1) Last night I arrived at ScotiaBank Place at 6:30pm. Since my friend Gus (who had our tickets) was running late, I stood outside Gate 1 with my girlfriend awaiting his arrival and got to do a little people watching. Like any other game in which Montreal was playing, a large contingency of obnoxious douchebags descended upon Kanata brandishing their soccer chants and wide assortment of jerseys. At one point, my girlfriend asked what the CAC on the front of their jerseys stood for. I answered the only way I could, "I think that it stands for the Canadian Athletic Club. It's one of their retro jerseys that pays homage to their past. They have to though. It's all they have to fall back on."
2) As I continued to wait for my friend to show up with our tickets. I couldn't help but notice one fan wearing a Bryan Smolinski Habs jersey. In case you're wondering, Smolinksi only played one season in Montreal: scoring 8 goals and 17 assists in 64 games. Production that's hardly worth honoring with a customized uniform. Imagine if the Parti Quebecois leaders caught wind of this tool of American propaganda?
3) As easy as it is to make fun of Habs fans, I do have to give them credit. They have absolutely no qualms about shitting on the opposition's fans. Of all the fans who passed by the man wearing a Leafs jersey outside Gate 1, the only ones who had the nerve to publicly mock him were the Habs fans. (Ed. note: Mind you, they were probably three Schmirnoff Ices deep.)
4) Through the first couple of exhibition games, Ottawa's best players have been the ones who are vying for jobs on the fourth line. Zach Smith's play has been nothing short of fantastic and last night, it was Bobby Butler's turn to impress. If these players continue to demonstrate that they can play and have success at this level, it's going to be intriguing to see how the organization handles Ryan Shannon. As an incumbent who was under a lot of pressure to keep his job, it'd be a tough pill for Shannon to swallow if he lost his job due to injury. Shannon hasn't been cleared to play since having his head driven into the glass by Jay Rosehill during the second exhibition game against Toronto.
5) Speaking of Butler, his play last night steadily improved as the game went on. For all of the criticisms that the exhibition games get (ie. visiting teams never dressing their better players, lack of available television coverage, Jim O'Brien, etc.) seeing the expression of happiness on Butler's face after he scored on a penalty shot and returned to the bench to celebrate with his teammates is the kind of moment that I enjoy.
6) Regardless of how many Hfboards threads are devoted to the belief that Michalek and Spezza have chemistry. Don't believe it for a second.
7) The first game at SBP wasn't without its technical difficulties. The red lights used to signify goals weren't functioning. (Ed. note: Probably at the request of Habs management.)
7) After watching a few shifts, Gus remarked that "Jim O'Brien's skating is uglier than Mike Ricci." It's definitely not something that's easy on the eyes. Credit to O'Brien, the young prospect played his best game to date in a Senators uniform.
8) If you're a Senators fan who watched last night's game and you had a boner that lasted more than four hours, rest assured, you don't have to consult your doctor. Blame Nick Foligno and his two highlight reel goals. As Foligno continues his torrid preseason pace (4 goals in 3 games), it's easy to lose sight of the big picture. Instead of worrying about where he slots in right now, we should be hoping that his and Peter Regin's development affords the organization the flexibility to let Alexei Kovalev and his $5-million salary go on July 1st. (Ed. note: Perhaps reallocating the money to fill another need: goaltending? Second line center?)
9) Mike Hoffman may be small and (he's only listed at 175 pounds) but there are worse things in the world. The rookie displayed some serious poise on the second power play unit and showed enough to elicit some hope that he can eventually be a viable offensive threat at the NHL level.
10) First home game + first Chris Neil fight = first raise the roof celebration of the 2010-11 season. Off all the audio/visual cues provided to encourage noise at SBP, this is easily my favorite. A close second was the Carey Price soft goal.
11) Jared Cowen looks like a professional hockey player. Outlet passes. Check. Physical assertion. Check. In no way does he resemble David Hale. Check. It's a good thing too. Assuming he makes the squad, hopefully it will spare us from that sensationalist sports radio caller bullshit that can be spurred if Magnus Paajarvi starts the season well in Edmonton.
10) In the aftermath of last night's game, it boggles my mind that the Alfredsson hit on Maxime Lapierre is one of the least discussed aspects of the game.
11) It was the night of pokechecks. First there was the Carey Price pokecheck on Bobby Butler early in the game that elicited some Carey chants from the naive Montreal faithful. (Ed. note: Shortly thereafter, Spezza fittingly scored from behind the goalline.) Then there was another Price pokecheck on a partial Milan Michalek breakaway. And then there was the Sergei Gonchar one-on-one pokecheck that ran me through a mix bag of emotions: Oh no, there's a loose puck headed into the defensive zone! Phew, it looks like Gonchar should beat the Montreal forward to the puck! Wait, why is Gonchar slowing down? For godsakes, lean on him! Oh, no! <Diving pokecheck!> Elation! The crowd goes wild!
Underwood Video Release
I feel bad for the timing of Ian Mendes' article on why Mike Fisher is a good second line center. Had he held off for a few days, he could have used Mike Fisher's So Good. Sooooo Good as his headline.
If you're looking to find some preseason NHL stastistics, CBS Sports' website has the updated numbers. Nick Foligno is tied for the League lead in preseason goals with 4.
If Don Brennan is ever looking for a second career, he should dabble as a guy who comes up with nicknames for strippers. Ottawa's only played four exhibition games and he's already come up with three new nicknames: Slick Nick (Foligno), The Forgotten One (Jim O'Brien) and the E-Train (Eric Gryba).
Melnyk Issues Warning
According to CFRA's Josh Pringle, The Euge has penned a letter to the CEO’s and boards of directors at Biovail and Valeant - warning them that a merger between the two companies would negatively affect American and Canadian taxpayers and shareholders. Melnyk concludes the letter with these words, "Anyone who is in favor of the merger, can blow themselves up."
Training Camp Cuts
After the Senators play Buffalo in the Kraft Hockeyville game that takes place in Dundas, the team will announce their next round of cuts.
Jonathan Cheechoo Released
According to the Stars Blog, the Dallas Stars have released Jonathan Cheechoo from his professional try-out. Even though their braintrust felt that he could have made their team, they believed that it would be better to release Cheechoo because he was unlikely to play in a top six forward role. On behalf of all of us at The 6th Sens, it's a sad day. We were truly hoping that Cheechoo would catch on so Aaron, aka The Cheechoo Song Guy, would be able to add one more song to his repertoire.
Quote of the Day:
"He showed me he turns the puck over a lot and he's got to get over that." ~ Ron Wilson on Nazem Kadri