Monday, February 11, 2008

A Little Relief

First things first. While I've seen this mentioned a couple of other places, I'd just like to add how thankful I am for how delicately MSG handled Richard Zednik's injury. Rather than showing the video footage over and over, they only showed it a couple of times and even then it was carefully edited so that the worst of it wasn't seen. There were no lingering shots of the blood trail and the cameras seemed to be carefully directed away from the ice while the Zambonis were cleaning the surface. I'm also thankful that the Sabres website has avoided using any of the more graphic photos out there. I happened to stumble across a photo of Jaroslav Spacek alongside the long trail of blood from the corner to the bench and it made my stomach turn. The sight of Zednik going limp as he was carried off the ice was more than enough for me.

Okay, moving on...

While trying to be mostly serious last night I overlooked what was actually my favorite part of the game and I wanted to mention it before I forgot again: Patrick Kaleta's first NHL goal! Poor kid got completely overshadowed.

I'll admit, I wasn't a huge fan of Kaleta's during his call-up last season. He was so one-dimensional and I thought his hitting was often borderline. While he still makes me a little nervous sometimes, I've enjoyed him much more this time around. For the most part he's more controlled, he's not taking himself out of the play quite so much, and his overall play seems better. He chalked his goal up to being in the right place at the right time but it's no accident that he was in front of the net ready for a tip-in. I keep hearing it's Andrew Peters job to bring energy to the team and I don't see it. But with Kaleta I don't know how you don't see it. He still have some developing to do but I definitely see his potential now.

After his goal he was so lost in the excitement of the moment that it was totally adorable. He could not stop grinning. Not only did he score his first goal in the NHL, he scored his first goal in the NHL while playing for the local team that he grew up cheering for. And not only did he score his first goal in the NHL while playing for the local team that he grew up cheering for, he scored his first goal while playing for the local team he grew up cheering for in front of a hometown crowd with his family in the building. After watching all the solemn and subdued postgame interviews on the Sabres website, it was a bit of a relief to get to Kaleta's interview. I understand why everyone else was so serious, of course, but Patrick's young, innocent joy was a nice break from the near tragic events of the game. Also, Pat, while you are far too young for me, the little trickle of dried blood on your face was definitely a nice touch.

Seriously, how happy does he look?

Some really great comments about the shootout so far. (See the previous post if you want to check them out.) There are some I definitely want to respond to but I'm going to wait a few days and see how the vote shakes out. I can't believe there are thirty votes so far. I had no idea there were so many of you out there. If the shootout wasn't winning I'd accuse someone of stuffing the ballot box. The poll's up near the top of the page to the right if you haven't voted yet.


bowlofpork said...

Ok, I've tried to write this comment 6 times and Blogger is not letting it go. Short form...

WOOOO!!! Killa Kaleta Komes Through In The Klutch!!!

Maal said...

It was also Crunchy's 100th NHL win. I'm guessing he's trying to forget that now.