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.

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27 Responses to “Hey, The Sabres Won That Game.”


  1. 1 JB February 22, 2009 at 6:58 pm

    I’m mostly just bummed out.

    Mutual feelings.

  2. 2 Caroline February 22, 2009 at 7:23 pm

    I know how you feel. I woke up feeling similar to the way I feel when the Sabres lose a tough game. Bummed out and a little pissed. Then I took a step back and remembered that the Sabres actually won. But their victory is taking a backseat because I’m worried about Miller and our chances without him. I’m sure if the Sabres win their next game and hearing news about Ryan’s status will make me feel normal again.

  3. 3 Shari February 22, 2009 at 8:02 pm

    I feel excatly the same way Kate. I’m a little nervous but I’m keepin the faith! Alot of people are talking Enroth for a few games but it’s also time for the team to go to work. Stay strong people!

  4. 4 Erin February 22, 2009 at 8:17 pm

    I’m resisting falling into a deep deep depression. I sort of hoping for a fired up Sabres team to rally and keep us in the playoff picture but I feel too vulnerable to out and out wish for that to happen. I’ve decided to think this way: no matter what happens, it will be interesting.

  5. 5 Katebits February 22, 2009 at 8:20 pm

    That is fo’ SURE, Erin. I think at this point we just buckle up and try to enjoy the ride. Plus, Miller might not be out that long, or Lalime could be heroic. There is still a lot of season left.

  6. 6 Jennifer February 22, 2009 at 8:49 pm

    I’m mostly just bummed out.

    Amen! I was so excited that my 2 favs. (Hank & Goose) were back and I would get to see them play in Carolina on Thursday, even though Vanek was out and then Miller got hurt. :-(

    On the positive side, this will be the first time I’ve seen Lalime play in person. Might be interesting…

  7. 7 Becky February 22, 2009 at 9:23 pm

    Soft matters when we play teams from the west. Most of them are not soft. Oh! We play Anaheim on Tuesday.

  8. 8 Phil February 22, 2009 at 9:27 pm

    The goalie is untouchable. They should have all mangled the Rags for that ~deliberate~ slew foot from Gomez. If we lost, the Rags would have known their black eyes and chipped teeth were the cost. “Every point is necessary at this point in the season”? What happened to the Lindy Ruff we knew, the one who intentionally sent out the goon squad to pound the Sens into powder following the hit on Drury, the one who’s adoring city-full of fans raised the $10,000 to pay his fine from the league.

    The entire team failed to deliver the basic rule of protecting your teammates. Except Connolly (lulz).

    The goalie is untouchable.

  9. 9 Katebits February 22, 2009 at 9:32 pm

    What happened to the Lindy Ruff we knew, the one who intentionally sent out the goon squad to pound the Sens into powder following the hit on Drury, the one who’s adoring city-full of fans raised the $10,000 to pay his fine from the league.

    I think that Lindy might only exist when the Sabres have the luxury of being able to afford losing some guys to suspension. The Sabres that year were miles ahead in the standings. No way Lindy would have done that otherwise.

  10. 10 JB February 22, 2009 at 10:01 pm

    I think that Lindy might only exist when the Sabres have the luxury of being able to afford losing some guys to suspension. The Sabres that year were miles ahead in the standings. No way Lindy would have done that otherwise.

    THANK YOU. Why are people not getting this? Why are people not getting that they could not afford to take the feel good penalties? It infuriates me. Lindy did what was best for his team at the time. And I am almost sure Ryan would have not wanted his team to blow the lead for him… or loose the game for him… come on wake up peoples… the play offs are at stake here… It would have felt good and put on a show for the fans… OK good entertainment… but is that what it really is all about? I want my boys to succeed… not to flake out and crash and burn.

  11. 11 Alan February 22, 2009 at 11:57 pm

    While I think Gomez should rot in a hell of festering horse turds and wouldn’t have minded seeing Miller use the last of the strength in his bad leg to shove his skate up Gomez’s behind, I don’t want to see the Sabres become a team of goons. Are we the Sabres or are we the Flyers? Yeah, I think Lindros should send out the fourth line more often when we next play the Rangers and make sure Gomez pays for his evil, but it’s more important that we make the playoffs. That would be real justice, but it won’t happen if half our team is suspended and the other half is injured.

    I also think Gomez should be susupended, but I’m not counting on that. The only way I could count on the NHL to treat the Sabres fairly would be to have them move to a large market city.

    And I notice that no one is saying anything about the other dirty hit in the game, the knee to knee hit. We’re lucky not to have lost two guys in that game.

    I’ve been a Buffalo sports fan too long to be optimistic, but I’m always hopeful. Always the masochist, I guess.

  12. 12 Phil February 23, 2009 at 12:30 am

    There would have been no suspensions. Game misconducts, sure. And it’s about being a team, JB, not entertainment. It’s about defending the men that are like brothers to them. Did you watch the Montreal game that Patty Kaleta got injured during? He was getting run all game, and no one stuck up for him either. This team is soft. I don’t want just goons, I want men with stones playing this game.

    One of the golden rules of hockey is that the goalie is untouchable. Am I the only one who remembers last season when Ryan would stick up for himself and jump guys in the trapezoid behind the net for running him?

    If Rivet’s empty promise that he made at the beginning of the season to beat down on anyone who runs his goalie wasn’t empty, maybe Miller wouldn’t get run so freaking much.

  13. 13 Phil February 23, 2009 at 12:32 am

    And Alan, yea, Dubinsky’s knee-on-knee on Mair looked heinous, but it’s the Rangers – they’re gonna get jobbed by the refs like they were playing the Leafs, Habs, or Pens.

  14. 14 JB February 23, 2009 at 8:35 am

    Phil you obviously don’t get my point… most fans wanted the beat down of Gomez for entertainment purposes… someone gets ran arse whooping time. Read my blog once in a while. I am a huge proponent for the protection of Miller… HUGE proponent. I am the first one to raise the BS flag when he gets ran… but as I have said 100 times already it wasn’t the time. It would have been a feel good thing at home putting on a show for the fans… that is what home games are doing; extras for the home crowd. All home teams do that. I am PO’ed at what happened to Miller… he is my favorite player… This team is where they are because of him. I am in KNOW that goal tenders are untouchable… have been watching the game for a while.

    And Phil… how do you know there wouldn’t have been any suspensions? Were you standing there next to Ruff and the Ref? Did you have some magic listening in device that only you are allowed to hear? Do you know exactly what would have happened on the ice? You must have those special look into the future goggles. It’s all speculation that this is one reason why Ruff didn’t send out the goons besides… WANTING TO WIN THE GAME AND COLLECTING THE TWO DARN POINTS TO ADVANCE IN THE STANDINGS! I am sure that if he let his players loose… they would have went nuts on them. Miller is well liked… and huge to that team… much needed. Did you happen to see Gooses face after the fact… he looked PO’ed and worried.

    BUT whats done is done… Miller is injured and out for who knows how long…

  15. 15 Pookie February 23, 2009 at 9:36 am

    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.”

    clapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclap
    clapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclap

  16. 16 VodkaRocks February 23, 2009 at 11:41 am

    People like JB crack me up because they prefer to ignore the facts such as there was a large opportunity to get payback in the third period. The retaliation did not have to come right after Miller got hit by Gomez but rather could have came with a minute or so left in the game. If they did it wisely, the Sabres would have never been in danger of losing that game. Suspensions?….maybe. I didn’t realize Kalata or someone of that ilk being suspended would be such a setback to the team though.

    Another thing: Fans didn’t want a brawl for entertainment. Sabre fans are sick and tired of players running the goalie. It has been going on all year. They want it stopped. They now realize it is too late because the damage has been done.

    JB you write a blog? Maybe you should watch some hockey first. I guess it is true when they say anyone can start a blog.

  17. 17 JB February 23, 2009 at 12:15 pm

    Yes I am ignoring facts and I never watch hockey… I admit it. Never. You caught me. One nothing for you on the jumbotron, Vodkarocks. Kaleta is a huge asset to this team… he is an agitator. He makes big, clean hits and suckers the opposing team into stupid feel good penalties. PLUS he plays the PK. But I wouldn’t know that because I have never watched hockey a day in my life. *rolling eyes*

  18. 18 Jay February 23, 2009 at 12:29 pm

    I don’t recall Lindy being the type of coach to shy away from sending the fourth liners out to get some retribution. He is also not a stupid coach or he wouldn’t be the longest tenured coach currently in the NHL. There was obviously SOME reason he didn’t send the bangers out there… and since he so adamantly declined to comment on what was said to him by the ref, I would wager that had something to do with it. Since I wasn’t on the bench with Lindy, I won’t speculate as to what was said, but I’m sure he wasn’t asking after the missus.

    Maybe entertainment wasn’t the best word but to seek retribution to appease the fans seems pretty disingenuous. I too am sick of seeing other teams taking liberties with Miller (notice when Lalime plays he seems to get more support) and I know that that is the case with JB. The lack of repercussions for bumping Miller is one of this team’s biggest failings. We thought that was going to change with the addition of Rivet but sadly that has not happened.

    Maybe there could have been retaliation late in the third when the game, for all intents and purposes was won, but the damage was done. I believe that at this point the message to the league would have been as long as you don’t actually go as far as injuring our goaltender, we will do nothing. There will be other opportunities to get Gomez and at the rate the Rangers are going, it had better be before the post season because I doubt they will be there. Also, this situation was a potential powder keg: say Kaleta runs Gomez with less than a minute to go. Sure, we would be fine without him for a game or two. But do you think the Rags would just stand by while some young punk jumps the old man? Doubt it. It could have easily resulted in the kind of melee that ivolves everyone on the ice and results in multiple suspensions. How many players can we afford to lose to suspension?

  19. 19 VodkaRocks February 23, 2009 at 2:42 pm

    JB, you can sit there and play the “rolling eyes” game all day but what you just said about Kaleta proves that you are clueless. Kalata’s primary job is to protect him teammates. He didn’t do it for one reason or another. Chances are it was because Ruff told him not to. Whatever the reason, the Sabres reaction was unacceptable considering how often Miller has been run over in his crease over the course of this season. It was just a matter of time before this happened.

    I do hope you have a second job. Something other than your blog.

    Go ahead, roll your eyes.

  20. 20 JB February 23, 2009 at 3:21 pm

    LMAO! Ahhh this is so cute. I love admirers.

  21. 21 VodkaRocks February 23, 2009 at 4:07 pm

    Is this what you do on your blog when someone presents facts which makes you look bad? Make cute little one liners that have nothing to do with the topic to cover up the fact that you’re clueless?

    I will let you make believe this your blog and let you have the last word here. I am done with this. BTW: Enjoy Lalime in net.

    Oh sorry, Is this where I am suppose to roll my eyes?

  22. 22 Katebits February 23, 2009 at 5:06 pm

    Okay, everyone settle down. There is no reason for discussions about hockey to get so cranky.

  23. 23 spavery February 25, 2009 at 8:40 pm

    I haven’t checked the blog in a few days, but things sure got acrimonious…

    Kate:

    I know you haven’t been following hockey for that long, and in the short time that you have, well, you know the game really well, as far as I’m concerned. I usually don’t comment, but I have to say a few words here.

    It’s not just about brawls and staged fights. It’s more about the fear factor for opponents. I mean, this is just a hockey tradition — it’s rooted in the very ESSENCE of the game — you don’t go near the goalie. He’s the most helpless player on the ice, and he’s the most important player on the ice. The opposing team should be terrified to go near him, for fear of losing a couple of teeth. It’s like a Commandment. If you break it, there has to be some kind of retribution.

    And it’s not just about protecting the goalie. The players themselves are the ones who best know how to protect the integrity of the game. There are just certain things you don’t do. You don’t go headhunting, you don’t hit from behind, you don’t intentionally injure vulnerable players. This, as you know, is referred to as “The Code.” Some might dismiss it as nonsense, but it’s as old as the game itself.

    Every team has a few soft players. But the very culture of this team is soft. Intensity is contagious, and there are too many Daniel Pailles and Hank Tallinders on this team, and not enough Paul Gaustads and Craig Rivets. You don’t think it matters? Darcy Reiger has been bringing in soft players from the day he arrived on the job — since the day he took over for John Muckler. How many championships has Darcy Reiger won? Zero, because soft teams don’t make it far in the playoffs — nor do teams who don’t stick up for their goalies. There has to be a comfort level on the ice, a certain level of assurance that your teammates will stick up for you if you’re maliciously attacked. It’s not just about Scott Gomez bumping Ryan Miller. It’s about the fact that Jason Pominville would rather skate to the bench and not make eye contact with the opposing skater who just ran into his franchise, 165 pound goalie. It’s not always about dropping the gloves — sometimes it’s about just losing your temper and breaking your stick over your opponent’s jaw. Have you ever seen Pominville or Tallinder even get angry? Have you ever seen that fire burning in their eyes? I haven’t. And that’s why neither of them will ever hoist a Cup.

    The Code matters. Intensity matters. It’s what makes hockey special, different from all the other sports. And if it ever stops to matter in the NHL, then that’s the point when I stop watching the NHL.

  24. 24 Katebits February 25, 2009 at 11:01 pm

    spavery, thank you for your well thought out comment. I don’t really disagree with the bulk of your point. I do think the Sabres are soft, which I said in this post. I think it’s worth saying that I don’t understand people who watch sports so that they have an excuse to bitch (I’m not saying that about you), and this issue seemed to bring those types out of the woodwork. I think a LARGE part of my reaction to this whole thing was due to my distaste for that kind of fan.

    When I wrote this post, Buffalo was in the grips of a city-wide conniption fit about the Sabres being “soft”. (We’ve moved on to a “Holy crap! We have no goalie!” conniption fit now. :D) I found the tone of the conversation surrounding the “soft” issue to be downright disgusting. People sputtering with rage because no Sabre ran Lundqvist, and because Gomez made it out of the game alive. It was bloodlust, plain and simple, and I found it very uncomfortable to listen to. The violence in hockey is something I still struggle with as a fan. To some extent, I enjoy fighting, but I am suspicious when the violence of hockey is held up as evidence of the “nobility” of the game. I have fundamental problems with that as a concept, and from the beginning of my hockey fandom I’ve struggled with this issue. I like fighting, but I don’t feel good about the reverence hockey fans like to place on fighting. And I would absolutely NEVER want to see a player I’m cheering for “lose his temper and break his stick over his opponent’s jaw,” as you put it. Never. If that is part of hockey, than I am not.

    I don’t disagree that The Code is important and that protecting the goalie is an legitimate part of the game- but I think it is only a part. To me it felt like Sabres fans (and Buffalo media) MASSIVELY overreacted to this incident. This post was my way of attempting to put the this issue in what I feel is a proper context. I have really mixed emotions both about what happened, and about what didn’t happen on Saturday night, but ultimately, to me, the incident looked like a freak accident. I am frustrated that for some reason the dialog that we had in Buffalo left no room to acknowledge that at it’s core this wasn’t necessarily Gomez trying to take out Miller, and the rest of the Sabres sitting limply on the side watching it happen. It was a really unfortunate situation that happened incredibly fast.

    Is it right to want to see more passion out of the Sabres? Absolutely. ABSOLUTELY. Would Ryan Miller still be healthy if the Sabres had a history of clobbering people who got near him? I think as far as assumptions go that’s a BIG stretch. Maybe he would, and maybe he wouldn’t- but either way, I don’t think it’s a simple issue.

    Just for the record, I prefer to thnk about this as more of an intensity issue than as a violence issue. I totally, totally agree that the Sabres need more intensity. I also agree that Tallinder and Pominville are players who seem pretty consistently low on intensity, even when things are going well for them. What I don’t necessarily agree with is that intensity has to express itself with eye-for-an-eye retribution.

  25. 25 Katebits February 25, 2009 at 11:06 pm

    Also, at the end of the day, when things feel this bad with the Sabres I think my tendency is to go, “Meh. What are you going to do? The Sabres kind of suck.” The city-wide spazzy meltdown was really on my nerves. :P

  26. 26 spavery February 26, 2009 at 1:00 am

    Thanks for your thoughtful response, Kate. I sort of regret the choice of words I used: “breaking your stick over your opponent’s jaw”. That probably came out a little more violent than I intended.

    I meant to say that when a player sees his teammate — most likely his friend and brother, if they’ve played together for a long time — get pushed around, or harassed, that player has to come to his aid. It doesn’t have to be a fight. But it can be a facewash, a slash, a shove, a crosscheck, or at least the shouting of unpleasantries in his vicinity. Or it can be the eye for an eye thing: you run my goalie, I’ll run yours. It’s really important for a team to have a certain degree of confidence that one’s linemates “got your back,” in the colloquial sense. It’s almost like an unconscious thing. When I step out on the ice, and I know in the back of mind that my teammates aren’t going to let me get jumped, then I play with a certain level of confidence that I won’t otherwise have. That type of unconscious assurance creates a certain culture both on and off the ice: a certain swagger, a certain attitude. Players can’t depend on the officials to give them that. It comes from a culture of protective-collective toughness. Does that make sense? Maybe I’m getting too philosophical, because I don’t even know if I’m making sense to myself anymore.

    I’m certainly not a fan of violence for the sake of violence. But I love intensity, and I think oftentimes hockey is the most intense of all the sports. Sometimes tempers flare. Isn’t that how it should be? None of the Sabres lost their temper during the Rangers game, and that really worries me.

    thanks for responding :)

  27. 27 Katebits February 26, 2009 at 10:53 am

    No problem, spavery! I guess I had a lot to say about this issue! Thanks for your comments!

    Just out of curiosity, do you play hockey yourself? I’d be interested to talk to someone who has actually played hockey extensively.

    I see your point, certainly. And in the case of the Sabres I agree with it as a generality (maybe not in this particular case), but I think this aspect of hockey is perhaps overblown, and I believe strongly that it’s overemphasized by the fans. It’s an appealing concept, but I’m just not sure I really buy it hook line and sinker.


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