As I spent the better portion of this afternoon watching the Senators game and Tweeting, I couldn't help but notice this little back and forth discussion between TSN's Brent Wallace and the Ottawa blogosphere's Sens Chirp on Twitter.
- SensChirp Absolutely incredible effort by Alex Kovalev. He's been good all year. Hopefully they continue to go in for him.
- TSNwally @SensChirp If you think Kovalev's "been good all season" then I question your sanity.
- SensChirp @TSNwally Offensive production hasn't been there all year but his game has been solid and has a lot to do with Fisher's breakout season.
- SensChirp @TSNwally He has obviously taken it to another level the last month or so.
Nothing says ringing in the new year like having a TSN personality question your sanity in an unprovoked manner. Granted, Sens Chirp saying Kovalev has played well all year might be a little bit of a stretch. After all, if you exclude his numbers from today's game and his hat-trick against the Hurricanes, Kovalev has only scored 4 goals in the other 40 games. However, I'll forgive Sens Chirp since he does tend to get a little too excited after some Senators victories or individual performances. (As an aside, other than Jay Onrait or Michael Landsberg, aren't TSN's guys supposed to be above this kind of thing?) Regardless, I get where he's coming from. Kovalev has underachieved but his worth shouldn't only be lazily defined by drawing correlations between black and white numbers like salary and point production. Without an objective statistic to efficiently measure how much defensive attention he receives and the subsequent space that is created for his linemates, Kovalev's true worth isn't one of those things that hockey fans can quantify.
Another thing you can't quantify? Kovalev's ability to do the moonwalk. Go to the 1:40'ish mark of this Sportsnet highlight video to check it out...
It's been mentioned here before but could you, the reader, envision where Ottawa would be without Kovalev? As maddening as Kovalev may be, the alternative of watching Ryan Shannon and Jonathan Cheechoo toil all year on the second line would have been insufferable. It likely would have been the shallowest RW depth since Pat Elynuik and Vladimir Ruzicka lined up behind Bob Kudelski during the 1993-94 campaign.
More TSN Twitter Controversy
According to TSN's Bob McKenzie via Twitter, the Canadian World Junior coaching staff has lost confidence in Jared Cowen because of his mobility. I'm not sure whether Bob tweeted this with his tongue placed firmly in his cheek since Jared Cowen didn't take a shift and spent the duration of the game stapled to the Canadian bench. As a 6'5" defenceman coming off a significant knee injury, mobility will likely always be viewed as a sore sport, however, I'm sure this will raise more than its share of sensationalist responses from concerned Senators fans.
If Gord Wilson Thinks Mike Fisher's Wrist Shot Goes 3,056 mph...
...then Chris Kelly's first period tally was at least half that fast. Seriously though, where the hell did that release come from? And why isn't it being showcased more often? I apologize for going all Associated Press on you with this little Chris Kelly performance recap but I thought he played an exceptionally strong game. Even after an egregious turnover behind the net in the second period that helped cap a brief Flyers comeback, I thought he responded by playing well in the third and scoring another goal.
Senators Prediction Panel 42
Unfortunately (or fortunately?), I didn't get my prediction in to James Gordon in time for his panel deadline. Here's what I did write...
I think this a game that even Theo Fleury would be hesitant to bet on. On one hand, the Flyers lost a heartbreaker to Boston in the Winter Classic on New Year's day but it's difficult to ignore the fact that they've been playing better as of late. That being said, it's an afternoon game and the Flyers players have a well publicized reputation for loving the nightlife and being bar stars. On the other hand, Ottawa historically stinks in matinees but Ray Emery is injured and unavailable to play. Without the extra hoopla and publicity, this may be another game in which they can surprise the opposition. I'm flipping a coin on this one and taking the Flyers.
Now that the 2010 is here, the Vancouver Olympics and the NHL Trade Deadline are going to sneak up fast on hockey fans. Even though I thought Chris Campoli was okay on the powerplay and albeit that Pascal Leclaire was awful, it's tough to ignore the glaring -3 that he and his partner, Matt Carkner, posted this afternoon. I'm not an advocate of mortgaging the future for a temporary fix, but if Bryan Murray can find an efficient upgrade on defence without having to give too much up, it has to be done. The combination of Karlsson, Campoli, Carkner and Picard just aren't playing consistently enough to justify standing pat.
I know that Tim mentioned this one of the podcasts, but I forgot to post the link to it. Anyways, here is Tim's petition to have Sportsnet's Nick Kypreos replaced by a head of cabbage.