Posted by Scott Michalak on November 4, 2011 at 8:56 am
Dear Mr. Ryan Miller:
Please forgive us, your humble fans, for becoming frustrated to the point of booing you the other night. Sure, you just lost 4 straight games. You were bested by Mathieu Garon when he posted a shutout against you in Tampa. He got the 1st star again when he beat you in Buffalo in the next game. Then, that plucky Jhonas Enroth punk won a game while you sat against Columbus. In your triumphant return against the Panthers, you let a 3rd period lead get away from you. Then, you browned your overalls against Philly, allowing 2 goals before two minutes were up. Your time on the ice was up before 7 minutes, when you got the yank after the Flyers’ 3rd quick strike.
And we, the fans, booed you for all of this?
Shame. Shame, on us.
You had to sit there, forced to sulk, as that plucky son-of-a-backup Enroth stepped in and posted a shut out the rest of the way against Philly. After the game, the media got all up in your face and asked – no – DEMANDED that you answer questions about your game. To paraphrase one of your keen gametime observations: “The fans cheer when I make a save, then boo me when I miss one. Whatever.”
“Whatever,” indeed! Incised insight for all of us. I apologize for the Sabres fan base, Mr. Miller. We forgot that we pay gobs of money for your jersey, $1600 – per seat – for season tickets in the 300’s, to watch you and your fellow Sabres play hockey, not to complain about you. We forgot that we’re supposed to chirp Leino, Boyes, Vanek, Sekera, and Myers. And Tim Connolly. Never you. Oh, and “It’s the team losing, not just you.” We get it. We really do.
Boston is suffering through the stabbing headaches of a “Stanley Cup hangover,” but being in the basement is inexcusable for the Bruins. (Though I must admit, it feels wonderful seeing them down there.) Once they shake off the cobwebs, expect them to return to the upper end of the top 8.
Hockey bloggers everywhere are scratching their heads, and are just waiting for the Sens and Leafs to implode so they don't have to explain just what is going on in the East.
As middling as Buffalo has been, they have done enough to make most “contenders” lists in the early goings. But what of those pesky Leafs and Sens? They can’t possibly keep this up, right? Well, according to Harrison Mooney of Yahoo! Sports, the Leafs don’t have to do all that much to stay in (gulp) playoff contention:
They’re 7-2-1. They’re 5-0-1 at home. Phil Kessel is on pace for 147 points. Can this be real?
Probably not, and I suspect even Leafs fans know the team will eventually regress. Still, the team has put together a nice cushion. A .500 record the rest of the way and the Maple Leafs would still finish with 90 points. A slightly better pace and the Leafs could find themselves in a playoff spot.
At 7-5-0, the same could be argued for the Sens. But as they’ve charged the standings, they’ve done it through a minefield, and both clubs are standing on a landmine right now. And it won’t take much for everything to blow up from underneath them. We are, of course, talking about our favorite stat: the goals for/goals against ratio.
The goal differential statistic is like a health indicator – or in the Leafs and Sens case (particularly the Sens), a sickness indicator. People and hockey teams can function, they can succeed when ill – but eventually, the illness will take over. Sickness takes us down.