I'd be tempted to think I'm actually a psychic if the Sabres weren't so easy to read. As I suspected, Buffalo was flat-out absent last night against Columbus. The only problem was, no one bothered to tell the Blue Jackets they were supposed to take the night off too.
The Sabres, coming off an impressive showing against the Bruins two nights prior, apparently figured they'd already put in their work for the week. For all you guys out there wondering why Sabres fans seem to be growing increasingly impatient with a team that can undoubtedly skate with anyone in the league, last night's no-show was as good a reason as any.
I had to watch the game on about an hour delay because Christmas trees apparently can't set themselves up yet -- Hello? 2011! Can somebody figure this out already? -- so a live blog was out of the question. But I did jot down some notes as the game went along. In no particular order:
- Kevin Sylvester is not a good play by play man. I consider myself a fairly nice person, so I won't say anything more. I know he's got some impossible shoes to fill, but still.
- Lindy Ruff seriously does not know when to pull a goalie. He demonstrated this in Philly when he waited one goal too long to pull Miller. Enroth was the only reason it wasn't 5-0 after the first period, but once Buffalo went down 3-0 last night in the second, that was the right time for a wake-up call. This would have given the Sabres a sporting chance to win a game that was clearly all Columbus up to that point, but it was all over once Enroth let a little squibber go between his legs to make it 4-0.
But that's basically all you could fault Ruff for last night. Even though I often wish you could pull a coach, he can't skate for his team, and it was clear the Sabres figured they could just show up and that would be sufficient to beat the last place team in the league. Even though I literally can't remember the last time they won in Columbus.
- In yesterday's post I naively let my optimistic side show when I commented that we might actually see some jump out of Buffalo because they have quite a few kids up now for the injured regulars. But then during the game I said to myself, "Apparently there's not enough injuries yet."
You're welcome. I take full responsibility for jinxing Robyn Regehr, who left the game at some point during the second period. Just for the record, though, the Buffalo Sabres are honestly the only team in the NHL that can lose players without anything noticeable happening. I was pretty bourboned up by the third period, but I couldn't see anything happen to Regehr that would've caused him to leave the game.
- Yes, the injuries are starting to pile up for Buffalo, but there's not a team in the league that wouldn't make room overnight to add Vanek, Pominville, Leino, Stafford, Ehrhoff, or Leopold. They're all still healthy (yes, I know I just jinxed someone else tonight). Great teams really only need an effective system, two great forwards, two great defensemen, and a great goalie (or a good goalie who's playing great). Everyone else essentially is filler, and as long as everyone plays with tenacity a Cup is within reach. On paper Buffalo was still a better team last night; Columbus won because they wanted it more. Much more, as it turned out.
- Gerbe was invisible.
- I think T.J. Brennan could be fo' real.
- I've essentially given up hope that Leino will ever hit someone. Thankfully all his points earn him a pass.
- No intensity, no desperation, no finishing checks.
- So, Sabre dudes ... after six hours working in the yard yesterday, could you really do no better than to give me a game that was over in the first period? I mean, yeah yeah .. I obviously expected and predicted your fate, but do I have to be right all the friggin' time? All I wanted to do was lie on the couch with my drinks and watch some good hockey, and it turns out your performance was even more painful than my aching ass body.