Well that one sure ran the gauntlet, didn’t it? But first, a story:
As we were walking to the arena some guy pulls out a whistle and blows into it, then quickly put it away. Most people would think that was quite awkward but dismiss it. Instead, I’m the goofball that goes:
“Is that a Jordin Tootoo whistle?”
“Yeah, it is,” the guy responds, pulling it out to show me.
“How did you know that?” his friend asks, deservedly so.
So I quickly explain to him that I saw the auction online and remembered the name. He tells me that he is from Jordin’s hometown, actually coaching him in Pee Wee hockey. It was his first time in Buffalo and he wasn’t really a Preds fan as much as a fan of Jordin’s. In fact, he went down to see him play in Nashville last year and was impressed with how nice the people were.
We talked the rest of the walk from Pearl to the front doors, discussing the Aud, the ACC, and the city itself. His friend was a Sabres fan and we talked about Bernier and where he fit in the lines. While we never exchanged names or even shook hands, as we parted I really felt like I had made a good impression on the both of them.
After that Mair fight and the last few minutes, I hope it was enough.
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk a little about Steve Bernier. Actually, let’s roll the next picture if you will.
That’s Steve Bernier, and I’m pretty happy with that photo. He doesn’t go after Tootoo because he’s sticking up for his fellow Frenchman, he goes after him because Roy is wearing the same sweater as he is, even if for just a few hours.
Now Bernier says anyone would do that, but that’s exactly what I wanted to hear out of him. In his mind, everyone should go after a guy who jobs someone, and I love that sentiment. Think back to that game against the Sharks when Joe Thornton went nuts and no one stepped up. Tonight every single player on ice would have jumped in no questions asked, and I think that has a lot to do with guys like Pratt, Kaleta, and Bernier playing on this team.
Bernier showed up tonight, plain and simple. I really, really hope it continues but who knows at this point? Again, one night does not tell the tale of the trade. Think back to the trade deadline before the lockout. We play the Caps in Washington, Grier has a few points and Brad Brown gets into a fight and has a few big hits. Where has Brad Brown been the past few years? We went 1/2 on that deadline even though both had big first games with the club. Having a good first game is a classic deadline reaction, so let’s see how he does for the duration. As far as tonight: consider me impressed.
Some other thoughts:
– Miller going down completely took the air out of the building. Thibault coming in made me absolutely catatonic, and those two goals were pretty much guaranteed. To be fair, that Arnott goal was an outstanding shot. Still, TBO starting equals a 13th place finish.
-A big “GOOOOOOOOOOSE” was well deserved when Gaustad went after Nichol off the faceoff late. How anyone could be inches away from him in the faceoff dot and not drop the gloves is beyond me. Piece of trash.
– Peters had a good fight. There, I said it. And what a pass on that goal by Kaleta. Since when did we have a serviceable 4th line? Even when Hecht, Max, Stafford, and Ryan come back we are still going to need a good 4th line to bang bodies and crack some skulls. Seeing it come together, even for a brief time, is good news. We can’t make any serious playoff noise without it.
– The D was pretty shaky in their first game without Soup. The offensive flow out of the zone was put into the hands of the forwards with relative ease but responsibility in our end was mediocre. I didn’t mind the pairs, and the Five and Dime were very solid for the first time in a while. We are going to need them to step up big and they answered tonight.
– Wasn’t it fun to see Tim Connolly make a move that worked? He’s been playing great lately and taking him off the top line didn’t affect any of the three. If BRV (short for “brevity”?) stays together we may have a decent lineup when the reserves come in.
– Chris Mason was AWFUL tonight. His 5-hole was weak all night, and his positioning looked shaky at best. What happened to that bald guy who beat out Vokoun last year?
– What the hell is wrong with some people? Booing Erat when he took a puck to the face is unacceptable. Who cares if we had a 2 on 1 going the other way? Anyone who has ever taken a puck to anywhere knows how much it hurts. He went down for a reason, and if you think he turtled that’s your call. Boo the refs the first time if you want, but don’t boo the guy for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Besides, Timmy scores on the same play a minute later. Weren’t we the fans crying foul when the Philly faithful cheered Dumont getting hurt in the playoffs a few years back? Get it together, people.
Once again, two big points on Friday. Who’s ready for Montreal?