Boy, does it feel good to be back in action! The — what seems to be “long-lost” — NHL returns to action tomorrow night with one game.
You guessed it, the rescheduled game of Buffalo Sabres versus the Carolina Hurricanes.
Ted Nolan- If you weren’t convinced Nolan was what this team needed before Sochi, I hope this Olympic changed your mind, or for the most part, opened your eyes to the fact that this man took a team like Latvia, and even though they went 1-3, they were in my mind a dark-horse of the Olympics. Never have I ever rooted for a team that isn’t the US like I did in their game against Canada. Nolan took a team with almost no odds at winning a medal, to almost taking out the eventual gold-medal winner. Food for thought. Nolan had his typical “Hardest working team” at work again, which further solidified my belief that Nolan is the coach, not that Buffalo wants, but what Buffalo needs.
Zemgus Girgensons- Despite Latvia having a less than ideal Olympic debut, I think it was great for the Nolan-Girgensons relationship that has been blooming over the past few months. Through five games, Girgensons only had one goal and one assist, but I still think that he had a fantastic outing. At only 20 years old, he made a statement that Buffalo might have something going right, something to prove that even though we don’t have a good record, we still have some great players coming out of the Queen City.
Henrik Tallinder- One of two Sabres coming home with a medal, Tallinder only played for three of Sweden’s six games, one of which was the gold-medal game; and didn’t record a single point through the tournament. Through his games, Tallinder was neither a plus or minus, which is a major improvement compared to his -15 back here. So, yeah, that’s good.
Jhonas Enroth- Being Henrik Lundqvist’s backup, it was no surprise that Enroth wouldn’t see any time in between the pipes. Dressing for five of the six games but not playing, I still think it’s great for Enroth to have that bit of silver, because I believe if Sweden really needed him, he’d be there for the team. If silver does for him what it did for Miller in 2010, then that is all I need.
Ryan Miller- As a huge Miller fan, I was a bit disappointed with the decision to sit Miller and place Jonathan Quick in net. Of course, being a fan of him and Buffalo, I want my Buffalo pride to be the one in net, earning the glory. But after looking at it, if you have Miller as a backup, then you must be doing something right. Dan Bylsma obviously had trust in Quick, that is no lie. I am not a coach, and all bias aside, if I had the choice between players like Quick, who backstopped an improbable run to win the Cup only two years ago, or Ryan Miller, the previous Olympic MVP, who may have a chip on his shoulder after giving up the Crosby goal back in 2010, then I would for sure go with Miller. He did play great against Slovenia, but like I said, I, and I’m sure along with most of the Buffalo fan base, was a bit down about the lack of “Miller-time.”
Overall, it was nice to see some international action for a change, the best of the best playing on a larger international ice, taking some things that they learned and hopefully applying it to their current season, whether it’s the KHL or back here in the NHL. Whatever it is, we get two more months of hockey, so that is all that matters, right?