Sabres vs. Ducks – 2.24.09

February 24, 2009

And so begins the Patty Lalime era in Buffalo. See below for game thoughts mixed in with thoughts on Miller’s wonky ankle, “the code” and any other assorted nonsense that crosses my mind.

– I encourage you to go to the WGR Audio Vault and listen to the two Goose-terviews that have been posted. (We interrupt this line item to mention that it’s now 1:10 into the game and the Ducks are already up 1-0. Good job, guys. Way to make the panicky fans come in off the ledge.) The first interview was done on Friday and discussed hockey, the Oscars and A-Rod. It’s noteworthy if only for Goose’s thoughts on movies; that movies are the new art form for our generation; that we grew up with TV and movies are really just an expansion of the TV arena, as the number of people with high quality entertainment systems grows. In regards to A-Rod, Goose mentioned that A-Rod should have just come clean, that the excuse festival is getting a bit old. The “I was young” excuse got absolutely no sympathy from Gaustad, as he pointed out that A-Rod was 25 when he was injecting himself. That’s plenty grown-up in Goose’s eyes.

The second interview was done last night, just before the signing at Dave and Adams (which, by the way, was extremely well run and Goose was extremely pleasant and wonderful with the little kids). The level of indignancy that Goose displays in this interview is off the charts. He manned up and faced a lot of questioning about the whole ” the Sabres are as soft as a sofa” mentality that’s swept through Sabre Nation since Miller was hurt on Saturday night. Goose does point out that there are some things more important that knocking Gomez into the third row. He uses the example that if he had gone after Gomez on the next shift and got a penalty called on him, then the Sabres would be facing a 5-on-3 with a cold goalie. That would be even more of a less ideal situation than the power play they were facing at the time. If the Rangers would have scored two goals, then Sabre Nation would be calling for the heads of Gaustad and Rivet on a plate, as they were the guys in the box. Either way, the players were damned if they did, and damned if they didn’t. Sabre Nation was going to bitch about something (no, really, hold in your shock at that statement) irregardless of what happened on the ice.

– WHOOOO! The Sabres interrupt the announcers rambling (and mine as well) with a goal. Kotalik rips a shot from the point that gets by Giggy, as Gaustad was making like a dancing bear in front of the net. Later on, the scoring is adjusted to award Gaustad the goal.

– If there’s one thing Miller’s wonky ankle has done, it’s prove that the Sabres are intently aware of what’s being said/written about them in the media. Rivet pointed out that the only person who seemed to care about the lack of a retaliation for the Miller hit was Jerry Sullivan, who wrote a particularly blistering column this past weekend. I hate to break it to Craig, but half teh innernets was thinking along the same lines as Sully. Gaustad mentioned to Schopp and the Bulldog that he was listening to WGR during the day, so he was acutely aware of what was being said and who was throwing who under what bus.

– Dear Versus announcers, how is it that one of you can pronounce Kotalik correctly, and yet the other one of you insists on calling him Coatalik?

– The first period ends with a 1-1 tie and Gaustad, Montador and Rivet exchanging business cards just south of the Buffalo bench. According to the Versus broadcasters, Hecht checked Niedermayer and things snowballed from there. Of course, because this is Versus, we don’t get to see a replay of the play unfold. It’s worth noting that this is the second scrap of the first period that Gaustad has been involved in. He was given a fighting major for some roughhousing with Brookbank behind Giggy’s net. Gaustad was well on his way to kicking some ass, as he had Brookbank’s sweater up over his head.

– Miller sighting: he’s sitting up in the press box with who appears to be his father. At least the 3/4 of the face I was able to see made his companion out to be his father. Miller looked pretty snazzy in his little suit and scruff.

– What the heck kind of penalty is “shooting the stick?” I don’t think I’ve ever heard that called before. And it would be called on Corey Perry, who is sitting on the Little Honker bench tonight.

– While Versus uses a stoppage in play to discuss Ovie’s latest goal, my mother just suggests that the league not hold the awards show at the end of the season and just award everything to Ovie. While she was being sarcastic, I’m sure there’s some in the league who may agree with her in a non-sarcastic way.

– While explaining the Regier / Ruff relationship, Versus shows a shot of Darcy in the press box. He looks pretty foxy in his black glasses. During an interview later in the third, Darcy says that Lalime is the goalie for now. It will be interesting to see if this changes in a week, as the trade deadline rapidly approaches.

– So the score is now 2-0 Ducks as Kunitz tips a Marchant shot past Lalime. Patty had no chance on that one. Marchant was later credited with the goal.

– I’d like to request that the broadcasters not use the phrase “the Buffalo goaltender is down.” That’s a phrase likely to send most of Sabre Nation over the edge…that is, those that haven’t already been sent over the edge.

– And the over the edge fan contingent continues to grow, as Mike Brown taps another one past Lalime. I wonder if Mr. Miller the Elder is in the press box tonight to keep his son from limping down to the locker room and suiting up if things go badly?

– The bumper leading us out to commercial shows Sabretooth dressed in his Mardi Gras finery of hat and beads. I love our mascot.

– Versus continues to lure Sabres fans closer to the edge, as they recap Lalime’s exploits with the Blackhawks last year. He was a mix of very, very hot (shutouts) and not (5-goal efforts). Way to raise the confidence of the Buffalo fans there, Versus.

– I’m glad to see Spacek returning to the ice after he blocked a shot off his foot. That just looked painful.

– The natives are getting restless, as the crowd starts to boo with about 6 minutes left in the 3rd. It’s going to be a long day tomorrow if the team doesn’t turn it around. The news columnists, WGR and their callers are all going to be calling for the head of someone on a platter.

– WHOOOOO! Kotalik scores with 1:06 remaining to make it 3-2 Anaheim. I’ll be dipped.

– Somehow, Goose and Getzlaf collide and they careen into Corey Perry. Goose and Getzi are both shaken up and Getzi gets up and spits blood everywhere. Gross. Totally gross, especially when you consider the blood (or “forensic evidence,” as the Versus dudes called it) was left on the ice for the remainder of the game.

– Well, there were good points and bad points to tonight’s game. The physicality displayed early in the game was good. The fact that it seemed to get turned off in the second period was bad. Goose, Kotalik and Roy were good. Lydman was a hot mess. Lalime wasn’t too bad, but he needs to be better. Hell, the entire team needs to be better. They can’t rest on their laurels until Vanek comes back. I’m willing to give them tonight as their clunker, but Thursday’s game against Carolina now became all the more critical.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to watch POTUS give his Not State of the Union. Any bets on how many times he’ll be interrupted for applause and/or a standing O? My money is on 75 interruptions for applause.

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