Archive for April 11th, 2009


The End of the Line: Sabres v. Bruins

April 11, 2009

First Period

– It’s a gloriously sunny day in Buffalo. There’s a beautiful breeze and the air is full of the newness of spring. It’s the kind of weather that heralds the beginning of playoff hockey and all the fun that it brings. It’s a darn shame that the Sabres won’t be in the playoffs this year, as they totally had the talent to make the post season, but we’ll save the ‘what-ifs’ for another day.

– The HD feed had a couple of hiccups. First, there was no sound at all. That led to a couple of comical moments imagining what Rob Ray, Mike Robitaille and Kevin Sylvester were yammering about in the pre-game. Then, the on-ice mikes started working. For a while, it was like watching the game in the arena, but in a much more comfy seat and with no concession people to sell me stuff right at my seat. The sound problems did eventually get worked out and all systems are now go.

– WHOO! Timmy scores to make it 1-0, Sabres.

– Tellqvist is playing this afternoon instead of Miller, and Manny Fernandez is playing instead of Tim Tom. I know why the key goalies are sitting, but it almost seems like the fans are being cheated by having to watch the battle of the backups.

– Please tell me that Donte Whitner busted out a “Don’t Tase Me Bro” at some point during his arrest. Seriously though, what is it with the Bills and getting into trouble with the law during the offseason? Marshawn’s had legal difficulties in two consecutive offseasons, and now Whitner’s situation. Is it really that difficult to stay out of the way of the law and be an upstanding citizen? The Sabres manage to do it, why can’t the Bills? Of course, now that I say that, watch one of the Sabres get pulled over for DWI or something.

– Chris Butler scores to make it 2-0, Sabres. RJ immediately busted out “the Butler did it.” We’re also told that Butler will be returned to Portland after today’s game, so that he can help the Pirates in their playoff effort.

– I just realized that I should have set the DVR for this game, so that I could have something to look back on during the July/August hockey doldrums. Oh well, I’ll just fall back on the old standbys of Slap Shot, The Cutting Edge and Miracle. And Youngblood, once I order it from Amazon (along with The Muppet Movie, but that’s another story for another time.)

– WHOO! Vanek and Pommers get in on a 2-on-1 and Vanek shoots it past Fernandez to make it 3-0, Sabres. Where the hell was this goal scoring flood earlier in the season?

– WHOO! And this is a good one to whoo. Teppo scores to make it 4-0, Sabres. If this is in fact Teppo’s last game, I want to see him going out on a high note. And if Teppo does retire as a Sabre, I’d love to see him brought back as a coach. Butler has raved about how Teppo has helped him this season, and in past seasons, Teppo has been referred to as a calm, steadying presence. Aw nuts, the goal was just announced as being scored by Paille. Oh well, try again Teppo.

– If Tim Tom gets hurt during the playoffs, the Bruins may be totally screwed. Manny Fernandez is playing like hot buttered ass right now. I know some of it may be due to the fact that the Bruins have pulled some of their regulars from the lineup, but Manny is the last line of defense, and that line is being pressed by the Sabres.

– This game is making me sad, knowing that if it wasn’t for the stupid Rangers and the stupid Flyers, the Sabres could be playing the Bruins in Round 1 of the playoffs. Yes, I know that the Sabres made their own bed and are now ultimately lying in it, but a little help would have been nice. (coughBRIEREcoughMARTYcough). On the other hand, the Sabres not making the playoffs will help keep my DVR backup under control.

Second Period

– Holy hell, the Red Wings signed Johan Franzen to an 11-year deal worth roughly $44 million. And this is after they signed Zetterberg to a 12-year deal earlier this year. I said it before, but there are two words of caution to any team thinking about deals of that length: Rick DiPietro. Dude has been hurt more often than he’s been healthy. And how can a GM predict what the salary cap will even be in upcoming years? Detroit could really see themselves hamstrung by the deals they’ve negotiated. (Exhibit A: the Philadelphia Flyers. They were so tight on cap room this week that they had to sign an undrafted college guy for $100 instead of reactivating an injured regular or calling a guy up from the minors.)

– Not fair to run a commercial advertising Karl Rove and James Carville being interviewed by Charlie Rose. I got excited, thinking this would be happening in Buffalo. Noooo, it’s happening in NYC. Stupid MSG network promos.

– WHOO! The period stats with Matt Ellis ripping a shot past Manny Fernandez. It’s now 5-0, Sabres. At what point do the Bruins say eff this, and put Tim Tom in?

– Vanek gets in on a breakaway, and instead of shooting the puck, tries a wraparound, which does not work. There’s the Buffalo Sabres we know and love.

– RJ reports that Chara is injured, not severely or anything, but enough that he needs to be rested. Huh. I don’t think even Chara would help the Bruins today.

– I didn’t mention this the other night, but my favorite part of the post-game goal celebrations between Miller and Tellqvist is how TQ greets Miller. The other night, TQ smacked Miller in the chest and them gave him a knock upside the head. What with Lalime bear hugging Miller and TQ smacking him, it’s a good thing Miller wears some pretty large padding and keeps his helmet on lest he gets hurt during this show of exuberance.

– Side note: edamame explode really easily in the microwave. That is all. But the unexploded ones made a good side dish for my BLT that I ate for dinner (hence the decided lack of second period updates).

– In an interesting development, Lindy has the Paille/Ellis line out on the ice for a power play. When you’ve got nothing left to lose, might as well let it all hang out, right?

Third Period

– Roby and Sylvester discuss this offseason’s UFAs and RFAs. On the UFA side, I’d like to see Spacek and Moore come back. On the RFA side, I wouldn’t be surprised if Staffy got some interest from other teams, but is he really going to be worth the 3-4 draft picks the other team would have to give up in order to sign him?

– Well sports fans, we’re now in the final 20 minutes of the 2008-09 season. Remember all the hope we had when it started? Where did all that hope go? Did our bitter, cynical jaded sides overwhelm our hopeful, better angels? Darned if I know. I’m cynical by nature.

– Sekera made a couple of nice saves as Tellqvist was caught out of position.

– Tellqvist has some sort of equipment issue and heads over to the Buffalo bench for repair. Either it’s a pretty funny repair, or Miller, Tallinder and Tellqvist are having a dirty joke contest, as all three of them are laughing pretty hard during this little break.

– Harry Neale points out that the season will start earlier next year due to the Olympics interrupting the season for two weeks. He speculates that this means that camp will start the first week of September or so. Back to school and back to hockey, all at the same time. Cool.

– Whoa. Whoa. Whoa. Hold the phone. Harry tells RJ that it’s been a great working with him, and he better not think of not coming back. RJ replied pretty emphatically that he would be the one making that decision, though I’m sure Mrs. RJ (aka Cupcake) also would have to put in her two cents. (How cute is it that RJ refers to his wife as Cupcake?) Does this mean that RJ is seriously considering retiring? A quick check of Wikipedia tells me that RJ is signed through next season. I don’t know what Sabres hockey would be like without RJ and I really don’t want to contemplate that right now.

– The Bruins finally get on the board as Hunwick scores on TQ.

– Roy-Z’s Carruba Collision was one of the more pathetic ones I’ve seen this season. I’d call it more a shove than a collision.

– RJ reports that HSBC Arena is emptying even though there’s still three and a half minutes left in the game. This is just my humble opinion, but if I paid good money for hockey tickets, you bet your arse that I am going to stay until the final horn and get the full value of my tickets. There will still be tables at Pearl Street, Cobblestone or whatever dinner establishment you’re heading to after the game. Just enjoy the last three minutes of the season. It’s going to be a long, hockey-less summer.

– One of my blog posts for this upcoming week is going to be a “Sabres Awards” type post. If there’s any particular category (serious or wacky) with nominees that you want me to consider, please leave a note in the comments or drop me an email. If I use your suggestion, you will be credited in the post. I’ve got a couple of good ones in the hopper already, so the more the merrier.

– WHOO! Pommers scores to make it 6-1, Sabres. Ok, the goal is later credited to Vanek, which gives him 40 for the year. Good job, TV!

– The horn sounds on the 2008-09 season and the Sabres salute the fans at center ice. Unlike the Rangers, who do this salute after every blessed game, when a gesture like this happens once a year, it means more. And I think that the Sabres players  know just how much they’re admired, discussed, ripped apart, etc. And a stick salute at center ice is just the tip of the iceburg of their appreciation in my opinion.


– From certain angles, Chris Butler looks like of like Jason Biggs. Kevin Sylvester rightly points out that Butler was one of the bright spots this season. His consistent performance prevented him from being sent down to Portland after being an emergency call up. Not bad for a guy who was like the 5th choice to be called up because of injuries to the other Portland defensemen.

– After getting ripped on Youtube, Buffalo Rising and many, many other blogs for his last appearance in the locker room, Rob Ray goes out of his way to hide behind Jason Pominville’s head and wrap his mic around Pommers neck to get the interview.It was actually pretty funny watching Ray duck and cower behind Pommers.

– I really liked that the game broadcast highlighted the behind-the-scenes camera people, directors, producers, and chief cooks and bottle washers that keep the Sabres game broadcasts moving.These are the people that make the games look and sound so good (temporary technical glitches aside, of course). My only wish is that we get some away games in HD next season.

– Spacek reports that he’s trying not to think that this is his last game in a Sabres uniform. He still wants to be here next year, and there’s a great group of young guys that he wants to be with (that’s what she said). I kind of want to hand Spacho some ProActive, as he’s got some acne or something going on on his face.

– Vanek’s postgame interview is the first time that I’ve ever really seen the scar he has on his face from his jaw surgery. It’s coming up a bright, bright pink on the HD feed. Vanek pointed the finger at himself, saying he could have been better this season. While he did disappear at times, he was a 40-goal scorer for pete’s sake, so it’s not all his fault. I also liked his comment that it’s tough for players to respond to the media’s questions about what needs to be done to shake up the roster to make them better. It can’t be good for team unity if Team Member A says that Team Member B is a schmuck and needs to be traded away for a skating Labrador Retriever. I’m sure the players each have their own thoughts about what could or should be done, but they’re never voiced aloud or voiced aloud within the room.

– We can coulda, woulda, shoulda until we’re blue in the face, but if Ryan Miller didn’t get hurt, would the Sabres have made the playoffs? I don’t mean to give Miller a bigger complex over his injury than what he probably already has, and it’s not his fault that he got injured, but…what if?

– So the next time some of our Sabres take the ice will be for the World Championships in Switzerland at the end of this month. I can’t wait to see who is named to what team.