Me: “Well, Jochen Hecht is your top center right now.”
Wife while giving an imperial thumbs down: “Release the lions.”
Texts from my brother:
“Honestly, watching Canadian Parliament has this beat 4 entertainment value.”
“Here’s a sign, ‘My son’s 2nd game! How about not making him cry tonite?’”
“BREAKING: Sabres r not good @ hockey. We now return to Throw Momma From The Train.”
“Isn’t there a rerun of Dallas they could throw up on the video board.”
We’ll talk hockey first. I have no emotional state over the team right now. They exist, but are distant from me. If they win or lose, I do not care. I would prefer they win because I have so many friends who do care about the outcome of their games, but beyond a rooting interest for the emotional well-being of my friends, I have other things to do. This is not to say that there are not aspects of the team I find fascinating. I’m interested in why the team has made the personnel decisions it has – keeping Rivet and Lalime when the head coach hates both – and the ownership transfer is interesting as well.
But mostly, I’ve checked out. They are not a fun team and not a roster that endears one to it. I don’t know many people who really like this team. If that is true, what’s the damn point then? I am emotionally ready for a change of pace here. I’m ready for new players and new people to hear from. Pegula couldn’t come at a better time for me for this reason alone.
I’m aware that there are risks for this. There is no way to know that new people brought into the organization will have any clue about what to do with the team and could be incompetent fools. Whatever. I’ll want to pay attention then, and that’s the whole point of this affair in the first place.
This though, on the Sabres goaltender:
Miller’s stats as crudely cropped from ESPN.com. Notice that the stats for this year fit in nicely with his career stats. I’ll toss out this idea: last year was an outlier and he has returned back to his previous performance levels. The results in a weak Northeast division are enough to send the Sabres from the front of the line to the back. Perhaps if it is not the only culprit, then it may be a prime factor. Now Miller has been injured this year and has missed some time, and he may not be 100 percent healthy which could account for his numbers. However, this year’s stats fall right in line with his career numbers. This is the Ryan Miller we should perhaps expect now. If this is the Miller we have, and last year was a blip, then perhaps the team is not appropriately constructed to succeed in the NHL. They need to score far more than they do with players more consistent than they are right now.
I always felt that the team was exposed for what it was when Patrick Lalime played. Lalime is not a top flight goaltender and usually gives up bad goals at bad times, but the Sabres in front of him usually never responded to carry their goalie when he made a mistake. The goalie is supposed to carry the team, or at least that is the mind set we have accepted. Maybe it’s time for this to end. Perhaps when our goalie lets in a bad goal we should demand one of the skaters to put one in past the guy at the opposite end. From Hasek through Miller we have been living off of the guy between the pipes. Maybe this is the Ruff system. It isn’t working.
Here’s the thing. The Sabres have won with Ryan Miller as their goalie of goalies. However, they did it with a dynamic and explosive offensive team that showed at least some tenacity when faced with adversity, though in the end they didn’t have enough of that trait. Now they have replaced that explosiveness with impotence and the results are stark. Even with Miller coming back from his super saiyan state, it ain’t your goalie that’s the problem.
I’m not even sure people would argue that point. It’s pretty clear the team can’t score effectively – bottom half in scoring, bottom half in goals allowed. Bad all around. You’d think pretty soon someone would have to do something about it. Wake me up when they do.
Doing Something Else
So I decided to take it back to the old school and watch Star Trek: The Next Generation from front to back. I’ve made it through the first season already. There is no need to do anykind of blog update on this stuff because the AV Club has got this thing worked out already. I watched the original run of this show when it first came on the air back in 1987 and I was all up about it and whatnot. What you want? Spaceships? Broads? Explosions? Punchin? Mackin? All set. Pop in some JLP and William T. and set a course for ripping the lid off it.
Now I was a little, socially awkward and nerdish child. Now I’m a socially awkward and nerdish adult, but even now when I go back and watch these episodes (a lot of which I had forgotten or never actually seen) it totally takes me back to watching this show on the local FOX affiliate. It was appointment television.
And it wasn’t even all that great! I’m big on the Trek and I freely admit how weak the entire collection as a whole is. In the end you’re in it because you find something endearing about the characters and every now and then you get quality moments. (I spent the past ten minutes watching an interview of Patrick Stewart on Top Gear and his lap. He has more charisma in the lone hair follicle on his head than the entire Sabres locker room does.) Really this is one of the reasons why people watch recurring shows. Either that or it’s so awful that the show produces a wealth of unintentional comedy.
My wife and I have been rolling through the X-Files as well from front to back. Talk about a 90′s powerblock going on in. The point of this is to illustrate exactly what the Sabres are not doing. They are not bringing me closer to them. There are no engaging personalities on the team. no one is good enough to make me want to buy a ticket. The outcome usually produces a groan or worse. I’ve stopped asking myself what has gone wrong, and I have started to ask why I even bother watching at all.