BUFFALO (LGS) — A smorgasborg of Sabres-Bruins tidbits and appetizers on Thanksgiving morn...
He had Patrick Kaleta forechecking like a Banshee and Henrik Tallinder rebounding from getting "spanked" by Lindy Ruff. Mike Robitaille was in rare form during the postgame show. Is it wrong for me to pray that one day he will guest-host on "Talk Sex with Sue Johanson"? You know he'd be able to work in the Ketusha Rocket and someone's breast bone. And the Telestrator!
As Rick Jeanneret pointed out, at least three times the puck took weird caroms as it slid around the boards. It happened twice right by the Northtown Automotive sign in the zone defended by the Bruins in the first period. Porky Palmer?
Perhaps the time off did Tallinder some good. He joined the rush several times, including seconds before Derek Roy's first goal. It was reminiscent of his dash in Atlanta a few Fridays ago that resulted in Clarke MacArthur's tap-in goal. Lindy Ruff eased the defenseman back into the lineup with 14:03 of ice time. Partner Teppo Numminen also saw limited time at just under 15 minutes. The coach said after the game it was good to see the smooth-skating Swede get his groove back. (He didn't say "get his groove back." It would have been cool if he had, though.)
Picky, picky. Maxim Afinogenov was more decisive in the offensive zone, drew a high sticking penalty and even checked Zdeno Chara off the puck inside the Buffalo line. But Ruff, though complimentary of the winger's offensive game, still pointed out some defensive deficiencies. Both Afinogenov and linemate Clarke MacArthur had the best seats in the house as Matt Hunwick cashed the third straight shot over Ryan Miller to cut the Sabres' lead in half in the second period.
You know, the third jerseys look really bad on the average body of the typical fan (read: fat slobs slumped in their seats). And it's probably my 20-year-old cathode ray tube TV, but do the Sabres look taller in the dark duds? (Read: I want a new TV.)
There was a thunderstorm of hits in this one. You could even count the seconds after the hit until the sound echoed around the arena and estimate how far away it took place. Or something. The glass got more action than a Porta Potty at the Ralph. And got even slimier.
Henrik Tallinder signed a contract after the game to appear in one of those New York State Smokers commercials. If you can relearn to play defense in the NHL without a cigarette, you can relearn to do anything without a cigarette.
Adam Mair came within an inch of his life in the second period when he avoided a big collision outside the Buffalo line with Zdeno Churro. Mair proceeded to run into a teammate at center. The Bruins' genetic accident proceeded to fire a shot on goal.
Never one to enjoy being on the receiving end of a big hit, Milan Lucic also avoided a jolt when he ducked as Derek Roy threw an elbow into the glass behind the Buffalo net.
K, here's the real value of a guy like Lucic. Twice he pounded Sabres (not to mention nearly taking Thomas Vanek out of the game for good) and Buffalo's response was to start chasing him around like he was the Thanksgiving turkey trying to escape. Meanwhile, both times, within seconds, the Bruins skated into the Buffalo zone with no resistance and had good scoring opportunities. NORAD was out to lunch. Still, Lindy Ruff wanted the Sabres to be initiators of physicality in this game, and for the most part, they did just that.
Shorthanded goals are huge. But Jochen Hecht's shortie was Rosie, a classic turning point coming 30 seconds after Boston had cut into a 2-0 deficit. Great celebration, too, taking a cue from Mark Mancari against the Islanders the other night and jumping into the glass right in front of a couple of Boston fans in the front row. The skunk eye from the one Chowderhead was priceless. Hecht was due for some fun after not scoring since October 13.
Gaustad, paging Paul Gaustad. This game was tailor-made for the Goose. But I have nothing in my notes about him. Literally nothing.
It says here that another lackluster start was in the works for the Sabres until a good shift by MacArthur-Mancari-Afinogenov and that frozen turkey bowling job by Patrick Kaleta on Chuck Kobasew into the boards five or six minutes into the game.
Vanek, he's used to it. But Derek Roy couldn't have been expecting this. You've just scored two goals, a first star performance. What do we have for him, Johnny? A facewash from Mark Mancari! Great.
If I said Roy's second goal was on a shot that found a nook and cranny in Thomas' net, would that be wrong?
No penalty!? What's Roy supposed to do? Zdeno Chara hacks his right skate from behind on a breakaway in the third period. If he falls to the ice, he's a diver. If he keeps his feet, no penalty, no penalty shot, no turkey gravy, turkey hash, turkey a la king or gallons of turkey soup.
Great. Paul Hamilton's asking another question. Check that. He's making another speech. Why can't the guy ask a question? He always wants to cue the interview subject, impress someone, I dunno. After the game, he told Lindy the team didn't fall apart after the Bruins scored in the third period to make it 3-2. OK. Of course Lindy had to agree. Questions, Paul. Questions! Anyone else thinks he looks a bit like John Candy? Which reminds me to watch "Planes, Trains and Automobiles," a Thanksgiving classic. I've never been to a movie since that had people in a theater laughing as hard as that. November 1987. The Sabres had a losing record, but Ted Sator would get things turned around and have his team snapping a two-year playoff drought in the spring. Pierre Turgeon led the team in scoring. Man, I'm old.
Scoring a goal against the Bruins and giving it right back almost immediately has become a bad habit for the Sabres. So after Derek Roy's second goal of the first period, with 1:23 left, when the Bruins started buzzing, it was worry time. Ryan Miller's save on David Krejci's point blank redirect in the final minute made me happy.
After Miller skated behind the net and played the puck into the far corner right onto the stick of a Bruin and had to chest down a bad-angle shot, he and Craig Rivet had a friendly chat. What's up with Rivet anyway?
Boxing. Really? Officially, the pull up your sleeves, get into the ol' boxing pose, measure your opponent, adjust your jock, lick your thumbs and wet your eyebrows phase of Andrew Peters and Shawn Thornton's bout lasted longer than the "fight" itself. These guys have nothing on the stuff in turkey that makes you sleepy. Get this garbage out of the game!
Rotten luck and turkey legs for hands have followed Drew Stafford around this season. Seconds before Derek Roy's first goal, Stafford tried to gather in the rebound of Henrik Tallinder's shot off the back boards, but he lost control of the puck. In the third, Stafford whirled around on his backhand with Tim Thomas in the Poor Man's Aud Club but couldn't turn the puck on goal. Stafford was also robbed by Thomas' crispy right leg early in the second period.
Eyewitness News theme morphing into the Let's Go Buffalo organ prompt? This organist is older than I am!
Fans of Rick Jeanneret, there are none as big as this writer. But here's a pet peeve. When the Sabres score at home, he stretches out his "scoooooore" call to wait for the horn to quit, apparently. It takes a lot of the spontaneity out of his delivery. But listen to his call of Derek Roy's first goal. Am I crazy or does it not sound 100% better?
Are you listening Larry Quinn? During the second intermission "whip," both Mike Robitaille and Harry Neale talked about the simplicity and steadfastness of the Original Six uniforms and Rob Ray said his favorite all time sweater belongs to the Blackhawks.
Never ceases to amaze me how it always comes back to Roby.
Smorgasbord. I misspelled it at the beginning. It's a Swedish word. Roby, food and sex, actually.