More on Last Night

by Ryan

Because the first post was getting too rambly and there’s still plenty to talk about.

– Leadership is still something we hear a lot about with this team, and after last night I think it’s pretty obvious just how much of a leader Paul Gaustad is. We will never know just what it’s like inside the locker room, but if I’m on his team and he plays the best game of his career last night, I’m listening to what he has to say.

I think it’s pretty obvious how much we appreciate his game around here, but I was wondering what you guys thought about all this. I like the way he interacts with officials, the way he talks to the media, the work he puts in off the ice, as well as the effort he puts forth on it. He appears to follow the Chris Drury model, and while he will never have the scoring touch he certainly appears to have the same hockey philosophy. Goose learned from Chris Drury how to be a leader, and to me it looks like he’s trying hard to follow that model.

Is all this just in my head, or is there something more to what Paul Gaustad brings to this team? I know Paul Hamilton feels a similar way about Goose, and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the two more inspiring wins of the year were games in which he scored twice. It may not seem like a big deal, but to me getting those types of goals and even that fight is a major part of what makes good hockey teams. Having someone set that example is the only way anyone will ever have something to follow, and I’ve struggled to find good examples since a few big name players have left.

– I thought Rivet and Lydman played really, really well. Butler looked bad on the second goal, but overall the defense was much improved. Teppo made some nice plays, and Hank played one of his best games of the year. He looked more confident with the puck for sure, which is a good sign. Hopefully he has calmed down a bit, he needs to be a big player down the stretch for this team. He’s done it before.

– Another big hit photo from the AP. This time the hit was real:

– In case you were wondering about JPPGPCB, I haven’t done the totals just yet, but I’ll update this post once I check the videos.

We will have some football news and notes to gear you up for the live blog on Sunday, as well as a few more things here and there. Stay warm out there, folks.

4 Comments

  1. Katebits

    I’m glad to see you writing about Goose. I considered writing a post about him myself today.

    I think I’ve been hesitant to praise Gaustad’s play, mostly because until recently it seemed like a lot of the adoration that Buffalo heaps on him is because of how he handles himself as a person rather than how he handles himself on the ice. Often when people claimed he’s one of the rightful leaders of the team I’ve sort of scoffed. Just because we fans love him, that doesn’t make him an actual leader. But this season has been different. It seems to me that the entire team is finally coming to terms with the fact that they’re not as good as everyone thought they were. It makes sense that someone like Gaustad would emerge as a leader in that type of environment. By all accounts he’s FAR exceeded what people expected of him as a player. This team grew up winning with flash and fanciness, but those days are over. Goose doesn’t seem to have an ounce of flash in him, but he works hard and he never gives up, and those are exactly the areas in which this team needs to improve.

    I wonder a bit if Gaustad himself is starting to see how badly the team needs him. I mean, GEEZ, if the skill guys played with his level of emotional commitment the Sabres would be a LOT better. In interviews lately the team has been saying a lot of stuff about “holding themselves accountable” and Goose, more than almost anyone on the team, has the credibility to say, “You’re not working hard enough.”

    And I agree, this year his play seems to be a catalyst of sorts for the team. He’s turned TWO games around this season with timely fights. (Remember the fight against Ryan Craig in the Tampa game? I think they were down 2-0 and then Goose got everyone fired up with a fight and the Sabres came back to win. I hope I’m remembering that correctly.)

    I guess I’m just agreeing with everything you already wrote Ryan. I’ll admit it- I have a crush on Goose- but recently, more and more, I’ve come to recognize that he really is a great asset for the team. He’s easy to cheer for, that’s for sure.

  2. Katebits

    Sorry for posting a novel in your comments. Heh.

  3. Katie

    I think you know how I feel about Goose, as a player and as a person. This post said everything that I want to say about his actions on the ice. He has become the true defintion of a leader by example, and, this season especially, I have really enjoyed watching that develop.

  4. Jill

    Yes Goose is oh so valuable! He made that game become alive!

    And I have emailed that pic of Spach all over today! LMAO!