Hi how’s everyone’s Chinese New Year going so far? Great, mine too, mine too. Very new, very Chinese.
We are currently in the middle of celebrating what our friends to the East call The Golden Week…and with four games this week before the Olympic break it’s going to have to be one for Ottawa.
The Senators have their work cut out for them facing some very good competition and the Buffalo Sabres.
Last night, we put game 1 in the books. An overtime loss (naaaaaaaaaaaturally) to the Penguins (who I haaaate but children loooove). It was a game in which Ottawa wasn’t great but wasn’t terrible, spent too much time in the box and didn’t take advantage of power plays…I would say it was the perfect encapsulation of their season except for one element: Craig Anderson kept the score very flattering while being pelted mercilessly with 48 shots and allowing only 1 in regulation in an outstanding performance.
I don’t know about you Eddy, but that loss stung big time. For me I think it was because the morale boost of absolutely stealing a game away from the conference’s best team on the road would have been perfectly timed. It’s the kind of thing where it could have been worse but you still find yourself pissed off and frustrated. The people who are saying “that’s a huge point against a great team” are totally right but in the moment, deep down, I can’t help but be concerned about how down the line if the team indeed can make it into the playoffs it would be by dragged along by overtime loss points. I believe famed football coach Paul “Bear” Bryant Jr once said, “Loser points win championships.”
Ottawa sits 4th in the NHL in OT losses and while I acknowledge that earning a point in a loss is a fundamental reason behind why Ottawa’s even in the hunt, I still find it pretty concerning that they have a really hard time getting it done in the extra five minutes. Let’s try to look at this positively. That game was one highlight of the night glove save away from 2 points and tonight they are playing another excellent team they fairly recently beat in overtime, the Blues.
I was frankly stunned to see that Zibanejad had only (I know right? ONLY) 5 shots last night. It seemed like he made something happen on every shift. As a fan, I must say it feels really good to have such good young forward on the team. We endured a very shite season to draft this kid and I think for a 20 year old (!!!), he is developing beautifully. He is currently on pace for 17 goals but it’s games like last night that show me if he can just bury his chances a tad more I have no doubt he can be a 25+ goal scorer one day, and soon. He deserves a bounce or two to go his way because goddamn is the kid working for it. Michalek too to a lesser extent. Has been noticable and hard working and really, reeeeeeeeeally needs to pull ahead of Neil and Smith if he wants to sign another NHL deal.
Heyyyyyyyyy speaking of 25+ goal scorers…
Hockey is like life, there’s ups and downs and I told you ’bout equality and it’s true either you’re wrong or you’re right but if you’re thinkin’ bout my baby (?) it don’t matter if you’re black or white…but also, here’s a list of the players who have scored for Ottawa this month:
…so attention top 6 forwards, you’re free to exit this low and point the ship toward the sunny shores of another high at any time. TONIGHT FOR INSTANCE! This team has been carried on the offensive output of the Turris-Ryan-MacArthur line all season (adoi). That line has slowed down, however breifly, and the team is winless in their last two as a result. That’s the pressure associated with being a top line. You let your foot off the gas every so briefly and the seas get choppy almost instantly. It’s akin to when Karlsson has a bad game. It’s pretty rare that the story following a victory is “team manages 2 points despite poor play from Karlsson.” It can happen…but let’s not bank on it. The only key player the team has been able to win despite their occasional poor play has been Craig Anderson. Kind of a bummer that he put on a goaltending clinic and a lousy two goals would have got him the much deserved win.
The articles are starting to get written and a point in the season has come that I feared since October. Knowing that he’s a 30 goalscorer coming in…must think of a temperature related word here…whatever, to Ottawa, it was clear Bobby Ryan would have the odd dry spell. He’s played very, very well, picked up assists, hell, even had a goal against Tampa but his scoring drop off coinciding with being left off the US Olympic team, even if just coincidence, has the makings to become a big, distracting and unnecessary story. I’ve been saying for a minute Bobby’s due for a big game and I am still saying it. He was a Blues killer during his time with the Ducks, not as useful these days but tonight would be great to see some of that to put an end to the narrative that’s developing.
Seems kind of harsh to tell Ottawa’s best line to pick up the pace after two games without a goal but I just think that’s the kind of season it is.
Hockey, Am I RIGHT? Part 3 of an Infinity Part Series:
I still find it fucking MENTAL that since Brian Elliot was traded to Colorado for Anderson, and played so poorly for the Avs (2-8-1) that he was let walk was then picked up by one of the best teams in the league and has since been an All-Star and won a Jennings IN THE WEST. It doesn’t stop there either, he has only 4 regulation losses in 23 starts this season. Senators fans know that he has one skeleton in his closet though: He’s. Actually. Not. All. That. Great. Hey, he has had some great seasons and as much as it pains me, could win a goddamn Stanley Cup this year but having watched Ells play for years he is not the brooding, mysterious western superpower he would seem if he’d never played for Ottawa. We know this guy is beatable which is very handy considering that Jaroslav Halak will get the nod in net tonight *catapults self into the surface of the moon for making you read all of that* Funny (and by funny I mean not funny) to think that Halak has had the “worse” season of the two with a 2.22 GAA and .915 save %. If Ottawa is going to win this game it’s going to be by filling the net. No easy task considering that St. Louis is 3rd in the league in goals for but hey AT LEAST THEY ARE ONLY 2ND BEST IN GOALS AGAINST SO JUST GO OUT THERE AND HAVE………………FUN. I gotta wrap this up and as of this time can’t find any info on who’s starting for Ottawa (THANKS FOR SKIMMING!), regardless of who gets the start they have to play out of their goddamn head tonight.
MUPDATE (1:27pm, EST): Robin Lehner will get the start for Ottawa, he will have to play out of his goddamn head tonight.
This is amazing: