A stinging, 4-3 final from HSBC Arena tonight.
Lots to talk about…
– Sekera=balls. It’s been said before, but Sekera just isn’t cutting it on defense. I know he was a star and got his first goal and that’s just fine and dandy, but he looks flat out over matched when he’s out there. Being paired with Lydman isn’t helping because he is forced onto the ice more often. I know to some that means the coaches trust him more, but to me that means more chances to make terrible, mind numbing mistakes.
– Sekera and Sparky teamed up for the worst defensive pinch in the history of the world tonight. That second goal was gift wrapped because MacArthur made a lazy play, Andrej pinched, and no one felt the need to back check. It didn’t take long for me to understand Lindy’s comments about stubborn, youthful play tonight.
“Something has spooked the Andrejes”
– Jason Pomminville listens to nancyboy music. I know he had a nice goal tonight, but the boy needs to borrow someone else’s iTunes playlist. Hidden behind that borderline garbage hip hop are some sorry pop songs. Jason, I know the ladies love you, but you need to step it up. Let Stafford pick your music for you and score some goals.
– The overall lack of scoring is a topic we will address later, but tonight was a good example of why we don’t score many goals. Two of the three Sabres goals were off excellent passing plays, but when those don’t work we simply shut down. Sticks between the legs and a power play conversion are nice and pretty, but I want to see goals off of good effort in the corners and forced turnovers.
– Max=”Boobs” tonight. No way we sit him in favor of Petey (that would be a trainwreck), but something has to give with him. A lot of people think Vanek should be criticised as well, but I thought overall Vanek had a decent game on both ends.
– Timmy needs to shoot the puck. He had two assists tonight and was the only Sabre to finish with a plus, but that man will pass in every scoring attempt he’s involved in. He went in on a 2 on 1 tonight and I swear Mike Ryan didn’t pass to Timmy because he knew he would just give it right back to him. Assists are nice, but when you have the puck point blank you have to pull the trigger.
– I have been extremely impressed with Dan Paille over the past few games. He is slowly creeping up into positive +/- numbers, and has been all over the place on both ends of the ice.
The perfect representation of his play came tonight after a turnover in the offensive end. A 4 on 2 comes back the other way, and Paille skates full throttle all the way back to crush the puck carrier as he hesitated at the blue line. A year ago he would never make that play, nor the great forecheck play in the Caps game that set up Hecht’s second goal. He was a -2 tonight (heck, almost everyone was a minus something) but he looks to be one of the few players putting that kind of effort in on both ends.
Speaking of that kind of effort…
– The Caruba Collision was an awful choice tonight. Fat Crosby-Paille’s aforementioned hit was waaay better than the shot Goose had, but somehow the crowd felt otherwise. If anything, this shows how much respect the fans have for Goose. You hear that, Lindy? Give the people what they want.
Captain Goose for December
One final note…
– The funniest moment of the night stemmed from the Mike Ryan/Barret Jackman scuffle. After the penalties were assessed I yelled out the obligatory “You suck Jackman!” A little boy in the row below echoed me by saying “You suck Jackass!” I, of course, felt horrible and am surely going to hell. It’s not my fault a seven year old has a dirtier mind than I do…
This layoff will feel like forever after the shoddy defense that led to tonight’s final. However, a rest after a stretch of games like this may be just what the Sabres need to keep the climb out of the basement moving in the right direction.