Well, folks, about 11 1/2 hours until the puck drops to begin game one of the Sabres/Rangers Eastern Conference semi-finals and for two days, already, the poop is being flung with the tenacity of the inhabitants of the primate house at the Buffalo zoo. Sean Avery began the poop slinging with some comments about how his pre-series ritual has included visualizing various (or all of the) 'bres doing something illegal to him to raise his already high blood-pressure. The Sabres basically retorted by, more or less, not directly responding. Then Blueshirt coach, Tom Renney, apparently emboldened by the effects of a not-yet-on-the-market Gotham-made potion called Testicular Miracle Grow, claimed that the Sabres, the 2006-2007 NHL's PRESIDENT'S TROPHY winner (for the unlearned, this particular trophy goes to the team with the BEST RECORD), are not the "cream of the crop....but they're one of the final eight teams....and they're a good one". I can see these words coming back to bite Renney and his Big Apple squad right in the ass by the time this series is over. This comment seemed to elicit a little bit of a response from the Sabre's locker-room, especially by Lindy Ruff, when asked, saying that he's "starting to" hate the Rangers but nothing really showed any engagement in, what Ryan Miller called, psychological warfare. As captain Chris (Drury, that is) pointed out, “When the puck drops, then I think all the talk kind of goes aside and you’ve just got to play. It’s certainly going to be a test, and we’re going to be challenged along the way.”
As I've been checking out various sports shows, both on T.V. and radio, it seems that the media is, inexplicably, giving the edge to the Rangers. Why, because they swept a team that was seeded 3rd when, in all reality, the Thrashers had just the fifth-best record in the conference? I watched the games; Atlanta never showed up for more than a total of a period out of 12 played. Kari Lehtonen may as well have just started his summer the day after the regular season ended. Oh, wait, he did! Why the Thrashers did not go back to Hedberg after his stellar play in game 2 is beyond me. By putting Lehtonen back in, the Thrash basically gift-wrapped the series for New York and handed it right to them as evidenced by a 7-0 game three ass whoopin'. Sorry, Ranger fans, but Buffalo ain't Atlanta. For all the talk I hear about the Rangers and how hot they are and how the Sabres struggled against the Islanders, you would think that the seedings have, somehow, been reversed. I am of the firm belief that y'all are in for a rude awakening. Having watched Buffalo play 70+ games this season, it is plain as day that, unfortunately, what drives them is intense motivation and, as silly as it sounds, that was missing in round one. You could feel it just watching the games and various players have since come forth and admitted as much. That WILL NOT be the case in this series. The stakes are high, the team is poised and as much as the word around the camp fire is that the Rangers are peaking at just the right time, the Sabres haven't even come close to playing their best hockey, yet. And if they decide to start with this series, all I can say is "look out, New York!" And I will go on record, here, saying that if Miller comes to play and can stay focused for 60 minutes of each game (is there a hypnotist in the house????), the Blueshirts have no chance. I realize that Lundqvuist is hotter than a two-dollar pistol and has been since the flip of the 2006 calendar but the only time he faced the 'bres this season, he lost. And there is no way that he's faced a team as offensively dangerous as Buffalo since. If he can hang on for dear life and play the way he's been in 2007, he gives the Rangers a legitimate chance. Of course, the same was said about the Long Island messiah, Rick DiPietro, who, according to all sources, is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Well, his record against Buffalo in the playoffs? 1 win, 3 losses. So, take that how ever you want. The Sabres seemed to score about 4 or more goals an average of every 3 games and many of those were games in which they scored five or more (obviously, ending the season as the highest scoring team in the league). Thus, aside from Lundqvist, the Blueshirt's defense better be strapped in tight because the Sabres are due to explode VERY soon and if it doesn't happen tonight, I predict it for friday. I liken it to Russian roulette; the more time that passes without the shot, the closer to the shot you get. I think the 'bres are gonna come out tonight with guns a'blazin'. No way in hell are the 'bres sweeping this series but no way in hell are they NOT winning it, either.
LET'S GET IT ON!!!!!!!!!!