Some off-night thoughts:
- Now that it's been two games I can officially say that I am not a fan of the new road game TV presentation. I miss the postgame Shoot-Out. I need my postgame Shoot-Out. Because we went to the home opener I've yet to even see Rob Ray and Mike Robitaille. I'm going through withdrawls. It almost doesn't feel like the season has fully started yet. I will be so, so happy to see them tomorrow night.
My biggest problem with the new set-up is that the road games now contain way, way too much Kevin Sylvester. Don't get me wrong, I like Kevin. But his happy earnestness is a little overwhelming for me by itself. It needs to be mixed in with a little crankiness from Robie and a little exasperation from Rob.
- I'm also not a huge fan of the intermission interviews with opposing players. I'm not against getting to know more about non-Sabres - I'm all for it! - but come on, I'm not learning anything interesting in that fifteen seconds. If I have to sit on my couch and listen to a sweaty, out-of-breath player talk about sticking to the system and waiting for the chances to come, I want it to be one of my guys. If you're gonna hit me with an opponent let's at least make it an entertaining little fluff piece.
- The first episode of "The Sabres Show" is up on Sabres.com. If you haven't seen it yet, you should check it out although the best parts seemed to have aired during intermissions. I liked the idea of the Ales Kotalik interview better than the outcome but I'm really happy to see them start the one-on-one sit-downs with someone not named Pominville, Miller, Roy or Gaustad. I like those guys and they're usually good interviews but they're the interviews we get over and over and over. The old Morning Skate podcast - whatever happened to that? - suffered from that too. Same guys over and over and rarely any of the Europeans. Seeing Al makes me optimistic about the chances of seeing Henrik Tallinder and Toni Lydman before too long both of whom I love seeing interviewed.
I've really enjoyed the sit-down with Lindy Ruff and Darcy Regier a lot. So far it's mostly been stuff I've read or heard over the years but I really like seeing those two interact with each other because we don't get to see them together very often. I like that they're obviously friends and clearly have a lot of respect for each other. I thought it was really interesting when Darcy pointed out that they partly became such a good team because they really needed that from each other. They were both walking into a very tough situation, dealing with all the John Muckler-Ted Nolan fallout. No one was super excited about either of them being there so they found support in each other. Any time I read a story about a GM and a head coach sniping at each other and going behind each other's back it takes me aback. I have to remind myself that that's probably more the norm while relationships like Lindy and Darcy's are the exception. In case I haven't made it clear in the past, I really love both of these guys. With all due respect to the players who've signed over the last couple of years, Darcy Regier and Lindy Ruff are the core of the Sabres.
- I think my least favorite rule in hockey is the automatic four minutes for drawn blood on a high stick. It's completely arbitrary and doesn't have anything to do with the severity of the contact. I guess I understand wanting to remove as much subjectivity as possible from calls but I still don't like it.
- Note to Rangers fans: I'm not a Patrick Kaleta apologist - I've taken issue with some of his hits in the past and I'm not a fan of the injury-related taunting if that did take place - but you can't call a penalty on a guy who fails to make contact with his intended target. It's not boarding, charging or roughing when your guy evades the hit.
- I'm an avid reader and writer so I sometimes see symbolism where there probably isn't any. That said, there has to be something symbolic about Thomas Vanek blowing by Chris Drury for two of his goals last night, right? I think so.