Friday, March 28, 2008

Odds and Ends

So somewhere in the course of last year's playoffs, I met Kate of the Willful Caboose. After I spent weeks talking her down off the Chris Drury ledge and answering her every email, she appointed me her Sabres Mentor. (No giggling out there, please.) In case you haven't noticed, it's been kind of a rough season for a first-year fan, our personal highlight probably being an all-night IM session that was more or less some variation of "RYAN MILLER IS GOING TO BE A RED WING!" "No he isn't, I promise," over and over and over. So recognizing that Kate was a fan in crisis, I did my mentor-ly duty and went over to her place to watch the Ottawa game last night. After all, no one should be watching the Sabres alone. Well, okay that meant Mark was watching them alone. But he's been a Buffalo sports fan all his life, he can handle it.

Anyway, we did really well. We managed to get through fifty-eight minutes of hockey without getting too high or too low. Even when Ottawa scored the go ahead goal we stayed relatively calm. We were working on a project and kind of distracted by futzing around with our laptops, a microphone, and GarageBand so that probably helped but still, we were healthily engaged in the game. And then Goose, that little punk, had to go and tie up the game and the crushing anxiety and pathetic hope returned. Seriously, these guys can't even go away without some kind of drama. Like every other Sabres fan we figured it was a sure loss but we were sucked in again. I spent the evening bargaining with the Hockey Gods about Daniel Alfredsson (Please just don't let Daniel Alfredsson get the game-winner, Please just don't let Daniel Alfredsson get the game-winner while Hank is on the ice, Please just don't let Daniel Alfredsson get the game-winner while Hank is on the ice looking ridiculous) so I was sure he was going to score and all the Sabres were going to miss and that was going to be it but what do you know? We won. I don't know whether to be pleased that we finally won another shootout or annoyed that we lost nine to begin with. I guess I'm both. Even if they don't make the playoffs (see the hope creeping back in?), it would be nice for them to at least finish the season well. But seriously, five more shootout wins - five points for us, five points away from the teams ahead of us that we lost to - and this season is at least a slightly different story. It's frustrating.

I have to admit to being pretty annoyed with Ryan Miller. I usually appreciate his candor. I really love how open he is with how he's feeling and I enjoy listening to him wind through all the different things he was thinking and expecting on a goal or a good save. But after the game on Tuesday he was pretty bratty to his teammates which would be fine if he had been playing wonderfully himself but he's had a pretty rough month. And if you're going to point fingers at other people you sure as heck better follow it up with the best game you can play and maybe I'm crazy but last night was not it. I say "maybe I'm crazy" because all the postgame guys were saying they thought Ryan played better than he did the previous game but I don't see that at all. I thought he was okay on Tuesday and terrible tonight. He did pull out the victory in the shootout and I suppose the win is all that matters in the end but again, if you're going to call out your teammates, try not to play like garbage. We were joking that someone really quiet and non-confrontational like Toni Lydman needed to make a crack about the bratty goalie playing behind him.

So the Canadiens tonight, huh? I tell myself that Jochen Hecht was out for the last game and that's why the Montreal powerplay destroyed us but I'm a little frightened of them, I have to say. Let's see if we can maybe wait an entire minute before taking a penalty, fellas?

Oh, hey, I forgot. I started up a group for's Playoff Fantasy Hockey game if anyone wants to join me. Right now it's just me and Mark (Mark doesn't know yet) so there's plenty of room for everyone and I don't think there's a team limit. I played in a similar game last year and it's pretty fun while also not being a lot of work. Every week during the playoffs you pick a line-up of six forwards, three defensemen, and a goaltender and you earn points based on how well they play that week. The only real strategy is that you can only pick a player three times so if you ride Nicklas Lidstrom for the first three weeks and then the Red Wings end up in the Finals, you won't be able to use him. You do have to sign up for an sign-on if you don't have one but it's free and relatively painless. If you're interested, go here. Password is hank.


Jennifer said...

I know, how dare they play well last night. After I had reconciled with the fact that they were doomed to suck this year, then they go and pull off that game last night. That's the team that I've been waiting all season to see.

Vanek's Hair said...

I take credit for last night's win. I met my buddy at a local establishment to catch the end after attending a function. As the game progressed, I mentioned how I had been very disappointed with Gaustad lately. That he is not giving much to the team lately. Not long after that, guess who scored the game tying goal. To quote my buddy "Anyone else you are disappointed with lately?"

Heather B. said...

Jennifer, I didn't mention this but they were so feisty last night and it kind of drove me crazy. Why so feisty NOW, guys? It's practically too late!

Vanek's Hair, Kate was complaining mightily about Max just before he scored so evidently we all just need to sit around and rant and rave through the game.

S.A.M. said...

that fantasy playoff hockey thing sounds cool, I'll check it out!

I played on a 12-team league in Yahoo this year and a few years ago, I finished 7th both times, but it's fun.


and YAY Buffalo!

Miller is pissing me off.

and Vanek always played better when I spent the whole game maligning him, like that hat trick against TB.. now I wish it would work on other players!

Jennifer said...

Did anyone else notice that Max didn't have his jersey tucked in the entire game, like he normally does? Maybe that has been holding him back.

I loved watching the "fiesty" Buffalo break loose, but I agree I wish it hadn't been so late in the season. Normally they are so, I don't know if tame is the right word, but they don't quite go out there and take control of the ice and finish their checks. I love to hear them hit the glass.

The last few minutes of the 3rd, they were like a dog with a bone and they weren't letting go.

And apparently the "officiating season" is over, 'cause they weren't calling much of anything during the majority of the game.

And s.a.m., I agree about Miller. He has been good and, some nights, appeared to be the only one playing, but he has missed some pucks that he really shouldn't have. Someone needs to knock him off his high-and-mighty horse. He really shouldn't dish out blame if he's not willing to take some himself.

Well, that's enough of my ranting, I have to save something for tonight.....

Grumps said...

I'm not getting my hopes up - two of three teams that are playing pretty well have to collapse and we have to get a strike every frame in order for the playoffs to be a reality.

Either way it's a bonus. I've spent too much time indoors in April and especially May the last two years when I should be outside. But if I have to be glued to my TV watching the Sabres, then I'm okay with that too.

Meg said...

Well now that the IPB Superleague is drawing to a close the Chinchillas have been looking for another league to lose in. Playoff fantasy hockey it is. :)

TheTick said...

First time playoff fantasy hockey player, in with the Civic Minded Five.