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by Brian Wheeler / Buffalo Sabres
Beyond the Boards is written by the Buffalo Sabres Website Manager, Brian Wheeler. Joining the Sabres prior to the 2003-04 season, Wheeler is the main contact and content editor for He has worked in the NHL, NFL, AHL and NLL over the past 11 years.  Click here to send him an email.

In celebration of the first home game against the Toronto Maple Leafs, I'm doing a running diary of the game.  We'll see how this goes...  This could very easily be the one and only time this happens.

First Period

19:36:  Toni Lydman just throws a hipcheck on Jiri Tlusty a la Mike Robitaille.  That is if Lydman had sideburns and danced badly to the Rolling Stones.  Want a laugh, watch the video.  You'll understand what I'm talking about.

15:40:  Sabres power play revoked after Jaroslav Spacek swept Matt Stajan's leg like Dutch on Daniel Larusso in the semis at All Valley Karate Championship .  

[Side note: Buddy of mine grew up on the island and told me Ralph Macchio was a Islanders Season Ticket Holder for a while.  According to him, Macchio would get absolutely belittled in the stands.]

[Side Note #2: Another friend of mine, who also lives in NYC, gets pumped up for a night on the town by cranking "Your the Best" on his stereo.  I seriously can't make this stuff up.  The sweet music video below]

10:55: Players are now keeping an eye out for Patrick Kaleta.  Pavel Kubina just looked over his shoulder his entire trip into the corner to retrieve a puck.  

Didn't do much good.  A quick chip and curl didn't prevent him from getting face planted into the glass by the rookie.

6:34: Tim Connolly streaking up the right wing reminded me of one of my favorite all-time plays.  You remember the time he made Ken Klee look like a pylon. Yeh, that was great.

[How is that video not on YouTube?  I can find every video blog know to man that breaks down Britney Spears, but not a sweet behind-the-back move?  That may be the shock of the night right now.]

0:00:  Ok, little slow in the first.  I'll try to pick it up a little in the second & third.  Hey, I thought of this as the puck was dropping.  Give me a break.

0:00:  So here's my question.... Do members of the Blue Man Group shave their heads or are they wearing caps?  These are the things that keep me up at night.

0:00: The hit of the press box is Robey's feature from the year 1930 that aired back in the day on CBC (watch the video).  Three Sabres employees - that will remain nameless - just made me play the three minute piece again on my laptop. 

The running scene at the end prompted the following exchange...

Guy 1: "When was this shot?  This was before Rocky, right?"
Me: "Yeh, this was way before Rocky."
Guy 2: "Dude, this was the inspriation for Rocky."

Again, I can't make this stuff up.  This is just my life.  Anyway, second period to come.

Second Period

16:02:  Toronto comes out flying and I'm witless right now.  On a sadder note, I just spilled my popcorn on the floor.  The cleaning lady hates my guts.  This isn't the first time.

15:25:  The video boards just showed a crazy Sabres fan that was completely decked out in Buffalo gear and holding a sign that says, "All I want for my birthday is a Stanley Cup."  Good sentiment.  All I want for my birthday is for my unborn daughter to never date a face painter. 

12:10:  Miller looks down and out with a Leafs PP, but makes three unbelievable saves in a row.  He's been on fire as of late. 

[Yeh, that entry stunk.  I'm not all gold.]

9:55:  How bad do you think it would hurt to get shot by the T-Shirt gun from like 10 feet away?  The answer: This is why I have interns.

5:04:  Daniel Paille is quickly becoming one of my favorite players.  Always works hard, good defensively, can fill multiple roles and a heck of a nice guy.

1:19: Hal Gil almost decapitates Paille and then explains to the refs that the forward skated into his stick.  Sorry Hal, no one in the arena believes that one.

0:00: Sabres enter the final frame with 41 seconds left in the Gil PP. Still no scores.  I'm fading fast here.

0:00: It drives me crazy when the high school kids who compete during the intermission shootouts try moves way too advanced for their skill level and just lose the handle.  If you are going to compete in this, listen careful.  This is very important.

You're not facing Hasek down there.  That's Jimmy and he's more worried about his acne and biology test this Thursday than stopping the leg-kick deke wristshot that you're cookin' up.  Keep it simple unless you have the skills.

Third Period

18:45: Best Sabres scoring chance so far.  Hecht across-ice pass to MacArthur in front.  The kid just couldn't get enough graphite on it.

17:44:  Well, my post-game SMS is going to be pretty short tonight.  By the way, you can sign-up now to receive it by clicking here

[Shameless promotion alert]
12:48:  Good slapshot from the point by Ales Kotalik on the PP that Toskala barely gets a piece of.  We need Kotalik to get hot again.  Out of all the Sabres who have scored goals, Kotalik is in the second longest drought on the team (Adam Mair is first).
11:04:  Paul Gaustad puts the Sabres up 1-0 by one-timing Paille's pass from behind the net over the goalie's glove.  "GOOOOOSSSSSEEEEE" circulates the crowd.  Nice moves by Paille behind the net to get free.

8:44:  I always love the paradox of fans on the video screens.  There's that split second decision every time.  Do I watch myself or look at the camera?   Everyone almost always picks the former.

6:36:  Jochen Hecht may the be best on our team at using his body to shield the puck.  Puck along the boards and I want no one else handling the rock.  He just really strong on his skates.

2:37: Late penalty on Sabres gives Toronto a chance. 

1:27: Sabres PK getting it done so far.  Just 51 ticks left with a man down.

0:00: Sabres hold.  Game over.  And I'm spent...
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