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That was fun! (Sabres/Ducks Recap Part One)

December 22, 2010

I love how the Sabres have a habit of winning when I go to games. They manage to get a lot of firsts at the games I go to, too- the game against the Capitals, they got their first home win of the season; last night, Gerbe and Rivet each got their first goals of the season.  Clearly, I need to get to more games. 

It was my friend Caroline’s (okay, her real name is Karalyn, but we call her Caroline because she really hates it and it’s one of the few things we can tease her about that actually gets to her) 40th birthday yesterday, and since she’s been a Sabres fan for her entire life, we figured it was only fitting that we go to a game for her birthday (we also all took the day off from work and spent the day shopping, which was loads of fun, but I was still looking forward to the game all day).  We got the best tickets we could find and afford, and wound up ten rows directly behind the goal where the Sabres shoot twice.  They were pretty good seats- the only disadvantage was the goal light blocked our view of anything happening on the far right side of the ice.  We had excellent views of everything else, though, and fortunately for us, nothing really happened in the part of the ice that we couldn’t see. 

Caroline and I went to the game with a couple of our non-hockey obsessed fans, Eileen and Leslie.  Leslie was also at the Caps game with us, so she knew a tiny bit about the team.  To give you an idea of what we were dealing with, here’s a summary of conversations we had with each of them.  Eileen asked us before the game started “Is there a guy named Miller on the team?”  Caroline and I were like “Huh?” (thinking “Is she really asking that?).  “Is there a guy named Ryan Miller on the team?”  “Um, yes, Eileen, he’s the [USA Olympic hero/Vezina winning] goalie.”  “Oh, good, then I know who one of the players is.  I also know, oh, what’s his name?  Um… Kaleta!  I know Miller and Kaleta from when they were Amerks.”  Later in the game, Leslie wanted to know how tall Myers is, so we told her.  We also told her that the shortest guy, Gerbe, is only 5’6″, to which she said “I have no idea who that is!  This is only the second game I’ve seen!”

Let’s start with warm-ups.  We had the best view of the Ducks warming up, and I related the infamous Bobby Ryan stolen stick/goal scored with the thief’s stick tale.  As owner of the IPB Superleague’s Dodgy Bobcats, I got a little worried as warm ups progressed and I didn’t see Ryan Getzlaf on the ice.  Here are the thoughts that raced through my head- “Where the heck is the Bobcat’s co-captain and star center?  Was he injured and I don’t know about it?  He’s still in my line up!  The Bobcats do poorly enough as it is- he better be playing tonight. Dang, that guy looks fierce flying across the ice.  Who is it?  Ah, Parros. I hope he doesn’t hurt any Sabres tonight. Oh, there’s Getzi- finally! He better get lots of penalty minutes and take lots of shots tonight.  Huh- in person, his head looks kind of tiny in comparison with the rest of him.  He really looks like a hockey goon.  OMG- I can’t believe how close we are!  I can actually see players’ faces and read their names on their backs!” 

While I was fretting over my missing Bobcat and then contemplating how good our seats were, Caroline was watching Miller on the other side of the ice and a couple times said to me “What is he doing?”  To which I replied, “Huh? I’m not really watching the Sabres’ warm up- a Bobcat’s on the ice.”  “Miller- he’s just letting the pucks hit him.”  “Um, isn’t that his JOB?’  “He’s not even trying to stop them- he’s just standing there.”  “Well, Caroline, I don’t know what he’s doing.  Do we really want to try to figure out what the heck Miller’s thinking?”  “I guess not- it just looks odd.”  “Alright, then- I’m going back to obsessing over Getzlaf’s every move.”

After warm ups were done, a few arena employees came down and announced that we were doing the flag again, and it was starting with our section.  They wanted to make sure we didn’t send the flag the wrong way.  Our section started the flag off strong, but it kind of fizzled as it went around.  One of the corners didn’t get held up properly, and it crept higher and higher within the section as it made its way around.  I’m still not sure I get the point of it- but it was sort of fun to get to be a part of it, rather than just watching the flag go around.

The first period was a spectacular scoring display.  As we had hoped, the Sabres spent a lot of time on our end of the ice.  At one point early on, I thought I saw number 52 and “Rivet” on a player’s back and did a double take.  The player turned around, and I saw the C and Rivet’s face- I leaned over to Caroline and whispered (because I was sure I was imagining it, and didn’t want the fans near me to think I was crazy), “Rivet’s playing tonight.”  Caroline was like “What?” as she took her earbuds out (she was listening to RJ call the game on the radio).  “Rivet’s back in the line up!”  “Oh, that’s good.”  I’ve felt pretty bad for Rivet, being scratched for just being old and all.

The Ducks seemed to spend the entire 1st period in the box, and the Sabres actually capitalized on it.  First Stafford scored (I’m thinking he should only be offered 1 year contracts from here on out- contractyearitis seems to be good for him), then lil’ Nathan Gerbe got his first goal of the season (man, he really is little- wait, did Rivet get the assist?  Good for him- it’s not his fault he got old.  Yay, Rivet!).  Kaleta was slammed into the glass head first by Jason Blake, and stayed down for awhile.  We were relieved when he got up and skated to the bench on his own, and stayed on the bench rather than go to the locker room to be checked out.  Ah, Kaleta, you may be a bit douche-y at times, but you’re a tough douche, and you’re our douche.  Blake was ejected, and TEnnis scored on the power play- YAY.  As the first period drew to a close, I was like, “There’s NO WAY they can top that period.”  Boy, was I wrong.

To be continued…

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