Yeah, so um... Henrik Tallinder was really good last night? Yay?
(I wrote the above right after the game ended, popped in some Firefly DVDs to wash away the grossness of this hockey weekend, and three hours later, whoops, I haven't added anything else.)
I am perplexed by this entire weekend. Despite all the talk about this being a demarctation point in the season, I didn't think it was going to be that big of a deal. I mean, yes Philly, Boston and the like are more talented than the teams the Sabres have been playing for the last month. But they've also not been playing very well and they're banged up. Kevin wrote a post a few days ago about how the teams we played in October have been almost as good as the teams coming up in November. Plus, it seemed that everyone was forgetting that one of the inexplicable things about the Sabres the last two years is that while they've sucked it up against non-playoff teams, they've played pretty well against the teams above them. So I was feeling pretty good about this weekend.
Jeez. How long is November. Almost over, right? Please?
I don't want to take any credit from Philly and Boston because they are talented teams for sure. As was stated a few times Friday night, Philly in particular has the ability to skate with the Sabres like few teams in the conference do. But the Sabres team that played this weekend looked completely different from the Sabres team that played in the first fifteen or so games. Just no fight or scrap at all, no digging for pucks, not as much shooting, sloppy defense. No effort at all AGAIN. All the talking heads went on and on about this being a wake-up call but come on, aren't we past that yet? Wasn't last season a wake-up call that being successful in the NHL requires a 60 minute effort every night? Or the season before that? Or the playoffs before that?
There are many, many things we could talk about, but for now, I'll just say this: I'm officially worried about our top six. I love our third and fourth lines. They're wonderful. I'd like to marry them and have German-Canadian-American hard-working, grinding, defensively-responsible babies. But when all is said and done, guys on the third and fourth lines are on the third and fourth lines for a reason. They're not supposed to carry your offense, they're supposed to be a complement to your top two lines. In theory I like Thomas Vanek and Derek Roy and Jason Pominville and Tim Connolly but none of them have shown the ability to take over a game, not consistently at least. Every time Mike Richards broke loose with the puck, my heart sank because I knew he would score, I just knew it. Even if he hadn't the time before, he scared me. No one in our top six makes me feel that way. None of them make me think, "That's a goal." And that's probably not a good thing. I love Mike Grier, but Mike Grier scoring goals can't be our game plan, you know?
So yeah, I'm taking a mulligan on this weekend. Hopefully the next one will be better.