Archive for the ‘Max Afinogenov’ Category

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Yee-Haw!

March 25, 2009

- I was all set to write the 2008-09 Sabres eulogy after the Panthers went up 3-1. However, the Sabres surprised the heck out of me (and probably the rest of the Sabrelogosphere) by scoring four unanswered goals to win the game 5-3. This was one of the most complete games I’ve seen in awhile. The Sabres figured out that if you get pucks to the net, they’re actually going to go in. Teammates were sticking up for each other and Tellqvist put in a solid effort in net.

- Kaleta and Gaustad were once again hitting everything in sight. During one shift in the late second period, Gaustad had two monster hits on two Panthers at opposite ends of the ice. In addition to the hits on the Panthers, Gaustad took out two goalposts; one with his arm and the other with his face. Thankfully, the pretty wasn’t too damaged from the post.

- I wish we would have had subtitles for the Lindy/Max discussion after Max was out on the ice for 2:04. That looked like it was not a happy discussion on either side, but knowing who said what may very well have just made it funnier. While Lindy explained in his postgame press conference that the two had a meeting of the minds where each thought that they were in the right, Lindy thought the discussion ended moreso on his side of the fence. The press room cracked up at that one.

- Judging by Yahoo’s box score, it looks like Stafford may have moved into Lindy’s doghouse for the night. He was the forward with the lowest amount of ice time.

- I said it after the last game, but I like Dominic Moore. Can we keep him? I’ll water him and feed him and take him for walks. Please Darcy, please? Seriously though, I like Moore’s work ethic. He’s been a solid penalty killer, and there was one stretch in maybe the second period, where he seemed like he had the puck for for-fucking-ever in the Florida zone and the Panthers could not get it away from him. He’s also sticking up for his new teammates, and he’s Harvard educated. And Ryan Miller likes that there’s another college guy in the room. While he may not be worth the $3 million that he was allegedly looking for from the Leafs, Miller would be a solid addition to the team for next year. He’s got to be better than Max or some of the other dead wood chilling out on the roster.

- What in the wide world of sports happened after Max scored the empty net goal? Was it really necessary for the Panthers to attack him? On the other hand, I did like that the Sabres all jumped to Max’s defense. Does anyone else get kind of twitchy seeing Timmy jump into scrums like that? However, the Rivet/Ballard fight was HOT. I haven’t seen a Sabre stick up for a teammate like that in a good long time. Rivet kicked the ever loving snot out of Ballard. That was refreshing to see. And what did C-Mac do to deserve the 10-minute misconduct? I just saw him being escorted off the ice.

- I really hope that with Miller returning on Friday that the stick-up-for-your-teammate-ness continues. You know darn well that the Leafs are going to run Miller and run him hard. I want to see heads roll if Miller so much as gets sneezed on by a Leaf.

- I don’t know what was funnier, Clarke MacArthur high-fiving Sabretooth as C-Mac left the ice after being involved in the scrum after the Sabres 5th goal, or Lindy high-fiving ‘Tooth after the game was over.

- I fully admit to watching the last five minutes of the game in a state of suspense, half thinking that the Sabres were going to do something monumentally stupid and lose the game despite roaring back from a 2 goal deficit.

- I really liked Lindy’s tie tonight. The black-and-white design was striking and very lovely.

- What happens to Tellqvist/Lalime when Miller comes back on Friday? Does the team keep Lalime as a backup and send Tellqvist to the press box? Or would Lindy send Lalime to the press box and keep Tellqvist as the backup based on a solid performance tonight?

- I liked that Lindy came out and praised the boys after tonight’s game. He pointed out that the energy in the 3rd period came from the guys in the room. Rivet, Pommers and Vanek were all mentioned as bringing the energy. Kaleta and Gaustad were praised for having a solid, energetic stretch and not giving up despite being -2 for the night. (Both finished with a -3 for the night.)

- The Sabres are 5 points out of 8th place. The Habs continuing their slide and role as “Late Season Hot Mess: Eastern Edition” could benefit the Sabres as the final nine games of the season approach. Karma would be a bitch for the Habs if they didn’t make the playoffs, as they – and their fanbase – had pretty much engraved their names on the Cup at the beginning of the season. And if the Habs don’t make the playoffs, do you blame Gainey? The slide really didn’t start in full effect until Carbonneau was biffed.

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T-Minus One Day to Trade Deadline

March 3, 2009

- So with just over one day left until the official trade deadline, do we think that Timmy will be shipped out? Will Max be traded for that 10 pound catfish that will be a part of the team’s next dinner or will he be left to flounder and pout in the press box for the remainder of the year? Will Darcy blow up the defense and trade Tallinder and/or Spacek? Decisions, decisions.

- Will the mystery and intrigue behind the Bill Guerin fiasco finally be revealed? I love how everyday a new contender for Guerin’s services emerges.  “It’s Montreal. No, it’s Washington. No, it’s Philly.” (Which how in the heck can Guerin go to Philly when they had to dump half their roster to get the Hobbit back in their lineup. Which may or may not have been in violation of league rules, according to Bucky.)

- TSN has a really interesting article on how different people in the hockey world focus on the trade deadline. I found the comments by Craig Conroy’s wife especially enlightening and poignant.

- Random interjection: there’s no way in hell that Heroes should be making Sylar 34(ish) years old. Zachary Quinto (and his eyebrows) do not look that old!  And in case anyone is wondering, Mr. Muggles is still the awesomest character on the show. I think he’s the only one with half a brain sometimes.

- Back at the ranch, reports from yesterday’s practice make it sound like Lindy blew the doors off the place a couple of times and put his players through heck. Mike Harrington’s article in today’s paper details yesterday’s events:

The Sabres’ regular off-day practice time of 10:30 a.m. came and went. So did 11:30. Around 12:30, the media was ushered out of its normal room between the dressing areas and told the team would be using it for video work. A somber-faced group of players filed silently into the room for a popcorn-less session that lasted about 45 minutes.

The team finally hit the ice at 1:30, three hours later than normal and practice went until 2:40.

Mike, I hope that the team at least gave you and the rest of the media the popcorn that the players didn’t get, since you guys were at the arena through the lunch hour AND got thrown out of your press room.

I did see a shot on last night’s news of the players filing somberly around the arena. They looked like they had all been told that they were being traded to the Uzbekistani league for three goats, a mule and a box of babushkas. (On the other hand, the shallow part of me did appreciate seeing the players in their underarmour. Veeeeery nice, boys. Very nice. I had no idea Timmy was that built.)

- WGR has posted show notes from Lindy’s conversation with Howard Simon this morning. There were a couple of interesting tidbits included:

  • He completely threw Hecht and Pommers under the bus, while only gently tapping Gaustad with the bus. “I think our offensive leadership his at fault,” Ruff said. “Our Hechts, Pominvilles, Roy… I think that those players, our offensive leaders. I thought a guy like Gaustad got some plays there, but I thought out offensive leadership was lacking. I thought those sorts of guys have to grab the bull by the horns.” At least we know Lindy is as frustrated with Hecht and Pommer as the fans are, if not more. And as everyone says, if Gaustad and Kaleta are your offensive leaders during a game, you have a problem. And that’s no knock against Gaustad and Kaleta, but a knock against the rest of the blessed team.
  • This was probably the most interesting part of the notes: “I have told the players how lucky we are to have the jobs we have,” Ruff said. “Don’t take a minute for granted. We’re entertainers, people that a lot of young people look up to, and I want those people to be proud of the way we perform, the way we act, the way we carry ourselves. We are blessed to be in the position we’re in, to have the salaries we have, and to play a game we love.” I don’t think many of the Sabres take their status for granted, but sometimes a kick in the rear like Lindy’s comments may be what they need to finally remove heads from sphincter and then play GOOD hockey.
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We Want Three!

January 3, 2009

Now that the Sabres beat the Leafs and the Bruins, I’m going to be greedy and ask if the Sabres can go three-for-three in this divisional series of games and beat the Sens on Tuesday.

- Matt Ellis was a little beast today. Two goals, an assist and a plus 3 for the game. You could also tell that the guys were really trying to get him the puck so that he could complete the hat trick.

- I really liked the Ellis / Gaustad / Pominville line. They had some spunk and generated a halfway decent chemistry together. I can’t figure out though, whether this is a demotion for Pommers or a promotion for Goose and Ellis. Either way, it worked.

- Speaking of the Goose, Harry Neale mentioned during the Leafs game that Brian Burke was keeping an eye on Goose for the 2010 Olympic team. Neale mentioned that Burke really liked Gaustad’s physical presence. And short of his death or injury, Miller is a lock for the Olympic team. Could one of his BFF’s in Gaustad be joining him? There’s been rumbles about Burke wanting a bigger and badder Team USA.  Time will tell, I guess.

- Did anyone else notice Lindy crack a smile at the end of today’s game? Smiles from Lindy have been a truly rare sight this season.

- I can live with Brian Campbell being named to the All-Star team, but is he really worthy of a starting position? And I say that as someone who owns Campbell on her fantasy hockey team. He’s a perfectly cromulent defenseman, but I’m not convinced he’s worthy of a starting position. And maybe I’m just naively looking at it from the point of view of someone who thinks that the starters should be the cream of the crop, not just the most popular.

- I’m ashamed to admit that I spent way more time during the Winter Classic than I should have contemplating Ty Conklin’s time management skills. In the third period, he utilized the link-up of the final commercial break and the singing of “Take Me Out To The Hockey Game” to meander over to the Red Wings dugout, get his skates fixed and take a whiz. I’m impressed, Mr. Conklin, very impressed. And it also sounds like the ratings for the Classic were pretty impressive as well. Hopefully, the final ratings will be as good as the overnights.

- I can’t believe that the Boston fans booed Sejkera as he was leaving the ice after taking the stick in the bits. Dude was in some serious pain and they’re booing him. Though I’m glad to see he recovered and was back on the ice. I did get a giggle out of Harry Neale’s euphemisms explaining where Sejkera got hit. Yes, I’m 12. And speaking of injuries, what the heck was up with Max’s mysterious “lower-body injury”? He was involved in a perfectly innocent collision with Chara and then suddenly was gone from the game.

- And Sidney Crosby fought and got 19 penalty minutes during today’s Pens / Panthers game. Sid’s getting a little pissy at how the Pens are playing. Alright, Captain Sid; take some of your aggression out on your teammates and not the opposition.

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Philly Phollies

November 22, 2008

Random miscellaneous thoughts from last night’s game.

- Miller went down way, way too early on the first Philly goal. Him down on the ice practically made the entire net open.

- The team was hitting the broad side of the barn with their shots. Now, they just need to concentrate on hitting the barn door and getting the damn pucks into the net.

- Nice to see that the coaching staff had confidence in Mancari by putting him on the powerplay right away.

- The team seemed to play more cohesively without Max in the lineup. The guys didn’t have to think six steps ahead about what Max could potentially do. Instead, they could just run with the play.

- Speaking of Max, I think we can cross 10-pound catfish off the list of things that the Sabres would accept in a deal for him. As we learned during last night’s episode of the Sabres Show, Paul Gaustad is afraid of live fish and worms. It would not do for a key member of the Sabres to be afraid of a new acquisition.

Relax, Goose. No fishies will be joining the team. We’ll make sure of that.

Although…how long is it going to be before one of his wiseass teammates pulls a prank on him involving his locker, fish and worms?

Genero’s interview with Gaustad was probably one of the best so far in that Gaustad was completely relaxed with her. There wasn’t any squickiness in the air *coughAdamMaircough*, but the location for the interview was completely odd. I get that Gaustad was a member of the rink teardown crew when he was a wee lad in Portland, but does interviewing someone in the bowels of HSBC Arena really make sense? I kept getting distracted from the interview because I was looking at what was in the piles of crap in the background.

I also liked that Gaustad admitted that making the NHL was never his goal. His main goal was to pay for college and he almost fell into the NHL. You could tell that he definitely appreciates what he has and what he’s been given moreso than someone who’s been told that they’re god’s gift to hockey and will make the NHL someday. (I’m not naming names, but I’m sure we all have our suspects as to who this guy is. And this guy isn’t just limited to the Sabres. Every team has one.)

- Check back later tonight for a semi-live game blog of the Sabres / Isles game. Now with 100% less Pretty Ricky.

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Semi-Live: Thrashers v. Sabres

November 7, 2008

Check in occasionally for semi-live thoughts from tonight’s Sabres/Thrashers game.

Pre-Game

- I was listening to the Pominville Report on Z101 on my way to the doctor this afternoon. Pommers shared that Tuesday night was the team’s belated Halloween party. He went as Darth Vader. Or would that be Darth Pommer?  He also admitted that they were keeping tabs on the election results while enjoying each other’s company and the libations and such. I can just imagine the boys gathered round the TV watching the election results in all their costumed glory. Wouldn’t that be a sight to behold? After reading his comments on Wednesday, can’t you just picture Miller making like Leo McGarry and telling everyone to shut the hell up so he could hear what Wolf Blitzer was talking about, while Kaleta would be confused about what kind of degrees the electoral college gives out.

(By the way, if you haven’t figured it out by now, I’m a massive West Wing fan.)

- Janet and Nick were talking this morning about Derek Roy showing up at the Juicy Couture party at the Tony Walker store last night. Seriously, Derek? Juicy Couture? I thought better of you.

- The Erin and Andrew Peters interview during the Sabres show was pretty cute. I like seeing these behind the scenes features about the guys. You could tell from this interview that Peters kind of struggles with the perception of the fans that he’s just a meathead who’s only role is to beat up the opposition. He wants to be seen as a hockey player not a lunkhead. And also, Augie Peters…completely adorable. Even if he does have an expensive shoe fetish.

- With Hecht coming back from his thumb injury, Stafford is a healthy scratch tonight. Hopefully, the benching will serve as a reminder for Staffy to remove his head from his sphincter, then play hockey. For every absolutely brilliant play he’s had these past couple of games, there’s been a boneheaded play to offset it. While its been a consistent pattern, that’s not the kind of consistency you want in a hockey player.

Read the rest of this entry ?

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What Happened to Andrej?

March 30, 2008

- Sejkera scored a much-needed overtime goal. Weber got away with a trip in the neutral zone to set up Vanek for the pass to Sejkera. That play could’ve backfired horribly. Weber could’ve gotten called for the trip, Vanek could’ve fucked up the pass and Sejkera could have missed the net. But instead,

- Crunchy played a great game. None of that stupid “puck-handling” that he tried in the last game.

- How have I not noticed Roy-Z’s really blue eyes before? During his post-game interview, they were really, really bright.

- It appears that Max had his ass nailed to the bench for much of the game. He only had 7:36 TOI. Only Kaleta played less ice time, and Mair played only :02 more. Remind me again why Max is playing and Mike Ryan is sitting? For all intents and purposes, it sounds like Ryan’s groin is all better and he’s ready to go.

- Why has there been no Timmy update? Its been a week. I’m convinced now that there’s been a bigger problem and they’re keeping their mouth shut about it until after the season.

- I completely love the big red TV set in the new Goose PSA. Its so awesomely cheesy, like something you would see in a cartoon or on the Muppet Show. I wonder how many people have tried to plug in their sets to a tin can for some power?

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Overrated or Underrated?

January 24, 2008

Heather at Top Shelf brought up Jerry Sullivan’s most overrated Sabre poll, where Ryan Miller currently leads the pack. I don’t think Miller should be the most overrated Sabre. Is he having a crappy season? Yes. But at the same time, he looked so good last year because he had a decent team in front of him. He could make that absolutely ridiculous save knowing that if he got out of position, someone would back him up. You’re not seeing that this year. Miller gets out of position, and his teammates are standing around with their thumbs up their bums watching. The entire team had career years last year. Miller’s just following the curve and adjusting.

Anyways, my pick for most overrated Sabre is Max Afinogenov. I won’t argue with you that he’s a good hockey player. He’s a strong skater and can leave most defenders standing still. But, he’s frustrating to watch sometimes. He’ll dipsey-doodle to no end, when there’s multiple shots or passing lanes available. He’s also mysterious off the ice, what with his lack of commentary about his head injury “playing soccer” in Russia (which is almost as good of an injury story as Patrick Carpentier’s, who broke his wrist “carrying luggage”), and refusal to discuss his life off the ice. I’m not saying the rest of his teammates are chatterboxes, but compared to Max, they’re open books. His scoring this year is down, he’s been off-and-on the injury list this year, and his salary of $3.5 million all make him the winner of Shots Off the Crossbar’s Most Overrated Sabre Award.

Also recieving votes: Tim Connolly and Brian Campbell

In the interest of fairness (I’m not always going to be throwing this team under a bus, no matter how much I want to), my pick for most underrated player is Danny Paille. He’s been a solid, dependable call-up from Rochester for the past two years. In his first year as a true Sabre (meaning he’s on a one way deal), he’s continued that solid, dependable play. He’s 10th on the team in scoring with 23 points, and his plus/minus is the highest on the team at 11. And, he’s doing all of this for a relatively cheap salary of $585,200. Granted, he is an RFA at the end of the year (along with Goose and C-Mac), so his price will probably increase, but it should only be a minimal increase. He won’t be getting a Vanek deal, that’s for sure. Now watch that happen and me have to eat my words.

Also receiving votes: Paul Gaustad and Adam Mair.

Moving on, according to John Vogl in this morning’s Buffalo News,

The Sabres will dress the usual crop of six blue-liners, but Ruff had made no decision on whether Paetsch or Nolan Pratt will sit.

The coach could have them redo the routine they conducted Wednesday. The Sabres were doing five-on-five drills, with the defensive combinations of Henrik Tallinder-Toni Lydman and Jaroslav Spacek- Brian Campbell getting the first shift. When it was time for the next pair, Dmitri Kalinin hopped over the boards sans partner.

Pratt and Paetsch looked at each other on the bench, took off a glove and played Rock, Paper, Scissors to see who practiced first. Pratt won.

Good way to do it at practice, but if that’s how its decided for the game, it will probably replace the Chris Drury / Scott Gomez puck flip as the most ridiculous off-ice moment this season. If I had a choice, I’d pick Pratt over Paetsch. Nothing against Patches, but I’ve seen more fire out of Pratt lately.

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Once On This Island

December 20, 2007

A goalie stole a hockey game. How does one steal a hockey game you might ask? Well, he plays his ass off, bails out his defense and only lets one of 43 shots enter the net. Any night you leave the rink only letting in one goal on 43 shots (a success rate of 2%), you should be able to call it a good night.

However, I would have to call last night’s Sabres game an ugly win. Aside from Miller’s amazing performance, there were a few more things that stood out, but not all of them were good:

- Roy’s injury. The Sabres say its a shoulder stinger, with an MRI showing no damage, but his playing status is uncertain for the weekend. Roy was playing pretty well the past few games. His energy and spunk were missed on the ice.

- Timmy’s leaving the game due to technicolor yawning. Timmy’s foresight and vision on the power play were definitely missed after he left the game. Considering the Islanders were headed to the penalty box pretty often, the Sabres should have scored more on the power play.

- The injuries to both these guys also forced Lindy to shorten the bench, as he was down to 10 forwards. Despite the already short bench, he only played Peters for 2:55. So in essence, Lindy shrank his bench to 9 forwards / 3 lines. Goose, Hecht and Pommers all lead the forwards with well over 20 minutes of ice time each. I realize these numbers are high due to all three playing both the power play and the penalty kill, but is it good to have three forwards in the 20s, the rest in the high teens, and Peters down at the end of the well? (I realize Adam Mair did not break the 10 minute mark, but he was in the box for 5 minutes, so I’m assuming his number would have been higher had he not had that penalty.) How does something like that not contribute to resentment in the locker room? The guy makes his paycheck playing less than 3 minutes a night, while the rest of the team is out busting their ass. The mind, she is boggled.

- I mentioned Adam Mair in the last paragraph. His defense of Hecht last night was great, and he throughly cleaned Jackman’s clock. The rest of the team should take note that that is how you stand up for a teammate and put it into practice, especially when someone is harassing Miller.

- Max, Max, Max. I was ready to kill you in the first part of the game. You were dipsy-doodling and reverting to the Max of old, not the Max of the past few games. However, you did redeem yourself with the game winning goal. Please don’t revert back to the Max of old. K?

- I also thought the Sabres might really have been screwed for awhile in the third period. There was one point where Mair, Pomminville and Tallinder all limped off the ice after blocking shots. Its great that the team is finally getting the memo about blocking shots before they get to Miller, but you never want to see guys get hurt and miss time because of it.

- As of right now, the Sabres are in the playoffs. They’re currently tied with Philly, which makes this weekend’s home at home especially interesting. I’m really torn about how I should feel about the return of Marty, Danny and Rory. I mean, if Rory had looked down in Carolina in 2006, the Canes wouldn’t have scored and it might have been a different result to end that season. I’m not a fan of those who boo Marty, since the guy really did nothing wrong. He wanted a chance to go play and he got it. And besides…he’s Marty. You can’t boo Marty. Its just wrong. But Danny is a whole different story. He claimed to have wanted to stay in Buffalo, but he stepped into the role of slag faced whore, took the money and ran. That is definitely hateable. But then I hear stories about how his Briere Bunch foundation is still sending money to Buffalo charities, and how he’s a pen pal to a Western NY kid, and I really don’t know how to feel. Damn you MSM for making me feel conflicted!

- Speaking of Marty, this WGR audio clip is amazing.

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