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Sabres vs. Devils 11/10/10 Postmortem November 10, 2010

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It’s Lindy Ruff’s 1000th game, boys. Let’s try not to suck.

Lovingly,

Amanda

Liked:

  • Aw, cute Hank sighting! I suppose I could’ve put that under “Didn’t like” but it’s Hank. How can you not like Hank?
  • Nice  pass by Kaleta out of the corner to Ellis. It resulted in a scoring chance. If Gaustad didn’t have hands of cement that might’ve turned into something.
  • Roy submarines Kovalchuk and comes out with the puck. Alrighty then!
  • Every game Cody McCormick does something that makes me fall in love with him just a little bit more. This time: a key shot block. Le sigh. Defense.
  • Yay! Good Pommer! And Connolly, I’ve give you credit for stickhandling on your knees. I give credit where credit’s due.
  • Double yay! Roy scores from the blue line with a bomb!
  • Two goals in 13 seconds makes me giddy. We want three!
  • Hey, Niedermayer did something! Nice goal by Tyler Myers, sneaking in from the point. How a guy who’s 6’8″ can sneak anywhere is beyond me but he seems to do it with regularity.
  • The Two Ty’s strike again!
  • Pominville ties up the puck nicely on the penalty kill. Remember when he and Roy used to play “Keep Away” when they were paired on the penalty kill? I miss those days.

Didn’t like:

  • Whoa. That was almost some very, very bad luck for Shaone Morrisonn. Luckily it wasn’t. HAHAHA
  • Vanek: you are FIRED. FIRED for passing that puck. You hear me? FIRED
  • Does Marty Brodeur even fit in that chair? Eesh.
  • I just noticed Mike Grier played tonight. There’s 10 seconds left in the game.

And the guys got a win for Lindy, with a biggggggggg assist to Ilya Kovalchuk for his HILARIOUS blooper at the end to seal the game. Well played, Mr. 100 million dollar man!

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Sabres vs. Leafs 11/6/10 Postmortem November 6, 2010

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Ok, boys, it’s Hockey Night in Canada. Let’s try not to embarrass yourselves, mmm?

Liked:

  • Nice play by Gaustad to prevent Kessel from getting out of his own zone.
  • Enroth is settling down nicely so far in the first period.
  • Beautiful save on MacArthur by Enroth. That should inspire some confidence in their goaltender from the other guys.
  • Hey! Myers just figured out he’s a big guy!
  • Leopold strikes me as an efficient defenseman. Not a lot of wasted energy, and that’s not a bad thing.
  • Enroth gets Most Valuable Sabre so far halfway through the game. The rest of them get slapped in the face. EDIT: Derek Roy has earned an exemption from the face slap. EDIT: Jochen Hecht gets a lighter face slap. EDIT: Tyler Ennis is exempt. EDIT: Steve Montador gets a lighter face slap because I think he at least tried. And since I’m doing the slapping I get to set the force.
  • Wooo! The lil’ Sabres come through – Jhonas Enroth and Tyler Ennis! Yay!!!

Didn’t like:

  • Mike Grier fans on a puck? Wow, coulda blown me over with a feather./sarcasm
  • Why is Ellis on a line with Vanek? Geez, Vanek’s gonna commit hari-kari soon.
  • So Connolly’s on a line with McCormick and Kaleta? Heh.
  • Hecht is a puck-handling nightmare.
  • Man, this is some ugly hockey early.
  • If I was McCormick I’d be having words with Connolly about why he skated right over the puck when I had a scoring chance in the slot. Go around me, dude!
  • Do I need to explain the concept of the “power play” to you boys again? See, it’s when you have MORE guys on the ice than they do…
  • Enroth is playing well, but that doesn’t mean you need to test him continually. Just sayin…
  • Geez, Pominville, that was an egregious giveaway behind your own net. Wet noodle beating for you in between periods!
  • Nice job not gettin’ that puck out of your own zone, Grier. Nice job.
  • Did I mention that I fired McCutcheon from the power play three or four years ago? Yeah. Totally fired.
  • Vanek misses the net. Does the team have him on watch? Seriously.

I… I don’t know what to think. They won. THEY ACTUALLY WON.

Sabres vs Bruins 4/23/10 Postmortem April 23, 2010

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First of all, let me say this: I have not seen a second of this game. I’m in Connecticut for a writers’ conference. I got back from dinner with a few minutes left in the first, and we’ve (my mom is with me) been listening to the game online. Because of that, I’m not going to do the Liked/Didn’t like lists – frankly, I can’t pick out specific enough stuff to do so. However, I will offer up what I can…

  • Adam Mair bugs me. Why? Because sometimes it seems like he’s got talent (and obviously he does – he’s in the NHL), and he scores a goal, and you think – why doesn’t Lindy Ruff give him more ice time? Then he takes a dumb penalty in the final two minutes of the game, and you know why he rides the pine.
  • Paul Hamilton just said Tyler Ennis is the leading scorer for the Sabres in the playoffs. While I’m happy for the little guy, am I the only one who thinks there’s something very, very wrong with this?
  • Most invisible players in this series: Gaustad and Stafford. They’re both in Amanda’s dog house. Oh, and Torres, but I don’t have to put him in my dog house, Lindy put him in his.
  • Have I mentioned my disdain for Mark Recchi? Yes? Oh well, it bears mentioning again.
  • Kaleta just blocked a shot, and my first thought was “Oh no, he’s going to get hurt again!” And sure enough, Harry mentions how Kaleta is on the bench wincing in pain.
  • I totally want to go drinking with Toni Lydman. I think that would be a laugh and a half.
  • Mike Grier takes a slap shot to the head. Gives me a headache to even think about it… glad he appears to be ok.
  • I really, really, really don’t like this Boychuk fellow. He just hit Pominville. He just tried to hit Ennis. He took out Vanek AND Ellis. He needs to be… neutralized. AND THEN HE SCORES. Grrrrrr…
  • Tim Connolly: a man of many chances and few actual goals.
  • Will the real Buffalo Sabres please stand up?

And the Sabres live to fight another day…

Wish me luck selling my book! Talk to y’all Sunday night or Monday morning.

Who will be the hero? April 14, 2010

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Each year, there’s a different player, or players, who are heroes in the playoffs. We’ve all seen footage (or the game live) of May Day in ’92-93, and many of us remember Jason Wooley’s overtime goal on the road to win the first game of the ’99 Stanley Cup Finals. And of course who can forget Jason Pominville’s shorthanded goal to send the Senators packing in ’05-06?

So… who will be the hero this year?

Let’s go through the lineup. I’m excluding goalies from this and making my assumptions based on who will score a goal to tie or win a crucial game. It’s my blog, and I can do what I want. 😉

I’m going to put my own purely unscientific odds on each player. Feel free to agree or disagree:

Tim Connolly: He’s done it before (tying Game 1 against the Senators in ’05-06 with only 11 seconds left in regulation), but can he do it again? Let’s face it – there’s little chance his foot is 100%, but this is the playoffs, and he’ll play. 5-to-1 *NOTE: Without the foot injury I’d probably put him at 4-to-1.

Matt Ellis: Possible, but very unlikely. Fourth-liners don’t get much ice time in the playoffs, for one thing. 20-to-1

Tyler Ennis: It’s hard to say what Ennis can or will do. This is his first NHL playoffs, and he might be intimidated. Conversely, he may handle the pressure well (he has so far from what I can see) and perform admirably. 8-to-1

Paul Gaustad: Gaustad has it in him to be a game-changer. However, the playoffs are often so tightly contested they come down to things like lucky bounces, and lucky bounces tend to go better for players with hands and scoring instincts, neither of which Gaustad has. Before you all tar and feather me, let me say this: I like Paul Gaustad a lot. But he’s not as likely to score that timely goal as some of his teammates are. 8-to-1

Nathan Gerbe: Gerbe is another wild card. I don’t think he’ll be as much of a factor in the playoffs as Ennis will (provided either of them remain with the team, of course), but he has played in big games before and performed admirably. 12-to-1

Mike Grier: Grier doesn’t strike me as the guy who will make the big play. It’s more likely he’ll make the pass that gets the big play started. 10-to-1

Jochen Hecht: I’ve never seen Hecht as a game-changer. He chips in his 20 or so goals and isn’t a defensive liability. The fact he plays with Connolly and Pominville a lot will help his chances of heroism but I don’t expect him to be “the guy”. 6-to-1

Pat Kaleta: Strangely enough, I have more faith that he could be a hero than I do in a lot of the other grinders. Unlike some of them, he can be a game-changer, whether it’s because he draws a timely penalty or scores a goal at an unlikely time. I’ll put him at 7-to-1.

Tim Kennedy: I think Kennedy is wearing down. The rigors of a full season of NHL hockey is taking its toll. That being said, he may find another gear in the playoffs. 8-to-1

Adam Mair: With Mair’s propensity for taking stupid penalties at awful times, if I was Ruff I’d nail his butt to the bench with the exception of a shift or two a period. With so little ice time he probably won’t be the one to make a difference (in a good way). 20-to-1

Jason Pominville: Pominville’s done it before and can do it again. He’ll get plenty of time and opportunities to be the difference-maker. 3-to-1

Derek Roy: Roy was the top points-getter in the regular season and scored some timely goals. Like Pominville, he will eat up a lot of ice time and have many chances to be the hero. 3-to-1

Drew Stafford: IF Stafford plays, he won’t be 100%. That fact, coupled with the fact his ice time hasn’t been consistent this season, will make it harder for him to score the important goals. 7-to-1

Raffi Torres: Theoretically, Torres should have a good shot at being the hero. Realistically, though, I think the mental fatigue brought on by not scoring during his time with the Sabres so far will hinder his chances. 9-to-1

Thomas Vanek: Vanek can be a game-changer, and if he continues to play like he has since he came back from injury there’s an excellent chance he’ll put the biscuit in the basket at the right time. 2-to-1

Chris Butler: Both he and Andrej Sekera seem to be in Ruff’s doghouse, but he’ll still get ice time when he dresses. He’s got an offensive touch and may play on the point during the power play. 10-to-1

Toni Lydman: Lydman’s job isn’t to score goals, it’s to prevent them, but he chips in some offense when he can. I think he’ll be too busy, you know, defending, to help out much at the other end, though. 15-to-1

Steve Montador: Montador has shown more of an offensive upside than I had anticipated. Despite that, the guy doesn’t exactly have soft hands. 12-to-1

Tyler Myers: When a player gets as much ice time as Myers does, and in every situation, there’s a good chance he’ll become your playoff hero. He’s got the best shot of all the defensemen. 6-to-1

Craig Rivet: Unless I’m missing something, Rivet is running on fumes. Veterans sometimes find another gear in the playoffs. If he doesn’t, though, his chances of being the hero are not good. 16-to-1

Andrej Sekera: Read the above commentary about Butler. Ditto. 10-to-1

Henrik Tallinder: Playing with Myers and getting so much ice time probably make him the second most-likely defenseman to get the big goal. He’s more likely to shovel the outlet pass to the hero, though. 9-to-1

What do y’all think? Who will be the hero?

Sabres vs Panthers 3/31/10 Postmortem March 31, 2010

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It’s the return of Raffi Torres! Let’s hope his play lives up to the exclamation point at the end of that sentence…

Liked:

  • Oh Pominville, how do I love you? Let me count the ways… (There are 24 of them!) Nice play by Tallinder to make the goal happen.
  • Meet Matt Ellis, the penalty-killing king of the world!
  • Kennedy and Roy have some nice chemistry. I just hope they don’t get the crap kicked out of them.
  • Teppo – what a foxy man. He’s even foxier sitting in the crowd and holding up a sign for his kid.
  • Nice shot from Gerbe. Then Gaustad nearly suffocated him with his hugeness. Apropos of nothing, I believe they showed Bulldog from WGR after that goal cheering in the crowd.
  • Congrats to Tyler Ennis on making the All-Rookie AHL team. Well-deserved honor.
  • The Sabres had 17 straight shots? Hee. It seems like it’s pretty easy to score in this game (if you’re in a Sabres uniform, anyway).
  • Good goal-mouth pass by Ellis to Mair. Ellis is having a great game!
  • 20 to 2 shots in the second? I like it. I like it a lot.
  • Will Vokoun get an assist on Ennis’ goal?
  • And will Bryan “I score goals into my own net” going to get one on Tallinder’s goal?
  • I can say this for Stafford: He defended Tim Kennedy when he got crosschecked. Good for him.

Didn’t like:

  • Memo to the Sabres: The game started. Please play. Thanks!
  • Wow, Montador had a pretty rough shift right after that penalty expired…
  • That didn’t look  like much of a penalty to me. Hank got robbed!
  • Uh-oh, Goose is mad! Watch out world!
  • No. Momentum. In. Game.
  • I think we need to start a picket line in front of HSBC Arena to get them to stop with the Cellino & Barnes ads, for the love o’ Pete.

Off to Toronto. The boys should have plenty of energy left after pretty much being able to coast through this game.

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