Take Your Negativity And Shove It
Friday, October 21st, 2011 11:10 am by mrenninger
That’s how far we are into the regular season. I could use that fact to expound on some “everybody slow down, we have a long way to go” arc, attempting to keep my fellow Buffalo fans- as well as myself- grounded, aware that a team’s ride over 82 games, even for great teams, is filled with peaks and valleys. Being a Buffalo fan of this age (27) has ensured that the worst sports heartbreaks have been evenly spread out from the moment I saw my Mom cry after wide right, as a first grader unaware of the scope of what happened and fully unaware that the next 21 years would more than acclimate me with similar disappointment.
But screw that.
I’m fighting back against that reflex, that everything is going to go wrong and while it is difficult, something that has been beaten into me for two decades, I’m going to appreciate what my eyes are seeing on a nightly basis. I’m also not going to repeat my mistakes from the 2006-2007 season where after winning ten in a row, I was irritated after we lost our eleventh game. It was silly, I couldn’t win and really, isn’t the whole point of being a fan to enjoy it? Really, I’m so used to focusing on the problems, the weaknesses of a team that it’s difficult for me to write about a great team without sounding like a 12 year old girl gushing about Justin Beiber. But here are some thoughts about the Sabres 5-1 start to the season:
- Anyone who attempts to say that Ryan Miller sucks should not be allowed on the radio. They should not be served in bars and restaurants. They should be open face slapped in the face. They are lepers in this sports community and should be treated as such. This was a stupid argument last season as Miller had a subpar season, it was ridiculous during a playoff series in which Miller won TWO games 1-0, and now it is simply insanity. Yet on morning commute I still hear people deriding our Vezina candidate. Do they watch games? Can they tie their own shoes? It’s absurd.
- I feel bad for Brad Boyes, who seems destined to take Jochen Hecht’s place as the player we bitch about the most, at least until Hecht comes back and retakes his rightful spot. Really, I have no justification for giving this guy a pass, I am just flummoxed that he seems completely adverse to going anywhere near the net. On a team with so many great personalities and so many gamers I find it hard to accept that one of them might just not care to, might just want to collect on his 4 million dollar salary and move on. I see him just missing and remain convinced the pucks are going to start going in for him. I just can’t turn on a guy who scored the game winner against Boston last year right in front of me.
- A player I’m hearing grumblings about and refuse to acknowledge is Ennis. It’s a slow start, you know, like how Vanek, Stafford, or THE WHOLE FREAKING TEAM had a year ago. He’s young, he’s talented, he’s going to be fine, likely more than fine and I still predict he’ll score more than last year. This is nothing more than grasping at straws to find something to bitch about.
- Thomas Vanek is a superstar. His “pick your spot” goals against Montreal and last night against Florida were jaw dropping, even for those who watch every game and feel like they cannot be surprised. We all know he’s one of the best at deflections in the league and goes places many other “superstars” will not, but those I almost feel used to. These shots, no matter how many times I see them in games, are always amazing to watch. Should he have gotten the “C?” The way Pominville has been playing with him, I can’t say that yet. He’s invigorated with being the captain, invigorated with that line he plays on, and seems utterly transformed from a guy only a year or two ago was making my friends text me “fucking pominville” at random moments during games. Final note about this, at what point do we decide we have to name this line? I haven’t seen a line this in sync with each other and just burying opponents since Briere and Drury were on the team. And Luke Adam, welcome to the NHL, would love to see you win the Calder.
- It was suspected in the offseason that with our goalie tandem and defensive acquisitions, it would be very hard for opponents to score on us, and so far that has proven true. Of six games, only once did the team we were playing manage to score more than two goals. I’ve read it said- and I agree- that they only way this team can fail is to beat themselves. Sure, there will be rough nights and losses, but when they come to play, the chances given up are slim and of those given up, you still have to get past Miller or Enroth. It’s the Eliminator from American Gladiators every night. People can get through, but more often or not, time’s run out and they’re still trying to climb the treadmill.
In other Sabres news, the Pucktoberfest for the Sabres-Kings game was fun but I have a couple complaints. First, when you say “German band,” you need to concentrate on the “band” part. One guy on an accordion and a dozen people in lederhosen do not make a band. Second, come on, no German beer outside? I love Blue Light as much as the next guy, but a few cases of Octoberfest or Becks for the pavilion wouldn’t have been the worst thing. Aside from that it was great, no small thanks in part to yet another example of the Sabres smoking their opponent. Generally, god it’s great hockey is back. If anything beats watching a game with friends while having some beers, I’ve yet to see it. Tomorrow I will be watching the Sabres-Lightning game from a hot tub, just to continue living the dream of what should be a VERY fun season.
It’s been a very fun first two weeks. They are very good. Enjoy the ride.
Current Mancrush: Thomas Vanek
Song For the Week: “My Body” –Young the Giant