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Semi-Live: Sabres v. Isles

November 22, 2008

PreGame

– Tonight’s broadcast starts with a recap of the Isles injury problems. Their issues all start and end with DiPietro. Pretty Ricky is out with a knee injury, which is on the heels of the first knee injury, which is on the heels of the hip injury. And there may or may not be a head injury in there somewhere. So, in other words, Pretty Ricky is the Isles version of Timmy. Nice to look at, but being held together with spit, duct tape and bubble gum.

– Roberto Luongo left the Canucks game today with a groin / leg injury. Why is this important? Luongo has been singlehandedly carrying the goalie portion of The Little Honkers fantasy team (thanks a lot, Marty Turco). Hopefully, Lui’s injury isn’t too major. (Update: The Canucks coach says it’s likely Lui won’t be playing hockey for awhile, but the severity of his injury won’t be known until he has an MRI in the morning. Crap. Crap. Crap.)

First Period

– The game has started and the fine folks at Blime Blarner haven’t yet pushed the button on the HD channel. I’m not a happy camper, as the SD picture is fuzzier than heck.

– The Isles head to the power play as Rivet heads to the box for two minutes to feel shame.

– I’m really amused that someone found my blog via “drew stafford asshole” as a search term. I don’t think I’ve called Staffy that (yet).

– And Teppo now joins Rivet in the box after committing a hooking penalty. The brief five-on-three passes with no goals by the Isles.

– Praise Jeebus, the HD feed is now active. I guess HSBC Arena and Blime Blarner are in two different time zones.

– Lindy’s irate as Kaleta gets sent to the box for boarding Campoli as the two are striding towards the puck on an icing call. Lindy’s using some very creative vocabulary as he’s expressing his points to the ref. Sure, Kaleta may have bumped Campoli, but Campoli did some very nice acting as he flopped around on the ice like a dying trout. Lalime saves his teammates bacon by making two very quick saves at the start of this latest PK.

– No penalty is called as MacDonald trips Mancari on a rush to the net. Meanwhile, Paetsch and some Isles player drop gloves, tap each other a couple of times and move on with their play. It would’ve been nice to see what exactly started that one.

– James Patrick is spotted on the bench talking to the coaching staff in the press box. If you didn’t know he was wired for sound, you would think that his necktie was some super secret Maxwell Smart spy doodad, and JP was hatching a plan to overthrow Lindy.

– RJ and Harry Neale give Rob Ray some grief for being out on the empty ice before the game firing pucks on the net. Ray remarks that he just wanted to be ready in case Lindy needed to put him in the lineup after what’s happened the past couple of games. Zing! to Rayzor.

– As Peters and Fritz are sent to the box for yapping at each other, the Arena PA is playing the Jump On It song. If you’re of a certain age, you know it from The Fresh Prince of Bel Air.

How did Will Smith and Alfonso Ribiero get through this sketch without cracking up?

– I miss the Isles goal while moving laundry from the washer to the dryer. Some blogger I am, eh? I do catch the replays while the play is under review by the home office in Toronto, and in my lowly opinion, it should count…and it does.

– Holy mackerel, Peters is taking on Fritz. No big deal right? Well, Fritz is 6’8 and is kicking the snot out of Peters. Peters heads toward the locker room and exhorts the crowd to pump it up already.

– What in sam hill is the Arena Music Dude (AMD) on tonight? Britney’s Womanizer was playing during the goal review, and Ice, Ice, Baby was just heard during the last stoppage in play. Eclectic does not even begin to describe the music mix tonight.

– Mark Mancari, aka “The New Guy,” finally scores for the Sabres. This is the Sabres first goal since the middle of the first period of Wednesday night’s game against Boston. That’s entirely too long to remain scoreless if a team wants to remain competitive.

Second Period

– Ray chimes in with his recap of his intermission conversation with Brian McCutcheon. Nothing remotely earth shattering, it was all “the team didn’t retreat, blah blah blah positive cakes.”

– Gaustad and Streit are exchanging cookie recipes after Streit takes offense to Gaustad being too close to MacDonald. The Gaustad / Paille / Mancari line has been pretty effective tonight. They’ve been forechecking well and have been an annoying presence in front of the net. A quick look at the Yahoo stats show me that they’ve had 7 of the team’s 18 shots on goal so far. Not bad for your third line, eh?

– Now the AMD is playing the Jimmy Soul song “If You Want to Be Happy.” That’s the one that goes “if you want to be happy for the rest of your life, never make a pretty woman your wife…” That’s not exactly your typical arena rock song. Is AMD now offering marriage advice to the Sabres and their fans?

– We’re treated to a brief look at Lindy and the coaching staff working out this morning with the Depew Saints, who won ice time with the staff at a charity auction. They showed the kids doing a drill that involved them sprinting to center ice and then belly flopping onto the ice. That drill looked like a lot of fun, if not a little painful.

– Sim scores a power play goal on Streit’s shot from the point, as Lydman had been called for hooking.

– Rob Ray reminds us that the Sabres too often try to get too fancy when playing at home. Exhibit A is Hecht’s drop back pass to Pommers that was intercepted by the Islanders. Just play hockey and forget about the bells and whistles already.

– The Sabres head to the power play, as Gaustad is interfered with on the face off. After much passing (and a little bit of shooting), the power play continues to work with the futility theme that the team is pushing.

– Here is the second period gratutitous YouTube video. Thanks to the Ookies for pointing out that this thing even existed.

Could Staal be anymore wooden? [/chandler bing].

– The intermission report includes a brief look at the players meeting with NHLPA head Paul Kelly. The meeting with Kelly looked like it could have happened at my workplace. The attendees were eating lunch at a U-shaped set of tables, and there appeared to be a powerpoint presentation of some sort on a screen. The only differentiating factor is that the Sabres are all male and my workplace most definitely is not. The lunch even looked like it was catered by Panera, as they were all chowing down on sandwiches and chips.

Third Period

– Fucking A. Bill Guerin makes it 3-1 and the boo birds come out at HSBC Arena.

– These guys are playing like they’ve already checked out and are headed to Roy-Z’s little shindig at Level.

– The Sabres have outshot the Islanders 31-20 so far tonight.

– Make that 32-20, as Mancari shoots one point blank low on the short side of Macdonald.

– Ray reports from benchside that he is sensing a leadership vacuum on the players’ portion of the bench. That no one is really stepping up and saying “let’s turn this thing around.” There’s 6 minutes left in the game, and pending a miracle, I don’t feel good about it.

– Ray again reports that Lindy is running a short bench, mainly using the Top 2 lines, with the third line in for a breather now and again. I still think that the alleged third line of Paille / Gaustad / Mancari has been the best performing one tonight.

– The third period gratuitous YouTube video is brought to us by The West Wing

Richard Schiff and Bradley Whitford are amazing when they freak out. I also appreciate the use of the phrase “schmuck ass.”

– Praise Jeebus. Roy-Z launches a bullet from the top of the left face off circle and squeaks it past the goalie. Huzzah!

– Rivet gets awarded the save of the game as he flops through the crease to save a puck from heading in the net while Lalime is down and badly out of position.

– Fucking Vanek gets a penalty as he’s fighting for the puck behind the net.

– The Islanders put the fork all the way into the Sabres by scoring an empty net goal with 4 seconds left.

– RJ says that the Sabres malaise continues. I think we need to look for a stronger word than malaise. How about pain? Agony? Soul killing? And if tonight’s fun and frolic wasn’t enough, we get to play Boston on Wednesday. Boston. Again. Oh, goody.

PostGame

– I normally wouldn’t write about the postgame stuff, but I want to see how the players and Lindy spin this game.

– Roby stresses that the only way the Islanders won the game was by outworking the Sabres. The Islanders played the perfect road game. They mucked. They grinded. They beat the Sabres – a higher paid, higher talented – team at their own game.

– Pommers is the team’s first sacrificial lamb to the media. He basically says they weren’t competing, and they weren’t winning those one-on-one battles. They’ve got a couple of days of practice before the next game, and they’ll work it out. No mentions of The System. Guess that’s still on holiday.

– Mancari reports that he, Gaustad and Paille agreed that if pucks were going towards the net, that they were going to go after them. Novel concept there, isn’t it? Why can’t the rest of the guys grasp this? Mancari also goes on to praise Gaustad and Paille as smart players. In case I haven’t mentioned it before, I really, really like this line. Which of course means that Lindy is going to muck around with it and it will be broken up before long.

– I really like Lindy’s choice of suit tonight. He’s wearing a nice doubled breasted charcoal grey coat, black shirt and a purple and white swirled tie. All he’s missing is a nice pocket square. While his threads are nice, his words are not so much. He mentions that the penalties early on killed them, as it took key guys out of the mix.

Lindy also indirectly throws a couple of players under the bus, saying that there were some efforts early on that were subpar. While he didn’t name names to the press, I have a feeling some people are going to get a stern talking to or a nice ride in the press box.

– I fully expect a negative Bucky column tomorrow or Monday.

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