Rather than just offering analysis of a game I merely listened to I will present a different point of view on today’s game between the Sabres and Adler Mannheim.
I expected little from this game rather than a unique way for European hockey fans to see the Sabres. Adler Mannheim was obviously outmatched in this game as they gave up three first-period goals as the Sabres rolled 8-3. The Eagles presented a challenge in the early going, creating a few chances on Jhonas Enroth, but couldn’t skate with the Sabres for 60 minutes.
Luke Adam and Tyler Ennis each scored twice, although Adam’s second goal was awarded to Thomas Vanek. Christian Ehrhoff scored on his native soil, as well. From the sound of it, The Ville Leino, Brad Boyes and Ennis line was deadly for the entire game, something that will hopefully carry over to Friday and Saturday.
The overall atmosphere of this game is what should truly be taken away. There was little doubt that the Sabres would be capable of winning the game. But applaud the fans of Mannheim as they packed the standing room seats 90 minutes before puck drop and chanted and sang for the entire game. Not once did I hear silence from that section, a truly marvelous feature to any sporting event, particularly hockey.
I am just as guilty as every other Sabres fan, I am not one to stand up an lead my section in a “Sabres on the warpath” chant for a few minutes, let alone an entire game. Of course, the fans in the F’N Center probably wouldn’t even carry the chant. Too many people are sitting on their hands. It is about time the crowds for home Sabres games make a difference, I hope the regime and roster changes help spark that in the 18,690 each night.
I also decided that I’m seriously glad the Sabres are on this trip. I had some misgivings because of the major jet lag that is incurred, plus the shake-up to the schedule in general. But, there have been accommodations made, there are six days between games and the Premiere games are non-conference opponents. It is obvious that this is something the players enjoy doing and it is some seriously good PR for the NHL on an international stage. There is no excuse for keeping NHL players out of the Olympics, this much is true.
The other thing I took away from this game were the NHL’s new helmet numbers. Last week, it was announced that each player would have their number adorn the front of their helmet, as well as the back. This looked dumb enough on a helmet by itself. We now have photographic proof that it looks stupid in practice as well.
I will admit that the Kings and Ducks don’t look as dumb, but they have white numbers on a black helmet. It is a toned down look compared to the screaming gold digits the Sabres or Predators are rocking on their domes. Overall these numbers look stupid. I have yet to see them on a white helmet, but it would appear the season will begin with the numbers stuck firmly to every player’s forehead.
There still doesn’t appear to be a clear reason why these things are being used. I know they’re to help in identifying players; but if said player has his head up, no one will see that number. It is making the NHL look like a youth league when kids plaster crap all over their buckets. News flash, this is the top professional league, no need to add a ridiculous uniform gimmick like this. I’ll reiterate a previous point. There are four – five depending on the team – where a number can be found on a player, there is no need for one more to be thrown in the mix. It is bad enough teams have numbers on their chests, now they will have them on their foreheads?
The NHL needs to bring this experiment to an end right away.