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Sabres/Caps: Best. Game. Ever.

November 14, 2010

Okay, well maybe not.  But it was the first game I got to see in person, and it was still pretty darn good.  Especially since the Sabres finally won at home (by beating the best team in the league), Miller was back in goal, Vanek seemed to, at least temoporarily, overcome some of his issues (our seats gave us a really great view of his overtime game-winner), and did I mention I was there? 

There were definitely some things that weren’t so great about the game.  As Caroline kept telling me, the Sabres were doing a really good job at passing the puck to the Caps all night.  Fortunately for the Sabres, the Caps weren’t able to do too much with the passes they stole.  Thanks to my friend Jared’s desire for cotton candy, we discovered that the pink cotton candy at the arena tastes awful.  I didn’t like that Washington tied the game up in the third (well, not entirely- I was thinking how great it would be if the game went to overtime, and I’d get the chance to witness a thrilling overtime Buffalo win), as it meant that I spent the rest of the third period worried that everytime the puck got anywhere close to the Buffalo goal it would sneak past Crunchy and the Sabres would lose yet again. 

We also wound up being seated in front of and behind the only guys in the arena hell bent on getting the wave started (they tried to get it going throughout the entire 2nd and 3rd periods- it never got further than a few people in the section next to us).  Now, I’m not opposed to the wave when a game is a total blowout or otherwise uninteresting.  I feel it is best utilized when fans need entertainment that isn’t being provided by the game being played.  Last night, there was plenty to watch on the ice, and the constant attempts to get the wave started meant that every 30 seconds or so my view of the ice was blocked. 

One such instance was when TEnnis got hit and left the ice bloodied (at least we think he was bloodied- we saw him skating off the ice with his hand under his chin as if to catch blood coming from his face).  We didn’t see what happened, and didn’t hear what the penalty even was because the wave guys were yelling to get the wave started and trying to get the other sections to keep it going.  We had no idea what happened to TEnnis until they showed the replay, and we almost missed that, too, because the guys in our section were trying to start yet another wave. 

I participated the first dozen or so times they tried to get it started, but it was quite obvious that the rest of the arena wasn’t feeling the wave last night.  The guys in my section just wouldn’t give up on it, though. At least they stopped (I think) during overtime.  Our view of Vanek’s game winner was unobstructed by wavers, so I think they had finally let it go by then.  Or maybe the game going to overtime got their attention back to the game, and they realized that maybe they would want to watch what was going on down on the ice. 

Back to the things I enjoyed about the game.  Being my first time at the arena, it was also the first time I got to see Sabretooth’s famous descent from the ceiling.  I’m not sure it’s something I’ll find amusing on future trips to the arena, but I definitely got a kick out of it last night.  I definitely appreciated being able to observe the entire rink at once, watching the plays develop and such.  Also, I enjoyed hearing all the sounds of the game.  Most of the sounds from the ice don’t get heard on TV- I don’t think I ever realized how many of the sounds end up getting missed in a broadcast.  I really liked getting to hear the sticks being hit on the ice to get a teammate’s attention, the sound of the puck coming off the stick as it was being shot, the live sound of players slamming each other into the boards, and the crispness of skates stopping. 

Aside from Vanek’s game winning goal, my favorite play of the night was Crunchy’s save against Ovi on the breakaway(not really a tough call to pick that as my favorite).  Since Crunchy did make the save, I can say I enjoyed experriencing the collective holding of breath by the entire arena when Ovi got the breakaway and made his way down the ice, and then the eruption of cheers as Crunchy did his thing and denied Ovi the only shot on goal he’d get all night.    Also, Leo is my new favorite Sabre…as long as he keeps playing like he did last night.

I thoroughly enjoyed my first in person Sabres experience.  Although the Sabres got off to a really, really, really rough start to the season, after the last week and a half (and especially after last night), I think I can actually believe that they’re turning their season around.  And I can say I was there when they finally got their first home win in what I’m sure will be an awesome season from here on out.

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