I have to admit, while I'm happy about the ultimate outcome of this weekend, I just have no idea what to make of the Sabres anymore. Are they good? Are they not good? Are they not capable of playing the way they did in the third period Saturday night all the time or are they just not interested in doing so? Are they going to only be as good as Ryan Miller all season or will they show the capability of carrying Miller (or Lalime) on down nights? I don't know. It would probably be best to stop trying to figure it out.
Lots of bloggers have said this already, but Rick Jeanneret is right: We are not worthy of Ryan Miller. We're not worthy, his teammates definitely aren't worthy.
I admit, I haven't given Paul Gaustad much thought, but he's really turned into a hockey player this season. His injury is tough because you can't just plug in another grinder and replace everything Goose does the way you could have maybe done last season or the season before. It could be a problem before all is said and done depending on how much time he misses, but if you look at it the right way, it's a good problem to have. Good on you, Goose. Honk!
I also admit, I'm not nearly as concerned about Craig Rivet missing time. I was excited about him coming to Buffalo and he certainly brings some grit as seen on Friday night, but I think injuries and age have hurt him during his time here. He hasn't been very good this season to the point where I think you could make an argument that he's hurt Chris Butler's development. I liked seeing Butler with someone else.
Speaking of defense, Andrej Sekera had a really good game Saturday night. Saw flashes of the play that has made people mention Brian Campbell. I have no idea what Sekera will turn out to be, but I'm certainly not ready to give up on him being a good NHL defenseman. Consider this your gentle reminder that you all hated Brian Campbell until he was 26-years-old. You know you did. Sekera's still only 23. He's got time yet.
Henrik Tallinder continues to be awesome. I think it's totally jumping the gun to talk about whether he should be re-signed or not, but the fact that peoeple are talking about it at all with a straight face is amazing to me.
Awwwww... It's Papa Hank!
Happy Hank = Happy Heather B.
I've heard people talking about spreading some of the bottom six among the top six, and I really hated the idea. The top six has definitely sucked it up big style for much of the season but I hated to pull the bottom six away from their strengths which, for most of them, does not include scoring goals. But I really loved Thomas Vanek, Mike Grier, and Tim Kennedy together. Kennedy's a very good passer and he and Grier both forecheck and get the puck to the net which is where Vanek really shines. And Grier absolutely would not let Vanek rest on his laurels for a single shift. I'm very curious to see if Lindy tries them together again and if they continue to click. Also, Pomiville-Roy-Hecht could be very reminiscent of Pominville-Briere-Hecht. I mean, I'd prefer we just insert Ilya Kovalchuk into the top 6 but this is practically the same thing.
If there's one Sabre I'm completely exasperated with right now it's Jason Pominville.
I'm going to miss the Tuesday-Friday-Saturday schedule. All those back-to-backs were tough on the players, I'm sure, but I have no social life so having games on Friday and Saturday were awesome. I kind of liked knowing exactly when the team was playing too. Now I'm going to be all discombobulated and it's going to be difficult to plan around them again.
Finally, can you imagine being a Hurricanes fan this weekend? Hugely blowing leads in the third period back-to-back nights? Ouch. (And also, hee!)