If things played out in real life they way they did on paper, tonight’s Caps-Sabres game in Buffalo would be the post-Christmas treat. Like Ralphie ultimately getting his Red Ryder BB gun in “A Christmas Story,” we’d be watching Alex Ovechkin and the soaring Caps battle Ryan Miller and the reborn Sabres.
Instead, we’re treated to a pair of teams failing to live up to expectations and disappointing everyone in their hometowns.
The only questions hinging on tonight’s game, instead, are who are the most disappointing players on the ice? The easy candidates are quick to be found. For Washington, you can take your pick amongst Tomas Vokoun, Alexander Semin, or even Ovechkin himself.
Vokoun was thought to be the top guy in net but he’s been miserable. Making those matters worse is that Michal Neuvirth hasn’t been able to seize the spotlight making the Caps goaltending a serious sore spot. Semin’s struggles are all too well known while Ovechkin is trying to get his game figured out under Dale Hunter. When things are going badly, everything looks ugly.
Buffalo’s hit list is immense. Ville Leino and Ryan Miller are equally goat-like with Christian Ehrhoff continuing to make people wonder why Sabres GM Darcy Regier gave him a ten-year contract. Thomas Vanek has been a source of inspiration for the Sabres, but now he’s banged up. If Miller were living up to expectations and not busy complaining all the time, maybe the Sabres wouldn’t have such worries.
Instead, times are tough in Buffalo yet again and Lindy Ruff too is busy voicing his displeasure about things other than his team’s play. If tonight’s game set up the right way, both teams would beat each other’s faces in to get a win and start turning things around. Don’t consider our hopes up too high though, we’ve been burned doing that already with these two.