Archive for the 'Henrik Tallinder' Category

The Bandwagoner’s Guide to the Sabres, Part Two: The Defense

The concept of “the bandwagon fan” is very controversial, but I have a fondness in my heart for the new fan.  After all, it was at this time of year that I myself hopped on the Sabres bandwagon.  Every fan has to start somewhere, and often fandom is inspired by the playoffs.  The current Sabres may not feel like a bandwagon-y situation to a longtime fan, but I’m writing this series for the “Katebitses of 2007″; the guy or gal who is suddenly drawn to the Sabres, but doesn’t know where to begin.

Begin here, Bandwagoner!

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Okay, so yesterday we learned about the goalie.  He’s pretty self explanatory (“NONE SHALL PASS,” says the goalie, especially when your goalie is Crunchy.  If your goalie is Toskala, he’s more like, “Oh sure.  Come on in, pucks.)

But what about all the skaters?  To the untrained eye, it looks like a gobbledy mess out there (actually, it looks like that to the semi-trained eye too), but the skaters do have defined roles.

One of those roles is, “the defenseman,” or, for our Canadian friends, “defenceman”.  (Canadians are weird.)

Part Two: The Defense

It’s the job of the defensemen to help guard the net by actively battling with the other team’s players.   Ideally, the defensemen skate around, hitting the other teams forwards and snatching the puck in order to scoot it out of harm’s way.

At any given time, two out of the five skaters on the ice are defensemen. If you’re having trouble spotting the defensemen, look for the guys skating backwards.  That’s usually them.  They’re also the guys who are hanging back at center ice when all the action is down in one end.  When I first started watching hockey I used to get cranky thinking,”That guy is just standing there at the blueline doing nothing. He should go try to score a goal.  Dumbass.” But then I was always pleasantly surprised when the play turned around and there were still Sabres between the other team and our goal.  “Toni Lydman, that was very clever of you to stay back behind the blueline so that the other team can’t skate right up to Crunchy!  You’re so smart!”

Fun Fact about defensemen and defense in general:  You can just call it “D”.  At first it will feel redonk to say “D” (very similar to the first time you said “redonk,” actually), but after a while it rolls right off the tongue.

Defensemen skate in pairs, so every defenseman has a BFF.  Sometimes Lindy (more on Lindy later) mixes the pairs up, but for the most part, the Sabres defensemen are monogamous and loyal to their BFF/life partner.

The Sabres strongest current pairing is Tallinder and Myers.  Tallinder separated from Lydman last season and at first he seemed to be having a REAL rough time, but now he’s found someone younger and sexier and his broken heart seems to be totally mended.

There are two noteworthy things about the Sabres defense.  1. Everyone thought they would be sucky this year, but they’re totally not,  and 2. They are NOT sucky, primarily because of this guy:

Tyler Myers. He's more than just an insanely long neck. He's also very good at hockey.

Tyler Myers is, like, six-years-old.  He’s a wee little baby.  (“Wee” in years, not in size.  He’s actually humongous.)  He’s a wee little baby who is about to win the Calder Trophy.  “Calder Trophy” is NHL-speak for “rookie of the year.”

In my not-at-ALL humble opinion, Tyler Myers is a big deal.  Last year, the Sabres were poo.  THIS year (Myers’ rookie year), the Sabres are third in the Eastern Conference.  Coincidence?  I think not.  In addition to being good at his job, he’s almost singlehandedly rehabilitated Tallinder, which was no small feat.  I used to worry that Myers would get hurt because he’s so spindly, but he seems to have the super-strength of a toddler.  You could toss him down a flight of stairs and I bet he’d just pop right back up and start skating around, no problem.  Tyler Myers is awesome and he’s changed everything about the Sabres.  Love him without reservation.

Here are the other defensemen:

Henrik Tallinder. Smiley, attractive, NOT a good drinking partner.

Toni, Tone, Tony Lydman. Hilarious. Good at hockey except for when he sucks. My favorite defenseman.

Steve Montador. Shockingly hot for a guy who's not that hot. Seems to not be an idiot. All-around alluring.

Craig Rivet. Got elected captain of the team on his first day as a Sabre, probably because he seems like an adult.

Chris Butler. Poor Butts. There is something wrong with him. Hopefully it's just a sophomore slump.

Andrej Sekera. Looks like a little old man for some reason.

In conclusion, the Sabres defense is pretty good and moderately foxy.  Since you’re a Bandwagoner, I am going to recommend that you focus on Myers.  You canNOT be a Sabres fan this spring without knowing that Tyler Myers is young, awesome, tall, and long-necked.  Myers is the most deserving of your bandwagoning affections, but really, all of these guys have their good qualities.  The defense is relatively safe waters for the new fan.

Have fun watching the D, Bandwagoners!

___________

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s installment, when we begin to examine the “forwards”.

Let’s Blow This Baby Up

I’m kind of a drama queen when it comes to the Sabres (although oddly, I’m not a drama queen in any other area of my life), so I felt a little bit of vindication when I made my morning blog rounds today.  It seems I’m not the only person who thought that that was THE WORST HOCKEY GAME IN THE HISTORY OF TIME AND SPACE.  I mean, I’ve seen the Sabres suck plenty of times before, but that game last night was an abomination.  I’m not sure that either team successfully completed a pass all night.  I will forever remember that game as ten guys standing in the middle of the rink kicking the puck around randomly with their skates.  For all I know, they didn’t even USE hockey sticks last night.

But the details about last night are neither here nor there.  The main point is that the Sabres are not a good hockey team.  I’ll admit, I’ve lost ALL patience for waiting around for this particular group of guys to pull it together.  It’s not going to happen.  Drastic steps must be taken.

I’m not ordinarily the type of blogger to play the role of GM.  I don’t feel very confident with my hockey analysis, but this situation has inspired me to go out on a limb and write a serious post about what I would do if I were the GM of the Sabres.  In my opinion, this team needs a major shake-up.

Here are the moves I would make:

Tim Connolly should be retired and sent to a farm to live out his remaining years grazing peacefully.  It’s the most humane solution at this point.

Drew Stafford should be traded for Evgeni Malkin.

Derek Roy‘s talent should be surgically extracted and implanted into Paul Gaustad.  This is a dangerous scheme because there’s a risk that Goose could be infected with some of Roy-Z’s personality as well as his talent (that, of course, would be disastrous/tragic), but I’m sure we can all agree that a Goose/Roy-Z hybrid would be a useful player to have around.  I think it’s worth the risk.  After the talent transferring procedure, the now talentless Derek Roy can become Goose’s personal assistant.  Everyone wins….except Goose, who now has a talentless Derek Roy following him around all the time.

Ryan Miller needs his glass eye removed and replaced with a real eye.  He’s done pretty well with one glass eye, considering, but it’s clear that he needs two good eyes to compete in the NHL.  He might as well get his wonky eyebrow re-cocked while he’s at it.

Jason Pominville needs to be taken off the point on the power play.

Henrik Tallinder and Toni Lydman need to be sent out into the deep forest and each be given a match, a single bottle of water, and a penknife.  They have 48 hours to hunt and kill the other.  Whoever comes out alive gets to keep his job.

Thomas Vanek should be paid $7.1 million dollars per year for the next six years.

Clarke MacArthur should be traded to the Blackhawks for Patrick Sharp and Patrick Kane.

Max Afinogenov and Ales Kotalik should be melted down and then recast as Christmas tree ornaments which the Sabres wives and girlfriends can then sell in the concourse to benefit charity.

Andrew Peters should be waived and Adam Mair should start actively practicing punching people and being punched in return.

Patrick Kaleta should be sent to Portland, and Danny Paille should start actively practicing being really, really annoying.

Nathan Paetsch should be traded for Nicklas Lidstrom.

Craig Rivet should be returned to the San Jose Sharks.  This is a mercy trade made of behalf of Rivet who is probably looking at his old team with extreme longing right about now.  This poor dude was living a perfectly happy life in California a few months ago, and now, through no fault of his own, he’s the CAPTAIN of this train wreck.  Poor dude.  I want to set him free.

Mark Mancari, Nathan Gerbe, and Tim Kennedy should all be given trial jobs with the Sabres, but they should be FORBIDDEN from socializing with any of their elder teammates.  Everyday after practice they should be chauffeured to their grim apartments at the Extended Stay America off the 290, and supervised for the remainer of the day.  If any of them even glances wistfully at Chippewa St, they should be automatically fired/executed.

Teppo Numminen should be compelled to retire so that he may begin some sort of job which involves him standing behind the bench with James Patrick looking foxy in a well tailored suit.

Jaroslav Spacek should call a press conference and then bite the head off the pigeon so that we never have to hear about that dumb thing again.  (This isn’t so much of a personnel move as it is a personal request from me to Jaro.)

——-

So that’s what I would do if I were GM.

Henrik Tallinder Appreciation Day!

It’s Henrik Tallinder Appreciation Day!

This celebration has been brewing for quite some time. Hank is pretty unassuming, so it’s easy to overlook him, but I want to make sure you’re aware that it’s been years since Hank was last involved in an unseemly Swedish sex scandal, and months since he last had his arm broken. Not only has he been skeletally fit and sexually law-abiding, but he’s been quietly rocking our world with his sound defensive play. Recently, out of NO WHERE, Lindy stuck him in the shootout and he hilariously undressed Marty Brodeur, thus revealing some hitherto unrecognized offensive prowess. Basically, Hank is a stud. You know it, I know it, and HeatherB wrote the book about it; but until today, we didn’t have the statbits to make our case. How do you quantify the awesomeness of a stay-at-home defenseman? I have no idea, but I know someone who does: Acclaimed blogger and statbit analyzer, James Mirtle, has published a list of the top defensive defenseman in the league. Guess who’s at the tippy-top of his list? HANK! What does it all mean? Who cares! I’m drunk on glögg, and it’s Henrik Tallinder Appreciation Day!

In honor of Hank Tallinder Appreciation Day, I would like to present Hank with this IKEA cabinet to house his Appreciation Day trophy and all the other trophies I’m certain his responsible defensive play will earn him over the course of his career……

Ikea case
Some assembly required
…..and this bottle of calcium:

kirkland_calcium_enlarge

You can never have too much healthy bones.

Holy Hank Tallinder!

Sure, we gave up a two goal lead. I don’t care.

Seeing Hank “hot stuff” Tallinder faking out Marty Brodeur like that was totally worth it.

That. Was. H. I. L. A. R. I. O. U. S. And awesome. And hilarious. And my favorite end to a game ever. And hilarious. And redonk. And in the post-game interview we found out Crunchy went to McDonald’s for breakfast! Hilarious!

My official stance on shootouts is “against,” but for tonight, I’ll make an exception.

Googled

Like all self-obsessed bloggers, I keep a fairly careful eye on my blog stats. The most fun of the all blog stats, is of course, the list of search terms that bring people to my site. In the daily sea of “Ryan Miller girlfriend”s and “belichick hoodie”s is a delightful list of random, and not-so-random search terms.

Every once in awhile, I like to amuse Schnookie and Pookie by typing a funny search term into google, and clicking on the link that leads back to IPB. Then, the next day, I’ll get an email from one of them that is like, “Um, are you the one who found IPB by searching for Boxworthy is seriously peeved?”, at which point I deny any involvement in such a ridiculous matter, and everyone has a laugh.

It has recently occurred to me that the Sabres are most likely playing the same game with me. I think it’s perfectly reasonable to assume that the Sabres love nothing more than to send me cryptic messages via google search terms. (Hockey players are known to be subtle, computer-saavy communicators.)

This is a screen shot of a list of search terms people used to find The Willful Caboose:

I will now, one by one, address each of these messages sent to me by various Sabres.

A. Hank, if you want to send Heather a message, I suggest you click the link that leads back to her blog, not mine.

B. Derek, you’re being really insecure. You’re a great guy, but I think you’d be a lot happier if you stopped constantly comparing yourself to your teammates. Just relax! (But the answer is Tim Connolly.)

C. Me too, Pommerdoodle. Me too.

And here is my favorite search term put into Google by a Sabre:

I figured as much, Goose, but it’s still nice to hear.

Captain October

It looks like the Sabres have decided on a monthly rotating captaincy starting with German cutie-pie (and near KFS), Jochen Hecht. I am in full support of the rotating captaincy, mostly because I think there isn’t a clear captain right now. It makes me sad when guys lose their captaincy, so rather than hand the reigns over to the wrong guy for the year, I’d rather they took their time and wait for the best captain to reveal himself. In the wake of all the ruckus surrounding the departures of the last captains, the entire role needs a makeover before the next “C” is handed out for any real length of time. I think the process of sniffing out the new captain could be very enjoyable to witness as it promotes healthy competition and rewards for good behavior. Plus, none of this really matters because everyone knows that in the Sabres lockerroom, Ryan Miller is the boss of you.

————

In a press conference this morning, Lindy Ruff revealed that the first captain, Jochen Hecht, was chosen by the team in a secret ballot vote. It has not been widely reported in the press, but the individual Sabres have been engaged in active campaigns to promote themselves for the job of Captain for the duration of the preseason. An unnamed informant has given TWC special access to the campaign materials of the top candidates. The information obtained by The Willful Caboose is a shocking and revealing glimpse of the emotional make-up of the 2007-08 Sabres.

Of all the Sabres, Derek Roy campaigned the hardest with his teammates. His campaign slogan was, “A Vote for Roy is a Vote for Joy”, which was widely considered a blunder as the slogan did not test well in polls with males ages 18-35. However, Derek’s popularity in the locker room took a dramatic turn for the better following his extraordinary preseason play. Poised to ascend to the captaincy, Roy made a critical error in the final hours of his campaign when he scorned Nickelback in favor of Avril Lavigne on his morning to chose the music for the workout room. The controversy effectively ended Roy’s bid for the October captaincy, but he should be considered a strong candidate in future months. Of all the Sabres, Roy has displayed the most dedication to becoming a strong leader.

Jason Pominville entered the election on a dare from Ryan Miller. He campaigned on a platform to bring better vending machines into the player’s lounge, and to organize a Sabres vs. Bills charity capture-the-flag tournament.

Drew Stafford promised that if elected, he would put an end to the recent rash of animal vivisection plaguing the Sabres locker room. Unfortunately for his campaign, his promise was perceived by many as a veiled threat.

Henrik Tallinder vowed to provide the team with “more hookers and blow” if elected captain.

Brian Campbell declared that he would use his influence as team captain to further raise awareness for sweating, and sweat related issues. His candidacy took a major hit when Andrew Peters (on behalf of the Roy campaign) began running attack ads questioning Campbell’s true dedication to the cause. “Soupy benefits from sweat, while the innocent victims of WNY suffer.”

Jochen Hecht, ultimately the victor, ran a very simple campaign. He sent the following email to his teammates:

Subject: Slag-faced Whores
From: imnotjochen@sabres.hky
Sent: 7/01/07, 6:30pm
To: Sabres Teammates

Dru and Danny are whores. When i see them, I will spear them.

-yoyo

————————

As you can see, the search for the next captain has already been embroiled in controversy and intrigue. Stay tuned to The Willful Caboose for full coverage of this exciting, unfolding story.

Hank, Pommerdoodle, and Soupy

(This post is a part of a series entitled “Kate’s Favorite Sabre Competition” in which I am choosing my 2007/08 favorite Sabre by process of elimination. Each and every Sabre is a hero, but in the end, there can be only one favorite.)

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It is with heavy heart that I present the fifth round of cuts. Every remaining Sabre is a winner in my book, but in order to choose my ultimate favorite, good men must be sacrificed along the way.

Henrik Tallinder #10

Heather, please look away.

Hank “the charges were dropped” Tallinder is a genuine dish. He’s tall, blond, and delightfully dreamy. There is something very graceful and swoopy about his on-ice presence, and Hank is one of the few Sabres I can recognize just by his skating style. Many people in Buffalo consider him our most valuable defenseman, and while I have nothing to contribute to that conversation, I am very pleased that Hank is on our roster for the next three years. He also seems like a very sweet guy. In the one interview I’ve seen, he talked very genuinely about wanting to spend the summer playing with his boys. Aww, cute.

So let’s review:

-Good defenseman
-compelling skater
-handsome
-sweet-natured family man
-no longer involved in a Swedish sex scandal

Even though you’re not my favorite Sabre, I wish you well, Hank. Just be good to Heather, and for the love of Lindy Ruff, stay out of trouble!

Jason Pominville #29

Here’s the thing about Jason Pominville: He’s a total dog.

He’s a labradoodle puppy, to be precise.

After Schnookie and Pookie pointed out Pominville’s likeness to a labradoodle, it was all over for Jason Pominville “the man”. I have no interest in the reality of Jason Pominville. No, to me, Pommerdoodle is just a big, dopey, eager-to-please dog. If I ever met Jason, it would take every ounce of my concentration not to reach up and scratch him behind the ears.

So intense is my affection for Pommers, that for a few minutes I seriously considered making him my Favorite Sabre. Sadly, due to his popularity amongst teeny-boppers, no self respecting 32-year-old woman can wear a Jason Pominville jersey. It’s just not done. Pommerdoodle may be adorable, but he’s not “Kate’s Favorite Sabre” material.

(I hear he’s a pretty good hockey player and that we should be anxious to see how he reacts to a new, Briere-free line next season. Whatevs. As long his center rewards him with lots of puppy chews, I’m sure Pommerdoodle will do just fine.)

Brian Campbell #51

Soupy!

Say what you want about his hap-hazard defensive style, but Soupy’s got a compelling personality. If there is one thing I like in a man, it’s a willingness to laugh at any old dumb thing, and Brian Campbell has this quality in spades. As a person who also technically makes her living “playing” I appreciate Soupy’s boyish enthusiasm. It’s cute and endearing. On the other hand, sometimes when I am hanging out with a someone who’s constantly joking around, I can get frustrated. Before too long, I can feel my blood pressure rising and meanwhile he doesn’t realize that this time I’m serious, I want him to stop being such a clown, just for one second. But he just keeps teasing or joking or whatever the hell he’s doing, until finally I lose my shit and scream, “Get back in your own fucking defensive zone and stop SPINNING AROUND like that!” (I have to admit, I have no idea what I am talking about with Soupy. I’m just parroting things I’ve read on other hockey blogs. I just have this feeling about him….I suspect he is about to drive me batty with love and rage. I mean, just look at him there. Don’t you simultaneously want to make out with him and punch him in the face? I sure do. )

Clearly my relationship with Soupy is far too complicated for him to be my Favorite Sabre this year.

——–

Well, that does it for another round of cuts. I would like to take this opportunity to remind all of my readers that I am new to hockey and that this blog is more a reflection of my newness than it is of my general mental instability. I’m bored, and I don’t have the hockey smarts to talk about hockey without ACTUAL HOCKEY. I need the season to begin before I permanently establish myself as an irredeemable weirdo. (Too late?)


…A Blog About the Buffalo Sabres

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I can be reached at: willfulcaboose [at] gmail [dot] com

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In accordance with the Fair Use Copyright Law, The Willful Caboose uses logos and registered trademarks of the National Hockey League to convey my criticism and inform the public of the Sabres' suckitude/badassitude (whatever the case may be). Photos on The Willful Caboose are used without permission, but do not interfere with said owner's profit. If you own a specific image on this site and want it removed, please e-mail me (willfulcaboose [at] gmail [dot] com) and I will be more than happy willing to oblige. (Special thanks to The Pensblog for their help with this disclaimer.)

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