Sunday, February 10, 2008

A Little Perspective

Wow, that sold out crowd being so quiet you could hear the Zamboni scraping the ice was easily one of the spookiest things I've ever heard. Devastating. I'm glad they managed to get Richard Zednik off the ice so quickly. He was clearly going limp as they hit the bench. Clint Malarchuk was before my time in Buffalo and I'm glad. Tonight was more than enough for me. I would hope every crowd would respond appropriately but when the PA announcer let the crowd know that Zednik was stable and on his way to the hospital and the crowd stood up and cheered and the players started tapping their sticks (one of my favorite little things about hockey), I definitely got teary-eyed.

I almost feel bad talking about the game so let's just hit some quick points.

- Tim Connolly made it through the whole game in one piece! Granted, I have no idea how he's feeling now so I guess we'll have to see. I will say this for Tim, our powerplay is unquestionably better when he's in the line-up. He gets the puck moving better and quicker than anyone else out there.

- After Brian Campbell gave that puck to the Panthers on the tying goal, I would've gladly put him on the Panthers' plane in exchange for Olli Jokinen or a pile of hockey sticks, whichever they were willing to part with.

- Four goals in six games for Thomas Vanek. He's been looking much more confident the past few games. Is he finally busting out of his slump?

- Another game where Ryan Miller kept the Sabres in it until they pulled it together.

- I did have to giggle a little when while doing the post-game highlights Mike Robitaille responded to the tying goal with, "The Sabres had to be feeling their necks here." Kind of an unfortunate turn of phrase considering the events of the evening, Roby.

- I won't get too excited about the fact that we pulled ahead in the third and held on for the win since I doubt either team - the Panthers especially - had their heads completely in the game but we did get the win.

Man. Weird night. Let's not do that again.

Oh, you might have noticed that there's currently a poll about the shootout at the top right of the page. Every once in a while I kind of assign my opinion to others - real fans hate the shootout! - which is ridiculous so I'm curious to see what everyone else really thinks. If you're here, take a second to vote even if you don't leave a comment. The poll will be up for a week or until I get tired of looking at, whichever comes first.

Prayers and positive vibes to Zednik and his family.

27 comments:

Pookie said...

I'm intrigued (and yes, dismayed) by the poll results so far. (I'm being good and will only vote once, I promise.) I do, however, have a suggestion. After this poll, can you wait a week or two and then ask not "do you like the shootout" but "do you like that an extra point in the standings is awarded for a superskills contest". In my experience, the word "shootout" often just conjures up thoughts of a fun and exciting way to end a game, but doesn't always translate into how it effects the standings. It would be interesting to see if there's a difference in results.

KMS2 said...

My feelings about the shootout are so mixed. I feel bad for admitting that I actually like watching the shootout but I just really like the excitement.

On the other hand I hate how the points system is set up. The losing team should not be awarded the point and I think the way the standings are this season (and how they've been since the implementation of the current points system) proves how ridiculous it is to give out three points a night in an OT/shootout game. I don't care if the shootout stays but I do want to see the winner awarded two points and the loser awarded zero points. Just my opinion...and like Pookie, I promise to only vote once.

KMS2 said...

Oh and I completely forgot what I was initially going to say which is today Columbus and the Kings had a really hard fought game and when OT was over I thought, "this game should end in a tie" which I think is the first time I've thought that since the shootout was implemented. I guess if the game was really really good then a tie should be fine, but otherwise I don't mind a shootout.

Bethany said...

I am still in shock from that game and am so happy that Zednik is alright. What a horrible horrible experience...my prayers are definitely with him. I will talk about the shootout when I'm not so...out of it. Poor guy.

elise said...

I agree with kms2 that while shootouts are fun to watch, they make the standings completely insane. The Wild lost the division to Vancouver last year by one point I think...how much of a difference would there have been if teams weren't allowed that extra point for a loss? That trend has followed this year and (being a Western hockey girl I can't speak for the East) the West is super tight and teams can flop from first in their division to out of the top 8 spots in the matter of a game.

Shootouts are fun to watch, though. Except I'm always confused why Marian Gaborik can score on almost any breakaway with defenders hooking him and yet for the life of him he cannot score in the shootout (sorry, just had to throw that in there).

twoeightnine said...

- Four goals in six games for Thomas Vanek. He's been looking much more confident the past few games. Is he finally busting out of his slump?

Not to toot my own horn. But toot, toot.

http://bfloblog.wnymedia.net/?p=3021#comment-611294

Meg said...

I'd like them to go to 10 minutes of overtime at least.

Malarchuk predates my move to Buffalo as well, Heather, but I've seen the video and been very grateful for not having seen it live. I was glad the cameras stayed further away in this case. What a relief to hear that Zednick is doing well.

Katebits said...

Pookie, an extra point in the standings is NOT awarded for the superskillz contest, it's awarded for overtime. I am TEN times more offended by the third point than I am by the shootout. Every game should be worth the same amount of points, regardless of how it ends. If they make every game worth three points then we could discuss the merits of the shootout without also having to consider the way the abolition of the tie is disruptive to the distribution of points. Regardless of what you think of the shootout, it's the third point that screws up the standings.

TheTick said...

I loved the shootout when Buffalo was consistently winning them. :P But seriously, I'm okay with it. Sure, in a perfect world, I would want to see the games play out like the playoffs, just keep going until someone wins. But that isn't really feasible in the regular season with the quick turnarounds and travel (especially in the West).

Get well, Richard Zednik. I didn't see it live, my wife was (strangely enough) flipping between the game and American Gladiators. We came back to the game right after Z made it off the ice.

mrgoalie said...

Saw the replay of the Zednik incident on Sportscentre. Brought back memories of the Malarchuk incident. I don't think the images of the blood will be leaving my mind for a while.. I can only imagine what it was like being there.

Just good to hear that he's going to be okay. What type of pressure do people think they'll be for some sort of neck protection now, despite how extremely rare something like this is>

Pookie said...

Pookie, an extra point in the standings is NOT awarded for the superskillz contest, it's awarded for overtime.

Here's how I see it. Both teams get a point for the tie. This gaurenteed point ensures that overtime is up tempo; before the gaurenteed point overtime was a dull, dare I say it, trapping affair. At the end of the game, if a team is awarded another point, it's becuase a very small number of players on the team excelled in an individual contest of shooting on a goalie. That to me means a second point added for something that is outside of the context of a real hockey game.

I suppose your viewing it as another point being awarded for the win. To me, deciding a win, and deciding which team gets the "winning" point, shouldn't be determined by something that is an individual skills event.

Schnookie said...

I don't even want to imagine how I would feel if I watched my team play a hard 65 minutes of hockey to a tie against a division rival, but then walk out of the game with no points because they lost a three-man shootout

Kate said...

At the end of the game, if a team is awarded another point, it's becuase a very small number of players on the team excelled in an individual contest of shooting on a goalie.

Nuh-UH! At the end of a game, if a team is awarded another point, it's because the game went into overtime.

To me this is an important distinction.

I am 100% opposed to an "extra" point being awarded at any stage of the game, but I think eliminating ties was a good move for the game.

I'm just arguing that all games should be worth the same amount of points, which I'll admit isn't what this conversation is technically about, but I think it's an important issue to consider when discussing the shootout. This issue isn't black and white.

Kate said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kate said...

I suppose your viewing it as another point being awarded for the win.

I view it as another point being awarded because the game wasn't decided in regulation.

It's a very poor remedy for ties.

I'm not suggesting that the winner of the shootout take all the points. That would be horrible. I agree that the shootout is not an acceptable way to determine the absolute "winner" of the game. I like that there is a division of points with the shootout, I just think it should be a division of the SAME NUMBER of points that the game began with.

In Heather's poll I voted for "I don't like ties OR the shootout. Let's think of something else."

Pookie said...

Katebits, I see your point about needing to change the number of points awarded per game, but oddly, I have no beef with this at all. My beef is entirely 100% with deciding a game with something that is not hockey. 2 pts, 3pts, 4pts, 1000 pts, award whatever you need to as long as the game is still entirely a team affair.

Schnookie said...

How a person feels about the three-point game seems to be shaded by which point they think is the "extra" one. I feel that the "extra" point is the one going to the winner of the extra periods of hockey, but it seems you feel the "extra" one is the one for merely finishing regulation in a tie.

Kate said...

Okay, I think I know what to do! The games should all be worth 1000 points. The winner of the shootout should get 501 points, and the loser of the shootout should get 499 points. :D

Kate said...

I am opposed to ALL extra points. Every last one! I don't care which one is the extra! No extra! No extra! No extra! As soon as a game goes into overtime there is an extra point and that extra point makes me want to turn off the television and never watch hockey again. Because the extra point is SO DUMB. (In my opinion. :P)

Oh, and I fully see your point about the shootout ruining the integrity of a team sport, and I agree. I just think the third point is the far worse crime.

Pookie said...

Because the extra point is SO DUMB. (In my opinion. :P)

It's been brought to my attention that I've been thinking about the 3 point games from the perspective of Pre-Shootout. Before the shootout it wasn't really a big deal because you didn't see a lot of games decided in OT. But now that every game has a winner, the 3 point game is a big, big problem. You are utterly correct on this issue.

However, this was not the original debate. The orignial debate is whether shootouts are good or bad. The 3 point game is tied up in this, but discussing it is clouding the issue. Heather should put up another poll about the 3 point game! I love polls!

Oh, and I fully see your point about the shootout ruining the integrity of a team sport, and I agree. I just think the third point is the far worse crime.

And this is why we will never, ever, ever agree on this. The overall integrity of the game is far more important to me than whether my team suffers when two division rivals split 3 points in a game.

Kate said...

I agree, I am clouding this issue by harping on the third point. I apologize for that and i thank you for seeing my "point". (See what i did there?)

Oh, and I fully see your point about the shootout ruining the integrity of a team sport, and I agree.

I knew I was skating on thin ice when I used the word "integrity" here. I probably should have phrased this a different way. I want to clarify that i specifically meant the integrity of the game as a team sport. I think we are in a bit of a disagreement over how much it affects the integrity of the overall game. I am less offended by a superskillz competition than you are, for sure, but I also care very deeply about the integrity of the game. I absolutely agree that the best case scenario is for the game to be decided with team hockey, but I think the abolition of the tie was very very good for the game in terms of attracting new fans....like me. I totally agree that the shootout is not the right solution, but in my opinion ties had to go (at least in such large numbers).

Pookie said...

I think the abolition of the tie was very very good for the game in terms of attracting new fans....like me.

I'm not pooh-poohing attracting new fans; everyone was a new fan at some point. This is going to sound snarky but I mean it sincerely -- if there were ties, do you think your enthusiasm for the game when you first fell in love with it would have been significantly diminished?

Kate said...

This is going to sound snarky but I mean it sincerely -- if there were ties, do you think your enthusiasm for the game when you first fell in love with it would have been significantly diminished?

I honestly don't know. I've never seen a game end in a tie. My instinct is to say "no", but I think the tie is a hard sell, and it probably would have taken some getting used to, and I seriously doubt I ever would have been, "Dang! I love ties!" I think I would have grown to accept the tie as a part of the game I adore.

Fair or not, I think the perception of the tie is something the sport is better off without. In reality, I believe the real problem isn't the shootout/tie, it's the fact that such a high percentage of games can't be determined in regulation or overtime. I think that's a fairly legitimate criticism of the sport.

Again, I'm not arguing in favor of the shootout. I'm firmly in the "I hate shootouts AND ties." camp. I think I would be very much in favor of rules that increased the likelihood of the game ending in a longer, more fast-paced overtime, and significantly decreased the occurrences of shootouts/ties.

Pookie said...

Interesting answer, Katebits. I know you're not arguing for the shootout, I'm just always curious about the contention that new fans wouldn't be able to handle ties. Your answer that you would have learned to deal with them is what I tend to think would be true. Which is why I contend we can leave ties in the game, while doing your suggestion of finding rules to make regulation and OT results occur more frequently (like a longer 4-on-4 OT). But I really don't think the presence of ties is something that would keep huge amounts of potential new fans away. And based on your answer, I might be right!

Kate said...

But I really don't think the presence of ties is something that would keep huge amounts of potential new fans away. And based on your answer, I might be right!

Well, just because fans can learn to deal with something doesn't make it the right choice for the game. I think a solution that is appealing is preferable to one that is tolerable. Which is where we totally agree. Longer overtimes, please!

Pookie said...

Appealing over tolerable? What are you? A classless dork?! You seem to forget, I'm a Devils fan. Tolerable is the name of the game. Anything "appealing" negatively effects the very integrity of our fine game.

Sam said...

I rambled a bit about shootouts in a previous post.. I have yet to vote. I don't like the idea of the shoutout, but they're kinda sorta maybe fun. Somtimes. When your team wins in the 14th round and your guy scores the winner kind of fun. And really how often does that happen? (once if you're me) or when the hometown kid scores on the 6th round against the 2nd best team in the league on a night with your best crowd all year and that was fun too. But again, it only happens rarely and mostly they're nerve-wracking and an annoying way to end a game. Meh.

Moving on, I thought it a a decent showing by Buffalo. Yeah things got pretty subdued after Zednik's injury but the Sabres already had the lead at that point so.. that was good I guess.

I watched the 1st, 2nd and part of the 3rd, then took a break to have family prayertime (it's a Lent thing) and came back for the last 5 mins or so of the 3rd. I saw the replay of the incident later and it was truly awful. Very heart-wrenching. I can only imagine what the players and fans that were there were thinking. I was amazed that Z was able to get to the bench on his own, but I am so glad they were there to help him and it seems like he's going to be okay. Poor guy.

On a final note, It was awsome to see Kaleta get a goal! He was just too cute talking about it after. :) (he still kinda looks like my brother though, which is a little weird) but yeah. It was a great heads-up play and effort by Mair to get the puck to him and he was right where he needed to be. If the Sabres play like that a little more often, good things WILL happen.

P.S.---1 point out of a playoff spot!!!