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Seriously. Maria Genero has totally won my heart over…

…for Henrik Tallinder. (Don’t even get me started on Genero. I’ve said it before, I want her job, and I’d stop at nothing short of lumping her up to get it. That is, if I weren’t afraid of the ensuing arrest.)

Really, though, I’ve always liked Hank and thought he was a decent enough defenseman. And it didn’t hurt that during practices or whatever he always, always is smiling, and you can often her him shouting in celebration or just because they’re having fun. And that’s what I want from the Sabres. I want them to play well, but I want them to have fun.

Everyone knows that when you’re having fun and you’re getting satisfaction from your job or task at hand, than you’ll perform better while doing it. So if the Sabres are having fun, then they’ll most likely be playing a hell of a lot better than we’ve seen out of them this season.

Anyways, I just thought it was adorable during the Sabres Show, when Henrik was talking about sledding with this wife Ann(e) and their children Nathan and Amelie. He smiled and went all cute and sentimental on us when he said he loves to hear the kids giggle.


Come on, now. Big collective AWWW. =]

But that’s only the first part of my conviction.

The rest has to do with the long-term injuries suffered by Teppo Numminen (fractured jaw) and Andrej Sekera (ankle).

I’ve been saying it for weeks: The Sabres somehow needed to devise a defensemen rotation of sorts. Yes, before you even say it, I know it would screw up the pairings and the chemistry, blah blah blah, but we all know that our defense corps tend to break down and fall apart (i.e. every single one gets hurt) from the middle of the season, down through the stretch, and into the playoffs.

(I honestly believe that, had Jay McKee not contracted a ridiculous staph infection in his leg, due to a laceration from his pads, we would have a Stanley Cup banner in the rafters at the HSBC Arena.)

But now Chris Butler is really going to know what it’s like to be a regular NHL player. Teppo Numminen is not going to be there to show him the ropes now, and he’s going to have to step up even more than he has already to carry this team. Yes, I said carry this team. Out of the six defensemen that are going to be dressing now, I believe that Butler is the most consistent and most reliable. At least he has been since he was called up before Christmas.

And Nathan Paetsch?

I’ve been saying all along that Lindy Ruff needs to change the ways he deals with his seventh defenseman and his back-up goalies. If they have one bad game, they never again see playing time. You can’t expect a guy who sits about 10 games or more to come back to the lineup and play better than your starter(s). It just won’t happen. They either have to be played more often, or given a string of two, maybe three, games, depending on who it is (i.e. position).

Lindy did it last year with Thibault, and he’s doing it this year with Lalime.

The sad thing is, this thinking and method has seeped it’s way up to the press box, which has become much like a prison for Paetsch, I’m sure.

No matter how many bag skates this guy does, no matter how many extra minutes he logs with James Patrick, no matter how many times he hits the stationary bikes, he is not going to be used to game-play. It just won’t happen.

I can only hope that Nathan has a good game tonight. Well, actually, whether he does or not is slightly irrelevant, because no one is going to be getting a flight from Portland to Buffalo any time soon. Not a defenseman, at least. Mike Weber has been injured for some time now, and Mike Funk is recuperating in his hometown of Abbotsford, BC while he recovers from his second concussion since training camp of this year. (The first was suffered during camp, I believe the opening day. He returned from that on November 7, 2008, which just so happened to be the night I was there. The second concussion was suffered from a vicious hit from behind into the boards (which I still can’t find video of), mid-December. Funk has only played in 13 of Portland’s 37 games.) Out of the other d-men there, only two have seen any time up in Buffalo (Mike Card and Marc-Andre Gragnani, the latter used to play as a winger).

So like I said, hopefully Paetsch will have been worked in practice hard enough to be near game speed. I really hope he does well, because I’d hate to see him go. And the likely scenario is that he will if he doesn’t play well.

Die By The Blade has already furthered the trade rumor that could be bringing in veteran Mathieu Schneider to bolster the blue line in exchange for the mostly unwanted Maxim Afinogenov.

Could something along these lines happen? It will be interesting to see which rumors turn out to be actual moves once the trade deadline passes. But if this one does go through, the Sabres will be in a rut as far as bodies go. We’ve got too many defensemen, but most of them are very young. I’m anxious to see what Darcy and the management will do, come February and March.

Anyways, Go Sabres! (And Derek? Remember what I said about no friends on the ice. You shouldn’t even be friends with Greg Campbell off the ice, so definitely no niceties on the ice.)

Oh, and I just feel the need to tell you that Thomas Vanek giggles like a girl, and he and Drew Stafford stuck Butler with the bill at Chef’s on Saturday. He laughed it off when asked about it, but still. Way to treat the rookies like that.

A. Blue Jackets at Sabres

Soooo excited about this game. Probably, mostly, because Staffy and Patty K will be back in the lineup, I think, at least. They should be, anyways. Timmykins can sit this one out; we’ll need him more tomorrow. Max will probably sit, as well, because Lindy was no more happy with him than I was with Derek yesterday morning.

And I’m thinking Patty L will get the nod tonight??? That’s just my guess, because I’d rather have Miller in against Pitt.

Needless to say, since I’m going to be at the becking call of the elderly this evening, they’ll be in bed by 7 pm, except for the ones who know anything; they can stay up later and wait for intermission. I’m so nice. They love me though. Especially Mrs. Miller. I really wish she were related…

Oh, and did anyone else see that, since Columbus became a team, we’ve played them 8 times, and have only won twice?! That’s a bit upsetting, since Columbus is probably the next stop on mine and Kim’s Sabres Roadtripping Excursions. Although, that’s going to be next year, so we can bring a whole bunch more people with us, along with Boston, Round Two (btw, the invitation to join us on that one is still open, and always will be).

B. Catwalk For Charity III

Okay, some background information is needed before I address B. But anyways, my friend Michelle, who is six years my senior, but grew up next door to me, so basically she’s the closest thing I have to an older sister, is getting married in June. She and her fiance moved to Phoenix last summer, and last time my girl was up to Buffalo for a visit, we grabbed our usual lunch at Duff’s. She mentioned the date for her bachelorette party. Problem is, as you know, I’m not quite 20 yet, so a party with a minimum age of 21 wouldn’t quite work for me. So, in a couple weeks, when I head up to Toronto for a friend’s birthday party, you might have an idea of what I might be picking up while I’m there.

That being said, the date for THE THIRD CATWALK FOR CHARITY HAS BEEN ANNOUNCED!!!!!!

Sunday, February 8, 2009
MARK IT DOWN, LADIES. (Thank you, Jill!)

Because you know that if I can find someone willing to go and fork over the money (coughcoughNOTkim), you know I’m there. I think it’d be fun to make a blogess-es night out of it, don’t you???

Because we all know that I want to see this:

And you want to see this:

But, who’s that bald guy in the middle?? I don’t believe I’ve ever seen him before…

C. Voting

Um…. HELLLLLLOOOOOO??!!

What the HELL is going on with this voting process? I honestly believe that it’s stacked.

THE GAME IN IN MONTREAL.
IT’S MONTREAL’S 100TH ANNIVERSARY.
THE CANADIENS HAVE 6 PLAYERS ON THE BALLOT (AKA, THAT’S ENOUGH TO FILL A STARTING LINEUP).
AND, AT THE MOMENT, THIS IS HOW WE STAND:



COUGHBULLSHITCOUGH

It’s a conspiracy. Really.

The Sabres, you ask? Where are they currently? Well… Derek and Tommy aren’t on the visible horizon, and I can barely see Tepp in the distance; he’s currently in 9th place with 12,119 votes. Ryan is faring slightly better; he’s in 5th with 13,708.

GO VOTE. NOW. TEPPO FOR PRESIDENT. RYAN FOR VP. DEREK AND TOMMY FOR THE CABINET. Yeah, I know… Whatever.

Alright. I’m done. I’m working all night (literally, all night), so I won’t be posting until tomorrow afternoon, or maybe right before the game, continuing throughout. I haven’t decided. We’ll see how long I stay in bed, since I won’t be getting home until 7:30 tomorrow morning. Yuck. Why do I do this to myself? Oh, yeah… So I can afford more Sabres tickets. It’s a win/lose situation, but I’ll take it.

Enjoy the game, and your Friday night, kiddos. Don’t do anything I would do, and Go Sabres!!


FINAL SCORE:
Sabres 2
Canadiens 1
Yes, my friends, we did!
After it seemed impossible to do up until Derek’s winning shot in March of last season, we finally managed to pull our season shootout record to 1-0!!  Haha, we’ll see how long we can manage to keep that record in the positive.
TIM CONNOLLY HAS A HAIRLINE FRACTURE IN A VERTEBRA.  According to Lindy, it’s a short-term thing, and it can’t get any worse.  “He’ll be a question-mark for about a week.”  I guess it’s just another nagging injury for Timmy.  Didn’t take long, huh?
My Stars (These will always be Sabres players.  I have to be a homer.):
1st Star  :  Daniel Paille
He was intense.  Two major hits that resulted in (1) a stupid penalty on Montreal’s part, and (2) a decent rush into Montreal’s zone.  Not only that, but he had a great scoring chance on a short-handed 2-on-1 push with Roy, and he was a presence all game long.  Major props to him; the summer obviously did him well.  Ruff just said he wouldn’t disagree with the idea that Danny was the best forward this evening.  “He put their defense in some bad situations every time he was on the ice.”
2nd Star  :  Ryan Miller
Solid goaltending throughout the game, and he came up big when we needed him in the shootout.  Ryan kept us in it when we needed him to, and we have the 2 points thanks, in large part, to him.
3rd Star  :  Thomas Vanek
I have to throw it to him for getting our goal and tying it up quickly.  Tommy had some good chances throughout the night, as well, and the now 7-million-dollar-man looks like he’s picking up where he left off last season.
Montreal’s Star  :  Cary Price
He gave Montreal all of the support that he could, and they let him down.  His only flaw was the shootout; work on your response to the deke, Cary, and you’ll be okay (just forget everything you work on every time you play us).  I can’t even hold Tommy’s goal against Cary, because that was just a great play on TV’s part; very smart.
Plays of the Game
Vanek’s goal to tie it up at 7:40 of the 1st, not 5 minutes after MTL took the lead, kept the Sabres in the game.  This was key to the momentum of the Sabres, as well as keeping the pace and attitude.
Toni Lydman’s save as the puck almost trickled over the goal line obviously kept the Sabres in it, as well.
Ales Kotalik and Drew Stafford both deking left and putting it top shelf to win the shootout, and Miller’s saves to allow it.  Enough said.
Team Stats for the Game

Power Play  :  0-6, 0%
Penalty Kill  :  5-5, 100%
Shots For  :  36
Shots Against  :  28
Team Stats to Date

Record  :  1-0-0
Goals  :  Vanek (1)
Assists  :  Lydman, Numminen (1)
Points  :  See above
PIM  :  Numminen (4)
PK/PP  :  See above
Miller’s GAA  :  1.00
Miller’s Save Percentage  :  .964 (27/28)
Awesome Quotes from the Game
“They eat them alive.”  –  Mike Robitaille, on the Sabres’ attack.
“Paille did everything except pull a groin.”  –  Rick Jeanneret, on Danny’s unsuccessful attempt to stay onside.
“We made many cute plays last year.  We want less of that…  Reggie play great…”  –  Jaroslav Spacek, on the team and Andrej Sekera.
“The guys bought into The System…”  –  Jason Pominville (can he honestly not go one game without mentioning that thing?).
I’ll post more interesting stuff tomorrow.  I feel like this is all I can do tonight; I’m pretty tired from all the texting I had to do during the game:  Kim is camping, so she needed updates, my friend Andy is in New York City, so he needed updates, and my mom is working, so she, too, needed updates.  I’m such a nice person to use probably 200 text messages in 3 hours.  Good thing I have unlimited.  So, hey!  If you need updates, let me know!  I’ll add you to the list!  I think I may do liveblogging of the games from now on…  That might be easier to make comments…  I’ll give it a go on Monday, I suppose.
Great game, boys!

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