Sabres vs. Sens – 12.26.09December 26, 2009
I hope we all enjoyed our little two day respite from hockey and enjoyed spending time with family and friends. My Christmas was great and provided me some good loot (an iPod touch) and proved that my family gets me (a Sabrebucks card) and knows how to make me laugh (a giant Ryan Miller poster – henceforth referred to as the GRMP).
– The Sens are down Spezza, Foligno and Alfredsson tonight. All have one heinous injury or another. Can the Sabres defeat a depleted Sens lineup? Make that a tired, depleted Sens lineup. RJ reports that the Sens did not make it into Buffalo until 11am this morning, as they had to be deiced twice at the Ottawa airport due to an ice storm.
– For a team that hadn’t been on the ice until pre-game warmups, Ottawa is currently handling the Sabres their collective asses. Play has been primarily in the Buffalo zone and Miller has had to make a couple of stops early.
– Connolly gets one through a herd of people and clanks it off the goal post. How does that count as a scoring opportunity but not a shot on goal? I’ve never understood that particular part of the NHL rules.
– Miller is completely stepping into the role of “Goalie Eff This Shit” tonight. He is AGAIN bailing his teammates out of it. Did someone drink Jobu’s rum before taking the ice? That’s the only reason I can think of for this out of control play. With four minutes and change remaining in the period, it’s 17-0 in Ottawa’s favor in the SOG column on the stat sheet. To paraphrase Bob Uecker, “No shots? No goddamn shots?” I’d be amused if Miller just flipped his shit in the locker room during the intermission. (“I don’t have to take this. I’m going home. Patty, you’re coming too. The rest of you idiots can play rock, paper, scissors, lizard, Spock to figure out who’s got net the rest of the night.”) I’m not sure who would be more entertaining to watch while losing his respective shit: Lindy or Miller.
– I love the crowd giving a ridiculously snarky cheer when Montador finally gets the first shot on goal with 2:35 left in the game. You know it’s an odd game when the announcing crew is running out of words to describe what’s going on.
– HAHAHAHA. The crowd booes the Sabres when the horn signals the end of the first period. I love this town.
– The Sabres start the second period with a bang: they DOUBLE their shot total from the first period. Yay!
– Someone obviously said or did something in the locker room during the intermission as the Sabres are definitely playing with more energy this period. I’d still like to see some more physical play out of these guys, but I guess we’re in baby step mode tonight.
– Oh for you know what’s sake, Kovalev flips a pass towards the front of the net and it goes off Montador’s arm and into the net. Miller had no shot on that one. I guess it’s going to be that kind of night, eh? 1-0, Sens.
– Oh, eff me. Volchenkov gets a low shot from the point that Miller stops. The rebound pops out to Neil and he pokes it through Miller’s five hole. Tallinder and Myers were just standing there with their thumbs up their butts during this whole play. 2-0, Sens.
– The Time Warner HD feed craps out for a moment and I briefly wonder if the cable gods and hockey gods were teaming up to save me from having to watch the remainder of this game.
– The Sabres power play continues its epic failure as they are now three for their last fifty. That’s an effectiveness rate of 6% and hardly a quality stat for an NHL team.
– Praise the lord and pass the ammunition, Vanek FINALLY scores on the second of two shots from inside the faceoff circle. 2-1, Sens.
– MacArthur and Neil start sniping at each other before a faceoff and Mair steps in to go after Neil. Both Neil and Mair are off for being bad little children, so there will be some four on four play for two minutes or less, as Harry Neale is fond of saying. Heh.
– Lindy Ruff is looking particularly frown-y tonight. While I can’t blame him, I can’t help but think he’s going to wear down some teeth with how tightly his jaw is clenched.
– The Sabres are given a four-on-three for twenty-eight seconds as Campoli is sent off for tripping Timmy. On this power play, just as the crowd as he rips a gorgeous slot five-hole on LeClaire to tie the game at 2. It’s a great goal right when the tean needed it the most.
– During the intermission, there’s a great discussion about Myers and sending NHL players to the World Juniors. On Myers, isn’t it something that last year at this time he was playing for Team Canada in the World Juniors? And now he’s a bona fide NHL defenseman, logging quality minutes on a team currently leading their division. Not bad for a kid of 19. On the latter part of the discussion, you can’t make the comparison of releasing players to compete in the World Juniors versus releasing players to go play in the Olympics. Sure, both tournaments represent and opportunity to play for your country, but the entire league shuts down for the Olympics; not so for World Juniors. Besides, as Rob Ray pointed out, most of the players in the NHL that are eligible for Juniors have already served their country and probably won a medal. There’s not much more to achieve at that level. They can set their sights on winning a Cup or winning a gold medal down the road (provided the league removes its head from its ass concerning future Olympic participation).
– Remember a couple games ago where RJ had a shoutout to Jim Kelley, who was currently undergoing a tough time (or words to that effect)? I’m sure most of us kind of wondered what it was all about, as the last thing most of us remember hearing about Kelley was that he was getting ripped on the Internet and points elsewhere for a column he wrote about a month ago. Well, Kelley’s latest column explains the situation. It’s an interesting read and I wish him nothing but the best.
– Roy gets smushied (technical term) by Winchester as he is in the midst of taking a shot. No penalty is called, as it’s a clean hit, but Roy-Z takes his times getting off the ice and heads down the tunnel towards the locker room. He looks pretty scrambled as he’s heading towards the bench, so who knows what’s going to happen to him. What is it with Ottawa players and scrambling Buffalo players brains? There was Drury back in the day, then Kaleta last week and now Roy-Z.
– Four minutes left in the game is probably the first time I heard the “Let’s Go Buffalo” chant come from the crowd.
– This is the part of the game I hate: where you can tell that the teams are trying to score and break the tie, but not really going at it like they would earlier in the game, since the overtime point is so close.
– RJ makes a comment that he hasn’t seen Stafford for awhile. According to the Yahoo box score, Stafford has about seven minutes and change of ice time. Ellis has about five and a half. Either the two of them are injured, or Lindy has duct taped their asses to the bench since the first period.
– I wonder what Miller and Lalime are chatting about in between the third and overtime. Whatever it is, Lalime is laughing. Also, the PA system is playing the “Jump On It” song. That song has always made me giggle since that darn episode of Fresh Prince back in the day.
– The Sabres have a couple of quality efforts in overtime, as do the Sens, but really, it’s all going to come down to the skills competition. Which seems to be a perfect ending for the night somehow. As we’re heading to the shootout, Stafford is shown on the bench. And he appears to be falling on the “pissed” side of the spectrum (as opposed to the “hurt” side), so I’m thinking that Lindy has nailed his ass to the bench for some reason or another. Revenge for the Festivus video? Bad play? Talking back? Turnovers?
– Kovalev dekes backhand on Miller in Round 1, while Vanek misses backhand on a down LeClaire. Vanek had a perfect chance to put the puck in the net, but he missed. He effing missed a wide open net.
– Mr. Carrie Underwood beats Miller in Round 2, while Timmy fires wide. Ottawa wins.
No cookies for the Sabres after this one. Well, maybe with the exception of Miller and Lalime. The team was fortunate to get point out of tonight. The Sabres also got luck that the Sens killer instinct wasn’t humming along at 100%.