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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.

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