Let's be real here. That was fucking delightful.
The lockout is over, we've had top-level professional hockey for two straight days, and the Buffalo Sabres beat the piss out of the shitheads from Broad Street. What do we have to be sullen about?
/looks at rafters to see meaningless divisional banners and a slew of Bandits championships /kills self
There's certainly plenty of history to support a pessimistic tone today because, well, #becauseitsbuffalo, but sports are fun and yesterday was tons of it. Is it a sign of things to come? Are we destined for the playoffs after a disappointing end to last season? I don't know and neither do you. Shit like games and goals and saves all still have to actually happen. Let's enjoy it, ok?
No? The Sabres are inevitably going to disappoint us and cause me to retreat to my son's nursery for a week's worth of tears? Well screw you man.
For the time being we have the luxury of being all optimism all the time, at least until Yachtsman jumps on here with his "fuck all the things" tone, so join me after the jump for generally delusional and premature observations on Buffalo's early version of HOCKEYPUCKSTIME. (and a gracious tip of the hat to our buddy Frank for that one)
- Each and every game story about yesterday's win should rightly focus on Thomas Vanek. The guy looked remarkably sharp yesterday, his hands were as deft as they've ever been and he carried the team on his back once again. Participating on each of the Sabres goals, he proved right away why he's the most important player on the team. His nickname, Atlas, which was given to him by sometime-friend of the Deeg, sometime-Nemesis, The Gooses Roost, keeps getting more and more appropriate with each season, each game. The next fan to call Vanek "lazy" gets a kick in the spleen. Fuck that noise.
- Drew Stafford, right guys? .... <crickets>.... Ok, so I admit that I was premature in my praise of Stafford when he signed his new contact in 2011. He was a good counterpoint to my hatred of Tim Connolly and had been playing well under his small contract up until that point. Mostly because I was stupid enough to praise him publicly here, I wanted to believe he could be a 25g-35a guy. And then, last year he was .... bad. He ended with an illusory count of 20g-30a after a late-season surge. But, the team needed that late surge - and more in the end - because of the early and mid-season failures of guys like Stafford. Decent stats aside, he was an utter disappointment last year. So when he decided to fight dirty cock-faced ginger Scott Hartnell yesterday (and basically get his ass kicked) as retribution for Hartnell's unpenalized boarding of Tyler Ennis, my heart soared. Stafford is an endearing guy off the ice - his workout video last year remains one of the better products of the Sabres PR department - but is one of the more frustrating guys on the it. He scores meaningless goals in bunches, but his fight yesterday - while the score was knotted at 2-2 - might just have been his best moment as a Sabre since 2007. ... For the record, I drink a lot, etc., so there's no chance that last claim is at all accurate.
- Philly looked tired as hell at times and is now 0-2 after losing to the Penguins on Saturday. They remain a shitty team on the back end and their goaltending is a mess. I predict they don't make the playoffs and their shitheel fans piss on the Liberty Bell in protest. A man can dream, assholes.
- I hope Grigorenko makes the team after these first five games if for no other reason that I can't stand the insufferable whining of Buffalo fans who think they know better than Darcy and Lindy. I don't even care that those two guys are unstoppable forces of mediocrity. We're all awful.
- Grigo did look good yesterday. So keep him up, Darcy, you piece of shit! #credibility
- On defense, Myers made up for a pretty poor game with his goal. I was also pretty drunk so wasn't really watching when the Sabres were on defense. My only memory of something on the defensive end was Miller making a huge stop causing me to, after seeing the bar basically silent reaction from the bar, incredulously chide my fellow fans for not going ape-shit for our good fortune at having such a gem between the pipes. I still might be drunk now, for the record, but I do love me some Ryan Miller.
- Speaking of the bar, me and a few other members of the NYC bloggerati were out at Kelly's Sports Bar for the HOCKEYPUCKSTIME yesterday. What a fucking shithole Kelly's is. New York City could do well to have a genuine hockey bar - and, no, "The Flying Puck" doesn't count as it is genuinely terrible - but for the time being we're basically stuck with the black hole of suck that resides on Avenue A. Kelly's was backed to the gills yesterday as a generally hipster contingency of Buffalo expats gathered elbow to elbow and cheered on our boys in blue & gold. It was a hell of a time of high fives and bummed cigarettes and I can't wait to get back soon despite myself.
- My favorite part of Kelly's yesterday was a tie between: (a) The Continental bailing after the first period in a shameful mix of hangover, claustrophobia and, I'm guessing, hatred of the Buffalo expat bro population, (b) grabbing pre-emptive victory shots at The Library across the street so people could use their bathroom, (c) Apologist's friend getting yelled at by Kelly's owner who wore a steady and completely understandable look of shame on his face, and (d) the new flatscreen at Kellly's devoted exclusively to the advertising that you see in most NYC bars but is entirely inappropriate for this kind of turd establishment. "Contact our Events Staff to celebrate your birthday, wedding or bachelor party." ... "Join our darts and billiards teams!" ... "Beware the warped floor boards and overflowing pools of piss on your way to the bathroom!" ... ok, that last one was on point, I guess.