Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Grow Up to Be Strong and Straight (The Title Has Very Little to Do With the Post and Nothing To Do With the Game So Don't Think About It Too Hard)

First, something I meant to include in my off-topic post a couple days ago and forgot: I want to kill every single person in that Scrabble-ROTFL commercial. The grandmother, the mother, the kids. Every. single. person.

On to the game:

- The Sabres were clearly a team missing a) their best defensive forward and b) their best defensive d-man, both of whom usually line up across from Alexander Ovechkin. Jochen Hecht and Henrik Tallinder are exactly the kind of players who get overlooked by people outside of Buffalo - if not by people in Buffalo sometimes - but when they're gone, they leave a hole. Overall I think Andrej Sekera did really well considering what a big job he had and how much time he's had at the NHL level (not much) but holy moses, what was with all the breakaways? If you take away the breakaways it's a different game. Unfortunately, you can't take away the breakaways and good for the Caps for capitalizing on them eventually. We sure gave them enough opportunities to do so.

- Ryan Miller needs to have that third goal. He kept the team in the game up to that point but he really needs to have that third goal.

- Jochen Hecht looked really dapper and handsome in his in-game interview, all decked out in his suit and tie, but if he and/or Hank don't come back soon, I'm jumping out the window beside me as I type this.* We need them badly. It's like the man says: Injuries like these can decide the playoff race. I realize I'm kind of repeating myself here but I'm that stressed about these two guys missing much more time.

- Dmitri Kalinin, you sure know how to make it tough on a girl. After I ranted and raved about him being the scapegoat too many times, he went and had a brutal game. Just brutal. I didn't really make a big point of it earlier but I told Mark part of the reason I didn't like Tri being the guy who got screamed at in public is because I didn't think he seemed like the kind of player who would respond well to that kind of treatment. Obviously, I'm just a fan and really don't know anything of the players other than what's presented to us but for tonight at least, I was right! Ha! (Remember that for next time, Lindy.)

- What was that goal review? The first angle was inconclusive with the puck disappearing - one of those "common sense says the puck probably went in but we can't go by common sense" things - but the second angle we got on MSG, one that was kind of from ice level was conclusive. Puck over the line. So why was it a no goal? Because the whistle blew? I was under the impression that Toronto didn't call for the whistle. And if the whistle blew why did we spend so much time reviewing the play in the first place? I'm not saying that was a difference maker because the Caps earned the goals they got, the Sabres were sloppy, and we still would've been down by a goal with only a couple of minutes left but I've found the officiating to be kind of baffling in the last couple of games. And sometimes in our favor so please no, "You're just saying that because the Sabres got screwed!" comments.

- Before any Caps fans who wander over here get upset about the next thing I'm going to say, they should check out the comments on the Buffalo News blog where people raved about Alexander Ovechkin. The same thing happened on sports radio. It was an all-day love fest for Alex. I am in no way representing anyone but myself when I say this: I am so tired of Ovechkin. He is an amazing player, he is fun to watch, he can totally take over a game. I would love for the NHL to turn the volume down about a hundred degrees on the hype machine. I had the same complaint about Sidney Crosby when he first showed up on the scene (and still do sometimes). I would enjoy watching these guys play a lot more if the machine would just shut up and let me enjoy them. And while I really don't have much of a problem with him taunting the crowd by putting his hand to his ear after scoring a goal, I seem to recall Ilya Kovalchuk getting really criticized for behaving in a similar manner when he came into the league. When he suckered Crosby into a penalty, scored on the powerplay, and then pointed at Crosby coming out of the box (which I thought was HI-larious), a lot of people nailed him to the wall. Is it really that different?

I certainly understand why Ovechkin is newsworthy. I just don't understand why he's the ONLY person who's newsworthy. I think when the NHL zeros in on one or two guys they do a horrible disservice to themselves because they're ignoring a lot of other very good players and stories.

- If anyone tells me that the Sabres lost that game because Brian Campbell is no longer in a Sabres uniform, I'm kicking them in the head. The only difference is that he's fast enough that he might have been able to catch up with the guys taking off on the breakaways. I'm not believing that he would have played them much different otherwise. Again, his absence hurts because it means Nathan Paetsch and right now, Dmitri Kalinin are in the line-up. It does not hurt because we're missing him defensively.

- Definitely a tough loss as far as playoff hopes go. We only have so many losses to give up and even then we might have to hope for a little help from a team or two above us which is really frustrating. It's not like I have any control over how the Sabres play but I feel even more helpless when I need some other team to win and/or lose.

- I feel like little Joey, yelling as Shane rides away only I'm yelling, "He'd never been able to score a goal if you'd seen him! He never would've even got a shot off, would he, Hank! Lindy's got things for you to do! And Toni wants you! I know he does! Haaa-ank! HAAAAAAAAAANK! COME BACK!"

*Don't worry. Our apartment is on the first floor so I'm not really going to do much damage jumping out the window as long as I avoid the left ankle. In fact, our apartment is really below ground level so I'd have to jump up to get out of the window in the first place. I'm pretty safe.

ETA: I don't imagine the Campbell highlight from tonight will get as much play as the spin-o-rama goal did. The one where Mike Fisher got past Campbell and Craig Rivet (his defensive partner) and Campbell pushed Rivet into Fisher with his stick, sending Rivet into Evgeni Nabokov (his goalie)? I hate to sound like I'm picking on Soupy but as long as I have to listen to people bemoan the loss of Soupy I'm going to remind said people that there's a reason the Sabres didn't want to fork over the big bucks and that reason is spelled d-e-f-e-n-s-e.


Meg said...

I think part of the problem is that you're right and Kalinin wasn't the guy to make an example with but part of the problem was also that this year he's been a very decent 3rd pairing defenseman. Having him go from being benched to playing against Ovechkin was just a recipe for disaster. I mean, really, who would have expected that to go well? I can't say I was particularly surprised when he was terrible.

And Lydman also had anything but a banner night. He was at least as responsible as Kalinin for that 1st Ovechkin goal. Yikes. Just not a good night.

shelli said...

Heather, what do you mean about Miller needing the third goal? Remember, I'm in Alabama so go slowly! ;)

Ryan said...

The difference between what AO did and what Ilya does (and has continued to do) is that Kovalchuk is taunting the players, not the fans. For all I care players can do what they want to fans. Avery, AO, whoever, that's their choice.

However, taunting the same people you take the ice with is a very disrespectful thing to do, let alone very dangerous. It is the old "watching your home run" argument. Yes, it is your accomplishment, but it is also the pitcher's failure and you will be coming to bat again soon.

Kovalchuk's knee injury came a few minutes after he taunted the Penguins bench earlier this year. While Jarko will never admit it, there is a reason he made sure he finished that check. Fans don't have that same opportunity.

Heather B. said...

Shelli, I just meant that that's a shot that I think Ryan should have stopped. He had a good game and I think it's fair to say that he didn't get much help last night but he really needed to stop that shot and kept the team within a goal.

Ryan, that makes sense. It is a good point and much better than what I usually get which is some variation of "OV IS SO GREAT HE CAN DO WHATEVER HE WANTS!" (I will admit however that I still think the Kovalchuk/Crosby thing was very funny even if I would've hated it under other circumstances.)

Lee Andrew said...

I don't think ROTFL is even a word.