– In the words of a Sabre (I think it was Adam Mair), we hate these effing guys. This game is big. How big, division leading big. The Sabres have a five point lead on the Sens. A win tonight maintains that lead. A loss shrinks it to three. A regulation tie puts it at 4. The Sabres need to dig down deep and find that game winning, super talented, hard working mojo that seems to have escaped them recently.
– Is it too much to hope that the Sens are hungover from their visit to City Wine Merchant? And consider that a plug for a nice business downtown owned by the husband of a co-worker.
– Rob Ray is in the booth tonight, as Mike Robitaille has the night off. Unless it’s to make working the intermission shows easier, I don’t see why Ray is in the booth instead of his usual perch between the benches. He’s clearly playing third banana to Harry Neale’s second garbanzo (one of my favorite MASH references).
– I know the Sabres have beaten Ottawa since then, but the last Sabres victory I seem to remember against the Sens the game when Goose darn near sliced his leg tendons in two a couple of years ago.
– Ryan Miller’s net top water bottle is in a koozie! That’s hilarious and practical at the same time. Has his bottle always been in one of these? I swear that’s the first time I’ve ever noticed that.
– I use the first commercial break to check what my name means on urban dictionary. Thankfully, the first meaning is not the one made popular in the Britney Spears song “If You Seek Amy.” Heh.
– Sabretooth is making some friends in the lower bowl on the camera side of the ice. How cool would it have been if ‘Tooth had been able to be at Casa on Monday night? Sure, we wouldn’t have been able to move at all due to ‘Tooth’s girth taking up a good deal of space, (I’m not calling ‘Tooth fat, just fluffy), but mascots are fun, and we’re all ‘Tooth fans.
– The Sabres are maintaining a consistent pressure on the Sens, especially in the Sens end.
– We take a moment to extensively review some film of a Sabres shot that may or may not have crossed the Sens goal line. MSG uses some super slow mo, high zoom technology to show what blurrily looks like a goal. The broadcasting trio is like the three bears in terms of the decision, Ray says no goal, Harry says goal and RJ says you can’t tell. It’s all for naught, as the word comes down from on high that it’s not a goal. Lindy is shaking his head quite emphatically on the bench when the ruling is made. As I’m thinking about why there’s no overhead view of this situation, would it have done any good? The crossbar effectively hides the goal line from higher up, and with how close the puck was to the goal line, would the powers in Toronto have been able to see anything that would make a difference?
– Ellis gets called for the first penalty of the game on a borderline tripping call. The Sabres run one heck of a penalty kill, almost getting a shorthanded goal and icing the puck four times in the two minutes.
– Fun stat: Gaustad is tied with Rod “The Schnozz” Brind’Amour for fourth in the league in faceoff percentage.
– That was one of the better periods we’ve seen the Sabres play in a while. If they can maintain that effort in the second and third, they just might have a shot at winning this game.
– The Sabres begin the period a man down, as Pominville is sent to the box for high sticking at the end of the first.
– Miller makes a save on a bouncy shot from the left side of the crease. It really wasn’t so much a save as the puck splatting down on the ice and Miller sitting on it.
– Tyler Myers is no longer a teenager. One more year and he can legally join his teammates for a night of frolicking on the town. (The key word there is “legally.” I know these guys aren’t choir boys.)
– Since there was another coaching change today (Columbus said bye-bye to Hitchcock), that means Lindy has outcoached approximately eleventy-seven-million-jillion other coaches since he took over the Sabres. Do you think he has a whiteboard hidden somewhere labeled “I Survived Longer Than…” that contains all the names of the coaches that have come and gone?
I like Hitchcock. Not only did he look like Sgt. Schultz, but he gave an entertaining press conference or two in his time. We all remember the one where he told Lindy to eff off.
– Son of a…Spezza goes short side on Miller. 1-o, Sens.
– Miller got run by Phillips behind the net and for a smidgen of a second, I really thought Miller was going to go after Phillips and start whomping away on him. Miller started after him, but then appeared to have regained his sanity and headed back to the crease. Myers jumps in to defend his goalie and gets a two minute roughing penalty for his efforts. When all is said and done, the Sabres are on the power play as Phillips gets an additional two minute roughing penalty for his efforts. What’s interesting is that Myers is all hepped up over Miller’s plight, but Stafford almost has an air of “meh, this jackass [Phillips] ain’t worth it.”
– During the ensuing power play, Pominville takes several shots from a position just shy of the red line to the left of the net. Now I’m no hockey player, but taking shots when you’re positioned almost parallel to the net is probably not the best thing in the world to do.
– ESPN has an interesting article discussing professional athletes at the Olympics. I know this debate rages everytime there’s an Olympics, as the NBA and NHL shut down to allow their players to participate in the games. However, the writer gets Miller’s take on the whole situation. The last sentence of the article is key. He wants this. He wants his moment. He wants to be “the guy”, not the guy “the guy” counts on.
And if you’re too lazy to click through to the article, we can cross parasailing, paragliding, skiing and motorcycle riding off the list of Ryan Miller’s contractually approved activities. (Duh!) But I liked that he contrasted how those kinds of risky activities aren’t allowed, but the Olympics are allowed, despite being just as much of a threat to his livelihood as the aforementioned activities. A groin pull at the Olympics can be just as devastating as a tumble off a Harley.
– Oh for the love of Goose, will he just beat the snot out of Neil already?
– Effing A. Spezza goes right over the glove of Miller. 2-0, Sens.
– These little monsters are doing their damndest to work away the good mood I had at the end of the day today. They’re all fired. Or they owe me cookies or flowers for sitting here, blogging and watching this dreck.
– Vanek gets helped into the endboards and reaches up and punches Ruutu in the snout. Go Vanek!
– WHOO! Sekera scores from just inside the faceoff dot to make it 2-1, Sabres. A goal is definitely helping his case to stay in the lineup. And it appears to have re-energized the crowd as well. It had gotten entirely too quiet in the arena.
– WHOOOOO! I’m not even done typing the above point when Timmy rips a nice shot top shelf. We got ourselves a hockey game again. 2-2, tie. Here’s hoping they don’t go for this “let’s play for overtime” nonsesnse that everyone seems so fond of.
– Kelly gets in on a breakaway on Miller and Miller stops it, but his stick goes flying. As Rob Ray reports, Miller’s response is to make himself look big in the crease by laying down and stacking the pads.
– With the news that Mike Komisarek is out for the year (and therefore out of the Olympics for Team USA), is it too late to try and convince the powers that be at USA Hockey that either Goose or Timmy play defense? I’m sure they can work on their backwards skating skills and other good, solid defensive hockey maneuvers.
– Son of a…Alfredsson was camped along the right side of Miller’s net, standing there completely untouched, unnoticed and wide effing open. 3-2, Sens.
– And Alfredsson puts it into the empty net. 4-2, Sens.
– I just read a blog post where the author repeatedly used the word “jester” when she wanted to use “gesture.” I don’t think I’ve ever heard of those words being mixed up before, and now I feel like my brain is broken.
– I cannot understand why it is so difficult for the Sabres to beat the Senators. Do they have a mental block? Need therapy? Positive reinforcement? Negative reinforcement? A nap? A bag skate? If they can figure it out, they’d make a lot of people very happy.