Whether you are a glass half full or half empty kind of person, we can all agree on one thing:
This is not the same Buffalo Sabres team we had the pleasure of watching during the regular season.
While I have come to resent the “sky is falling” fans that are abundant in the Buffalo area, things are looking pretty bleak. Our powerplay is atrocious. There’s no other way to put it. You won’t win many games going 0-7. Our penalty kill wasn’t any better. Dimitri Kalinin can’t remember to pass to players in blue.
If anyone knows that digging out of a 2-0 hole is far from impossible, it is the Sabres. Didn’t we just watch the Rangers even the series when it looked as if we had it put away? Granted, they won their games at home and eventually lost the series, but the Rangers aren’t the Sabres. They don’t have a Chris Drury. They don’t have a Lindy Ruff. They don’t have the chemistry that has become synonymous with Buffalo hockey.
If we win on Monday, things won’t be so bleak. Evening a series looks like a much more attainable goal when you are only trailing by one game.
One thing is certain, though. Something has to change. Before the all-star game, the Sabres’ powerplay was nearly as terrible as it has been lately. What was the solution? More shots, and more importantly more shots finding their way to the net. Who was most responsible for the play? Nathan Paetsch. He doesn’t have a rocket by any means, but the man can put the puck on net. We’ve seen Emery give up rebounds aplenty, more shots on net exploit that. I’ve already expressed my views on Kalinin’s recent play (although, I thought he had a decent first two rounds), I think it should be a no-brainer to get Paetsch in there, and I’m amazed that there has been virtually no pressure from the mainstream media regarding that issue, other than the rumor that Paetsch would play for an injured Kalinin, not a terrible one.
Is a 2-0 deficit what we expected heading up to Canada’s capital? No way. Is this series over? Absolutely not.
–In baseball, when a batter is swinging, his hands are part of the bat. Thomas Vanek was trying to get a stick on the puck on his disallowed first period goal, if he was aware that the puck was even coming his way at all. The NHL Rulebook states that a goal will be disallowed if “the puck has been directed, batted or thrown into the net by an attacking player other than with a stick.” If interpreted with the broadest sense of that rule, then “no goal” was the right call. But shouldn’t there be a rule that a goal should count if the puck is directed into the net when a player is simply trying to get a stick on it? Vanek hardly went out of his way to hit it with his hand, and if it’s two inches higher then that puck goes in off of the shaft of his stick.
–Will someone please tell the man at the bottom of every single TV shot of the Party in the Plaza that his tin foil Stanley Cup is a monstrosity and the worst replica ever made?