''I felt something and then I tried to get up and skate but I had no power in it so I knew something was wrong and I went right off. It's always frustrating when you get hurt. It's part of the game but it's never easy. My game was coming around but everything happens for a reason so now I 've got to get better." ~ Jason Spezza
There's no question that the injury to Spezza will put an enormous amount of pressure on Mike Fisher. As if Fisher needs any more attention. It's not like he's dating Carrie Underwood or is coming off a terrible season and is already producing at rates well above his career norm. It's not too much to ask, right?
''It means we'll have to be more of a team than ever. We're going to have to have guys step up and play with structure." ~ Cory Clouston
Too Many Reminders of the Havlat Trade
First the injury to Patrick Wiercioch and now Josh Hennessey has been recalled by the Senators to take Spezza's roster spot on the Senators. With Hennessey's contract due to expire at the conclusion of this season, this could very well end up being Hennesey's last opportunity to play at the NHL level for the Senators organization. If you're going to make an impression Josh, now's the time to do it.
Ottawa Senators (16-11-4)
That Team Whose National Coverage Gets Shoved Down Your Throat (11-14-7)
Isn't it a tad early for Leafs fans to be jumping aboard the playoff bandwagon this season?
Nah, it's a great time to be a Leafs fan.
Brian Burke dealt away what could have been two lottery picks and a 2nd rounder for Phil Kessel. (As an aside, Phil Kessel's a great player. But even with Kessel, the Leafs may finish in a lottery position.) Dealing the picks wouldn't even be a concern if the organization was brimming with prospects. However, their golden boy, Luke Schenn is currently rotting away in the pressbox and Nazem Kadri is the only blue chipper in the system. Even if Jonas Gustavsson's future is clouded with doubt as he has already undergone his second corrective heart surgery in less than four months.
Had Toronto maintained their losing ways, it would have been conceivable to see Tomas Kaberle dealt away for a package involving prospects but because of his NTC and with the way their team is flirting with playoff contention, that doesn't look like it will be happening in the foreseeable future either.
But hey, they're in 14th place in the Eastern Conference and are teasing their fans with relevancy. Congratulations. Who knew that the allure of eighth place in the East and the inevitable first round sweep really enticing enough to overlook the future of the franchise? Apparently Brian Burke's predecessors were bad enough for fans to instill blind trust in whatever Burke says or does.
You would think that after years of ineptitude and falling just short of the postseason, that they've been conditioned for the inevitable disappointment of finishing as a nine to eleven seed. Or maybe it's just Leafs fans believe that it's their divine right to be on every HNIC broadcast since they've had their nuts suckled by every national sports media outlet for years.
Anyways, here's my prediction that ran in this morning's Citizen Prediction Panel...
Senators 4, Leafs 2Even though Toronto's 14th in the Eastern Conference, I'll give credit where credit is due. They have strung together some victories recently and have teased their fans with some relevancy. And I for one could not be happier. As much fun as it would be to rib Leafs fans for losing out on a lottery pick, it's sometimes easy to forget that Boston's also a division rival of Ottawa's and I would hate for them to be afforded that same luxury. Since Gustavsson is still recovering from his second ablation surgery and because Ottawa's highly paid offensive talents are finally starting to show some life, I'll pick the Senators. Besides, Alfie always seems to respond well to the incessant booing at the ACC.
Campoli remains a healthy scratch and Elliott will be back in nets.
Update: 4pm ET
Here's an interesting article penned by Bruce Firestone regarding why Leafs fans boo Alfredsson. My only qualm with the article is that Bruce should add a #6 to his list. They're assholes.
Puck Daddy Float Contest
The good folks over at Puck Daddy had an idea for a contest in which readers created Photoshopped float concepts for a Winter Classic Parade. We submitted a Flyers float entry (to view it click here) that features:
- John Stevens and Broad Street hanging from the gallows.
- the float being pulled by Emery's hummer which is in turn pulling Brian Boucher on a sinking ship.
- Chris Pronger wearing Mike Richards' captaincy
- Mike Richards and a porn star
- Pierre McGuire being flanked by Team Canada hopefuls Jeff Carter and Simon Gagne
- Ray Emery being flanked by Peter Laviolette who mentioned that he thinks that Ray was deserving of the third goalie role on Canada's Olympic entry.
- A Matt Bradley tombstone
- And the Liberty Bell redesigned using Chris Pronger's front teeth. Notice that the crack in the redesigned bell still exists.
If you haven't noticed, Alexei Kovalev's 400th is being celebrated around the League. After scoring goals 399, 400 and 401 in last night's victory over the Hurricanes, Kovy's 400th goal has not only made the front page of NHL.com, but people other than those parents who invested their hard earned cash in AK-27's DVD are championing his accomplishment like it's a big deal.
Personally, I think this whole situation is conflicting.
Since the moment that the ink dried on his 2-year $10 million pact, we've been conditioned to believe that Alexei Kovalev is an enigma, a career underachiever who'd cocktease you with his talent.
How am I supposed to celebrate him reaching this historic milestone when he was allegedly capable of so much more?
That Team That's Supported By Nascar Fans (7-18-6)
The Good Guys (15-11-4)
@ SBP, 7:00pm ET
If my name isn't included as part of my game day prediction, will it count against my record? That's a question that hangs over my prediction for tonight's Hurricanes versus Senators game as part of the Ottawa Citizen's Prediction Panel. Here's it is...
Senators 4, Hurricanes 3
With a 1-11-4 record, it's difficult to ignore how poorly Carolina performs away from home. They're like socially awkward homeschooled kids who have left the nest for the first time and can't quite keep up with their peers. While Cam Ward did play last night in a 4-3 shootout loss to the Capitals, it works out in Ottawa's favour that the Canes had to play into extra-time and fly out immediately after the game. And even though the Senators have only scored 3 times in their past two games, the energy level and work ethic has surprisingly been there after their long and disappointing west coast road trip.
Lines at Practice:
The only change could be on defence. Allen Panzeri's reporting that Alexandre Picard will likely return from his injury tonight and if that's the case, Chris Campoli is the likely candidate to be made a healthy scratch.
Update from Ian Mendes' Twitter at 11:00am: Campoli is out as Picard draws back into the lineup. Elliott will start in nets.
Alfie Birthday Present
If you're going to the game tonight and want to give a belated birthday present to the Captain, go out and purchase a few pairs of blue dress socks and throw them onto the ice. You owe it to him.
"Right now, I need dress socks, especially blue ones. I'm running out of that, so that's high on my list," replied Alfredsson, who was celebrating his 37th birthday while the Senators prepared to play the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday. ~ 680 News
Jason Spezza Coming To A Sens Chirp Rumour Near You
Here's some news about the future Steve Yzerman that should have sensationalist fans thinking that a trade request is in his future. According to the Ottawa Sun, Spezza has sold his Island Park mansion and is looking to relocate elsewhere...
Kovalev Television Appearance
According to TSN, AK-27 will be appearing on OTR on Monday, December 14th. Even though he's entertaining Don Brennan at least once a game, there's still one place where Kovalev is not appearing -- on scoresheets.
Fisher Carries The Torch
It was during a live experience where first I noticed that Mike Fisher seems to be more confident in holding onto the puck and using that extra second or half second to make smarter decisions with it. On Friday, Fisher even carried the Olympic torch 300 metres through Gatineau before turning it over to someone else. 300 metres! He's like a new man.
Episode III of The 6th Sens Podcast ft. Jared Cowen and Michael Sharp
Have you checked out the latest podcast yet? No? Well, wait the hell are you waiting for?
If you want to access our material from Itunes, you can do that here.
If you don't use Itunes, you can access the material by following this link.
Ben From Sens Army Takes Hiatus
On behalf of Tim, we'd like to extend some well wishes to Ben from Sens Army who is taking a leave of absence from his website. When I first started doing some writing and had sent out some emails to other writers looking for some link exchanges, Ben was the first one who actually responded to me. Anyways, we just want to wish Ben our best from The 6th Sens and hopefully we'll see him back in the fold sooner rather than later.
What better way for the city of Ottawa to celebrate number 11's 37th birthday by relishing in these Alfie moments or by taking part in some necessary actions.
1) Enjoy watching this video of the Captain, one-punching Leafs legend Dougie Gilmour in a fight.
2) Remember the infamous Alfredsson faux sticktossing incident.
3) Watch this video of Alfie scoring the game winning goal in game five of the 2007 Eastern Conference Final against Buffalo.
4) Recall during the bankruptcy scare years how Alfie deferred his salary so that Ottawa could afford to retain and add some pieces for the stretch drive. It's just unfortunate that Ottawa added Peter Bondra instead of an elite goaltender.
5) Screw Scott Niedermayer.
6) Alfie was the first Senator in modern history to win a major NHL award when he took home the Calder Trophy following the 1995-96 season in which he played in every game totalling 26 goals, 35 assists for 61 points.
7) Watch this memorable shift against Florida...
8) On March 29th, 2004 Daniel Alfredsson became the franchise leader in goals scored. Relive the memory through this video.
9) Sticking with the Tampa connection, on January 25th, 2008, Daniel Alfredsson put together a 7-point night.
10) Fans should start mailing their local city councillors in support of renaming Dalhousie, the street on which the Swedish embassy is located to Alfredsson Way. Think of it, it'll be the first positive connotation that Dalhousie has had in years.
11) Darcy Tucker + Hit from behind by #11 + no penalty + Alfie scores the game winning goal on the same shift = priceless
Here's a steaming pile of shit written by Christian Butzek for the ever so enlightening Bleacher Report. It wasn't too hard to tear it to pieces in a Fire Joe Morgan format. As always, my comments will be in bold. Enjoy.
The Ottawa Senators have thus far exceeded expectations by remaining in the hunt for a playoff spot. Brian Murray, however, has been a chronic under-achiever as the club’s general manager, with a legacy of poor managerial decisions. That Murray still holds down the GM title has more to do with his personal appeal than his accomplishments.
The Senators are exceeding expectations? I'd hate to hypothesize what you'd be writing if the combination of Shannon, Cheechoo, Spezza and Kovalev had produced at a level proportionate to their combined $15.6M cap hit.
In the future, I think that there should be a caveat to any written criticism of a professional sports executive. If you're going to take the time to produce an argument as to why Ottawa's General Manager isn't up to Christian Butzek standards, make sure you spell Bryan Murray's name right.
Murray is instantly likeable. He’s accessible to the media and candid in his remarks, provides media-friendly sound-bites, and his dry sense of humour in press conferences can draw a chuckle from fans watching at home.
Um, okay. So the team is overachieving and the only reason why Murray here is because he's a personable individual. (Just ask Jim Fox.) If you're going to go against the grain and make this statement, why did you wait until the Senators four game losing streak ended to publish this tripe? Put your money where your mouth is. Asshole.
There’s no doubt of Murray’s ability to manage human relationships within the club. In three seasons as head coach, he never had a public falling-out, despite a cadre of trouble-makers in the squad in Ray Emery, Brian McGratton, and Dany Heatley. Murray was able to keep a tight leash on the former two and stroke the latter’s ego.
So Bryan Murray's still employed because he's a regular Dr. Phil. Bullshit. It's actually been well documented that Emery got away with a lot of stuff while the team was winning. Murray never had a falling out with Heatley because Heatley's a front-running douchebag who didn't complain when the team was winning. And Murray has a speech impediment
But the people skills that enabled Murray to be a respected coach have not translated to success in the GM’s chair. The Senators went from a Stanley Cup finals appearance to squeaking into the playoffs as the eight seed in Murray’s first year as GM, and were swept by the Penguins in the first-round. Last season, they finished near the bottom, failing to make the playoffs for the first time in 11 seasons.
Once a perennial Stanley Cup favourite, the Senators metamorphosed into an also-ran, then into a doormat in just less than two years. How have the Senators rocketed down the standings?
The Senators rocketed down the standings because his predecessor rode the coattails of the previous Marshall Johnston regime. Between traded and bungled picks, Chara vs Redden, Ottawa blowing their gift-wrapped 9th pick in 2005, and Muckler's inability to address a Stanley Cup contender's need -- FUCKING GOALTENDING -- Murray inherited a team devoid of prospects and whose best players were on the cusp of free agency.
Even though it’s not really problematic to sign one’s elite talent to long-term deals, it’s counter intuitive to sign replaceable veterans to inflated, long-term deals making them completely untradeable in the process. Without young, NHL-ready talent, Ottawa’s veterans could print their own tickets and bleeding heart fans applauded the moves because they’d hate to see one of their own homegrown guys go.
Bryan Murray stumbled out of the gate immediately after assuming the GM’s cap. He announced a month-long selection and interview process to find the next the coach, interviewing highly qualified candidates Peter Deboer and Bob Hartley, before settling on his assistant and friend, John Paddock. Even the Murray-friendly Ottawa media described the process as a sham.
Yeah, it's a sham to promote the assistant coach who shares the same coaching philosophies as the former Head Coach of the team that went to the Stanley Cup Finals the season before. That wouldn't make any sense. Do you know what else doesn't make sense? Your timeline. It's wrong. Hartley and DeBoer were interviewed prior to Murray settling on Craig Hartsburg. It's okay that you forgot about this. I've tried to repress those memories too.
Murray fired Paddock before the end of the season and replaced his former partner with himself without much success.
The off-season of 2008 was a repeat of the previous summer. After a lengthy search for a new head coach, Murray went with a proven hand, hiring former NHL coach, Craig Hartsburg. Murray didn’t wait long before axing the hapless Hartsburg who he dismissed at the half-way mark. Thus, bringing the total number of coaches to five in two seasons, including Bryan Murray twice.
Ah, so you do remember Hartsburg. Good for you. Granted, Ottawa's been through a slew of coaches but you've already conceded that Ottawa's overachieving as a hockey club. So, if the team's overachieving, is it safe to assume that you think that the coaching staff is doing a good job? And if they are, does it really matter that the team went through this many coaches before finally arriving at one who seems capable of doing the job properly?
An organization once renowned for its stability under John Muckler has been under constant change.
The only thing that was stable under the Muckler era was his alcohol consumption. If anyone is interested in a 6th Sens article that drops trou on the Muckler era, click here.
Things go from bad to worse when examining his player personnel decisions. Murray's contract extensions and free agent signings have amounted to precious little, moves analogous to a weak wrister from outside the blue-line.
The Senators GM handed monster contracts to Jason Spezza, Mike Fisher, Ray Emery, and Dany Heatley after their run to the Cup finals. And that’s when Murray’s midas touch left him and went south.
Jason Spezza’s point totals took a noticeable dip after signing a new long-term deal. Mike Fisher too saw a steep decline in his production. Fans and media pundits questioned whether these players where deserving of such lucrative deals, given the knock that Spezza has always been a suspect skater and Fisher injury-prone.
Jason Spezza's point totals for the last four years:
2005-2006 -- 90
2006-2007 -- 87
2007-2008 -- 92 (Holy shit, they went up during the season in which he signed his deal.)
2008-2009 -- 73
Conclusion: Jason Spezza's stat totals must be static. Off years shouldn't be attributed to Craig Hartsburg's system and a poor puck moving blueline. No, they should be attributed to something more conclusive - Like blaming the Senators for rewarding Spezza for his two 90 point seasons. The only reason why people are shitting on Spezza's contract is not because he's a suspect skater, it's because of how his hunched over skating style has helped foster some lingering back issues that could be incredibly detrimental over the term of his contract.
I'd touch upon Mike Fisher's consistent 45 point production but the man is cock teasing us with his play this year? Will he finally crack the 60 point threshold that management envisioned when he signed his deal? Stay tuned. It may be the most compelling Senators story down the stretch.
After threatening to deal the petulant Ray Emery all season, Murray was forced to buy out Emery one season after he signed him to a three-year 10 million dollar deal contract.
I'm sure Bryan Murray's losing a lot of sleep over his deft inclusion of a Ray Emery buyout clause in Ray's first non-entry level deal. It's only costing the Senators a $500k cap hit. This isn't a Martin Gerber contract. Get over it.
Again, the Dany Heatley signing seemed to ignore the player’s past history. Heatley asked to be dealt two years into his new 7-year deal. Murray eventually moved the disgruntled forward to the Sharks, but not before Heatley collected his 4 million dollar bonus on Canada Day.
Yeah, how does Bryan Murray ignore Dany's previous history? The Senators had just gone to the Stanley Cup and Heatley seemed happy being on the most productive line in hockey. If you're going to trash the Senators organization for ignoring Heatley's vehicular homicide charge and subsequent trade demand, trash the stable John Muckler regime.
Free agent signings Luke Richardson, Jason Smith, Jarko Ruutu, and Alex Auld all failed to make an impact.
And that Michalek guy, he sucks too. They may not be headliners, but shrewd moves like dumping Peter Schaefer's contract, trading Lawrence Nycholat for Ryan Shannon, and moving up in the draft to select Erik Karlsson are moves that can't be taken for granted.
On the trade front, Murray’s moves mirror a juggling act gone bad.
On the substance front, Butzek's article mirrors a lip-glossy shallowness that can only be found elsewhere on programs like MTV's Jersey Shore.
Holy shit! There's more of this tripe?
Murray dealt away Pat Eaves and Joe Corvo in a last-gasp effort to remain competitive in 2008. As Murray plugged one hole another sprung open. He added a gritty player but was then left without a puck-moving defenseman to quarterback the power-play, like Corvo whom he had just dealt. The players the Senators received in return, Cory Stillman and Mike Commodore, soon left the organization, leaving Murray with nothing to show for his moves.
What's wrong with taking on two expiring contracts for Patrick Eaves (who has done sweet fuck all EVER) and Joe Corvo (a guy who didn't want to be here)? Murray tried to shake up the team for the playoffs without really touching the core of the club. It didn't work and it hasn't really cost the team. I fail to see how this was a bad move.
The Senators lost young defenseman Andrej Mezsaros when he and his agent became entangled in a contract dispute with the Senators organization. Murray opted to trade the young defenseman for an aging veteran in Filip Kuba. The jury is still out on who won the deal.
When Meszaros was dealt to Tampa Bay, he signed a 6-year $24M deal with the Lightning. In retrospect, the Meszaros deal breaks down to Meszaros and McAmmond for Campoli, Kuba, Picard, and Mike Comrie. Not bad for an overrated, mulleted bag of ass.
Murray again sacrificed the future in trading away a first-round draft choice to the Islanders to acquire Chris Campoli who is, at best, a fifth-defenseman.
You just shat on the Senators for giving up on a young defenceman in Meszaros but immediately turn around and shit on the Senators for acquiring a similar kind of player in Campoli? I don't get it. I can understand the resentment that a first was dealt moved because I felt that the pick could have been used to move up in the draft and get another top 15 selection.
And all the while Murray has shuffled the coaching ranks and made changes to the team’s core, he still hasn’t found the second line power-forward he’s been after since the spring of 2007, nor has he obtained a name goalie the franchise has always lacked.
Yeah, because that trade of Vermette for Leclaire and Lehner doesn't stand to set up the Senators goaltending situation for the next ten years.
Worst of all, there’s the allegation of unprofessionalism in his handling of the Heatley trade request. Heatley’s agent claims they asked for a trade behind closed doors only for Murray to leak it to the media, a definite no-no in sports circles, and which created the summer’s worst spectacle—the Dany Heatley trade drama.
I thought one of your arguments was that Ottawa should have done their due diligence on the fact that Heatley's a douchebag? So why are you so eager to believe every word that comes from his representation? Oh, because it fits your argument. Mmmmkay.
The Ottawa Senators have been spinning their wheels under the leadership of Bryan Murray. To kick-start a turn-around, they may have to give Murray the boot.
It's taken a couple of years for some Muckler mistakes to manifest, there's no sense panicking because the Senators organization isn't a perennial Stanley Cup contender. Just take a couple of deep breaths and relax suckhole. To turn this franchise around, this team has to rebuild its foundation from the rotten, barren mess that John Muckler left in the wake of his firing. The only way to do this is through the draft and by improving the farm system, two facets of the administrating a hockey team that Murray has done very well. Fans need to recognize that it takestime to retool, it's not a process that can simply happen overnight.
Purse Snatchers (14-14-2)
Game Day Prediction:
As is the norm, here's my game day prediction for the Ottawa Citizen's Prediction Panel. Enjoy.
There are a lot of reasons to like Ottawa in this one. Not only did Montreal register 13-shots in a lacklustre win against Philadelphia last night and have to bus to Ottawa after the game, but the Senators have finally returned from an unimpressive road trip in which the losses mounted faster than the excuses for Jason Spezza's poor play. In homage to Eugene Melnyk throwing out clichéd lines at his charity event on the weekend, I'll throw out a tired prediction and bank on Alexei Kovalev having a big game against his former club.
Your Non-AP styled gloss over of Sunday night's game:
There's been enough criticism and overanalysis going on lately, so I'm not going to pile onto what can only be considered a disappointing roadtrip. That being said, Sunday night's victory was an an interesting win considering that I've been conditioned to expect the team to lose games in which they blow three leads and go to a shootout to decide the outcome.
Looking For a Big Bodied Forward
According to a report in The Province, Ottawa's General Manager, Bryan Murray, isn't satisfied with his team's ability to score garbage goals and fight for rebounds in heavy traffic areas.
“We don’t go to the net much, or often enough for me,” said Murray, in evaluating his team at the end of this road trip. “I think getting behind, we’ve had a more difficult time creating offence than I thought we would, and, obviously, it’s the same old story.
“When your best players don’t play well and sort of carry the offence, you don’t get it from your third and fourth lines often enough.”
Uh, okay. Who cares about production or players who work hard for their scoring opportunities? As long as Murray's next addition is like Kovalev and is amongst the most entertaining players in the League, who cares about production?
And With the First Overall Selection...
According to TSN, the highlight of this website's banner, Alexandre Daigle, will join former Senator Randy Robitaille, on Canada's Spengler Cup entry. There's no word on whether he was the selection committee's first choice for the roster, but at least if Canada doesn't win, the mainstream media won't care enough to mention the word bust.
Melnyk Speaks, Garrioch Writes, Kovalev Speaks, I Bang Head Off Of My Keyboard...
The National Post ran an article in which Eugene Melnyk threw out more cliched one liners than an Arnold Schwarzennager career montage.
When asked by Sun Media's Bruce Garrioch about how he felt about Melnyk's comments, Kovalev responded by saying,
“People who know hockey to understand I wish this could be an individual sport where you can prepare yourself and know you’ll have a good game or a bad game like in tennis” said Kovalev. “In hockey, one person can make a difference, but I’m a new guy on the team.” ~ Ottawa Sun
I suppose that's a bit more professional than Kovalev thanking The Euge for staying composed and not building a bomb and blow himself up. At least we can finally stop referring to Kovalev as enigmatic. He only wishes hockey was like tennis. What's the big deal?
The Bryan Murray Conspiracy Theory:
In an article written by The Citizen's Allen Panzeri, Bryan Murray hypothesizes that the reason why Jason Spezza isn't lighting it up -- It's because he tried too hard early on to make a favourable impression upon the Canadian Olympic team's management team.
“I think it’s frustration now, more than anything,” Murray said. “I think, and I may be wrong here, but I think he wanted to impress the Olympic guys so much early on, and then when nothing happened in a positive way for him, I think he has let that affect him a little bit.”
Add this to the list that includes:
- A nagging back injury
- The loss of Dany Heatley
- He neglects to shoot and his passing efficiency has waned
- He got married this past summer.
- Changing his stick composition back to wood
- The Lanark County excuse that Spezza's too soft
- Too many Yzerman career parallels
Ottawa Senators (13-10-4)
Anaheim Ducks (10-13-5)
Television: Rogers Sportsnet
Gametime: 8:00pm Eastern Time
It's hard to believe that in 2007, both of these teams were vying for the opportunity to win the Stanley Cup. It's fascinating to see how quickly these two teams have fallen into NHL irrelevancy. Oh well, since Ottawa's not the capital of Asshole Town, I'm not going to dwell on how the Ottawa Senators have completely defecated the mattress this western road trip. Instead, I'll just view it as a microcosm of Ottawa's systemic problem -- They're having a hard time winning games on the road this season. Away from SBP's confines, the Senators currently sport the third worst road record in the NHL with a 3-7-1 mark. Ottawa can ill afford to let this trend continue because their 24 road games in the second half loom more ominously than a Bruce Garrioch shadow in the dressing room. The only positive after tonight's game might be that this road trip will have come to a conclusion.
Here's my prediction that ran as part of the Ottawa Citizen's Prediction Panel. (To view the rest of the panel's predictions, click here.)
Senators 2, Ducks 4
Maybe it’s safe to say that the Counting Crows had it right when they penned that it would be a long December. It’s only one week in and already the Senators have lost all three games on this west coast road trip that has inexplicably taken them from California to Arizona and now back to California to face the Ducks. If it wasn’t for the recent play of Jonathan Cheechoo, this roadie would be an unmitigated disaster. You don’t need to be Gordon Bombay to recognize that Ottawa’s goaltending, effort and defensive zone coverage have been terrible lately. Instead of relying upon the efforts and production of their third and fourth line players, guys like Spezza and Kovalev have to step it up soon as the Eastern Conference standings tighten up. Oh wait, Montreal’s coming to town on Tuesday. I’ll predict Ottawa to break their losing streak then.
Arm Chair Coaching
Okay, I understand that it's fun as a fan to be cynical and criticize the coaching staff whenever you disagree with the line combinations or who deserves to be a healthy scratch. I get it. But for those sensationalist fans who feel compelled to start banging the fire Clouston drum after this four game losing streak, well...you can fuck right off.
Considering his strong play of late and the deterioration of Jason Spezza's game, wouldn't it be fitting to see these guys play together at some point in the near future? Given Spezza's lack of production and the fact that Alfie and Michalek don't seem to need him to produce, maybe it's time to see if these two can develop some chemistry.
Lines (Updated @ 5pm)
According to Ian Mendes' Twitter, Brian Elliott will start tonight and although there are no lineup changes, there will be shuffled lines -- Spezza will play with Kovalev and Foligno while Fisher will Michalek and Alfredsson.