Saturday, November 29, 2008

I Love the Sabres!

Isn't it crazy how you can be completely exasperated with a sports team one moment (Mark said to me earlier this week, "Hockey is making you very violent") and then just completely overrun with affection for them the next moment? That's how I feel right now. Henrik Tallinder played well again, Maxim Afinogenov had one of his best games of the season, the penalty killing was awesome and game-changing, Derek Roy and Drew Stafford both look like hockey players again and Paul Gaustad, dear sweet Goose, had two goals, earning a solid 20 cents from Grandpa Goose. Nice. The Sabres played hard tonight - two games in a row - including in the third period! I almost don't know what to make of it all. A few quick thoughts before I head to bed:

- I have no stories about Milt Ellis and Dave Andreychuk because they were both before my time (I do remember Andreychuk in his last stint with Buffalo but I don't know if that really counts) but I've always thought it's really, really cool that Sabres Hall of Fame inductees get a freakin' SWORD! Think they'll ever give a blogger one of those? Because I really want one.

- Nice glasses, Darcy.

- Very rarely do I complain about officiating. I generally think that calls even out over the course of a season if not over the course of a game. Some things get missed, no big deal. Good teams kill off the penalties and seize their opportunities to score when they get them. But tonight the officiating was abysmal with the primary problem being the inconsistency. When I'm frustrated because I can't tell what's going to get a call and what isn't, I imagine the players have to be feeling the same way. I'm pretty happy that the Sabres were able to put aside any frustration about calls/no calls and focus on the game. They should be able to do that but focus hasn't been their strong point so far, eh?

- I'm afraid Patrick Kaleta is developing a reputation. Even if you put aside tonight's poor officiating, he's been on the rough end of more than a few calls the last few games. I'm not sure what do with that. The way he plays right now, he's not going to be nearly as effective if he's gaining more penalties than he's drawing. I'm also really tired of the TV broadcast showing us HUGE HITS than consist of him hitting 90% boards and glass and 10% player. I get that he brings a physicality to the ice that very few Sabres do and I know he has opponents looking over their shoulder at him but I don't know, my personal jury is still out on him, I think.

- Wow, it sure is nice to win a game - two in a row now! - that Thomas Vanek didn't score a goal in. I was afraid we were going to have to live and die with him all season. Nice to know someone else might step up and put it in the net when Vanek cools off for stretches. (Short ones, Thomas! I am NOT giving you permission to stop scoring goals.)

- John Curry played well tonight. I don't know enough about goaltending to comment on technique and stuff like that but he kept the puck out of the net a lot and that's what counts, right? If I'd voted, he would've been one of the three stars tonight. He and Sidney Crosby kept the Penguins in the game.

- Sidney Crosby is really good at hockey. I know, this is in the amazing insight that keeps you coming back here. Both of his goals were pretty impressive though. I love when guys knock the puck out of the air and he absolutely blew Ryan Miller away on his second goal. As much as I usually like Sid however, I did enjoy his stick slamming snit fit. In fairness to him, it was a very quick whistle and I'm sure he was frustrated at the missed opportunity. That said, hey, screw you, Sid. Ha!

- Back in 2006-2007, I joked that the Sabres started spiraling when one of them caught a glimpse of himself in the mirror and pointed out to the team how ugly they looked in their jerseys now. But you know, we're 2-0 now in the new third. Makes you think. Even hockey boys need to look good. I'm still not a fan of the silver piping - it's not the color so much as the style of the piping not meshing well with the simple, classic striping on the sleeves and waists - but it's unquestionably better looking than the slug. In case I haven't made myself clear, I'll be very, very happy when the slug moves into oblivion. The ugly piping is keeping me from rushing out and ordering a new jersey right this very second but when the time comes to replace my current vintage, I'll gladly wear one of these.

- Overall a good win for the Sabres. I'll gladly take it.

Wow, when did it get to be 2:57 in the morning? Hope this post makes sense.


Gambler said...

I know exactly what you mean about the mood swings of a hockey fan. Last Saturday after we lost to the Islanders I turned to my friends and told them I hated the Sabres and if I ever tried to say I loved them again I was lying. But there I was last night cheering and making ridiculous "awww"ing noises at the post-game celebration (so cute!). That's just the beauty of being a sports fan, I guess.

Unrelated, but would you want an Andy Van Slyke baseball card? My mom and I ran across it while we were antique shopping yesterday and I thought of you. It was ten cents so I just picked it up and figured I'd see if you wanted it. Let me know and I can get it to you over Christmas sometime.

Love the post!

Heather B. said...

Gambler, I would love an AVS card! That's so sweet of you to have thought of me. I'll drop you an email so we can talk details. Thanks! :)

I don't know how I forgot to mention that postgame celebration. It really looked like they were all trying to tickle Ryan, didn't it? Too cute.

Mark B said...

I officially hate the Penguins. What a bunch of whiny babies. I'm thinking you're not the team that had the right to complain last night Pens! All the goodwill I started to feel for Crosby the last year is gone.

Could Drew be back? I'm so happy; hope it lasts.

Cari said...

But you know, we're 2-0 now in the new third. Makes you think. Even hockey boys need to look good.

I said the EXACT same thing...

Anne M said...

The officiating last night was ridiculous. I understand no one is perfect, but the number of mistakes last night (botched offsides and icing, missing too many men for Pittsburgh when there were approximately 15 white jerseys on the ice at one point) would be unacceptable in another job. I usually feel like the good and bad evens out in the end, but when the officials returned to a shower of boos before the third, I noticed the two Pens fans in my section quietly clapping. So even they knew their team was getting a little lucky with the refs.

Crazy officiating aside, last night was one of the best games I've ever been to. Great pace, great chances for both teams, the crowd was really into it and of course a win for the good guys. More games like this, please.

I wonder if Vanek will play tonight. He seemed to be low on gas in the third last night, like he was a half-step off. Good on him for playing through an injury, but 3 games in 4 nights (or 4 in 6 if you count Monday's Nashville game) might be a little more than he should do.

On an unrelated note, I warmed up for last night's game by watching Vanek's Hair, our cousin, and other "regular guys" play in a charity game against Sabres alumni. The entertainment value of this game cannot be overstated--it's hilarious to see the likes of Rob Ray, Matt Barnaby, Craig Muni, Morris Titanic, et al take on the hardworking guys of your neighborhood rink.

Heather B. said...

It really was a fun game. I was pretty pissed about the officiating which made me a grump for a while but any time you have guys like Toni Lydman bringing up lumber during in the other team's faces during scuffles, it's a good time.

Anne, I *so* wish I could've seen Vanek's Hair and crew take on Rob Ray and the other alumni. Sounds like a great time. What a great night you had!

Vanek's Hair said...

And it is important to point out that Vanek's Hair had an assist in the game (not the Sabres v. Penguins) and also was 2 for 2 in faceoffs against Rob Ray.