From Where I Sat: Section 113, Row 19, Seat 22


Over the course of the season I will likely be attending a few different Sabres games. When I do I’ll write recaps from the game from three different perspectives. The good points, the bad points, and the ugly points. I’ll generally try and post some pictures as well (if my CrapBerry actually takes a decent photo). While I didn’t manage any photos from tonight’s game, I can certainly take a look at those aspects, which you’ll find after the jump. Tonight’s game is, Preseason Game 4: Maple Leafs at Sabres. Final score, 3-2 Buffalo.

From Sabres.com (Bill Wippert)

The Good:

– Tonight’s PP. All three goals scored on the PP? Me likey. I won’t say that every PP tonight looked good tonight, but it was nice to see them convert on a PP for a change. Tyler Ennis pretty much single-handedly kept the first PP alive.

– Tyler Ennis was awfully dangerous tonight. I dare say he was the most dangerous Sabre on the ice tonight. Then again, perhaps I’m a little biased. He did, however, finish the night with a -1 rating. Aside from that he was delightful to watch. He certainly looked better tonight than he did against the Hurricanes. He also had a key blocked shot right before the buzzer sounded at the end of the third period. Keep it up Tyler 2.

– Going 4-0 in the preseason and outscoring their opponents 11-5.

– The energy in the F’N Thunderdome Center in the third period and after the game. I’ve been to only a handful of games, but tonight was by far the best energy I’ve seen from fans in person. I don’t recall a game I’ve been too where the building was as loud for an entire period as it was tonight. Perhaps it’s because the game was against the hated Leafs, but the building was buzzing. Even outside after the game there was a wonderful energy. Kids were yelling “Go home Leafs!” to Leafs fans from the open window of a limo. There was a lady adding up how much money Leafs fans wasted by coming to tonight’s game. Heck, when the Leafs fans tried to chant “Go Leafs Go!” in the parking lots there was a barrage of car horns to the tune of “Let’s go Buffalo!” to drown them out. Not to mention the numerous people around me in the arena (myself included) with “Blow Leafs Blow!” and “Golf Leafs Golf!” chants.  Let’s bring THAT energy to the F’N Thunderdome Center for the duration of every game this season. Well done Sabres fans, well done indeed.

– The defence. For the most part, the defence looks absolutely fantastic. They had the occasional mistake tonight, but overall they were wonderful. Brayden McNabb may have finished the night with a -1 rating, but he had some great defensive plays tonight.

The Bad:

– Let me start off by saying that I have no problems with Vanek adding some playmaking abilities to his game, but I kind of wish he would have taken a few more chances himself. In the third period he had a chance to bring the puck into the zone himself, but instead opted to pass to Regehr. I’m not saying I know more than those guys do, I know I don’t even know a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of what they do, but I’d like to see him bring it into the zone himself and make a play from there instead of deferring to Regehr.

– Zack Kassian. I’ve been a fan of Kassian or BZK, if you prefer, for a while now, but I’m not impressed lately. I’m glad to see him mature, but I wonder what the cost of that will be. Quite frankly, he’s been boring to watch since the Traverse City tournament. I’ve got to imagine that he’ll be headed to Rochester before the team heads to Europe. Then again, I’m no expert.

– Officiating. This isn’t something that the Sabres can control, but I was definitely not impressed with some of the calls tonight. Like someone (I forget who) repeatedly cross-checking Ennis in the back of the head along the boards. Craig Rivet got a game misconduct for doing the same thing to him in the final game of last season. I’d like to see that called, especially with the harder stance the NHL is taking on hits to the head. Also, I hope they review that “charging” penalty that Armstrong took for blindsiding Gaustad. I’m fairly certain that is the kind of recklessness they’re trying to do away with. I don’t mean to whine about officiating, but I’d rather not see guys getting nailed in the head (in any manner) and having the aggressor get away with it.

– Not team related, but there were several jersey problems tonight. I don’t like seeing jerseys for teams/players that aren’t playing in the game/for one of the teams. Unless the Sabres are playing the Crapitals, please leave the Ovechkin jersey/paraphernalia at home. The same goes for any other player or team. This applies to the people that I saw tonight wearing the Habs, Bruins, and the aforementioned Ovechkin jersey. I know this is ranting here, but it really irks me to see these things. I have no problem with old school jerseys, like the Nordiques one I saw tonight, or if you are wearing a jersey from your team (the one you play on), but otherwise please leave them at home. If you want to wear a Biron jersey when the Sabres are playing the Rangers (or even if they aren’t), then by all means do so; nothing wrong with that at all.

– Not sure I really want to file this under “Bad,” but it certainly doesn’t fall under the other two categories. I’m also not entirely impressed with Luke Adam. If he can play well like he did at times tonight, then I’m all for him making the team. Otherwise, I hope you like garbage plates Luke!

The Ugly:

– Those “let’s change all five skaters at once” line changes. I think I counted three times when they attempted those, and all three times it didn’t end well for them. Especially on the second PP in the first period where they essentially hung Enroth out to dry in the defensive zone. I’m willing to bet that Enroth had to change his undies between periods after that one. I know I almost did.

In Tylers we trust.

EDIT: Until I read this article by the guys over at The Hosers, I had completely forgotten about Brad Boyes’ hit on Joe Colborne. As I understand it, there is a hear scheduled for him despite no penalty for it on the ice. Kudos to the NHL for giving it a second look. I still hope there is some sort of hearing for the Armstrong hit on Gaustad as well.

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