Is this what it's like to coach hockey without fear?
John Paddock must be feeling pretty darn confident right now. After all, he did start the Senators' third-string goaltender against a not horrible Atlanta Thrashers team.
Brian Elliot played a strong game in net, making 28 saves, and many players not named Spezza, Heatley or Alfredsson contributed offensively. Those players would be Joe Corvo, Antoine Vermette, and Chris Kelly.
Thanks to these contributors, the Senators took the game by a score of 3-1.
As I mentioned in a previous blog comment, Vermette seems bent on raising the value of his next contract this season. Rather than complain until he got on the 2nd line, like Peter Schaefer, Vermette is proving that he deserves to be there by bringing the speed and skill that we've seen flashes of for his whole career.
On the downside, Dany Heatley failed to collect a point for the first time this season. On the plus side, he's still on pace for 114 points, including 57 goals.
Personally, I'm feeling pretty good about hanging on to BOTH Emery and Gerber for the rest of the season. Although the strong play of Elliot seems to go against my Gerber-supporting blog from June.
And in crazier news, the Sens and Penguins will open the 2009-10 NHL season in Prague. I will now dubb it the Pittawa Senguins European Adventure. Undoubtedly, one of these teams will escort the Stanley Cup to Czech Republic. I'll bet on the Sens, again.
PS: Brian Elliot is now officially nick-named "Ellie".