For awhile now, I've tried to come up with some kind of way to include the Ottawa Sun's weekly Digital Faceoffs as part of this website's material. It's just such a rich and easy resource for material. If the Digital Faceoff were a piece of Senators history, it'd be like making fun of Damian Rhodes' The Net goalie mask. So when this past weekend's Digital Faceoff was so atrociously bad, I couldn't help myself. What I've done is that I have removed Tim Baines' comments as the editor/moderator and have replaced them (while still in the same order) with what I think my co-author Tim would say or do had he moderated the panel. All of Tim's comments will strictly adhere to the moments in which Tim Baines made his. I had to put some kind of limits on this, or else it just would have been too easy. Also, all of the remarks made by Don Brennan and Bruce Garrioch remain intact and unaltered. Here it goes...
TIM: Bruce, it's going to be impossible to keep you and Don Brennan both on track so I'm going to give you two dots and a pen. All you have to do is connect them. Okay, the Ottawa Senators are currently in a playoff spot and spend the bulk of their remaining schedule on the road, give us your thoughts. Oh, and Don, please wait your turn and try not to say some completely irreverent in some lame attempt to be funny.
BRUCE GARRIOCH: They are going to have to continue to battle for a playoff spot and they are going to have to do it on the road. They've piled up the points at home. Now they need to show they can win on the road.
TIM: Good! Baby steps now! Give me some names...
GARRIOCH: They've shown a lot of guts without Daniel Alfredsson and Jason Spezza. They are starting to get healthy, with Nick Foligno back.
DON BRENNAN: Speaking of being on the road, I'm on my way to Frisby tires on just 3 of them. Excuse me a second. "HEY LADY. DON'T LEAN ON YOUR HORN AND SCOWL AT ME. THERE'S A REASON I'M DRIVING SLOWLY, YOU B---H." I don't see the Spezza and Alfredsson injuries slowing the local heroes down too much. They can plod along well enough to stay in the thick of things playing the Little General's system.
TIM: Whoa! Don! What the hell? I said try not to be irreverent! You're driving carelessly on three wheels, you've broken a law by texting while driving and have managed to offend any writer who has ever wanted to be published. And. all. at. the. same. time. You've just blown through your week's worth of material in one paragraph. A new low!
GARRIOCH: Has Don gotten snow tires yet? Hey, Tim, did you know we have lived long enough to see snow tires come back? That's how old we are. I never had snow tires until last winter. I always had driven on all-season radials. Suddenly, those are no longer good enough. I'm expecting one-hit wonders like Kajagoogoo and Duran Duran from the 1980s to resurface any time. Mind you, they live in my iPod when I can figure out how to charge it and turn it on. By the way, my VCR ate my video of The Grinch Who Stole Christmas.
BRENNAN: Can you guys give your Grinch and Rudolph references a break? Seriously. Christmas is over. And children don't read this page anyway.
TIM: Bruce, what the hell are you talking about? If you're going to plug one hit wonders, refer to your weekly Sunday rumour column. And Don, you're right. Children don't read this. Apparently the only ones who do are past or present Sun media personalities. Whatever happened to the good old days when sports journalism in Ottawa used to be good?
BRENNAN: Uh, Tim. Nobody knows what you're talking about. Again.
TIM: You're right Don. I remember when I was young and naive and used to believe in stuff like Bruce's weekly Radek Bonk rumours.
BRENNAN: No wonder you never did Get Smarter.
TIM: Jesus, this is going downhill quickly. Alright Bruce, just try to salvage this by repeating whatever it was that you said at the beginning of this Faceoff . Maybe you could try and make our word count longer by including some of your column staples like: player nicknames; shitting on the Senators goaltenders; food; or etc.
GARRIOCH: The Little General has done a good job, but the challenge for him is to make sure the Senators win on the road. He is fortunate to have Chocolate Leclaire back. They weren't going to get it done with Brian Elliott in net. He isn't ready to be a No. 1. Now, they just have to keep Chocolate healthy.
BRENNAN: I think a lot is going to depend on their power play. A few weeks ago, Jarkko Ruutu was telling me he thinks it's becoming harder and harder to score 5-on-5 goals. The only way you do is off a great play or a breakdown. The Senators should have the tools to score with the man advantage. But obviously, they haven't done it nearly enough.
GARRIOCH: You'd think they'd have an easier time scoring. Mind you, there are a couple of guys you wonder if they will ever score again. As long as they can get AK27 rolling, they'll be fine. Hasn't Kovie made his career on consistently being inconsistent?
TIM: The Senators are the 10th highest scoring team in the NHL despite having the second worst power play in the League. Scoring goals hasn't been an issue because of the depth and talent up front. Their real issue is the fact that the blueline is terrible.Things are so bad that I'm pretty confident that Norm MacIver could come out of retirement from the Blackhawks front office and lead this group in scoring. Enough with the Senators discussion already. Let's switch gears though and talk something that any casual hockey fan can talk about - Canadian Olympic hockey. I'm skeptical of some of the player selections but I still think Canada is the favorite for gold. Which country do you guys like to win?
BRENNAN: Gee, Tim is predicting Canada will win gold. So bold. I think the Russians are the team to beat.
GARRIOCH: Eric Staal on the team? You have got to be kidding me. Awful choice. They chose the wrong Staal. I know everybody is going to tell me how well he has played in the last month. Go ahead. I don't give a crap. Not the right choice. Should have taken Jordan Staal ahead of him. A signal that there has been a changing of the guard. Steve Yzerman doesn't owe anybody anything.
TIM: Don, you're only picking Russia because you relish your writing persona as the guy everyone loves to hate. And Bruce, Steve Yzerman may not owe anybody anything but if he doesn't win gold in Vancouver, the perception of him as a viable NHL General Manager and Ken Holland disciple will go down the shitter. That's why he can't afford to take a flyer on the less talented, younger sibling. Besides, Eric is still part of the Staal family. His inclusion on the roster doesn't prevent you or the rest of the Canadian media from verbally fellating the Staal family name.
GARRIOCH: Okay, I agree. It's just easier that way. Thanks. Next up is Chris Pronger. I can't believe they put him on.
TIM: Great. Are there any other complaints about the roster?
GARRIOCH: No. Just Pronger. Did they win with him in Turin? No.
BRENNAN: They wouldn't be any worse off taking Mike Green over Niedermayer. I like how everybody -- from the casual observers to all the "experts" -- say they should have taken this guy, or that guy. But I'm pretty sure the people picking the squad spent a lot more time considering all the options than the rest of us. And they're pretty good hockey men. It's about putting together the pieces of the puzzle. And then sitting back and hoping you get some bounces.
GARRIOCH: Fisher should stand by. Injuries will happen. Glad to see Patrice Bergeron go. Nice story.
TIM: Nice lecture Don, it looks like they may have a second career for you at the University of Phoenix. And Thanks for refraining from calling us bitches. Bruce, your justification for not having Chris Pronger on the Team is because he didn't win in Turin? When Scott Niedermayer and Ed Jovanovski withdrew because of injury, the rest of the blueline consisted of: Rob Blake; Adam Foote; Pronger; Wade Redden; Robyn Regehr; Bryan McCabe; and Jay Bouwmeester. That's not a recipe for gold, that's a group that looks like it was architected by Doug MacLean or Mike Milbury. Anyways, I've had my fill of hockey journalism at its finest. Don, you can have last word. I know you'll get a parting shot in anyways. Maybe for once you could praise someone other than yourself?
BRENNAN: None worthy, except maybe me for being able to multi-task.