Saturday, December 20, 2008

It's Okay, Really

Well that was a heartbreaker.

It's not your fault, Ryan. 42 saves on 46 shots is pretty gosh darn impressive once again.

I was pretty upset about losing 4-3 in overtime to the Habs right after it happened, but I'm surprisingly calm about it now. I guess it's because I expected a pretty ugly loss, so the mere fact that we got a point (and for the moment have sole possession of the 8th seed) is fine with me.

There were plenty of things to be happy with tonight, enough things to make it a loss that was far from deserved. The team played with heart, taking and giving hits (especially the Carubba Collision ice one by Stafford) and skating with good speed for the second game in as many nights. Despite the 5-on-3 and 4-on-3 goals, the PK unit was impressive and aggressive.

My unsung hero tonight goes to Andrej Sekera. There was a shift not long before his goal where he kept the puck in the offensive zone for an unbelievable chunk of time. Though we didn't score on that shift, his hard work was rewarded with his first goal of the season a few minutes later.

There were some things not to like, though. I'm going to take the "no comment" road on the officials tonight. I'll just say that if Matt Ellis got a goalie interference penalty, then Montreal should have gotten one on the second goal. There are only so many penalties you can kill off before they bite you in the behind, and that's what happened tonight. Some may have been more warranted than others, but we still needed to make it more difficult for the refs to call anything.

Derek Roy had a nice goal, but he also deflected in the first Montreal goal and failed to clear on the shift that led to their third goal. Max made another "Max-tastic" play in OT, passing it back to an unprepared Sekera when he should have tried to "make like a gravedigger and get it in deep" (Harry Neale's words, not mine).

All in all, though, the boys overcame sure exhaustion and iffy officiating to get a point against a difficult rival.

Now, as promised, I present a sappy analysis of my favorite thing about these last two games, and that is this clip from this weekend's Sabres Show:

If you haven't seen this clip of the team visiting kids at Children's Hospital, I suggest you do so now. I have it saved to my DVR to watch whenever I get mad at the team. It reminds you that, even if they lose, they are some pretty great people even if they are not always great at hockey.

From Sekera's smile talking about the kids to the surprisingly human and - dare I say - sweet side of Tim Connolly, it was nice to see the guys without kids still get into the visit with all of their hearts. It was especially nice to see Nate Gerbe begin to make his mark in the community like that.

What really struck me, though, was how much this visit meant to the guys who are fathers themselves. I couldn't tell who was more excited with the coloring time, Toni Lydman or the kids. Captain Craig brought a tear to my eye holding that little baby and talking about how important it is to bring joy to these families.

I guess I'm just saying that there are moments when I'm really proud of this team, and usually it has to do with something special done off the ice rather than on it. So maybe that's why, for tonight, the image of Toni Lydman in a Santa hat next to a sick little boy is sticking with me more than Kovalev's goal.


Shelby Rose said...

I'm sort of disappointed in some fans because they think that the Sabres shouldn't be doing charity work when they're not winning games consistently. They need to focus more on hockey. (I read this on messageboards.) I mean...what? These guys are human too, and they need to get out of the realm of hockey for even just a little bit. Besides, if I were them, I would much rather take the time to put a smile on a child's face than practice my stickhandling.

Katie said...

I'm sort of disappointed in some fans because they think that the Sabres shouldn't be doing charity work when they're not winning games consistently. They need to focus more on hockey. (I read this on messageboards.)

This is why I am glad that I don't read the message boards very often. That is when you know that people go a little too overboard with their criticism of their teams.

While I do not advocate some of the other "activities" that a few of the boys like to partake in on nights off (especially any involving Chippewa), I can't believe there are people who think that this was a bad move.

I guess this just shows my nature, but I would rather have a team that does things like this as often as they do than a team that wins but doesn't care about the city. It makes it all the more special when they do win.