Archive for March 20th, 2009

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Sabres v. Flyers – 3.20.09

March 20, 2009

Or, The One Where the Wheels Officially Came Off The Wagon.

I had to watch tonight’s game on a bit of a DVR delay, as I had to go and make like a grownup and socialize at an industry event. Midway through cocktails, the score was still 0-0. By the time I got to my car, it was 2-1, Sabres. When I got home, it was 2-2. Fine. Since I’m a complete spoiler whore, I kept peeking in the picture in picture to check the live score while watching the recording of the game. As the live game pulled away from the Sabres, I couldn’t stop watching the DVR’d version. It’s like I had to know how the team went from winning to losing so pathetically. I even thought that it might be me that’s bad luck, and even debated whether or not to watch tomorrow night’s Rangers game. (I decided I will, mostly because I’m a glutton for punishment.)

– Tonight is the first game I really want to blame Lalime for the loss. At times, he looked shaky, but other times he looked confident. The team doesn’t need a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Spastic Goalie playing in net for the Sabres. While Miller is skating and taking shots again, I doubt he’ll be back any time soon to try and help the team out.

– What the hell was up with Pommers knocking the 5th Flyers goal into the net. There’s “helping your goaltender by crashing the crease when he’s out of position” and then there’s “not helping the goaltender by hitting the puck into the net while the goalie is out of position.” Guess which one Pommers demonstrated.

– Pommers was asked during the post-game press conference why the Sabres can’t keep leads. He almost looked like a deer in headlights while answering the question. I really think they’re overthinking this. Don’t think about the lead, which means a win, which means help in the playoff chase, etc. Just think about the next second on the ice and the next shift. Don’t get too far ahead of yourself by trying to make it fancy dancy. Not to be cliche, but just play the damn system! It’s THE SYSTEM for a reason. It works. To paraphrase Nike, just do it already. Don’t make me and the assorted wheaty bitches come down to HSBC Arena and slap some sense into you.

– Roby brought out a good point, that it’s alright for the fans to lose hope and go to their bad place (per Goose), but if the players lose hope, then you might as well not even take the ice for the game. It sounds like the players still believe, but they’re losing the big room that is Sabre Fandom.

– At least Chris Butler got his first NHL goal. He probably would have liked it better had the goal come during a game that the Sabres actually won.

– The Sabres put 43 shots on Marty and he stopped all but four of them. Marty was especially spectacular at the end of the second period, point blank stopping Roy, I believe. 43 shots and if they can’t beat Marty, who has had his moments of mediocrity this season, then there’s no way that they can beat other, better NHL goalies (Prawn, Tim Tom and the other Marty B. come to mind).

РThe power play went 0-7 tonight. When the other team gift wraps  you scoring chances, you better convert on them.

– I fully support the fans booing the Sabres at the end of the game. Giving up a boatload of odd man rushes, lots of shots but few conversions, and some defensive breakdowns do not a successful, winning game make.

– What exactly happened to send Carcillo off for a 10-minute misconduct in the second? I kind of missed that while getting a beverage.

– I’m now fully ready to book my ticket on the good ship World Championships. It sucks that the Sabres are most likely not going to be playing hockey in the spring, but at least some of them can go put on their country’s sweater and extend their season a bit.

– I noticed after the 6th Flyers goal that there’s a large Gatorade, scuse me “G”, jug on their bench labeled “ice bags.” Do all teams keep ice bags on their bench in G containers or is that a Philly tradition?

– I’m not going to wade into the Ovie: To Celebrate or Not To Celebrate discussion, but seriously, Don Cherry’s head is going to explode during Coach’s Corner. The potential to top the discussion from a couple of weeks ago is huge.

– I got a kick out of reading what Pat Kaleta put in his auction basket for the Aces and Blades event.

– And on a light note, check out the rapping flight attendant. Skip ahead to the 1:00 mark for the real fun to start.

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Not To Make Excuses

March 20, 2009

Here’s a quick summary of Paul Gaustad’s interview yesterday with Mike Schopp. Apparently, Goose didn’t realize he was supposed to do a call in, and Schopp was giving him some grief over that. Apparently Goose needs to get a copy of the call-in schedule so he knows what’s going on.

– The penalty kill in last game was good, but threw off ice time allotments for the forwards, as they get cold or not as involved in the game. (What, do they get Shiny Object Syndrome and start scouting out the hotties sitting in the first two rows of the arena?) It’s not an excuse for losing the Ottawa game, as they should have been able to keep a two goal lead.

– They have to take pride in winning the third period, untimely penalties don’t help.

– Schopp asked who in the locker room rallies the troops? Goose kind of danced around this one, saying it’s a team thing. There’s no lack of hope in the team, they control their own destiny, but its a challenging position. It’s the same situation as last year, and hopefully they learned from it. They don’t want to not be in the playoffs again, since that leaves a horrible taste in the mouth. The team is definitely good enough to make the playoffs (and Schopp agreed), but at the same time, the team needs to play playoff caliber hockey (last part added by me).

– All of the Sabres stats are better than the stats of the teams the Sabres have games against before the end of the season.

– The most interesting part of the discussion, I thought, talked about hockey in Buffalo. According to Gaustad, the fact that the fans do care is what makes playing in Buffalo so great. Such a big part of putting on sweater every night is that the fans do care and support them. They play as hard as they can since the fans are behind them. (I’d argue that there’s some nights the team is phoning it in, but I digress.) The players can understand that the fans are getting frustrated.

Gaustad also mentioned that he knows that some fans are in a “bad place” heading into the Philly game. (Has he been listening to WGR or reading the various blogs that are calling for the heads of Darcy and Lindy on a platter and the entire team to be set adrift on Lake Erie in a rowboat and one oar?) The use of the phrase “bad place” just kind of struck me. Makes us fans sound like we should all be one step away from entering the funny farm. (At this point, there was a sound coming over the phone line that either may have been a cell phone hiccup or Goose quietly burping. I couldn’t tell.) Again, even though the fans are in a bad place, the support of the fans during the bad times is what makes Buffalo such a cool place to play. He’ll be out to lunch and someone will come along and wish him well. (Seriously, interrupting players while they’re eating is not cool. Let the man finish his entree and dessert before you go pester him.)

– They wrapped up the interview with a discussion about what seems like the almost constant line shuffling. In “the system”, guys can play with everyone. Part of the line shuffling is trying to find chemistry. Gaustad said he really couldn’t comment on what makes the line shuffling start happening, that this topic is more of a question for Lindy. Both Schopp and Goose joked about conferencing Lindy in on the other line. Now that would have been a fun conversation.