Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Ruutu is awesome

There aren't many bright spots for the Senators right now. A lot of the off-season signings that Bryan Murray has made are being questioned, but one player is making Murray look pretty good: Jarkko Ruutu. He's come in doing exactly what was advertised (getting under the opponent's skin), but he's much smarter about it than some of the league's other superpests. And his intelligence has given coach Craig Hartsburg the freedom to use Ruutu on the penalty kill, a role he's filled effectively.

And, although Ruutu didn't score last night in the shootout, he's far and away the Senators' most effective shooter-outer, with a 50 per cent success rate this season and in his career.

Speaking of last night's shootout, Ruutu is such a pest that he can piss off his opponents without even breaking any rules. After losing control of the puck in the shootout, it drifted towards the corner; but, as Bob McKenzie described for TSN, Ruutu got to it before the play was dead, and still took a shot despite everyone--especially the Rangers--thinking he was out of order. In McKenzie's words:
It was interesting to see the New York Rangers get all bent out of shape when Ottawa Senator Jarkko Ruutu fired the puck at goalie Henrik Lundqvist from a bad angle after initially losing control of it on a shootout attempt last night.


According to NHL rule 25.2 on penalty shots, or shootouts if you will, that was still a live puck and Ruutu was within his rights to shoot it at Lundqvist.

"The original loss of the puck was not on a shot,” NHL director of officiating Stephen Walkon told TSN. "Therefore, the puck is live until it comes to a complete stop or the puck completely crosses the goal line."
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