So James is back, having returned from his scouting trip of every NHL team, in what was the hopes of finding a home for Brian Lee, and I believe he has secured Lee a position as towel boy for the San Antonio Spurs. To celebrate, we went to the Sens game last night. Hooooo-boy is Ottawa not very good right now.
I’m starting to think that the Sens should re-sign Ruutu, if only because that third line is the only group to get traction on anything. They keep it simple – one dumps the puck while the second chases it into the corner and dishes the hit, and the third crashes the net. Then they work the cycle and generate chances. You have to wonder why this isn’t working for, say, Spezza-Michalek-Kovalev, who generally accept a pass at the blueline, try to stickhandle through the entire team (the opposing coach having realized that all he needs to do to stop the Ottawa Senators is play the trap), lose the puck, and enjoy the sounds of booing as our opponent gets an odd-man rush the other way.
Spezza was awful last night. I get that he’s a creative player, and that’s a bit of a high-wire act that won’t always work out, but it would be nice to see some fundamentals on, say, the powerplay. When your team is down by a goal, there’s ten minutes left, you get two powerplays, and you’re not able to get a single shot on goal, then you know you’ve got problems. Honestly, I would have put Neil, Kelly and Shannon out there before Michalek, Alfie and Kovalev.
Oh, also: Gonchar. Does. Not. Shoot.
Lastly, being at the game you really get a sense of how down on Spezza most people are. I feel like all of the frustration at once having had such a fun 1st line and now only having the youngest and most inconsistent player of the three left (Alfie having transcended to a higher / lower plane of age) is now taken out on him. The boos came readily, given the team only lost by a goal and was leading through one. People are really frustrated. Too bad. With an announced attendance of 19k, it was a packed building, and the team blew it.
Watched last night’s game in shifts. First period at my parents’ place where everything was gravy. Washington looked like a team that had lost 8 straight. Ottawa was winning battles along the boards, putting guys in front the net and generally carrying the play.
After the first period I decided to hightail it back to my apartment. I walked in the door to Perrault’s second tally. Basically a tale of two games. After the intermission, I can only imagine what Boudreau said in the room but I suppose it sounded something close to Joe Pesci’s character in Home Along 2. (nope, didn’t stay home saturday night to watch that movie)
The crazy thing in all this aside from the play which Conrad highlighted earlier, is that they’ve picked up 6 of the 10 available points in the last five games. Hello 8 spot.
So here’s my zany, “Islanders make the playoffs” type prediction for the second half of this season. Ottawa makes the playoffs, draws Atlanta and wins that first round series only to be swept in the one that follows. Think about it, it affords the delusional optimism most fans have come to expect (heck even embrace) while after its conclusion there’s still enough fodder for the “what’s wrong with these guys?” pundits. The perfect mix!
I would take that scenario. Looking at the standings, the parity certainly does give the impression that almost anyone can make it. There’s enough hockey left that were the Sens to go on a run, it’s possible. Though, again due to parity, a team being six points out of the playoffs, as the Senators are, is huge these days. According to Sportsclubstats, the Sens have a 1% chance of taking the 8th seed, and less than that of going any higher. (Which seems sort of ridiculous, and I don’t know if the math bears out.) Again, to put it into perspective, the Sens are only four points up on Florida, who is rebuilding, and Toronto, who is cursed, and only three up on Edmonton, whose average age is eleventeen. I’m rooting for that 8th place finish (though I’m not-so-secretly rooting for a blow-up), but let’s just say I’ve been reading about top ten picks lately.
Welcome back ME! *dodges sharp garbage*
Well, I’ve decided that forced retirement is not for me. No, rather, in the spirit of my BDSM club, the floggings must continue until morale improves. (No judgements at the CCFR)
As such, like Conrad mentioned, we attended last night’s floor behind the toilet that no one ever cleans at Scotiabankplace.com. I returned from blog jail a few days ago to check up on the Senators, only to be pleasantly surprised: No big blow outs to speak of, Pascal Leclaire alive, some mercy points for good measure, Karlsson point streak…okay, I can get into this.
Welllllll welcome back curseface! (I am curseface.) I returned to see the Sens blow a lead in Colorado only to stage a semi-valiant comeback and then suffer a regular-valiant counter comeback from the Avs.
Theeeeeeeeeeeen there was last night. Wow…is the Sens third line ever flying! Leading the team with work ethic, speed, some flashy passing and scoring–! Oops …call coming in…absolutely have to take this…
Hello CCFR, junior blogger at arms James speaking …oh hey boss, thanks for not throwing my desk in the garbage while I was gone. Hmmm…third line, yeah…nope I meant to type third line just there…no, I did. Yes, I am pretty drunk right now but I can assure you… Yes, I know that those are adjectives you would typically use to describe the first line on pretty much any team. Well, I’d love to erase it because it IS pretty embarrassing but there’s no backspace on my electronic typewriter. Yes, that would explain my spelling and grammar—
Oh he hung up. Anyway, the Sens looked like a goddamn mess last night. By the Barfzone I mean Second Period here were the lines:
Carkner Jr. – Melnyk – Mendez
Regin – Jong Il -Woody Allen
Foligno– Brust – Foligno
Ruutu – Alfredsson – Captials Fans
Spezza – Clouston
Rundblad – Spartamoose
Starting goalie – Eli Wilson
CLOUSTON I KNOW YOU’RE READING THIS. THIS BLOG IS THE FOURTH RETURN ON GOOGLE WHEN YOU SEARCH YOUR NAME: CHILL OUT WITH THE LINE COMBOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I might be uncharacteristically short on the recap:
-Maybe Spezza’s worst game of the season. Was definitely hurting the team more than helping.
– Michalek and Phillips both bet on the Capitals or something
-Line combos are bordering on insane
-Gonchar still playing on wrong side?…Totally working.
-Team can actually look at a DISADVANTAGE on the power play
-Defense is making Elliot break his back and as a result Elliot is breaking the team’s back
– Karlsson is currently the only dynamic puck possession player on a supposed dynamic puck possession team.
– Alfie looks hurt or really tired. Age 38 (happy belated Papa Alfie) on the first line? Give him a week off or something at this point.
– Pascal Leclaire is on an IV
– Third line looks like First line
– I think Gonchar was smoking weed with Kovalev before the game…but I think Kovalev can handle his stuff way more.
– Stuff people scream out at the game? Really, really funny…oops…oops not very funny…that’s confirmed as NOT very funny. You’re KILLING it bros. We’re allllll paying attention to you just like your parents didn’t. We / your parents hate you.
I’m excited about the Sens upcoming game against the Cleveland Barons.