That is the date that I touched on the importance of Jhonas Enroth to the Buffalo Sabres. Not to blow my own Viking horn too loudly, but I believe I really nailed it then, in what wast albeit mostly a snarky picture-and-caption post:
“The Sabres are lucky to have Enroth as an insurance policy as they head down the final stretch run of the regular season.”
Jhonas Enroth steps in for an injured Ryan Miller, and backstops a team reeling after a terrible loss to a 1-0 shutout victory. This win, this shutout, cannot be discounted.
This was a huge game.
For the team, they know that they have a goaltender in Enroth that will stay square to the play, hold his ground, and play the puck aptly. Those traits make a world of difference for a defense squad – especially one as young as the Sabres’.
For Ryan Miller, he has the mental cushion of knowing that the entire history and foreseeable future of the Buffalo Sabres does not rest solely on his back. Now, someone has his back, and that means Miller will have more time and energy to focus on the game, and not the circumstances around it.
For opponents, there is a new wild card in Buffalo. As great as Miller is, NHLers have shot hundreds of pucks at him, and have all developed a little trickery. With Enroth, there is no history – no real exposure. His cracks have to be found.
For fans, well, there is another jersey to buy, and a new name to cheer.
For Enroth’s parents, well, they were in town to see their son play hockey – for the first time in two years.
You’ve made us all proud, Jhonas.