There's a certain innate awesomeness about enjoying a beer at a local pub, only to be interrupted by a text message at 6:45pm that reads, "do u want tix for 2nites game? have 2 xtra. call me back."
Yes. Yes, I would like two tickets to a Senators home game that's:
A) Only the fourth game of the regular season
B) On a Saturday night.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Canada. The nation where people are subjected to compelling television like watching a monkey make playoff predictions or watching hockey "experts" concoct a fantasy hockey draft. With such an oversaturated market, it's almost inexcusable that a game in Ottawa isn't televised in this day and era.
I digress. Even though I arrived halfway through the first period, I was still fortunate enough to part of last night's sellout crowd that watch the Senators extend their current winning streak to three games. Here are my reflections from last night's game:
- The most entertaining part of the game for me was a sequence of events that started with an Anton Volchenkov hit on Zach Bogosian. The crushing hit lit a fire under Bogosion who responded with a big hit of his own that sent him and Daniel Alfredsson to the ice. Even though it was clean, Chris Phillips and Mike Fisher went after the sophomore defenceman and it was one of the few times that I can recall seeing players responding to a hit on the captain like that. Maybe it's finally entrenched in the mindset that they're actually a team. Cory Clouston's obviously done a good job instilling this sense of camaraderie in his players and it's refreshing to see.
- Volchenkov's hit marked the third time in three games that he's absolutely crushed someone. I don't want to criticize A-Train because he's stepped it up thus far in a contract year, but it's obvious the A-Train has embraced a more physical and aggressive style.
- The third and fourth lines and the lesser-lights continue to carry the squad thus far. It's been the names like Carkner, Picard, Regin, Neil and Ruutu who have stood out and continue to play well.
- Clouston shook up the lines last night and it seems to have worked. The Kovalev-Fisher-Alfredsson looked dominant for stretches of play last night.
- Brian Elliott. Goalie. Of. The.Future. (This.Could.Change.)
- First intermission, Timbits Hockey. It's a proven formula, the crowd eats up this kind of stuff. For whatever reason,
- Kudos to Spezza for continuing to develop his two-way play. However, I'm not sure if Milan Michalek is the appropriate linemate to trigger some results. I think the problem with their pairing is that the bulk of Michalek's goals are generated when he's able to carry the puck with speed from the neutral zone in and conversely, Spezza's more effective when he's allowed to carry the puck into the offensive zone and use his creativity to create scoring opportunities. At some point, Clouston's going to have to pencil in Cheechoo alongside Spezza to see if number nineteen can get him going. The only problem is...
- ...That Cheechoo skates with the grace of a 50-year old man who was just thrown into a pool and is learning to swim for the first time. I never thought I'd say this but he makes Shaun Van Allen look like Jeremy Wotherspoon.
Next Up: Pittsburgh
Some fans may be skeptical of Ottawa's 3-1 record because they've beat teams like the Isles, Thrashers and the Leafs. I'm not too sure why people are being overly critical of their competition thus far, these were teams Ottawa used to lose to. For year's the team has had the reputation of playing down to the level of their competition, so I'll savour the points as they come in.
That being said, bring on the Flightless Birds, the 2008 2009 Stanley Cup Champs. It should be a good barometer for the team since Ottawa hasn't played a meaningful game against Pittsburgh since last year's epic battle in Sweden.
Here is a memorable highlight from last year's battle:
How fucking awesome is Jarkko Ruutu? By hitting and lying on Sidney Crosby for what seemed like a minute during the first period it was the most man-on-man action that Sid's had in weeks. Judging by how unusually slow Crosby was to get out of the predicament, you'd figure it's not the first time that his face has been in the vicinity of another man's groin.