I really do think Buffalo was a great host city for the tournament due to the fact that WNY is a huge hockey area and since we are close in proximity to Canada. I know some people were disappointed that there was such a "Canadian Invasion" and that not enough Americans came out for the tournament, but let's be real here... This tournament is for the Canadians. They made the tournament what it is. While I'm proud to say that I'm an American hockey fan, the hockey culture up in Canada is just a completely different animal. Many Canadians joke about how they learned to ice skate before they learned to walk. Hockey is a way of life up there, and while over the past several years, USA hockey programs have taken great strides in the hockey world, Canada just has such a long and storied history when it comes to hockey. I just didn't think it was fair to believe that US hockey fans would ever come out in large numbers like the Canadians did, even though the World Juniors was held in the US.
I really think that the Sabres and the city of Buffalo did a great job hosting the tournament. Buffalo got a few insults here and there, but as a Buffalonian, I knew it was to be expected. But I also knew that people would be quick to defend the city, and while I think booing a 17-year-old who plays on your national team is uncalled for, I really liked reading the several columns that writers and analysts posted afterwords. This column (and the comments that were posted) written by Damien Cox was one of my favorites.
Anyways, onto the NHL... The Sabres are still on quite a rocky road, and it amazes me that a team with as much talent as they have are playing so poorly. There are a few bright spots; Stafford, Vanek, and Pominville seem to be getting on the scoring track, but it remains to be seen if they can stay consistent. Miller playing less-than-stellar has hurt the team and has also been pretty worrisome since his strong presence in net is so imperative to this team. Miller's play can also be reflected on our defense... It's no coincidence that when the defense is on Miller usually is as well, and vice versa. I really have no idea what to think of the team. While making the playoffs is still a reachable goal, I can't recall when the Sabres put out a stretch of great hockey this season, which is very telling. But I'll still be watching every game, hoping for the best.
I finished watching HBO's documentary, 24/7 on the Penguins and the Capitals and...wow. I was blown away with it. It was truly a must-see for any hockey fan and I enjoyed every minute of it. You could tell that whoever was in charge of the documentary really understood hockey inside and out and knew how to portray it. I really wish the NHL would do something like this more frequently, not just building up to the Winter Classic. It would be neat to do it every other month or something like that, and follow a team for a week or two. What do you have to say to that, NHL?
Well it definitely feels good to be back blogging here and for those of you who read my blog during the World Juniors, I really appreciate it. During the USA-Canada game I met a young woman named Amanda who told me that she reads my blog and that was really awesome. I'm glad I met her and I'm glad that she likes reading my blog! If you're reading right now, Amanda, it was great to meet you and I hope you keep reading. :)