Saturday, October 18, 2008

Thomas Vanek Is Good at Hockey

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 stole this photo from another blog so I don't know who took it. Sorry Mr. Photog!

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.)


twoeightnine said...

That picture is all sorts of win. Mair with another Mair-Face. Teppo with the "fucking kids, get off my lawn" look.

karen said...

"...does your job involve being kicked and bitten while chasing hyperactive and emotional 7-year-olds around a school building?"

No. VERY no. You are my hero for facing that every day - if I had to, I might just be in prison. I don't think schools like it when you duct tape kids to the wall.

Mark B said...

One of my co-workers on more than one occasion has pointed out that the Sabres really didn't have a player that outright *scared* the opposition when he has the puck.

That might have been true last year, but I would say that's way over now. After the first game, I said it was nice to have the Vanek from two years ago back.

I was wrong. This is a whole different Vanek. Every time he has the puck, the D backs off and I can sense great things happening.

This guy is elite folks. This may be bold, but I'm talking Crosby, Ovechkin, Zetterberg type elite right now.

Keep it up TV!

How much is Vanek's Hair loving life right now??

Evan said... could write about how your boy Hank seems to be a tad weak lately....

We've been good but not perfect. Roy has been invisible, and has taken a page from max in the "dangle till i turn it over" book

Heather B. said...

Karen, thank you! I wasn't really fishing for compliments there, I promise... but I'll gladly take 'em. (And yes, taping kids to things would probably be labeled "non-therapeutic" at my place of employment.)

Evan, I'm mulling over what to do about Hank. My M.O. has always been to ignore things until his poor play is absolutely undeniable but I assure you, I've definitely taken note of things like him being on the ice for 4 of 5 goals against so far.

We were just saying here the other night that Bad Max has moved into Derek Roy's body.

Lee Andrew said...

Bad Max? Is that Mad Max's evil twin? Bad Max: Beyond Thundergnome (No, I don't know what THundergnome means either, just go with it)

TheSharpie said...

Well at least you're a Sabres blogger who watches or listens to at least some of the games. No, my job doesn't involve chasing around hyperactive and emotional 7-year-olds, but it did involve getting thrown around and then pepper sprayed this week. Iraq had better have better internet access than this place.