Friday, December 4, 2009

Peepin' Foes: Buffalo Sabres

The Ranger vacation is over as they return to action Saturday night in Buffalo against the Sabres at 7 p.m. on MSG. Tough question of the day, who is worse to listen to: Joe Micheletti or Rick Jeanneret? I pick an icepick through the eardrum.

Where We Are: After losing three straight games the Blueshirts had four straight days off. They didn't practice at all one day and had a variety of public appearances on the others so I wouldn't expect any big changes. Sure the lines will be jumbled as Torts is apt to do and there will be three new players in Chad Johnson, Ilkka Heikkinen and Erik Christensen. But I just don't see how any major flaws could be fixed when they aren't concentrating on them.

Where They Are: Buffalo is flying on a four game win streak. I watched as the Sabres smacked the Canadiens aside yesterday and damn, did they look good. They took advantage of Montreal turnovers, they went hard to the net to bang home rebounds down low and they scored from range as well. I feel for that Habs fan in the photo. And their recent success has propelled them to first in the Northeast Division.

Who To Watch For: The thing about Buffalo is that they have no real superstars, all top flight secondary scoring. Sure Thomas Vanek is paid like a top talent - and he is quite good - but he isn't in the upper tier of NHL stars. Goals can come from up and down the lineup, as they showed in the Montreal game: six goals, six different scorers. Clarke MacArthur of all people is tied with Vanek for the team lead in goals, Jason Pominville and Derek Roy are both quite skilled and this Tyler Myers kid doesn't look at all like the young Zdeno Chara we would hope - he is actually good.

What To Watch For: Any kind of mental gaffes; Ranger mistakes will end up with the puck in the back of their net. Tough defensemen like Craig Rivet and Steve Montador will make it quite tough on Gabby around the Sabre net, which will be filled with a healthy Ryan Miller (who has been stellar of late - good for Team USA, bad for NYR). Patrick Kaleta is sure to be a jackass and try to kill someone, and we don't have Paul Mara anymore to try to keep him in line (the two fought again last night).

What We'll (Hopefully) See: A win. Hank to stop some pucks. Anyone other than Gabby to score some pucks. Rangers to stand up for each other. Arty Anisimov to win some faceoffs, which should be easier with Paul Gaustad injured on Buffalo. I would hope for someone to Gomez Ryan Miller but seeing as I want Team USA to win in February, let's just hope they can get the puck past him rather than to take him out. New guys Heikkinen and Christensen to fit in seamlessly and add a spark.

Also Check Out: I can't get Sabres Insider to load, Sabres Not Slugs! hasn't been updated much this season but Shots off the Crossbar is great, as is SBN's Die By The Blade.


mike said...

I always listen to music instead of announcers these days. Attentive watching, good music, and a computer for stats beats listening to the yahoos that announce any sport these days.

Micheletti is truly awful. Rosen is OK when paired w/someone good, but it's more fun to watch with tunes on for me. As bad as Micheletti is he is still light years better than football announcers like Tony Siragusa and Joe Buck....or Tim McCarver in baseball....those guys are the worst ever. Announcers rarely tell you anything worth's like inviting a couple of loudmouths into your house to ruin your enjoyment of a good game. They have become so annoying that the most compelling aspect of live sports telecasts--the reaction of the crowd to the events unfolding on the ice/field--gets buried under a stream of unceasing chatter.

IcyCup said...

i agree mike. man, micheletti is crap. he says everything twice. he should look up the definition of "color guy". i cant believe he still has a job. sam rosen does well and you can tell he gets frustrated with the inaccuracies and mistakes of micheletti. hes always interrupting sam and talking over him. as far as tim mccarver goes, check out this

larry brooks went after joe buck recently. i think that michael kay and the yanks do a great job and thats coming from a red sox fan. they actually shut up from time to time. as far as baseball on national tv i truely hate it when the announcers get any screen time when the game is in play. those producers should get fired.

NYR34 said...

"Tough question of the day, who is worse to listen to: Joe Micheletti or Rick Jeanneret? I pick an icepick through the eardrum."

What, you don't like being reminded where Mom hides the cookies...?

Jay said...

The Sabres have been quite a good team this year. As an Oilers fan, I would have loved if the Stafford/Gilbert trade actually occurred.

How's Kotalik been for the Blueshirts this season? He's strikes me as a power play specialist, but not much more.

Andrea said...

Note to Scott: Optimism!

DynamiteDG said...

Now that was a game I enjoyed watching. Aside from a few small mistakes, and tons of pressure from the Sabres, they played well. Especially under the previously mentioned pressure. Well done Rangers.