I think we’re talking about laziness and inattention to detail. Opponents are buzzing the sens net without being accounted for, forwards have defined back checking as poking at the puck with their sticks instead of tying up their marks own lumber. You can tell the defense partners aren’t talking to each other and… well the list goes on.
There seems to be times when the pretty play has been chosen over the safe play, particularly on the PP. I’m confident the coach will sort it out but with the younger kids that message takes a bit of time. If I could offer one bit of arm chair coaching maybe a send down and call up will shake things up?
Though the Sens didn’t get totally thumped last night there is not a whole lot that appears to be clicking for them right now. I don’t want to sound like a broken record…actually, I probably do because that sounds fun and easy but…either way, I think aside from everything the Pete just rightly pointed out, the thing that scares me the most is that Daniel Alfredsson (praise be His mighty name) is by far the best player on the team. I don’t like that at all. He is too old to still be the engine that powers this dreamship. It was so much better earlier when his role was beginning to be Captain Clutch. Let the Michaleks and Folignos of the world score the goals and when you need a Stetson Man to hop off the bench and pot that shootout goal or break that tie or whatever…that’s when Papa Alfie makes his move.
Right now Alfredsson is looking 10 years younger than he is out there and making some power moves, which is just staggeringly impressive but…when are the Sens going to get away from this “Can’t someone Alfie do it?” model that rears its head year after year. Troublesome. It seemed like since the end of last season, Spezza was beginning to be the guy leaned on hardest and I think that’s great because I think he has the goods to be that but in situations like now where Spezza is likely hurt (or as Jason York speculates that Spezza is sick- not in the Ovechkin describing something positively way) that someone BESIDES ALFREDSSON needs to step in.
I will say some positive things too. I am still very impressed with Kyle Turris. He hasn’t played perfectly or anything but that kid makes things happen for sure. Happy to have him aboard. Chris Phillips also had a pretty outstanding game last night which he needed to have… because he had been looking like a pylon out there since returning from the all star break. I hope Philly can keep it up as scoring drying up is one thing but defense simultaneously being all over the place just makes for an ugly …seven game losing streak.
A lot of people are talking, “Call up Lehner to punch up the netminding” or “Call up Peterson to spark the goal scoring” which, really, aren’t terrible ideas by me though at this point I’m leaning most toward, “call up Borowiecki and add some enthusiasm to the D” or even just to wake up Carkner but I don’t know… whatever I’m no Harvey Globetrotter with this situation…just do whatever it takes to stop being the goddamn Columbus Blue Jackets already. I’ve noticed my visits to hockeysfuture have increased by 700% this month. Help me Varada…you always know what to do….or can complain about stuff more articulately than I.
Hockey is a surreal and amazing phenomenon, inexplicable and unknowable. How Ottawa could have survived that terrifying January, mostly on the road and mostly unscathed, to find themselves sixth in the conference, only to then return to a strand of home games and a few days rest for the All Star Break, and then – only THEN – embark on the season’s worst losing streak is the stuff of torn hairlines. That they are losing games against the Islanders, or a Blues team that musters less than 20 shots, while on home ice, and giving up game winning goals from center ice, and being unceremoniously and thoroughly screwed by referees is not, in itself, that remarkable. But that it’s happening all at once, right now, is the stuff of maddening anarchy. Basically, late January and early February has been home to the kind of hockey that confirms that there is no god, only random patterns in an uncaring universe.
For the first time in months, the statistical probability thatOttawawill make the playoffs is below 50%, down to 39.9%. How quickly we go from “anything better than dead last is gravy!” to this crushing reality – a surprising playoff experience replaced, most probably, by just missing it. The team has played better than expected up until now and I hope they can turn it around. But with less games remaining than most teams and defintely anyone ahead of them in the standings, they need to become a completely different team overnight and win at least 2/3rds of their games. I don’t know if that can happen.
In my last pessimistic post, I said that I wasn’t quite ready to throwAndersonunder the bus. And I’m still not, though I am nudging him toward the curb. I haven’t done a quantitative analysis, but I’d be willing to bet that he’s outright lost the game for the team – meaning that the game was oneOttawashould have won, except the goaltending mussed it up – as often as he’s outright won one. If it does in fact turn out to be .500, that ain’t bad for a goaltender, but I’m dusting off my trusty “Why make commitments to goaltenders?” argument, which looks especially good at times like this.
Consistency is such a rare trait among a goaltender that Luongo got 187 years and a kerbillion dollars just for being perceived to be a consistently-very-good-if-not-necessarily-elite goaltender, at which point he promptly became one of the few liabilities on that Vancouver team during their Cup run. We don’t need to talk about Bryzgalov. I like Anderson, I have since his days in Florida, but four years and north of three million per is a tougher pill to swallow on some days than on others.
But if I can focus on some very small and seemingly petty detail for a moment: what is with this team’s repeated attempt at the stretch pass? All teams occasionally resort to it, I understand, but it seems to me that this is a tactic to be employed opportunistically, when one sees one’s forwards sneaking in behind the opposition defense. It is not, say, something to be relied on about 75% of the time you find yourself in your own end with the puck. How many times have we seen some player like Condra – meaning, a well meaning and hard working but otherwise relatively unskilled third line player – trying to handle a 60 foot screamer from Filip Kuba or, worse, Matt Carkner? How many times have we skated through the neutral zone with possession only to see someone attempt a hairline pass along the red line in the hopes that the forward will maintain possess, fend off a trap defender, and stick-handle into the zone? I never though I’d say it, but can we get a little dump n’ chase around here? I think we can assume that overall the technique has worked, as the Senators offense is much better this season, but during these dark days I’ve got think that maybe the system needs a little tweak.