Sabres staring destiny in the face.

Discussion in 'HFNHL Talk' started by Chuzwazza, Jun 1, 2006.

  1. Chuzwazza

    Chuzwazza Registered User

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    The looks on the faces in the dressing room of the Columbus BlueJacket players said it all. They had no answers, and, after changing line combinations in order to shake things up, their coach had none either. Listening to the way jackets players were talking (even the more experienced ones) the team sounded like it was hanging on to a faint glimmer of hope by the thinnest of threads. This was not the talk of a team expecting to be crowned champions, it sounded more like a team that had consigned itself to its fate, and was waiting for the inevitable.

    Meanwhile in the Sabres locker rooms, players who had refused to allow any sort of celebration throughout the playoffs started to show full blown smiles whilst looking around at their team-mates. This is a team that is starting to feel invincible.

    The Jackets have done everything. They've out hit the Sabres in games, they've out-shot the Sabres in games, they've changed line combinations, and tried to change the tempo to their pace. So far, nothing has genuinely worked....and it's starting to show in the way the Jackets are carrying themselves.

    Give coach Craig McTavish all the credit in the world. Sure, he hasn't done the mucking around many coaches do in order to try and steal a game or two, but he's gone out there with a combination that has proven to be a very solid one through the later parts of the regular season, given them some key rules to live by, and then let the guys play, especially when things are going well.

    It's living by the old saying..."if it aint broke, don't fix it!"

    But it goes a bit deeper than that. In all four playoff rounds, the Sabres have dropped game 1. In all four thay've come back strongly to either win, or in this case, take a commanding series lead. and although subtle, it's these minor adjustments that McTavish keeps having to come up with that are contributing to the team being so successful. That said, McTavish doesn't sound like a guy that's excited about the prospect of winning the cup, nor does he take much credit for the job he's done so far this season."

    "I know people are talking about winning the cup in game 5, but there's no point in putting so much presure on yourself based on the outcome of 1 game, especially when you've got up to 3 games left in the series."

    When queried about that last sentence, McTavish replied by saying..."We know that these guys are still expecting to come back in 7 and take the series. They are the more experienced team, and have the better team on paper. We can't let up for 1 minute. We may only get to win one of the next 3 when we're on top of our game, let alone if we're not, but if we get caught slacking off and lose the opportunity in the process, then we'll be kicking ourselves forever."

    It's that underdog mentality that McTavish has instilled in this team that has contributed so much to their succeess and focus. even at 3-1 and staring down the barrell of a Stanley cup this team refuses to let those thoughts of sucess enter the mind. There is still a job to be done, and it starts tonight.

    ************

    Game 4 had that feeling of being the all important game. If Buffalo took a 3-1 lead, with thier reputation of closing out series at home in 6, they would have a stranglehold on the title. On the other hand, If Columbus tied the series at 2-2 with game 5 in Ohio, then they would have likely taken the edge from the Sabres and would probabpl be in the commanding position for the Cup finals.

    So it came as little surprise that the Jackets got out to a 1-0 start on a Mike Modano PP goal in the first. That however was undone by Daniel Briere only a minute or two later as he tied up the game going into the 1st intermission. A relatively early goal in period 2 from none other than Scott Hartnell put the Sabres up, 2-1. Mark Bell scored to tie it at 22 some 5 minutes later, but a quick goal from Nash (some 13 seconds after Bell's was scored) seemed to undo the Jackets. A Tarnstrom goal soon followed to make it 4-2 going into the 3rd. The damage had been done and Columbus failed to mount an attack of any substance in the 3rd. Buffalo won the gam2 4-2 and moved on to take a 3-1 series lead and is on the verge of making HFNHL history.

    So now its all up to Columbus. And yet, despite being the heavy favourites going into he finals, there is that feeling of destiny being in play here, and that it doesn't matter what the jackets do , the Sabres are going to walk away with this, one way or another.

    That's all...for now.

    Buffalo Bill
    Hockey Editor for The Buffalo News
     
  2. Ohio Jones

    Ohio Jones Game on...

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    Very nice, Josh! That Nash goal, so soon after Bell tied things up, definitely seemed to take the wind out of my sails...

    Of course, I might point out that no one in the Jackets' dressing room is talking about anything being inevitable, they're just acknowledging that they have no more room for mistakes. Which, of course, is true.

    I do wonder how Buffalo could possibly be considered an underdog after having to go through better teams than Columbus did en route to a Conference Title (with no offence to my opponents in the West).

    I'm also curious to know what "minor adjustments" McTavish has made. Near as I can tell, you haven't changed your lineup since the deadline, and prior to last night neither had I.

    But hey, when my back's to the wall, I've gotta come out swinging. Heck, if I'm lucky I'll catch Thibault on the chin and send him to hospital with a concussion... :)

    Good luck tonight, Josh, and whatever comes, congratulations on a great playoffs. :handclap:
     
  3. spintheblackcircle

    spintheblackcircle ...so that happened.

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    Come on, Doug....make it series tonight!
     
  4. Ohio Jones

    Ohio Jones Game on...

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    From your keyboard to the God of hockey's inbox, my friend. :hit:
     

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