Gerbe’s Birthday: “24” Reminders Why He is so Important to the Sabres
You gotta’ get that damn puck.
It doesn’t matter how fast on your skates you are. It doesn’t matter if you can stickhandle like you’ve got the puck on a string. It don’t mean a thing if you can wire a shot through an invisible hole through the armpit of a goaltender who has all the holes covered. None of this matters, if you don’t have that damn puck.
In a skate race, or in a fight a long the boards – when that pill squirts free, the guy with that extra “oomph” to get ahead by that desperate half-inch will always come up with possession. Nathan Gerbe, all 5 foot 4 of him, is very, very good at reaching that extra half-inch first.
Today the “Honey Badger” turns 24, so let’s celebrate his tenacity with a little reminder of what he gives us on the ice every game.
Gerbe’s ability to get that puck isn’t a hockey thing – it’s an heart thing. The stuff of a real, do-or-die-hard athlete. It’s something that carries across all sports. In football, once that ball is tossed into the corner of the endzone above a receiver and a cornerback, well, it doesn’t matter when you were drafted or how big your name is on fantasy boards – you gotta’ go up and get that damn ball – or smack it down. That’s the only part of the play that matters. In soccer, you can race down the sidelines leaving the midfielders flying out of their shoes trying to catch up, but if the defender pokes that ball away, the whole game is heading back in the other direction.
You gotta’ go get it, and you gotta’ hang onto it like your life depends on it (something that comes quite natural to honey badgers).
“Mellivora Puck Capensis:” entomology speak. Translates to “Honey, I devour; Pucks; Belonging to.” The puck is honey to this wild thing on the ice, and it belongs to him.
Hit the 5:10 portion on the video:
This is Gerbe at his best. He’s not the most sweetly talented forward on the team, but his sheer will and determination changes the course of a play, and the course of games.
Nathan, happy birthday. I hope Rip Simonick made sure your cake was slathered up in honey. That’s the way you see the puck – as something to feed your crazed appetite on.
Eat up, and come back to us rabid.
There will be a feast for you all season long in the corners.
next post: 10 Questions with Sabres Prospect Dan Catenacci