The Obligatory Tantrum

There’s losing, and then there’s having-the-guy-who-ran-your-goalie-basically-call-you-a-bunch-of-pansies-while-everyone-in-the-NHL-nods-their-head-in-complete-agreement. The Sabres opted for the latter last night, which is a shame because even good teams get creamed 6-2 every once in a while. A typical 6-2 loss is something we could handle with grace (I mean, not all Sabres fans could handle a 6-2 loss with grace, but most of the sane ones could), but a 6-2 loss AND allowing Milan Lucic to completely emasculate everyone both on and off the ice? NOT COOL, SABRES. NOT COOL AT ALL.

I’ll be honest, I didn’t watch much last night because I was playing a concert, so I’m not exactly in a position to analyze/throw-overblown-tantrums about this game. For the sake of this post I briefly considered watching the DVR recording this afternoon, but I quickly came to my senses. I mean… no. I watched 3/4th of the Bills game today, and that was quite enough soul-scorching suckiness for one Sunday afternoon. (BTW, thanks for nothing, Bills. Geez.)

But since when has a lack of, “watching the game,” or, “knowing what I’m talking about,” stopped me from loudly proclaiming my opinion? NEVER! That’s when! Why start today? So, here’s what I think, in convenient, easy-to-read bullet points.

  • Seriously Sabres, that was lame.
  • Most people reading this blog know that I’m not a big fan of fighting in the NHL. In fact, if I had my way, fighting would be eliminated and instead of everyone freaking out about how so-and-so should’ve clobbered Lucic (which may or may not have led to success), we’d be freaking out about how HARD the Sabres defense SUCKS ASS.
  • It’s not that I don’t think it would be satisfying to see someone clobber Lucic, but it seems to me that the best way to handle someone like him is to calmly score on the power play, and then WIN THE GAME. Then, after the game you can be all, “Yeah, that guy’s a dick. It’s a good thing we’re so much better at hockey than those clowns.” In my opinion, punching is not the only correct response in a situation like that. Winning convincingly also works. Sadly, instead of turning steely, the Sabres turned spastic, and everything went to hell.
  • Although… I’d like to point out that the game did not immediately go to hell after Lucic’s hit. The Sabres played 14 minutes of decent hockey between the hit and when Boston tied it up, and another 6 minutes after that before the [feces] really hit the fan. There isn’t much evidence to suggest that the hit or the lack of “stepping up” lead directly to a team meltdown. It’s seems to me that playing terrible hockey was the Sabres biggest mistake last night.
  • Last night I was reminded of Game Six of the playoffs when Mike Richards completely boarded Tim Connolly, thus providing the opportunity for the Sabres to SUCK ON THE ENSUING POWER PLAY IN HUMILIATING FASHION. (I think there might’ve even been a 5-on-3 involve with that play if my memory serves me right. [And my memory probably doesn’t serve me right because I was both drunk and extremely desperate to forget after Game Six.]) That play and the ensuing power play was where I think the Sabres lost that Flyers series. Again, I’m no proponent of hockey violence, BUT, in the absence of punching, you sure as hell better not get all scared and emo about your game. If the Sabres are going to get all, “hold me mommy, I’m scared,” every time something hardcore happens, they’re doomed to repeat Game Six forever. (Only, in the future it won’t be Ville Leino scoring against us in OT, because sadly, he plays for us now.)
  • What I’m trying to say is this: You have two choices, Sabres. 1.) Be really good at hockey and make teams pay for being a-holes by winning, or 2.) Punch Milan Lucic into submission. (I’m not going to lie, punching Milan Lucic into submission sounds really hard to me too. I’d go with option #1 if I were you.)
  • I have no idea what’s wrong with Tyler Myers (AGAIN), but now he’s getting his stink on Sekera, and HE MUST BE STOPPED. BENCH HIS SKINNY ASS, LINDY.
  • And since we’re talking about the defense, you know who probably would’ve been willing to get his butt kicked by Lucic in the name of “revenge” last night? MIKE WEBER.
  • We learned last night that the Sabres are a bunch of weenies, but despite the tone of this post, I don’t think it’s the end of the world. The season is still really young. The Sabres are still settling into the New World Pegula Order. Ryan Miller is still all wonky and not right (the hit to the head probably didn’t help with that). This was no ordinary loss. Losses of this magnitude don’t come around every day. Mid-November is the perfect time for a loss like this. If Lindy is really the coach that everyone believes he is, he’ll find a way to turn this loss into an overall win. A loss like this can galvanize a team. I’m not ready to predict that this loss will galvanize the Sabres into positive change, but I do believe it’s possible. This was, if nothing else, a gut-check game. Maybe the Sabres needed this humiliation and maybe (just MAYBE, I’m saying) it will ultimately do them some good. *fingers crossed*

12 Responses to “The Obligatory Tantrum”

  1. 1 M. Richter November 13, 2011 at 8:17 pm

    I think my biggest issue with the whole situation is that the Sabres have now come out and said that Miller was concussed in the incident. If that’s the case, why didn’t they put Enroth in at the start of the second? I can understand wanting to finish out the period (both from the coaching staff POV and Miller’s), but if he’s one of your top assets, if there’s a question about it you pull him and throw him into the quiet room to sing Kumbaya for a while just in case.

  2. 2 The Barrister November 13, 2011 at 8:25 pm

    Nice post, Kate. Winning is the best way to respond, but when that’s not in the cards the guys have to shift to Plan B. Which means grabbing the boom stick and taking LUCIC’S head with it. But that’s just me.

  3. 3 Katebits November 13, 2011 at 8:34 pm

    Yeah, who knows what was up with Miller’s head last night, M. Richter. I agree if there was any hint of a concussion he should’ve been sat down immediately, but maybe he didn’t speak up, or maybe the symptoms didn’t appear until later. Concussions are weird, and so is Ryan Miller. Might be hard to figure out when he’s right and when he’s wrong, you know?

    Thanks, Barrister. I was inspired in part by your own excellent rant. And while I’m generally anti-fighting, there IS a part of me that wishes Miller’s stick swing had connected. I’m a pseudo-pacifist, but I’m not dead inside. :P

    • 4 M. Richter November 13, 2011 at 9:05 pm

      Fair point on the issues with self-reporting, and not like I can get on any kind of pedestal on that particular point (as someone who intentionally didn’t report 2 concussions to be allowed to get back into play). I guess my grouse is more of the “If this is a potential situation along these lines, why take the risk?” especially with that second period. Finishing out the first makes sense, but it’s early season – even if it’s just a neck strain, the cost/benefit to making him sit it out and ice the injury instead of risking aggravating it further seems like a no brainer when your team relies on him *so heavily.*

      You make some very solid points about retributions, too – there’s more than one way to handle the situation, and the Sabres walked away from all of their options and now they’re scrambling around to present justifications and explanations. Ugly situation to be in all around.

      PS: This is M_Ann from Twitter, as a clarification, I just don’t tend to do the twitter-login thing when commenting on blogs.

  4. 5 TheTick November 13, 2011 at 10:33 pm

    Yeah, the goalie concussion thing was a big question when the whole ‘quiet room’ thing came about. Do you make some teams starting goalie go to the room for 20 minutes?

  5. 6 facefirstintotheboardsSam November 13, 2011 at 10:33 pm

    OH MY GOSH Kate, THANK YOU for being the only sane voice in my Sabres-feed right now.

    They were crappy last night- no doubt. But it was not just because of Lucic’s asshattery. (yes, that is a word, starting now. )

    *and I was AT the game last night. Brutal doesn’t cover it.

    In defence of sanity, the refs really weren’t letting any fighting happen- (maybe they had a curfew last night?) even if the Sabres wanted to. There was some pushing and shoving but nothing really doing, and all that would have happened would have been an instigator penalty for whoever fought Lucic (and doesn’t that mean a misconduct as well?) and no powerplay (to not score on).

    The powerplay was abysmal. The defence (for much of the game) was atrocious.

    It was just an ugly game, and you’re absolutely right, if it weren’t for THE HIT, then we’d just be grousing about that instead of how wimpy the Sabres are. I don’t appreciate the roll over and die attitude, but punching isn’t always the answer.

    All that being said, we still have 5 more games against the Bruins this year so I’m sure it’s not over.

    • 7 M. Richter November 13, 2011 at 11:23 pm

      I *believe* that under NHL rules, an Instigator Penalty only carries a misconduct if it happens within the last 5 minutes of the game (intended to discourage “We’re losing by a million, let’s make them fear us next time” brawling). In that case, it also carries a fine for the coach.

      Third Man In gets sketchier (partly because actually defining it in a scrum/melee gets hard), but I know that Leaving the Bench *does* bring an automatic game misconduct.

  6. 8 Erik B. November 13, 2011 at 11:21 pm

    You know, this situation isn’t about Miller or concussions. It’s a sickening trend year after year. Lack of motivation and mental preparation for not only big games, but everygame. You think Weber would go out and tear Lucic’s ass apart, hell yeah he would, so would ten other guys (McCormick, Gaustad, Kaleta, Regher, etc…). The problem starts at the top. Coaching…maybe more like management for allowing the same song and dance to occur for the last 13 years of that coaching. How many games have you witnessed over the years that lack of many important coaching elements? Way, way, way too many. Ruff needs to go, I’ve said it for years, I’m not an I-told-you-so kinda guy but…There’s plenty of accomplished coaches that have done great things and got canned a year or two later because of one failure or another. Ruff was a soft player and he’s obviously a soft coach…true story.

    Problem is, when you change your coach mid-season, you’re usually left with something much, much worse. But if this new ownership group wants anyone to believe that “From this day forward, the reason for the Buffalo Sabres existence is to win the Stanley Cup”, they need to show that they have the balls to break the status quo and move forward. With Ruff holding the reigns, its not won’t happen.

  7. 9 SueInVA November 14, 2011 at 8:08 am

    Thank you for this. I’ve been trying to get my thoughts together without being all emo. You’ve once again managed to put some coherence to what I’ve been grinding my teeth about since Saturday! Blog on!!

  8. 10 trevor November 14, 2011 at 9:19 am

    Well, I guess the one silver lining in all of this is that I’ve finally been motivated to get off my ass and start my own Sabres blog. I don’t really have a name for it yet, but maybe “Flaccid Sabres” or “Sabre Hater” will do it. I mean, I’ve never really cared much about overpaid 27-year-olds, but I guess since I constantly find myself watching these clowns and doing everything in my power to procrastinate at work by commenting on other people’s Sabres blogs, what the hell. It’ll probably be filled with some rants. Okay maybe a lot of rants. So fair warning. But it should at least be entertaining.

    But back to the best display of cowardice I’ve ever seen on ice … Why again did we bring in Regehr? Why do we have guys like Goose, McCormick, and Kaleta? If it’s not to play on the edge and keep other teams honest, there’s no need for them. I’ve always been a little worried about a team that has fashion shows for charity and puts a lot of emphasis on selling those pretty pink jerseys, so I’m starting to think this might just be more than a marketing stunt. But I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that McCormick, especially, is no pantywaist.

    So there are two potential reasons the Sabres did nothing after watching the face of the franchise absorb the biggest cheap shot another team can throw: 1) They don’t like Ryan Miller; 2) the coach is calling the shots when it comes to fighting and retaliating.

    As for #1, I have no idea what the team thinks of Miller. If I had to guess, half probably hate him and half probably love him. That’s generally the way it goes in a dressing room. But these are hockey players. By the time you’re a bantam, you’re always looking for any excuse for a legitimate scrap. ESPECIALLY when the game’s out of reach, which it was by the end of the second period. Translation: Even if you hate your goalie, you’re still a hockey player.

    As for #2, let me be clear here: Jason Pominville was probably begging Ruff to let him run Tim Thomas. Erik B. is right — and not just because it sounds like that’s my brother — Ruff’s teams have NEVER played with the grit you need to play with to win the ultimate prize. I don’t think this is even up for debate. (Case in point: Andrew Freaking Peters was our “enforcer” for FIVE years?) Most coaches don’t have the luxury of getting two periods to plan their retribution. Lindy had full “Slap Bet” control for over 2/3 of the game, yet he allowed Barney Lucic to skate away unscathed. What. A. P*ssy.

    Clearly the Bs and Sabres are two different teams. I’m convinced Boston won the Cup because they rallied around Horton when he got knocked the F out. The Sabres did the exact opposite Saturday night, doing their best impression of their coach and tucking and running when it was most important to suck it up and fight back.

    Ted Black, I’m talking to you. Thank god you read this blog. I washed out of hockey in college but I’ve always had good hockey instincts. If this is the result of coaching, which I think it is, it’s fairly easy to fix — start modeling the team after Boston and find a coach and GM who are committed to the new model. If this is somehow not the result of Ruff’s coaching philosophy, well, you have a lot of work to do to make this team a champion.

  9. 11 Kitten November 14, 2011 at 10:13 am

    But there is a bright side tto this horror show, at least we won’t have to hear about the “goalie controversy” for a while.

  10. 12 Marie November 14, 2011 at 2:57 pm


    it’s a good thing I wasn’t drinking anything before I started reading your post! I’d be pissed too if the Kings goaltender was run over like that. In the last game, someone checked Kopitar and tried to punch him in the face while finishing his check and out of nowhere Simon Gagne launched himself onto the guy and tried to pummel him. Now that’s teammate love.

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