depends on who you were expecting the most out of.

The good news is, I think Derek has made some progress in the whiny department this year. I can't remember the last time I screamed at him about yapping at the refs. And while I think he'll always be willing to go down for a call, I think that's gotten a little better too. And he has shown flashes of how he's capable of taking over a game and feeding energy into his team. I fully expect his new contract to be good for both him and the Sabres in the long-run. You hear, "He'll be a bargain by the time his contract is up" a lot, but I think Derek really will have been a bargain when all is said and done. (Wake me up when Alexander Ovechkin's contract is even in the same neighborhood as a bargain.)

And on a total side note, those amped up shoulder pads Derek is wearing lately completely crack me up. They make him look even smaller than he already is. He looks like a little kid wearing full gear for the first time.

So yeah, Derek Roy. Disappointing and encouraging all at the same time. It's like the guy behind us at a game last season said. "Derek Roy... Man, I love that little bastard."

Little Roy-Z, 2003


Grumps said...

It was a nice win over a very defensive team that once robbed us of a cup.

1999 - We Were Cheated
2006 - We Were Depleted

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amy said...

I was really impressed by Turco's puck handling abilities. There were a couple times last night Miller played the puck, and I kept muttering that he's no Turco and shouldn't try to be.

Patty (in Dallas) said...

I've often wondered about the teams who have a powerplay worse than ours (okay, in fairness to Dallas, they're ranked one above us).

Our power play used to be good! It actually looked a little better last night than it has in a while. That's how bad it's been lately. It was carrying us up until Zubov hurt his hand. When he gets back it will be better, but when Boucher gets back, I think it will go back to being good.

Sam said...

*this is not in any way an attack on you and I hope you don't take it this way* but why is everyone dumping on Roy all the time? It seems like the world thinks he's supposed to be a big savior. His best goal scoring season in the NHL was 21. He has 18 this year.. so I think he will eclipse it.

Yes, he can be a serious sparkplug for this team. It seems like when he's on, the whole team plays better. When he's not, he seems kind of invisible, but not usually a total liability. But the thing to keep in mind is he is still quite young and I don't think he's reached his potential yet, but he's starting to get there. I think he can be a leader but right now some of the older guys need to step up. (and some of them are) Just an observation..

Again, please don't think I'm attacking you or your opinions cuz I'm not! I don't flame on ppl, especially in their own journals.

Sam said...

oh yeah and on a lighter note, I think Turco definetly has the bling-est mask in the League. It's pretty sweet.

Heather B. said...

Sam, I totally agree that Derek is young and hasn't reached his potential. That's why I made sure to admit that I probably was expecting too much of him this year.

I think his point totals are deceptive though because he's stacked up bunches of points in a few games rather than spreading them out and scoring more when the team really needed it. (I don't know if that makes sense but it does in my head.) And I think it's fair for people to expect more of him - last year he was on the third line, this year he's the top center. His line should be carrying the offense and more often than not, they haven't been. Again, I was probably expecting TOO much of him from last year to this year but I was expecting him to be more of a contributor.

And I will have to disagree about him being a liability. He hasn't been as bad lately but earlier in the season he was constantly turning over the puck and taking dumb penalties, often at really bad times. In addition to that, I think there were many stretches where he just kind of floated around the ice and while he wasn't necessarily directly hurting the team at those times, it does mean he wasn't playing his game. Even if he's not scoring goals he should be playing hard and buzzing around because that's when he really gives a spark to the team.

I love Derek and I absolutely think he's going to be worth the money and time the Sabres have invested in him. The only reason I'm disappointed is because I expected SO much of him. Again, probably too much.

Also, please don't be afraid to disagree with me ever! I don't mind at all and I'm not offended because you explained why you disagreed and did it in a pretty nice way. As long as you avoid, "Shut up, you stupid bitch, you're stupid!" I'm fine :-)

Sam said...

I would never tell you to shut up! And you're certainly not stuipid. ;)

Yeah the other thing to keep in mind is that he was the 3rd line guy last year and they LOST the #1 and 2 centers and didn't replace them so it's only natural to ask him to step up.

I really like Roy and Stafford. I think they feed off each other well. Add Paille to that line and Presto! Instant energy. (And Paille is >>>>>>Vanek in my book)

I think he could have and probably should have been better in a lot of games but (almost) this whole team is a bunch of slackers.

Eh, I guess I suffer from what you always term the blind love for Roy. It's not that I can't admit when he's bad (I pretty much call a spade a spade) but it is hard to really hate on him. Heh. Maybe I just "forget" his really awful plays. LOL

In any case, it's good to see the "old" Royzie back, the guy I fell in love with (hockey wise of course .. the rest came later) back in 2004. The energy man who wasn't afraid to take on anyone, anywhere and got the job done. He's been showing that again lately and it makes me happy!

I just hope he doesn't become Boring Derek again anytime soon. Scrappy Derek is much more fun! Maybe it's the extra padding.. it looks so funny that I can't help but giggle. At least the annoucners have stopped pointing it out EVERY time they show Roy. We got it guys..

Heather B. said...

Sam, I can certainly understand having blinders when it comes to guys you really like especially when you're right that his overall production has still been good. I have a weird love/hate relationship with Derek. I see every little mistake and I spend a lot of time yelling at him, but I love him anyway.

I really like Roy and Stafford. I think they feed off each other well. Add Paille to that line and Presto! Instant energy. (And Paille is >>>>>>Vanek in my book)

I've really enjoyed watching Paille this season and I've been pleasantly surprised at how much skill he's shown, but I don't know if I'd put him with Roy and Stafford, not as long as it's the first line. I don't think Paille is quite skilled enough to play on the top line (right now atleast) and I think Roy and Stafford are too skilled to play on "just" an energy line. I think Vanek will come around. His game is largely crashing the net and deflecting shots and scooping in rebounds and unfortunately everyone else struggling has contributed to his struggles - not that he hasn't had plenty of struggles of his own! Obviously however YMMV :-D

Becky said...

Just curious - knowing where the title of this post came from, how many times have you seen the Godfather trilogy since you've been housebound?

Heather B. said...


I have a weird relationship with The Godfather. I don't really think of it as a movie I like that much - I'm not really into the whole mob thing - but it's totally one of those movies that, if I come across it on TV, no matter what point it's at, I stop and watch until it's over. Same for part II. Mark and I were just discussing this actually when we found ourselves watching Halloween, which we've seen a billion times, at 11:45 the other night. So I haven't watched it at all because I don't go out of my way to watch it. But if I run into a marathon on TV, I'm good for the day!