We’ve Come To the End of the RoadApril 5, 2008
– Nope, you’re not imagining things. Shots Off the Crossbar did a little redecorating tonight. Please, take off your hat and coat and stay awhile. Beer’s in the fridge. Snacks are in the kitchen. Enjoy.
– At least the Sabres ended the season with a good, strong effort against the Bruins. Happy endings are always better than soul-crushing defeats. And goodness knows, we’ve had enough of the latter and not enough of the former this year.
– Since tonight’s game was meaningless (more or less), it was refreshing to see such a relaxed attitude out of the team. It looked like they were out there having fun, and just playing hockey for the fun of it. Like the light bulb went off that these guys are getting paid to play a game that they loved. This was a different team tonight. I liked it.
– Interesting choice by Lindy to sit Stafford instead of Afinogenov or even Kotalik. Its possible that Staffy was nursing an injury of some sort, or else was benched to send a gentle message. Staffy was pretty much assured a roster spot this season after the departures of Briere and Drury, and at times he did play like he was untouchable by the coaching staff. Who knows, maybe this will be a reminder to work hard over the summer and come back a different player.
– I really like that Crunchy’s toque says “Sabres” on it.
But what’s interesting is that between the above picture and this one, Miller looks refreshingly normal, less wonky than usual.
– For not playing competitive hockey in over a year, Teppo looked great out there tonight. He played just over 16 minutes and is reporting in the post-game that he felt great in the third period. As the post-game pointed out, the fact that he’s even playing professional hockey after open hear surgery really is amazing. It just goes to show the level of conditioning that these guys are at, that he was able to spring back so quickly after such an invasive procedure.
I really would love to see the Sabres bring him back at a reduced salary just to bring some leadership to a young d-corps. Or, maybe bring him on as a coach, if the team doesn’t want to pay him to play. I really did like how Goose was congratulating Teppo at the end of the game by bopping him on the head a couple of times. Congrats to Teppo on being named the third star of the game.
– Every single Sabre on the roster tonight had double-digit TOI. Even Peters. That’s a shocker.
– One of the best things about hockey is the length that other players will go to in order to get a teammate a hat trick. Roy had a wide open net at the end of the game and passed it over to Vanek, allowing him to get his fourth hatter of the season. I knew Vanek had a few hatters this year, but all of them have come since mid-February. That’s nothing to sneeze at.
– Interesting take by Lindy on Vanek. Even though Vanek is pointing the blame at himself for being inconsistent, Lindy reminded him that he’s only 1/25 of a team. Everyone shares an equal part of the blame for this season. And he does have a point, but a lot of people put a lot of pressure on Vanek to perform this year because of the contract. And I think it got in Vanek’s head a bit. Nice to see that he might now be putting that behind him and starting to play normally again.