Operation Cartwheel

By Chris

“In war, there is no substitute for victory.”

General Douglas MacArthur once said that. And tonight, a rookie general paved the way for a 2-1 overtime victory for the Buffalo Sabres over the Boston Bruins.

The Sabres played a strong game and one of the more complete games we’ve seen from them this season. Sure there were some miscues (not looking at you Andrej Sekera at all on that lame first goal), but the team stuck together and managed to pull out the win 3:16 into the extra period.

MacArthur played 16:21 tonight. That’s more than Mike Ryan and Andrew Peters combined (7:36 and 2:45 each, respectively). Kind of makes you wonder what the hell we’re paying them for. Even before the goal, MacArthur was having a great game and Ruff obviously noticed it. On the last powerplay the Sabres had in regulation, MacArthur was out there with Derek Roy and Drew Stafford.

So welcome to the bigs, once again, Clarke. It was nice that your posse of Amerks was up in the press box to watch you win the game tonight. Chippewa is going to be rocking.

I hope MacArthur gets to stick around this time (he played just 19 NHL games in two separate call-ups last season), but it doesn’t look likely. The only two Sabres that can go back to Rochester without clearing waivers are Stafford and Dan “Fat Crosby” Paille. Both are contributing positively so you’re then looking at dumping Ryan or Peters when either Mair or Connolly returns. But we’ll save that talk for another day. I want to enjoy watching The General play while I can.

As for the Sabres as a whole, they played a pretty solid game. Ryan Miller looked back to form and stopped 25 Bruins shots. Both defenses did a nice job neutralizing rushes, which led to a tighter game all around. It made the game a little tedious to watch at times, but it forced Buffalo to play consistently to grind out the win.

Aside from Kotalik’s goal, the powerplay was atrocious. Somehow they managed 11 total shots on goal with the man advantage but the first two attempts were pitiful, the fastest two minutes of hockey on each occasion. Tim Connolly and Jaroslav Spacek being out doesn’t help the cause now.

The game really swung the Sabres way with about seven minutes to go in regulation. Thomas Vanek took a dumb tripping penalty that put the Sabres on the defensive. Paul Gaustad and Paille did an outstanding job early on keeping the pressure down in the Bruins end.

Goose and Fat Crosby seem to developing a chemistry that Goose had with Adam Mair during the 2005-06 season, which is great to see. Paille might be a little small, but these two guys are high energy players that are providing a spark and an edgy side to the Sabres attack.

Jochen Hecht continues to impress with his string play along the boards. He’s proving to be a better leader each and every night. Captain of the Month Toni Lydman also continues to be solid. Maybe passing that “C” around does have its positives. Then again, the team is only 6-7-1 and in the bottom third of the league.

Hopefully this game is the start of better days (sorry).

Oh and in case you were confused, the Sabres did play at HSBC Arena tonight. They just wore white because it’s a part of Larry Quinn’s grand scheme to remind us that we’re all not as smart as he is. The team will wear white four times at home this month to let fans know what other teams are in the Northeast Division.

“The Buffalo Sabres asked the NHL to wear white jerseys at home for the month of November so that fans could differentiate divisional games from non-divisional opponents,” said Quinn. “The organization has asked the NHL to consider this for all divisional games in the future. The NHL agreed to let us try this during the month of November to see how it resonates with our fans.”

How does it resonate, Larry? Boston, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto. Those are our divisional opponents and we play them all month. This isn’t Carolina. And we’re not f*cking idiots, despite what Bucky Gleason wants you to believe.