Monday, April 26, 2010

Post Mortem Part I: Experience

The picture above can be found on the home page of the Ottawa Senators homepage, a salute to fans for supporting the team this year. I also want to say, to the few of you who have started to come by, thank you so much, and I hope you are enjoying what you see here. I plan on posting things periodically in the summer, some stop by when you are in need of a sens fix!! Now, on to business....

The year is over, the series is over. While many are quick to call the Ottawa Senators "chokers" (Im looking at you Allen Panzieri) I am going to make the argument that this year was a success. I will use three points over the next three days (so that it isnt too long all at once); experience, expectations, and character.


No coach comes in in their first year and wins the Stanley Cup (unless you take over a team with Crosby and Malkin, but seriously, I could coach those guys). Cory Clouston, since taking over this team, has begun to put his stamp on the organization. He is a no-nonsense guy who is loyal to his players and his system. Was he perfect this year? Absolutely not. He made mistakes. His love for Ryan Shannon, and his throwing Pascal under the bus too many times come to mind, but overall, he did a great job, and now that he has been to the post season with this group, and played the champs, he should have an idea of what he needs to change for next year.

In addition, the playoffs were a coming out party for some rookies who will have a very important place on this team for years. I have said before on this site that going forward, the most important player on this team is Erik Karlsson. He played 40 minutes of play in game 5 in addition to leading the team in average ice time for the playoffs with 25 minutes a game. His 6 points led all rookies in points in the first round, while tying him for second in defenceman points. All of this will aid his development going forward and I expect him to play very well next year after finishing the season strong.

Peter Regin showed Sens fans there is hope on the top line left wing spot. He showed not only can he play, and play very well, with Alfie and Spezza, but that he has the ability to rise up in the big games and play with a tenaciousness we have not seen in a forward with hands like his, probably ever. At 24 years old, this restricted free agent will be signed at a bargain next season, and the Sens can look forward to a whole year of him on that top line with Spezza and Alfie. He finished second in rookie scoring for the first round (behind Karlsson, his best friend), and now that he has a taste for playing on the top line, expect him to work hard this summer to keep that spot.

Brian Elliott did not play well in this series, and Pascal Leclaire played better, but his rust was evident in the rebound trouble he had. However, neither had ever played in the playoffs before this series, and I expect two things to happen; Elliott to get hungry to prove he can play in the playoffs, and Leclaire to challenge for the number one spot that he knows he is talented enough to have. Leclaire shone in the playoffs, and now that he knows he can do it, looking to next year, I feel good about our goaltending, despite how poor it was in the playoffs.

Lastly, Zach Smith, showed at times, he can be a very good third/fourth line player for this team with how well he played in these playoffs. For a player who didnt play at the NHL level for more than 10-15 games this year, his jam was very impressive in the playoffs. However, with the theme being experience, Zach being on for both the Pens go-ahead goal in game five (his last shift in that game) AND the game winner in game 6, expect him to have some serious focus to prove to Clouston he is good enough to play with the team next season.

Which of these playoff experience stories do you see as most important. More importantly, do you think these stories can be used to justify this season as a success?

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Miracle - 2

Why deviate from the formula below.  I am highly superstitious so this game day preview will be almost identical to the previous.

First we start with a Photoshop from the Goose
-> Pascal! - can't talk enough about how solid you were.  Just keep that up and the Sens will be fine.
-> The Great Dane - I love you
-> Cullen - The trade is looking better and better every playoff game

Don't let this be the last game!

Predictions for Tonight?

2 - 1 Ottawa (Alfie, Regin)

Friday, April 23, 2010

Die Another Day

Wow. No words right now.

Wrap up tomorrow.


Thursday, April 22, 2010


Photoshop Cred: The Goose

We have to believe.

-> I expect Donovan to have a big game.  This man is built for the playoffs.
-> Pascal I hope you play like you did before you got hit in the face.  At the beginning of the year I remember being amazed with your quickness around the net.
-> Foligno according to the lines at practice it looks like you are getting a chance... break out the "jump" when you score the game winner.

Don't let this be the last game!

Predictions for Tonight?

3 -2 Ottawa (goals from alfie, foligno and Campoli)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Monday, April 19, 2010

Well Hello There, Chicken Little


That sucked.

Running around the Sens Blogosphere this morning, I noticed a common trend.

A total lack of swagger, and in some case, hope.

Coming out of the gate, the Sens took one from the Big Bad Crosby's....Ummm I mean Penguins (I get confused when the media acts like they only have one player)

Where was I? Ah yes, we took a game from them. In their barn, without Kovy, without Kuba, in the first game in the playoffs for a lot of our rookies.

And Sens fans believed. We had swagger. In this very blog I titled a blog called Eat It Experts. That's cockiness.

And since then, we lost the second one in Pittsburgh, despite leading for the Majority of the game and Hockey Jesus pulling the win off the goal line, and last night, lost a game where nothing went right.



I am with many of the blogs in thinking that last night may have been a recipe for the most painful/upsetting/frustrating game to possibly watch as a fan. Let's look at the checklist, shall we?

  • Disallowed goal (right call, but was still unlucky that no stick touched it): CHECK
  • Missing of Open Nets (looking at you Cullen) : CHECK
  • Awful Reffing. Just. Awful. : CHECK
  • Dominating play for 30 seconds, the puck goes the other way once and it goes in: CHECK
  • Missed Goaltender interference call on game winner : CHECK
  • Extra frustrating because it's Crosby goal, so no one talks about it : CHECK, CHECK
  • Second game in a row puck gets pulled off the goal line : CHECK
  • Captain gets sat on his ass by the only hit Crosby will ever make : CHECK
  • Forcing plays where there aren't any: CHECK
  • Demoralizingly AWFUL goal allowed less than 2 minutes in: CHECK
  • Fact that McKee was more effective than Leopold : CHECK
  • Fact that Sutton WASN'T because he looked afraid: CHECK
Most importantly, that we lost home ice advantage, just like that. CHECK.

And now, we have no swagger. People are just expecting us to lose. The thing is, without half the list above, the Pens are down 2-1 not up 2-1.

We are due to get some bounces.

So chin up, cheer up Sens fans, the sky isn't falling. Not yet at least.

NOTE: I only could write something like this the day after. If I had done it last night, this would have looked different.

QUESTION: What was the most frustrating part of last night's game? Feel free to let out a rant here.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Best Assist Ever.....? C'mon

I will be the first to admit that the display of skill and determination to keep the puck from Jason Spezza was very impressive, but was it "the best assist I have ever seen" [Bob Mackenzie], no it certainly was not.

Lets take a look at the BEST ASSIST EVER.......

Spezza did a great job, refusing to allow Crosby to get to the net.  87 was 100% contained and eventually had to pass it off to the point....seems pretty standard.  The Great Dane had a mind lapse in going to the front of the net where there were already three other Senators. He left the point wide open and allowed Letang to float the one through.  I don't want to be too hard on the Prince cause he did prevent Crosby from walking out of the corner and may have stopped the "best GOAL ever" from happening.

I will however allow myself to deem this "the best working of the corner" I have seen in along time.
AND yes that does include you  Jiri Tulusty.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Really TSN?

I usually respect and enjoy what is written on the TSN website, but this is probably the worst and most inaccurate article I have read by such a respected establishment.  We are going to go 6th Sens style where the article is in bold and our thoughts are in Italics.  The link to the article can be found here.

PITTSBURGH - Pittsburgh Penguins defenceman Jordan Leopold lay on the ice for several minutes after being levelled by an elbow hit from Ottawa defenceman Andy Sutton late in the first period of their playoff game Friday night, but got up before being helped to the locker room.

...... not an elbow.  When a teammate (Orpik), says it was a clean hit ... wait that doesn't mean much he probably thought his hit on Eric Cole was clean.  But seriously watch the video.... no elbow. 
Several??? really??? more like two minutes.  I don't have several testicles I have a couple.
Leopold was skating along the boards when Sutton upended him with a raised left elbow at 17:41, causing Leopold's helmet to fly off as he left his feet. Sutton's momentum carried him into one of the penalty boxes.

Again with the elbow... it didn't happen, the elbow was tucked in.  Leopold's Helmet stayed on.... And lastly, Sutton only left his feet AFTER contact.
Several Penguins players immediately started shoving Sutton, but no fight resulted. Sutton was not penalized on the play, resulting in loud booing from the Mellon Arena crowd for several minutes.  After the period ended, Penguins forward Mike Rupp shoved Senators forward Zach Smith as Smith was entering a runway leading off the ice. Smith returned to the ice and fought briefly with Penguins forward Max Talbot.

Where the linesman broke up the fight way too soon as it appeared Smith had finally gotten a hand free.
After the period ended, the Penguins said Leopold would not return to the game.  Sutton, then with the Islanders, drew a two-game suspension for ramming Penguins forward Pascal Dupuis into the boards Jan. 19 in Pittsburgh. Dupuis missed one game with facial injuries.

Now that one was dirty.

Thoughts on the hit?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Eat It Experts

Pens in 4? I think not.

No more home-ice advantage.

Playoff-experience meant shit.

Kelly-Ruutu-Neil are goal scorers, get used to it.

My man-crush on the King continues to grow.

Sidney Who?

Alright. Now that my craziness has been tempered, WHAT UP OTTAWA!??! Talk about a wild one last night. Back and fourth, down to the wire, bangin' speedin' playoff hockey. Philly and New Jersey should take notes, because THAT'S what playoff hockey looks like.


Foligno-Winchester-Smith, welcome to the playoffs boys! You banged and crashed all night and made the most of your playing time. It was my second key to victory and you did NOT disappoint.

Christopher! While many have criticized the Bryan's decision to acquire you last year, you played a phenomenal game. The assist was bologna, but you had several blocked shots, took/gave hits and played well when the match-up wasn't there for Crosbaby vs Philchenkov.


The Aforementioned Philchenkov. Sure you guys were on the ice when Malkin scored both powerplay goals, but we will learn. The reason you sit in this category is because I turned to Oakes at the end of the second period and said "Have you noticed Crosby at ALL? He's been a total non-factor". Keep up the good work Gents.


Well you may be the most "overpaid" third/fourth line in the league, but you guys sure showed your worth tonight. Banging bodies, creating chances on the cycle and WINNING THIS GAME for us. If you bring this intensity on a nightly basis, you give us a chance to go home happy. So thank-you Ruutu-Kelly-Neil, you are both gentlemen and scholars.

The King. Do you understand the term "Rookie"? You are supposed to shit the bed, make us doubt your ability to do it because you've never done it before. Like the Pens when we kicked their asses in '07 (heyo!). But a clutch goal, assist and saved goal, not to mention calm carry-ins on the powerplay? By the end of this series, and possibly the playoffs in general, I expect you to have a few more fans

Well there you have it, the crazy/excited ramblings of a usually rather composed blogger. Can the boys do it again on Friday? Well there is room for improvement. Ells needs to be better, and the top end guys need to do a little more, but if we play a similar game, but with better goaltending Friday I have faith. Expect the Pens to come out with something to prove though.

So, my question to you, WHO WERE THE SENS 3 STARS LAST NIGHT?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Game One Tonight...Keys to the Upset

You have no doubt read amazingly in-depth series previews all over the place. I would recommend a personal favourite of mine, Nichols, who gives you everything from Forwards to Jerseys to media. Its a fun read, if not a short one.

SO rather than do my customary thing and do a crazy breakdown of everything, I will do something I'm not sure I'm capable of. Short and Sweet.

I can identify THREE KEYS to upsetting the defending champs. They look like this:

1) Brian Elliott Cannot Play Like a 9th Round Draft Selection Who Has Never Played in the Playoffs: This one is simple, you live or die by your playoff goaltending. Let's hope he's a little more Cam Ward and a little less Roman Chechmanek.

2) Set the Tone Early: Let's Kick the Crap Out of Them: Physical play is one of the only advantages we decidedly have over them. Neiler, Fish, Smitty, Winny, Volchy and of course Sutts, I'm looking at you.

3) Second Line Scoring In the Absence of L'Enigma; Fast Chemistry Between 9MM & the Fish: No doubt this is crucial. Clouston has decided loading up a second line with Cullen Fish AND Michalek is the way to go. We'll see. Either way this line needs to be effective or this is going to be a reeeeeal short trip.

So, what do you think, anything to add to my list? Which of these three is most important? And Lastly, do you think the Sens stand a chance, even with these?

Gametime bitches, let's get to it.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Let's Do This Dance...On One Leg?

Well, this is a tough time of year to be a University Student/Hockey fan blogger. Final exams are upon Oakes and I, which seem to take up all our time, yet this is the time of year we want to be blogging 9 times a day.

Needless to say its been tough to keep this place up and bumpin, but I have some time now, so let's look at what's going down in Sens land.

Firstly, Alex Kovalev's up and down season has ended a little prematurely. This saddens me, and this is why.

1) Secondary scoring: 49 points on the year put Kovy in fourth on the team in points, and that cannot be understated. On a team with a minus goal differential, the guys putting pucks in the net are very important.

2) The Kovy Effect: He is a talented, albeit confusing player, but he DEMANDS respect, of that there is no doubt. He opens up room for guys on the second line.

3) Second Line Chemistry: All year long Fisher-Kovy has been a fixture in the line up with the hopes of creating second line chemistry. Now, with no time for failed experiments, Clouston must find a second line that can be effective.

Number three for me, is the thing nobody is talking about, but is the biggest problem. This is a team exceptionally strong down the middle, and pretty decent on the left side, but on the right side, the team is not deep.

So what do you do with the second line? Be careful, if it doesn't work, there isn't too much time to let it struggle.

First, at centre, there is a near certain chance Mike Fisher will be the guy.

On the left side, I think they might go with either Matt Cullen, who has played exceptionally well thus far as a Sen, but might be better used as a centreman on the third line. The other option is Peg-Leg, AKA Milan Michalek. Its obvious Milan is not at 100%, playing essentially on one leg, but we need him to give everything he's got for us to be successful. Plus him and Fisher are bang-crash speed guys that might find some magic.


On the right side, there are some options, and at this point none of them are really attractive.

You cold play Nicky Foligno out of position on the right side, but he's having enough trouble this year without playing out of position.

Ryan Shannon has played sparingly down the stretch, not even playing when Donovan got to play Saturday. He has had a disappointing season, and his game doesnt seem suited to the playoffs. However, he did look good on Fisher's right side at the end of last year.

Jesse Winchester is good at faceoffs and hitting people. But he has scored 5 career NHL goals in almost 130 games. Not really a Kovy replacement.

Zach Smith seems perfect for the playoffs, but on a third or fourth line.

So have I depressed you yet? I don't intend to, and it shouldn't. Cory has shown that he is more creative than any of us when it comes to line combos, so Im not as much concerned as I am curious.

But bottom line is, Kovalev is an important player, and even though some Sens fans have played the Ship-off-Kovalev's-Ass trumpet, its hard to deny. (Like I said Here)

So what say you, Sens fans that traverse the interweb nation? What does your line-up look like, specifically the second line heading in to this big dance?

I think with little room for error we might see Foligno-Fisher-Shannon tried out, but that's just me.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Quick Game Day Preview: Second Last Game!

Hey there! Sorry about infrequency of posts, everything is super busy at University for the both of us. Quick Game Day Post? Why not!

Tampa is pretty bad but they have some players to watch:

--Obviously Super Sophomore Steve Stamkos (I think he's doing awesome so that alliteration can exist) is the top player on this team, and is making Edmonton and Toron....I mean Boston very excited about the upcoming draft.

--Mighty Mouse: the guy still has it with 90 points this year! (It shocked me too). He has great vision and agility and seems to be reborn playing with Stevie.

--Hedman: Got crushed by Neiler last time, but I'm interested to see if he has as much impact on the game as our little Swedish rookie. Sometimes hype isn't everything.

On the Ottawa Side, I'm Watching

--Spezz: He's on fire, so he should tear up the porous defence and goaltending, but mostly, Im hoping for another one of those giggles. Those are ridiculous.

--Alfie: The Captain never gets old it seems. I feel bad about not doing a tribute, but Nichols had that covered. Seriously, go read it. Unreal

--King K: I just want him to show up Hedman. Period.

--J-Cow: See if the kid is doing any better than at the WJC. He's got a long summer ahead of him (like Butler), so it will be good for him to see where he is at and give himself some extra motivation.

--9MM: See how that knee is doing. Note: try not to crash into the net, just til you are feeling good again atleast.

Hopefully the boys put in a pile of goals like they did against Florida and they get some good momentum heading into the playoffs.


5-3 Sens: Tampa has a good powerplay, so we must be more disciplined than we were against Florida. Stamkos will get one from the same spot he gets almost all of them, and I think Milan will get one in his return.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Let's Check Out the Defence, Ya Dig?

Well then... *dusts off the cobwebs*

It's been a few days now hasn't it!! Both Oakes and I went home to O-Town for the Easter weekend and we're the first to admit we slacked a little bit. Looks like our boys decided to take some time off too eh? ZING.

Jokes aside, it would make me cry to come here and ramble on about the pathetic effort Saturday afternoon in a meaningless game. The bright side is, the Sens have shown an ability to play to the level of their opponents this year, as evidenced by the awful record against non-playoff teams and excellent record against playoff teams losing only 4 times to playoff teams (as it stands now playoff teams at least) SINCE JANUARY. Wild eh?

THIS JUST IN: Apparently only playoff teams play in the playoffs!!!

Phew. Guess we can hope the trend continues.

But now that we are talking about the playoffs, let's look at something that came up in conversation on the way back to Kingston; The Senators' defence corps.

Much has been made about the fantastic depth the Sens have up front with Spezza and Alfie, who carried us to the Finals not too long ago, on the top line. The second line has wizard (with good playoff numbers) Kovy, Fish (who's game is meant for the dance) and likely Foligno (who's cycle game will be good for the playoffs). The Third line has Cullen (cup winner), Michalek (one of the only Sharks who didnt TOTALLY suck it in the postseason) and probably Shannon (let's face it, I'm not sold on him in the playoffs). The Fourth line is made up of grizzled vets who get it, and who will help us win at least one series (as the internet junkies say... book it).

Much has also been made about the fact that neither Spazzy or our Saviour Elliott have ever even sniffed the playoffs.

But NOBODY, and I mean nobody, is talking about the fact that outside of Volchy and Phillips, CHRIS CAMPOLI IS THE MOST EXPERIENCED POSTSEASON D-MAN ON THE TEAM.



Have you wiped the mess you just made on your seat up yet?

Good. Now, let's chat.

Assuming Filip Kuba really IS out for the year (and it's looking like that) the D will look like this in the playoffs

Chris Phillips: 91 postseason games, cup finalist, general badass. I'm not worried about the rig. He is having a career year and I expect him to do his thing and step up as he always does come mid-april.

Android Volchenkov: 55 playoff games, cup finalist, russian cyborg. Again, not worried about our Russian bear. These may be the last games he plays in a colour that will hide the blood from he blocked shots, but he is having a career year too, expect him to amp it in the playoffs to ensure he cashes in hard this summer.

Chris Campoli: 5 games postseason play, first round exit, floundering midget. When confident and determined, as in the last few games, Campoli is actually kind of a useful player. When he gets complacent and assumes he has a roster spot, he shits the bed. Right now he is fighting for a contract. Let's pray he gives us good third pairing minutes and some quality PP time.

Mount Sutton: 4 playoff games, first round sweep, literally looks like bigfoot. I would never say this to his face, but as awesome as Sutton is, he is as big a question mark as anyone else that comes after him on this list. However, it can be argued (and possibly rightly, I know I would) that his game suits the playoffs, and that, at 35, he should be hungry to give all he's got in his chance at the dance.

The Kid: (Yes! HIMYM reference!) 0 playoff games, only 57 regular season games, awe-inspiring rookie. King Karlsson was rightly fellated on this site for his play recently and rewarded me by putting in two huge goals to secure the playoffs the next game. However, upon my boasting, he shit the bed last game. He is just a rookie and he has played well, but he can either help the Sens win a game (like Thursday) or he can serve up some turnovers (like Saturday). Jury is out, but for the Sens to have success, the Kid must be the King.

Carks: 0 playoff games, only 78 games regular season, one ear. So this should be interesting. I think that even though at the beginning of the year Carks was a feel good story, his first year in the NHL, and that many fights and PK minutes took a toll on him and he seems tired. He would be my bet should Kuba make a return to come out, but to spot in should the series require some toughness.

So there you have it, hope I haven't scared you too much. As much as this is an unknown group, I have confidence. You have to start somewhere right?

Which playoff virgin (or at least prude) are you most interested in seeing in playoff action?

Friday, April 2, 2010

Post Game - Canes

Rookie Bobby celebrates his first game in the NHL on the streets of downtown Ottawa.

Another impressive performance as the Ottawa Senators take down one of the leagues best since January. Despite a couple of lucky goals from the Canes, Ottawa persevered with a late goal from the King himself and an amazing shootout winner from Spezza.

I had the pleasure of going to the game as I am home from Kingston for Easter and I must say it did not disappoint. I don't know if it was just me, but the building seemed very loud and the few people that didn't leave early to beat the traffic went into a frenzy when Karl potted the late goal. I must hand it to Young as he wrote a great article on why we should all hail the King. The arguments he made were only confirmed by the play of the 20 year-old as he has tallied 7 points in the last 3 games...let the hailing begin. If you think that is impressive look no further to Spezza, who has 11 points in the last four games. Not only has Spezza been unreal, his infamous giggle has also returned. The post game interview on this mornings Sportscenter provoked the best one yet as Jason recalled his new shootout move.

The collegiate player out of New Hampshire also has a great game. He played half decent minutes and even drew an important penalty with little time remaining. He surely would have scored a goal on a 2 on 1 if Foligno could have hit him with the pass.

LASTLY, welcome to the playoffs!!! It was tough last year when we were not invited to the big dance, but I like our chances to bring the home the prettiest girl... or at least her hot friend.

New Jersey or Pitt ? Who would you rather face?