There are obviously a lot of things to love about going to an NHL game (the crowd, the big beers, the fast pace of the game), but the thing I love most is how a dominant performance by a single player can jump out at you. Every once in a while a player manages to command way more than his fair share of attention. When Vanek is at his best, I can’t take my eyes off him at the arena. Lord knows it doesn’t happen every night, but some days when Vanek hops over the boards, the game immediately looks different and the Sabres look more dangerous. Tyler Myers can do it too. For me, this kind of sheer dominance is difficult to feel on television. I mean sure, if Vanek has a 4 point night when I’m watching at home, I’m obviously aware that he’s “on,” but there’s nothing like sitting in my seat at the arena and watching a guy just own a game. When a player is on like that it’s palpable in the arena.
I mention this because Drew Stafford did it tonight. Drew Stafford was a revelation. “Drew Stafford” and “revelation” are three words that never ever expected to see together (unless it was in regards to some type of furry-related shenanigans). He looked big and dominant, and infinity capable. He seemed to be saying, “moooore braaains,” all night.
I know it’s just the preseason, and I know that the Flyers were BEYOND sucky, and I know that being-awesome-for-just-a-little-while is kind of Staffy’s “thing,” but honestly, I had NO IDEA that Drew Stafford was even capable of playing like he did tonight. I will never forget the look on Heather B’s face when Staffy scored that eighth (8th!) goal. She literally had both hands on her head, eyes wide with disbelief. Heather’s expression was almost as good as the goal.
I’m certainly not going to expect Drew Stafford to be good this year, but boy, would it sure be nice.
Tomorrow I’ll write more about the game and being back at the arena, but before I called it a day I just had to say, “HOLY CRAPSKI YOU GUYS, DREW STAFFORD WAS REALLY GOOD TONIGHT!” If it weren’t so cold outside I’d probably be shouting it from the rooftops.