Wednesday, March 31, 2010

All Hail the King

Sorry for the late post here today folks. Taking the time to watch the Sens game last night left me rather behind on my studying. I have some time now, so let's talk some puck.

First, thanks to everyone who has started to take some time to visit this little site. We are really enjoying it, and love your feedback.

Instead of doing the traditional postgame summary, which you undoubtably don't need due to the abundance of excellent ones (short and sweet? The Sixth Sens.... in depth and beautiful? Silver Seven).

Instead, I hope that each game inspires me to write a blog that you will enjoy and that will illicit your viewing and opinions!

Last night's game, and the game before that, lead me to want to write about my man-crush... Erik Karlsson. Or as he is affectionately known as... King Karlsson.

Karlsson, who turned 20 today, is a 5'11 175 lbs defenceman drafted 15th overall by the Senators in 2008 (I WAS THERE WHEN THEY TRADED UP FOR HIM!).

And this kid, he's a beauty. With two more assists against the Capitals, and a whopping twenty-four and a half minutes on ice, Karlsson is quickly becoming the integral cog to this team that everyone only could have hoped he would be. The two assists last night (as one was rightly given back to the Captain... more on him in a minute) give him 23 points on the year with several other great chances and posts.

But the most impressive feat? How about the 11 points in 14 games since the Olympic break? Yea, you read that correctly. 11 in 14 games to go along with his 33 shots over that period. That's nearly a point-per-game for a 19 year old toothpick of a defenceman.

Talk about filling the role of top offensive d-man nicely for this team. In addition to the 23 points, (which puts him second on the team in points for a defenceman) he has scored 14 of those points in the third period, to go with another two in overtime. Talk about clutch.

But its not just the kid's stats that are turning heads. With his play he could easily have more points than that this year. Its Karlsson's swagger. Its his guts. Its his instincts.

That is why, going forward, with all of this talk of signing A-Train to a massive new contract, I think that Erik Karlsson is the Senators most important player. Period.

On a team starved for a legit puck moving d-man since the days Wade Redden gave a shit, Erik fills that role. But more importantly, he provides that spunk, that creativity, that flair for the dramatic that you can argue the Sens have never had in a defenceman. That sort of thing cannot be taught, and it certainly cannot be underestimated. Think about it, even as a 19 year old, undersized player, I can think of at least three games where he has made plays, brilliant, unreal plays, that have won the game

Exhibit A:

As stated in the video it was an amazing move by Fisher, but without that perfect pass... that might be a game the Sens do not win.

Exhibit B:

That heads up play for an easy one occurs with ONE minute left in a tied, divisional game.

Exhibit C:

Of Course this was just last night, and again, that creativity is essential in yet another win.

I'm looking forward to many years with the young King, and as Sens fans, I think you should too.
Hopefully he continues on his current path and before we know it, is a
star in this league, because another Swede we like won't be around forever.

Question: Honest opinion, what did you expect from Karlsson going into training camp this year?

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Game Day Preview: Battle of Capitals

After a couple exciting days in Sens Land, the boys are back to playing that "hockey" thing. The opponent; a bunch of noname losers.

Or was that Saturday?

All jokes aside, we have ourselves a big one tonight! Sens play in Washington in a battle of the Capitals, and face one of the more terrifying teams in the league in Ovie and his band of Merry Men (who themselves are pretty scary).

The Sens come into this one feeling groovy; 4-0-0 in their last 4 (let's not mention before that), goalie being named first star of the week, young blood being infused into the system and a playoff spot all but locked up.

The Caps come into this one snarly. They got boo'd the other night in their own building losing to the struggling Flames, and lost the game before that in Carolina. Expect their best tonight.

I would break it down the way we usually do, but the Caps, being the top team in the NHL, top the Sens in all categories. That is, except for Ottawa's outstanding penalty kill which dominates the Caps powerplay this year (Caps are 0-8 this year against the Sens). This will take a toll without Volchy, but let's cling to something right?

Players to Watch:

Ottawa: The Kids are alright! This gives me hope for the new kids from this week. Regin and Karlsson are my players to watch tonight. With Volchy out, expect Sutton to get BIG minutes. If thats the case, King K will also end up with a lot of icetime against the leagues best offensive team. Look for him to see if he can keep up his excellent play of late. Regin seems to be getting more and more comfortable in 9MM's spot and should be a threat again tonight.

Washington: Is this even a question? Alex Ovechkin, in my opinion, if the best player in the game today. Watch him, please. Nick Backstrom is having an incredible season as well. As always, watch Mike Green and let's hope the Corvo-Curse is over now that he has been traded out of Carolina.


Young: On paper, this should be a win for Washington. But with the Sens good play of late, Washington's "struggles" and the fact that I'm not sold on the goaltending for the Caps, I think the Sens can win this. Finally, add that I'm a homer and that the Sens are currently leading the season series (and might be sweeping it if not for some tough goals...looking at you Pazzy....). Mix all these ingredients you get:

3-2 Sens

Oakes: I don't want to pick against the Sens. So I won't.

5-4 Sens


Monday, March 29, 2010

Other Players Bryan Murray has Signed out of College

As all of you probably already know Bryan Murray has signed highly touted NCAA prospect, Bobby Butler, to a two year contract. Butler led the NCAA with 29 goals this season while adding 24 assists. Despite his stats, there is no sure way to know if he will turn out.

We can however look at the stats of other free agents Murray has signed out of college.

Chris Kunitz
  • 30 years old, left wing, 6ft, 198 lbs
  • Attended Ferris University
  • Senior year - scored 35g and 44a
  • Signed with the ducks in 2003
  • Had the best year of his career with the Ducks in 2006-07 tallying 60pts in 81gp
  • Has won TWO cups.
Dustin Penner
  • 27 years old, left wing, 6ft 4in, 245 lbs
  • Attended the University of Maine
  • Only played one year in college tallying 11 g and 12 apples
  • Signed with the Ducks in 2004
  • After stints in the AHL, his first year with the big club in 2006-07 he recorded - 29g and 16a and won a Stanley cup
Jesse Winchester
  • 26 years old, Centre, 6ft 1in, 215lbs
  • Colgate University
  • Jesse scored 37 points in each of his last two years of college
  • Signed with the Senators in 2008
  • In his rookie campaign he scored 3 goals and 15 assists
I am too young to remember any players Murray signed when GM of Detroit and Florida, so please let me know if I am missing anyone. All players mentioned above have been very successful in their own way. Penner, massive power forward with great hands, Kunitz, 32 points in 48 games this season and Winchester, a fourth line grinder that adds depth during playoff time.

I do not want to get too excited about Butler as I have not yet seen him play. One can only hope that Butler turns into a player similar to Chris Kunitz, their size and point production at the college level are very similar.

What are your predictions for the Ottawa Senators newest prospect Bobby Butler?

Career AHLer, 4th liner, 3rd liner etc..?

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Where in the World Is Carmen San Diego? (AKA The Story of L'Enigma) UPDATED


That is the big question in Ottawa right now. And since you provided such excellent feedback the last time we created a debate, I thought we'd try and bring you all out of hiding again.

Alex Kovalev; 6'1 215lbs and 37 years old from Togliatti Russia. He signed a 2 year 10 million dollar contract on July 6th 2009.

And to be honest, we knew what we were getting. While the Montreal fans called him L'Artiste for having some of the most spectacular hands in the game, the buzz word that came with the Kovy signing wasn't "skill" or "dangles".

It was "enigma"

For those of you not familiar with the word it means "to describe something or someone as an enigma, you mean they are mysterious or difficult to understand". The reason this was used by analysts, columnists and bloggers alike was because some nights Kovy can be the best player on the ice, and some nights he can be invisible. There is no rhyme or reason for it.

Or is there? Let's have a closer look at the first season of AK27 in a Sens uniform.

In 72 games this year Alex has 47 points (17 goals, 30 assists), good for third on the team. However lets look at how these stats break down.

October 12415-5100100017.235
November 9066320200014.000
December 1738116121100138.079
January 15710172180400247.149
February 7358142200118.167
March 12000-1080000021.000

Courtesy of Yahoo Sports

Now, looking at these stats, let us look at it in portions. The first twelve games of the season, the Sens went 6-3-3 (fancy way of saying 6-6), and they amassed 37 goals, about 3 per game. Of these, stats-wise Kovy contributed to 14%. This can maybe be written off perhaps as a new player learning a new system.

After putting up semi-respectable numbers in November and December, on the 3rd of January, in a wild 7-4 win against the Flyers in which he scored 4 goals and 1 assist", Kovy dropped this line on the fans

"I had an injury. I couldn't even shoot right. I tried to pass, in general. But lately I have started feeling more or less better." Puck Daddy

That was the beginning of January. From that point to the end of the Olympic break, Alex put up 25 points in 22 games. Better than a point a game over the same stretch that his linemate Mike Fisher put up only 5 goals! Keep in mind most of this is done on the second line! Not bad for a 37 year old.

Add this in to the fact that Kovalev sat out the game on Friday in Buffalo, and a strong case begins to be made that Alex Kovalev is hurt, and has been playing hurt for most of the post-olympic break.

He is not a young man anymore. An injury at his age would make (and evidently in the early part of the year DID make) a huge difference. This doesn't mean he is without fault. He should be sitting out and resting for the playoffs if he is hurt.

One thing that Sens fans, especially those calling for him to be sent to the minors (seriously?), don't seem to realize is this last bit of information:

In wins 3816213725223800493.172
In losses 341910-28320200062.016
Losing N/A41216N/A2413000N/AN/A
Tied N/A81422N/A1415003N/AN/A
Clutch N/A325N/A410001N/AN/A
Blowouts N/A112N/A001000N/AN/A
Last 5 Min N/A4711N/A1822001N/AN/A

What this says to me is that we NEED Kovalev. When he is on (37 points) we win. When he isn't (10 points) we lose. And when those games in the postseason are tight, 81% of his points have come when we are losing or tied.
I'm not trying to make an excuses for Alex

I'm just trying to explain The Enigma.

What do you guys think?