After the game against Washington, we judged Pascal Leclaire performance in the same way that pundits criticized Mariah Carey's acceptance speech at the Palm Springs International Film Festival. Instead of focusing on the good -- Leclaire's big saves, Carey's performance in Precious -- everyone's dwelling on the negative things, like the soft goals and an off-her-ass drunk Mariah. To make matters worse, Pascal didn't do himself any favours when he unleashed this blast on the local media following last night's loss,
“There were 40 other shots (Thursday night). F---, I’m going to make mistakes ... now it seems that every time I give up a goal, it’s scrutinized, and its always the story of the game. If you guys want to keep doing that ... I know I make mistakes. I made a mistake on the third goal, but at the same time I thought I did some good stuff. As long as we don’t win, there’s nothing else that matters. It’s 5-2, we’ve got to play smarter defensively, especially against a team like that. We gave them too many scoring chances.” ~ The Ottawa Sun
As cathartic as it probably was for Pascal to shit on the media, they were just doing their job covering the Senators on a day-to-day basis and Leclaire's consistent penchant for letting in deflating goals has become a bit of a story. The goalie with the short term memory has now become the guy with the short fuse. Maybe it was a bit premature on our part start lauding Leclaire's Memento'esque short term amnesia. Regardless, when does common sense prevail? Did he not pay attention during training camp when the PR department briefed the players on how to deal with the media? After the way last season's events unfolded, this is Dany Heatley 101 - Don't slight a media group that prides itself upon stringing the words goalie and graveyard together. To illustrate the point, here's just a quick glance at what the Ottawa media has said about the goaltending recently:
- Here's a headline over at the Ottawa Citizen, Deflating Goals Continue to Hurt Senators
- And here's another one Leclaire's problems continue in Washinton
- And another, Senators goalies struggle to find consistency
- Brian Elliott didn't even play the other night and Don Brennan found a way to get in a subtle dig on Off The Posts.
Between the sloppy goaltending and the fact that the body count is climbing faster than a season's worth of Dexter episodes, this team's pursuit of a playoff spot has been a war of attrition. Earlier in the season, this team coped with the absences of Anton Volchenkov, Filip Kuba, Chris Neil, and Nick Foligno. Lately, they have had to cope with injuries to more expensive pieces of their roster. First there was the MCL injury to Jason Spezza's knee, then there was the shoulder injury to Daniel Alfredsson and Bruce Garrioch is reporting that Milan Michalek is out for the next two home games with suspected concussion and that he will not accompany the Senators when they begin a 5-game road trip next week in Carolina. To add some more intrigue to the injury situation, management did call up two future Sens stars, Zach Smith and Martin St. Pierre to fill out the roster and Cory Clouston did say that both will play tonight. Here are the lines that Garrioch has posted on the Ottawa Sun's website: Shannon-Fisher-Kovalev; Foligno-Regin-Neil; Ruutu-Kelly-Cheechoo; Smith-St.Pierre-Winchester.
And in an interesting twist, Brian Elliott will get the call to start tonight. I don't get it. Even though Ottawa's playing the 13th seeded Panthers tonight, the importance of tonight's game can't be understated. With a win tonight, the 13th seeded Panthers can move within 5 points of the 6th place Senators. Bryan Murray acquired Memento to be the number one goalie. After the loss to the Capitals, Leclaire was already hot under the collar. He's fired up so let him play. Why risk inviting controversy with a potential Elliott win?
Even though the Senators lost the game and Milan Michalek to injury, I have some good new for you - The first podcast of 2010 is now up for your listening pleasure. (Wow. That rings a little hollow. Doesn't it?) On this week's episode, Tim puts on his inspector Clouseau hat and tries to figure out who the f--- Willie Desjardins is. The two of us also discuss: the rest of the World Juniors; the state of the Senators goaltending and blueline situations; and Chris Kelly's rising trade value. (Cut bait! Cut bait! Cut bait!) If that's not enough of a hook, then you will have you listen because Tim praise a Bruce Garrioch article in the Sun. (A Tim first.)
This week's featured guest is the Director of Game Entertainment at SBP, Glen Gower. The three of us relive some of our best live experiences where I wind up fellating the live experience at the Yost Arena in Ann Arbour at the University of Michigan. If you want a good live atmosphere at a hockey game, YouTube Michigan hockey and watch the videos with the chants and the marching band. (Or watch current LA Kings defenceman, Jack Johnson's dad dance.) And if you can't have audible music because you're at work, read this list of chants that the student section uses during games.
Will Glen be able to help answer the age old question of whether the crowd meter will actually explode if no one in the audience makes some noise? As always, the podcast can be downloaded, streamed or subscribed to at Itunes or you can just download it by right-clicking and saving this link to your computer. And while the podcast is downloading, kill some time by following Glen on Twitter.
Here's the tracklist for the podcast: Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros 40 Day Dream; The Jam That's Entertainment; David Bowie Rebel Rebel; Otis Redding I Can't Turn You Loose; Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros Home; The Gaslight Anthem Blue Jeans & White T-Shirts.
4-2 CapitalsI don't know what's more weird: The fact that former NHL coach Pat Burns is the source for the latest Tiger Woods gossip or the fact that Jared Cowen, Ottawa's top prospect who Bryan Murray thought would be a productive NHL'er by November, was never even entrusted with shift against the Swiss during the WJHC semis. What does it say about the state of Ottawa's blueline when I still think that Cowen could help? Now throw in the recent goaltending struggles and the fact the Capitals are the highest scoring team in the NHL and tonight's result could be an unmitigated disaster.
While there were some media concerns that neither Pascal Leclaire or Alexei Kovalev would play tonight since they missed practice yesterday, both will suit up for tonight's game. Here are Ottawa's lines: Michalek-Regin-Foligno; Shannon-Fisher-Kovalev; Ruutu-Kelly-Neil; Donovan-Winchester-Cheechoo. On defence, Chris Campoli will be healthy scratched.
Who is Willie Desjardins?
In the opening segment of the podcast, we spent the duration of time talking about the World Juniors and how the coaching staff used Jared Cowen. There was a great quote by Tim Murray in Don Brennan's article this morning that reinforced what Tim and I were saying last night. Here it is,
Sounds like the world junior championship was not a great experience for Senators first-round pick Jared Cowen. “In the New Year’s Eve game he was one of five Canadian defencemen that weren’t very good,” said Senators assistant GM Tim Murray, who was in Saskatchewan for the tournament. “(In the semi-final game) in his hometown, they didn’t give him a chance to redeem himself. It embarrassed him, it deflated him. I think players come back after that. Then, when they lose (Travis) Hamonic (to injury), their hands are tied. They went into the final with six defencemen, and two of them they’re not comfortable playing. They gave up six goals ... I’m not saying it was the direct result, but it was the result.” ~ The Ottawa Sun
I'll give Tim Murray some credit here. He said it more eloquently and in fewer words than we did while managing to do it all without dropping the word fuck or the name Willie Desjardins.
Donovan To Be Honoured
On Friday, January 8th, the Carleton Place Canadians will be honouring Shean Donovan in a pre-game ceremony before their game against the Cumberland Grads. Whether they plan on retiring Donovan's number, I'm not entirely sure. I am after all getting this information from a Carleton Place newspaper. However, if they don't retire his jersey, doesn't it seem a bit shallow that they'd only honour Donovan by giving him some applause? Where's the hook? You'd think Donovan's ability to grow up and move on from Carleton Place should warrant more than some simple applause.
Panthers Game On CBC
According to the Ottawa Senators official blog by Rob Brodie, this Saturday's game against the Florida Panthers (7pm ET) will now be televised on HNIC.
Senators 2, Bruins 3
With Tuuka Rask having played last night against the Rangers, Senators fans can look forward to seeing Tim Thomas' bulbous head protect that 6'x4' Boston cage. After stringing together 10 consecutive wins against the Senators, one would assume that by now, the Senators players and advance scouting staff would have figured out that the way to beat Thomas is to stop shooting high and keep the puck out of the vicinity of Thomas' giant dome.
Lines: Shannon-Fisher-Kovalev; Michalek-Regin-Foligno; Ruutu-Kelly-Neil; Donovan-Winchester-Cheechoo. The only changes will come on defence and in goal as Brian Elliott and Alexandre Picard will draw back in to replace Pascal Leclaire and Chris Campoli.
Patrice Bergeron's Injury
During last night's game, the Bruins forward was hit on the hand by a Dennis Wideman slapshot while setting a screen in front of the Rangers net. According to ESPN, Bergeron could be out for two to six weeks with a thumb injury thereby putting his Olympic participation in jeopardy. This is great news for the TSN hockey panel who will assuredly milk this story and discuss potential replacement players for the duration of Bergeron's absence.
The Mighty Quinn?
Remember last season during the World Jr. Championships when The Euge engaged in manly embrace with legendary coach Pat Quinn? At the time, old time Senators fans who didn't repress memories of Quinn and his Maple Leafs beating the Senators four consecutive times in the playoffs used the opportunity to laud Quinn and speculate that he would be the next head coach of the Ottawa Senators if Craig Hartsburg were to get the axe. Fortunately, the Melnyk-Quinn embrace turned out to have no-strings attached isolated incident. If you haven't noticed, Hartsburg's eventual replacement, Cory Clouston, has been nails for the Ottawa Senators. And Pat Quinn? Well, he eventually caught on with the Oilers who have lost 9 of their past 10 games. Things are so bad in Edmonton that Quinn will actually put his players through a brief mini-camp to reintegrate the basic skills and re-learn their system. No wonder his players are ringing up quite the tabs on booze these days. If it doesn't work out well in Edmonton for Quinn, maybe he can follow in the footsteps of Pat Burns and freelance with some TMZ style reporting.
Cowen Will Play Tonight
I just wanted to thank one of our Twitter followers japansescream who let us know that the NHL Network reported that Sens prospect, Jared Cowen, will be playing in tonight's gold medal game against the United States even though he was benched for the duration of Canada's semi-final game against the Swiss. If you want to follow us on Twitter, just follow us using this link.
Ottawa Citizen Live Coverage of Tonight's Game
For those readers who enjoy watching Senators hockey while engaging in a live blog format, the Ottawa Citizen will be running one for tonight's game so check it out.
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.
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.
The past year was a crazy one. Not only did our website make the jump from Blogger to Bloguin and diversify our brand with podcasts, but the Senators experienced some ups and downs and ultimately, it made them that much more enjoyable to follow and discuss. When you're writing about your favorite professional sports team, it's amazing how quickly time flies by. On behalf of Tim, I'd just like to thank our readers who visited our website, took the time to read our skewed vision of the Ottawa Senators and helped make 2009 such a successful year for us. Now that the year has drawn to a close, here is The 6th Sens take on the year that was.
Story of the Year - The Dany Heatley Trade
When TSN broke the news publicly that Dany Heatley had requested a trade from the Ottawa Senators, my first thought was one of surprise that the news broke without any precursor or rumour. My second thought was that I nailed the prediction I made in December '08, after Heatley spoke out against the media following a loss and set the wheels in motion for his departure. From the time of Heatley's trade demand to the moment he was dealt, it was harder to get away from any Heatley related news than it was to walk up to the main gate of Scotiabank Place last season and escape the gaze of Heatley's dilated eye. This website alone probably devoted 15-30 pieces to the two time 50-goal scorer but my favorites included: one that featured some correspondence with Tom Molloy the neighbour who stood up for him; a piece chronicling detracting comments by the Los Angeles Kings Ron Hextall; captioned pictures of Heatley's arrival at a Calgary airport; and an article that trashed Heatley for throwing Cory Clouston under the bus.
Honorable Mentions: Mike Fisher's engagement to Carrie Underwood; Bryan Murray's 2009 trade deadline moves; Craig Hartsburg's firing and Cory Clouston's subsequent promotion; and Ottawa misses the playoffs for the first time in years. (Or for the frontrunning bandwagon jumping fans who came aboard during the 2000s, the first time ever.)
Videos of the Year
Many were offended by Dany Heatley's refusal to void his No-Trade Clause and accept a trade to the Edmonton Oilers. None more so than Hitler.
Carrie Underwood's public acknowledgment of her relationship has come a long way from this infamous moment during a Senators game last February.
Even when the Senators were struggling last season, it was moments like this that brought a smile to our faces.
The Best & Worst Media Moments
With a reputation as a media watchdog whenever the topic of the Ottawa Senators is broached, it's only fitting that I post some links to the best and worst that the media had to offer in 2009.
- The Toronto Sun's Mike Zeisberger discusses the Maple Leafs' inherent right to draft John Tavares ahead of an unlikely, albeit struggling, Senators team.
- Doug Fischer wrote a piece that chronicled how and why Zdeno Chara left Ottawa last March. Even though it was a brilliant and informative read, it also had Senators fans crying themselves to sleep for weeks.
- It was a busy summer for Don Brennan. From the orchestrated hi-jacking of the Dany Heatley press conference during the summer to running Heatley's name through the gutter, Brennan had it covered. Here is Tim's analysis of Don's summer of violence.
- And who could ever forget the work done by a Kelowna Daily Courier reporter who braved the elements and knocked on Dany Heatley's front door.
- Or Ian Mendes' moving appeal to the Ottawa media to refrain from TMZ-style reporting at Jason Spezza's wedding.
Other Memorable Sens Moments From '09
- “Anybody that says we should blow up this organization should get their own bomb and blow themselves up. O.K.?” ~ Eugene Melnyk
- The removal of Dany Heatley's visage from the main gate at SBP.
- The Milan Michalek hat-trick and the formation of Michalek's Anonymous.
- Erik Karlsson being named the best defenceman at the '09 World Junior Championships held in Ottawa.
- I loved how Eugene Melnyk's tendency to hug people during 2009 resulted in headlines. The hugging of John Tavares, PK Subban and Pat Quinn was nothing but no-strings attached affection.
- Dany Heatley kills a trade to the Edmonton Oilers and unintentionally lets Senators fans know that even though he hates it here and has demanded a deal. He'd still rather play here than in Edmonton.
- Jarkko Ruutu eats Andrew Peters' finger and jokes about it during the Skills Competition.
- Craig Hartsburg reveals that Brian Elliott will spend the rest of the 08-09 season in Ottawa, thereby effectively ending the Martin Gerber era in Ottawa.
- Bruce Garrioch's last rumour of '09 was true - Mike Fisher's engagement to Carrie Underwood.
New York Islanders (16-18-7) Vs Ottawa Senators (20-16-4) @ 7pm ET, Scotiabank Place; Television: Rogers Sportsnet
I am a little bit pressed for time so today's thread is going to have to be relatively short. Here's my prediction that ran as part of James Gordon's prediction panel for the Ottawa Citizen,
Senators 4, Islanders 3
The last time John Tavares was in Ottawa around World Junior time, Eugene Melnyk was giving out hugs faster than he could give out interviews for Toronto's Fan 590 radio station. It's funny how time flies because since winning junior gold, Tavares has the Isles team flirting with playoff relevancy. Because of their dependency of the Isles on their young offensive talent, it's expected that the team will be a bit inconsistent. John Tavares (1 Goal in last 10 games), Matt Moulson (1 goal in last 13 games), Kyle Okposo (1 goal in last 21 games) and Josh Bailey (1 goal in last 15) have to produce more if the Isles are to have a chance.
In retrospect, I wish had written in the caveat if Carkner and Picard play that poorly again, Ottawa's screwed. As a pairing, they combined for a -5 rating in last night's 4-3 loss to the Colorado Avalanche.While I doubt that either is made a healthy scratch for tonight's game against the Isles, it will be interesting to see if Erik Karlsson gets an opportunity to redeem himself after some recent lacklustre play.
During the weekly digital faceoff that runs in the Ottawa Sun, Bruce revealed this in some banter with editor, Tim Baines...
BAINES: Did The Ghost say hi to you first? Also realize, Bruce, that you're probably on some players' Top 10 lists, too. And not always in a complimentary kind of way.
GARRIOCH: Gee, you think. I'm sure one of those players will be in town this weekend.
So which team is coming to town this weekend? The Philadelphia Flyers and Ray Emery of course.
An Islander Fan's Take of the Senators Alternate Uniform
I watched the last half of the Senators' 4-3 home loss to Colorado last night, and the first thing I noticed was that I was watching two of the most horrific hockey uniforms the NHL and its unholy partner R(ee)B(o)K have foisted upon us in the R(EE)B(O)K. EDGE. SYSTEM. era. I'll save the Avs' horrific unipron soiling of their once-pleasing mountain jersey for another day. But that SNES third jersey is an insult to the senses that literally makes me not want to watch a game involving that ... system.
This is coming from someone who has accepted every rip the Isles mid-90s Fisherman jersey ever received. Hell, at least the Fisherman had a theme to it -- one that made local sense, even if it disregarded storied franchise history. But the SNES disgrace combines the awful "none more blacker" trend with the ill-conceived tendency to force a nickname on a crest, and adds to it pointless ascending italics and completely random sleeve lines that end abruptly as if the artist suddenly realized what he'd done and swallowed the pill his teacher gave him long ago in the event he sold his soul to a sports apparel company. God, it's so horrible. Why, RBK, why? Why do you do this to us? ~ Lighthouse Hockey
Team Canada Roster
So here's the final roster for the Canadian men's Olympic hockey team:
Patrice Bergeron; Sidney Crosby; Ryan Getzlaf; Dany Heatley; Jarome Iginla; Patrick Marleau; Brenden Morrow; Rick Nash; Corey Perry; Mike Richards; Eric Staal; Joe Thornton; Jonathan Toews.
Dan Boyle; Drew Doughty; Duncan Keith; Scott Niedermayer; Chris Pronger; Brent Seabrook; Shea Weber
Martin Brodeur; Marc-Andre Fleury; Roberto Luongo
Some may complain about a perceived Western Conference bias to the Yzerman selected team, but with the inclusion of Patrice Bergeron...I don't know what to think. Bergeron? Really? I guess it's a good story though. He's come a long way from being that guy who was one headshot away from eating out of a straw. It's not surprising that Brenden Morrow is the token Gretzky'esque pick that's typically reserved for a player like Ryan Smyth or Shane Doan. I guess the most critical commentary can be reserved for the decision to include two young defencemen in Drew Doughty and Brent Seabrook. Barring an injury, wouldn't it have been a little bit wiser to shuffle in an experienced workhorse like Jay Bouwmeester as the extra defenceman?
Since tomorrow's noon announcement is something that a slew of Canadians are anxiously awaiting, I figured I'd throw out my own suggestions for the Canadian roster.
At the goaltending position, there aren't any surprises here. However, I have noticed a bit of a recurring pizza theme. The Canadian team will not only feature the Sean Avery described fatty and Delissio eating Martin Brodeur but it should also have Roberto Luongo, who met his wife at her family's Miama located Pizza restaurant and Marc Andre Fleury, a guy who once handed out pizza to Pittsburgh students as part of some Penguins promotional thing. For those Canadians who may have some reservations about Fleury, listen to this testimony from one of the students who received pizza from Fleury, “Awesome dude, free pizza! Marc-Andre Fleury gave it to me over this car. Marc-Andre Fleury kicks butt.”
On the blueline, I think the first five selections of Scott Niedermayer, Chris Pronger, Shea Weber, Duncan Keith and Jay Bouwmeester are locks based on their experience and or their ability to play at both ends of the ice. So that leaves the sixth spot and the extra defenceman as vacant spots that need to be filled by some combination from this pool of candidates -- Mike Green, Dan Boyle, Drew Doughty and Brent Seabrooke. I would not envision that Yzerman would select two similar defenceman in Green and Boyle to fill the remaining two spots so that means that one of those two is out and that the extra spot will go to either Seabrooke or Doughty. Because of the contrast in style, my money is on Seabrooke and Boyle selections.
At forward, two lines are already set and established: Nash - Crosby - Iginla and Marleau - Thornton - Heatley. With Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry likely occupying the third line center and right-wing positions and Mike Richards likely centering the fourth line, there are four wing positions that need to be filled. By now, I'm sure you have all heard about Team Canada Brass' infatuation with Martin St. Louis' energy and enthusiasm. He's thought to be a sparkplug kind of player so I'll assume that he's in. Ditto for Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry because they're both nails and can be paired up to form the basis an intriguing third line. Now, with a third and a fourth line wing spot are available, this is where things can get a bit dicey. If this were Gretzky managed club, players like Ryan Smyth and Shane Doan would have been selected before Crosby. With Yzerman in control, he may shy away from Team Canada stalwarts who are a little long in the tooth and instead make some unconventional picks. Like selecting Eric Staal for example. He hasn't exactly had a healthy season, but now he's a big bodied forward who can play physical and be pretty damn productive. Just last night he had a 5-point effort against the Eastern Conference leading Capitals. If he's healthy, how do you not take him?
Jonathan Toews, you're getting my extra forward slot. You're talented, you're young, you have the shootout gimmick thing going for you. Enjoy the experience.
So that leaves the final wing spot...who would I take? Do I do the bleeding heart thing and reward Mike Fisher for his ridiculous season thus far? It wouldn't be the most ridiculous thing that I have ever proposed as a hockey fan. I'm the same guy who wrote his first elementary school speech on how the modern Ottawa Senators came into existence but wasted the bulk of my alotted speech time talking about how Sylvain Turgeon was slighted by the NHL for not being a Senators representative in the 1993 All-Star Game in Montreal.
Sadly for Senators fans, I don't think Fish will make the cut. Instead, I see one of Brenden Morrow, Jeff Carter, Vinny Lecavalier or Patrick Sharp getting the nod instead. People can laud Fisher's physical nature and the attributes that he'd bring to the team's penalty kill but with others like Marleau, Richards, Getzlaf and etc., Canada will be fine.
Even though he started the season slowly, Vincent Lecavalier has played better in recent weeks. If he's playing like his old self, how do you select an inferior player like Morrow or Carter or Fisher? The answer...you can't and that's why he's in.
Here are my lines:
Nash - Crosby - Iginla
Marleau - Thornton - Heatley
Staal - Getzlaf - Perry
Lecavalier - M. Richards - St. Louis
Niedermayer - Pronger
Bouwmeester - Weber
Keith - Boyle