Archive for October, 2011:

Lightning Shock Sabres 3-0; Intro Steals Show

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Wow.

Yeah, the Sabres were shutout last night, 3-0, in what can be best described as a vintage 90′s clutch and grab performance. Usually, the refs wait until at least 10 games into the season before pocketing their whistles, but whatever: did you see that intro?

A new pipe organ. Giant Tesla coils suspended from the rafters. Are the Lightning trying to channel the Hockey Gods into their arena?

 

hockeygod 300x165 Lightning Shock Sabres 3 0; Intro Steals Show

"Ooo, Tesla coils!"

It took over nine minutes for Tampa’s new intro to put every Led Zeppelin laser show to permanent shame. It was glorious… or was it overdone? You decide:

Well, we have Sabretooth rapelling from the rafters. That, and Terry Pegula, is enough intro for us. Unless Terry wants to pony up for a new pipe organ. And giant pyrotechnic dueling sabres. Nah. That really is too much.

But can we at least get a pipe organ?

Go Sabres.

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Where Are They Now: And What Are They Doing? Paetsch Edition

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How quickly we forget, don’t we?

Nathan Paetsch was one of those role guys that never really broke out of the AHL mold enough to find a way onto the defensive roster here in Buffalo – or in Nathan’s case, on the offensive roster either. He was a utility – useful enough to keep around, but not useful enough to use. After failing to find a home on our home ice, he also failed to find a home elsewhere in the NHL.

So off to Germany’s DEL he went.

Paestcsecstschhhhhh1 Where Are They Now: And What Are They Doing? Paetsch Edition

From the vault over at "Dear God Why Us Sports." Look them up, if you dare.

That image is a screen grab from one of the “Where are they now” posts from DGWUS. It’s goodtimes reading, so click the link and have some laughs on a night off from hockey.

Goodtimes, unfortunately, have surprisingly not come the way of Paetsch. From “Newsclick.De” (and loosely translated by Google):

And to the discipline. Because that was lacking in Dusseldorf, the EHC lost because of stupid penalties after a 3-1 lead in the final third with still 3:5.For that reason, there was also some need for discussion this week with the coaches. Great value, however, puts the following statement: “We communicate on a good base with the guys we have all addressed throughout a relaxed atmosphere to bring the stuff..”

Great value on bringing the stuff? What kind of incentives does this league have? In the words of Emo Phillips: “It’s all fun and games until it’s your turn to buy.”

That the last zero-point weekend has personal consequences, joined United from not. There could be slight changes in the formations. But: “At our plan will not change so much.” Gross has no intention to sanction poor performance last time with a seat on the bench, but wants to continue playing with four rows of storm. “After a bad game, each player gets a chance to correct his mistake.”

“Four rows of Storm.” Isn’t that one of Kate Bush’s zombie’s new songs?

Nathan Paetsch had the changes not expected to hit anyway. The retrieved as a top defender Canadians, however, belongs also to the concerns of children, even though he leads the plus-minus statistic with the value of DEL +9. This table represents the ratio was at how many goals of their own team in relation to the opponent hits an actor with the same number of players on the ice.

paetschschschtchstctctch Where Are They Now: And What Are They Doing? Paetsch Edition

He never did look comfortable.

Paetsch problem: The EHC expected of him in the offensive highlights for the high content of internal comparison. The 28-year-old brought it in ten games, but only on one assists. “Nathan is dissatisfied with himself. But I will not put him in the corner. We believe in him and help him to,” Gross said, and urged patience. “Nathan was injured last season, is still not at 100 percent.” Get accustomed to anything that added to the larger ice surface in Europe. “Some players need to hold longer. We give him the time.” And Gross said emphatically: “We are not picking on individual players I’ve always said that it will be tough to rebuild..”

If you read all that, then you might find it ironic that Paestch finds himself again in yet another rebuilding project (which the Sabres were for years before and then after the departure of Drury and Briere). He’s also strikingly one of the main names to blame. So, good for him – he may be disappointing on the stat sheet, but he’s found a home, and big name status.

Remember him how you will, but call him #4 now. #4, of EHC Wolfburg, of the DEL.

It’s rare that the Sabres brass can’t glean the talent from a prospect of their own system. Here’s to hoping that Paetsch can find his way out of this murky translation of failure and into the record books of German Glory.

Nothing shall be “lacking in Dusseldorf” again.

Oh, and let us not overlook his sawn song from the Syracuse Crunch before his departure for Germany:

Hog that puck, and go get ‘em, Paetschey.

Go Sabres.

 

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Gaustad Unleashes his Thundersticks for the Sabres

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Thundersticks, Thundersticks, Thundersticks – ho!

Lion o1 300x225 Gaustad Unleashes his Thundersticks for the Sabres

Tell me this guy doesn't look a little like Gaustad.

If you don’t get the “Thundercats” reference, I apologize, but Gaustad really snarfed Matt Bradley last night:


Here’s a nice close-up still of the action:

ThereWillBeBlood 300x200 Gaustad Unleashes his Thundersticks for the Sabres

Fittingly, the Panthers' slogan is "We see red."

After the fight, Gaustad went to the dressing room for attention, but it seemed to be only to see how much Panther blood could be dabbed off his jersey before he quickly returned to action.

GooseThundersticksTweet 300x42 Gaustad Unleashes his Thundersticks for the Sabres

Rest, or reload them.

Besides the fight which helped cement the determination of the Sabres in front of Ryan Miller and his shutout, Goose finished with a +1, 5 PIM’s and helped lead the team with 2 blocked shots. Goose knows his role, and last night may just have been the most dangerous player that the Panthers had to face (with their faces).

Well done, Goose.

thundercats 300x229 Gaustad Unleashes his Thundersticks for the Sabres

I say there's room for a Goose on this team.

I’ll cap this post off with Gaustad’s season stats so far: 1 goal, plus 2, 14 PIM’s (leads team), 6 hits (t-6th), 7 blocked shots (t-4th), and he’s doing this within the limited ice time of a 4th line center. The defense has been clearing  Miller’s crease quite effectively this season, but Goose has been a key component on offense that’s been guarding the Sabres’ blue paint. Right now the Sabres are riding high alongside their 20 goals for/10 goals against stat, and toughness has been a big part of that.

Up next: Tampa Bay – where they tell the fans to “bring the Thunder” – another slogan that is asking for some facial rearrangement from the Goose.

Keep unleashing the thundersticks, Paul.

Go Sabres.

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Sabres Emerging as a Beast in the East

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The Sabres have yet to win a home game.

Well, that’s not technically true. One of their games in Europe was marked as a “home game” on the NHL schedule, but that’s ridiculous. If it ain’t your building, it ain’t your building. Those were away games for all teams involved.

CoolHandLuke 300x194 Sabres Emerging as a Beast in the East

"Cool Hand Luke" Adam has been a nice surprise for the Sabres so far - but you'd be hard pressed to sense any kind of surprise from him.

In any event, the Sabres are 5-1-0 in the infancy of the 2011-12 NHL regular season, their only loss coming at home, against the hated Carolina Hurricanes. The Buffalo News’ headline of that game read “Hurricanes Spoil Sabres’ Homecoming.” Fair enough, but consider the fact that the boys in Blue and Gold allowed two short handed goals in that game, and they really spoiled it for themselves.

So far, the best way to beat the Sabres, actually the only way, is to have them beat themselves.

Here’s some early season portents of success for the march towards the playoffs:

  • The Sabres have 10 points out of a possible 12.
  • They lead the NE Division – Toronto is one point behind (having played only one road game), Boston and Ottawa trail by 4 and 6 points respectively (and both have played seven games). Montreal is in the basement, with an épouvantable 1-4-1 record.
  • Hey – since Pegula took over, the Sabres are 21-5-4 in the regular season. Talk about a smart investor buying in at the right time.
  • Or is it that the players are the ones buying in? In 10 games, Thomas Vanek has 10 points (6 goals, 4 assists). He’s not known for fast starts – could this be one of his best seasons? Jason Pominville has 9 points (2 goals, 7 assists) – and as Sabres PR staffer Ian Ott pointed out last night, Pommers has 19 points (6+13) in his last 23 games, dating back to 3/25/11. To top that, he added that Vanek “hasn’t gone two games without a point in those last 23 games.”
  • More from Ott: “Vanek is now 5th in Sabres history with 36 GWG, two behind Andreychuk for 4th. His 210 goals are one shy of Mogilny for 10th. That’s Miller’s 23rd career shutout. Second in Sabres history to Dominik Hasek (55). Miller’s now nine wins from tying Hasek’s total (234).” Any complaints about Vanek and Miller right now are laughable.
  • Let’s not forget rookie “Cool Hand Luke,” who has put in 6 points (3+3) in six games between Vanek and Pommers.
  • Buffalo trails only two teams in points in the NHL standings, let alone the Eastern Conference standings. The two ahead of them, Washington and Pittsburgh, are at the 12 point mark (though it’s taken the Pens 9 games to get there).
  • The Sabres goals for/goals against ratio is tops in the NHL at 20GF/10GA. Take away those two dreadful shorthanded goals against in the Carolina game, and we’re looking at a ratio of 20/8. (Washington is 23/13, Pittsburgh 26/21.)
Remember, the Sabres are doing all of this on the road. As Harry Neale said just before puck drop last night, coaches “find about a lot about their team on the road.” So far, Lindy Ruff is learning some very good things about his boys.
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The Vanek Set Play: A Sabres GIF Gift (And an Early Look at the NE Division)

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*We’re making this post “sticky” today in honor of Thomas Hockey God Vanek vs. the Habs. Man. This GIF: ALL. DAY. LONG. Go get ‘em, boys.

 

The list of 2011-12 GIFs has begun.

Thanks to Paul Gaustad, Marc-Andre Gragnani, Jason Pominville, Thomas Vanek, and of course, Carey Price’s inability to contain his inertia on the ice, we have our first winner GIF of the season.

“The Vanek Set Play” will undoubtedly make our 2011-12 GIFs of the Season, but why wait? Let’s enjoy it now.
 The Vanek Set Play: A Sabres GIF Gift (And an Early Look at the NE Division)

It looks even better in slo-mo:
 The Vanek Set Play: A Sabres GIF Gift (And an Early Look at the NE Division)

It doesn’t get any easier looking than that. But bear in mind, this set play wasn’t a fluke. It was a play that the team had actually been practicing.

Meanwhile, this game-winner also set a historical marker. From the Montreal Gazette:

Montreal Canadiens haven’t started this badly at home since 1938

And that’s just the title! The Habs are in an early season struggle, and Vanek’s goal was a dagger in the heart of Montreal’s effort to get back to their winning ways. Again, from the Gazette:

The chance to end the winless-in-Montreal-since-April-26 skid comes Saturday against the Toronto Maple Leafs. The time to pounce is now, against a team that must surely be distracted planning its Stanley Cup parade.

Indeed, the Northeast Division is Bizarro World right now – the Leafs are atop everyone with a nearly flawless 4-0-1 record. Buffalo is a solid second – for now – at 4-1-0. Montreal’s 1-3-1 record has them ahead of the pitiful Senators (1-5-0) by one measly point. If that’s not enough, Boston is just one measly point atop Montreal, at 2-4-0. Sure, the Leafs have yet to play an away game, but the all-important goals for/goal against ratio tells no lies.

NEStandings 300x81 The Vanek Set Play: A Sabres GIF Gift (And an Early Look at the NE Division)

Remember the old adage: “You know it’s Spring when the Leafs are out of the playoff picture.” We’ll see.

It seems strange to say that Montreal is entering must-win territory just 5 games into the regular season, but with Toronto in town for a 4 point swing, it’s their best chance to start reversing this reversal of fortunes in the Northeast.

Vanek’s goal was a shocking upset for Montreal fans, but as it turns out, it wasn’t a fluke. As the GF/GA ratio shows us, neither are the Bizarro standings.

For now.

Keep practicing those set plays, boys!

Go Sabres.

See also: “Top Ten 2010-11 Sabres GIFs,” “Sabres GIFs: Back by Popular Demand

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