Friday, October 5, 2007

Opening Night Musings - Banners, the Game, and More

Well, I see why they did it, and I can deal with it. The black and red banners have been changed from their original white to now being literally black and red. They now match the alternating color scheme of the blue and gold banners that came before them, as in "blue, gold, blue, gold, black, red."

Sadly, the new banners for last season's division title and Presidents Trophy are clad in slug. One is blue, the other is white. Odd that they felt the need to change the previous white banners to match the alternating theme, only to string up a new white banner. Likely because the flaccid gold slug on a matching gold banner wouldn't work.

But I must say the video packages before the game were great and really stirred up the right emotions. The player introductions were exciting, though quite awkward in places. Hearing them announce Teppo Numminen when he was unceremoniously suspended because he needed heart surgery was a little uncomfortable (hey, they had to get the money for the scoreboard somewhere, right?). Also, as we loudly cheer Max, Vanek, Miller, and the bunch, only to hear Daniel Paille and Mike Ryan's names announced right along with them, the gap left by Chris Drury and Danny Briere was never more apparent. But, we're all moving on. I guess that will all pass in a few games.

That said, the game was great for the first 20 minutes. Roy and Vanek look like they'll live up to the lofty expectations placed on them due to their immense contracts. Spacek had a great game, and looks to be in better form than last season.

But, we're still lacking in size and strength. Hitting was almost non-existent. Dimitri Kalinin still has a job despite playing his usual sub-par game. And our special teams were horrid.

So essentially, we're the same team as last year. Minus the leadership.

That's ok. This team thrived on the underdog role before. Looks like they might have to do it again.

But in the end, we're off and running, and it feels so great to have hockey back! GO SABRES!!!

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