paul gaustad:

The Sabres Are On Track For Greatness; Just (Maybe) Not This Year

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By most accounts, trade deadline day was declared a Festivus miracle. Like most trades, we’ll have to wait a few years to really see how things shake out, but on the surface – on paper, the Sabres appear to be big winners.

Heading into the day, only the most foolhardy optimists could have thought the Sabres would get a 1st for Gaustad (well plus that 4th we had to throw in, but still). Then the Kassian & Gragnani for Hodgson & Sulzer trade …. well, wowser. Darcy must have been feeling the heat of the hashtag and indeed #didSomething, using his Jedi mind tricks to bend other GMs to his will. (I like to think he’s a Sith, using treachery, intimidation and over-the-phone Force chokes.)

Or, more likely this was the Sabres’ plan all along: don’t do anything drastic and sell the farm now just to try to make the playoffs, but instead stay the course and do what we can to improve for the long haul, slowly building towards being a championship-caliber team.

3d52ac944554894227bf9c2d6408 300x185 The Sabres Are On Track For Greatness; Just (Maybe) Not This Year

Cody Hodgson. I feel like it should be pronounced Hod-g-son. Shouldn't there be an 'e' in there somewhere? Must be a Canadian thing. Probably the same reason he plays 'centre'.

I’m certainly sad to see Kassian go, not just because I have a Badassian t-shirt from Hockey Heaven. (Which, incidentally they’re so cool they’re offering 50% off the purchase of a new Cody Hodgson #19CoHo shirt.) I love me a good power foward with grit, who is hard to knock off the puck  and will fight – it’s perhaps my favorite type of player. We haven’t seen that in B-lo for some time and Kassian had/has that potential.

But of course, potential is just that and we needed a center. It was the right thing for the Sabres, and Sulzer for Gragnani seems like an upgrade for us as well. Even if Sulzer doesn’t improve much, he won’t be the meek turnover machine that MAG was. Plus, Ehrhoff will have a German buddy who played in Vancouver to hang out with. Maybe those two will synergize into something stronger than the two of them individually, like a monstrous German-speaking Voltron-like robot that smashes anyone who crosses our blue line into a thin paste yet has a (literal) rocket slapshot. Sorry, I was daydreaming a bit there, but I do believe the possibility for them to both improve in each other’s presence is there.

Of course I have to type the obligatory “sucks to see Gaustad go” that every Sabres blogger has had to do. I don’t think I need to expand on that much, but for some reason I didn’t realize he was 6’5″ until today. He didn’t seem that big on the ice and knowing that makes me think that he could’ve (and should’ve) played a little bit tougher. Yes, he’s awesome at faceoffs and plays center against the other teams top line and all that – but for his asking price, it was the right move. The worst thing about that is breaking up the oft-used Gaustad/Kaleta/Gerbe line. I loved that line: high energy and tenacious as all get out. And no, I don’t think there’s a snowballs chance in hell that we’ll be able to get Goose back in the offseason.

So the Sabres are in a better place and geared up for the future. We’ve taken more steps in the right direction and yet we can still take a run at the playoffs this year. I now feel less apprehensive about having to make the playoffs now and more secure in the fact that we’re on our way to greatness.

 The Sabres Are On Track For Greatness; Just (Maybe) Not This Year

I'll miss this mug. I hope Kassian does well - but not TOO well to make us really regret trading him.

Now the bad news: Washington is 7 points ahead of us. Damn you Dale Hunter! Perhaps we did ourselves a disservice by lambasting the Caps earlier this year and helping to get Bruce Boudreau fired.

Ah well, Go Sabres and remember to grab some powernaps for the upcoming late games on the slate!

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Possible topic of discussion for the comments: Do you feel more comfortable with the team now after these trades? Do you feel like we still have to make a push for the playoffs? Or are you more relaxed and ok with not making the playoffs as long as we’re building towards a much better team?

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Sabres GIFs: Gaustad Spins a Beauty to Pominville

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OK, we’re a bit late with this one.

Still, I thought a little afternoon distraction might be good medicine while we all sit and simmer, awaiting word on whether or not Jordin Tootoo will receive a Shanban for barreling over Ryan Miller.

AggressiveGoose 300x236 Sabres GIFs: Gaustad Spins a Beauty to Pominville

This would look appropriate near the Sabres' net since the Lucic Incident.

When it went down against Nashville, Gaustad was quite a force on Tootoo. Before being removed from the ice, he even chirped honked Pred’s goalie Anders Lindback a warning. I am sure whatever he said was something along the lines of “What’s good for the goose is good for the gander,” filled with some juicy expletives. Or something like that.

In honor of Gaustad’s battle cry, here’s our latest GIF for the 2011-12 season. In this instance, Paul uses his hands to help the good ol’ population of Pominville. From a November 8th contest against the Winnipeg Jets:
 Sabres GIFs: Gaustad Spins a Beauty to Pominville

In a manner of speaking, there’s nothing worse for a jet than seeing a goose bearing down on the wings. (You know, because geese screw up planes when they slam into the engines. Too much of a reach?)

Nice goal, boys!

Go Sabres.

 

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I’m Thankful For Sabres Nation

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I am thankful for a great many things, not just today, but every day. Of course today is the traditional day to really take the time to think about what we’re thankful for. Health, relative wealth (or at least not impoverishment), great family and friends – these are the things we truly have to be thankful for.

But sometimes it’s about the “little things”, the things that help get us through a hard day. The Buffalo Sabres are a source of entertainment and inspiration for a great many of us.

For instance, last night, a battle royale with the Boston Bruins. We didn’t get the full two points, but it was an amazing contest to kick off the holiday weekend.  A spirited game by the Sabres, Gaustad taking on Lucic, Regeher versus Chara, tons of heart and entertaining hockey throughout most of the game. Not to mention some bonus four on four hockey and a shootout that went into extra innings.

In the end, it’s just a game and shouldn’t really change any of our lives, but it does. We cheer, we applaud, we cringe, we scream … and many of of cuss up a storm. We may startle our pets when a goal is scored or a Carruba Collision candidate happens.

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I'm thankful for hockey games breaking out at fights.

I still feel lucky that the team is around after the Rigas bankruptcy. It’s hard to believe it’s been almost ten years since we came close to losing the Sabres, but I never take them for granted. Perhaps I’m just scarred by the potential loss of the team.

I’m thankful for the new Terry Pegula era and what his ownership has brought to the team and the city. It’s been truly an amazing story that’s still unfolding and perhaps the greatest reason for this site’s existence.

I’m thankful for Rick Jeanneret’s calls, the way his voice cracks a bit  sometimes when he says, “SHO-TTTT”, and continually amusing me with his homer wisecracks. A bit of love for Harry Neale and Roby Ray as well, but mostly for their comedic antics, intended or otherwise.

I’m thankful for my partner @slackin who will watch any and every hockey game with me. I’m thankful she’s a Sabres fan as well and for one of the best gifts I ever got many moons ago – a Sabres goathead jersey. (I forgive the fact that she didn’t know who Don Cherry was until last night. After all, she grew up here in the cornfields of Ohio where hockey has been unknown until recently.)

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I'd be remiss not to point out being thankful for chicken wings and other Buffalo cuisine.

I’m thankful for other Sabres fans, because it wouldn’t be much fun if it was just two people rooting for the team in their living room. It’s the shared experience that makes it really special. The chatter on Twitter is always a blast, perhaps even moreso than going to a game for me. And of course there’s the most awesome @scottyMCSS, without whose witty and insightful prose this site wouldn’t exist.

I’m thankful that the Sabres goal is to win the Stanley Cup, that they have a spot reserved for it and are doing everything they can to attain it.

I could go on and on about individual Sabres, the Sabres management or a number of other things, but I think that’s enough from me. What about you? What are you most thankful for as a Sabres fan?

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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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