Archive for April, 2009

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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.

Postgame

– 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.

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“It’s About Pride Right Now”

April 10, 2009

That’s the main takeaway from Paul Gaustad’s interview after practice today.

http://sabres.nhl.tv/team/console.jsp?catid=668&id=39414

Couple of other things to take away:

– Lindy gives them a good system, it’s up to them to execute it. (This was in response to a question about Lindy taking the heat for this season. Goose also threw the media under the bus at this point, saying it was a cheap excuse by the media to explain why the team didn’t make the playoffs. I call it 50/50. At some point, Lindy kind of lost the room. But at the same time, the media is all of a sudden jumping on Lindy.)

– Players have to look deep down inside themselves this offseason.

– Why didn’t they learn the consistency lesson after last season? (This is the biggest one, in my opinion. They should know by now that consistency is the key to the season. It’s not like there were a lot of new players added in from last season. They all know that missing the playoffs sucks, and now they’re back in that boat. Look at how many players either disappeared for long stretches at a time, or how many players were boneheaded. That’s the wrong kind of consistency that showed up all too often this season.)

– Injuries are not an excuse.

– I’d really like to see the boys play as well against Boston as they did against Carolina. Go out on a high note and make the fans wonder what might have been. Give us a pleasant memory as we head into six months without hockey.

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Sabres v. Leafs – 4.8.09

April 9, 2009

– I thought the Brad May ceremony was very nicely done. The Leafs were incredibly classy to let the Sabres even be involved in the ceremony itself. Then again, considering May played 43% of his career in a Sabres uniform, it should have been a no brainer to include the Sabres. I did like the brief “oh shit” moment that passed across Rob Ray’s face when May turned to hug Rayzor. I think the past couple of weeks have showed us that Rob Ray does not have much of a poker face. And that was a pretty snazzy painting that the Sabres gave May. I’d like that in poster form.

– After reading on Sabres Edge that RJ was fully prepared to re-enact the May Day call if May scored during the game, there was a tiny part of me that hoped that May would score so we could hear the call. But alas, Miller foiled that opportunity.

– The “three men in the booth” dynamic was interesting, especially since RJ and Harry kept encouraging Ray to speak up more. I think Ray’s used to being called on at certain times, and doesn’t really have a rolodex of talking points that he can readily call on at a moments notice.

– Hey look, bitter cynical Bucky has made an appearance.

– Goose scored a goal, continuing his foxy, consistent play.

– Vanek reappeared out of nowhere, scoring a goal. That’s a good thing.

– There were a couple of times during the game that I wanted to bungee cord Ryan Miller to his goal posts. He was either out of position or down on a couple of Leafs shots, and through whatever benevolence (or torture) of the hockey gods, was saved from looking like a fool as the Leafs shot either wide or high.

– Did anyone else notice that the Leafs had an itchy trigger finger on the goal celebration light? How many times did that thing go off despite the puck being shot high or way wide? I’m surprised Miller didn’t start bitching and ask for a pair of sunglasses or some sunscreen.

– What was going on between Dominic Moore and Jason Blake all night? They were especially scrappy with each other. I kept waiting for some sort of throwdown, but it never came.

– Congratulations to the Columbus Blue Jackets for making the playoffs for the first time in their history. They’re going to be one of my WC bandwagon teams for the playoffs, which means that they’ll be destined for an early, yet painful exit. I’m rooting for them if for no other reason than they’re the ultimate underdog, they have an awesome rookie goalie and Michael Peca.

As of right now, other playoff bandwagons that I’m jumping on include the Devils, the Bruins (unless the Sabres make the #8 seed, of course), the Canucks and maybe the Blackhawks.

ETA for an off-topic rant:¬† While doing some work related reading, I’ve become even more aware of the fact that I am a 27-year-old fuddy duddy. I like reading the newspaper. I like watching local news. (Though admittedly I do check out the web versions of local newspapers and TV stations. I think it’s the commentary from “users” that keeps me coming back for more.) I like watching TV on a TV set through my cable system. (Though admittedly I flove my DVR.) I have a respectable collection of TV shows on DVD, but the world doesn’t stop with those shows. I do watch the occasional online video, but I don’t regularly become glued to my laptop to watch shows. (If I missed something, then fine, but Hulu is not appointment viewing.) I really think that the MSM is not dying, it’s evolving.

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Sabres v. Red Wings – 4.6.09

April 6, 2009

Pre-Game

Is Greg W. actually saying that Tim Thomas would make a better goalie than Ryan Miller for Team USA in the 2010 Olympics?

Ryan Miller of the Buffalo Sabres would appear to be a lock. Tim Thomas of the Boston Bruins wants desperately to play, although he’ll be 35 by the start of the tournament. Both are competent goalies, but Thomas is an unorthodox and aggressive keeper while Miller is a steadier hand.

In other words, there’s more of a gamble but potentially more upside with the Bruins keeper. It’s up to Wilson to decide whether it’s a gamble he’ll take.

I’d go with Ryan Miller over Tim Tom any day.

– Continuing with the Ryan Miller theme, Sabres.com has a video of Miller showing off his new mask design. While Miller commented that the lettering on the mask is an inside joke from college days that was translated into Japanese by his brother Drew, there’s a teensy part of me that wonders if Drew translated the joke (whatever it is) into the Japanese for “fat ass sieve” or something else insulting to his brother. How would Ryan know what his brother finally translated? Also, how cool is it that Drew Miller speaks Japanese? I can honestly say that Japanese ranks low on the list of languages you would expect hockey players to be able to speak.

First Period

– Picture it, Buffalo 2009. The Sabres need to win all remaining games in order to have a snowballs chance of making the playoffs. Easy, right? Buzz. Wrong answer. It’s going to require a massive effort from the entire team for 240 minutes in order for the playoffs to even happen this year.

– Dear Edzo: Ryan Miller wasn’t pulled last game. He was rested. Please get it right. Regards, Lindy Ruff

– Yes, Mom. That is Brian Engblom’s real hair.

– The Sabres.com Twitter feed announces tonights lines by using the numbers only. After reading the following:

41-19-29, 21-9-55, 26-17-61, 20-22-28… 52-34, 5-10, 6-44

My only thought was “Hold your boards. Bingo has been called.”

– Superb glove save by Chris Osgood on an in-close shot by Adam Mair after a faceoff win by Paul Gaustad. About an inch or two higher, and Mair might have put that one in the net.

– What poor Versus intern had to do the math and figure out the exact number of seconds in the Stanley Cup playoffs?

– How is it that Miller is second in the league in wins and yet the Sabres are in 10th place in the conference?

– Miller is wearing his new mask tonight. It’s odd to see him in the predominantly silver design rather than the predominantly blue one he usually sports. I do like the homage to his cousin Matt with the old school name in a heart design on the backplate of the mask.

– How is Claude Lemieux nominated for the Masterton Award? What were the Professional Hockey Writers thinking with that one?

– Ryan Miller went to Michigan State? Thank you Chris Simpson for that bit of common knowledge. Though seriously, what’s the over/under on Miller hustling out of HSBC Arena to get home and watch the end of the NCAA game?

– The Sabres head to the power play as Marian Hossa is sent off for tripping. At least this power play did consist of getting some pucks to the net instead of the usual pass-pass-pass-pass fest.

– How bad of a hip injury does Patrick Lalime have if he’s done for the rest of the year AND Lindy doesn’t want to talk about it?

– Is the PA System playing “Werewolf of London”? Sweet.

– I just realized that this month I become Discovery Channel’s bitch. Both Mythbusters and Deadliest Catch are starting up.Crabs and big booms. What more can a girl want?

– Can someone please hand Holmstrom a towel? The poor dear is bleeding quite a bit after inadvertently taking Chris Butler’s stick in his face while scrambling in the crease. If the ref didn’t call it originally, showing him the blood won’t make him change his mind…and it’s kind of grossing me out.

– The period ends with the score tied at zero. That’s perfectly cromulent for this point in the game.

Second Period

– At least Versus removed the footage of the fatal crashes from it’s Indy Car promo. If you must show crashes, then show the ones where all the drivers walked away unharmed, but don’t show the ones where the drivers were severely injured (Kenny Brack, Ryan Briscoe, Stan Fox) or even killed (Swede Savage and Eddie Sachs).

– The Versus HD feed is making the Sabres helmets appear black instead of navy blue.

– Gaustad gets tripped up on a rush into the Detroit zone, sending Buffalo to the power play. Thanks Cheli! And the ensuing power play does degenerate into the usual pass fest.

– A two-minute 4-on-4 has only one really good scoring chance, as Pommers can’t quite elevate an Osgood rebound into the net.

– Edzo notes that the Gaustad / Paille / Mair line has been playing particularly well tonight, and I agree. They’ve been a controlled version of spunky, not taking stupid penalties and the like so far.

– Thanks Max. Brad Stuart scores while you’re in the box. Isn’t there somewhere you can go and feel some shame?

– What in the blue dilly hell just happened? Butler steps in to defend C-Mac, who got whomped on. Next thing you know, Staffy’s on the ice getting punched, then Samuelsson punches Roy down to the ground and Rivet gets that crazed look in his eyes that means he’s going to cut a bitch and take some names later. Meanwhile, Lindy’s making notes on his pad of paper, which means he’s either going to remind the players of things during the intermission, or he’s writing down what he needs to pick up at Wegmans after the game.

– When all of the above is sorted out, the Sabres have a power play, until Timmy has a massive brain cramp and breaks his stick on Brad Stuart’s stick and goes off for slashing. The period will end with both teams playing 4-on-4.

Third Period

– It’s snowing (it’s April 6th, Weather Gods!) and I just banged my knee off the corner of the coffee table. So I’m in pain, and how do the Sabres respond to my pain? By allowing Hossa to score a goal into a wide freaking open net. The score is now 2-0, Red Wings.

– Edzo starts commenting that Gaustad appears to be a solid contender for a spot on Team USA next winter. Miller – pending death or injury – is pretty much a lock; it’s just a contest to see what Sabres will join him.

– A Detroit player clangs a shot off the post. Aren’t shots off the posts/crossbars some of the most beautiful sounds in sports?

– Thanks, Hossa. 3-0 Red Wings.

– I really think after this season that The System needs to be dumped for a new, shinier, flashier system.Or, maybe we need to swap out some of the cogs in The System for some newer cogs.

– After he was shown on the bench with an expression that was a cross between “I’ve been kicked in the nuts” and “fuck this shit”, Goose steps around Chris Chelios and knocks a rebound into the net. 3-1, Sabres. With that goal, Goose has reached his career high of 11. HONK! I’m predicting that if he maintains his health next season, he could be a solid 20 goal scorer.

– Ooh, it looks like the ‘Let’s Go Buffalo” sign people in the 100 level have gotten a new snazzy looking sign.

– And Twitter is down, but at least they have cute graphics to explain that they’re down.

– I just downloaded Adam Lambert’s version of “Play That Funky Music” from last week’s Idol. I’ve heard rumors that there’s going to be a Disney week at some point this season. I can’t wait, as Simon’s head will fully explode.

– Edzo is shocked that Connolly, Pommers, Gaustad and Mair are all on the ice together for the final power play at the end of the game. Could it be that lately they’ve been four of the team’s most consistent players?

– Miller is on the bench, looking like someone just hauled off and shot Sabretooth and Sparty the Spartan right in front of his crease.

– Lindstrom scores an empty net goal to make it 4-1, Red Wings. Ladies and gentlemen, turn out the lights, the season’s over. I can honestly say that I’m going to relax and enjoy the final three games of the season, now that I know the nail is in the 2008-09 coffin.

– I don’t think I can fault the effort level tonight. The effort was definitely there. There were just some missed nets and untimely penalties that lead to the team’s downfall. Oh well, ish happens. Can’t wait to see what the media and players have to say about this game tomorrow.

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Oh Say Can He Sing

April 5, 2009

WIVB ran a story tonight about Sabres anthem singer Doug Allen, who has entered the USA Weekend Anthem singing contest. Singers nationwide are invited to submit video of themselves singing the national anthem. The top 15 videos (as judged via their YouTube stats) will be graded by judges based on originality, lyrical accuracy and popularity on YouTube. The winning singer will be invited to sing the anthem at the Smithsonian and a Baltimore Orioles game on Flag Day.

Unsurprisingly, Allen’s submission is from his singing at a Sabres game. His submission can be viewed on YouTube, by searching “oh say can you sing doug allen.”

Here’s wishing him the best of luck.

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The Devil You Know

April 4, 2009

First Period

– Has it been determined when Miller will debut his new mask design? I know that he wrote in his blog that it was still in the works, but there’s been no debut date. I wonder if it will remain on the shelf until next season, considering there’s only a minimum number of games left.

– Saints be praised: the Rangers lost today.The Sabres control their own destiny. A win tonight and they’re tied with Florida and are two points back of the Rangers.

– Crap. Clarkson scored to make it 1-0 Devils. Miller was down (after Adam Mair tripped over him) and couldn’t get up in time to stop the shot. The stat just popped up on the screen that the Devils have won 35 games this season when scoring first. That’s not a good stat for the Sabres.

– The worst words a Sabres fan can hear are: “Tim Connolly is down on the ice.” Great. He’s slow at getting up, but makes it to the bench in only a small amount of distress.

– A new Sabres Green Team commercial takes some of the sting out of the fact that the Devils are now up 2-0, as Paul Martin rips a shot from the point that may or may not have been tipped by Parise. (It was.) The new Green Team commercial features Goose narrating about the energy saved by taking one of the NFTA’s new hybrid buses or riding the train downtown. Of course, we don’t actually see Goose riding on a train or the bus, but we get Sabretooth gesticulating outside both of them. (Memo to Goose: I would take a bus to work, if I wouldn’t have to leave the house at half past the crack of Sabretooth’s ass in order to catch the two buses, train and mile walk necessary to get to my office.)

– Gaustad heads toward the net and inadvertently collides with Brodeur. Goose is treated to an elbow in the snout from Mike Rupp, which gives the Sabres their first power play.

– I only want to say it once tonight: shoot the blasted puck on the power play. That is all.

– Why are we seeing copier commercials from Rochester? And cheesy copier commercials to boot. It’s like Michael Scott designed this commercial.In fact, Michael Scott being in this commercial would probably make it 100% better.

– And the ish hits the fan midway through this period, as Parise interferes with Miller behind the net. No penalty called on the interference. Timmy takes exception to the interference and whomps on Parise. Penalty somewhat rightfully called on that one. Meanwhile, Miller takes umbrage to the whole situation and dives headlong into the scrum that developed after Timmy whomped Parise. I know I’ve mentioned this before, but I really do enjoy when Cranky Miller shows up on the ice. We so often see Cool, Calm, In-Control Miller, making Feisty, Crotchety Miller all that much more welcome.

– One of my search terms today was “Parise Stafford Fight.” I don’t know if this is an omen for tonight’s game or not. I’m thinking it might be.

– The camera dude shows Lou Lamoriello sitting in the press box with one of the Devils assistant coaches. Harry Neale shares Lamoriello’s GM philosophy: “Fill what’s empty, empty what’s full, scratch what itches.” I think the full an empty parts cancel each other out, but if there’s a lot of itch in the Devils locker room, might I suggest they change their flea collars or use a laundry detergent that doesn’t react with their skin.

– Roy gets tripped up with 4:20 left in the first to send the Sabres to the power play. Does the 4:20 mean that the Devil in the box gets to light up while he serves his time? As usual, the power play goes nowhere fast.

– The period ends with the boo birds quietly chirping from the 300 level.

Second Period

– During one of the commercial bumpers in the intermission, we’re treated to a brief shot of Sabretooth dancing with Doug Allen. It was absolutely adorable. According to Kim of Sabre Chaser, they were doing the chacha slide. At least it wasn’t the Macarena.

– Sigh. I tuned the game out a little bit to go read Celebrity Baby Blog, only to look up in time to see Jamie Langenbrunner go five hole on Miller. 3-0, Devils.

– Spacek niftily deflects a Parise pass to break up a 2-0n-1. Otherwise, this game could very well be 4-0. And the boo birds are getting louder. (Speaking of birds, there is a bird residing in the friendly offices of Dewey Addem and Howe. Said bird provided plenty of comedy yesterday afternoon.)

– I may end up throwing my remote through the TV set when I’m done watching it, but Tyra is going to have Levin Johnston (aka Bristol Palin’s baby daddy) on her show. Just reading the tidbits the show leaked and Palin’s denials has me seriously intrigued.

– Crap. I’m out of Wegmans Green Apple Sorbet. (Great recommendation, by the way, Katebits!) Too bad grocery stores don’t deliver. My sweet tooth is acting up something fierce right now.

– Thomas Vanek’s helmet looks like the love child of a Sabres helmet and a Bills helmet.

– For the first time all night, I’m hearing a “Lets Go Buffalo” chant from the crowd.

– I really have no idea what’s going on right now (I’m not being a very good blogger tonight), but I hear someone screaming “offsides! offsides!” in a tone of voice that suggests that someone is rooting around in their insides with a rusty spoon.

– The period ends with the boo birds really coming out. I wouldn’t be surprised if Miller was pulled to start the third period.

Third Period

– Well, at least Ryan Miller can fly his Michigan State flag high tonight. The Spartans are going to be playing in Monday night’s NCAA Championship game.

– John Vogl has a pretty nice article about Brodeur in today’s paper.

– Since I’m ranting about commercials tonight, the HSBC commercial featuring the guy making lassies in a washing machine kind of freaks me out. Why would anyone want to make a drink made in a washing machine?

– Four shots in the second period. Four lousy shots. And the Devils have blocked sixteen shots so far. I think I need a cookie.

– And I guees I’m psychic, as Tellqvist is in goal to start the third. I can’t tell if Miller is on the bench and shooting death glares at the entire HSBC Arena.

– Since winning is apparently not an option tonight, how bout we start small and work our way up to a goal? Please?

– Hecht scores while falling down onto his derriere, making the score 3-1, Devils. How bout we try that goal scoring thing again, guys? Please?

– This power play is frustrating the heck out of me. Just put the puck on the net and fight for it. It’s not rocket scientry, guys.

– We’re shown a shot of Steve Yzerman sitting in the press box. Harry Neale reports that Stevie Y is on a dual mission tonight, he’s scouting the Sabres for Monday night’s game and also for the World Championships. (Yzerman is the manager of Team Canada. If I were Stevie Y, Roy would probably be the only one seriously under consideration. Maybe Dominic Moore for some grit and determination. Maybe.)

– Remind me again why I even held the teensiest little bit of hope that these idiots could make the playoffs? Once again, we’re being treated to 40 minutes of apathy followed by 20 minutes of scramble. Someone needs to make these guys write “A Hockey Game is 60 Minutes Long” on a blackboard 100 times in order for it to sink it.

– Harry Neale: “The Devils are about as cautious as a one legged rope (looooooooooooong pause) climber.” Whatever you say, Harry.

– I think we just found ourselves a hockey game, as C-Mac scores on Brodeur to make it 3-2, Devils. This is C-Mac’s 5th goal in 7 games.

– With 34 seconds left in the game, the Devils take a delay of game penalty as White fires the puck over the glass. Lindy calls a timeout and whips out the dry erase board. He’s gesticulating, yelling and writing all at the same time. I’m suitably impressed.

– If the Sabres would have played the entire game like they played in the third period, they might have actually won this game. Putting 23 shots on Marty in the third period got them two goals. Wish they would have learned that lesson earlier on tonight.

Postgame

– There’s still plenty of hockey left to be played, as the Sabres are four points back with four points remaining. It’s not impossible, but it’s highly improbable tha they will make the playoffs. Cue the singing “To Dream the Impossible Dream” is all I am saying.

– Tonight’s goal by Hecht was his 11th of the year. Remember last year at this time how hard we were all routing for Hecht to get to 20 and the joy when he did? Yeah, that’s a distant memory.

– I see Miller’s new mask perched on his locker shelf during his interview. There’s some sort of yellow design on the chin part, with sky blue designs on sides. I want to see more, damn it. The mom unit and I get distracted from what Miller is actually saying during this interview, as we’re focused on determining whether or not he is going gray or there’s some wonky lighting in the locker room making his front bangs look a little gray streaked. I’m 27 and I’ve had a few grays in my day (god bless highlights), so it’s not completely out of the realm of possibility that Miller is turning gray. See what these guys have done to me? I’m debating their hair color. Sigh.

– Miller wasn’t benched. he was rested, according to Lindy. That’s some spin from the Coach.

– What’s the over/under on Bucky/Mike Harrington/John Vogl throwing Lindy, Darcy and the entire team under a bus in tomorrow’s paper? Bonus points given if Briere/Drury/Other Leavers and 5/25 are brought up within the story as well.

– Kaleta’s upper body injury was a migraine. Poor little thing. I hope he found a nice dark corner of the locker room to curl up and recover.

– Now onto playing Detroit on Monday. On Versus. Yippee.

h1

Sabres v. Caps – 4.3.09

April 3, 2009

First Period

– I love that the Caps goalie tonight is named Simeon. That’s not a name you see very often. It’s such a strong, biblical name. Love it.

– I cannot believe Timmy missed a wide open net within the first two minutes of the game. The shot went behind the goalie, through the crease and out the other side. But that missed opportunity sums up the season in a nutshell, doesn’t it.

– I love that Gaustad tested out his injured elbow by jumping into the arena glass. That sounds like an activity that usually involved the phrase “hey guys, watch this” and never ends well.

– C-Mac gets sent to the box for hooking. On the ensuing power play, Gaustad gets smushed by Ovie, only to continue on with the puck, like Ovie was a pestering gnat, easily brushed off. But Ovie gets his retribution when he pops a goal past a diving Miller to make the score 1-0, Washington.

– Buffalo heads to the power play as Max gets tripped up on a dipsy doodle. And said power play looks like a hot mess as the Sabres have difficulty keeping the puck in the Washington zone. And just as I’m writing that sentence, Staffy and/or Max tip the puck past the Washington goalie, shortly after the PP expires.(Correction, the goal has been credited to Goose, even though my blind eyes say he never really touched the puck. Double correction, the goal has been recredited to Stafford.)

– C-Mac tries to send a cross ice pass to Connolly, and Kozlov ends up tipping the puck into his own net. A goal’s a goal, so it’s now 2-1, Buffalo.

– One of my search terms yesterday was “hockey players are whores t-shirt.” I hate to break it to the poor dear that searched for a shirt like that, but I don’t know where to find one. And even if I did, I wouldn’t wear one.

– After the Sabres second goal,the camera pans to a kid in the stands wearing a Sabretooth hat. My mother is completely enamored of this hat and wonders why something like that didn’t exist when I was a kid.

– I may be completely hallucinating, but I swear the Caps PA system is playing the theme to the Great Escape. If I’m not hallucinating, that’s completely awesome.

Second Period

– What in the bluedilly you-know-what happened to cause Washington to have a 5-on-3? Complete stupidity by Spacek combined with an already called penalty on Roy, that’s what.

– Harry Neale starts waxing poetic about his and RJ’s tour of the White House. I kind of want to know if any of the players came along for the tour, or if it was just RJ and Harry? Touring the White House is definitely on my to-do list, as is a trip to the Smithsonian, Arlington and the Holocaust Museum.

– Another penalty to Buffalo while they’re on the five-on-three? Are you kidding me? The Sabres penalty box is getting kind of crowded, that’s for sure. It sounds like there’s quite the Buffalo fanbase in the crowd tonight, based on how loud the crowd was when Buffalo cleared the puck out of the zone. And Roy’s penalty expires with Semin putting the puck past Miller to make the score 2-2. However, before the puck went into the net, Miller was putting on quite the goaltending clinic. He had some spectactular saves.

– Sweet Crunchy on a cracker, Fedorov rips a shot from just inside the blue line past Miller to make it 3-2, Caps.

-Dear Sabres, please to not be taking anymore penalties. The penalty kill is not how you win hockey games.

– If I had a dollar for every shot the Sabres missed wide this season, I would be a very rich woman. Alright, maybe not rich, but I’d have enough for a payment on my college loans. Chez Griff isn’t cheap, you know.

– So Butler’s in the box for elbowing and the Sabres get called for ANOTHER penalty, this time for delay of game.What was it that Lindy said the other night about taking too many penalties? It throws off the flow of the game, as the penalty killers are forced to take a disproportionate amount of ice time, and the non-penalty killers are forced to sit on their duffs and wait.

– I’m wishing I had some vodka to put in my cranberry juice right about now. I can only imagine what Lindy’s thinking. These guys, however unintentionally, are stinking up the joint.

– This game diary is momentarily interrupted by a phone call from my grandfather telling me that my younger cousin has gotten engaged. The proposal happened over dinner. When my cousin brought out the cheesecake for dessert, he handed his girlfriend a knife that he had engraved with “will you marry me?” When she turned around to look at him, he was standing there with the ring in his hands. (Altogether now…awww.) So…Congratulations Andy and Caila!

– WHOO! Roy-Z ties the game at three with a nifty between the legs deflection.

– Son of a pup, Washington just scored to make it 4-3. Fedorov just lets the shot go past about five Caps and Sabres just standing there, and Miller never even saw it.

– I’ve decided that the Vitamin Water sweaters are what make the Roy, Cellino and Barnes commercials art.

– These “March to the Playoffs” spots are making me sad. Nothing like reliving past glories while watching the present go down the drail. Remind me again why I care so much?

Third Period

– Bullshit, bullshit. Max is helped into the Washington goaltender by Morrison, which negates a Sabre goal. I call bullshit.

– Again, a missed shot by the Sabres as the goalie isout of position. This time, for something different, Sekera does it on a wraparound.

– While I do enjoy Ryan Seacrest’s Twitter feed, I do not enjoy his recent pimping of Heidi Montag songs. Seacrest, I’m begging you to ignore them. If you do so, they will go away.

– Ovie flies into the net, taking out Miller. Miller responds by giving Ovie a good smack and then adjusting himself. I really like seeing Miller all feistied up.

– WHOO! Max ties the game up at 4 with a nifty shot into the wide open net. See guys, when the net is open, the pucks go in!

– Do the Caps fans have cowbells or something? I’m getting a headache from all the honking (not to be confused with HONK!ing) and bell ringing going on in the background.

– Roy-Z, what did I say earlier about staying out of the penalty box? Taking a penalty with 4:28 left in the game is a bit much, sunshine. Especially when the Caps have been so deadly on the power play tonight.

– Laugh of the night:

RJ: “I could have skated faster than Morrison. And he’s 40 years younger.”

Harry: “And a lot trimmer, too.”

Snerk.

– And we’re going to ohhhhhhvertime.

Overtime

– RJ and Harry are having a discussion about whether the Caps statement that they’ve sold out season tickets and multi-game packs for every home game next year means that there’s no tickets left for John Q. fan to buy. I could read the statement either way, but am leaning more towards the idea that the season ticket and mini-pack quota is filled and walk up seats will still be sold.

– Hecht gets into the Washington zone on a breakaway, misses the shot, gets his own rebound and instead of shooting, tries to pass to Pommers.

– Timmy steals the puck away from Fedorov, passes it to Pominville, who is in all alone. And Pommers rips it five-hole past the Washington goalie. As RJ put it, it was a heck of a time to increase the population of Pominville.

– I loved seeing how jubilant the boys were at the end of the game. This might have been the shot in the arm that they needed after the debacle the other night against Les Thrash. Tomorrow night’s game against the Devils should be exciting for sure. Here’s to hoping the Sabres ride the high from tonight through tomorrow night’s game.