(Image done by one of our readers, Alan)
It's such a cliched Simmons thing to do, but since last night's game was one of the special variety, I figured that it would be a good opportunity to do a running diary of the events. Here we go:
7:00pm: Sportsnet opens the game with Ian Mendes voicing over an Alfredsson montage. We get the first of what I expect to be many Jofa helmet sightings.
7:01pm: Once the montage ends, we're treated to a recorded video featuring former Senators assistant coach Craig Ramsey. With these sort of things, it's usually the message that matters but with Ramsay's nose leaking faster than the Philadelphia Flyers' ship, I was too distracted to comprehend a word that he said.
7:07: The horrifically bad Canadian Blood Services ad starring Chris Kelly is run for the first time. The over/under for the number of times that it runs tonight is 4.5.
7:08: Pascal Leclaire is revealed to be the starting goaltender for the Senators. Insert barb about So much for trying to win one for Alfie here.
7:10: When Cory Clouston arrived in Ottawa, one of the first things that he preached was that good practice habits will resurface when it comes time to actually play the game. Nathan Horton helped reaffirm this notion by pushing the puck toward the net like it was the Panthers assistant coach, Mike Kitchen.
7:15: An ad airs that features a faux, panning crowd shot while the A Recharge with Chocolate Milk graphic is overlayed over top. The reason I know that it's not the actual crowd being shown in the commercial is because of the absorbitantly high number of people in the seats.
7:16: I notice the Foligno, Fisher, Kovalev line for the first time. This newly created line of struggling Senators forwards needs a nickname. One Twitter follower suggested the FFK (pronounced fffffffffffffffk) Line because that's the sound she makes whenever Kovalev makes a ghastly play. Me? I'm partial to the Secondary Snoring line.
7:18: Bryan McCabe takes a 4 minute double-minor for high sticking Mike Fisher in the eye. It looks as though Fisher's having difficulty seeing because of the blood that's trickling into his eye and blurring his vision. Garry Galley questions whether or not the referees will force Fish to go to the bench and get repairs. Judging by his body language, Fish really wants to stay out there. If Fisher scores on this power play and shakes off his slump by playing with one eye, I immediately propose that he plays the rest of the season wearing an eyepatch.
7:20: Ottawa sends out a second power play unit of Kovalev, Regin, Foligno, Campoli and Phillips.
7:22: The Panthers successfully kill all four minutes of the power play. Gee, I wonder why.
7:33: Apparently WWE's Smackdown! is coming to Ottawa. Is it wishful thinking that Jonathan Cheechoo gets put through a table so Ottawa can get that contract off of the books?
7:34: Dean Brown just referred to the area outside of the goalie trapezoid as the forbidden zone. Funny, I thought the forbidden zone was the area where Mike Fisher wears his chastity belt.
7:39: The Senators are back on the power play. I have to say, regardless of whether or not they score, watching Karlsson and Alfredsson feed off of each other with the man advantage is one of the most entertaining things that the Senators have going for them. It's uncanny how they seem to know where each other are on the ice. It's not unlike the chemistry that the Sedin twins have. It's like they have ESP or something -- Extra-Swedish-Perception. And Mike Fisher scores giving Alfredsson career point 990.
7:59: After enjoying my free MLB preview on Bell, I tune back in for the start of the second period. If this bothers you that I didn't tune in for the Hockey Central panel, you'll have to understand. I try to stay as far away from Doug MacLean as possible. Besides, I got the added bonus of watching my keeper league stud, Matt Wieters hit a home run.
8:07: Erik Karlsson scores his 5th of the season to put the Senators ahead 2-0.
8:17: After Florida scores to cut the deficit to one, Keith Ballard attempts to swat a loose puck that's in the air away from the vicinity of the Florida goal but inadvertently gloves the puck into his own net. You have to hand it to the guy, he's got a knack for making the hockey highlight reels in an unconventional fashion. Given credit for the goal, Chris Neil registers a Gordie Howe hat-trick. In other words, for one night, that four-year $8M deal look as bad as it used to.
8:22: More Alfredsson trivia from Sportsnet: The last Senators player to wear number eleven was Evgeny Davydov. I remember my father coming home from one Brian Smith Charity Golf Tournament after he had been put in a foursome with Davydov and Dmitri Filimanov. He kept complaining about how the players couldn't speak a word of English. I guess things balanced themselves out the next year when he played with Dean Brown in the SCRAMBLE!!!
8:34: Another video featuring some current NHL'ers who are discussing Alfredsson. Brind'Amour, Ray Whitney and Chris Pronger make appearances. The appearances of Brind'Amour and Pronger both illicit the same "Ugh." reactions from me but with completely different connotations.
8:40: It's the second intermission and the Hockey Central panel is discussing prospective playoff opponents for the Senators and begin debating which team -- Pittsburgh or New Jersey -- is a better first round match up for the Senators. John Shannon is scared by the fact that Ottawa didn't score one single goal against the Devils while on the power play this season. John shouldn't give them too much credit. Simply put, Ottawa's power play has been pretty damn bad this season.
8:58: Mike Fisher scores again early in the third period to put the Senators up 4-1. Instead of worrying about the 2 points for the standings, the threat of a blow out quickly shifts my concern to whether the Senators can make out it of this game unscathed by injury in a meaningless game.
9:03: With the Florida Panthers channeling Alexei Kovalev's intensity, Jarkko Ruutu scores the Senators' fifth goal. The Panthers look completely disinterested out there and it should make for a really mundane third period and running diary.
9:27: Senators win 5-2 in Alfie's 1000th game! I was right - the remainder of the diary would be boring once the Panthers mailed it in.