Monday, April 30, 2007

These guys are good, but are they scary good?

I hope no one made the mistake of pegging this as a potentially boring series, we are over ten years removed from the peak (trough?) of Devils HockeyTM. The Senators are, you have to admit, either the most exciting team left in the playoffs or a very close second. Ice conditions couldn't drag down the tempo of the play on Saturday night, with the deep pinches and full throttle attack lasting most of the night.

Other thoughts and observations after two:

1. Can we get a little hate on here? There was the Gomez/Neil tussle and more sticks applied to wrists than a boarding school. That's it. What would it take to make me really angry at these terribly plain fellows in the Jersey locker room? Sample coach quotes (from Stevenson):

"Senators coach Bryan Murray said he's happy with the matchups in the Eastern Conference semi-final.

Devils coach and GM Lou Lamoriello said he doesn't see the matchups as anything "major.""

Where is Pat Quinn when you need him?

2. Who cares about 0-8, we're now 3-1 against the Devils in playoff OT's.

3. When has that point been reached when you can officially declare yourself fond of a particular player, having traveled the long road up from say, contemptuous and indifferent? Probably at the moment you can forgive him for a gaffe caused by his style of play. Joe Corvo can be shades of mid eighties Paul Coffey on one shift and mid nineties Larry Murphy on another. From handling the puck as though under duress in the dark days of November to fist-pumping post-season action hero. I'm actually willing to forgive a pinch gone bad.

4. Unsolved mysteries file: why is it that Mike Fisher can bring such a tremendous impact in select regular season games, but has rarely taken control of a playoff game? That whole line is quite enigmatic lately (suddenly, in the case of Mike Comrie) - other than seeing them skulking off to the penalty box, we haven't seen much energy from them at all.

5. The self-applied underdog label fell off around Game 3 and since then, everyone's been picking the Sens. If the captain - whose quiet professionalism results is a far better fit for him than stick-throwing taunts, boilerplate press clips and bold playoff guarantees - continues in such fine form, the Senators may just, for once make relatively easy work of a challenging opponent.

I'll shadow master prognosticator 'Duff' in the comments with a decisive 5-2 Ottawa victory (even though Emery will let in the first shot). Open thread for game comments.

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