This morning I got the following email from Mark.
If Derek plays tonight, he will have a huge game. When I came in this morning and turned on my adding machine, the number 9 appeared! Okay, I must have bumped the 9 key, but still!!
Monday we're going to see if he can accidentally punch in 26.
In a season when a couple of my favorites have fallen hard (Spinorama on outta here, Soupy! Dipsy-doodle your way to a new city, Timmy!), I'm a little relieved to report that I've really missed having Derek Roy in the line-up the last few games. He hasn't had a very good season and he can be completely exasperating - we have a very intense love/hate relationship - but dang, when I love him, I love him. It sure looks like he took Lindy's words about certain players needing to step up to heart because he had a great game. He was buzzing everywhere, he was involved in a handful of the goals and I admit it, I'm totally tickled at the goalie - I think it was Kari Lehtonen at that point - shooting the puck at him. Hee. Even though he was kind of tripped into the crease, I do think little Roy-Z is at his best when he's bugging other people. I'm a little disappointed that his hat-trick was awarded after the game though. I hate when that happens! Here's a hat from me to you, Roy-Z! You were my first star of the game.
- Despite the fact that he keeps hitting crossbars, I think Thomas Vanek looked pretty good tonight. He was going to the net more often than not and made some really nice passes to the front of the net. I fully expect the message board denizens to pick everything he did apart to pieces and fault him for not earning $70 million in one game but for tonight, they should really give it a rest.
- That was one of the most complete games they've played all season. They'd start to cool off just for a couple of minutes and I'd start getting a little worried but they always pulled it together quickly. The Sabres definitely got some bounces but they also worked really hard for sixty minutes. It's a cliche that you create your own bounces but it's a cliche because it's true.
- I try to not let the girlie side of me come out here too often because I don't want to be accused of being a puckbunny - seriously, try it and see what happens - but that backhand by Smokin' Jochen Hecht was seriously sexy. You can keep your showy slapshots, backhands make me swoon. (Of course, I also have a terrible, terrible slapshot so maybe I'm just pretending to not be impressed with them. I do, however, have a pretty good backhand if I do say so myself. Yo-Yo and I are hockey soul mates because I'd be all about ugly goals, I think.)
- I admit, I tend to kind of ignore it when Henrik Tallinder isn't playing well - he's my favorite player so that earns him a little slack - but he really has looked a ton better the last handful or so of games, even in some of the losses. Good job, Hank. It's nice to be able to actually say, "Hey, my guy is playing really well!" instead of just closing my eyes and pretending I'm not seeing you.
- If I were nice, I wouldn't point out that a clean giveaway by Brian "Six Million Dollar Man" Campbell led directly to the Thrashers only goal. But hey, if you guys want to give him that much money... Okay, seriously, it's just as likely that was Ryan Miller's fault. I mean, the poor guy had a FOUR GOAL LEAD. He was probably panicky and confused. And hey, atleast we didn't have to hold our breaths waiting for the last second goal to ruin the potential shutout.
- Two gorgeous passes from Dmitri Kalinin. Oh, geez. That pass/shot over to Vanek on the side of the net was so, so nice.
- Loved the mic'd up segment when Adam Mair hollers for a piece of gum and somebody brought out a little tupperware dish full of sticks of gum. I don't know, for some reason that little dish cracked me up. I can't believe they chew gum while skating and getting knocked around though. Seems dangerous.
- Nice to see some bumping and scrapping from a lot of different guys. I'm a little disappointed that we didn't get full-blown fights out of Hecht and Toni Lydman though. They're not very good fighters and it doesn't happen very often but I love the way they go from mild-mannered to total flip out and they didn't quite get there tonight. And geez, Jason Pominville got nailed by Eric Boulton. I think I heard him whimpering from my living room.
- All in all, a much needed victory for both the team and the fans, I think. Part of my brain is whispering that it doesn't mean anything until we string a bunch of wins together but the other half of my brain is telling that half to shut up. For tonight, I'm happy. At the very least, it was nice to see some smiles on the bench again.