Sabres vs. Pens – 12.29.09December 29, 2009
This blog is brought to you today by Kleenex, Dayquil and Gatorade. Yup, I have a cold. I hate having colds.
– We really need to come up with a better name for the Kennedy/Grier/Vanek line than “Frozen Four.” I get why they’re called that, but having the word “four” in a line of three really doesn’t make sense.
– The story of the Pens bus getting stuck downtown is funny, not just because the coaches were the ones doing the pushing, but that the pushers had to jump back onto a moving bus because the powers that be were afraid the bus would get stuck again. Jay McKee’s reaction of “welcome to Buffalo” is also pretty funny. I sense a “shit happens” subtext out of his comment as well. Heh.
– It’s not hockey related, but I’m excited that Richard Schiff and Bradley Whitford are going to be back on TV again, though sadly not in the same show. (Schiff is going to be on a paranomal-type show, and Whitford is playing a cop on another show.) They are on the short list of actors that could make a reading of the phone book into award-winning television. The others are the remaining cast of The West Wing and Anthony Geary and Jonathan Jackson from General Hospital, in case you were wondering. And yes, I am talking about non-hockey things on a hockey blog, because “whatever strikes my fancy” is in the header and is one of the rules of this place. My puck, my rink, my rules.
– Jordan Staal takes a Tyler Kennedy rebound and puts it past Miller. 1-0, Pens.
– At about the 8:30 mark of the first, the Sabres have 3-4 quality scoring chances, but the puck manages to go behind Fleury, or wide or through the crease. All of them avoid the net. The Pens answer with Crosby getting Miller out of position, but missing the net.
– Guerin scores a fluky goal as he lets the shot go from along the boards and it gets past Miller. The shot appears to have hit something before it got to Miller, as it went clear up in the air and over Miller. 2-0, Pens.
– RJ says something that no Sabres fan wants to hear: “Miller is a little slow at getting up.” I don’t like that phrase.
– I think we’re going to have to have a lesson for the Sabres entitled “Hockey Games are 60 Minutes Long.” I hate that these guys seem to take a good while to get warmed up. They’re falling into old patterns again.
– I miss Jay McKee. He’s a classy guy and a good egg. And his shot blocking skills are unreal. Too bad he’s another one of those guys made up of spit, duct tape, bubblegum and sheer determination.
– The Sabres know how to ruin my enjoyment of a perfectly good piece of Carvel ice cream roll (the kind with both chocolate and vanilla ice cream and a lot of the chocolate crunchies) by letting Kunitz score on Miller. Miller is immediately pulled in favor of Lalime and Miller looks pissed. 3-0, Sabres.
– Judging by the way the Sabres have played so far tonight, you would have thought they were the ones pushing a charter bus uphill (both ways) through the streets of downtown Buffalo. There’s just a “meh” attitude from them.
– Not hockey related, but it’s pretty cool that Byrd was named to the Pro Bowl in his rookie season. I think we could all agree that Byrd was a bright spot in the disaster that was this Bills season.
– According to Sabres Edge, Miller tossed his stick, blocker and helmet down the tunnel as he exited the ice. I’m curious as to whether he was pissed at himself for letting in three bad goals, or whether he was pissed at his teammates for not helping him out. Also, does he have to go and pick it up or does some lowly Sabres staffer have to go and fetch it? (The postgame show indicated that a staffer fetched all the gear for Miller. Sigh.
– McKee ends up gloving the puck in the Pittsburgh crease, which leads to a penalty shot for the Sabres. Stafford is selected to take the shot, as he was one of the players on the ice when the infraction occured. Because the refs were reviewing the initial play, Staffy was skating back and forth nervously. RJ remarked he looked like an expectant father, while Ray remarked that he looked awfully pale. And Ray is right, Stafford did look white as a sheet. I’m not sure how much of that was from nerves versus how much of that is Staffy’s normal Edward Cullen-esque coloring. When all is said and done, Stafford scores. So it’s now 3-1, Pens.
– What in the bluedilly eff was that? Staffy goes backhand then forehand on Fleury in a nifty little maneuver. Maybe Lindy needs to start sending people to the press box more often…coughPommerscough. 3-2, Pens.
– Talbot gets in shorthanded on Lalime and while attempting a wrist shot, watches his stick shatter into several pieces. The stick moved towards the net faster than the puck.
– HONK! Gaustad taps in a gorgeous cross-ice backhand pass from Stafford to tie the game at 3.
– Neale points out that Gaustad is favoring his right shoulder as he heads toward the bench for celebratory fist bumps. However, Gaustad hops right back out on the bench, so maybe he’ll just fall into the “day-to-day” realm. Speaking of which, why do teams classify injuries as day-to-day? Last time I checked, “day-to-day” was the default setting for humans. Athletes aren’t anymore special than the rest of us when it comes to this.
– So far, the Gaustad/MacArthur/Stafford line has the three goals and three of the four assists. Not bad for what seemed to be a thrown together line combination. Maybe it’s one worth sticking with.
– WHOO! Pommers scores on the power play. It’s his 10th goal of the season, and moves him into a tie with MacArthur for second on the team’s goal chart. (Pommers previously was tied with Roy and Timmy at 9.) So four unanswered goals are kind of nice to see, but it would have been better if they hadn’t have gotten into a 3-0 hole in the first place.
– Kunitz upsets the Sabres when he comes up and challenges Lalime after he gloves the puck. Yeah, pick on the goalie. Way to prove that you’re a man. Why not go after someone vaguely threatening like Mair, Rivet, Montador or Gaustad?
– With 40 some odd seconds left, the whistle blows and both Staal and Gaustad are sent to the box for doing who knows what. In the interim, Harry Neale mentions that Lalime hasn’t been scored upon tonight. Is this a jinx by Harry? I certainly hope not.
– Miller is working a pair of crazy eyes on the bench.
– Myers completely bowls over Malkin behind the Sabres net. Irresistible force met immovable object, and for once, the force won.
– And sweet merciful hockey playing baby Jesus (Sit down, Sidney. I wasn’t talking to you), the Sabres actually manage to come back from three goals down and win! WHOOOO! After the Pens went up 3-0, I written a rant about how this would have been the second season in a row where the team lost the game that closed out the calendar year. Last year, you’ll remember was that embarrassment of a game against the Caps, notable only for Goose and Miller’s postgame interviews where both were going to cut someone. I’m glad to be able to go back and cut that rant out of this entry.
Tonight, the Sabres somehow managed to pull this one out and rally behind Lalime and Stafford. This is the kind of statement setting game the team needed. I did genuinely get a kick out of how happy the boys were while celebrating with Lalime when the final horn blew. And I know it’s part of his schtick, but it was funny to see Sabretooth bowing down before Lalime during the announcement of the three stars. Lalime played his ass off tonight. Does Lalime’s recent play eliminate any further discussion of trading for a more cromulent backup (coughBironcough).