When Alfredsson’s goal went in, we were out of there. I’ve been through the presentation enough times with us on the wrong end, and I really didn’t care to see it again.
We drove back to North Buffalo in time to see SonTwo’s tap recital. Nobody was really expecting me to show up, and I have to say that the look on my four-year-old’s face when he saw me there was enough to make me forget about hockey. At least for one night.
We drove back with tunes on – no postgame analysis for us. As I write this at 8:00 on Sunday night, while watching The Simpsons, I still haven’t read the sports section. I needed to figure things out on my own without the dillholes at the Buffalo News ruining what has been a great season for me, and for the Sabres.
So here’s my amateur analysis.
The best team won the series, as almost always happens. The performance Buffalo gave in games One and Three were so awful, so abysmal, that those two games were the deciding factors in the series. You simply cannot hand the other team two games and expect to win, because there are so many things that can happen in the other games that you can’t control. Game Two was a toss-up game, and the team that got the lucky break won, as so often happens in overtime. The officiating in Game Five was, well, less than fortuitous for Buffalo. But there was no cushion to absorb a tough-luck loss, because they had given away two previous games, so the series ended yesterday.
We’re all going to have plenty of time to analyze what went wrong, and we’ll be doing that right here. But in the end, understand this: a very good Buffalo Sabres team played some bad, out-of-character hockey just when they couldn’t afford to. In other words, they had a slump and a loss of confidence at a time when you just cannot afford it. By contrast, Ottawa came in on a high and only continued to improve. All that said, they were two very evenly matched teams that just had momentum in one team’s favor.
For those who don’t watch hockey much, this happens all the time. It happened to Detroit and Ottawa last year. It happened to Boston and Philly the year before the strike, and you can go to ESPN yourself and look up all the favorites who failed, for whatever reason, to advance to the Stanley Cup after they dominated the regular season.
Put another way, sometimes things just don’t go the way you want because of any number of reasons. Sure, it’s our jobs to analyze the minutiae, but tonight it feels like it’s all a bit too obvious to me.
Lindy Ruff is not a bad coach, our defense isn’t horrible, our team isn’t soft (notice how here it’s still “our” team?). Something strange happened to Buffalo that led them to start questioning their abilities, and it showed on the ice. The discussion, of course, will be that Lindy Ruff could have coached better, and our defense could be improved, and our team could use a couple more physical players; but tonight we’ll leave the gross hyperbole to others.