Well, there it is: no late season collapse robbing us of our newfound feeling of entitlement to playoff hockey, just another afternoon domination of the perpetually rebuilding Islanders. The Senators clinch a playoff spot to top off what has been a long and thoroughly fucking awesome season of Senators hockey.
A few thoughts:
1) Turris: I’ve been as vocal as anyone from the day Rundblad was traded to Phoenix that I didn’t like the trade. I’ve maintained that Rundblad could have been the centerpiece of some larger, better trade, and moreover, was nowhere near his full trade value when sent packing. But it’s games like today’s that make a man admit when he looks wrong. And Turris made me look wroooooooong today. The casual way he delayed on that first goal was a delicious marinara sauce. I can admit it. He looks great.
2) The Islanders: you know, I’ve also kind of felt for a while that the Islanders, while of course a bit of a joke for all of the obvious reasons, were running a really solid rebuild. They’ve drafted and developed their prospects patiently. They’ve locked up their core players. They have great prospects coming up. They should be active in the offseason, possibly trading for veteran contracts from teams who’ve bottomed out. (If I was Garth Snow, I’d be the first one to call Montreal’s new GM, Pierre McGuire.) They’re probably moving to Brooklyn, which is an awesome place. I truly do believe that there will come a season, and pretty soon, when the Islanders will be the team-du-jour to get behind.
But you know, there are times when you’re watching the New York Islanders, with Al Fucking Montoya in net, and JOHN FUCKING GRAHAME backing him up, and you just have to think that the Islanders will be hopeless forever. Is there any franchise other than the Islanders that you could picture having a goaltending tandem of Montoya and Grahame? What a bunch of maroons.
3) First round match ups: I’m sure there’s going to be about a million articles about first round match ups for you folks in the next few days and weeks, but I’m getting some early worrying done about facing Boston. Florida is obviously everyone’s favorite dance partner, and I’d rather face the New York Rangers any day of the week. Needless to say, now that we’ve clinched I’ll be cheering Washington on a bit to take over that 7th seed.
4) Earlier today I saw an old woman fall down some stairs outside a church: don’t worry, she was okay, but she’ll have a real goose egg over her right eye. I told her it’ll look really badass. She didn’t agree.
5) You know who I’m kind of sick of? Chris Neil: I mean, I get it. A tough guy who can chip in some goals is worthwhile, and the way he drew that penalty shows that he can be a useful pest rather than one of those ‘remnants of the way the game used to be played’ pests. But during games like this, when you’re missing two top six forwards and he’s a key veteran who you expect to step up, you can really see the limit of his abilities. I like him because he’s a Senator, but I can imagine being a fan of another team and detesting Neil.
6) What’s your favorite Sens playoff goal? Mine is Dean McAmmond’s shorthanded goal on Brodeur during the 2007 Cup Run. I can’t find a clip of it, but this McAmmond to Saprykin goal was also pretty sweet.
I’ve been an ardent Turris supporter since watching him back in Phoenix, but I definitely agree that Rundblad’s trade value was nowhere near its peak. Still, I believed that Turris filled an immediate AND long-term need for a rebuilding team, and I thought that he would thrive under MacLean. He hasn’t exactly done that, but my love hasn’t diminished. I’m really excited to see him perform next year with: a calm offseason to focus on training, coaching continuity, and, hopefully, Silfverberg and Alfie on his wings.
A day like today shows he has the talent to excel in a second-line role, and ideally, the pieces to make that happen should be in place next year. There’s plenty of reason for excitement.
Agreed, I couldn’t be more excited for turris. Over a full season his projected point totals for the year would be 50 which is extremely good considering the conditioning he’s missed out on this year.
Great write up! Its an old story by now but I keep having my expectations surpassed by this team. First it was “Don’t get completely trounced every night” then it was “Play .500 hockey” then it was “I don’t know? Finish ahead of Toronto I guess?” and now this, wow. The Carvel Ice Cream Presents: Fudgie the Whale Ice Cream cake has just continued to get layer upon layer of icing. The bounce back year I was hoping for from Kuba, turned into leading the team in +/-, the breakout year I really wanted to see from Karlsson has had him in the discussion with Paul Coffey, Brian Leetch, Ray Bourque and Denis Potvin all year. Damn, cousin. I wanted to say Bobby Orr too but whenever they show one of those charts No. 4 is usually like 4000 points ahead of everyone. Truly a different class. Too keep this short I’m not even going to dip into some of the rookie performances we’ve seen. Anyway, perhaps most of all, this season I just wanted to see Spezza have a relatively healthy year to finally prove his stubborn doubters wrong. I’ve been saying it for years that the fan base has been wayyyy too tough on the guy considering his contributions to the team over the years. When fans were calling for him to be traded a couple seasons ago I was losing my mind at the idea of Murray foolishly caving to fan pressure or perhaps Spezza getting fed up with our BS once and for all and wanting out. But just like Alfie did a few years past, Spezza has shaken off the doubts and emerged as the engine that powers the team. From scapegoat to captain material. Kudos Spezz.
As for the new reality of a playoff berth, I want to go even just to tip my hat and cheer the undeniable work this team has put in giving us this great season. Do I think they have a chance? Varada and I went to the first home game against Pittsburgh a couple years ago and while we were loud and proud…maybe it was the Crosby talking but the team just seemed a bit in over their heads. As for this year, no matter who they face all I have to say is this… They’ve been counted out time after time this season and this team makes it pretty easy to believe in them. GO SENS!
“I like him because he’s a Senator, but I can imagine being a fan of another team and detesting Neil.”
This is exactly what makes him a valuable player, especially in the playoffs.