Kate and I had an interesting little conversation about the lack of heroics so far this year. Obviously, balanced scoring is a much better way to go about playing hockey. One of the most important difference between last season's start and this season's start has been how spread across the roster the scoring has been. Last year the Sabres won so many games in October because Thomas Vanek was playing like a man possessed. The problem of course was that when he came down to earth, no one else stepped up. This October the team has gotten contributions from every line but while that's much more likely to carry into success in November, it sometimes isn't as exciting to watch. Kate talked about how riveting she found Vanek last season, how there were games where she couldn't take her eyes off him, and as a fan, that's a lot of fun. It's easier to overlook guys when everyone's sharing the wealth. I was shocked when I looked at Tim Connolly's stats yesterday because I feel like he hasn't done anything. Instead of one guy looking totally awesome and amazing, everyone seems kind of quiet and average. But hey, a good, balanced, occasionally unexciting team is a good problem to have.
Other odds and ends:
-- I was shocked to discover just now that Matt Ellis is only 28. For some reason I thought he was 33, 34, kind of a journeyman veteran.
-- Congratulations to the Pominvilles! Jayden feels very much like a girl's name to me - so far Blake Vanek totally wins the Sabres baby name game - and I feel like Pommers is way too young to be reproducing but that's mostly because he'll probably always strike me as 15-years-old.
-- We kind of vaguely noted that we hadn't seen Vanek in a while at one point and his ice time does suggest that he was being benched. I admit, we weren't paying very close attention. Any idea why? Did they say anything about his ice-time on the TV broadcast? I know I've been harping on Lindy Ruff's tendency to bury players in the doghouse, but the Ruff-Vanek relationship is the one that concerns me the most. We need Vanek to be able to function for oh, five more years or so.
-- That said, I don't even care about Vanek's line right now because dude, our third and fourth lines are awesome. Those six guys - Grier, Kennedy, Hecht, Ellis, Goose, and Kaleta - are so much fun to watch. I would give them just a touch more skill if I could, but they are all over the ice, fighting for pucks, going after guys, and never ever taking it easy. I'd like to give them all a huge hug right now. If our top six played like that, they would be untouchable.
-- Kudos to the Sabres for putting the World Series game on both the TVs in the concourses and on the jumbotron during the second intermission. I hate the Yankees, I never want to hear the words "Core 4" again, and I certainly don't want to listen to any jibber jabber about the LONG WORLD SERIES DROUGHT for Yankees players and fans. (Seriously, Chris Rose talking to Jorge Posado about how AWFUL it must have been to wait EIGHT YEARS for his FOURTH WORLD SERIES RING made me want to put the coffee table through the TV.) That said, I have a soft spot for Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera so I was glad they got to start and finish the clinching game. And while I hate many, many things about Fox's baseball coverage, I really love the around the field thing they started doing last season where they replay the final out of the game over and over, each time focusing on a different player on the field. I really like seeing everyone's reactions (instead of Derek Jeter's over and over and over and over) and found the reactions of Posada and Joe Girardi to be particularly appealing. Posada looked so much like a happy little boy which I'm a sucker for, and Girardi managed to express anxiety, relief, and joy in the span of a split second.
-- That said, the Yankees suck and anyone who cheers for them has a black hole where his or her soul should be.
The last time the Pirates won the World Series. 1979. I was not yet 2-years-old. Heck, the last .500 season was 1992. That's a drought, douchebags.