I was accused of being a little too negative in the wake of Buffalo’s 3-2 shootout loss to the Rangers last night. Apparently, I should have been excited by the fact that the Sabres only fell one more point behind the Range Sorry – I appreciate that the Sabres played the Rangers tough without Thomas Vanek, but I’m not happy that they walked out of MSG with just the one point. I wanted the Sabres to win and leap over the Rangers in the standings, and was not pleased that they could have – make that should have – and let that chance slip away. All I can say is that I calls ‘em like I sees ‘em, and I see last night as a missed opportunity in a season that will be halfway done after tomorrow night’s game.
Good news, however: my Report Card for week six in the Buffalo Sabres’ schedule contains a lot of positive energy, mostly because in week six, the Sabres played pretty darn well. Since I am in a celebratory mood, then, let’s make this week’s report card the 80s rock edition. I wanna rock!
Please note: none of these songs are about hockey – duh! – so try not to get too obsessed with every line of the lyrics. I have highlighted the lyrics that really apply to the Sabres last week.
Offense: Huey Lewis and the News “Workin’ for a Livin’”
Key line: “I’m taking what they’re giving / ‘cuz I’m workin’ for a livin’”
Man, I was a huge fan of Huey Lewis and the News! Anyway: through the four games the Sabres played last week, the team scored two goals twice, and three goals twice. Every single game was decided by one goal, with three consecutive games (two wins, one loss) having to go into a shootout. Prolific their offense was not. However, the last time I checked, winning a close game earned you the same amount of points as winning a blowout, so the bottom line is that the Sabres’ offense was good enough to win three out of the four games they played last week. They worked hard, they took what the other team gave them, and they had a nice little win streak to show for it. That earns them a satisfactory grade from me, any day of the week.
Defense: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers: “The Waiting”
Key lines: “The waiting is the hardest part / Every day you see one more card /You take it on faith, you take it to the heart /The waiting is the hardest part” and “Oh don’t let it kill you baby / don’t let it get to you”
Even though I’m in a real good place today, let’s have some perspective: the Sabres’ defense is still having its ups and downs. We’ve been waiting for a shut-down defense to emerge, and just when it seems like the blueliners of the Sabres have figured things out, they cough the puck over or blow a defensive assignment and create havoc. Still, the defensive corps is starting to show us how they CAN play, and hopefully they are building towards something really special. (See – I can be optimistic!)
Coaching: Motley Crue’s “Dr. Feelgood”
Key line: “He’s the one they call Dr. Feelgood / He’s the one that makes you feel all right / He’s the one they call Dr. Feelgood / He’s gonna be your Frankenstein”
Congratulations, Ron Rolston! You played the role of Victor Frankenstein and brought the Sabres back to life. One week, four games, every single one of them close, and every single one of them a sign of improvement on the Sabres’ end. I questioned whether you could get this team to respond to you; so far, you have done exactly that. Job well done, sir.
Goaltending: George Thorogood and the Destroyers: “Bad To The Bone”
Key line: How about all of them?
Ryan Miler: you were a force to be reckoned with all last week, until too many games tired you out against the Rangers last night. You made spectacular saves; you played smart, intelligent hockey; and you gave the Sabres a chance to win every single game they played in week six. Enjoy the legend, playing what might just be the most bad-ass song of the 80s:
Agree? Disagree? Ideas for future report cards? Leave your comments below, or follow me @theaveragedick and let me know!