I went into this weekend really thinking the Sabres needed to come out with four points - as we all know, they let too many points go when playing against non-playoff teams last year - but sitting here on Sunday, I'm feeling pretty unconcerned. They looked like garbage on Friday night but still pulled out a win. I'd prefer that they'd looked better but sometimes good teams have to win bad games. Saturday they looked even worse but hey, it happens. If I'm trying not to get too excited about the wins, I think it makes sense to try to not get too down on the losses, not until they become a habit at least. It helps that a huge part of the reason we were down so quickly against the Thrashers was Tyler Myers looking very much like a rookie. I didn't enjoy watching that, but I think it's only fair to expect to see occasional games like that from a 19-year-old defenseman. If he stays up - and at this point aren't we all in agreement that he will? - this probably won't be the last game we'll see like that. Or maybe I'm just so nonchalant because I had kind of a blue weekend. Saturday was one of those days where I just couldn't get that worked up about my favorite hockey team looking bad.
Some odds and ends:
-- Something I've kept meaning to address is how much I hate Derek Roy with an A. I really, really want Derek Roy to be a great hockey player and if he turns into a leader on this team, fantastic. But I'm not down with the idea of giving him an A and hoping he'll grow into it which has to be Lindy Ruff's line of thinking here. Either give the As to people who have already earned them or just leave it at two As. Haven't we already established that trying to force maturity onto Roy isn't going to work? Why would you ever put him in a position where he's actually allowed to gripe at the refs? At one point I had a very high tolerance for some of Roy's shenanigans, but watching him moan to the ref about a call that he clearly deserved and then continue to shake his head and mumble while he watched the replay pissed me off. Shut up, Derek Roy. Shut up, and play hockey.
-- I've stated before that I don't really care if fans boo former Sabres when they return or not. I'm not much of a booer myself, but fans should be able to react how they want to react. I think some of the stances certain journalists in the area have taken on that issue the last couple of years - if you boo Chris Drury and Daniel Briere, you're cheering management just to name one - are ridiculous. That said, I was almost a little choked up at the ovation Marty Biron received when he entered the game Friday night. It was very clear that Buffalo still has a lot of affection for him. In a way, I think the tendency to boo former Sabres the last few years made Marty's reception that much sweeter. I've seen some people question why Marty got cheered when others have been booed and I really think it's as simple as Marty clearly loving Buffalo both then and now. He was and is rooted in the community in a way that Drury and Briere never quite were. Maybe they would have been some day, but both left too soon. That's my take at least.
-- Speaking of Max, regular commenter Vanek's Hair left this comment on the previous post:
Also, I was very happy to see that Max Afinogenov salted away last night's game. That's right. I said it.
I said it too. Mark took his mom to the Atlanta game and when he got home one of the first things he said was, "I guess you were happy to see Max score." Yes. Yes, I was.
-- As good as I'm still feeling about the Sabres overall, our power play is such a puzzle to me. It's so frustrating to have Patrick Kaleta, a guy who can draw penalties in his sleep, while also having a power play completely incapable of capitalizing on most of those penalties. The 5-on-3 against Atlanta was brutal. If this keeps up, it's going to drive me bonkers for sure.
-- I'm wondering if maybe there wasn't a little bit of certain players buying into their own press. They got a big win against Detroit, everyone's excited, and they come in Friday playing more loose. They get away with it because of the Islanders lousy goaltending so it continues again on Saturday but this time it gets them, partly because Hedburg is a Sabres killer and partly because Atlanta might actually be a decent team. I'm very curious to see how the team comes out for the next game. Hopefully, this is where guys like Mike Grier and Paul Gaustad step in. I want to see everyone re-focused. I feel like we never really do well in Florida (I didn't check the stats on that though) so we'll see.
-- I've always liked Ilya Kovalchuk. Considering who he's had around him for the last handful of years, his numbers are incredible. Really makes you wonder what they'd look like if he hadn't spent his career with such a dysfunctional organization. Ilya's also cute as a little button.
-- My favorite Mike Robitaille-ism is easily the variations of "He's playing like a riverboat gambler." Never fails to crack me up.