Varada Day Preview: Ottawa Slow Starts V. The Buffalo Buddha Bars

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Hey hey hey my beautiful babies, this is James….*record scratching noise* *James looks up from microphone in plush WTYKY studio, sees Varada on the other side of the sound-proof glass. He’s holding what looks to be a severed Santa Clause head* *James hits ejector seat button, which not only isn’t connected to anything but is actually just one of those ‘That Was Easy!’ Business Depot buttons, then slowly pushes himself out of the room on a roll-y chair.*

Hi guys, Varada here. James is celebrating his birthday, as one does, by travelling to New York City. (Oh, that old cliché thing that you do on your birthday. *burps up Jack Astor’s breakfast*) I can’t commit to filling in for every James Day Preview, or even being a fraction as funny as James is on his worst day, but TODAY…today is my day. My employer is ok with me spending time on this (I assume). Good thing I don’t work in health care research or anything. *pushes formula for cancer cure under some papers detailing Chris Neil possession statistics* Let’s get started!

So, where we are…at…is

Ottawa, looking absolutely pumped after winning in the shootout against a disappointing Philadelphia team who has owned them this year (sigh) then rolled into the home barn of the worst team in the league and…were thoroughly outplayed. If not for Buffalo’s epic inability to put a play together, and but for the grace of god, AKA a few Lehner saves (this is as close as I get to mentioning that one goal he gave up, which… *pinches nose*) that would have been a regulation loss. I mean, the Sens needed to have what was clearly a goal against waved off because of everyone’s favorite call – inteeeeeeeeeeent to blooooooooooooooow – in order to SQUEAK INTO OT against the Buffalo Sabres and get a point in an eventual loss. Sun rise, sun set.

But hey, here’s their chance to correct that embarrassing performance. They’re no longer playing back-to-back games, and it’s on home ice, which, according to this internet website I’m consulting, is supposed to “be an advantage.” Hmmm, let me check that again. *pushes glasses down on nose, looks at computer screen and furrows brow for 17 straight minutes* That can’t be right.

Cowen: currently my least favorite Ottawa Senator!

Look, Jared Cowen is a big guy, right? *checks off ‘Big Guy’ on checklist of things every GM wants, along with ‘Stick To-It-iveness’* What else do you want? Look how big he is. Big like a barn. Good tough barn, that Jared Cowen.

Well, for a start, I’d also like the biggest guy on my team to not try to actively kill other players. The Datsyuk hit I thought was eeeehhhhhhhhhh too close to call but Pavel did miss time and in hindsight I’d err on the side of ‘filthy.’ That hit on Tuesday, though…I mean, Jesus, that was an 18 year old kid Cowen just tried to decapitate. He’s not exactly tiny (he’s listed at 6-2), but bent forward as he was, and with Cowen being 6-5, it was a bit of a blindside hit. I know, I know—Gergemensonianness needs to be aware while skating through the neutral zone. But that’s two borderline hits for Cowen in a short amount of time, to go along with, you know, not being able to move the puck to save his life. Apples and oranges, ladies and gentlemen! Apples and oranges and Cowen acting like a dirtbag.

Cowen sits out the first of his two games while suspended, and I’m assuming Gryba draws into the lineup to provide the exact same style of game as Cowen at a fraction of the price. Karlsson’s ice-time increases from 37 to 75 minutes tonight as a result.

Who gets the start in the fishing net?

I don’t know, I’m writing this thing at 8:15am. It should be Lehner – give the friggin’ guy a chance to get on a roll, since “getting on a roll” is pretty much the only thing that’s going to save our season at this point. It’ll probably be Anderson.  I mean hey, you don’t pay a guy $3.5MM a year and not try to get him back on the horse right? But this is game 33 so…the horse is out of the barn, on the bus, in the next county, working at a Harvey’s inside a Home Depot inside a Walmart. Andy, bubby, bubbaloo: get comfortable already. Where’s that zen exterior we know and love so much? So tense, these shoulders of yours, you’re going to pull something, eat you’re so skinny.

The funny thing is that Lehner has always looked absolutely killer (both metaphorically and actually, in real life, like a killer) when his competition, be it Andy or Bishop, is also playing well. Now that he has the chance to unequivocally STEP UP (TM 2013 WTYKY) and declare himself the Ottawa Senators’ new starting goaltender…he’s no longer stealing games. I mean, I get it: stealing games in the NHL is a hard thing to do. But I feel like Lehner is one 47 save shutout away from Andy being pushed out to sea on an ice floe.

Sportsnet Ushers in the Next 1000 years of Coverage by….Breaking Coverage During the Shootout

For what it’s worth:

“In keeping with the regional broadcast regulations set forth by the NHL, there are broadcast boundaries for Sportsnet’s regional NHL games, and we are contractually obligated to follow them,” said spokesperson Jennifer Neziol. “The viewing region for Ottawa Senators games includes viewers who, depending on where they live in this region, receive either Sportsnet Ontario or Sportsnet East as their primary channel. During Ottawa Senators broadcasts, we change the feed for viewers in Ottawa receiving Sportsnet Ontario to the Sportsnet East feed. (Tuesday) night, as a result of human error, the Sportsnet East feed was turned off too early, and the feed reverted back to the Sportsnet Ontario feed prior to the end of the game. We are taking this issue very seriously and moving forward, we will be implementing more emergency checks with our master control to ensure this doesn’t happen again.”

Ok then.

Aside: cutting away to a commercial of Nick Kypreos explaining just how well he Knows the Leafs (“Kessel is worth every penny of that contract” – is this an unpopular opinion?) is exactly the sort of thing that fires every single trigger in a Senators fan’s psyche. If you’re going to cut away in the 40th round of a shootout, don’t put Kypreos’ mug on the screen to talk about the other Ontario team who wasn’t even playing that night.

What if Ottawa doesn’t win this one?

I don’t want to be all-panic-all-the-time, as Ottawa has pleeeeeeenty of time left to fully and completely shit the bed and we’ll need some panic left over for when they do. But I’m just saying that there are going to be a lot of people getting Ottawa Senators hockey tickets in their stockings this year (I almost always do and AGAIN WITH THE TICKET AGAINST BOSTON FUCK MOM ARE YOU DOING THIS ON PURPOSE?). Going into the New Year with, say, a record within spitting distance of .500 will make a big difference between those tickets being the The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Adventure (gold cartridge) of presents and the $15 gift certificate to Mark’s Work Wearhouse of presents. It’s already starting to feel like a bit of a chore to watch this team slog it out from two-goal deficits only to lose in the shootout. Don’t make me be reluctant about penciling in a Sens game in my calendar.

The thing is, the teams ahead of us in the Flortheast aren’t exactly racking up the poker chips right now. Toronto is experiencing their much-anticipated Neo-trying-to-jump-the-gap-between-two-buildings-in-the-Matrix moment. Montreal was just annihilated, which is hopefully a portent of things to come. (Easy there, I’ve got Price in my fantasy pool.) Detroit is the wishy-washiest of contenders I’ve ever seen. (EIGHT OT losses and nobody talks a gang of shit about how they can’t ‘get it done when it counts’?) For example, Toronto losing in regulation last night had a greater effect on Ottawa’s playoff chances than the loser point we earned against the Buffalo Matt Moulsons. Suffice to say: could we get a solid REGULATION HOME WIN AGAINST THE WORST TEAM IN THE LEAGUE? “At least we got a point” isn’t going to feel too good this time around.

This is where we are, December 2013: “Fan With Internet Blog to Senators: Can We Please Beat the Worst Team in the League? Like, Handily, Even?”

Enjoy the game! (James: call me. Your mother and I are worried sick.)

4D buffalo JDP

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One thought on “Varada Day Preview: Ottawa Slow Starts V. The Buffalo Buddha Bars

  1. Wait, James is celebrating his BIRTHDAY in going to NYC?? He didn’t say that. Wish him a happy 187th birthday from me! But Varada, I’m going to have to ask you where you got those sheets with Chris Neil’s possession stats on them because uuhhhh I wasn’t even aware he had any. Which is why I’m just a wee bit depressed over the fact that Pageau is going to be skating with him and Greening. I mean, can we at least use him with Condra? That’ll probably jumpstart Condra’s 2014 SELKE TROPHY CAMPAIGN™ too, a nice bonus for the Sens organization!

    I would really like Lehner to get some starts in a row too sometime. For all the “goalie of the future” talk and “best tandem in the NHL” blather, we seem to be wibbly-wobbly around our goaltending situation right now. I DON’T LIKE IT. I would simply like us to win games, especially those against against the NHL’s dead-last team, thank you. *curtseys*

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