Hey folks. It’s 3 AM and I’m coming to you live from HSBC Arena. Okay, that’s a lie. It’s 3 am, I’ve been in a cone of silence since 6:59 PM Friday, and I’m watching a tape of the game right now. Since everyone else is asleep, I thought I’d “live blog” the game and talk things out this way. Otherwise I would start asking inanimate objects how they feel about our forecheck, and I doubt that would end well.
I listen to “Chevy Game Night” long enough to be told some things I already knew. Sabres comeback, Miller’s playing, Sekera’s in. Blah blah blah. What I didn’t know is that he’s paired up with Paetsch tonight. The Nam flashbacks to the Hurricanes series took a bit to subdue, but I’m okay with it.
They introduced the Jacket’s goaltender as Pascal Leclaire, who happens to be on my fantasy team. Last game he got absolutely lit up by Colorado. The two previous games were shutouts. I’m not sure how I feel about him.
I can’t wait to see the tens of Blue Jackets fans that invaded HSBC Arena tonight. Man do we have it coming.
Puck drop, quick save for Miller.
Hockey Fights Cancer is getting some equipment/ties from tonight’s game. I swear to God, if Timmy Connolly signs a pink bra tonight, I’m sliding a modest bid its way. Okay, $200 tops.
Max does that speed thing he does, and a very early power play for Buffalo. C’mon Goose, coax another D to tip one in for you.
David Vyborny, also on my fantasy team, is killing this penalty. It’s not a conflict of interest, I just honestly didn’t know he killed penalties. As you can see, I am fully satisfied with his shorthanded performance.
LeClaire looks good early, making a few saves off tips. Vanek draws a penalty in front, and a brief 5-3 yields nothing.
Excellent passing on the power play, and a great job of keeping the puck in the zone. It really is uncanny how poised they look. No dice on a goal, though. 0-2 early.
Mike Peca! Remember when everyone wanted him here? Then his groin died. Good times…
RAV and the Rochester Blue Line get trapped in our end, and things get a bit kooky for a while. Jaro’s just out for the weekend, right? Right?
I forgot Ken Hitchcock coached the Jackets. Do you think if we win 9-1 tonight he will get fired, or do we have to destroy him in the playoffs, too?
Quote from our new color man: “Being a coach is sometimes like being a jackass in a hailstorm, there’s nothing you can do but stand there and take it.” Man that was fun. I’m just happy that got past the censors…
I’m really digging the Blue Jackets’ new unis. I mention this because not much has happened. Nash was on the ice, but he never touched the puck. Captain YoYo has a scoring opportunity, but he needs at least a half dozen to convert one.
Is it just me, or does our 4th line always make really, really nice looking plays that they can never finish? I just saw Ryan and Mair go coast to coast together, then precede to lose the puck in the slot. I swear this will happen once a shift for them.
Coming back from a commercial break they show the 9-1 massacre, followed a few reaction shots from Hitch. Not sure if they were stock or not, he always looks constipated.
Icing, and Rob Ray bumbling over Harry Neale. Nothing to be sorry about, Harry. Give it about five more games and he will realize Ray doesn’t have much to say after all.
Stafford hits the goal post, and the crowd goes “GOOOOSE” when Gaustad works the puck in the corner. It’s nice to hear those things when I’m not there.
Instead of a pretty play, our 4th line takes a penalty this shift. Leclaire heads to the bench and Columbus literally flips the puck around in their zone for 30 seconds. Mair to the box.
We were biting this morning, we were biting… this morning…
Vyborny on the Power Play. Hey, at least he’s out there for them…
Good kill by the Sabres.
Another penalty. Paetsch interferes with the will of God or something. The call is a bit weak, a battle for possession along the boards at center.
Peca feels for young Nathan, and holds Lydman’s stick. The crowd is thrilled. Probably because they recognize a name other than “Nash” or “Fedorov” on the other team.
4 on 4 gives the Sabres a chance to practice taking shots that juuuust miss the net, with Timmy and Kalinin getting high marks.
End of One. Time to fast forward.
Both penalties end by the 21st minute, (some soccer jargon for you) and a whole bunch of nothing follows.
Tallinder joins the “gunned wide of the net” club on a rush set up by Stafford.
Rob Ray reports that indeed Paetsch and Sekera are taking a regular shift. Thanks buddy, just don’t punch that cameraman.
Goose and Tollefsen get into another scrum in front of the net. I was worried about spelling his name right, but the cameraman gave me ample time to get it right. What? It’s not like I can rewind or anything…
Sekera and Paetsch are out again. Did you know they are actually getting ice time? Yeah, I just heard myself.
Ray mentions that Sekera has been on the ice a lot, and has enjoyed his play. I had no idea they could fit a dead horse between the benches, but Robby’s been beating that thing like a drum.
A 4 on 4 is created when Roy’s tan offends Adam Foote.
Hank coughs up the puck to Nash, who is stopped by Miller. The rebound is left to four Sabres in front, but somehow Peca backhands it by everyone while diving to the ice.
Mike’s dive looked just like Bobby Orr on that one, only if Orr had a tattered groin and couldn’t lift his legs higher than four inches off the ice.
Five of the seven Blue Jackets fans in attendance are shown with a Blue Jackets flag. Shouldn’t they just have the Flag of Ohio?
Buffalo remembers they have to score goals to win games, and Vanek and Captain YoYo come out flying. Somehow this ends with Hecht underneath LeClaire and the puck under his hand.
Paille blows a tire at center ice before Campbell passes him the puck. Great vision by Soupy.
Maxim Afinogenov has been on this team for half a decade, and I still can’t figure out how he looks so fast going nowhere.
A quick view of Danny Gare, who does color for the Blue Jackets now. He looks much older than his days at Empire. Also, did anyone notice that three of his highlight goals were empty netters?
Sekera, our “New NHL Defenseman”, takes an Old NHL Interference penalty. I’m sure Rob Ray has something to say about this.
Nash gets behind the D, and a gratuitous hook by Hank becomes a penalty shot. No way to argue the call, Tallinder almost removed his elbow pads with his stick.
Miller v Nash. Who ya got?
Miller Time. Stick side high and Miller stones him. Ryan looked great there, not afraid to challenge and get a good angle on Nash. He’s much more focused now than to start the season. (For obvious reasons) Look at the difference in Comrie’s breakaway on opening night and both Nash chances. Huge stop.
A flash of Lindy Ruff screaming “THAT’S F#$%ING OFFSIDES!” Thank you, MSG.
Crowd seems much more into it now, and the “Let’s Go Buffalo” chant sustains until the puck leaves the zone.
In a repeat of Hank’s earlier giveaway, Nash picks off Kalinin’s boards pass, walks out, and rifles it bast Miller.
Again, wasn’t it supposed to be our Rochester Blueline that makes the big mistakes?
A 2-1 is given up by that very D pair after Paetsch makes a bad pinch. Sekera stays stride for stride with the Russell, and he shoots over the net.
Some strong work in the Colombus end by Goose, Max, and Ales forces a penalty. Jody Shelley for holding. Another penalty caused by Max.
Roy promptly gives the puck away to Nash, who tries his best Spin-o-rama on Hank to no avail.
Again, great puck possession on the PP, including some blueline magic from Timmy and Max. Lots of chances, and some good saves by the kid. Hey, it just means his save percentage will be good, right?
A great pass from Stafford sets up a one timer for Paetsch, who shatters his stick. Rob Ray thinks his stick looked inexperienced there.
Nash takes a tripping penalty late in the second, dragging his foot to slip Miller up behind the net.
The second period ends with a bit of booing. Yikes. It’s not like we’re playing the Thrashers here. The third should be a bit looser.
Third begins with the Sabres on the PP with Nash still in the box. I think I’m going to start calling Nash “Gordy,” if only because that facial hair makes him look a bit tubby. This makes sense to me. Have I mentioned it’s 5 AM?
Gordy out of the box, and a quick icing.
A four minute stretch of nothingness is interrupted by Goose taking a penalty in front of the net.
Columbus appears to be satisfied with killing two minutes. Great hockey being played here.
First time I’ve heard preseason Sabre killer Gilbert Brule’s name all night. I’m sure he’s doing well.
A scrum not shown by the MSG cameras results in a Kalinin penalty. I’m sure if this was in HD I would have caught it.
Again, Columbus shuffles their feet and stares at the jumbotron for two a bit. Roy tries to draw a tripping call, spilling everywhere like a bad jug of milk. Remember when we defended his reputation as a diver?
Penalty ends, 12 minutes left to mount a respectable offensive.
Harry Neale used the t-shirt cannon during that TV timeout. He claims it was the second time he’s shot a gun, the first being when his team was losing 5-0 and he shot at his goaltender. God I love this guy.
Scoring chance #2 unsuccessful for Captain YoYo. Four more of those and we’re only down by one!
Nine minutes left. Out comes the 4th line. I have hope.
Again, pretty cross ice pass to Mair, who shoots it into the defender. Almost, boys.
Seven minutes left. Another TV timeout. If we come back and Neale is doing the Kiss Camera with RJ, I’m going to sleep right now.
I’m not sure why, but I have this nagging feeling Colombus is using the trap.
Sekera says “bah” to the trap and takes it all alone. A self-made dump and chase leads to him shoving his check to the ice. Ref’s arm goes up. Awesome.
Does typing “shutout” now affect the game I’m watching taped? Nah, didn’t think so.
Five minutes left. Suddenly I don’t blame Colombus for wanting to play crappy hockey. It may not fill seats, but it does win hockey games.
3:30 left and the RAV line goes to town. Three chances on this shift, all of which are put aside by Leclaire. Looks like he brought his A game tonight. I’m pretty sure he only has an A game or an F game.
Final commercial timeout. 2:30 left. I’m starting to think a next message of the score would have been welcome tonight.
1:30. Miller to the bench. Timmy has a chance in front that Leclaire stick checks away.
One minute left. Turnover at center, and Zherdev nets it.
File this one under the “balls” category.
What an ugly game. Slow, mistake filled, and undisciplined. It’s amazing that the same turnover in the same place on the ice costs us two goals. This team continues to be loose in the defensive zone, and it cost them tonight. It should have cost them on Monday, but not every team we’re going to play has a D as slow and overpaid as Toronto.
Next up is Montreal on short rest. A hostile environment after a tough home game is a never welcome, but we’ve had the advantage of scheduling twice already this year. (Washington and Atlanta)
Let’s hope things in back tighten up a little.