Buffalo Sabres & NHL: Tuesday Muse Day

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Tuesday Muse Day is a ranting, raving, rambling weekly article relating to all things hockey, with a particular focus on the NHL and the Buffalo Sabres. There are typically 10 featured items. This is the seventh edition, following a hiatus that coincided with the lockout. These are my personal thoughts and opinions; thus, they may not be lucid.

NHL Hockey Is Back – And boy, is it ever sloppy. I was cringing watching the play of some “high-caliber” teams such as the Vancouver Canucks, Detroit Red Wings, New York Rangers, and Philadelphia Flyers. The pain was even more so when it came to “mediocre” teams like the Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens. Yes, the game is finally back, but it is too bad the teams and players couldn’t prepare more for this season. I guess that coincides with the lack of preparation the teams and players made for a new CBA prior to the lockout…

Josh Harding – What an incredible story. Back in November, the Minnesota Wild goaltender, only 28 years old, revealed that he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. For those who are not familiar with it, MS is an incurable debilitating autoimmune disease that appears at random and begins to erode the protective lining of the nerves in the body. Harding, in his first game since the diagnosis, posted a shutout against the revamped Dallas Stars, including 31 saves. The next day, ESPN had nothing about the story, which is disheartening, as this performance and story is nothing short of inspirational…

Drew Stafford – The guy catches a lot of flak from us Sabres fans for being streaky, but he won me over (for now) for dropping the mitts and taking on Scott Hartnell in the Sabres game against the Flyers. Stafford knew he wasn’t going to win, and took initiative against Hartnell, rather than wait for someone else to take care of his cheap hits against Jason Pomminville and Tyler Ennis. This exemplifies the new culture of the Sabres, and lets hope the mettle continues…

Scott Hartnell – We get it. You like to play dirty. There are better ways to go about it, then hitting defenseless players from behind. With the talent that you have, maybe it is time to start showing a little more maturation in the league…

Sabres Penalties – Don’t look now. Buffalo has racked up 59 penalty minutes in 120 minutes of ice time. It is nice to see that the attitude of the team has changed, but can the penalty killing unit keep up? So far, so good. We will have to see how the unit will fare against a team with more power-play firepower than one like the Leafs…

Thomas Vanek – Don’t look now. Vanek leads the NHL with 6 points in 2 games – a pace for 144 points! Can he keep up the production? As long as Hodgson stays healthy and hot, and Pomminville stays Pomminville, and Lindy Ruff doesn’t tinker with their line, I can see Vanek having one of his most productive seasons yet. He hasn’t had a chance to play with a center with a playing style such as Hodgson’s, so we shall see…

Roberto Luongo – Enough already. Either stay with the ‘Nucks, or go. The story is NOT mind-melting, no matter how the media wants to position it…

Mikhail Grigorenko – We all love to get excited about rookies, including me (maybe not NBC, they didnt seem to know Grigs existed, and spoke all game about some Flyers rookie). I hope he sticks with the Sabres for the season, to learn the game from the big boys (assuming Ruff continues to grant him decent ice-time). In the initial 2 games, he hasn’t made a mistake. He also hasn’t made a difference, either. Grigorenko’s play so far has been pensive. It seems that every time has has an opportunity to play the puck, he immediately passes it or chips it away like a hot potato. Has he even carried the puck yet? I know the kid has skills, I have seen them. Get confident, get flashy, make some plays Grigs!

Amerks Suite – I was part of a team at work that raised a considerable amount of money for charity, and in doing so, we were given tickets to the suite at a recent Amerks game. I cannot shower the team and their employees with enough compliments on this experience, it was incredible. The staff always kept the coolers stocked with beers, and continually brought out enough food to feed probably 100 people (even though there was only 15 of us). Everything from shrimp, pizza, chicken, pulled pork, meatballs, chips, desserts, mozzarella sticks, sushi, cheese trays…in-cred-ible. Thank you Amerks…

Rick Jeanneret – Hope you are feeling better, and hope to hear you back soon. You have been sorely missed in these first two Sabres games. NBC continued their tradition of horrible game calling on Sunday; it was grossly atrocious. Kevin Sylvester held it down, and did a pretty good job last night, but nothing compares to the game calling of the legendary RJ. The NHL already robbed us of half a season of RJ, please come back soon!

 

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