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Sabres vs Islanders 11/4/09 Postmortem November 4, 2009

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Who put chili powder in Marty Biron’s jock? Like Rick, I love Marty to death, but what was up with the mugging? That’s what defensemen are for.


  • The return of Paul Gaustad. That by itself helped the team’s stats.
  • The screen set by Vanek on Roy’s goal. Nicely done, Thomas.
  • Tim Kennedy’s passing. I noticed at least two fabulous passes.
  • Brendan Witt’s mullet. That was about all I liked about that dirty old pylon, though.
  • Jason Pominville’s shot-blocking skillz. During the Islanders’ power plays, those skillz became mad skillz.
  • That Ryan Miller didn’t let in his customary goal to kill the shutout with one minute left in the game. It’s like he doesn’t WANT to get  a shutout.

Didn’t like:

  • Letting the Islanders crash the net. Ryan Miller should be treated like a newborn baby – supported, protected, and nurtured. Note to players: he is your meal ticket, your golden goose. (Sorry, Goose – you’re cute, but not golden.)
  • The Sabres let the Islanders hang around far longer than they should have. The Islanders are not a bad team, but the Sabres are clearly better, and in that case the better team needs to take the lesser team by the throat and squeeze with no mercy.
  • Harry musing that Miller tap dances. Shut up, Harry.

I miss Derek Roy’s keep-away game while he’s killing penalties. It was very fun to watch him give, then taketh away over and over while the other team chased him like he had their paychecks. When he plays like that I love our “little psycho”. A tip of the hat to Paul Hamilton, who originally used the phrase to describe Max Afinogenov. I think it applies to Roy just as nicely.

One thing I find hilarious is what many of the players say right after they score. Since this is a family-friendly blog, I won’t repeat it, but it’s often the same phrase. Since it’s not exactly a soliloquy, it’s certainly not hard to read their lips. This seems like the one time hockey players are not all “aw shucks”.

The Sabres have a chance to make hay for the next couple of weeks. They play a lot of games at home, against teams they’ve beaten in the past. Unfortunately, three of the next several games are against Philly, which will surely amp up the hate, both for the players and for me. I even find it hard to like Danny Briere now that he’s a Flyer. I hope the Sabres are ready to do battle. I do have more faith in the team toughness this year than I’ve had in a while. It will be interesting.


Does this team have attitude? October 6, 2009

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I listened to Lindy Ruff this morning on WGR. He mentioned he wants the team to have “attitude”, and then Howard Simon said he’d heard some of the guys talking about a pack mentality. Did they all read the Twilight series over summer vacation or something? (If you don’t get the reference, there are werewolves in the books…) Moving on…

Now, it’s no secret for the past couple of years these guys have been as tough as Mallomars, which are delicious, by the way, but given the one game I’ve seen in its entirety they just look different to me. It might be wishful thinking, but I hope it’s not.

Lindy mentioned he’s told his players he’ll accept penalties for defending their teammates, showing they’re not going to take any crap, etc. He also said the penalty Derek Roy got in the 2nd period of the Montreal game was because he punched Maxim Lapierre. I gotta tell you – I can get behind that. Dude needs a good punch or three.

Now, I want you to read the last part of the paragraph above again. DEREK ROY got a penalty for PUNCHING another player. Derek Roy. Our little Derek, all grown up and getting belligerent. Nice.

As long as he keeps it on the ice and doesn’t do anything bad enough to get suspended, I’m good with that. Theo Fleury wasn’t a pushover even though he could fit in my pocket, with room to spare for Roy – why should our smaller guys get knocked around?

What do y’all think? Does this team have attitude?

Are we gonna be grown-ups now? September 21, 2009

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One thing that has annoyed me for a couple of years is the way this team, despite their talk of being cozier than Kanye West at an anger management meeting, did not stick up for each other. Now, you can argue they didn’t have the players to do so. Bull. Are you seriously telling me Paul Gaustad, Adam Mair, Andrew Peters, Pat Kaleta, and even that punk Drew Stafford weren’t capable of throwing down?

Next you’ll argue, “But those guys DID throw down.” Yes, sometimes. But not when it counted the most. The last time I saw this team do anything that qualified as sticking up for each other was the Ottawa brawl game, and that was only after their captain got his clock cleaned. Let me remind you – the Ottawa brawl game took place on February 27, 2007. Two and a half YEARS ago.

You would have thought when their franchise goaltender got run over, whether intentionally or not, someone might’ve at least tossed a little Gatorade toward the offender. Nope, the Sabres didn’t even do that. I think they may even have helped the little bastard up afterward. Yes, I’m exaggerating, but my point is this: you guys are a TEAM. TEAMS stick together, through good times, bad times, and painful times.

I haven’t seen the replay of Gaustad’s fight tonight, but I hope it means they’ve finally gotten the concept of team toughness down. Maybe it took Regier picking up McCormick, Cowan, Montador, Kassian, et al to wake the guys up. Welcome back, gentlemen. Now, don’t act like gentlemen and go kick some ass!

A word on fighting after dishing out a hit September 18, 2009

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I’ve seen the Dion Phaneuf hit. I don’t like it, but it appeared to be “legal”. I’m not convinced he needed to hit the poor kid that hard, but that’s Phanuef’s game. Okposo was in a vulnerable position after having been spun around by some other Flame, and he was already off-balance when Phaneuf railroaded him. Bad timing.

Several of the Isles, most noticeably Morency, went after Phaneuf while their teammate was counting stars on the ice. Even the goalies squared off, which always makes me giggle (Hey Lindy – I’m brawling!). But how did Phaneuf respond? Did he give the Islanders the chance to stick up for their teammate? No, he skated away.

I’m on the fence about whether or not I like fighting in hockey, but I do think if you do something that injures another player, whether intentional or not, you should pay the piper. Take your licks, Dion. Kyle Okposo certainly did.

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