Tuesday, April 29, 2008
After this season I'm finally ready to tolerate a Burns-style clamp down, even if it means tedium on the ice. Other than that, Quinn as coach in Ottawa and Muckler as GM in Toronto would pretty much make my summer.
Other candidates: Babcock in Detroit; if Vigneault gets the sack in VanCity, there's a former coach of the year with some local history who can certainly coach boring defensive hockey.
Monday, April 28, 2008
Friday, April 25, 2008
Well he is 41 years old or something... I suppose he doesn't bounce back like he used to. Say, is "Sens Killer" his real middle name?
I believe so.
That must be grating for Sens fans?
I'm sure it is. Speaking of grating, there sure is a lot of focus on Sean Avery aye? It's good to see that this big NHL love-in for soft skill-first hockey hasn't completely erased the need for good old fashioned agitators.
Ya, that gritty son-of-a-bitch is getting all the attention. Add that the Rangers are putting Colton Orr in, plus Ruutu and Laraque on the Pens side, and I think I know where most Canadians TV's will be tuned tonight.
Who are you cheering for?
Pens. For sure.
Who do you think the Sens fans will be cheering for?
Probably against Pittsburgh. They seemed very happy the Ducks were eliminated too, so the basic rule seems to be if you beat them in the playoffs, they hate you.
I don't blame them. I would probably feel the same.
I don't hate Philly though, or Jersey, or all the other teams that have sent our sad sack team packing. Yet, I hate Ottawa. This doesn't make sense? Why hate a team we always beat when it counts?
There it is.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Who's next to be put through the BoO rumour mill?
Damien Cox has a few suggestions in today's Toronto Star:
"But that doesn't mean the Leafs can't still find a hockey person with strong qualities and the potential to make the team competitive again.
In fact, there's a long list of such people.
Maybe not a home run. In terms of optics, they may have to "settle" for a triple – Ken Holland, Doug Wilson, Colin Campbell, Jim Rutherford, Doug Risebrough or Doug Armstrong".
I say add Lou Lamerello to that list. You can't argue with three cups on a shoestring budget.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Don't worry, you can catch up. Again, follow my format for picking the next round in the comments - your points get multiplied by 1.5 this round.
Monday, April 21, 2008
The Maple Leafs should learn soon whether they have won the Fabian Brunnstrom sweepstakes.
"There are two or three teams on his short list and we are one of them," Leafs assistant general manager Jeff Jackson said last night from Dallas as he travelled to San Antonio for the Marlies' American Hockey League playoff series.
Shortlist is better than no list. Anybody hear who the other teams are?
Friday, April 18, 2008
We know that both parties were headed to arbitration "with plenty of work to be done" until a Emery agreed to a last minute deal - practically on his way to the bargaining table. Were Eugene and Bryan expecting a DiPietro-like award would give them their out?
By October 16th, the Sens were 6-1 to start the new season when Emery returns from surgery expecting to take over where he left off.
In mid November, Allen Panzeri's sub-head is already telling: "The goalie who has taken back the Senators' No. 1 job was back on the ice for an optional skate, but Ray Emery was nowhere to be found" (Gerber was 12-1-0 at the time).
December 1st is the "one-shot-shutout" where Ray decides his hip is tweaked and bails five minutes into the first. More perceptive observers recognize it as an unprofessional slight to the team, however, as the Sens have rolled the Canes handily, it's not a big deal to most fans.
By late January and early February, we're already well into disciplinary fines, run-ins with the OPD and "win-and-you're in".
I found the immediate dumping of every Ottawa ill onto the shoulders of Ray Emery a little opportunistic. Granted, I've never played organized sports beyond mosquito baseball and road hockey so how and why a sour teammate can affect individual performances so drastically is beyond my ken (their backup goalie's a piss-pot, so suddenly Spezza and Heatley can't put anything past Marc-Andre Fleury?!). But the trend is pretty clearly there.
[link timeline via Rotoworld]
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Grade III MCL TearA grade III injury is a complete tear of the MCL. Patients have significant pain and swelling, and often have difficulty bending the knee. Instability, or giving out, is a common finding with grade III MCL tears. A knee brace or a knee immobilizer is usually needed for comfort, and healing may take 6 weeks or longer.
Not making excuses here. Just wanting to push PPP's post down the page. I'm not ready for a post mortem yet - lots of time for that.
This, however, is a joke.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Aaaaaaaaand that's all folks. Here's our friendly neighbourhood anthropomorphic mocking numeral wondering what happened to The Dynasty That Never Was.it wasn't an annihilation. It was close though. The sens held the lead for only 4:38 in game 3.
In an elimination game the Cash Line went bankrupt: Total shots = 5. Plus/Minus = minus 6
I wrote you guys a poem to commemorate your loss.
As always, thanks to The Pensblog for excelling in all things photoshopped. Enjoy the off-season
You've heard the history of 3-0 comebacks.
But I'm not watching this game and cheering for the Sens because I don't want to get swept. I want my team to be that third team in NHL history to come back. I want to say in 2041, when some team is down 3-0, that I was in Ottawa cheering on the Sens when they did it 33 years ago.
If they can win tonight, and the NHL historical odds for that are 0.481, we can cheer another day and think that the comeback is possible.
I say 5-1 Sens. Powerful, muscular, strong legs be damned. 2 on the PP, Malkin doesn't finish the game, and a little voice in the Pen's heads start to wonder if they can match the physical play of the Sens without their 42 year old freak.
Pregame music for this aft? I've had Stronger, Best of You, As Good As I Once Was, and Armageddon It on my brain the past few days. Music as fractured as the Sens room? Perhaps. But sometimes things come together unexpectedly - lets cheer for it today.
Photo Caption: This year's mission: don't get swept
Photo Caption: Wow, there must be... dozens of them
Tradition: The White Out. Or maybe the Black Out. Wait, let's try a Red Out!
Tradition: Calling their town "Hockey Country"
Tradition: Always finding new and exciting ways to lose the big one.
Also, Anshu and Spossens, you guys can still set your roster and get in this thing. Now would be a good time. I don't think Jay wants to be last anymore.
33 years separates the years since teams have come back from 3-0 deficits. 2008?
33 years - 'This number has the meaning that good will always triumph over evil.'
Also, 33 is the largest positive integer that can not be expressed as a sum of different triangular numbers and it is also the first member of the first cluster of three biprimes (33,34,35). Coincidence?
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
The vandals smashed the 122-centimetre (four-foot) granite structure to smithereens and stole the bronze plaque that recorded the victory on March 10, 1903 when the Ottawa Hockey Club defeated the Victorias of Montreal.Gotta love Bay and Gladstone - the old hood representin'. What's next, Ray Emery caught up in a Pacman-esque strip club shootout?
The monument, erected 11 years ago at Bay Street and Gladstone Avenue, was at the site of the Dey's Arena, which operated from 1896 to 1920. The Dey family, wealthy local businessmen, built three hockey arenas in the city where the Ottawa Hockey Club -- also known as the Silver Seven and the Senators -- won its most notable early glory.
[Citizen link via Black Aces]
Update: Here's what the crackheads took to fund their habit. The saddest part: at the current rate, in 100 years that might be all that is left of Maple Leaf Gardens. Thanks to Gee for the pictures.
The 1942 Leafs fell behind 3-0 against the Detroit Red Wings. The Wings even had the audacity to invite the Leafs to their victory parade/party. It's eerily similar to the sens' move to put up images of the team's post-victory handshakes against the Penguins from last year. Both moves have played out about as well.
The Pensblog for the picture of said embarrassment:
Update: Thanks to Down Goes Brown for finding video of the most awkward opening skit ever. Seriously, I felt embarrassed as a Canadian to see that show. His speech is taped to the inside of his shield! Good work by the Penguins to skate out and ruin the climax of the speech.
Things were actually looking good for the senators. They were tied 1-1 going into the biggest period of the year and were playing in front of their own crowd. How did they respond?
And all that is left in this post is everyone's second favourite mocking anthropomorphic numeral!
Go Pens Go!
Monday, April 14, 2008
Is a 75% Alfie better than no Alfie at all? With another spadeful of dirt about to be tossed on the shallow 07-08 Senators grave, we may just get our answer. As alleged "stars" Jason Spezza and Dany Heatley have been neutered by the 1-2 shutdown pair of *cough* Brooks Orpik and Sergei Gonchar, adding Alfredsson's creativity and intensity surely can't hurt. The problem is, of course, that many have speculated the captain's been wounded through much of the season as the expected effort has occasionally gone missing.
The Sens need to take their cues from the Bruins yesterday. Keep it tight, keep it simple and stay out of the box. Also, if Marty G can continue his outstanding play that would be really swell. I'm of two minds on the predictions tonight. I had them giving up the first goal about 30 seconds in (as they are wont to do at home) and falling to a 2-1 Overtime decision (Crosby awakens to express his displeasure for the Bank's new mural theme). I think it could just as easily go 2-1 the other way (Crosby first 30 seconds, Stillman, Alfie (OT)).
Let's let The Clash take us to game time. Will it be Death or Glory for the Sens tonight?
"But that's history, that's not the sens! We're going to wake up in front of our quiet crowd that only cheers against other teams! Alfie might be back! And Spezza might be out!"
In that case, sens fans would be right. All of those things go in their favour and it's true that those numbers apply to all NHL series in history and not to the senators entirely. This number, however, does apply to the Trojans:
when trailing 2-games-nil, the Ottawa Senators have a perfect series record of 0-6 and a Game 3 mark of 3-3.The Dynasty That Never Was has achieved perfection in at least one area. Of course, there is a light at the end of the tunnel:
In the history of best-of-7 NHL playoff series from 1939 through 2007, inclusive, when a team such as Pittsburgh takes a 2-games-nil lead on home ice and wins those two games by six or more total goals, its series record is 69-4 (.945). Ottawa might take collective heart in the fact that, of those four losses in that situation, three occurred in the NHL Preliminary round.So there you have it, the odds that the sens come back from their deficit are .181, .099, .055, or .000. Conversely, the odds that they will pack it up at the first sign of trouble: .891, .901, .945, 1.000. Leaf fans know where to put their money.
Saturday, April 12, 2008
Any coincidence that MLSE sold the building in 2004 to a grocery store - refusing to allow any hockey team to play in the historic building - and haven't been in the playoffs since?
p.s. the sens will draft 18th in the upcoming entry draft. Should have tanked.
Friday, April 11, 2008
A lot of good buzz regarding Smolinski's "initiate, don't retaliate" guideline last night. The teams that initiated in their respective game ones were smashing successes (Pittsburgh, Montreal, Dallas). The few unambiguously good games the Sens played in the (15-2 adjusted) regular season (vs. Detroit, a couple against Montreal and Pittsburgh) were also won by initiating a smart, controlled physical game and forcing their opponent to match the tempo. Unfortunately, they've have been poor at retaliation, or coming up with much of any response to the considerable stimuli they've been exposed to this season, as the handy reference chart below shows:
I think I've seen enough by now to know what goes in that last entry. Pens 3, Sens 1 (Stillman). Forecast continues to call for handshakes Wednesday night. Pre-game pumpdown music going out to the soulless zombie filling the Number 6 jersey.
Here's a sampling of some of the Penguins sites that you can peruse over the next week or so before turning your thoughts to how it's possible that the CFL has given ottawa a THIRD chance at a team:
PensBurgh - a fellow SBNer
The Pensblog - I defy you to not laugh out loud
Empty Netters - Good
The Confluence of the Three Rivers - Name's too long
The Sidney Crosby Show - Stalker or greatest stalker?
Faceoff Factor - The PensBlog and Gary Roberts say it's informative so it must be
Let's Go Pens - Same here
Going Five Hole - Check out his TSN.ca screen caps. Poor Darren Pang. Also, Deadspin loves this site.
ps. If you don't appreciate the comment on your site it's probably because I have never visited it.
So there you go. If you say anything too objectionable, don't let them trace you back here because I am allergic to Habsblog-esque comments.
Thursday, April 10, 2008
It probably involves potting two goals and hitting everything that moves. Noted sens-slayer Gary Roberts picked up his 23rd playoff point in 24 games against the senators.
It's the return of the anthropomorphic mocking numerals!
Wednesday, April 09, 2008
Let's reset the season series.
1. October 22nd, Game 21: 6-5 Pens (SO)
Crosby and Malkin are held to one point each, while Gerber stops 20 of 25 shots and Fleury gets yanked. Not bad for a loss, considering the Pens had eight powerplays and Sens scored on half of their four opportunities.
2. December 13th, Game 31: 4-1 Sens
Gerber makes 26 saves, including all 9 Sidney Crosby shots. All 3 Pittsburgh penalties are killed off, while Ottawa goes 2 for 3 with the man advantage.
3. February 23rd, Game 62: 4-3 Sens (OT)
This is Paddock's final win as coach, as the Sens stage a massive four goal comeback after getting hosed with 6 straight penalty calls. Crosby is not in the lineup, while Malkin goes pointless.
4. March 1st, Game 66: 5-4 Sens
Murray's second game, he implores the Sens to show some emotion and they respond, driving Sergei Gonchar up the wall and exposing Ty Conklin's glove hand. Again, Sens make good on their powerplay opportunities (2 for 4).
None of the games came in the now irrelevant first 20, but the Sens went 6 for 12 with the man advantage and killed off 19 of 22 [!] Penguins powerplays. High scores and close games as expected, but if the Penguins wanted revenge for "what the Sens did to them" last April, they sure were keeping things bottled up for a highly improbable first round matchup.
Sens 5, Pens 3 (Spezza EN, Stillman, Vermette, Schubert, McAmmond). Duff loads up the eighteen-wheel bandwagon, led by a hot-shot wheelman with the dicey moves. The rest of the fanbase (played by young Sally Field or the basset hound - your pick) reluctantly comes along for the ride, while the boys in blue once again tear around Texarkana hoping to trap the bandit at every turn. We got a long way to go and a short time to get there...
Tuesday, April 08, 2008
- Games 1-20 are effectively ancient history
- Most teams are in a different dynamic than at the beginning of the season (roster turnover, players filling different roles within the team, different goaltender usage, etc.)
- Even the teams that aren't, you could certainly say that about their opponents at the time
- Still a large enough sample to encompass streaks and slumps of both the team and its individual players
The three-man unit right there: Vermette skating it up ice, Phillchenkov blocking shots, and Gerbs seeing every incoming shot.
Bonus: Gerber stones Nash (and Team Canada) in Torino.
Monday, April 07, 2008
Congrats to this years winners:
1. DC in YOW held a commanding lead throughout the season, taking over just prior to the break and not relinquishing it. Anshu ran him down to within 86 points, but couldn't overcome the deficit. DC, class guy that he is, wanted me to donate the value of the prize to a worthy charity. But they were purchased long ago, and as such he's still getting his gift card and I'll even throw in $50 to the Canadian Cancer Society on behalf of the BoO.
2. SonicSurfers win the iTunes card for highest percentage points increase since the All-Star break. SS jumped 3 positions and added over 837 points to his bottom line.
3. Although our very own PPP made a valiant tank job, he was unable to pry the McCabe Memorial Award out of the cold, dead hands of Varada for Hart.
The winners can shoot me a gmail to claim their prize. Thanks for coming out, and don't forget the Battle Bench Boss and Don's Playoff Pick 'Em. There's even a $10,000 Pool for those of you on the Book of Face.
In the 2nd round, your score get multiplied by 1.5, 3rd rnd 1.75 and the final 2.
Lowest score come June wins. You must participate in each round to win.
My picks - and use this format in the comments so I can put in the spreadsheet easily.
The Senators GM/coach accused the Penguins of tanking their final game against the Phildelphia Flyers Sunday because Pittsburgh wanted to face Ottawa in the first round the playoffs beginning Wednesday at Mellon Arena.
Asked by the Sun what he thought when he saw Sidney Crosby as a healthy scratch in the 2-0 loss against the Flyers which cost Pittsburgh first place in the Eastern Conference, Murray didn't mince any words.
"I knew what was going on," said Murray.
"You guys all know they wanted to play Ottawa. That's fine. That was fairly obvious from the drop of the puck," said Murray.
Even I was looking forward to the santa-booers having a go at Crosby. If Ottawa fails, I hope Philly hangs around to finish them off (like they always did with the Leafs).
Sunday, April 06, 2008
I don't see any reason to hope for much beyond an epic Pittsburgh meltdown, but in the playoffs anything can happen. Should they somehow knock off the Pens though, I still think the east is wide open. Any other die hards want to throw me a bone, here? DC? Duff? What say you?
UPDATE: The Sched, via the Ottawa Sun:
Game 1 Wednesday @ Pittsburgh - 7 p.m.
Game 2 Friday @ Pittsburgh - 7 p.m.
Game 3 Monday, April 14 @ Ottawa - 7 p.m.
Game 4 Wednesday, April 16 @ Ottawa - 7 p.m.
Game 5 (if nec) Saturday, April 19 @ Pittsburgh, time TBD
Game 6 (if nec) Sunday, April 20 @ Ottawa, time TBD
Game 7 (if nec) Tuesday, April 22 @ Pittsburgh, time TBD
Under the terms of Alfredsson's contract with the Senators, he is scheduled to make $5.465 million US next season. Three option years -- all at $3.8 million per-year -- then kick in at the start of the 2009-10 season.
That's where it becomes tricky. Under the terms of the agreement, if Alfredsson plays in 70 or more regular-season games and averages a point per game, then he has the right to decide if he wants to return the next season.
Should Alfredsson not meet the point requirements, then it's up to Ottawa management to decide if they want him to return the next year. The same rules exists for the final two options years of the contract.
Saturday, April 05, 2008
Since Alfredsson was drafted the Senators have won 8 playoff series. The Leafs 7, Edmonton 5, Flames 3, Montreal 3, and Vancouver 3.
Friday, April 04, 2008
11 years in a row of playoff hockey in Ottawa!
No sign of this streak ending with the core of the team under contract and youth again coming up through the system. This season's debacle can be addressed in the offseason but the bottom line is that playoff hockey is coming to Ottawa and stranger things have happened than an unexpected run.
Years in the playoffs of the other Canadian franchises:Calgary 4
Thursday, April 03, 2008
Game 1 in Toronto: Sens win 4-3 in OT
Game 2 in Ottawa: Sens win 3-2
Game 3 in Ottawa: Sens win 5-1
Game 4 in Toronto: Leafs win 3-0
Game 5 in Toronto: Leafs win 4-2
Game 6 in Ottawa: Leafs win 5-0
Game 7 in Ottawa: Leafs win 5-4
Sens need to win to tie the season war. They need to win by 5 to tie the season goal differential.
The game is only on PPV in Ottawa. On LeafsTV in Toronto.
Let's get some predictions posted. Keep the sticks down, elbows up.
PPP Update: Game Day Thread save this for when the sens regulars get too upset post-loss.
JAYUPDATE: Pundits are calling this a Game 7, but to me it feels more like a Game 6. We do not too bad at Game 6's.
"Any time you go through a losing streak it's always hard, especially towards the end of the season," Spezza said yesterday. "We're all kind of baffled a little bit about why we're in (this slump)."
That's the frustrated deer-in-headlights approach you like to see from one of your most talented players. If I was GM in Ottawa I would trade this choker on draft day.
"We could take the wind out of Ottawa..." said Leaf centre Matt Stajan. "It's their season on the line."
That's the loose cocky overconfidence you like to hear from a player on a team with absolutely nothing to lose. I think a few players on Ottawa just pooped themselves a little.
Should be a good night.
Tuesday, April 01, 2008
The game at the ACC is secondary because as Jay points out, the real battle tonight is between the sens and Montreal. While tonight's game against the Sabres is worth nothing, as if to prove it Raycroft is getting the start, the result between the Leafs' two bitter rivals will dictate whether the team's last two games count for anything.
A sens' loss would leave them in 6th place with 92 points and only two points ahead of the surging Capitals and the Southeast leading Canes with all teams having played 80 games. That gives the team from the City That Fun Forgot an extra game played over both Boston and Philadelphia who would lie just one point back of the Trojan Ads. Wins for those teams over New Jersey and Pittsburgh respectively would leave them with 93 points resulting in the dream-like sequence for Muppet and myself. It would mean that Thursday's game would see the senators enter the ACC against the Leafs, who have won four straight meetings, in 8th place and just two points ahead of the Capitals. Are those a lot of what-ifs? Sure, are they outlandish? Not by a longshot. It's pucker-time in the National Capital Region.
A win by the Habs would also move them back into a tie for the top spot in the conference which might mean that Saturday night's finale would be an opportunity for the Leafs to keep the Habs from winning the Conference title.
So, on a night when the Leafs will be in action the real drama will be played out on The Score/TSN/Sportsnet's tickers as we wait to see whether there might still be a miniscule bright spot in the season's last week.
Don Brennan's in the April Fool's spirit again, this time calling for Ray Emery to take over with the clock running down on the season. I think that fork in the road has been passed some distance back, although I've no particular preference for the league's 32nd best GAA over the 43rd best GAA. The only GM who's ever attempted to fix the Senators perennial mediocre tender pairings was John Muckler when he brought in Hasek. Since we'll be stuck in the default position for at least another season, it's worth knowing for absolute certain whether Muckler's second attempt can produce any legacy out of his career other than having the best seat in the house for three of the last four Stanley Cup Finals.
Sens 5, Habs 1 (Spezza, Donovan, Neil, Vermette, Fisher). Following through on Carbo's plea to the media, injuries will henceforth be referred to as Upper Body Volchenkovs.