You know, it’s an IMPORTANT night. Of course all sportz nights are important ones but this one especially so. As if a game against the mediocre Dallas $tars couldn’t get more exciting, Ales Hemsky is back in town!
I kid, I kid, y’all know I’m a rascal. No one cares about him. No, the big noise is that tonight
is the night when two become one marks the return of Jason Spezza to the Tires.com Arena.
Always a polarizing figure during his 11 seasons in the Capital, there has been a lot of
interesting discussion leading up to the game over the decision of whether to boo or cheer Spezza. I’ve decided this is what I will be chanting tonight: CAN I HAZ WIN?
Honestly, true fans of
-Norwegian Black Metal- the Sens know the cheer or boo Spezza debate has been raging since I DON’T KNOW the day he started playing here over a decade ago. But hey, Ima let our fanbase’s tradition of self-consciousness cook.
Story behind the story behind the riddle wrapped in an enigma wrapped in “In Flames” themed padding:
K, the real story for me tonight is how goalie of the future, Robin Aloysius Lehner performs.
Shorty has been tore DOWN for a minute. It is clear that Dave Cameron who is getting his first crack at NHL coaching, is not on team tank. Part of his controversial strategy of “trying to keep his job” is to win as many games as possible and not start Lehner, who of late has been, as the British say, “Shit, mate”.
Harsh? We’ll in his last 5 games his best performance has been an overtime loss TO THE BUFFALO SABRES where he surrendered 4 goals in 33 shots and posted an .879 save percentage.
Hi, my name’s James and I’d like to, again, point out that THAT WAS HIS BEST PERFORMANCE IN HIS LAST 5 GAMES.
His worst of those last 5 you ask? Computer says that would be giving up 5 goals on 29 shots(!)
good for an .838 save percentage…including a 4 goal 2nd period meltdown in a regulation loss against who? Oh, NBD, just against THESE SAME MEDIOCRE ASS DALLAS STARS.
YOU GUYS I’M STARTING TO WORRY ABOUT ROBIN LEHNER.
Update: Oh GOOD Lehner’s starting because Craig Anderson’s hurt. Andrew Hammond has been recalled from Binghamton. *Looks at his AHL stat line for this year*
As per me:
Holy shit Hammond has been AWWWWWFUL in Binghamton. Homie has 7 wins in 25 starts this year and sports an only acceptable in the QMJHL goals against average of 3.51. fuh-kinnnng YIKES.
For a team that basically needs goaltenders to steal games for them on a near nightly basis I can only send this up toward Craig Anderson’s hospital room in heaven:
What else? HAHAHAHA…Who cares!
Life comes at one fast: David Legwand led the Detroit Red Wings in points less than a calendar year ago. He is a healthy scratch tonight…playing for the Sens…At least he has a career ahead of him playing henchmen/street toughs on various iterations of the CSI shows for the foreseeable future. Lookin’ more and more like a walking police sketch every day, Dave!
Alex Chiasson who was looking like the odd man out until recently gets a crack at his old club [again] tonight. G has to get on the board. I mean, after having had to endure an Ales Hemsky goal the last time these teams met, it’s the least he can do. C’mon accomodating Stars, do the kid a solid, we can’t bear all the weight of getting opposing players off the schneid(?). Chiasson’s line with Hoffman and Pageau looks pretty cool actually.
“Pageau dishes to Hoffman, Hoffman SHOOTS, Chiasson tries to get in the way but not TOO much in the way, [Ed. note: probably] SCORES!” – Hockey
HEY! Speaking of getting off the schneid (why do i keep using this phrase?) common law linemates Kyle Turris and Clarke MacArthur are “on a break” after nearly two years of happiness together. A lot’s been made of it but I think it’s the right move. They’re two of my favorite players and I haven’t even been mad at how they’ve been playing but they’ve been undeniably cold of late. If it doesn’t work, put them back together, they certainly haven’t been hurting the team. I’m not mad at this top 6 combo slated to start the game:
Michalek – Turris – Stone
MacArthur – Zibanejad – Ryan
Michalek has been pretty great lately as has Stone. Really, so have Zibanejad and especially Ryan who’s really becoming a force on this team…so…We’ll see how it goes.
Corporate slogan idea: Your Ottawa Senators: We’ll See How It Goes
Defensive pairings look to shape up like this:
Methot – Karlsson
Who gives a damn – Ceci
Who gives a damn – Who gives a damn
Extra: Patrick Wiercioch has a thing with sleeping with coaches wives [Legal: ALLEGEDLY]. Mark Borowiecki is now available on Netflix.
Puck drop is at 7:30pm, cheering Spezza is scheduled for the first period and booing him will follow in the 2nd and 3rd or as soon as he scores a fucking goal. Coverage is available on HAM radio or by Fax Machine.
Enjoy the game! OR WHATEVER, it’s your business!
I would say the most common question people ask me – or the most common after “Chet, does this look like eczema?” – is about which Ottawa Senators jersey they should buy. And I get it, it’s a big purchase. You don’t want to drop a week’s salary at the cannery on a shirt with a guy’s name on it only to have that guy be traded to Columbus a week later, or worse, continue being Alex Kovalev. At the same time, the player you choose sends a message to your fellow fans – are you looking for a superstar whose jersey you can pop every time he scores a goal? Do you want to demonstrate your extensive knowledge of the team with an off-the-radar choice? Was there something about Zenon Konopka that resonated deeply with you?
These are all important questions, but you can only answer the same question so many times before you become frustrated and get thrown out of a baptism, as I was last week. So I thought the best way to help you make the right choice would be to diagram the appropriate decision-making process in a flowchart. This is that flowchart.
(click to enlarge)
Here’s what we know:
Ottawa needs to go 23-11-4 to have a roughly 50% chance of making the playoffs. How close will they come? At this point in the post, I don’t know. I mean, we’re right at the top. I think you’re being unreasonable. But let’s go, game-by-game, and find out. It’s what I like to call “math,” and what my math teacher called “cheating.”
Jan 20 – Rangers – Away
They come off of a pretty solid performance against Carolina, even though they lost, and were ultra-convincing against the Habs before that. I’m going to start on a positive note and call this a win.
WIN – 1-0-0
Jan 21 – Toronto – Home
Normally I would call this an automatic loss because it’s against Toronto, but Toronto seems to be mired in a nihilistic whirlpool from which all hope escapes. It is the second of a back-to-back though, and they have to travel. And Toronto could, I guess, get a win someday. You know what…?
OT LOSS – 1-0-1
Jan 29 – Dallas – Home
It’s after a week off. It’s at home. It’s Spezza’s first time back. This one will mean something to the boys. BUT…Dallas has been unreal these past 15 games or so. This one is tough. I’m going to go conservative here and say…
OT LOSS – 1-0-2
Jan 31 – Arizona – Home
Yotes stink, Sens win.
WIN – 2-0-2
Feb 3 – New Jersey – Road
I know it’s really not very creative at all to say, “Hmm, the Sens are playing bad teams, so they should win,” but I think there’s some course correction due here. Ottawa’s shot ratio is much better under Cameron than it was under MacLean, and their record against the East hasn’t been nearly commensurate to their record against the West, which is wacky. So I’m going to call another win here. They should be able to beat New Jersey in the back half of their lost season.
WIN – 3-0-2
Feb 5 – Washington – Home
Ottawa plays Washington pretty tight, actually, and in this imaginary world I’m creating they haven’t lost in regulation in 5 games. Still, who am I to jinx the shit out of everything? I’ll say they get some bad bounces in this one, but still take it the distance and lose in OT or the shootout.
OT LOSS – 3-0-3
Feb 7 – Columbus – Home
Here’s another one the Sens should be able to take, especially with playing so many games at home and the imaginary momentum I’ve provided them. This is a soft-ass schedule. Roll them dice, keep gambling till you shit your pants, I always say.
WIN – 4-0-3
Feb 10 – Buffalo – Away
So, to review, so far I’ve said the Sens won’t lose in regulation for 7 straight games. That’s pretty great. But no one is bigger than the game. Especially when the game is as capricious and weird as hockey. Here, Ottawa not only plays the worst team in the league, but one of the historically bad teams of all time.
BLOWOUT LOSS – 4-1-3
Feb 12 – Pittsburgh – Home
Ottawa loses their second in a row; everyone writes the same article they’ve already written about Milan Michalek for the 14th time.
LOSS – 4-2-3
Feb 14 – Edmonton – Home
Afternoon game. Against Edmonton. At home. Should be an easy win.
LOSS – 4-3-3
Feb 16 – Carolina – Home
Jesus Christ, do they ever play on the road again? At this point Carolina should be all but eliminated. Maybe they’ll have started trading people. If anything, this should be a corrective to that weird bouncy shitshow goal in their last game against the Louisiana Turlets.
WIN – 5-3-3
Feb 18 – Montreal – Home
WIN – 6-3-3
Feb 21 – Florida – Home
At home??? Again??? Are the guys going to be 300 pounds from all of the at-home lounging? Florida’s played Ottawa pretty well here, I dunno. But I’m never comfortable calling games against them. We could either dominate or lose 2-0. Nothing in between. And I hate it when people call them “The Cats.” I’ll go conservative again,
OT LOSS – 6-3-4
WEST COAST ROAD TRIP SEGMENT
Feb 25 – Anaheim – Away
Oh shit. Party’s over. West Coast trips are always a thing. This is Mordor. I know I’m calling a lot of OT losses here, but it’s kind of our thing, isn’t it?
OT LOSS – 6-3-5
Feb 26 – Los Angeles – Away
Damn it. I want to call this a win, I really do. But this process is just too scientific.
LOSS – 6-4-5
Feb 28 – San Jose – Away
Who fucking knows? San Jose is the most mysterious team in the entire league.
WIN – 7-4-5
March 3 – Minnesota – Away
Damn, there are a lot of games left in the season. I didn’t think this through before I started this post. I’m going to get some pita chips, I’ll be right back.
WIN – 8-4-5
March 4 – Winnipeg – Away
Winnipeg is the only city in Canada I’ve been to where I’ve actually been pretty scared and people of many different ages have told me not to go out walking by myself. Good music and restaurant scene, though.
LOSS – 8-5-5
March 6 – Buffalo – Home
YOU BETTER FUCKING WIN – 9-5-5
March 8 – Calgary – Home
Hmmmm…. a Sunday against an unsuspecting and pretty poor team. This one is tough. Usually the Sens shit the bed on these ones.
OT LOSS – 9-5-6
March 10 – Boston – Home
LEHNER SHUT OUT. But Sens also don’t score.
OT LOSS – 9-5-7
March 12 – Montreal – Away
WIN – 10-5-7
March 13 – Islanders – Away
LOSS – 10-6-7
March 15 – Philadelphia – Home
WIN – 11-6-7
March 17 – Carolina – Away
That’s right, I’m calling this many OT losses. I don’t know man, the heart wants what it wants. I just don’t think the Sens solidly beat the Canes this season. Remember when JOE CORVO scored a hattie against the Sens that one time? And then we signed him AGAIN? Jesus. I don’t even really know why I watch hockey, to be honest with you.
OT LOSS – 11-6-8
March 19 – Boston – Home
LEHNER SHUT OUT. This time we score a goal. One goal.
WIN – 12-6-8
March 21 – Toronto – Home
Saturday night game. On Hockey Night in Canada. Automatic embarrassing loss.
LOSS – 12-7-8
March 23 – San Jose – Home
The rare San Jose in Ottawa game!!! It’s like a mirage!!!
LOSS – 12-8-8
March 26 – Rangers – Home
Like I said, we play these guys pretty tight. I don’t think we like them very much.
WIN – 13-8-8
March 28 – Toronto – Away
See above. Saturday night, etc.
LOSS – 13-9-8
March 29 – Florida – Home
Hmmmm. An afternoon game? On a Sunday? Against the Panthers? This one is like an exotic spice.
WIN – 14-9-8
March 31 – Detroit – Away
I’d like to think Ottawa tries to make it competitive against a division rival. There isn’t much juice left in this rivalry post-Alfie, but I think it’s close.
OT LOSS – 14-9-9
April 2 – Tampa Bay – Home
There’s hockey in April? That seems unreasonable. The season is probably too long. Oh, also at this point Tampa starts resting their stars for the playoffs.
WIN – 15-9-9
April 4 – Washington – Home
I really don’t know. This is like three months from now. What a dumb idea for a blog post.
OT LOSS – 15-9-10
April 5 – Toronto – Away
EPIC, NHL RECORD SETTING WIN AS A REWARD TO THOSE OF YOU WHO HAVE READ THIS FAR. CHRIS NEIL WITH THE RARE FIVE GOAL GAME.
WIN – 16-9-10
April 7 – Pittsburgh – Home
I don’t know, I’m tired.
LOSS – 16-10-10
April 9 – Rangers – Away
LOSS – 16-11-10
April 11 – Philadelphia – Away
WIN – 17-11-10
…So there you have it. A soft schedule with a lot of home games in the back half of the season (the front half of the back half?) and a whimpering finish that actually saw me abandon my own blog post results in some momentum and more wins than losses. But we get so many OT losses it’s enough for every blog, including this one, to sort of shrug and be like “If we can win a few more of those next year we’ll be golden!”
Unfortunately, this rigorous and unimpeachable process predicts a 17-11-10 record which, according to SportsClubStats (at least before the guy who runs it gets hired by someone and we can’t access his website anymore) is….not a possibility? I don’t know.
But that’s 88 points on the season, which would be just shy of a playoff spot. If you need around 92 points (maybe 90 in the East), that puts the Sens at like….11th in the East. You know where they finished last year? 11th in the East. With 88 points.
Anyway, I’ve just now, just this second, taken up boating. Bye, hockey. It’s been fun.
Go behind the glitz(?) and glamour of the high stakes world of small market hockey blogging with your increasingly less popular hosts Varada, Steve and James. In this episode they take on the topics that are currently plaguing the Sensphere. Should Ottawa transition from “Goalie Graveyard” to “Team That Finally Has a Good Goalie After Years of Searching So Let’s Trade Him”? What’s to be done with the Ted and Judy’s Methot’s son? If he’s shipped out will Erik Karlsson develop similar chemistry with the pile of Hungry Man Dinners that replaces him? ONLY TIME WILL TELL. Speaking of time, you hosts courageously attempt to predict what will happen to the Senators in the latter half of the season. We apologize that it will render your viewing experience pointless as the outcome of the 2014-15 will be accurately explained in full. As always, we answer your question in the
beloved Talk To The Audience segment.