Monday, March 28, 2011

Postgame Recap: March 10 - Boyes will be Boyes

After a disheartening loss to the Penguins with Matt Cooke in the lineup, it was onto a midweek tilt against fellow Northeast Division mates, the Buffalo Sabres.

The Sabres were playing great hockey in the second half, jockeying for a the 8th playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Let's see how it played out:

Just the facts, Jack (Edwards)

  • Regular Season game #68, home game #33
  • Boston Bruins (32-26-10, 1st in Northeast Div.) vs. Buffalo Sabres (32-26-8, 3rd in Atlantic Div.)
  • Sixth and final meeting of the season between these two teams with the Sabres taking 3 out of 5 thus far.
John Blue Plate Special

With the playoffs rapidly approaching, it was becoming readily apparent that we should be getting ourselves primed for the postseason.  That meant an end to dabbling around with unnecessary appetizers, trying out new items and and outright ban on all things featuring buffalo chicken.

Coming off losses to the Penguins and the Habs, it was time to go with what got us here: The Larry Bird with bacon, sauce on the side, onion rings well done.

The Couture Corner

There must be a good number of Buffalo ex-pats taking advantage of the excellent collegiate offerings in the greater Boston area, how else to explain why there are always a decent amount of Sabres sweaters in the crowds on midweek games?  Either that, or Jeremy Jacobs brought the family and friends into town.

Unlike the last home game against the Sabres, when I was completely let down, the away fans broke out the top shelf stuff on this night.  Let's take a look:

Early 90s Alexander Mogilny home

One of the first Russian superstars in the NHL, Mogilny made his bones plying his trade in Buffalo before heading way out west with the Canucks.  An absolutely gifted goal scorer, he won a Stanley Cup later as a member of the Devils.

Early 80s Lindy Ruff home

It's very rare to see someone wear a sweater of a guy that's a coach in the league, nevermind one who coaches that same team for which he played.  But for fans of the Sabres, Lindy Ruff does the trick.  Not a standout player, Ruff played ten seasons for the Sabres.  He became coach of the Sabres in 1997 and is currently the longest tenured coach in the league.

Mid 00s Stu Barnes Third

I'm assuming this was a Stu Barnes sweater.  I couldn't get a good look at the shoulder numbers from my vantage point.  But looking at the captain's "C" and the era when this sweater was worn, it only makes sense.

I could care less about Stu Barnes.  What draws me to this photo was the third sweater design.

I hated the Sabres red and black era.  I thought it was stupid for a team with as iconic a look as the Sabres to take such a diametric change in their color scheme.  Blue and gold was their thing and they gave it up as part of the stupid and shortsighted late 90s design aesthetic that took the NHL by storm, all in the name of marketing.

I did not like either the home or road sweaters with the newfangled buffalo head logo. But when they introduced the third sweater for the 2000 season, I immediately took a liking to it.  

The traditional sleeve and hem striping along with an updated version of the classic crossed sabres logo are the design elements that did it for me.  As much as the color scheme turned me off, this was as good as it was going to get.

Late 80s Pat LaFontaine away

One of the greatest Americans to ever play the game, Lafontaine joined the Sabres after a run with the Stanley Cup winning juggernaut that was the New York Islanders of the early 80s.  One of the greatest Sabres ever, he brought out the best in Mogilny to create an absolutle nightmare for opposing gaolies.  He spent his final season with the Rangers before being forced to retire due to concussion issues.  But in doing so, he became the first player to play for all three New York based teams.

The Row 11 Rundown

Pretty much the usual crew in the house for this one. Then again, I'm writing this so far after the fact, my memory could quite possibly escape me.

Doosh of the Day

If you think it's a good idea to show up to a Bruins game against the Sabres wearing a sweater that isn't representative of either team, it's usually a bad idea.  When that sweater is that of another team that is universally hated by the fanbase, even worse.  When it's that of a player whom the fanbase dislikes greatly, well you're certainly not going to win any friends.

And when you antagonize the locals when the Sabres score, you've pretty much sealed your doom.

So you, guy in the Penguins Sidney Crosby 2011 Winter Classic sweater, congrats:  You're the Doosh of the Day.

The Clothes Line

Oh, we've got a good one for you:

2004 Felix Potvin Alternate
I've going nearly the entire season without mentioning these sweaters.  But first, a bit about Felix.

Potvin was signed prior to the 2003-4 season to serve as a backup to Andrew Raycroft.  After a stellar career eith the Maple Leafs, he bounced from the Islanders to the Canucks and Kings before playing one final year in Boston. He posted a 12-8-6 record with a 2.50 GAA in that season as the Bruins finished first inthe Northeast with what should have been a juggernaut of a team had the lockout not happened the next year.

As for the jerseys, these were far and away my least favorite Bruins sweaters ever.  When the Bruins announced that they would be ading an alternate jersey in 1996 (as part of the first big wave of mass-marketed alternates in the mid 90s), I had a bit of trepidation.  I was hoping for a gold sweater, something along the lines of the 1958-9 home sweaters.  Instead, we got this. What a letdown.  With the shoulder and hem striping intened to evoke bear fur, oversized wordmarks for shoulder patches and a chest logo that's as tame as it was lame (it was taken from a framed picture hanging in Harry Sinden's office) it was all out fail.  Even worse, in that first season it was worn, the Bruins wore thier white helmets with it.  Seeing Ray Bourque and Can Neely wear these was a travesty, though not as bad as Wayne Gretzky being forced to wear the infamous LA "Burger King" sweaters.

That said, these were so bad, I might just end up getting one off eBay someday.  Someday.

Personally, I went with my 1990 Cam Neely. I'm beginning to think this one might be bad luck.
The Lobel Prize

The Sabres had two players on their roster since the beginning of the season that donned the Black and Gold previously: defensemen Steve Montador and Shaone Morrisonn. Then, at the trade deadline, the Sabres made a deal for another former B: forward Brad Boyes.

Boyes, you'll remember, was acquired from the Sharks in 2004 for Jeff Jillson.  Then the lockout happened.  But once hockey resumed in 2005, Boyes had a breakout year, scoring 26 goals and dishing out 43 assists.  He slumped a bit in his sophomore season and was traded near the deadline to St. Louis for Dennis Wideman.  While Wideman showed some early promise, Boyes went on to be a 40 goal scorer (43 to be exact) the next season and followed that up with a 33 goal performance in 2008-9.  But his goal scoring slipped the last couple of years and he was sent to Buffalo.

So, how'd the alumni do?

Montador has an assist in 18:47 of ice time.  Morrisonn has 2 shots in 14:41 of ice time.

But the real damage was done by Boyes.  He finished with 4 shots in 15:54 of ice time and 2 points on an assist and the game winning goal 3:44 into overtime as the Sabres came from behind to take 2 points from the Bruins in a heartbreaking defeat.

Yep. What can't we get players like that? 

The Home End

This was the first game for the Bruins and Captain Zdeno Chara after L'Affaire Pacioretty two nights earlier in Montreal.  Most fans were concerened how the team would play and how the refs would call the game.  But it was the Sabres who controlled the game, seemingly taking advantage of an emotionally drained Bruins team, outskating them and outshooting them with a 45-29 shot adavantage. Ryan Milled was good, not great.  The Bruins were up 2-0 and 3-2, but the penalty killers yielded two goals, including the Sabres third goal to tie it up at 3-3 early in the 3rd period.
The Sabres were hot of late, making a run at the last playoff spot when they had been written off by the pundits only weeks earlier.  And there was no rest for the weary B's as they had to travel to Long Island to take on the plucky Islanders the next night.

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