Saturday, December 02, 2006

12-1-06: Sabres 4, Rangers 3

It's always nice when a hockey game gives one occasion to meditate on the underlying principles of the universe.

  1. Harmony: The thing that’s so intriguing about the Sabres is that they’re not actually an unholy-talented kind of team. They make mistakes, they screw up passes, they turn over the puck, they even take stupid penalties sometimes. They’re not instinctive scoring machines. What distinguishes the Sabres from the other teams seems to be a kind of organic focus and agility- when one player on the team fucks something up, there’s another guy there instantly to fix it, or at least do damage control. These guys watch each other and adapt immediately to shifting conditions, and they’re so good at it that it just seems to flow naturally. I’m not trying to denigrate their individual talent, but the whole here is so much more than the sum of its parts.
  2. Disharmony: The Rangers, on the other hand, are a team that is more or less entirely dependant on playing one line as much as possible, plus Shanahan. True, it’s a pretty dazzling line, but there’s something weird about seeing Jagr et al. 25+ minutes per night. It’s like the NYR aren’t even actually a team, but rather 4 guys plus a bunch of uniformed place-holders. That kind of imbalance is just plain surreal- it’s like Jagr is a hockey-skill vampire, gaining strength by draining the chi from the weaker members of the team.
  3. TSN's magical experiment with ice-level play-by-play. Personally, I didn't notice any significant difference in the quality of the commentary, but they sure looked like they were having more fun down there than up in their little plexi-booth, so whatever works for them. I do wonder, though, if it is strange for the players to hear the commentary on the game throughout. I mean, the announcers yell pretty loud, and they're right next to the ice, between the benches, without any glass in between, so in theory the players now hear the description of what they're doing as they do it- as well as the color guy's little comments about their past careers or whatever. It must be a very postmodern kind of experience to play hockey like that.
  4. Much of this game was played under dimmed light, due to flooding and storms in Buffalo, and as I was watching we were also getting brownouts/blackouts in Montreal. So this post wasn't entered into my computer and put up on the blog until maybe a week after it was written, at which point it was pretty much irrelevant. Sorry!

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