"What are you? An expert?"
And with that, Andy Sutton rhetorically answered Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's question with a question of his of his own and provided Senators fans with their most memorable quote of the 2009/10 season.
It was somewhat ironic, considering that it followed what I'd consider to be one of the most passive and conservative efforts that I have ever witnessed the Senators play. I've never seen this team play that much of a game without possession of the puck.
As a fan who had experienced innumberable Jacques Martin coached games first hand, this game was tense but at times, unwatchable. It was like the Senators were channelling the 1996 Stanley Cup Finalist Panthers. Maybe that's what made the quote so perfect for the Senators collective, listening to Sutton give it to some hack Pittsburgh journalist was pretty damn cathartic.
As much as I had the opportunity and outlet to vent and use an excessive number of superlatives to describe -- Ottawa's east-west style; the forwards innate inability to take a pass or caught flat-footed in the neutral zone thereby fostering a dump-and-chase style that rendered them completely useless -- I decided to pass up the opportunity and wait a few days to see how game three would shake out and get some perspective.
With the way game three settled, even a talent evaluator like Mike Milbury could identify this team's problems for the past two games:
- They're not getting the breaks or bounces
- From backchecking to reaching loose pucks first, Ottawa's getting outskated.
- Brian Elliott has to be better.
- They're not getting the calls.
- And they're not getting enough from Jason Spezza, Daniel Alfredsson or Mike Fisher.
Getting lost amidst the concern over the direction of this series is the fact that the series is only 2-1 in favour of the Penguins and that Ottawa's only been outscored by 2 goals. Although Pittsburgh has gotten progressively better as the series has gone on, they haven't exactly giving off that invincible vibe that they've exhibited in years past.
The general consensus seems to be that Ottawa needs some kind of spark to get back into this series and there's speculation that Jonathan Cheechoo may draw into the lineup and replace Ryan Shannon. When one of my good friends read about this in the Sun, I received the following in an email: Cheechoo is like the government's Sea King helicopters -- slow, useless and will cost the team millions moving forward.
“(He’d bring) some experience. At one time, he was a very prolific goal scorer. We saw glimpses of that this year and he’s a competitor. He’s an intelligent player." ~ Cory Clouston
And at one time, Drake was a dude in a wheelchair on Degrassi. This is like a bad science experiment, replacing the guy with a Cup ring with the shell of a former Rocket Richard Trophy winner. Will it matter? Probably not. But if the team does decide to go with the Cheech, you can bank on me visiting my liquor cabinet for a little pick me up too.
Sutton Wake Up Call?
TSN’s Pierre McGuire says Sutton’s hit on Jordan Leopold in Game 2 served as a wake up call for the Pittsburgh Penguins, who were still in a deep slumber after losing Game 1.Dramatic Effect?
“It woke up the entire Pittsburgh Penguin organization,” McGuire said Monday. “They became invested in the series after that hit. It was a clean hit, it was a hard hit, but it was an excessive hit, if you know what I mean.
“He went for the kill shot and the players in Pittsburgh became completely invested in the series after that happened.” via William Houston, Truth and Rumours
Note to Hockey Night in Canada's Elliotte Friedman, whenever Senators see that their captain is in obvious discomfort after absorbing a check and then skates back to the bench and goes straight to the locker room, there's no need for you to go all Jim Nantz on us and whisper like Tiger is on the 18th green putting for the green jacket. The dramatic effect is not appreciated or necessary.
Oh, and any time Glenn Healy wants to remove Sidney Crosby's firmly entrenched dick from his mouth, that'd be greatly appreciated too.
Statistics of the Day
Mike Fisher's career playoff totals: 72 GP, 13 goals, 12 assists, 25 points.
I just want to take this time apologize to all of my readers. Since the beginning of the season, I've regularly gone to bat for Alexei Kovalev saying that his signing wasn't THAT bad and for the money and term, a 55-65 point, dynamic player wasn't bad value. I was wrong and so were the Senators and the 28 other teams that completely missed the boat on besting Mikael Samuelsson's 3-year, $7.5 million deal from the Canucks.