Sabres vs. Islanders Recap: Miller Shines In Season Finale; Hecht Announces Retirement After Game
The Sabres final game of the season was just enjoyable. Ryan Miller got a rousing response from a buzzing crowd, and the Sabres won 2-1 in a shootout. After the game, a tearful Jochen Hecht announced his retirement from the NHL.
Jochen Hecht Retires
We'll have more on this later tonight, but after the game, an emotional Jochen Hecht announced that tonight would be his last NHL game, and he would be returning to Germany with his family. With the departure of Lindy Ruff, Pominville, now Hecht, and possibly Miller and/or Vanek in the offseason, this Sabres team is going through major changes at a breakneck pace. Jochen will fondly be remembered for solid two-way play, his longevity in Buffalo, and some of the worst angle backhand goals the NHL has ever seen.
Ryan Miller was, once again, the best player on the ice for the Buffalo Sabres. The more I think about it, the more I think he may have been the best player for the Buffalo Sabres over the past eight years, surpassing Thomas Vanek in my mind. He's been so consistently good for this team year after year, which isn't easy to find between the pipes, and I'm glad the fans gave him a rousing ovation to open and close the night. If this truly was his last game in Buffalo, he went out on a high note.
The Kids Are Alright Quite Good
Tonight was the last night for any of the young players on the Sabres roster to make an impression, and they all put in one final strong performance. Brian Flynn scored a goal, Kevin Porter and Mikhail Grigorenko both had a number of very nice scoring chances, while Mark Pysyk, Chad Ruhwedel, and Mike Weber both had mostly unnoticed stints (in a good way) along the blue line. The Flynn-Porter-Ennis line also had a phenomenal shift with two minutes of sustained offensive zone pressure in the third period that got the crowd all riled up.
Fans Appreciate, Are Appreciated
Sabres fans came tonight ready to cheer, as the FNC had a positive buzz going through it for the first time forever. Maybe it was Fan Appreciation Night, or maybe it was just the relief of finally reaching the end of the longest shortened season ever, but fans gave loud ovations to Ryan Miller both for his intro and in honor of his 500th career NHL game. The organization filled the night with contests and giveaways, including a trip to Disney for one lucky fan, and the usual Jersey Off My Back promotions. It was a nice way to send everyone home with good vibes, and as a bonus - no booing!
DBTB Three Stars
(And yes, they're all Sabres players, but screw it we're a Sabres fan blog and this was the season finale.)
1. Ryan Miller - BLANK saves and I'm a sucker for sentimentality
2. Brian Flynn - 1g
3. Mikhail Grigorenko - 6 shots
(Bonus - we turned out to be spot on!)
"Buffalo has been like a second home. I was fortunate enough to play my first game in Buffalo with St. Louis, and I played my last game in Buffalo. "
- Jochen Hecht
Comment of the Game
How does Kevin Porter get those chances?
- AcesNines, asking the question nobody has an answer to.