The Sum of Their Parts

I’ve always liked the expression, “Better than the sum of their parts,” and I’m starting to think that it might apply to the Sabres.  With the exception of Ryan Miller (and maaaaybe Tyler Myers) the Sabres don’t have any players performing at an elite level.  Our top two lines are just kind of….ordinary.

And yet the team keeps winning.

In my short history of being a fan, I’ve spent a lot of time analyzing the individual players (so and so is awesome, so-and-so is annoying, so-and-so is a slag faced whore), but until recently, I haven’t focused so intensely on the team as a whole.  Lately I find myself attempting to ignore what I believe to be true about each man on the roster, and focusing instead on the results they are getting as a team.

When you add up all these seemingly ordinary parts, what do you get?

I believe that when you add up the Sabres, you get a rhinoceros.


I can hear some of the grumpier amongst you screaming, “The Sabres aren’t a rhinoceros!  A rhino is huge and surly!  Rhinos are unstoppable!  The Sabres are good and all, but they’re NOT a rhino.”  Allow me to explain.  Sure, rhinos are big and scary, but they’re also ugly and totally weird.  They’re awkward.  It’s hard to decide if they’re terrifying or just plain silly.  I feel like I might be able to outrun a rhinoceros if I had to, and yet, I would NOT want to run into one in a dark alley.

The Sabres are totally a rhino.  We don’t really know what to make of them yet, but it’s getting increasingly difficult to pretend that they’re not a legitimate Eastern Conference threat.  The Sabres are the rhino in the room.

Still with me?

So, how do the specific players add up to a rhino?  Here’s how:


– Lindy Ruff is the brains.

Paul Gaustad is the heart.

Ryan Miller is the back.  I really thought long and hard about whether Crunchy is the brain, heart, or back.  In some ways, he’s all of those things, but mostly he’s the back.  As in, “Hey, all you scrubs.  Climb aboard my scrawny little back.  I’m not letting in a thing tonight.”

Craig Rivet is the mouth.  He’s the spokesman.

Mike Grier is the horn.  He’ll gore your ass.  And by “your,” I mean “Derek Roy’s”.

Steve Montador is that other smaller, weirder looking horn.

Tyler Myers, Henrik Tallinder, Chris Butler, and Toni Lydman are the legs.  This entire team rests atop the surprisingly solid defense.

Patrick Kaleta is the the gigantic set of rhino unmentionables.

Pominville, Vanek, Connolly, Roy, Stafford, and Hecht are the ridiculous heft.  Does it help this team to be carrying around this bloated and bulky “top six”?  It’s hard to say.  I mean, a rhino has some serious weight.  Weight can go either way.  It can hold you back, or it can be used to ram your opponent into submission. We’ll see.

Kennedy, MacArthur, Ellis and Mair are the surprisingly foxy junk-in-the-trunk.

Nathan Paetsch and Andrej Sekera are the mostly superfluous, but oddly charming tail.

– And finally, Patrick Lalime is the cute little bird that rides around on the rhino.  This is not to say he’s useless.  That bird is adorable, and he makes everyone like the rhino a little more.


24 Responses to “The Sum of Their Parts”

  1. 2 george December 15, 2009 at 7:39 pm

    First of all, this is great. Engblom, take notes. This is how to capture my imagination. Plus, get a haircut; you’re not going to be an extra on CHiPS.

    Second, I humbly nominate Rip Simonick as “the eye”. He sees all, has seen everything and frequently has to tell all the parts aft of the head what they should be looking at.

    Lastly, in the immortal words of the guy from “Scrubs” in “Major League” before he was the guy from “Scrubs”: These guys don’t look too effing bad.

  2. 3 danielleia December 15, 2009 at 7:45 pm

    I am thinking then that Roy is the big gut? Or maybe the rolls on the gut?

  3. 4 SueInVirginia December 15, 2009 at 8:01 pm

    My niece who works with rhinos says they can run as fast as an ostrich. I’m not sure the Sabres have anyone who can skate that fast. She adds that they are amazing so I guess the Sabres are totally Rhinos. At least right now.

  4. 5 mcguffers December 15, 2009 at 8:33 pm

    – Steve Montador is that other smaller, weirder looking horn.

    This keeps cracking up! The cute little bird is definitely my favorite.

  5. 6 Cecilia December 15, 2009 at 8:45 pm

    I love this. Very insightful and surprisingly accurate! I will never look at a rhino the same way again.

  6. 7 Chaz December 15, 2009 at 8:47 pm

    I’m trying to decide what is my favorite part, and I’m thinking it’s Kaleta. That’s the best, really.

  7. 8 Meg December 15, 2009 at 8:47 pm

    Aww…the little bird also eats all the ticks off the Rhino. I think keeping the Sabres tick-free is a very important job. And let’s face it, it’s probably pretty time consuming to keep some of those guys pest free.

  8. 9 Heather B December 15, 2009 at 8:53 pm

    Kate, I love how this post is both completely ridiculous and totally true. You’re marvelous.

  9. 10 PKB December 15, 2009 at 9:15 pm

    Hopefully this whole Rhino business doesn’t end up as poorly for the Sabres as it did for Ace Ventura.

    “Kinda hot in these Rhinoooos”

  10. 11 Katebits December 15, 2009 at 9:39 pm

    Thanks guys! This one kind of got away from me. I’m glad it makes sense to you too. :D

    Meg, :^:::::::::::::::::: I KNEW that the little bird actually had a purpose. For some reason I thought it cleaned their teeth, but that made almost no sense the more I thought about it. The Sabres DEFINITELY need a pest picker, and Lalime seems like he’d be good at that kind of thing.

  11. 12 Meg December 15, 2009 at 10:03 pm

    For some reason I thought it cleaned their teeth, but that made almost no sense the more I thought about it.

    I thought that for a moment too when I was trying to remember what the birds do! But then I remembered that it’s crocodiles that get their teeth cleaned by birds. Which seems to make even less sense so I choose to believe that we were both being pretty reasonable. :P

  12. 13 Kathleen December 15, 2009 at 10:15 pm

    Ahhh!!! So awesome!

    As I was reading I was thinking “Oh, I agree with Katebits so much, the Sabres are totally better than the sum of their parts and that is why they’re good this year but no one wants to give them credit for it.” THEN I scrolled down to your fantastic rhino diagram and :^::::::::::::

    You’ve got everyone nailed (especially littlebird-Lalime) but I think Sekera’s got a decent case for being on the legs (maybe a foot?) I tend to forget about him, but since he’s been back from his injury he’s been very good. And he can even pinch hit at forward! He’s like the new, improved Patches.

  13. 14 Sam December 15, 2009 at 11:15 pm

    Kate, this may be my favorite post that you’ve done yet. It was brilliant and OH SO TRUE. :)

    Thank you for sharing your insights with us. :)

  14. 16 Mags December 16, 2009 at 3:17 am

    Too. Funny. And probably all true!

    More than the sum of it’s parts, and then a rhino! Honestly! *snort*

  15. 17 ToonTom December 16, 2009 at 10:05 am

    I want a hippopotamus for Christmas
    Only a hippopotamus will do
    No crocodiles, no rhinoceroses
    I only like hippopotamuses
    And hippopotamuses like me too

  16. 18 double d December 16, 2009 at 11:27 am

    I think little bird- Lalime may want to scoot a little closer to Roy and Connolly. I’m pretty sure they’re the source of mister rhino’s unwanted critters.

  17. 19 Mark B December 16, 2009 at 1:03 pm

    Awesome stuff and not just because the rhino is my favorite wild animal.

    To loosely quote Homer Simpson – this post is so funny because it’s true!

  18. 20 Amy December 16, 2009 at 9:27 pm

    When I first saw the diagram, I was wondering if you were calling Sekera and Paetsch the arseholes of the team. I’m glad to be wrong, heh.

    Great post, Kate!

  19. 21 Grrrreg December 17, 2009 at 4:47 am

    Damn I somehow missed that post. But it’s not too late to say bravo! :) I usually find it harder to find inspiration to write about your team when it’s playing well, but you’re doing great!

  20. 23 Katebits December 17, 2009 at 12:06 pm

    So, if Kaleta’s the asshole I guess that makes Lundqvist the poo-stained tidy-whiteys, right sally? :P

    Two weeks ago I would have made Kaleta the asshole, but I gotta give it to him, he’s been (rhino) ballsy lately. Get well soon, Patty K!

  21. 24 sallypants December 17, 2009 at 3:26 pm

    Haha, that game was painful for me to watch. You know the Sabres have really grown on me. I even kinda like Jeanneret now! But still… I will ALWAYS hate Kaleta.

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