For us American brethern, today is a day of feasting, football, and spending time with family. Thanksgiving also gives us the chance to reflect on what we are thankful for in our lives and for the writers at Die By The Blade, what we are thankful for in hockey. So while we enjoy the holiday with our families, we look at the things we are the most thankful for this season.
I'm thankful for the kids - Tyler Ennis and Jhonas Enroth. Things looked pretty bleak when the Sabres were 3-9-2 and facing the prospect of winning games without Ryan Miller. Then, against Toronto, the two rookies provided an unexpected spark in the shootout to give the Sabres a much needed win. Enroth made 29 crucial saves and Ennis dip-si-doodled his way to a beautiful shootout winning goal that led to the team celebrating like they just clinched a playoff berth. That goal seemed to get a gigantic monkey off the team's back, and the momentum has carried forward with the Sabres going 5-2-1 since that Toronto game - who knows what would have happened if they had lost yet another game in heartbreaking fashion to Toronto, of all teams? So thank you, Tyler and Jhonas, for providing a much needed spark for this club, and putting us back (hopefully) on the road to the playoffs.
I'm thankful for the return to the original emblem once and for all. The goat and the slug were just abominations in my book. I don't even care that they really did it just for the loot; it was a good move.
I'm thankful for the HD telecasts, and that Jeanneret is still calling games. What would it take to bring back Jim Lorentz for a few cameos?
I'm thankful that I do follow a team that has such a good fan base (for the most part). Tonite, I stopped at Tops Supermarket on Union Road in Cheektowaga after work for a few things. The game had already begun before I left work, and I heard Crosby's goal on the radio in my truck as I was plugging in my seatbelt. As much as I wanted to just get home, I knew I had to stop at the grocery store. As I entered the building, I heard an announcement. "Good evening ladies and gentlemen. The Sabres game has started, and Pittsburgh has scored a goal to go up one to nothing." Granted, not the best update possible, but it's still pretty freaking cool that a supermarket chick thought to take a minute of time to make a hockey game announcement on what is one of the busiest supermarket shopping days of the year.
I'm thankful for the top three picks of the 2008 draft. But I also liked the top three picks in ‘83 & '84 - Housley, Andreychuck, Barrasso, Creighton, Cyr, Lacombe (in no order). So what do I know?
I'm thankful the team is on good financial footing, as compared to their football brethren. The Sabres are ours for a long time. I have to give a tip of the hat to Toronto on this bit of thanks too. I think it's their clout that keeps a team out of Hamilton - and that's good for Buffalo.
Thanks to Dave for starting up this site, and Zach for taking over the reigns. Nice job fellas...
I'm thankful for Steve Montador and Jordan Leopold on the back end. In his second season with the Sabres, Montador has truly found his comfort zone, as he's posted 11 points and a team-leading plus-14 rating.
Reading the play exceedingly well, he's also refrained from forgetting his traditional duties such as shot blocking and throwing hits. At this rate, he is on pace for the best campaign of his career. While many of the forwards are looking for their scoring touch, the defense has produced its fair share of tallies and a lot of that has to do with Leopold. Brought to Buffalo in the off-season, he's been the most productive rearguard and only trails Derek Roy and Thomas Vanek in points; unsurprising for an offensive defenseman. What's really impressive about the 30-year-old is how quickly he's meshed into the system, providing an extra element of attack and not allowing that motive to sabotage his plus-minus. These two veterans are leading by example, hoping the remainder of the defense can mirror their ways.
I'm thankful for the fact that we have hockey in the first place. Within the last decade, there have been local and league wide threats to the viability of the Buffalo Sabres. Honestly, I would have no idea what I would do with myself if there was no Sabres and no NHL.
I'm thankful for Ryan Miller and the attention he gives to a small market team like the Sabres. The Sabres don't have national recognition without Miller and his stellar play in the Olympics. While he still hasn't won a major team trophy yet, he still is the undisputed face of the franchise.
I'm thankful for Rick Jeanneret. Everytime I watch the new opening video for the Sabres, it makes me say one thing: I want to hear Rick Jeanneret call a Sabres Stanley Cup victory. For a man that has been apart of the organization for most of the team's 40 years, he is apart of all of the classic calls and classic plays and I honestly wouldn't want it any other way.