- Before I get into specific reactions to Game Four, a little backstory: As I mentioned last post, I moved out of WNY six years ago, and since then I've had to watch a lot of hockey games alone. I came up with some creative ways to keep that fun (including this blog), but there was a reason I always looked forward to going home to watch hockey with my family. Nothing replaces the real thing. Hockey spectating is an activity that calls for constant commentary: analysis, praise, curses, jokes. Despite what my blog byline may imply, I don't like talking to myself as much as I like talking to other people. Luckily, I've finally managed to mold a real hockey companion for myself, out of one of the least likely candidates. When I first met my boyfriend two years ago, he told me, over the course of one of our very first conversations, that he hated all sports and would never go to a game with me. Challenge accepted. I eventually made him eat those words (twice) and like it, but I still teasingly refer to him as the Square whenever he declares himself against something he's barely tried, like dancing and wearing purple. I'm working on turning him around on those things, too. Anyway, Wednesday night's game seemed like the kind of affair it would be terrible to have to watch alone, and I've seen enough of those to know. It was far more entertaining, not to mention less stressful, to have the Square by my side.
- Speaking of quality game-time companions, boy was I glad to hear RJ's voice. Because of the way I get access to games, I don't always get to choose the Sabres feed. I've had to put up with the Flyers announcing team twice this series, and the Versus team once, which was actually even worse. Since when is the goalie ripping off his helmet to stop the play a "great, veteran move," I ask you? Either his buckle really did break, in which case it wasn't any kind of a move at all, just a necessity, or it didn't, in which case it was cheating. Boo.
- Now on to the game: This is old news at this point, but Tyler Myers was a literal beast out there the other night. I said back in the day that I hoped he would prove to be a BFG, but I think that game revealed that he's actually one of the other breeds of giant. You know, the ones that steal children out of their beds at night and eat them whole. Him dragging Mike Richards 15 feet across the ice, with a ref hanging on for the ride, was like something out of a creature feature horror film. All that was missing was the blood spatter and sound of gnashing teeth. I loved it. Sure, he walked the line a bit and took some penalties for it, but this team has been cursed with enough bigger players who refuse to play their size (Kotalik, Stafford) for me to see a big guy with a mean streak as anything but a very good thing. Thanks to that performance, I am officially not scared of the rumored return of Chris Pronger tonight.
- It wasn't just Myers throwing his weight around either. At the opposite end of the spectrum we had Gerbe, who may have a lot less to throw, but seemed intent on making up the difference with frequency and intensity. If I had control over these things, I would have given him the Carrubba Collision over Kaleta, just for sheer guts.
- That five minute power play. Ugh. I had just finished saying that I think the reason our power play is so much less poopy than in seasons past is that they've finally mastered the dump-and-chase, and what do they spend that five minutes doing? Trying to dipsy-doodle the puck across the blue line despite every Flyer on the ice being camped out there. It's simple, Sabres: shoot the puck in, and then go get it! You used to be terrible at the second part, I know, but you're actually pretty good at it now, so I don't know why you were so afraid of trying it. Especially after being denied at the blue line for the tenth time in a row. Insanity is having to watch your hockey team doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
- One of the funniest moments of the game (which wouldn't have been nearly so funny if we had ended up losing) was that Grier and McCormick odd man rush in the second period. If you're the Flyers, those are definitely the guys you want to give up those types of chances to. As the Square said as they headed toward the net, "They won't even have to slow this play down to analyze it." Anyone who's read this blog (anyone?) knows that that kind of offensive ineptitude is the key to my heart, and with Hecht out, I'll take it where I can get it.
- Speaking of Yo-Yo, what the heck is going on with him? I can't, for the love of Google, figure out exactly what his injury is, but he better have a better excuse than a broken finger this time. I haven't seen my favorite player in the playoffs since 2007. That blows.
- I was super happy to hear the "Ry-an Mil-ler" chants the other night. Both because he truly deserved them and because we've finally replaced the chants of "U-S-A," which never really made much sense.
My head is now officially empty. Bring on Game Five!