A number of bloggers have recently written about how much they hate The System. I am fine with The System. If The System wins hockey games - and clearly it does - I say sign The System to a long-term contract pronto. I am all about responsible defensive hockey. I like offense in the sense that it's hard to win without at least a little bit of it, but I'm perfectly happy to watch solid defense and it doesn't even have to preclude offense.
What I am tired of - and what I suspect most people are tired of - is The System being used as an excuse after every loss. "We didn't stick to the system. We need to stick to the system." This bothers me for two reasons. One, if sticking to The System works maybe you should all consider... sticking to the system. You know, EVERY GAME. Watching you play painfully disorganized hockey and then say, "Huh. Guess we should have stuck to The System," is tedious at best and homicide-inducing at worst. Two, blaming The System has turned into a very convenient way to avoid taking any personal responsibility. I guess technically when Jason Pominville says, "We didn't stick to The System," he is saying, "We didn't play very well," but just once I'd like him to just SAY, "We didn't play very well." When is the last time time someone not named Ryan Miller came right out and said, "I was garbage." It's been a while.
That brings me to Derek Roy. Many, many people love to hate Derek Roy and for totally understandable reasons. He's a whining, diving punk who has a smirk on his face 98% of the time. I, however, have never held any hate in my heart for Derek. I love him, I have always loved him, and I have never failed to defend him. Ask Kate or Pookie and Schnookie all of whom have had to listen to me pontificate about Derek Roy and how underneath all that little person swagger is a really, really good hockey player. As I've over and over and over, "Ah, I love that little bastard."
If I ran into Derek Roy on the street tomorrow I'd punch him in the nose. He is driving me INSANE. I don't know what has happened to my Roy-Z Tolerance but it's completely gone. Everything about him right now makes me feel homicidal. The tripping all over the ice in desperation to get a call is killing me. The lolly-gagging around the ice is killing me. The nonchalant, "I think I'm playing pretty good I'm just not scoring," is killing me. (An email to friends after that quote: I wanted to punch Roy-Z square in the nose when I read a quote from him this morning saying something along the lines of, "I think I've been playing well, I just haven't been scoring goals." Dude, you're blowing chunks out there. You're hurting hockey. You're making hockey cry in agony. Just fess up.) The stupid penalty in friggin' OVERTIME is killing me. The whining about the call afterwards and the hinting that the opposing player took a dive IS KILLING ME. Derek Roy is lucky I was in Pittsburgh when he was standing in the room whining about his stupid penalty because had I been in Buffalo I would have jumped in my car, driven to the arena, crashed the dressing room and put the heel of my snow boot through his front teeth. At this point, I would vote to deduct from his All-Star totals if I could. Derek Roy, for the love of all that is good and right in this here world, just say it: Tonight I sucked at hockey. My bad.
Look, I don't want guys who are playing poorly to be all dreary and suicidal. Watching Thomas Vanek give interview after interview last season in which he looked like he was going to leap from the top of HSBC Arena as soon as he was done wasn't really that much fun. I know part of being a successful athlete is staying on an even keel, not getting too high after the great games or too low after the bad games. The NHL season is a long one and players are going to have stretches where they struggle and they just have to push through. I have no doubt that the way Vanek was beating himself up last season was just sending him into a deeper spiral. But I also hate it when I feel like I care more about losses and struggles than the team does. It's annoying.
You know those Mac/PC commercials? (I love those commercials but for me they just don't accomplish what I think Apple intends. I find PC very sweet and lovable and Mac a little bit of a pompous douchebag. But I digress...) There's a spot out now where PC is carrying around a buzzer and every time someone says "Vista" he buzzes over it in an effort to get people to stop saying it. I'm about to beg the Sabres for press credentials just so I can stand in the corner of the dressing room on a stool and hit my buzzer every time someone says "System." And then on the way out I'm going to kick Derek Roy in the shin.
On a completely different note, I'm having a hard time deciding where our pregame meal should be tonight. I've narrowed the choices down to Founding Fathers, Gabriel's and Mother's. Any opinions?