I do remember the overwhelming joy I felt on Friday and Saturday. I know a lot of non-sports fans would scoff at the use of a word as strong as "joy" when talking about watching a bunch of grown-men knocking a frozen piece of rubber around a sheet of ice, but it fits. Before both of the last two seasons I've been fairly optimistic about the team, sometimes vocally so, but the little brats I had finally beat the, "THESE GUYS ARE GOOD, I SWEAR! SOMEWHERE IN THERE IS A GOOD HOCKEY TEAM!" out of me. So to finally, finally see them playing well against good, physical teams on back-to-back nights instead of throwing numerous excuses out at the end of the night? That's good stuff right there.
A few thoughts:
-- I'm most happy that the Sabres managed to play this way without Mike Grier in the line-up. I admit, I was worried about him being out. If we've learned anything the last two years it's that you could hang a sign from some of these guy's visors that says, "YOU MUST PLAY HARD THIS SHIFT IF YOU WANT TO WIN," and they'd still forget. I know Grier isn't dead or anything, but I was concerned that not having him right there keeping them in line would be disastrous. Maybe... maybe they're learning?
-- Kudos to Darcy Regier for calling up Tyler Ennis for the night. I'm sure he'll go right back down when Drew Stafford is cleared, but it's nice for him to get a little taste of the NHL. And it was nice for us to get a taste of his potential. Holy moses, there is pure talent just pouring off of him. I'm more than fine with him getting seasoning and experience being the go-to guy in the AHL, but wow, a future with him, Myers, and Kennedy seems pretty good, doesn't it? Also, I'd like to point out once again that I saw the Twin Tylers drafted live and in person in Ottawa. Seems like I might be good luck. Maybe the Sabres should consider sending me to every draft?
I do have to wonder if playing him was against some kind of child labor law. Look at him. Apperance-wise he'd fit right in with my classes P.E. group.
Seriously, he looks like he's wearing his dad's jersey. (Photo by Len Redkoles/Getty Images)
-- I wasn't particularly affected one way or the other by the waiving of Adam Mair - I like him but I'm not overly attached to him - but I do give him a ton of credit for taking the whole thing - not playing, getting waived and not picked up, not playing some more - like a champ. When he got the chance to play this weekend, he came out like gangbusters and he did provide something that no one else on the roster really does. I don't think NHL teams really need an old-school enforcer anymore, but it is nice to have a guy around who can and will drop the gloves effectively. Some food for thought.
-- I think I've said this before but I don't understand why Jarome Iginla isn't a huge, huge star. Every time I see that NHL Network commercial that features a string of players saying, "Hockey is for everyone," I wonder again. In those fleeting seconds he seems so natural and likable. He's handsome, he has a gorgeous smile, and oh, yeah, he's really, really good at hockey. He's a more well-rounded player than Alexander Ovechkin and he's more natural on camera than Sidney Crosby. Get that man out there, NHL. Good grief.
-- I probably shouldn't even think about the Sabres' playoff hopes until the new year at least, but the one thing we really, really need yet is a good point man on the power play. Our power play is atrocious anyway - note to Tim Connolly: you're very good but NOT good enough to skate through FOUR PLAYERS and I feel you probably should have learned that the first three times you tried and failed - but we really need someone who can get a shot through to the guys in front of the net. Noodle that one, Darcy. (I know, I'm really getting ahead of myself. I can't help it.)
-- Seriously now, why was Gumby at the game Friday? Every time they showed him just chilling in his seat, I cracked up. I'm cracking up now just thinking about it. And where was Pokey? Tied up in the parking deck? Will Wallace and Gromit make an appearance this weekend?
-- I know those of you who aren't on Twitter probably hate listening to people talk about it - I used to be there - but Drew Stafford's Twitter feed is delightful. I've always had kind of a weird relationship with Stafford. And by weird I mean, I didn't like him at all. He just seemed way too hipster ironic for me. I prefer sweet and sincere. Kate mentioned loving his Twitter recently and as much as I love her, I still rolled my eyes and thought, "No way." But Friday night when he tweeted, "Listen pocahontas, unless you put your ear to the ground you'll never hear the buffalo comin'" after the game, I'm pretty sure I actually felt my heart crack open. And then after the game Saturday night he sent, "Tennis the menance crushes hotladelphia" and I was a goner. First of all, Tennis the Menace is a great nickname. (I admit, it took me a few long seconds to sort out T. Ennis = Tennis). Second of all, his habit of writing Hot(name of city) a la Hotlanta really is kind of amusing, Hotladelphia being my favorite so far. (Okay, Kate was right.)
-- I'm not entirely sure if "Tennis the Menace" really IS a great nickname or if it just seems great in comparison to the typical hockey player "Name+sy" equation. Thoughts?
-- Henrik Tallinder is awesome at hockey again. Just for the record.