But missing the playoffs? Come on, they're not missing the playoffs. The Eastern Conference is way too bad for that. I'd be more concerned if I was a Canadiens or Rangers fan because from what I've seen of them lately, they're a friggin' mess and they're getting worse in the stretch. The Sabres have played really well for a month and lost one game while missing numerous players, some of them pretty important. It's one game. If the team plays like that for the next couple of games, then maybe I'll worry. For now it's one game. It's a little too early to sound the alarms.
A few things:
-- I think I would've preferred it if Lindy had tried just dropping Nathan Gerbe in Thomas Vanek's spot with Drew Stafford and Tim Connolly. Then he's with the best set-up man on the team in Timmy and if it works, Lindy doesn't have to monkey with any of the other lines. I'm far too lazy to look this up right now - it's 2:08 a.m. and I'm a blogger not a journalist - but the only acceptable explanation is if Gerbe doesn't play on the same side as Vanek. As smart as I like to pretend I am about hockey, I can never remember who plays on what side and often willfully ignore that information.
-- Note to the Sabres: If someone touches your goalie, punch him in the head immediately. It's not hard and I really think everyone in the arena would applaud you taking that penalty. Also, people not named Tim Connolly are allowed to shoot the puck.
-- Note to the goalie: Dude, what the heck. That Daniel Alfredsson shot that trickled in between your legs? That puck was moving so slowly that I'm sure I could've run down from my seat and stopped it before it crossed the goal line. Look alive there, pal.
-- I wore my Tim Connolly jersey to the Ottawa game. I had retired it after his brief fling as my favorite ended but since Hank is hurt and Timmy has been playing so well, I dug it out of the depths of my closet. Even though it's a size larger, I spent the entire night pulling at it and readjusting it and just being generally uncomfortable. It felt all wrong. I think that was partly because it's a goat head so I felt weird in a sea of blue and gold but I'm pretty sure it's also because I really should've been wearing my Hank jersey, injured or no. (Speaking of Hank, I had a great view of him in the box where scratched players sit. He spent the entire evening with 3 blonde women sitting on one side of him and three different blonde women sitting on the other side of him. He did not seem particularly broken up about not being on the ice.) Anyway, tonight it's back to #10 for me.
-- I've written many, many times before about how watching and blogging about the Sabres really helped me feel settled in Buffalo, leading me a lot of the people I now consider really good friends. The girls I went to the game with last night definitely fall into that category. Monica and I worked in the same classroom for a few years - she was the teacher, I was the aide - so we would've been friends anyway but I was more or less just acquaintances with Sue and Kathy until we realized we were all Sabres fans. This is the third season we've bought a few games together and we always have a blast regardless of the game's outcome. Sue and Monica in particular really held my hand through the worst of the infertility trial a few years ago and in a weird kind of way, I can thank the Sabres for having that support system in my life.
This is not Monica, Sue or Kathy but the only picture I could find of them didn't include me and gosh darn it, I want to be on my own blog. Sorry, ladies.
-- Not a huge fan of the new opening video. I would agree that City of Blinding Lights isn't a particularly good fit for Buffalo but I love the song and I love the big, sweeping joyous sound to it. I think that makes it a good fit for a video like this. I couldn't quite put my finger on what I didn't like about the new video but I think Kevin nailed it. While it's a good idea, it comes across as very, very stagey. The more candid shots of fans really are a lot more fun.
-- Here's to hoping we don't get killed by the Sharks tonight. I don't know why but I have a pretty decent feeling about it. For all the complaints that can be made about the current Sabres team, they do seem to get up pretty well for tough opponents.