A View from the Roost: Allen’s Town

by Ryan

Why do Sabres fans love Doug Allen?

Sure, he’s a good singer and does right by both anthems in his renditions, but any number of people have good voices and say “star light’s last gleaming” correctly. What is it about a balding man in a really nice tux that gets people screaming “DOUGIE!” before faceoff even when he isn’t performing?

Tonight I think I figured it out: Doug Allen sings those anthems like it’s the only thing in the world he wants to do. He loves every minute of it. You can see it in his eyes, he truly enjoys what he does, and that’s something we all envy in a way. What else can someone ask for in life but to have a job you love and happen to be really good at? Doug Allen is a good anthem singer and wants to perform every night of the week. Except Wednesdays. Wednesdays are for church.

Sure he’s cheesy and at this point you could call him predictable, but in a way that’s exactly what makes him great. You know what you are getting with Doug Allen, and you know it’s going to be good. At this point he knows he is appreciated, and that only makes him better because there’s no need to stray. You know the cadence he sings with, and that change of pace at “Oh Say. Does. That. Star-Spangled…” at the end. Doug Allen is revered because he loves his place on the ice, and he’s always at the top of his game.

The same cannot be said for the Sabres, who wanted no part of that ice tonight. What were simply bad tendencies in a victory on Wednesday became awful habits tonight, and the embarrassing 6-1 final score is evidence of a complete failure in all areas of the game.

To start with Patrick Lalime would be far too easy, as most often goaltenders are given the blame in the rout. And while earlier I threatened to stab him with a pitchfork, looking back on the goals shows there wasn’t much he could do given the defensive effort in front of him.

Both Umberger goals were bang-bang plays the defense completely missed. Peca’s goal was one of the luckiest tip shots I’ve ever seen. The D completely broke down and Brussard had a nice shot on the third. Lydman and Lalime teamed up to crap the bed on the fourth goal, and there’s no way he’s stopping Nash late. Six goals on 23 shots looks pretty awful, but the System in front of him didn’t do much to help.

Ah, “the System”. For all this talk of commitment to it there wasn’t much of a result tonight. Perhaps it was a lack of adherence, or maybe there’s more to winning than following a lifeless cloud of ideas; but since the Sabres have returned to full strength this “System” we hear so much about seems pretty out of sorts. I wonder if we should simplify our game again.

I’d like to write this game off and move on, but it was probably the most disgusting game I’ve seen the Sabres play in quite some time. This wasn’t a blowout to a a great Ottawa team back in the day, this was sucking out loud at home against an inferior team. Columbus is cute and all, but this Sabres team should have blown them out, backup goalie or otherwise.

Take away a few questionable goals and the Sabres still lose tonight. One backdoor play on a 5 on 3 is nice, but there were plenty of chances to score that the Sabres didn’t cash in on. There weren’t a lot of quality shots out of the 37 they racked up, and Buffalo made Pascal Leclare look like Marty Brodeur tonight.

Oh, we get the defending Eastern Conference Champions on a Saturday? Awesome.

A few other things related to hockey and watching hockey:

– Tim Connolly had a really good game considering he was dead two days ago. Seriously, he was one of the few out there playing like he had a pulse. Good to see him get up off the plywood and get back to work.

– There were a lot of “I’m not a Sabres fan so I’ll root for the away team” people in the crowd tonight, which made me want to beat them senseless. It’s a good thing mini hockey sticks are like $14 bucks, only the cost kept me from disemboweling a Leafs fan tonight.

– Speaking of purchases, any shirt that has the following graphic gets a place in my closet:

– Also on my Doug Allen list tonight was Andrew Peters, Goose, and Dan Paille. Adam Mair was up there, too. That pretty much sums up the forecheck on the night, and that’s all kinds of awful.

– Remember when Derek Roy didn’t play like a gutless little puke? He drew a few penalties with his superior diving abilities, but he hasn’t played real hockey all season and it’s starting to wear thin. Every giveaway is another vote cast for the wrong person in the All Star Game. Start playing some defense, you douchey, faux-hawked little bastard. Owning a white suit means you make $3.5 million, but it doesn’t mean you aren’t required to play two-way hockey.

– This is a fun picture:

Peca may have scored a goal tonight, but he played like a sloppy drunk sorority girl. Three penalties, flopping around like a fool, and he even let Andrew Peters finish a check. Yikes.

– Even though the unit went 1 for 9 I did like the Sabres’ power play more than usual. Give credit where credit is due, Columbus showed up tonight and did a great job on the kill. Still, the Sabres avoided those stupid blocked shots and moved the puck around well. The lack of finish was noticeable everywhere, but they created when given the chance. A lot of that had to do with Connolly on the point, who does have a huge impact on the unit.

– Ales looks to be out for a bit, which is unfortunate because this means Max still gets a regular shift. Hopefully Kaleta gets a roster spot back because of it, God knows they will need the boost tomorrow.

Can you really take a loss like this and “toss it in the trash” like Lalime says to? You have to hope they can, but I think this game could tell us a lot about this Sabres team. How they follow up an awful game at home against a good team on the road will say a lot about the mental makeup of this squad. There is no time for a long practice, nor is there much time for sleep. A change in their game has to come from within, and sometimes that ability to change means more than any coaching system can.

More to come.

4 Comments

  1. twoeightnine

    Can’t fault Lalime completely but the 5th or 6th goal was one of those all time blunders. Not like it mattered at that point.

  2. dani

    There were a lot of “I’m not a Sabres fan so I’ll root for the away team” people in the crowd tonight, which made me want to beat them senseless. It’s a good thing mini hockey sticks are like $14 bucks, only the cost kept me from disemboweling a Leafs fan tonight.

    I think we were in the same section…

    I heard a guy explaining what a zamboni was.

  3. Zach

    This is the second game in a row that Lalime has had the “throwaway” game. This is starting to turn into the Thibault situation in where he started strong and then just laid a major dump in the middle of the season. This doesn’t bode well for us because I truly believe that if Miller plays more than 65 games in net the Sabres will not make the playoffs. Lalime has played 4 and has gone 1-2-1. He needs to step up now.

  4. Derek

    Petey’s been having a good year, its been nice to be his fanboy for once.

    Dougie is awesome, good take