Just as I was taking this picture, that kid in the bottom corner came literally skipping into view. That's exactly how I felt.
- I will admit that Tyler Myers looked pretty darn good. As everyone has said at this point, he skates really well for someone who's so tall. And he looked remarkably comfortable for someone who was playing in just his fourth preseason game. But it's still preseason hockey. He's still playing against some people who won't be on a NHL roster in games that don't really matter. It's still 4 games which is a far cry from 82. I've seen Lindy Ruff say in a few places now that he thinks Myers has the skills to play in Buffalo but that the team is still debating whether he can handle an entire NHL season. As impressive as Myers was, if there's any doubt he's not going to be ready for full-time play this year, I'd still prefer he stay in juniors another season. He's 19, the Sabres are actually probably not going to be in contention for the Stanley Cup this season, and while I'm in the minority, I think there are plenty of things he can get out of another season in Kelowna both tangible (working on positioning and decision making, increasing his weight) and intangible (more experience as the top dog in his defensive corp and on his team, potentially more serious playoff experience). And the second he plays that 10th NHL game, the clock to RFA/UFA status starts ticking. If he turns out to be half of what people are expecting, he's going to cost a small fortune when that time comes. Why start that clock until you know Myers is absolutely ready? Why rush it? After seeing him in person, I'm really excited about his future. I want him to be awesome and maybe he will be. But he has time to get there.
- The Mike Grier-Paul Gaustad-Jochen Hecht line was awesome. I'm not exaggerating when I say they were the best line out there Wednesday night. They were working hard and creating lots of chances. I could see them sometimes being frustrating because they might create chances none of them can finish, but the way they work is going to result in a lot of ugly goals. We haven't gotten nearly enough of those the last couple of years. Jochen looked much more like his old self than he did all of last season which is a very good thing. I so want him to have a good year.
- If you've ever wondered what it's like to go to a game with Kate from The Willful Caboose, well, it's pretty much like reading her blog. We had almost this exact discussion during the game.
- Using the special Twitter code, Kate and I got $20 each and got seats in the fancy 200 level. Kate sat in that section during a game last season and has not stopped talking about it since. She often referred to them as the Hot Fudge Sundae seats because the section has servers who will deliver your refreshments, including hot fudge sundaes, to your seats. I was really, really looking forward to this. Unfortunately, the servers were evidently in preseason mode too because while I did eventually find a menu (on the floor), a waitress never appeared. By the time I finally gave up and went to get something myself, everything in the 200 section was closed. Outrage! As Kate said, "We paid twenty American dollars for these seats!"
- I don't remember exactly what the circumstances were now, but there was one point in the game where I absolutely would have punched Derek Roy in the face if he'd just skated a little closer. Too much dipsy doodle, too much passing. If Hank had left two years ago, the odds are good I would have bought a Derek Roy jersey. Thank god I was saved from that fate. I probably would have burned it in effigy by this point. Ride his ass, Griersy. I want him to be awesome.
- This isn't related to the game, but for the record, I hate the potential forward lines of MacArthur-Connolly-Pominville and Vanek-Roy-Stafford. I think Vanek and Connolly have to play together. Don't try to hide Vanek from the other team. Put your best set-up man with your best goal scorer and let them go. Expect them to produce no matter who's defending them.
- Real hockey is RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER!