Archive for February, 2009

2-0…..TO THE ISLANDERS?!

I would like to change my answer regarding the trade deadline.

SELL!  SELL!  SWEET MOTHER OF MERCY!  SELLLLLLLLLL!!!

BURN IT TO THE GROUND!

The Trade Deadline Approaches

I was just reminiscing about last year’s trade deadline…

Remember how Soupy completely fell apart right before the trade deadline, and somehow managed to be a minus 5 million in his last two games as a Sabre?  Good times. I really enjoyed trade deadline day last year mostly because I never had a chance to get too attached to Campbell, and I was REALLY ready for his contract to stop being the focal point of the Sabres media coverage.  It was a relief to be done with Soupy and his drama, and Bernier was a fun dude to have around for awhile.

This year feels a whole lot less dramatic, but we also have a much greater chance of being surprised at the deadline, because right now it’s not clear if the Sabres will be buyers or sellers.  The Buffalo News is trying hard to drum up some intrigue surrounding Tim Connolly but personally, I think the Sabres will hold onto him.  Especially without Miller, Connolly’s offense might be the difference between making the playoffs and not making the playoffs for the Sabres this season.  I might be a little nervous if my name were Tallinder, MacArthur, or Paille though.  I think the Sabres CAN make the playoffs without one (or all) of those guys and they’ve all had the slightly fishy aroma of “spare parts with some value” lately.

At various times this year I’ve really thought the Sabres need to be totally dismantled.  The “core” just didn’t seem like it was cutting it for a lot of the season.  With the exception of a very few guys (Miller, Gaustad, Roy, Vanek) I think I could stomach seeing almost anyone traded.  On the other hand, I think this injury to Miller might serve the same purpose as a big trade.  This is the opportunity to if the team is capable of coming together and buckling down.  We’re only two games into life without Ryan Miller, but I think the team has already shown signs that they are capable of adjusting.  There might be hope for these guys yet.  Maybe

If the team ultimately does need to be dismantled,  that can be done just as easily this summer as it can be done now, and without the strong message to the fanbase that this season was a total waste.

I still think the team should being thinking “playoffsplayoffsplayoffsplayoffs”.  A playoff appearance, even if it’s just a quick first round exit, is a step forward for this team.  This sure doesn’t feel like a Cup year, so I don’t think the Sabres will be buying in the name of “making a run,” but I don’t think that means we need to sell off all the free agents either.

Look at me being all serious and hockeyish.

Patrick Lalime Is a Hero

That was a great game even if it was heartbreaking in the end.  By the end of the game I really, really, really wanted them to win for Lalime.  He was excellent tonight.  The poor dude has the flu!  He deserved a win.

Get well soon, Thomas Vanek.  We need goals.  Badly.

2 Things

1. I have a concert tonight, but I’ve decided to attempt to avoid the score and watch the game on DVR delay.  This is always a risky proposition, as I tend to become unreasonably angry after I watch a DVRed loss.

Kate’s anger index:

A loss I didn’t see because I was playing a concert = Meh.  Whatevs.
A loss watched in real time = anger/sadness depending on the game
A loss I go out of my way to watch on a DVR delay = white hot fury coupled with agonized screams of, “Why are the Sabres trying to ruin my life?! WHHHHHHYYYYY?!”

2.In other, unrelated news….the Tampa Bay Lightning have reduced season ticket prices to $239 in 20% of their arena.  That’s $239 for the entire season. They’ve also restructured the payment plan so you can pay for your tickets (which average out to $5.69 per game) with eight $30 per month payments.  I’m totally not kidding.

WEEEEEEEEE!!

Buckle up!

Lalime has the FLU!  ENROTH might have to play tomorrow!  Even BETTER, all of the other AHL goalies are injured, so there is NO ONE IN THE SYSTEM to back up our untested AHL rookie goaltender!

This whole goalie situation is so bonkers that I’m starting to love it.

(Now, go read the post right below this one.  I worked really hard on that one.)

Good Seats

Last night Heather and I took in a game from the 6th row, sitting directly to the left of the tunnel to the visitors dressing room.  This was quite a different perspective for me, because I usually sit up in the balcony with the riff-raff.

Things you notice when sitting in the 6th row that you don’t notice in the balcony

- The rink looks TINY and the players look MASSIVELY LARGE.

- Right above the tunnels to the dressing room behind the benches, there is a pane missing from the glass.  I’ve never noticed that before on television, but let me tell you, when you are sitting directly behind the missing pane of glass you’re suddenly hyper aware of the fact that it’s not there. Heather and I totally could have died at that game.  We’re lucky to be alive, frankly.

- The hockey players are really, really, really good at ice skating.  I found myself hugely distracted by their fancy footwork.  When you’re sitting that close the speed seems incredible.  The fact that they are leaping around doing goofy little pirouettes while pushing a little black disc around with a stick just seems insane.

- We got a lot of time to check out the Ducks while they were standing around near their bench, so, here is my highly professional report on them:  I don’t care how much you scoff at his 70′s porn star mustache, George Parros is hot.  I’m worried that maybe I think he’s hot because of the mustache rather than in spite of it.  Which, when you think about it, brings up a whole cornucopia of other disturbing issues, not the least of which is that I caught myself wondering if Netflix carries any 70′s porn in its inventory.  I dunno.  The Parros thing was kind of confusing.  Ryan Getzlaf is reeeeally ugly (even before Goose demolished his face).  Rob is better looking than Scott.  Chris Pronger reminds me of blond guy who played the villain in all the 80′s high school dramas- the guy who got knocked out by the Karate Kid.  That guy. (I’m actually not sure if this idea was planted in me by another hockey blogger, or if I came up with that likeness myself.  Either way, it’s totally true.)

- Derek Roy really is just a wee little fella.

- I was paying close attention to Goose’s faceoffs.  I’ve noticed him doing it on television, but sitting so close it’s very noticable how he’s constantly pointing at his teammates and telling them where to stand.  The rest of the Sabres just dutifully shuffled around until they were arranged to his liking.  At one point he was rearranging them over and over.  He’d be like, “Pommerdoodle, you stand there.  No wait.  Timmy you stand there. Okay, now Jaro and Pommerdoodle switch places.  No, no, go back.  No.  Not like that.  Staffy!  Why are you way over there?  Come closer.  NO!  TOO CLOSE!  Yeah.  There.  You stay there, Timmy.  Good.”  It was totally odd, but really fun to watch.  It’s possible he was just switching them around as the Ducks scooted around, but I couldn’t figure out the pattern at all.  To my untrained eye it just looked like Goose was having an OCD moment, and I half expected one of the other Sabres to suddenly be all, “GOOSE!  Snap out of it!  We’re FINE where we are!” but they never did.  They just went where he told them to go without any lip.

- When you’re sitting super close, you occasionally feel like you are looking at animals in a zoo, until all of a sudden one of those animals makes direct eye contact and you get all weirded out.

Things you DON’T notice in the sixth row:

- For the most part, I had no idea what the hell was going on with the game.  I could see most of the surface of the rink, but the net on the far side of the ice was at an incredibly odd angle.  I tried to look at the jumbotron when the play was down there, but the camera was on the other side, so the action on the screen was opposite from what I was looking at.  The end result was that I had a surprisingly difficult time keeping track of the game.  I’m not sure how many games I would have to see from that vantage point before I got used to it, but I suspect it would be a lot.

- I cannot accurately judge how well the Sabres played.  The energy just DRAINED out of the arena once the Ducks scored their shortie, but overall the Sabres didn’t look that bad to me.  They certainly didn’t look great, Lalime obviously could have been better, but other than that….I don’t know.  *shrug*  I was too busy looking at the clear tape they use to keep their socks up to also keep track of their playing.  The Sabres need Miller and Vanek back, ASAP if they want to make the playoffs.  Duh.

- I have no idea what happened with Goose and Getzlaf at the end there.  It happened on the far side of the rink, and I never saw the replay because I was too busy staring in horror at Goose laying facedown and motionless on the ice.  Then, Getzlaf walked right by us with blood and guts everywhere.  It was gee-ross.  I’ve heard some squawking that Goose’s hit was dirty, and if that’s true I will be so sad, and I will always blame Jerry Sullivan for ruining everything.

Bigger Fish To Fry

No offense Buffalo, but you’re beginning to sound a little unhinged.   I always get kind of nervous when you start to act like this. Yes, the Sabres are soft.  No, you don’t have to have to go all Cuckoo for Crankypuffs about it.

It’s not that I don’t think the Sabres are soft, it’s just that my distaste for the tone of this dialog is far outweighing my interest in the subject matter.  Furthermore, it’s not like the Sabres being soft is even the most significant issue right now!  The way I see it, we’ve got plenty of other things to freak out about, including, but not limited to:

1. Tomorrow, and for the foreseeable future, Patrick Lalime is our goaltender.

2. I don’t understand why Crunchy hasn’t taken a little more heat for this whole mess.  What, is Ryan Miller too good for ankle steroids?  If Crunchy had spent the summer bulking up his spindly little ankles instead of gallivanting around Europe with Goose, maybe this whole fiasco could have been avoided.

3. Has anyone considered that Ryan Miller is faking? If I were pissed off at my teammates for being reluctant to stand up for me, and I lived in a city prone to sports-related mass hysteria, I might limp around in a walking boot just for fun too.

4. If Thomas Vanek doesn’t have a blowhole drilled by tomorrow, I’m going to flip the eff out.  Enough of this bullhonky!  Man up, Thomas!  If we don’t have Ryan Miller, we’re going to need a LOT more goals.  Get your gimpy jaw back in the game, RIGHT NOW.

5. The Rangers hired Tortorella. This pisses me off because he was my go-to coach in case Lindy ever needed to be fired.  (I know, I know.  You guys don’t like to think about these things, but SOMEONE has to come up with a Plan B.  Tortorella was my Plan B.)  I kind of love Torts, and now he’s a disgusting Ranger.  Sad.

To review:  Everyone stop shouting about the Sabres being soft, and start shouting about blowholes and ankle steroids.  Thank you.

Hey, The Sabres Won That Game.

I suppose I should comment on the “SABRES = SOFT” issue, but you know what?  I’ve been pondering this all day, and frankly, I don’t know what to think about the Sabres and their smoooshy, soft ways.

Part of me is all, “Yeah!  The Sabres are SOFT!  They avoid hits and they never defend Crunchy!”  I mean, let’s face it, the Sabres are pretty cuddly as far as hockey teams go. The opposition spends WAY too much time pestering Miller in his crease.

But then another part of me is all, “Oh, please. Everyone just calm the eff down.  Fighting and brawling is theater, designed to romanticize the game.  Nothing more.  Fans love retaliation, but that doesn’t make it a necessary part of winning, and it CERTAINLY couldn’t have prevented Miller’s injury.”

I’m glad the Sabres didn’t put themselves on a 5-on-3 penalty kill right after Miller was injured, and I’m glad that no one got themselves suspended last night.  On the other hand, on a purely emotional level, it would have been awfully nice to see Gomez take a punch square to the face.

So basically, I don’t know how I feel about this issue. I do think the Sabres are “soft” but I’m not convinced it really matters.

I’m just still trying to wrap my brain around the fact that Patrick Lalime is our new goaltender.  Absorbing the situation is really all I can handle today as far as hockey goes.  I’m not mad that the Sabres are soft.   I’m mostly just bummed out.

*sniffle*

uncool1

Sad times.

5 Things

1. I’ve been quite frustrated watching the Sabres games without Vanek.  Obviously, he’s a good player to have around, and a large part of my discontent has been because of Vanek’s absence, but something about the way Lindy’s been reconstructing the lines has left me feeling, like, “Um….do we have any good forwards?  Why do all these lines make me sad?”   Normally, I’m not much of a line watcher.  I don’t pay super close attention to who is playing with who, but without Vanek things have felt WAY off, not just on the first line, but on ALL the lines.

You know how over the course of the game you begin to anticipate, and wait for the first line to come out?  Well, it turns out, hockey is less fun without a legitimate first line.  Over the past two weeks it’s felt like the Sabres NEVER rolled out a line that made me sit up straight and go, “WOOOOOOO!  Here we go!”

Connolly, Roy and Stafford seem like the most obvious combination of currently potent players, and they were on the ice together for two goals last night, so I really hope Lindy keeps them together.  We need at least one, functional, scoring line.  The idea of spreading out the guys who are playing well in the hopes of “sparking” some of the slumping guys is just NOT going to work.

Of course, it’s really not fair to judge Lindy’s lines when two of his supposedly reliable forwards are in such deep, deep ruts. Which leads me to my next point…

2. Jochen Hecht and Jason Pominville need to be quarantined- for their own protection and for the protection of their teammates.  I’m not here to point fingers.  I don’t know who infected who, but Pommer and Yo-Yo are CLEARLY and UTTERLY diseased.

quarantine6

Won’t someone PLEASE think of the children?

We have young, impressionable players on our roster right now.  Do we want Chris Butler, or Nathan Gerbe catching that suck?  Paille and MacArthur have already displayed symptoms, but they might still be salvageable.  What if (GOD FORBID) after he’s finally pulled it together, Drew Stafford catches the suck?  We canNOT afford the risk.  Drastic measures must be taken.  Hecht and Pominville must be separated from the general Sabres populace until we understand more about this horrific and debilitating sucking disease.

3. For whatever reason, I’m more sympathetic to Pominville than I am to Hecht.  Say what you want about Pommerdoodle, but he’s got 47 points so he hasn’t been totally worthless even when his defensive play is highly questionable.  I said in Heather’s comment thread today that my sense is that Pominville is slumping, but that Hecht is sliding into a pit of despair from which he might never return.   Don’t get me wrong, they have both been completely terrible, but Yo-Yo’s particular brand of ass-tastic seems disturbingly terminal.

4. Reading over this post I’m realizing how negative it sounds, and I just thought I should say that I enjoyed the game last night.  It was zippy, and if it weren’t for that meddling Mike Richards, we very well might have snatched those two points.  For the most part I thought the Sabres looked like a reasonably respectable NHL team.  (Except for Yo-Yo and Pommerdoodle who looked like Timbits.) (And not the hockey-playing Timbits.) (Last night Pominville and Hecht looked like donut holes.) (Donut holes who really suck at hockey.)

5. After writing a Sabres blog for a year and half, I am proud to report that I have FINALLY learned how to spell H-E-C-H-T. It’s such a short name, but for some reason I could NEVER remember how to spell “Hecht”. Thanks to his currently vomitous play, and the need to write his name repeatedly, I’ve finally learned how to spell “Hecht” once and for all. I promise you, I will NEVER learn how to spell “Paetchsetahscetahsecth”.


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