Knee-Jerk Reaction: Game 7

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I’m writing this during the game because I’m pretty sure I won’t be in a mood to write after (win or lose). So it might be a bit more wishy washy than usual. [10:06 pm edit: hopefully you can have a bit of fun reading this, because that game sure wasn't one bit of fun]

  • The Sabres had to know they were going to weather a storm in front of a pumped up Wells Fargo Center. Being outshot 16-2 in the opening period, however, is unacceptable for a professional hockey team. Well, you could expect it out of the Florida Panthers, but definitely not a playoff-caliber team. I’d hate to be a fly on the wall in the Sabres locker room, mostly because Lindy Ruff is probably throwing chairs around.

    From NHL.com

  • Let’s all be rational. We know who should be blamed for this loss. Derek Roy. No I don’t have any actual “evidence,” but the only stat that matters is winning or losing, right?
  • Everybody’s lucky that Old Man Niedermayer was first in line when they were giving out necks, because that hit by Briere was a textbook example of dangerous boarding. Charging? Check. Into the boards? Check. From behind? Wellllllll…he didn’t hit him right on the numbers, so even though Nieds’ head went directly into the boards from three feet out, it’s only a 2 minute minor. Waitwut?
  • Lucic got a 5 game ban for this. Danny Briere got 2 minutes for this hit. I’m not going to say which is right or wrong, but my God the NHL needs consistency. I suggest they stop hiring bitter refs whose resumes include “not good enough to play hockey professionally.” It’s 2011…robots?
  • Reason #94 why I hate Versus: “DRIVE!!!”
  • That’s a real tough goal to let in with 25 seconds to go. Ryan Miller’s been playing his best game so far, and a slight redirect from Mike Grier trying to stop the puck lets it slip by him. The important thing now is to zone in, get centered, and know that the Flyers aren’t going to lock down defensively. They’re going to want to continue scoring to distance themselves, so the Sabres need to take advantage of any holes that result and quickly tie this game.
  • Hecht was there, Roy was there, and Sekera was there. Too bad Boyes and Stafford are still nowhere to be found.
  • At the end of period 2 I can say that Tyler Myers has had an awful game. One of my 7 factors to win this game was for him to be strong, and instead he’s been inconsistent, soft, and he negated what would’ve been a 5-on-3.
  • Reason #7 why I hate Versus: I’ve heard the term “Firewagon change” about 3 times in a minute.
  • So far in this game it’s been the Flyers’ big guns that have shown up and realized that they’re a #2 seed and incredibly talented. It sure would be nice if the Buffalo Sabres could do the same, but I’m giving some leniency to the fact that 2 of their big guns, Hecht and Roy, haven’t played in a long time.
  • There’s not a lot of love for penalty killing forwards. Sure, Connolly hasn’t been producing much offensively, and Pominville’s been so/so, but notice how the PK has taken a nose dive since they got injured? Not all important stats are easily seen.
  • There are going to be a lot of cliches thrown around each way. A lot of people are going to shrug and say, “Eh. Buffalo.” A lot of fans are going to say, “Well, I’m just glad we made it here after where we were in December.” I have no problem saying I’m upset that this team had their chances and didn’t take them. I touched on the Seven Keys to Game 7 earlier today and none of them came true. Ryan Miller was really good, but unfortunately not good enough. Myers had an awful game, Boyes and Stafford were nowhere to be found, the Sabres didn’t outshoot the Flyers and take advantage of their average goaltending, they took bad penalties, they couldn’t capitalize on momentum, and they didn’t show desperation. 0 for 7 just won’t get it done. That all being said, this team definitely made playoff hockey a lot more fun than last year.
  • One positive to take from this series is that I think the big free agency of this summer should be easier. Drew Stafford showed nothing when it mattered most, Steve Montador showed he doesn’t deserve a raise, and Chris Butler showed he’s a giant liability.
  • Reason #56 why I hate Versus: I’ve heard the phrase “Holy jumpin’!” at least 4 times this broadcast.
  • There was a time to switch out Ryan Miller for Jhonas Enroth. Down 4-0 in the 3rd period in Game 7 is not that time. People like to say that Miller is a leader of this team? I’ve heard some people say that he should be the captain? Sinking with the ship is what captains do.
  • To be fair, it’s a lot less annoying to hear Flyers fans chant “EN-ROTH! EN-ROTH!”
  • Removing Carcillo from the game was probably a good idea. That handshake line probably would’ve been fun to watch after he scored and treated the Sabres bench to his Stone Cold Steve Austin impression.
  • 10:10 pm – Brad Boyes remembers he gets paid to score. Too bad there’s under 5 minutes left and they’re now down by 3.
  • I once overslept for a job interview that I was a shoe-in to get. It was there, I just had to show up and do my best, and as it turned out I never got out of bed. I feel that I can call myself an honorary Buffalo Sabre today.
  • My parting thought:
    I’ve never believed in fate or destiny. It’s all what we make of it. Whether it’s a job interview handed to you, an astrological sign, or being the 7th seed and playing Game 7 in the same year that your retired #7 passed away…there are no gifts. We can use these moments we call “weird coincidences” or things some people call “fate” to give us motivation. We can use these moments to realize that we are capable of great things, even things that we had not thought possible beforehand. But it’s never given to us, just like this “star crossed” game wasn’t given to the Sabres. You can blow it during the job interview you should have locked up. You can screw up something that seems destined. In the end it’s up to you to make destiny happen, and hopefully this Sabres team can learn that lesson and carry it over to next season.
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Tags: Buffalo Buffalo Sabres Derek Roy Drew Stafford Eastern Conference Fansided Hockey Jason Pominville Lindy Ruff NHL Northeast Division Patrick Kaleta Portland Pirates Ryan Miller Sabres Stanley Cup Stanley Cup Playoffs Terry Pegula Thomas Vanek Tim Connolly Tyler Ennis Tyler Myers

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