From Where I Sat: Section 312, Row 12, Seat 20

Yes, I know it’s late, but I wanted to write my recap while I was still annoyed at the outcome of tonight’s loss to the Carolina Hurricanes in the home opener. There is plenty that can be said about what happened tonight. I’ll touch on most of what I think was important, what we should be afraid of, and what we should take as a positive from this game. You know the drill: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you, but if you need a reminder of the final score it was Canes 4, Sabres 3.

BlackBerrys have the WORST cameras of any smart phone.

The Good:

5-on-5 play. I thought that as far as 5-on-5 play went tonight the Sabres were the better team. That’s not saying they were the best throughout the entire game, but I think in general they were the better team as far as even strength play was concerned.

– Tyler Myers finally got his first point of the season on Drew Stafford’s game-tying goal.

– Derek Roy scored his first goal of the season. He tried to make it look like he had two tonight, but that first goal was obviously property of Thomas Vanek.

– The woman sitting next to me calling out the fans who left/were leaving before the third period was completely over. Shame on all of you. How dare you call yourselves real fans. Show your displeasure all you want, but never leave the game early.

– At least they didn’t lose to a Canadian team!

– ROBYN REGEHR SMASH!!! I approve of Regehr sending as many opposing forwards into their own bench as he possible can. I can picture him saying “I lift things up and put them down.” in his post-game interviews right now.

(Edit) Paul Gaustad fighting Tim Gleason. That got the crowd back into the game for about 2 minutes, before they remembered the Sabres were still losing. I forgot to mention this in my original post.

The Bad:

– Despite notching his third goal of the season (now tied for 2nd place in the NHL), Thomas Vanek did not have a very good game tonight. More on this later.

– Ryan Miller. Not going to lie, Miller didn’t have a very good night. None of the goals he allowed tonight were all that pretty. I can give him a small pass on Carolina’s first goal because he was screened on a deflected shot. Other than that? No me gusta Ryan. NO ME GUSTA!!!

– The PP. Shorthanded goals aside, they didn’t exactly look very stellar tonight.

– My seat. I could write an entire post about this, but I won’t. Tonight was the first time I’ve ever sat in the 300 level, and frankly I have no intention of sitting in it ever again. As the game progressed the people around me became increasingly drunk and annoying. By the latter half of the third period I was begging for the game to be over just to get away from those people. Perhaps it was the way the game was going, but I’d rather not sit with a bunch of people yelling “PUT YOUR BIG-BOY PANTS ON!” repeatedly for the last 10 minutes of the game. It was funny at first, but got old VERY quickly. If that is how some Sabres fans act in opposing barns, then I don’t blame other fanbases for hating us.

– The Thomas Vanek hate from the woman sitting next to me. Yeah, he had a terrible game, but the  garbage that spewed from her mouth incensed me immensely. Had to not been completely drained of energy I would have likely called her out on it (with the hope that her husband didn’t pound me into next week).  Here’s what she said after the Canes scored the PP goal in the last couple of minutes, I kid you not on this.  “F**king Thomas Vanek! He’s the worst player on this team. He shouldn’t even be on the team!” Not her exact words, but that is essentially what she said. There are SOOOOOO many things wrong with that. I mean, it’s not like he’s lead the team in goals for the  past five years. As for the second comment, can you imagine the hate fans would have thrown at Darcy Regier had he not matched Edmonton’s offer for Vanek? Sure, they hate his contract, but they’d hate to see him making nets look like coal bins for another team. She also managed to work in a “THIS IS WHERE WE NEED CHRIS DRURY!!!!!” comment after that PP goal. Sabres fans need to get over  July 1, 2007, as well as a few other things. Let it go. The past is the past. GET OVER IT!

– Christian Ehrhoff hasn’t looked all that great since the preseason ended. Way too early to draw any conclusions, however. Just something I’ve noticed. Especially tonight. You could knock him for that tripping penalty in the last 30 seconds, but as far as I’m concerned that was a good penalty. By preventing the chance at the EN goal he at least gave the Sabres a chance to tie it up shorthanded (not bloody likely).

– Officiating. I’m not going to blame the loss on the officiating, but there was some less that stellar officiating in this game. An icing call that was waved off, for one example. Another would be the Too Many Men on the Ice penalties. Carolina got away with two of those before they finally had one called against them. The first was in the 1st period when Jeff Skinner (I believe it was him) jumped on the ice with Jay Harrison about 20 feet from the bench. I believe the other was when they were on the PK and they had 5 or 6 guys on the ice.

(Edit) The people yelling “SHOOT!!!!!” on the PP, or even in general. The Sabres put 42 shots on goal last night and came up with 3 goals. More shots probably wouldn’t have done much, considering that Carolina had 4 goals on 34 shots. I hate people that yell shoot to begin with, but last night it was extremely annoying. At one point I was yelling at the fans around me, telling them to stop yelling it. These guys are pros, they don’t need fans to tell them when to shoot. Here’s a little info for you “SHOOT!!!” folks. Sometimes you have to move the puck around to try and draw the opposing defenders out of position. Point shots are worthless when there is a wall of people in front of you to block the shot. What works in NHL 12 (or whichever version you prefer) doesn’t usually work in a real game. Just because we pay money to see a team play, it does mean we know more than the guys on the ice. Seriously folks, most of us know nothing in comparison to the players on the ice, let’s act like it and let them do their jobs.

The Ugly:

– Two shorthanded goals against. Welcome to the bottom of the barrel folks. In one game the Sabres managed to find themselves at the bottom of the NHL in SHGA. Part Ryan Miller, mostly PP failure. Vanek shouldn’t be on the point during the PP. That’s what they have offensive defensemen for. Also, to the fans that said Vanek “whiffed” on the puck before the 1st SHGA, he didn’t; the puck bounced over his stick. Not much that you can do about odd bounces. Do you sit Marc-Andre Gragnani tomorrow and play Mike Weber? I think I might, but one bad night isn’t going to stop Lindy from playing him.

– The special teams tonight. Three of the 4 goals Carolina scored were when one of the teams were shorthanded. Not cool. If not for a strange bounce they likely would have scored another SHG as well. Not exactly what they looked like when in Europe.

– Losing the home opener. Since the lockout the Sabres are 3-3-1 in home openers, and are 0-2-1 in their last three. Figure things out. Some fans spent money we didn’t really have to attend tonight’s game. I suppose I could give them some of a break and move this into the “The Bad” category, but since I was one of those aforementioned fans I’m leaving it here.

– The cheap shot on Jason Pominville. I don’t think we’ll see any suspensions for this hit, but after that point the Sabres seemed lost. I’m not sure why that is, but it did more harm than good. Especially when Bryan Allen wasn’t willing to back himself up.

The next game on the schedule is against the league-leading Penguins. Can they finally break that six game losing streak that dates back to December 29th, 2009? Not if they play that game like they did tonight. It could be worse Sabres fans. They could be the only team in the league with no points, like Atlanta Thrashers Winnipeg Jets are. Even Columbus (1) and Ottawa (2) have points! I fully endorse the statement below by @PhilBBG.

In Tylers we trust.


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