Sunday, October 25, 2009

I Love the Buffalo Sabres - For Real!

Funny thing.  I zoned in and out of the Tampa Bay game.  We weren't looking very good at all and the game was a bit of a snooze.  As my buddy Joe pointed out, all you really needed to watch was the last minute or so of each period.  Everything else was kind of a waste of time.  But despite all that, when time was ticking down, I had a very distinct feeling that the Sabres were going to tie it up.  They were starting to put on a lot of pressure and they were shooting the puck, but they were focused.  They weren't losing their heads and skating around all wily nily like they have in the final moments of games in the last couple of seasons.  I sat there and actually thought, "They're about to score."  I... haven't done that in a while.  As we all know, the team got off to a really good start last season so I've been trying to temper my emotions a bit.  I told myself just a few days ago that they needed to play this kind of hockey through November.  If we got to December 1, and they were still looking this good, then I'd get excited.  But you know what?  It's too late.  I've totally bought into this team and tonight was just confirmation of that.

Even more importantly, tonight, watching the boys dogpile on Tyler Myers after his shootout-winning goal, I felt real affection for the team.  I was laughing at Ryan Miller trying to get to Tyler, at Hank leaping onto the pile, at Tyler and Goose hitting the ice, at Harry Neale yelling, "Tiiiiimbeeeer!" and I was overcome with warm fuzzies.  At one point last season I blogged about how I was cheering for the team out of loyalty but that I didn't really like them.  I didn't feel bad for them when they lost.  I felt bad for me.  I don't feel happy for them when they won.  I just felt relieved that they didn't lose again.  This season has been different, and I really hope it stays that way because lord knows it's way more fun when you actually love the team you're cheering for.

But while we're talking about Tyler Myers' shootout goal, I do not understand why Lindy Ruff insists on using guys who are historically not very good at shootouts.  I think Derek Roy's numbers are probably okayish - I know there was a string of games last year where I groaned upon seeing him skate to center ice only to be surprised when he scored - but I feel like Thomas Vanek and Jason Pominville have never scored in a shootout ever.  We've been doing this long enough now to realize that the shootout is a weird little skill.  Being a great in-game offensive player doesn't equal being good in the shootout just like being a great in-game goalie doesn't equal being good in the shootout.  If the d-men are the best at the shootout drills in practice, for the love of all that is good in this world, let them shoot in the games.  Why wait until we're six shooters in and the opponent has used their best shooters?  I spent the whole shootout yelling for a d-men (Hank and Tyler specifically).  Hopefully Lindy reads this.

7 comments:

Katebits said...

WOOOOOOOOOOOOO! I woke up this morning and the first thing i thought was "Yay SAAAABBRES!" THAT hasn't happened in quite some time.

brian s. said...

With about 3 or 4 minutes left in the third I ordered one last drink at the bar "to get me through overtime." I am totally smitten with this team and after some initial reluctance on the whole Tyler Myers experiment have been completely won over and hope he can continue playing as well as he has. As the kid sitting next to me said last night "There will be a lot of Myers jerseys sold tomorrow."

Shelby Rose said...

I don't understand Lindy's way of putting guys in the shootout either. I love Thomas Vanek to pieces but the guy is obviously not confident in shootouts. At least he didn't try his around the world move yesterday. Lindy should switch it up all the time, just to keep the opposing team on their toes. Also, this team's secret weapons seem to be the defensemen so he should throw one in the shootout lineup all the time.

I am already excited about this team, and I'm trying not to get ahead of myself. This team is just really different from the past three seasons...and I have a good feeling about them already even though it's only October.

Ebscer said...

I am pretty sure Lindy does read this...

Heather B. said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one feeling so warm and fuzzy.

I am pretty sure Lindy does read this...

I don't see why he wouldn't really. Lindy, next time, d-man in the top 3, okay?

Mark B said...

Along with the D-men, I'd like the see MacArthur and Kennedy in the shootout.

I'm still a little apprehensive about getting excited about the team. I want to give it a few games in November at least.

Bowl of Pork said...

Could be just me, but I thought Lindy had gotten the message pretty clearly that Vanek wasn't up for the specific pressures of the shootout. Makes me wonder if maybe Vanek was in last night because he just wanted a shot at it...