Just a few other things about the game last night:
– I really feel like the “if he stays healthy” angle is going to get beaten into the ground very quickly, so I won’t be saying that anymore. I think you have to assume that Connolly’s injury problems are behind him, and that what we saw last night is the Tim Connolly we signed up for until 2011. It seems like a silly optimistic point of view, but I just know I’m going to get sick of thinking about injuries. Hockey players get hurt, and it’s almost unfair to demean what he’s doing on the ice right now with a “when is he going to get hurt” cloud.
I could explain it further with a long list of reasons and circumstances, but instead I’ll do this. Right now, I look at Tim Connolly and I see this number: 1. That’s his point-per-game average this season, and right now that’s good enough for me.
– Watching from that close made me really pat attention to the players I like watching. In other words, the evolution of Paul Gaustad as a complete player was quite evident last night. His strengths in the faceoff circle, his skating and effort on the forecheck, and even his passing have all gotten better as he plays more and more, and that’s a direct result of how hard he works on his game. He may never be able to tip shots like Timmy or Vanek, but the work he puts in is starting to pay off. Perhaps he can live up to his cap hit, unlike some of the other bigger numbers on this team.
– Near the end of the game when it was 4 on 4 Connolly was paired with Stafford instead of Vanek. Does anyone have an opinion on this? Vanek and Connolly were out for 4 on 4 earlier in the game, so was this to punish Vanek or rest him? I haven’t loved Vanek’s game since coming back but I think you have to give him the benefit of the doubt considering how soon he came back.
– Clarke was the right guy to sit hands down.
– I am in this picture:
Hat tip to whoever identifies my body part first.
– I didn’t pay really close attention to Moore last night, but I did like what I saw. He and Connolly worked well on the penalty kill, and he was in a tough spot considering he had no practice and hasn’t played in a week. I don’t mind him on the fourth line for now, and I think it will take a few games to properly assess his impact for this team.
– Speaking of UFAs that won’t be here next year, Maxim Afinogenov has played very well since returning from a vegetative state. I think it’s important to note that there’s no freaking way he plays in a Sabres uniform next season. However, if we can get 17 games out of him when he plays like that, I’m right there with Darcy shaking his hand and thanking him for his services on June 30th. It wasn’t long ago that he was a major part of the offense. If he can even get a fraction of that production, he’s worth keeping in the lineup for the duration.
– Petr Prucha is freaking terrible. I know I’ve said this before, but what the hell happened to this kid? He scored 30 goals as a rookie, but has dropped off the face of the earth ever since. Disturbing, really.
– They used the wide angle camera again!
Someone was listening to us, but it would be nice if our page was wider so the photo would show up bigger. Bummer.
– The standings have been updated on the sidebar, and we will have plenty to talk about today with Ottawa. It seems like every Saturday we have a huge game to talk about, doesn’t it?