Archive for the ‘Playoff Hockey’ Category

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Wow.

April 21, 2011

Creative title, right? But still it pretty much sums up my feelings regarding the past 48 hours in Sabre Nation. It’s been a wild & crazy ride so far, hasn’t it?

- If you’ve been around here for awhile, you know I’m a huge fan of The West Wing. There’s a line from the show about how victories are sweetened and defeats are softened because they were done together by a team. Last night’s win was that sweet victory that was a result of total team effort. Miller played an outstanding game in net, coming up big when needed. Kaleta was his usual punchy, twerpy self. Gaustad was solid on faceoffs again. Connolly was a dependable penalty killer. Gerbe was a tempest in a very small teapot. Myers was a beast on defense and Pommers scored the lone goal. I’d call that a good, balanced team effort.

- The Sabres have definitely stepped up their game in the video presentation department. The playoff open is incredibly well done. Excellent work to link the 16 end of the regular season wins with the 16 wins needed to win the Cup. I’ll admit that I hadn’t made that connection at all. And I also hadn’t noticed that win number 7 came on the day that Rick Martin passed. The music is also perfectly paced and works well with the hockey footage. Bravo, Sabres staff, bravo.

- While I could write an entire post about how the Sabres skaters too often appear to be looking for that “perfect” shot rather than just taking the shot that’s available to them, I won’t. There’s far better writers out there that are able to be much more eloquent than I would be about the topic. However, the power play needs to stop being a neverending bunch of passes that ultimately culminates in a blocked shot. We know slapshots haven’t worked. Try a wrister or a lucky bounce. Don’t just hoopedty-do around in the zone looking for that perfect pass. Take the shot and roll with it.

- Where the heck has Rob Niedermayer come from? He’s been a solid presence in each of the games so far. I’m fairly confident that he would have had a goal last night, but again, he skated too far in on the goalie and was left with no room to shoot. If he just would have whoa’d up, he would have been fine. I almost want to tell these guys to stop thinking and just do, but that might open up a whole new box of problems. So maybe the Sabres should stop thinking so much and just do. That might work.

- I love that the Mustaches for Martin effort has gotten national attention. And it might just be me, but Stafford and Miller actually look fairly decent. I know it’s not the traditional playoff beard, but it is a fitting tribute. Also, and maybe I’m reading more into it than I should, but Miller’s participation appears to be a late addition. He was fully bearded after Game 3, and then came out for Game 4 freshly shorn. Is he trying to shake up the juju?

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Dear Sabres – Game 2 Edition

April 16, 2011

Dear Sabres,

Stop taking stupid penalties. I mean it. It is easier to play hockey with five skaters, not four. You had six penalties in the second period alone. When you take penalties, you keep your scorers off the ice. As much as I adore a good penalty kill, I do not adore having six penalty kill attempts in one period. Please keep that in mind on Monday.

Frustratingly yours,

- Shots Off the Crossbar

*~*~*~*

Dear Goose,

Your straight arm of Danny Briere in the first period was a thing of beauty. You became the talk of Twitter and I’m pretty sure you made Buffalo smile. Your ass kicking of Hartnall also was admirable. You beat the snot spewing grin right off his face. And you didn’t break your hand on his hard head. Kudos to that.

Honkingly honky honk,

- Shots Off the Crossbar

*~*~*~*

Dear Nathan Gerbe,

Outstanding work in body-slamming Claude Giroux. Way to show him that just because you are fun-sized doesn’t mean you’re a pushover.

Your fellow height-challenged person,

-Shots Off the Crossbar

*~*~*~*

Dear Andrej Sekera,

I was quite worried about you when Mike Richards came and poked you in the face while you were writhing on the ice in what appeared to be “man pain.” He broke all rules of good sportmanship by doing so. But I should expect nothing less from a Flyer.

Way to suck it up and come back on the ice.

Respectfully yours,

Shots Off the Crossbar

*~*~*~*

Dear Crunchy,

What. The. Hell? Was tonight’s game needed to average out your outstanding performance in Game 1? While I will admit that you did have some great saves tonight, there were quite a few moments when I wondered what was going through your head. I’m also surprised that Lindy didn’t park your rump on the bench for the third period. Not only would a benching have sparked the team, but also prevented you from getting killed by an overzealous Flyer.You did take quite a few checks, whacks and smacks tonight.

On the plus side, I did enjoy your yammering at Mike Richards after he poked at a wounded Sekera. I’m sure you had a pithy, witty and well-though out retort to his actions. I would expect nothing less from you.

Get some sleep and come back strong for Game 3.

Respectfully yours,

Shots Off the Crossbar

*~*~*~*

Dear Tyler Myers,

Stop pushing players into your goalie! It’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt, and 99% of the time, it will be your goalie that gets hurt. Do we understand each other? Good.

Thanks,

Shots Off the Crossbar

*~*~*~*

Dear Internet Gods,

Please take pity on the poor reporters and let them have at least one game with a dependable internet connection. I know that asking for constant connectivity is a wild and crazy request, but the role of the reporter in the 21st century requires the use of the internet. I missed reading Sabres Edge this game and want it back for Game 3.

Sincerely,

Shots Off the Crossbar

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I Came. I Saw. I Blogged

June 9, 2010

- Is it hypocritical of me to be offended by last week’s Daily Beast article but not be offended by the ‘shop job of Pronger in an ice skating dress? Should I be offended? I know female hockey players are nineteen kinds of kickass, but I can see how they would be demeaned by it. How is it any different than any of the editorial cartoons or satire that any newspapers produces on a daily basis? Is it because the Pronger photo appeared on the front page instead of buried deep in a black-and-white page in Section C? Is it because the Tribune is a “legit” news source and not a tabloid, like the NY Post? Who knows. Maybe the Tribune was just suggesting Pronger reprise the Kate role in a remake of The Cutting Edge.

Byfuglien, you are stem. Pronger, you are petal. Together, we make flower.

Brain bleach is available in the lobby on your way out.

- After watching Glee, I really wish Sue Sylvester’s book “I’m a Winner and You’re Fat” was in production. I’m going to miss my weekly dose of Sue Sylvester during the summer.

- While looking through the Getty archives to see what exactly set Mark Salling’s Twitter off, I found this photo of Ryan Miller. Let’s all keep this image of happy, smiley Miller in our mental filing cabinets for when November comes around and the dude is ready to shank one of his teammates after the game.

- After reading the press release announcing the Sabres draft party, I have just one question: what exactly constitutes a hockey-themed arts & crafts project? Will we be able to knit our own stick cozy? Crochet our very own Sabretooth? Mold a mouth guard out of play-doh?

- The NHL Awards ceremony is two weeks from tonight. Will Miller & Myers bring home the hardware? Will there be out of date music and unfunny comedians? I predict the answer to both questions will be YES!

- Speaking of bringing home the hardware, go Blackhawks! Let’s bring the Cup to Buffalo for a day! (Can you imagine how insane South Buffalo is going to be if that happens?

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Sabres vs. Bruins – Game 6

April 26, 2010

Pregame

- Yo, Bucky, unless you’re trying to get the team to unite AGAINST you (which my gut tells me they are already), then it might not be a good thing to imply that the their star player is a better player (and human being), now that he’s getting laid on a fairly regular basis. And that is the last I want to think about that topic. Ever.

- I would hope that the Sabres weren’t too distracted by the blessings put forth on Boobquake Day. (Seriously, I love that it’s WOMEN that are encouraging boobquake and the display of our blessings. Girl power, FTW!)

-  I’m still not sure that a gimpy Vanek is better than a 100% Stafford, but I’m a cautious sort in my daily life. And the substitution of Vanek for Stafford completely threw off my prediction from earlier today that Stafford would play an important part in tonight’s game after the change at both breakfast and lunch was 21 cents. All that was blown to hell in a handcart when I came back from Charlie the Butcher to find out that Stafford was scratched.

First Period

- I’m taking Sturm’s shorthanded shot off the crossbar as a shoutout.

- I’m beginning to think that rather than ladies and their blessings causing an earthquake, that a Sabres power play goal would cause the earth to move. For pete’s sake, our power play is dreadful.

- Miro Satan goes after Myers and RJ is incensed that Satan even goes after someone, considering he was quite a softy while in Buffalo. RJ’s indignation (“Myers is six-foot, four-thousand!”) is coupled with Rob Ray’s defense of Satan. (“It’s Game 6!”)

- Well, poop. Krejci scores from the power play in front of the net. This is the first time that the Bruins have scored first in this series. 1-0, Boston.

- There’s a large divot in the ice at the foot of the boards behind Miller. I love how the ref uses nothing fancier than Miller’s water bottle, some ice shavings and a hockey puck to fix the crevice. Simple things for simple minds over here.

- Has anyone seen Timmy or Pommers? Calling Timmy or Pommers! If you can hear me, please pick up the puck and put it in the net.

- I’m giggling like a twelve year old over the fact that an upcoming show choir on Glee is going to be named “Aural Intensity.” If the Puckerone doesn’t make a joke about the name, I will be highly disappointed.

Second Period

- Yo, Timmykins. When I was wondering where you were, I didn’t need you to make an appearance by taking a stupid penalty, leading to a power play, leading to a Boston goal. 2-0, Boston

- WHOO! Patrick Kaleta is the final Sabre on a gorgeous tic-tack-toe scheme with Kennedy and Mair after the Sabres come off another putrid power play. 2-1, Boston.

- I’m still waiting on Roy, Pommers & Connolly to show up. If you find them, please let them know they will be given clean jammies and an Oreo cookie once they do something noteworthy on the ice.

- How the hell did the Sabres power play get so putrid? Did they all forget the basic math behind a one man advantage?

Third Period

- Vomitous. The Sabres spend four minutes on the penalty kill as one of the Bruins gets high sticked and manages to bleed on command. Sabres Edge reports that the Bruins are 6 for 20 on the power play in this series. How the heck did the PK, which was previously so reliable, become so disastrous? It couldn’t have been all Jochen Hecht, could it?

- Oh eff. Krejci puts the proverbial fork in the Sabres as Derek Roy is late to cover Krejci, who puts the puck past Miller. I don’t care if it was Roy that was responsible for the goal. What the hell else has he done this series? Go ahead, think about it and get back to me. 3-1, Bruins.

- Hold the phone, Boston makes a horrible mistake and Gerbe is the benefactor, putting the puck past Rask. That Gerbe kid has spunk. The one thing we’ve learned from this series is that the little ones from Portland have talent and are leaving it all out on the ice. 3-2, Bruins.

- Pommers at least tries something off of a face off, but that doesn’t work well when the puck ends up in Rask’s glove.

- Mother of god, if I hear in the postgame the usual platitudes about the system, unfinished business and all that crap, someone will be cut.

- Mother of pearl, Satan puts the fork in the Sabres for real this time. It would have to be Satan, wouldn’t it? 4-2, Bruins.

- Did someone on the Sabres drink Jobu’s rum before the game or before any other game this series? It’s very bad to drink Jobu’s rum. I can’t think of any other reason why they were so horrible.

- Remember the series’ back in the day where two goals in two minutes at the end of the third period seemed like child’s play? I miss series like that.

- So…just as I write that, Vanek snaps the puck into the net. 4-3, Bruins. (I vote that this is too little too late.)

- I suppose it’s a good thing that I won’t be a twitchy beeyotch on my trips to Indiana and Pittsburgh, having to worry about what the Sabres are up to. I’ll catch playoff hockey when I can, but I’m not going to hurt myself trying to find out what’s going on. Then again, maybe hockey will have to be a distraction when my family is driving me up a bleeping wall.

- Some of the interesting things from the handshake line:

  • Miller standing at center ice, the first Sabre on the line, ready to greet the Bruins as his teammates were carrying on behind him. His facial expression was somewhere around “bitch, please” and “can we get this over with already? I have murder to commit in the locker room.” (It was Crunchy in the locker room with the goalie pads. Thighs of steel and all that jazz. Heh.) And really, I’m so disappointed FOR him. When a team that he was with for seven months has a shittier result than a team he was with for two weeks, I call foul. The silver medal wasn’t supposed to be the highlight of his season. I know he still has a pretty good shot at picking up the Vezina, but I know that’s not the piece of silver he was referring to in his earlier comments about playing for silver.
  • Paille seemed to be getting a lot of extra hugs from his teammates.
  • What the heck was up with Chara hugging all of the Sabres? He seems to genuinely like these guys.

-I’m now looking for a new Eastern Conference playoff boyfriend. I like Pittsburgh. Sid is infinitely more tolerable that that dude in Washington and Jay McKee and his shot blocking skills are pretty awesome. On the other hand, Boston did beat the Sabres, but that’s a raw wound. And on the third hand, the enemy of my enemy is my friend, so I could always just root for whomever is playing Boston? Meh. I’ll think about it. I need a nap. And a cookie.

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Sabres vs. Bruins – Game 5

April 23, 2010

- Ryan Miller’s new ‘stache is joining Bradley Whitford’s new ‘stache on my “things that are incredibly creepy” list. But hey, if it changes the team’s juju, then I’m all for it.

- Praise the lord and pass the ammunition…Adam Mair gets the Sabres out to an early lead on a Mairsy-around that Rask probably wishes he had back. This is the first time I’ve seen the crowd in the plaza today and I have to commend my fellow Buffalonians for showing up, even in the face of elimination.

- I’m kind of creeped out by the reports of Blake Wheeler’s man crush on Thomas Vanek. If Wheeler was a woman, we’d be warning the Vanek family to keep an eye on the family rabbit lest it be boiled by a crazy person.

- The Sabres have scored first in all five games of this series. That’s your fun stat of the night.

- Harry Neale: “Derek Roy couldn’t get out fast enough.” That’s what she said.

- WHOOO! Pommers increases the population of Pominville and gives the Sabres their fourth 2-0 lead of the series. Oy. And in other news, for the second time tonight, I misidentify a Sabre as Derek Roy. Why am I fixated on Roy-Z tonight? I’d like to apologize to Mair and Pommers for erroneously labeling them as the short and dive-y one.

- How sad is what’s happening to Bret Michaels? I had read about his situation before  I left the office and while I was toodling along home, Star started playing “Every Rose Has It’s Thorn” (which we all know is not the usual “Star Music”), so I immediately thought he was no longer with us. Best wishes to he and his family while they’re going through this. (On a related note, his appearance on Celebrity Apprentice has proven that he isn’t the vapid skirt chaser that Rock of Love showed him as.)

- The Sabres third goal was quite possibly the perfect play. Gaustad has a dominant face off win, and gets the puck to a wide open Grier who whistles it past Rask. It was just gorgeous.

- I see that RJ has picked up on my mistaking anyone and everyone wearing blue for Derek Roy, as he mislabels Toni Lydman as Derek Roy.

- I love that Dierdre Martin’s new book is coming out in time for my road trip. Hurrah for in-car reading material!

- Nice to see that CJ Spiller is being introduced to life in Buffalo by appearing at tonight’s game. However, how dazed and confused did he look when the camera panned over to him? He’s got to be running on fumes and/or adrenalin at this point.

- Holy Jeebus, Grier takes a Wideman slapper right to the head and drops like a rock. His teammates immediately rush to him after the whistle and Miller is down on all fours talking to him. Again, I reiterate my utter amazement over the fact that these guys willingly dive in front of a speeding frozen rubber disk when the normal human reaction is to, oh I don’t know, get the eff out of the way.

- My curiousity is still piqued as to why exactly the Devils had jelly on their postgame spread. Do they have a PB&J bar? Toast? Saltines & jelly? A make your own jelly donut station? Inquiring minds want to know. And that jelly must have been one hell of a mess for some poor locker room attendant to clean up.

- Boychuk scores with two-and-a-half minutes left in the game. 3-1, Buffalo.

- Game, set, match as Tennis the Menace makes a diving poke check into an empty net. 4-1, Sabres.

- I’m tempering the excitement I feel right now with the knowledge that the wheels can fall off the wagon on Monday night.

- Best ending to a game, ever. Chara and Gaustad start going at it and then everyone piles in, including Miller, who gets a few shots (and a nice face wash) in on Satan. Miller must be at his wits end if he’s diving into scraps like that. Did anyone else notice Lalime gesticulating on the bench while all that was going on, and Lindy standing in the door of the bench making sure no one pulls a groin or breaks a goalie. With how close he was standing to the edge of the bench, I half expected him to come charging in and start throwing bodies around, like teachers do with scrapping kids on the playground. Either that, or he was swearing at his Vezina-nominated goalie to stop fucking around before he gets hurt.

- And just when I think Cranky Ryan is the highlight of the night, after the horn blows, Patty Lalime starts dancing around on the ice. Is he auditioning for a role on Dancing With the Stars? (Because how awesome would a hockey player be on DWTS? I know that the current hockey schedule doesn’t allow an active player to participate (like Ochocinco is now), but why can’t a nice retired player participate?

- Finally, how awesome (and adorable) is this video?

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An Open Letter

April 22, 2010

Dear Ryan,

Thank you for playing your scrawny little bum off last night. Your effort was definitely appreciated by those of us at home who were glued to our sets watching, and our computers/phones talking, pepping each other up and then consoling each other. I know that our words don’t mean much, but really, you were the reason that the Sabres were even able to hang on as long as they did. I know you probably want the final two Bruins goals back (and quite frankly so do I), but that won’t happen. So pick your chin up and know that the fans are behind you. And if you wanted to cut a teammate or two between now and then, I think most of us might look the other way.

Dear Steve,

Keep up the good work. You pleasantly surprised me.

Dear Lil Timmy,

It was great to see you get the monkey off your back by scoring that first Sabres goal, but you still seemed to be moved off the puck rather easily. I don’t get it. Don’t let the big bad Bruins intimidate you.

Dear Drew,

Sigh. I strongly encourage you to spend some time with Count Von Count if only to reinforce that there are five! five! hockey players allowed on the ice at any one given time. I know you were probably tired and hungry, but that’s no excuse.

Dear RJ,

I’d like to add “nipple” to the list of words that are banned from Sabres broadcasts. It should join “diddle” on the permanent injured reserve.

Dear Fellow Fans,

If Friday is the last game, lets at least be classy and send the boys out with some dignity, eh?

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Buffalo vs. Boston – Game 3

April 19, 2010

- Before we head into hockey coverage, has anyone ever wondered what a mascot does all day? Well, Maxim shadowed Mr. Met for a day, (note: slightly NSFW) and it turns out life isn’t all wood carving in the dugout.

- We’re treated to a skim down the bench and the lineup on the blue line, and it appears some of the Sabres are definitely better at growing playoff beards than others. The wee baby Tylers appear to be fresh faced, but the fact that they both have blond hair might be counting against them. Miller is rocking a pretty good beard, and Gaustad has a good start to one already. On a random note, does Timmy stop shaving his head for the playoffs, leading to curly headed Timmy, or is the beard it.

- Miller has had some fantastic stops early in the game.

- So looks like that internet rumor regarding the Sabres wearing the old home whites was fake after all.

- WHOO! Mike Grier! Mike Effing Grier scores over Tuuka’s shoulder. 1-0, Sabres.

- Well, eff. Sekera gets caught in a pinch gone wrong and Wideman scores a dandy of a goal on the ensuing odd-man rush. We’re tied at one.

- After hearing for the past week and a half that tonight’s game was going to be on Versus, I tune like a good little NHL fan to Versus, only to find out that the game is blacked out locally and we’re stuck watching the game on MSG. In this case, the good of RJ, Harry, Rob Ray & K-Syl are slightly outweighed by the bad of an SD broadcast. Is it really that difficult to “borrow” the Versus HD feed and lay RJ & Harry’s vocals over it?

- Ellis gets caught by Boychuk with his head down and is smushed pretty hard core. Why haven’t one of the pansy Sabres hit Boychuk with his purse yet? If they’re in need of a purse, I can lend them one. My Vera Bradley satchel has enough stuff in it that could cause some serious damage.

- Lindy’s expression on the bench is a combination of “I hate these guys” and ” I’m going to cut someone.” I fear for the locker room.

- I’m beginning to think Timmy fell down the well, what with how absent he’s been from games lately. Speaking of Timmykins, I really want to know why “Tim Connolly K-Mart” is one of Google’s suggestions when you type “Tim Connolly” into the search box.

- Ellis is back on the ice after that killer hit from Boychuk. Good, but that still doesn’t excuse his teammates for not doing anything after Boychuk took out his second player. Is it going to take Miller getting run…oh wait, that happened last year and nothing happened.  Maybe Sabretooth getting run over would snap them out of it.

- Random: why do so many people insist on placing an “s” on the end of the word “math?” As in, “I have to do my maths homework?” And while I’m on my grammar soapbox, there is a slight difference between the words “breath” and “breathe.” They are not interchangeable.

- Remember when the Sabres had offensive firepower? Remember when they didn’t make you want to bang your head against a wall? Remember when hockey was fun?

- Wait, The Hoff is going to be on The Young & Restless again? Crikey, I hope that CBS has some extra money saved up to replace all the scenery chewing that The Hoff and Eric Braeden are going to be doing. You can tell I’m not paying much attention to the game if I’m reading Entertainment Weekly, heh.

- Alrighty then, Bergeron scores to make it 2-1, Boston.

- Remember when Ryan Miller wasn’t trying to do it all and was a sturdy rock in the crease? Remember when the rest of the Sabres played with passion and fire? Remember the fun that was Game 1? Remember when I wasn’t writing “Remember Whens?” (That last one actually was a “Remember When…” in my high school yearbook.)

- Well, friends. If it turns out there’s only two more games left in the season, what can you say? I’ll come up with words when they come up WITH A FULL 60 MINUTE EFFORT! I’ll even bet that we’ll hear the same platitudes after the game from the same usual suspects. And really, these same platitudes have been delivered so often that I’d be willing to bet that most of us can deliver them verbatim. (Although we might lack Ryan Miller’s eloquence and bitch please, eyebrow.)

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