Ottawa Senators (40-31-5) Vs Washington Capitals (49-15-11) @ 7pm ET, Verizon Center Television: Sportsnet
Some of you may be wondering what's up with the Don Brennan still that adorns the top of this article. Well, I made the same face when I found out that Brian Lee was filling in on the blue line for tonight's game. Provided that both the Thrashers and Rangers fail to win tonight and Ottawa finds a way to beat the Capitals, the Senators will have clinched their first postseason berth since 2008. While that would be a small achievement for the organization, it didn't prevent me from picking against them as part of James Gordon's Prediction Panel for the Ottawa Citizen:
Senators 2, Capitals 4
Last time these two teams met, Anton Volchenkov blocked 11 Washington shots. Without him, I expect more Capitals shots to find their way into the back of the net (God I hope Volchenkov's agent, Jay Grossman, doesn't read this). At least with Volchenkov out of the lineup, we won't be subject to more photos of the A-Train fraternizing with the Capitals' Russian players. Without them, there will be less hysteria that Volchenkov will bolt on July 1st.
Brian Elliott gets the nod between the pipes tonight and here are the lines that were used in practice today:
- Regin - Spezza - Alfie
- Fisher - Cullen - Kovalev
- Ruutu - Kelly - Neil
- Foligno - Smith - Winchester
- Injured: Kuba, Michalek, Volchenkov
- Healthy Scratches: Butler, Donovan, Shannon.
Although the Senators haven't officially clinched a playoff spot yet, playoff tickets will go on sale Saturday, April 3rd at 10am at the Senators box office. Besides this announcement on the team's website, it appears as though the team has also released their new playoff slogan for the 2010 playoffs. The first 200 fans in line for tickets (at SBP) will receive Senators car flags, while all persons in attendance will receive a free All In, All Red window cling courtesy of Scotiabank.
All In, All Red? That sounds like a sex move that involves a menstral cycle. I'd love to see what mantras hit the cutting room floor. Here is our list of failed 2010 playoff suggestions:
- The Playoffs, Where Kovalev's Pay Matches His Work Ethic
- Hockey Hasn't Meant This Much... Since the Olympics
- You Can't Spell Winchester Without The W-I-N
- Rock the Red. (What do you mean the Capitals already did this?)
- Ride the A-Train Before It Leaves the Station
- Before things get messy can we just remind you we weren't even supposed to make the playoffs?
It's always fun when our Bloguin brethren, Five For Smiting, calls me out for my disdain in handing Volchenkov a blank cheque:
To any and all questioning whether A-Train should be signed for whatever the hell he wants to be paid (ahem...Nichols) should take a long hard look at Friday night's game. I'm with Jeremy on this one. Pay the man, Bryan, and cut elsewhere if need be. Keep him here. How many other guys on this team would take a puck in the face and not miss a shift?
Personally, for the money, I'd rather see the Senators fix the power play by offering Sergei Gonchar a 2-year, $10 million deal. Then re-sign Sutton and flip Kuba and Volchenkov's rights. A top four of Gonchar-Phillips, Karlsson - Sutton looks fine and well balanced.
Shannon Hits Clouston, Earns New Nickname
The big news coming out of practice this morning was Ryan Shannon's collision with Cory Clouston during one of the drills. Not only did Shannon put the Senators' coach on his ass, it also provoked this post-practice quip, “That’s what happens when you scratch a guy once, he runs the coach. I like that. It was a great hit. I didn’t think he would come at me, but he did. Little prick is pretty solid.”