So when I discovered that Chris Butler was going to start and Henrik Tallinder was a healthy scratch, I was sure Hank was going to be traded before morning. One of my best blogging buddies, Patty (in Dallas) of Penalty Killing, watched her favorite player, Philippe Boucher, get traded after being a healthy scratch and with that fresh in my mind, I went into a bit of a panic.
Putting on my GM hat, I could make perfect sense of dealing Hank. Chris Butler clearly has to play somewhere and the Sabres don't seem to want to send him back to Portland. That means we have too many d-men. Someone has to go somewhere, right? Even though people in Buffalo feel like Hank has never quite turned into what we thought he was going to be, listening to other team's broadcasts or national broadcasts makes it clear that he's still well thought of around the league. He's a good defenseman. He's also an appealing trade because he's signed through the end of next season and to a very reasonable contract by the standards of today's market. Out of our defensive corp, he'd probably get one of the better returns.
But emotionally I'm not prepared for this scenario at all. Who's my next favorite player? Whose jersey will I wear? For crying out loud, who will go in the banner of this here freakin' blog?! Weird thing about favorite players... Logic goes out the window. Elma left a comment a couple of weeks ago suggesting that I was cranky out of disappointment with Hank and that's just not the case. I'm disappointed, yes. I really thought he and Toni Lydman were on the cusp of being a really great shut-down pairing and they've never really made that leap. But somehow that doesn't make me like him (or Toni, for the record) any less because... I love him. I just do. I can't explain it. There's something about him that strikes me in a way that no one else on the team quite does and that's just the way it is. When he leaves Buffalo, whether it's now or later, I'll be really, really sad in a way that I haven't been since Andy Van Slyke left the Pirates in 1994.
Besides, if we're sitting people on merit shouldn't it be Teppo Numminen in the press box? I love Teppo and can't wait to see him wandering around behind the bench in a suit next season. I'm certainly not going to backtrack and say he never should've been re-signed because I loved the deal when it happened. I totally get why Sabres management decided to give the old guy one more season. I really think it made sense on both sides. But it hasn't worked out. Teppo has definitely lost a step this season and it's probably time for him to hang 'em up at the end of the year. But he's playing while Hank, who's been better since the last scratching, I thought, is watching. But maybe I'm biased.
So I don't know... What do you guys think? Is Hank getting traded? (There's only one answer to that question, btw.) What needs to be done on defense? Who plays and who sits? I'm going to go to work and wait for a phone call telling me my favorite player is on his way to Phoenix a.ka. Off the Edge of the World.
(As for the games this weekend, nice to see Ryan Miller steal - or attempt to steal - a couple. Can't believe the team wasted his effort against Detroit although I suppose that's what happens when you let them have 48 shots especially when you're going to take about half that many shots yourself. Hey, maybe Lindy should reconsider which d-man he sat...)