I wish I could kick it back with some old school commentary, but my life schedule has not been kind this playoffs. While I've listened to 90% of the games on internet radio, I had to miss two whole games in the 1st round and I got back in time for the 3rd period, but I fell asleep shortly after Pominville's goal was credited. Hey, what can I say, they took awhile!
So, just a few post-game notes. I know hockeybuzz is flooded with Sabres supporters, so of course, they are loving this moment where we can stuff it in Avery's and Renney's face. The thing was, the Rangers came into this game with a lot of confidence; they swept the Atlanta Thrashers, which regardless of whether Atlanta was slumping or not, is still impressive. All the hockey critics from ESPN to hockeybuzz bloggers were saying DON'T OVERLOOK THE RANGERS. Actually, the Sabres fans were criticized for their confidence, as if the proper thing was to give way to the Rangers' confidence.
On the other hand, Lindy Ruff as always sounded like his dog got run over, even beating the Islanders in five games. Why? Because Ruff's way of playing is to always think that there is something to improve on. Sure, you can pretend that the Sabres and/or their fans are over-confident, but the Rangers suffer from it even worse. You're part of the 16 wins, just like how every single playoff team thinks. The Sabres (the team, not the fans) didn't overlook the Rangers. They don't overlook ANY team. So this 1st game came down to pitting the spirit of pure confidence against pure competition.
Hits: Buffalo 33 vs Rangers 26
Takeaways: Buffalo 9 vs Rangers 3
Goalies: Miller 32/34 (94.1%) vs Lundqvist 32/26 (88.9%)
Here's my little snub: Avery, 0 pts, -3, 18:04 ice time, 4 PIM
Anyone else notice how many times Tom Renney used the word "naturally"? As a fan of hockey and philosophy, amongst other things, I don't like the teleological language. I mean seriously, was it "natural" that the Rangers resorted to penalties to slow down the Sabres? Was it "natural" that the Sabres got three goals in four minutes? If the Rangers keep thinking it's just "natural," they're going to get run over night after night. The Rangers are relatively high on teams that I respect, but Tom Renney needs to do a change up on his coaching.
Oh, by the way ... I'm a total Sabres fan and there's nothing quite like getting home and seeing the scoreboard lit up with three goals to none. But? Henrik Lunqvist is super hot. Just saying.