I'm going to celebrate my new handy dandy laptop by attempting a live blog of tonight's game. The Senators are in town, Ray Emery is in net, all the lines are going to be switched around. This could be awesome, this could be a total disaster. Either way, I got nothing better to do.
But first, travel back in time with me if you will to July 15, 2007. In that entry I said that Tim Connolly, the team's best playmaker, should be playing with Thomas Vanek, the team's best goal scorer. While I didn't have Ales Kotalik on that line with them, I did comment on Al's chemistry with Timmy. It's nice to see Lindy Ruff has been perusing the Top Shelf archives over the past few days. I will state for the record however that the success of the Connolly-Vanek pairing is pretty dependent on Vanek SHOOTING THE PUCK!
Seriously, now that we've moved past all the Ice Bowl stuff, it might be nice to get back to winning. At the very least I wouldn't mind seeing a couple of goals, you know?
20:00 Tallinder and Lydman are on the ice against the Spezza line. As it should be.
19:34 Jochen Hecht shanks a great chance. Also as it should be. Goal scoring Yo-Yo makes me a little nervous. It goes against all natural forces of the universe. I love Derek Roy with Pommers and Hecht. He always played so well with Chris Drury. He seems to take a lot of cues from his linemates so I think it'll be good for him to be with more responsible guys for a while.
17:38 Mark's kind of in love with the Stafford-Gaustad-Paille line. I can't really blame him. Definitely has the potential to be a great energy line and they can chip in some goals.
17:16 Ugh. Terrible fight between McGratton and Peters. Atleast they got on with it quickly instead of dancing in circles for a while first.
16:52 Either Meszaros or Bass scores on a shot from what appears to be the other end of the ice. Man, I hate that. Definitely some weird deflections in there though. Guess we'll have to score atleast two. Once upon a time I wouldn't be so worried about that but lately... Ottawa 1, Buffalo 0.
16:09 Goal goes to Mike Fisher. There are two guys on the Sens I totally covet: Anton Volchenkov and Mike Fisher.
15:04 I love Rick Jeanneret but "Spachuck" will never not bother me.
14:15 Nice effort by Dmitri Kalinin to slow down Mike Fisher who ends up offside.
13:50 Tim Connolly dipsy-doodles his way to the goal but can't get a shot off. That's been driving me batty lately. Tim, you're beautiful to watch, okay? All that stuff is pointless if no one gets a shot off. Pass it off or shoot yourself. You have a really nice little shot, especially close in. but not too close in. You'd think someone who's been playing hockey as long as Timmy would realize there comes a point where you're just too close to the goalie to do much of anything. Do something besides look pretty! Please.
12:17 Crazy puck possession by Hecht ends up in nothing when there's no one in front of the net to get his pass.
8:25 Paille gets nailed by Volchenkov. I will give the Sens most of our defensive corp in exchange for Anton. Paille looks shaky as he leaves the ice. What are the chances someone in blue and gold hits Volchenkov in the next few minutes? Yeah, not that good.
7:30 Gorgeous pass by Brian Campbell (+ $1,000) to set Pominville up for a wide open breakaway... and he totally misses the net. Emery doesn't even have to make a save. Bad Pommerdoodle!
I love the Sven commercial. Forget the phone. I totally want a big blonde Scandinavian to remind me when I have kung-fu and hand me a sweater as I walk out the front door. I would like to request the Henrik model however.
6:51 Buffalo goes on the PK after Mike Ryan gets hit with a double penalty.
5:15 Ottawa puts on some good pressure but the Sabres manage to keep them at bay. Miracles do happen.
2:43 Jaroslav Spacek cranks a shot on net. Hey, it's about time! Emery makes the save this time, but let's try that again, fellas. Eventually it just might work.
2:03 Connolly makes a nice play to get the puck to the front of the net and Vanek swings his stick at it and knocks it in. The goal is immediately waved off and upon review, probably should've been. It's hard to tell, but it does look like a high-stick. Just do it again, guys. You're getting the idea.
While the goal is being reviewed we get this exchange:
Harry Neale: Can you imagine how many goals were counted that shouldn't have been because of a lack of goal reviews?
Rob Ray: Can you imagine how many teams lost Stanley Cups because of a lack of goal reviews?
And I don't know, Harry Neale can tell me Toronto has top-end video equipment but I'm pretty convinced it's two guys huddled over grainy video on a five-year-old laptop.
1:15 Drew Stafford puts on some nice pressure in the offensive zone. Good. Don't let that goal review suck the life out of you.
0:00 First period ends 1-0 Sens but all is not completely lost. Some decent offensive play in the period. If they can keep it up they might score a goal! Woo-hoo!
I kind of want to check out of the Ice Bowl stuff, but I get sucked into the dramatic montage. I especially enjoy the shots of the players and coaches. That was one nice thing about watching the game on TV. Every time the cameras were on Lindy Ruff during a stoppage in play he was turning in circles, just taking in the whole arena with a little smile on his face. I didn't comment on this before, but even knowing Buffalo, I can't believe 10,000 people showed up to watch the game on the jumbotron at HSBC. There are probably a few NHL cities that could sell out a football stadium. I want to see another city sell out a football stadium and more than half of its hockey arena.
The panel discusses whether the Ice Bowl should become an annual event. Rick Jeanneret and Rob Ray say no, it'll lose some of its specialness. Mike Robitaille says it was great for the league and he'd like to seem them do it every year if they're careful to do it right. Oh, Mike. You do know the people in charge of the NHL, right? They're coming up with ways to ruin it even as I write this. The official Heather B. opinion: No way it should become an annual event. If you do it too often, it's going to lose some of its appeal for sure. Also, think long and hard about where you play the game because it's needs to be somewhere awesome.
19:11 Hank goes off for clearing the puck over the glass. I hate that rule so much. I also hate that Hank shaved his scruff.
18:20 Meszaros scores from the point. I really hate that rule and I'm guessing that right about now Hank probably does too. Crap. Now we have to score three goals for the win. I am... not optimistic. Ottawa 2, Buffalo 0.
17:23 Sabres go on the powerplay. Well, this could be interesting. And not necessarily in a good way.
15:26 Soupy makes a nice drive to the net (+ $500) but can't get the puck past Emery (- $500). Nice try though, Soup. (Really.)
14:08 Dany Heatley and Roy mix it up. Derek was totally hooking him and slashing at him but Heatley gets the penalty. Hee hee. I love pesky, annoying Derek. He's pretty lucky that two-handed slash didn't connect though.
13:41 Kotalik takes a penalty and we're going 4 on 4. But... nothing interesting happens.
10:10 Nathan Paetsch makes a nice defensive play to break up a play in front of the net. Whoa, that's two good defensive plays in two games. Go, Nate!
9:07 Ryan Miller makes a good first save but JasonSpezza roofs the rebound over him. There appeared to be 18 Sabres standing around while Spezza did that. Lindy tries to shake things up and pulls Ryan. T-Bo! T-Bo! Senators 3, Buffalo 0.
8:40 Gooooooaaaaaal! Vanek does that wrap-around move he's so fond of and Kotalik picks up the puck in front of the net. He hasn't scored yet, but I do think Vanek has looked better tonight. He's going to the net a lot harder than he has been in the past couple of weeks and good things will come of that eventually. Ottawa 3, Buffalo 1.
I've totally zoned out of the game. I started thinking about Chris Neil. I think he might be the only player in the NHL who I actively hate (as a player - I will concede that he could be a very nice man). Chris Pronger's a total ass - hey, Chris, you've always been tall, time to adjust - but whether you like him or not, he's a difference-maker. Sean Avery is pretty reprehensible - I don't think I would believe that he's a nice guy off the ice - but he knows what his job is and he does it well. Chris Neil? I don't like him. I think he's as dirty as Pronger - he almost always leaves his feet - and I always feel like he think he's better than he actually is. He definitely has some talent, but dude, you're not Dany Heatley. Get over yourself
Rob interviews Captain Spacek and mentions that part of the reason he has the captaincy is because of his strong voice in the locker room. Listen, Sabres broadcast team... I need to see a Jaro pep talk. I need it like I need air and water. I can't even imagine how awesome that would be. In my mind, the team doesn't understand a word Jaro yells but is inspired by his enthusiastic gibberish nonetheless.
In a discussion of the promotion of stars, Kevin Sylvester mentions the NBA promoting Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. Way to keep up with the times, Kevin. Why don't we throw Dr. J and Pistol Pete in there too?
18:21 Drew Stafford puts a shot on net but the Ottawa d-men clear all the Sabres out from the front of the net. Some of our defensemen are scratching their heads and wondering why they did that. It is a rather discombobulating sight.
14:35 Derek gets a nice shot on the net but there's no one in front to pick up the rebound. I'm not sure what happened to his linemates because they're nowhere in sight.
13:15 Kotalik gets a good shot off but - all together now - no one is there to pick up the rebound. Unless you count the Senators. They were all there.
11:29 I might be losing my will to live. I'm definitely losing my will to blog.
I would like to see numbers on how many smokers quit smoking after watching these anti-smoking commercials with the disgusting lungs and toes. If they're effective, okay, fine. If they're not, please get them off my TV. I don't want to see that stuff while I'm watching hockey.
9:27 Emery totally loses the puck and Volchenkov sweeps in to make the save. Okay, I'll give you half our defensive corp and Afinogenov for Anton. Please? Just for giggles I'll toss in Andrew Peters and Harry Neale. Do with them what you please.
8:12 Gooooaaaaaal! Pominville flips in a wrister from the point and Vanek and Hecht both get a piece of it in front of the net. Beautiful re-direction by Yo-Yo. See what happens when one guy shoots and other guys stand in front of the net? I know, it's crazy! Ottawa 3, Buffalo 2. A little life in this game again.
6:11 Gooooaaaaal! Stafford makes a great effort to keep the puck in the offensive zone and Mike Ryan flings it toward the goal and gets a ridiculous bounce off Emery's skate. And it's all tied up. Honestly, I don't know whether to be thrilled that we've come back or pissed that we can't play like this for sixty minutes.
4:40 Alert the media! Tim carried the puck in but stopped far enough back to get off a decent shot.
4:35 Heatley scores to put the Sens back on top. Oh, hell. I like you, Dany, but that hurts. I totally forgot T-Bo was back there. Ottawa 4, Buffalo 3.
2:30 And now I'm glad Heatley scored because otherwise Daniel Alfredsson would've ended up with the game-winner and I can't handle that. He's near the top of my "just don't let it be that guy" list.
0:00 Final score: Ottawa 5, Buffalo 3.
Geez, what is with this team? Once again they totally kill themselves by waiting until it's too late to play all out. Guys, you clearly do not have enough skill to win games in the last ten minutes especially against one of the best teams in the league. Play harder! For sixty minutes! Stop telling me you're going to play hard for sixty minutes and just do it! Once!