Not exactly a View from the Roost, but I was at the game tonight and here are just some quick thoughts on the Sabres 3-1 victory over the Blackhawks, overshadowed by Pat Kane’s homecoming. And rightfully so.
-It was my first look at the HD scoreboard in person, and all I have to say is “Wow.”
-As I was walking back to my seat from overpaying for French fries (turns out it’s a better deal to spend an extra three bucks and get four surprisingly-good chicken fingers with the fries), I was distracted for just a second from the ginormoustron by a call from Ryan. The Faux Roost sign was up over Section 309. Those bastards.
-I was really impressed by the reception Kane got. Everyone was waiting for him to get out onto the ice for warm ups and not even there did he disappoint, roofing a wrister on his first practice shot.
The ceremonial puck drop was also a very sentimental moment. Kane and Brian Campbell were met at center ice by Pa Soupy, Pa Kane and Grandpa Kane and received a standing O from the crowd. It was nice to see, not only for the Kane family, but for the entire Western New York hockey scene.
-And then it didn’t take long for me to stop liking Kane. The Pride of Buffalo snapped home a shot just two minutes into the game. I didn’t cheer for that, but there were plenty who did. Yeah it was nice to see, but as soon as the clock started ticking, the kid was the enemy.
-Miller saves. The Sabres netminder played exceptionally well tonight and is one of the main reasons the Sabres were able to pull out the W. The save on Ruutu late in the third was one of the stops that made my jaw drop.
-The Vanek-Roy-Stafford line was very good tonight. The moved the puck well and showed the kind of swagger you need from your top line.
-Overall I thought the effort from the Sabres was very good. They had a few mental lapses here and there, especially early, but they actually worked hard, especially along the boards, and got through the night. A few nights off should bode well. Hopefully.
-I was kind of disappointed in Tallinder. He’s been out of the game for awhile now so I’d like to think it’s just a matter of getting the rust off.
-Why Sekera is in over Pratt I will never understand, unless Pratt has some sort of injury I don’t know about. Sekera will be a pretty good defenseman, don’t get me wrong, I’d just like to see him get a little more seasoning on the farm before he’s starting over veterans. Especially veterans that I suddenly like.
-I’ve been hard on Campbell the last few games, especially. I haven’t posted my thoughts here, but I just didn’t like what I was seeing out of him in the defensive zone. He was watching plays develop instead of being more proactive and has been caught eying the puck into the net. Tonight, I thought he played pretty well. His offensive talent has never really been a question, but I thought he was much more responsible in his own end tonight. Maybe it’s because of the “C” he’s wearing on his chest that makes me extra-critical of him, and I haven’t been a huge fan of his over the past few seasons, but I did like his game tonight. Hopefully it’s a sign of things to come.
-If the C was to stop rotating tonight, I’d leave it with Jochen Hecht. He’s been a leader all year and his play in the last month or so has been nothing short of excellent. I’d give a letter to Goose, based just on work ethic and then leave a letter with Lydman on the defensive end.
-I think Chicago is about a year and two good players away from being serious contenders. They’ve got a real good core of young talent and pretty good goaltending. They have the building blocks to be an elite to for many years to come, which is good, because it’ll be fun to cheer for Chicago then.
-Arena hosts are unnecessary. The PA announcer did everything tonight and I was absolutely fine with it. If not for the Pickleass disaster last spring and the stupid contest this summer, I probably wouldn’t even make a point of this.
-Afinogenov played a good game. I actually saw him pass it to a teammate as he crossed the blue line and everyone was actually onsides! It could just be a good stretch for him, but I still think the Sabres would be better off moving him.
Then again, Darcy Regier has made only four trades in-season during his ten-year tenure that weren’t around the trade deadline. For the record, these are the four in-season non-deadline deals:
11/12/97: Andrei Trefilov to Chicago for a draft pick
12/18/98: 1999 2nd round pick (Milan Bartovic) to LA for Donald Audette; Claimed Roman Ndur off waivers (Darcy was busy this day)
1/23/00: 2000 8th round pick to LA for Vladimir Tsyplakov
11/6/02: Jason Woolley to Detroit for future considerations
If history is any indication, there’s a a good chance we won’t see anyone on the move until late February.