All right, I have a confession to make: I fell asleep during tonight's game. I missed most of the second period and all of the third period. I woke up in time to hear a little bit of Lindy's press conference. I feel terrible. TBN just pimped this out as a great blog and I slept through the fourth game of the season. But I was so tired and the couch was so comfortable and Rick Jeanneret's voice is so soothing... Listen, does your job involve being kicked and bitten while chasing hyperactive and emotional 7-year-olds around a school building? No, I didn't think so. So back off!
Judging by the reaction here when I did wake up, I missed Thomas Vanek walking on water and raising Tim Horton from the dead. We can't have children of our own for various reasons and I'm pretty sure Mark is sitting at the computer drafting a letter to Vanek's agent offering me up as a vessel for more little Vanek babies.
Thanks to the magic of DVR, I zipped through the parts of the game I missed and I have to admit, that might be a letter worth writing. Like most people I am absolutely amazed at the difference between Thomas Vanek at the beginning of last season and Thomas Vanek one year later. It's such a remarkable change on and off the ice. He's more confident, he's more mature and he's busting his ass. I never completely bought into the lazy Vanek stereotype but there's no doubt he's working harder this season. Ales Kotalik might have scored that last goal but it all started with Vanek bulldozing past the opposing player to get to the puck, pushing through the guy trying to hold him up and having the presence of mind to throw the puck in front of the net even though a penalty had been called. That's a player just dominating everything and everyone around him. And really, how cute was that accidental pile up when he and Al celebrated that goal? I think they were having more fun in that one moment than they had in all of last season. I'm just glad no one broke a finger. Funny how suddenly no one is complaining about how they wish we had all those first round draft picks...
I'll make one more confession: While I'm delighted at the great start and I'm also delighted that I was mostly right about this team, just a season early, I'm finding it a lot tougher to blog about a good team than a struggling team. There's something kind of inherently funny about being miserable and the Sabres managed to find so many different ways to suck last season that there was always great material. But I'm already running out of ways to say, "Wow, Thomas Vanek is really good, huh?" I'll try to keep the complaining to a minimum since it's a pretty nice problem to have but writing about a team that's actually meeting - if not surpassing - expectations is kind of a new thing. In the words of Indiana Jones, "I don't know, I'm making this up as I go."
But hey, how funny was Derek Roy getting pinned under the Canucks bench? I still have no idea how that happened but it could have only happened to Roy-Z.
(For the Vancouver perspective, check out The Humming Giraffe, written by one of my favorite blogging buddies, alix.)