• I might be biased, but Ryan Miller
was only the third star last week for the NHL?
He won all three starts while allowing just 4 goals in the three games. Two of the wins came against perceived heavyweights Calgary and Philadelphia.
Henrik Zetterberg of Detroit was named first star with three goals (a hat trick on Saturday) and six assists. Ilya Kovalchuk of Atlanta was named second star with three goals and five assists. Excellent weeks by both forwards, but not better than Miller’s.
However, I can understand Kovalchuk voted higher since he just returned from a broken foot.
• Speaking of Calgary and Philadelphia, do you think fans in those cities were saying before games against Buffalo, “we better bring it tonight, the Sabres are tough?"
Chances are no, but be sure that will be the conversation next time. The Sabres were flat out determined both nights and didn’t back down from either team.
It really showed against Calgary when Patrick Kaleta
went after Jarome Iginla for hitting Steve Montador while he was on the ice. Iginla is not only a goal scorer, but he can go toe to toe with most anybody in the league. Kaleta is not afraid to get his nose dirty and came to the aid of teammate that normally does that for others.
A similar moment that resulted in a fight was when Paul Gaustad went after Dion Phaneuf for taking liberties with Clarke MacArthur. Gaustad did the same thing the next night in Philly with Chris Pronger. Those things go a long way on and off the ice.
• Speaking of Chris Pronger, when will the league really crackdown on this guy? He’s a tremendous defenseman at both ends of the ice and doesn’t need to do all the cheap things that he does. He’s good for at least six cheap shots, crosschecks, or jabs a game. His size should be intimidating enough.
• It was great to see Tyler Ennis
score in his NHL debut. What a story for him, the late call up, arriving a short time before warm-ups and then scoring a huge goal. He’s going to be fun to watch in the years to come.
• Kids can learn a lesson from Adam Mair. He was placed on waivers last week, stayed with the team, and ended up playing in two big wins. The story may not be over for him and his place with the team, but he continued to work hard and it paid off in ice time. Remember, Lindy Ruff did not have to play him for the injured Mike Grier. I believe Ruff played Mair because of the dedication and great attitude he displayed while being a healthy scratch most of the season.
• I am looking forward to our first trip to Ottawa this week. The Senators are a much better team this year due to better goaltending (Pascal LeClaire) and the subtraction of Dany Healtey. They are also getting a much better year out of Mike Fisher who has seven goals and seven assists to date. In 78 games last season, Fisher potted just 13 goals and 19 assists.
• Lindy Ruff made a great point after the Flyers game about the power play; It’s not always about percentages. He looks to see how the Sabres came out of the game on special teams. Did it help or hurt? It helped Friday against Calgary with a power play goal by Derek Roy
. On Saturday in Philly Thomas Vanek
and Paul Gaustad had power play goals, and the Flyers had a shorthanded marker. It’s still a plus one for the night and the difference in the game.
• Be sure to join Mike Robitaille and me right here on Sabres.com 50 minutes before each home game for a live blog chat (I think that’s what it’s called). We answer as many questions as we can and you get to read all the questions and answers, and perhaps ask your own. See you then.