Unrelated thoughts starting.... now!
- A small part of the reason I was so cranky Sunday night was because I was supposed to be at that game and I was really bummed to miss it. We bought tickets to two Penguins games because I wanted so desperately to see Sidney Crosby and I've now missed both of them. I had comforted myself with the fact that, in a show of solidarity, Sid injured his own ankle and missed this game but then Mark came home and said, "Hey, you know how our seats are right in front of the press box? Sidney Crosby was sitting right behind us! I could see him and everything!" Don't ever break your ankle, people. It'll suck the fun right out of your life.
- I've come to an important decision. I'm not going to say another word about Brian Campbell until the trade deadline. While I do think the Rangers game was somewhat indicative of his play as a defenseman and while I am not a big fan of his "there were system breakdowns" and "the team didn't play well" excuses - if you think enough of yourself that you want to be the second highest paid player on the team and the highest paid defensemen, you'd better be big enough to admit when you play like garbage - that was the game from hell and not just for Campbell. At this point I think everyone who stops by here knows how I feel about him. For the next seven days I'm going to leave it alone. If he screws up between now and then I'm going to ignore it. This could be his last week in Buffalo and I'm going to try desperately to enjoy it. If this isn't his last week in Buffalo... well, we'll talk about that when it happens.
- I don't know much about saving the environment but I'm having a hard time taking any NHL player who has signed up to buy carbon credits while also driving a two ton SUV very seriously.
- Red Wing fans can blame their team's recent collapse on me. I have both goalies and Nicklas Lidstrom on my fantasy team and my fantasy teams are infamous for self-destructing in the home stretch of the season. I've been floating along in second place almost all year and have recently plummeted to sixth (out of twelve). The league I joined this year with a bunch of online pals had a gimmick. Fans of Eastern Conference teams had to draft solely out of the Western Conference, fans of Western Conference teams had to draft solely out of the Eastern Conference. The idea was that it would force us into learning more about teams and players in the other conference but all I've learned is that a) the Western Conference seems to hardly ever play at least on days when I actually remember to check my line-up and b) I hate the Western Conference, Joe Thornton and Lidstrom excluded.
- Fun fact of the day: Until his injury yesterday, Nicklas Lidstrom has missed 22 games in fifteen and a half seasons. Can you even imagine? How many Sabres have missed that many games just in the last year or two? I've said it before and I'll say it again, Lidstrom is a freak of nature.
- Dmitri Kalinin and Nolan Pratt have been a really solid, dependable pairing overall the past few weeks. Kalinin saved two goals this weekend and for two years running has been one of our best d-men in the postseason. He self-destructed against Ottawa last year but in the first two rounds he was the only guy not named Miller to show up and play hard every night. His diving poke check on a Ryan Smyth breakaway in the Islanders series was one of the best defensive plays in the postseason. I would much rather pay Kalinin whatever he's going to get get on the UFA market than pay Campbell whatever he's going to get.
- Whoops. Nothing else about Campbell starting now!
- I am a huge fan of Thomas Vanek guaranteeing a spot in the playoffs. I think most of us would agree that his biggest problem all season has been struggles with his confidence. No way the Vanek of a couple of months ago opens his mouth and says something like that so I think this is a good sign of how he's feeling right now. All season fans in Buffalo have wanted someone to verbally step up and take charge. Well, here you go. If they are going to make the playoffs, the Sabres need Van going on all cylinders. I like it.
- It was disappointing to watch the Sabres lose two games that were pretty important - I found that Pittsburgh game to be particularly frustrating - but I'm a little surprised at how wildly some fans have crashed. Did anyone really expect that the team wasn't going to lose again? While it would've been nice to gain some ground, the Sabres didn't lose too much ground either. The conference is officially wide open and maybe I'm crazy, but no one on our side really terrifies me. I don't think there's a front runner in the EC any more and I still like the Sabres chances to make the playoffs and surprise some people once they're there.
That said, they really need to beat Tampa Bay and the Leafs. Beating the Rangers would be nice.
- One of my favorite recently discovered websites - I forget who pointed it out to me so sorry for not giving you credit - is Sports Clubs Stats. It's regularly updated to give you your team's current chances at making the playoffs and what spot they'll likely finish in. My favorite feature however is that it also lists every game taking place that day and tells you which team's victory would benefit your team the most. It's pretty nifty.
- I didn't forget about the shootout poll but I'm not feeling up to thinking about that too hard at 8:11 in the morning. Maybe later today I'll get around to that.
- For no reason other than that it still makes me giggle: