James Day Preview: Stanley Cup Jamesoffs Edition. SENS-PEENS Game 4

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“This is Kung Fu not foot dancing!”
I once upon a time had this phrase screamed at me on a regular basis by a firm but fair Chinese man who could literally kill you several ways with his bare hands. (Don’t let the yelling dissuade you btw, I highly recommend you take up Kung Fu. It gets you in terrific shape and they teach you how to severely injure a human attacker in countless ways. Keep fit and have fun and learn to maim!) What was I talking about? Oh yeah, don’t try to rob me if you like your elbow not broken, baby cousin.
I mean…I want to yell at you for a second, “This is sporting games not fairy tales!” What I mean by that is, I, like you, have followed the Ottawa Senators through their playoff journeys since 1996-97. You, fetching reader, know that these nearly two decades of post season play have been filled with dizzying highs and crushing lows. I’ve found it important to appreciate those highs when they happen. A lot of them have been happening this year. A lot.

There was an article on The Ottawa Senators Chirping Page recently about playoff memories that really I enjoyed. I feel very similar to Chirpston (assuming that’s the editor’s name) in that we’re not even two rounds in and have been already been given so many new memories that no one can ever take away no matter what happens.

Am I saying I don’t believe that the Senators can take this thing to the promised land? What? No, or course I’m not saying that. If you read these things…oh wait…k, since this is the first time you’ve read our website here’s this: WELCOME! and also this: I go into each frigging game hoping Ottawa will win. I’m merely saying this has been pretty special so far.

It’s reminded me of how Ottawa’s first playoff win over the Devils in 97-98 means more to me than when they won the President’s Trophy and went to the conference final in 02-03. Or how Alfie’s goal to lift the team to the Cup Final has greater significance than anything that happened in all five games of that Final series combined.

Do I want to see Alfie get handed the GD cup this year? More than anything…but in true Alfie fashion so far he’s the one giving us all the memories. I’ve said it many times but again: We are witnessing the dawn of a new era of Senators playoff hockey and it could not feel more exciting.

And now I want to talk about the dangers of using Q tips…OH SHIT THE GAME!

Contery Placed Firmly on Back
I think having Jason Spezza’s back back really did wonders for this line up. First off, can we talk about how gracefully this guy plays? Such grace! I really missed that, the grace. Aside from not quite having the steam to backcheck effectively, Spezza looked pretty damn good for a guy who hasn’t played since January and was dropped into Conference Semi-Final pace.

Perhaps the biggest contribution Spezza makes is bumping Kyle Turris down to the second line. After watching a (short) season of him in Spezza’s shoes it’s pretty evident that Turris’ home is on the second trio. No lack of rispeck for Turris’ family meant here. Dude led the team in points and helped them make the post season for the second straight year but it’s as clear as something that’s clear that Turris thrives when he doesn’t have to play on the top line game after game. Pittsburgh is a weird example though as they have two first line centres but I digress: WELCOME BACK JASON SPEZZA.
Pretty good to see Spezz take a hard hit and not head straight for the dressing room. Well, well stay well soon we want you to remain welllllll!

Speaking of being well
Chris Neil will not miss tonight’s game after getting knocked out of game 3 with what looked like a pretty nasty shoulder injury.

Neil is a very divisive player in Ottawa. I for one think he’s at his best in the playoffs. He hasn’t remained in the league for 10 seasons and dressed in nearly 100 playoff games because he’s bad at his job. With 21 hits so far this series my only hope is he’s not being too much of a hero and is healthy enough to continue to throw them because that’s what he does. There are some that think hits are an irrelevant stat. That’s fine that you don’t pay close attention to hockey. No judgements. I KIIIIIIIID!!! But for real, against a team as old or as structurally sound as Pittsburgh, you have to wear them down and open them up. Sure, he doesn’t have hands. I get it. His job isn’t that. His job is to get the opposition off balance and create space for those who do IMLOOKINGATYOUJAKOBSILFVERBERGORWHOEVZ to get in a position to use their hands. Yes, Neil takes penalties. It’s the price of his game. When a goalie screws up the price is a goal against, when Neil screws up he takes a penalty.

You: Where you going with this one?

Me: Uhh, right!

If Neil can’t lay those hits tonight I don’t know how he helps the team. We’re going to have a guy who can skate fast, not really bury chances and…take penalties. I’m going to be watching him closely tonight.

In the words of our own Steven: “Tomas Vokoun: NOT. THAT. GOOD.”

Have you ever drank beers and watched a game with Steven? C’est le meilleur.

Anyway, as I pointed out before the series even started. I’m not going to pretend a guy who looks like Phil Collins (tbh) and was Washington’s 3rd string goalie  a little over a year ago is some kind of world beater because he came in to relieve the totally inconsistent Marc Andre Fleury and beat the Islanders twice playing behind the Eastern Conference Champs. No. Vokoun is a very good NHL goalie. Like all goalies he has his weak points and in the last two games you’re really seeing Ottawa expose his weak glove side and inability to control rebounds. This series is proving the Greening Theory. You drive hard on this guy, youre going to see results eventually. Get tough, go glove and even this series.

You’re Not Even Working Anyway, Just Keep Reading…
Great to see bounce back games from Karlsson, Anderson, and a sweet, sweet set up from Michalek. Bounce back games aren’t everything though. Ottawa is still in a very desperate situation here. They lose this one on home ice and they are seriously on the ropes. Let’s hope MacLean can continue to work that Fortress SBP magic tonight. As amazing as that game 3 victory was it’s now in the sweet, sweet playoff memories satchel  and a loss tonight would mean Ottawa having to win every game after this one. No one wants to see the team have to get that pesky.

Enjoy the game, you lovers!
GO SENS GO!!!!!!

8 thoughts on “James Day Preview: Stanley Cup Jamesoffs Edition. SENS-PEENS Game 4

  1. I… actually haven’t followed the Sens since 1996 (that’s when I was born O_O). But apparently we have all the makings of a storied franchise in these past playoff years? (I still can’t get over the idea that we had Chara and Hossa before. Like whoa.) Also, this is SO not the first time I’ve been to your website. KNOW YOUR VIEWERS BETTER, JAMES! For shame.

    Totally agree re:Spezza, I think I’d be happy if he just had five assists and no goals in the rest of the playoffs. Watching him is enough, and so is having Turris in a proper 2C role. Also, I agree about Neil. He gets better in the playoffs, when the whistles go away and quality hitting is harder to come by but also very important. (ALSOIWANTSILFVERBERGTOGETSOMEGOALSTHATWOULDBEGREAT) And Vokoun’s somewhat exceeded my expectations in keeping the goals against him to under 3, but at the same time I think we’re underachieving because man, those rebounds are there. The team just needs to get to them.

    Anyway, I HOPE WE WIN.

    • Happy is the reader that agrees with me!

      As to your point about your time on earth, you may have been too young to remember the prophecy of the glamorous year 1996:

      In the Year of Yahong ye Senators shalt commence their post season story.

      Spooky stuff eh? That year had the same name as you—- Waiiiiiiiiiiiiiit!

      Maybe sporting games ARE fairy tales!

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