Alright, Google video is fired up and ready to go, so let’s just jump right in!
This is weird. I miss Kevin.
20:00 Marty! MartyMartyMartyMarty! Who knew the sight of a blank white facemask could ever cause me this much joy?
19:19 A Lydman shot from the point (that was set up perfectly by Staffy [!]) bounces off Emery like his equipment is made of springs. Oh yes, recapping Emery’s goaltending “style” is going to be quite fun. Until he gets punched in the face, that is.
18:51 Briere blindly drops a pass behind the net, directly onto the stick of Spezza, who then gets a free wraparound attempt. Listen, Danny, I love that move! How’s about you call it “The Flyer Special,” huh? (Poor Marty says, “No, thanks,” as he makes the save.)
18:03 A Hecht shot deflects out of play, and Jim seems a little confused about how he didn’t score when Emery left the high, short side open. Jim, Jim, Jim. What are you, new? He didn’t score because he’s Yo-Yo. He doesn’t shoot at open spaces! That’s what goalies are for. (Replay shows that the shot actually hit the post, but I’m still skeptical. There had to have been a Senators logo somewhere on that post.)
17:40 The crowd roars, and Jim informs us it’s because
16:15 I should also probably be sick of the whole “Lindy had to tell Kaleta to tone down the hitting at training camp so no one got hurt” story, too, but I’m not. What a spitfire, I love it!
15:55 Hank reminds me that there’s actually hockey happening as he masterfully intercepts a pass from Fisher behind the net. Whew, that was sexy! I promise I’ll pay more attention from now on.
15:20 Chris Neil gets an overly-long close-up for no good reason. Because no good reason exists.
14:27 The Sens touch up on an icing, and as Mair skates to the face-off circle, it looks like he either has a black eye or is wearing eyeliner. I’m almost ashamed to admit I find both options equally hot. Turns out it was just a trick of the light, but too late. The bruised/made-up Mair fantasies are already in my brain to stay. (By the way, it feels like no one’s taken a shot on net in about ten hours.)
13:54 Rob Ray informs us after commercial that the Town of
13:00 Kaleta and Corvo get slap-happy in the corner (Kaleta actually managed to knock himself off his feet with the force of his own check, leaving Corvo standing over him going “What the hell?”) before Peters comes in and puts an end to the nonsense by dropping a check on both of them at once. So fair and pragmatic, that Peters.
12:37 MacArthur goes to the box for hooking, and Jim tries to soothe the viewers’ worries by pointing out that the Ottawa power play is almost as bad as ours. Of course, he does it very subtly and statbitty, but the message comes in loud and clear.
12:15 Alfredsson falls down while holding the puck, and Drury still only just manages to keep him from getting past him and into the zone. Dude, Drury sucks. Someone should really hit him in the head or something. (By the way, I heard that’s the new Ranger Special.)
10:37 What do you know? That power play was almost as bad as one of ours.
10:19 Hank slaloms gracefully up the ice and creates some Afinogenov-esque chaos, leaving defenders scrambling and confused. But of course he doesn’t look anything like Max.; it somehow seems like his feet aren’t even moving. He takes a shot just inside the blue line, and Volchenkov saves Emery from giving up the rebound and does it for him, right up into the mesh.
10:00 Patches looks incredulous as he heads to the box for hooking Comrie, but in the replay it really couldn’t have been more blatant. Mair gets a little shovey with Comrie and Kelly after the whistle, and they wisely skate away from him. Chillax for now, Adam. You’ll get to punch something later, I promise.
8:59 Marty makes the initial save on a Phillips shot from the point, but leaves the net wide open for Alfredsson to bang in the rebound, which he does. Just as I was getting ready to write, “Boy, this looks like a competition to see who can have the more useless special teams,” too. (
7:07 We spend forever and a day trying to gain the zone, but end up giving a goal to Heatley instead. Maybe it’s just the blank mask, but Marty looks more chagrined and angry than he should. Don’t worry, Marty, it was an unscreened shot from the point. Ryan wouldn't have stopped it, either.
6:37 Hecht tries to look fancy carrying the puck, and almost falls down. Cute! He manages to get a shot away, though, and Emery appears to actually have some trouble with it. Ray, if you can’t handle a shot that was aimed directly at you, there’s no hope. As we head to commercial, a close-up shows Yo-Yo sporting a neon green mouth guard, and I am awash with love. He bought that to match his Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles lunchbox, I just know it.
4:20 Staffy guns a shot way wide of the net, but that doesn’t keep Emery from striking his best “I’m making a save! …Right?” pose.
3:17 Roy passes out in front to Vanek, who has a perfect backhand opportunity, but opts instead to retreat behind the net and wait for the earliest occasion to give the puck away. If he thinks he’ll be able to get away with things like that next season, he clearly hasn’t been in
2:17 Mike Ryan gets no less than three second-chances as he tries to bang the puck in short-side, the last of which ends up right on Drury’s stick and then soars into the net. And the whole time, Emery just sits there like some immovable brick wall incapable of covering up. What do you think your glove is for, Ray?
1:57 WHAT?! Did I just hear that correctly? Did Jim just say the Sabres have scored six power play goals in the last two games? Surely not! (That’s the Patches touch for you!) Well, they have a chance to prove they can do it here and now, as Corvo gets called for… I really have no idea, based on the replay. Is falling down a penalty?
0:25 Vanek makes up for that missed backhand incident earlier by fighting hard for the puck along the boards and working it out in front for a scoring chance. It’s pure muscle, but Emery grabs the shot and hangs on. (Oh, he’s finally realized he can do that, huh?)
20:00 Before I get any further into this, I have to discuss these unsavory working conditions. The video quality is the typically grainy Google Video Special, which is so pixilated it’s sometimes hard to tell the difference between the puck and a helmet. But the sound is even more curious. Either every single player has a mic on his skates, or Google hired a team of Foley artists who really, really love the “sharpening knife” sound effect, because everything RJ and Jim say is only barely audible over the sound of the guys skating. Why must my TiFaux hate me?
19:40 Staffy works some magic to lose a defender in the corner and skates in on goal, only to have Ryan lumber right into his path and basically steal the puck away from him. What the hell happened there? I think Mike Ryan is a spy.
18:50 Jim starts talking about something Darcy said in a press conference earlier, and we get a shot of the GM up wherever he spends games, looking studious in front of a TV monitor and wearing some serious-looking glasses. And then something magical happens. He reaches somewhere off screen, produces what is unmistakably an orange dreamsicle, and takes a huge bite out of it. An
18:09 Yo-Yo, obviously not wanting to be outdone by Darcy’s dreamsicle antics, loses his footing when he's all alone and way away from the play, and basically has to piggy-back the ref in order to stay on his skates. I die laughing all over again.
16:50 Pommer appears to score from the point, and there’s great celebration as RJ breaks out the “Population of Pominville” call, and the guy manning the sign in the building bumps it up to the appropriate number. And then the unthinkable happens. Replay shows that it was actually Vanek who deflected the puck into the net, and no one seems upset about it. Guys, Vanek just killed a citizen of Pominville. A baby! Right before your eyes!
16:09 Vanek collects a loose puck at the blue line, splits the D, and scores the easiest-looking goal ever. Way to go, Baby Killer.
14:55 Drury’s just been laid out by Neil, and this game as everyone remembers it is really underway now. Slag-faced whore or no, I still feel sick and angry (and a little bit proud) watching as Drury tries to struggle to his feet while bleeding from the head. But I now love Staffy double for immediately grabbing a hold of Neil and trying his damndest not to get his ass kicked. He seems so passionate, and warrior-like, and (dare I say it?) captainly. Hmmm… somewhat familiar.
--Lindy, with his snarling bulldog face on, “informs” the ref that he believes there was an elbow involved. Next to him, Vanek is either vehemently agreeing, or practicing his Pronger elbow move in preparation for more baby killing later.
--The camera zooms in on Briere for some captainly reassurance, and he looks nothing short of terrified. What, you expected him to be outraged, MSG? He’s just glad it wasn’t him!
14:47 The guard dogs are off their leashes! Kaleta tangles with Heatley before the puck is dropped, and Mair ignores the face-off to go after Spezza. Peters skates around, desperately looking for someone to fight, but is disappointed when Heatley doesn’t respond to having his face grabbed from behind. Meanwhile, Mair has no less than three Sens on him. My favorite part of this sequence is still when Hank and Heatley skate by, looking like they’re embracing while trying to look tough. (I just want to say that, for all the shit Lindy got for this move and how much money it cost him, I still think
--Marty decides to leave his crease and show Staffy how to get one’s ass kicked good and proper. Bless his heart.
--Peters is still trying to get someone to fight him, and Spezza dives for cover in a referee’s armpit. This game is just a comedy-fest!
--Ray Emery, you are such a sucky goalie. Look, just look at those rebounds your face is giving up to Peters’ fist! (Heh heh heh) (Oh, and NBC, I wasn’t aware that standing idly by while your goalie gets pummeled by a skater was a sign of team solidarity. How enlightening.)
--The refs convene and decide it would be easier to just expand the penalty boxes to fit every player from both teams than sort out all these infractions.
--I was going to skip over this whole “waiting millennia for penalties to be announced” nonsense, since I’m more than certain that it was cut from the MSG Game to Remember airing, but after seeing the slow-motion replay of Mair fighting I’m so glad I didn’t. It’s quite possibly the sexiest thing I’ve ever seen on ice. With Comrie clinging uselessly to his left arm, Adam manages to hold on to a desperately-retreating Spezza and punch him three times square in the face. It’s only when Volchenkov comes in, tosses Comrie aside, and jumps on Mair’s back that he gets hauled down. Hott. (And it looks like Lydman grabs onto the discarded Comrie near the end of the clip. Dude. I wouldn’t want to mess with Thrash Metal Toni.)
--The list of penalties sounds like the roll call of ships in the Iliad. Only longer.
14:16 Hey, look! There’s still hockey going on! Maybe. After Miller stones Comrie’s point-blank shot, Lydman looks decidedly elsewhere as he “accidentally” dumps the Little Bitch with his stick. I told you, don’t mess with Thrash Metal Toni. (The refs know what I’m saying, and turn a blind eye to the shenanigans.)
12:46 One big save and a couple of key shot-blocks later, the Sens have effectively sucked their way through that 5-on-3. Of course, because the Sabres are such big mean bully punks, they still have two minutes of power play time left.
11:51 The Ottawa power play is only effective at lulling everyone into an unsuspecting coma of boredom, which allows Heatley to score when no one’s looking. Jim says what I’m thinking: still totally worth it.
9:52 Rob Ray tries to tell us that the Sabres are a special team because they fight. Um, I have no idea how to respond to that. (Okay, okay. So his real point is that non-fighter types [he cites Lydman, Yo-Yo, and Soupy] have been fighting recently, but still. He makes it sound like we invented fighting. The clips that are being shown, however, make it look like we invented sucking at fighting.)
5:22 Fisher and Roy get matching minors; Fisher for something involving pushing, and
1:37 Just when I think someone (probably me) will die if I write one more word about this period, MacArthur scores his first NHL goal. He’s expectedly adorable, jumping into the boards and all that jazz. What’s unexpectedly adorable is how Vanek seems just as excited, giving the General a huge hug and a noogie through his helmet. And he spares some love for Kaleta, too, who got an assist on the play. Please, please don’t change him, $10 million, because I love this Thomas.
19:18 Gerber soaks up a Briere shot, and Jim deems him “shaky.” Jim, if not giving up 40-foot rebounds makes one shaky, what does that make Emery? Tremorous? Chihuahua-esque? The goaltender equivalent of those wind-up chattering teeth?
16:38 Kalinin sticks with the rebound Gerber (honest to God, I just typed “Emery” without thinking and had to change it) gives him and slams it home on the second try. His goal celebration looks like that of a paraplegic. Come on, Dmitri, show a little excitement!
13:38 Wow, this Ottawa power play is incredibly good at looking like complete shit and then, at the last second, pulling it together and getting a goal. A Redden shot deflects off of, we’re told, Numminen, and Miller just missed making the save.
11:42 There’s something black on the ice. I’m sure it’s either a helmet or a glove, but for all Google video tells me, it’s three or four pixels. And yes, this game has gotten as boring as you think it has if I’m talking about random things lying around on the ice.
11:35 Maybe I spoke too soon. Soupy looks mildly entertaining as he rockets in out of nowhere to drop a huge hit against the boards, only to completely miss the guy, and end up dumping himself on the ice.
11:00 Mair (Lock up your Spezzas, he’s back!) levels a huge check on Fisher a shade too late, because he’s already scored. I know I should probably be pissed about how easily the Sabres just gave up that two-goal lead, but honestly, with four call-ups and a short bench? I’m just happy we’re still in this game.
8:22 Man, I don’t know if it’s the game, or if I’m just burnt out, but I have nothing to say. Um… the mysterious black object has been cleared from the ice without me finding out what it was. How enthralling!
7:04 Jim informs those just tuning in that back in the second period captain Chris Drury was “cut open,” and he breaks off before he can finish his thought: “He was cut open and inside… inside we found… no, no it’s too foul, I can’t say it. We found... the heart of a… of a Ranger!” (Hey, does anyone know where I can find the fucking phone?)
4:44 The Sens go scoreless on a pretty kick-ass power play. I’m sensing a pattern, here.
3:18 Kelly goes to the box for being near Soupy while he tripped himself doing a spin-o-rama. He seems less upset than I would think, but maybe it’s because he knows we’re just going to use this next two minutes to pussy-foot around.
1:18 The power play says “I’ll see that pussy-footing, and raise you a game of dump and chase! In the wrong direction.”
0:00 Hank hit the goal post in the last minute of play, but the hockey gods have decreed this one is going to overtime.
2:58 Has some Sen stolen Toni’s Thrash Metal powers? Because Vanek gets tripped up spectacularly at the blue line, and everyone pretends it didn’t happen.
1:56 Briere does a wide circle behind the net before coming out in front and firing the puck in the direction of the net. The Sens defense is still in “protect the goalie at all costs” mode, though, so it doesn’t get through. Shortly after, Danny’s taken down violently in the corner, and again there’s no call. Hey, he’s the only captain we’ve got left (for now), so if he’s not bleeding he better get the hell up.
1:32 Right after yet another Sabre (Ryan) goes flying, Briere is called for a teeny tiny hook. I’m not usually one to complain about the referees,--especially not retroactively--but this is kind of bullshit. Danny agrees, and sprays the inside of the penalty box glass with his water bottle. Oh, you rebel!
0:00 Miller has to make two big saves on Heatley, but other than that, it’s all face-off wins and clears for
--Before we get on with the action, MSG shows clips from
1st Shot: Briere dekes and, with plenty of room to poke the puck in, banks it off the side of the net. Hello, Flyer Special Numero Dos.
2nd Shot: Vermette tries to shoot through a five hole that doesn’t exist. Physics happens. It doesn’t work.
3rd Shot: Gerber gets a piece of Vanek’s shot, and deflects it up into the mesh. Well, that saves the fans from the “Do I throw my hat, or don’t I?” trouble, at least.
4th Shot: Miller is the picture of patience as he blocker-saves McAmmond’s attempt.
5th Shot: Pommer almost false-starts, such is his eagerness. And then he either shoots it wide or hits the goal post. Or Gerber saves it. Google video's pixels aren’t going to tell me.
6th Shot: Comrie fakes about faking, but Miller gets his blocker on it again.
7th Shot: Staffy forehand-backhands his way into
8th Shot: Miller makes a snappy glove save on Fisher, and then does his best impression of a helicopter to celebrate. The victorious Sabres form one big, wriggly mass at center ice, and there are head-butts and noogies for everyone. Aw!
Okay, this was a bitch of a diary to write. There was the pissy TiFaux thing, the Google video thing, the breaking of my laptop's power cord thing, and then the Word erasing everything after the first period and putting it somewhere where I'll never get it back thing. I'm surprised I made it through alive. (And yet, impossibly, I still enjoyed myself. I'm weird like that.) This is also the last game diary posted from the state of New York, because Wednesday I go back to school! Yay, back to school! Hockey's coming!
Next week (which was so long ago that I can't actually remember when it was), the Buffachester Saberks play the Maple Leafs in Toronto and kick they asses. Who knows how many eons it's going to take me to write this one, so in the meantime, amuse yourselves with these other two brilliant takes on the game. Thanks, Kate and Heather!