Friday, February 8, 2008

The Wheels on the Bus Fall Off in the Third Period

First a few comments on the Tom Golisano interview:

1. Tom, don't think we're impressed that you're showing your face during a win streak while avoiding us during the ten game losing streak.

2. That interview was clearly very carefully planned. Have you seen the commercial Roby does for the back healing guy? The one where's he's obviously reading cue cards? Yeah, that's what he sounded like tonight.

3. If Buffalo is such a great place to be, Tom, then why are you being beamed in via satellite? If the team is so much fun to watch why no TV shots of you grinning in your box at HSBC Arena? At least Darcy Regier shows his face in public.

4. Dude, I get what you're saying about it creating cap relief but you might want to avoid expressing sentiments that sound anything like, "Boy, we're really lucky ol' Teppo had to have that heart surgery, huh?"

5. Buffalo owners suck. No wonder we think God hates us.

That said, I don't really care to dredge up the Drury/Briere fiasco yet again. Could management have done something different to keep one or both of them here? Maybe. Probably. Would it be nice to hear Golisano take some blame? Sure. Should he be called out for his garbage? Absolutely. Is anything going to change what happened last summer now? No. Seriously, how long are we going to hammer the same people for the same mistakes over and over and over? We're more than halfway through the season. At some point don't you have to step back and see if management learned from the mistakes? Jochen Hecht was signed during the season. Not liking the player or the contract doesn't make that any less true. They've been negotiating with Brian Campbell during the season. The fact that a contract hasn't been signed is not management's fault since it is ultimately Campbell who has to sign the thing. Don't complain about the team a) not trading Campbell or b) not re-signing Campbell until we see what actually happens. They have another huge free agent coming up in Ryan Miller. Instead of talking about Miller going to the Red Wings, let's see WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENS.

And please, for the love of all that is holy and right in this world, stop calling Thomas Vanek lazy! He's not lazy! Hesitant? Yes! Lacking in confidence? Possibly! Lazy? NO! He's not converting consistently but he's working hard. His goal tonight was created by his own work. His backchecking has been miles better. He's generally in good position on the ice. You wanna know why he looks slow? Do you?! BECAUSE HE'S SLOW! BECAUSE HE'S NOT FAST!

Oh, man, I'm doing that "make a point by asking yourself a question then answering it" thing which I hate. There's someone at my place of employment who does that and I find it to be annoying and a little condescending. I apologize. I'll take a deep breath before we move on to the game.

- I hate shootouts. I really do. They have nothing to do with who has the better team/shooters/goalies or who played the best that night. (Which is not to say that I think we deserved to win tonight because we did not.) The NHL keeps saying shootouts are for the fans but I wonder what kind of result they would find if they polled fans at games. I kind of feel like this was a change they made in an attempt to appeal to the mythological casual fan while ignoring what traditional fans would prefer but that might just be my bias showing.

I hate ties though. I hate them. Maybe it's because I grew up watching baseball and not hockey but I feel very strongly that there should be a winner and a loser at the end of a sporting event. I'd like to see the NHL increase the overtime period to ten minutes of 4 on 4. As it is now, OTs are always the same. Four minutes of teams trying not to lose followed by one minute of pretty intense back and forth. By the time anyone creates any pressure, the period is over. I think if we went ten minutes, more often than not we'd end up with a winnder.

- That said, nice try, Hank. Couldn't quite get it over Auld's leg but it was a good move nonetheless. (The fact that one of our best defensive d-men looks better than any of our forwards in the shootout shows you that either a) shootouts are a stupid way to decide a game or b) our forwards are really, really bad.)

- Thank you, Dmitri Kalinin for taking a penalty to protect your goalie. Wow, I didn't think any of them had that in them.

- Listen, I know I'm beating a dead horse at this point but Brian Campbell was brutal in this game. Completely brutal. We really want to pay him six million dollars? I had to laugh at Pierre McGuire's "he's a better true defensemen than Sheldon Souray" because that is seriously damning with faint praise.

- I'm not into booing your team. I understand why other people do it, I'm certainly not going to tell someone else they shouldn't. They can do whatever they want as far as I'm concerned. Booing just isn't my thing. (I prefer writing hate letters on my blog.) But I adore Bronx cheers. I'm fascinated by how the sound of a crowd cheering can shift enough that you can't mistake it for the real thing. The loathing and sarcasm within it is impossible to miss. How you could get that deep into the third period - with multiple power plays - and not get a shot on goal is mind-boggling. The team earned that sarcastic cheering.

- It was not a pretty loss but the team was eventually going to lose again. I'm not ready to toss them overboard yet. We'll see how they respond on Sunday. I'm at least encouraged that there were no excuses floating around as far as I heard. Jason Pominville and Jaroslav Spacek both admitted the team choked the game away by not playing a full sixty minutes and Lindy Ruff said, "We didn't deserve a point, Ryan earned it for us."

Since I know you're all dying to know how my doctor's appointment went today, I'll fill you in. The good news: I got the cast off and the bones look good. The bad news: The joint is still weak and I have to remain non-weight bearing for another month. I'm now rocking a snazzy moon boot.

A couple people have asked to see my scar so if you're interested, you can check it out here. It's under a link for the squeamish. I think it's awesome but I'm weird like that. As a kid I always wanted my uniform to be dirty (which partially explains my love for Craig Biggio) and I loved injuries that bled and scarred (which partially explains my love for Jay McKee). Earlier I was watching an interview on the Bills website with Paul Posluszny and he talked about the plates in his arm and I admit, as dumb as it is, I felt pretty cool about the fact that I have hardware in my body too. It's weird because if you feel along the scar in the right spot, you can feel the outline of the plate.

Anyway, yeah. I hate the Bruins.


zot said...

Heather, that is an awesome looking scar. Is that all dead skin around it? Cooool. :)

You might have seen this already, but I love showing

Meg said...

That's an awesome scar, Heather! Although it all looks very itchy so I'm glad you have the cast off now and are into the more comfortable moon boot.

Heather B. said...

zot, yeah, that's dead skin. It's cleaned up much better now. And that toe is disgusting but kind of cool :D

Meg, I think I spent the first five minutes after the cast came off scratching. Sweet relief!

brian s. said...

Heather, I've called Vanek 'Lazy Tom' dating back to his rookie year when he would floated around the neutral zone looking for a quick break up ice. It has just stuck since even though I realize he works pretty hard all over the ice now. Besides, I wouldn't have those "I'm-too-cheap-to-buy-a-jersey-but-i-want-to-support-this-player-by-sporting-a-tshirt-with-his-number" t-shirts if I really believed that (Though to be fair my sister bought it for me).

Becky said...

I really thought that when you wrote about Vanek:

"You wanna know why he looks slow? Do you?! BECAUSE HE'S SLOW! BECAUSE HE'S NOT FAST!"

that you were going to end it with "he's half-fast"..

They should play the games in OT until someone scores, no time limit, just one long OT period. Someone's gonna get tired sooner or later. 2 points, no ties. Probably against the union contract.

Becky said...

I forgot to mention that I thought Vanek worked pretty hard last night. He showed a lot of emotion too, and it was nice of him to speak clearly on ice so we could read his lips and all.

Mark B said...

When the NHL announced that a shootout would decide games tied after the overtime period prior to the 05-06 season, I was excited. For two reasons: 1)I hate ties 2)Penalty shots were always one of the most exciting moments at games.

But it's gotten old for me. Like you mentioned in your post, it doesn't really prove anything and luck wins it more often than not. Kessel's goal last night comes to mind. Yes, Boston was the better team and deserved the extra point but it doesn't always work out that way.

I think they should go to your 10 minute four on four and then if still tied go 5 minutes of 3 on 3. Someone would have to score by then. But on the rare times it is still tied, then you can leave it in the standings as a tie, one point for each team. It would be as rare as a tie in football. I just wonder if the networks would be happy having an extra 10 to 15 minutes of hockey? Eh, it's not hockey is a TV cash cow anyway!

Bowl of Pork said...

That's a very nice scar, Heather. The staple marks get it an extra +1.3 in coolness ratings. Welcome to the hardware club!

(after years of it, I'm still not tired of rubbing my fingers over the screws in my arm...)

Sam said...

Wicked cool scar, Heather. I'm glad you got the cast off at least.

Zot, that toe is creeeeepy!

I don't have any cool scars really. I have a very small indention on my shin from a hockey puck but it's not impressive just kind of cool because it came from playing hockey, LOL. And I once had a bruise that covered my whole upper arm, that was gross but of course they don't leave scars either. I had a pic, maybe I can find it and gross people out. heh

On to the game. yikes. I missed the game, caught an update at the end of the 2nd when things were 2-0 and looking good, then spent an hour on the phone with my best friend. I came back to see the end of the ot and the shootout and grrr. I'm sure it wasn't much to see. I hate it when they give away games and I really dislike the Bruins so grrr all around.

I think Vanek has been playing better lately, he's been much better in his own zone for one thing and starting to show some of what we know he can do. (And this is huge coming from me because usually I have nothing nice to say about him.)

I want Campbell outta here so fast we won't remember his name. I am sick and tired of him and I hope the Sabres can milk his (random and rather un-deserved) reputation as an amazing D-man and get something for him. That'd be great.

As for shootouts, I think they are lame. But you don't see many fans leaving when there's a shootout going on, or many sitting, for that matter. I was familiar with the shootout for several years of minor league hockey watching and while I personally would prefer marathon OT periods (a la playoff hockey) it's a way to pick a winner. ANd people tend to get into it... at least in the ECHL. I think if they're going to choose a winner on some random superskill, then they should vary it. It'd be like a mini-all star skills comp every time a game is tied. One night it's the shootout, then the accuracy, then the fastest skater, etc. Random but interesting at least. OR after the 5 mins of 4-on-4, switch to 3-on-3.

Now I'm getting a little silly, I'll wrap this up. :)

Patty (in Dallas) said...

Back when they were thinking of going to the shootout, I counted the number of games that ended in a tie in a week, and I knew then that it was going to get boring fast. (I wish I had been blogging then, so I could quote myself. :P )

And when it started, I thought it was kinda fun, and wondered if I was just too hard on it. But now I'm bored with it, AND penalty shots are now boring, too.

Whenever you think something new would be good for everybody, you have to think about what would happen if EVERYBODY did it. Lotta times, it'll be worse than you think.

Great scar!

Anonymous said...

the upside to more time off your feet is more blog posts. this site is great.

Heather B. said...

Becky, I think the problem with sudden death OT during the season is that you can end up with marathon games. I can understand players not wanting to play 3 OT games during an already too long (IMO) season. Then again, maybe wanting to get the game over with with lead to teams really pushing for a goal instead of sitting back and playing for the shootout like they seem to be doing now. I don't know.

Patty, I definitely thing that part of the problem is that the shootout has just lost it's novelty.

anonymous, thanks for the compliment! Glad you're enjoying my time on IR at least ;-)

Heather B. said...

Oh, Becky, I forgot - I think Vanek is always pretty articulate on the ice. There was a game last season where they mentioned Vanek was mic'd up but then we never saw any footage of it. I'm convinced it's because they couldn't find a three second clip that didn't involve an F bomb or two. And that was back when he didn't have the weight of his current contract on his shoulders.