Happy Friday everyone! The Sabres have the day off before facing Washington tomorrow. Also, after the break, the epic conclusion of our dramatic prediction for the 2010-11 season based on the movie Major League!
Rangers Recap: Artie Sends Everyone Home Happy in OT - Blueshirt Banter
A recap from the blog of our foes.
Sabres' Ruff has a grand time - The Buffalo News
Lindy Ruff, while looking forward to his milestone game behind the Buffalo Sabres' bench Wednesday, said he'd much rather take two wins over his 1,000th game. He got both.
SLY NOTES: WHAT A DIFFERENCE A WEEK MAKES - Buffalo Sabres
The sun is out and the team has won two in a row. What a difference a week makes!
Ilya Kovalchuk, New Jersey Devils frustrated with miserable start - ESPN New York
The frustration reached a boiling point Wednesday night, when $100 million player Ilya Kovalchuk fanned on a shot in the shootout, forcing the Devils to remain winless at home.
The many problems of the plummeting Pittsburgh Penguins - Puck Daddy
The Penguins are 7-8-1, which is bad enough for 10th in the East and good enough for third in the Atlantic. Sidney Crosby(notes) has 22 points, but the rest of the offense is playing catch-up. That hurts, because their goal differential sits at plus-1, after finishing as a plus-20 last season.
NHL shootout format should be expanded not dropped - SI.com
Michael Farber argues the NHL didn't go far enough with the shootout.
Habs ship O'Byrne to Colorado - The Globe and Mail
Canadiens receive Shawinigan forward Michael Bournival.
*Editor's Note: The viewpoints expressed in this production do not represent the viewpoints of the author or any Die By The Blade editors. It's just for funsies. If you missed Act 1, 2, and 3 you can find them here, here, and here.
After a comeback that could only happen in a screenwriter's wet dream it's come down to a one game playoff between Buffalo and Boston in Buffalo to determine who makes the post-season as the eighth seed. Before the game, Thomas Vanek is causing trouble:
Ennis: We got a problem. Vanek wants some extra power for tonight. He's lookin' to sacrifice a live chicken. Everyone knows Connolly freaks out at the sight of blood, and we can't have people pukin' in the locker room before the game.
Rivet Tell him not to worry, I'll take care of it.
Rivet leaves to make a phone call. 20 minutes later...
Vanek: Where's my chicken?
Rivet: It's comin' in now.
We see a Bat Boy enter with a sopping carton of Duff's chicken wings. Vanek looks at it in bewilderment.
Taylor: One whole chicken, like you said.
Vanek: But it no alive.
Rivet: Believe me, Jo-Buu will like this. It's better than Anchor Bar anyway.
As the team takes the ice, a thunderous cheer erupts from the crowd. Because the scoreboard told them to give a thunderous cheer. As soon as the game starts, everyone sits down, shuts up, and checks their BlackBerry.
As the game progresses, we see a small montage (another one? That's three in this movie!) of the first two periods.
- Connolly blocking a shot and wincing, carries on
- Gerbe throwing his body around
- Zdeno Chara challenging people to fights even though he's wearing a fully enclosed medieval helm to protect his nose
Scoreboard: 0-0 at the end of 1
- Ennis speeding past a defenseman but being denied by Tim Thomas
- Rivet stealing the puck and firing it up ice
- Johnny Boychuk swinging at Vanek's knee with a pick-axe, but Vanek leaps over the axe to continue on
Scoreboard: 0-0 at the end of 2
- Ryan Miller making a great save on Savard
- Thomas Vanek missing another open net, shaking his head in disgust
- Tyler Ennis dip-si-doodling through 14 Boston players in a row without shooting, then has the puck bounce over his stick and out of the zone
Scoreboard: 0-0 at the end of 3
With three periods gone, Gary Bettman declares that this game will go immediately to a shootout, because none of this makes sense anyways. Boston shoots first, and after two shooters each we remain tied at 0-0.
Boston's next shooter is Mark Recchi. In a move reminiscent of the 2010 playoff series between the two teams, Recchi uses the mass from his considerable backside to shove Miller over like a paper doll, then put the puck in the empty net, which somehow counts. Boston leads 1-0.
Next up is Thomas Vanek, who's already whiffed at two open nets tonight. He's Buffalo's last hope.
Vanek (talking to his stick): I pissed off now, Jobu. I good to you, I stand up for you. If you no help me now...I say f**k you, Jobu. I do it myself.
Vanek breaks his stick over his knee, then reaches behind the bench to pull out a special stick made of pure money - all of his 6.4 million dollar salary that he hasn't yet earned! Vanek takes the puck from center, streaks in towards net, and pulls a quintuple Around-the-World move that spins so fast it spins the goalie right around in his crease, and Vanek buries his shot top shelf. Most Sabre fans are asleep since nobody scored in the first 3 periods, but the 30 or so that are still awake perk up a bit.
Next up for Boston is Zdeno Chara. Buffalo has to stop this attempt. Lindy Ruff calls timeout.
Ruff: Miller, you've played a good game, but we're making a change. Give me Myers.
Rivet (surprised): You want Myers?
Ruff: I know he's never played net, but I got a hunch.
As he exits the locker room in full goalie regalia, the PA system blasts the opening riff to "Wild Thing". Most Sabre fans have left already to beat the traffic, but the 15 or so left tap their feet to the beat.
Ruff: Okay, Tyler, I know this guy's move - triple deke, glove side. Anticipate it and you got him.
Myers: What if he goes stick side?
Ruff: He's fancy, he'll go glove.
Myers takes his stance in net and gives Chara a steely glance. Chara skates in in slow motion. As he closes in on net he dekes once, twice, three times, and fires a wicked wrist shot to the corner of the net. Myers' arm flashes out, we hear an ambiguous sound effect, and for a second nobody knows where the puck is. Then Myers slowly drops the puck out of his glove and onto the ice, and the Sabres bench erupts!
For some reason the fourth shooter for Buffalo is the aging captain Craig Rivet. If he scores, Buffalo wins and its improbable run to the post-season is complete. If he misses, it's not the end of the world because the shootout would just continue, but nobody thinks about this because it would ruin the dramatic tension. Before he takes his attempt, Rivet whispers a crazy idea in Ruff's ear.
Ruff: That's a hell of an idea...
Rivet skates around the puck, the pressure of the situation mounting. As he takes the puck and skates away, the scene moves into slow motion. He screams in on net, and at about 10 feet away the octogenarian defenseman leaps into the air and does a magnificent pirouette that mesmerizes fans and players and Tim Thomas alike. As he lands, Rivet finds the puck and shoots it past the stunned Thomas - Buffalo wins and are headed for the post-season!
The players rush the ice as the 5 fans left go crazy. An inappropriately sappy song by Randy Newman starts playing as we see the players and coaches hug one another. As the celebration continues, the screen slowly freezes on the heroes - Rivet, Myers, Vanek, Ennis, and the others in one glorious man-hug. Fade to black.
At least, that's the way I think things will turn out. Hope you had as much fun reading this as I had writing it, folks!