Monday, April 30, 2007

From Scotiabank Place to your brain - post game report!

I attended Monday's fine match between the Senators of Ottawa and the Devils hailing from Nouveau-Jersey. The Senators prevailed - we did not fall into their trap. Enough of the niceties...

Now to be an ass: New Jersey is a boring team. They wanted to win that game 1 - 0 and then stand in the crease for the rest of the game. Luckily, the Senators enjoy winning by more than one goal... and thank God that Brodeur allowed a goal in the third period instead of in the third overtime because I would not have been able to stand it.

On the other hand, it could have gone the other way quite easily. Emery did not allow a goal, but he didn't look completely comfortable all the time - he'll have to play better to end this series in 5.

Oh the irony! The Senators nearly scored right before the end of the first (?) period, and Scotia bank place was going to explode. But the period was clearly over before the puck went in the net, but if we had a nice little 1.5 second buffer like in New Jersey, it could have been a different story.

I totally saw Ian Mendes and Brent Wallace talking before the game outside Scotiabank Place, I wanted to say 'hi' and take a picture but I was nervous. Should I be this excited about local celebrities? They both do the Sens Underground podcast from time to time - very cool of them. Still... I wonder if they hate each other...

...and the sens - sick 'em? Next game we take a bite out of them.

Looking forward to game 3: "Sick 'em"

The Senators deserve to be ahead in this series, but they will have to earn it. Tonight is the night to show that killer instinct and win the momentum. Bryan Murray has said that this is a changed team from previous years - now is the time to show it by stopping the Devils' momentum and breaking some NJ hearts.

We've seen that Ray Emery is matching the performance of Martin Brodeur and at no point this series has goaltending been an issue for the Senators - it's more the offense that has to step up their game and embarrass the Devils. Dany Heatley has been coming on strong, accumulating 5 points in his last 2 games, if this trend continues I see no reason that the Senators should not win Game 3 tonight and regain the advantage in the series.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Delayed reaction... WE WIN!

Ben, 7:28 Friday night: "Wow... we won!"

Due to some poor timing (both on the part of myself and the Senators) I managed to miss each and every one of the Senators goals last night. But I hear they were good. I watched them earlier today on TSN broadband, and wow, Martin Brodeur did suck. Ray Emery sucked just as much later in the contest, but luckily he sucked about 1 goal less.

Once again, I've gotta give it up to the Captain (and future Prime Minister of Canada) Daniel Alfredsson. When he's playing well, we win. It's just that simple. Not to mention the fact that Dany Heatley and Jason Spezza were ON during the game.

Dean "role player" McAmmond also scored during some clutch times to keep the team afloat.

Be Red:
Did it occur to anyone in the Senators management that the sens might play a team that also wears red? The Toronto Raptors had a similiar incident during their opening game, as the New Jersey Nets arrived for the tip-off wearing the same shade of red as the entire Toronto crowd. The Devils will be wearing their white 'away' jerseys when they play the sens at Scotiabank Place, but still, it kinda diminishes the effect.

Game 2:
I expect an entirely different game. It'll probably 3-2 or 2-1 (sens win of course), plus it's on Saturday, prime beer-drinking time. Did you know that Dany Heatley scores 45% of his goals during Saturday night games? Well you shouldn't, because that's a lie.

New Jersey Bloggers:
Go to my profile, send me an email and we'll get a little Q&A going to post before game 2 or 3. We can talk about which goalie is more likely to slash the other in the face.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Second Round Predictions

Well after going 7-1 in the first round you might say I'm fairly confident, but let's be realistic here... it wasn't exactly a round swimming in a pool of controversy. The better teams won for the most part, end of story. (Atlanta just didn't show up to play, good job Hossa! and frankly Dallas deserved to win that series but just lost discipline when it mattered, well that and Roberto had different plans.)

1 - Ottawa vs New Jersey

This is pretty much a 180 from what Ottawa faced in the first round. Instead of the potent offense and lack of playoff experience they found in Pittsburgh, they now face a team with dominant defense and oozing playoff experience (12 current Devils players have a stanley cup ring on their finger, 9 of those have more than just one.) Some might find that worrying, but Ottawa has come into their own this year, they may not have the rings to show their experience but they are certainly not playoff virgins by now. Can the Devil's defense shut down Alfie, Heater & Spezz? Maybe. Too bad Ottawa has more scoring depth than a hooker on New Year's.

Ottawa in six.

2 - Buffalo vs New York

So maybe New York CAN play hockey, who woulda known. If nothing else I'd watch one of these games just to see Sean Avery kick Andrew Peters' ass, and then score a goal. New York may have looked impressive against Atlanta, but that was more of the Thrashers looking down right horrible against the Rangers. Buffalo's just too stacked I'm afraid.

Buffalo in seven.

3 - Vancouver vs Anaheim

The 'Nucks - Stars series was possibly one of the most boring playoff series I can remember. I'm not sure if it was the All-Star goaltending on both sides or just that neither team could put the puck in the friggen net. Either way, I'd love to see an all-Canadian cup this year, but that's not gonna happen. Roberto is awesome but unless he suddenly is able to start shooting pucks into the Ducks net after he makes a save, Vancouver just doesn't have the offense to compete with Anaheim.

Anaheim in five.

4 - Detroit vs San Jose

There is always one series that I don't care about and this round it's this one. I could ramble on about Thornton, then ramble more about Hasek... but for me this series comes down to one thing. Will Hasek get tired of playing hockey and suddenly pull his groin? If he does then San Jose wins, if he doesn't then Detroit does.

Detroit in seven.

I would just like to take a final second to point out that Maggie the Monkey knows jack all about hockey. She may have picked the Edmonton - Carolina final last year... but she picked Pittsburgh over Ottawa this year! Seriously! Bad monkey! Good thing she's taken Ottawa this round.

Cheers, enjoy the Second Round.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Some pre-emptive call-outs

Now that PeteO's given you the in-depth hockey analysis, I want to focus on the Senators and the players that will (or should!) make the difference in this series.

Each of these players has accumulated 3 points, but have lacked the passionate spirit that has ignited the Senators this year. I will admit that they do have reasonable stats (in a series their team dominated), but I expect more - so I offer each of them some advice for the upcoming series against the Devils.

Peter Schaefer
- where have you been friend? This is the playoffs. With your new deal signed last summer, you should be kicking ass out there with your fellow 2nd and 3rd liners, but so far you've just been overshadowed; invisible.

Wade Redden - I've heard that you're injured. I've heard that you're addicted to cocaine. I've heard that you took your 6.5 million dollars from this year and trained a monkey to put on skates and play for you this season. The last scenario is, sadly, the most likely so far this season.

Chris Neil - You got one sweet-ass goal against the Penguins... what have you done for me lately? With the Mikes (Fisher and Comrie) playing such physical games, is there no one left for you to hit? Grab someone off the bench and punch them in the face! Make you presence known!

Antoine Vermette - Again, one (very Crosby-esque) goal, but with 15 minutes of ice time each game, the coach is putting some real faith in you. So either be a Spezza and get some points, or be a Mike and throw your weight around. But don't be a nothing.

So there you have it. I've called them out. Expect these players to have the greatest series of their lives - I guarantee it.
(Not an actual guarantee.)

Playoff Beard Update!
It's coming along nicely. It went from casual Hollywood actor to crazy Hollywood actor. Like Johnny Depp trying to show everyone how eccentric he is... I've been getting comments at work, home, and from the girlfriend. Apparantly, you can't have a bad playoff beard and a social life. Right now, I refuse to choose between the two.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Ottawa Senators Eastern Conference Semi-Final Opponent Watch, day two

With the New Jersey Devils defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning in the sixth game of their first-round series, the Ottawa Senators are now poised to face off against the Devils in the Eastern Conference semis.

Ottawa fans still remember that fateful game seven back in 2003, when former Devils forward Jeff Friesen scored the overtime-winning goal that sent New Jersey into the Stanley Cup Finals. Ottawa also played the Devils in the playoffs in the first round of the 1998 playoffs and defeated them in six games, before advancing to play (and eventually lose to) the Washington Capitals in the second round.

The schedule for round two has yet to be released, but word on the street is the series will start at the Continental Airlines Arena on Wednesday, April 25. This is awkward, because the Nets host the Raptors in the NBA Playoffs on the 27th and 29th, and there's some stupid Champions on Ice dealie on the 28th. Look for back-to-back games on April 25 and 26, and Ottawa's first game the headliner for Hockey Night in Canada on Saturday, April 28. Maybe, this is all speculation on my part--but CBC would probably love it. Don't count out a Sunday afternoon game for NBC the following day, either.

The season series this year favoured New Jersey, with the Devils winning three of the four matches. Ottawa won the first one by a score of 8-1, though, so that's pretty sweet. It'll probably come down to a defensive battle, and Ottawa's got the depth and speed that New Jersey didn't have to face with Tampa Bay, so the Sens must take advantage of that. Also, keep an eye out for huge passes (which often worked for Tampa Bay) or defensive rushes to break the Lou Lamoriello trap--Joe Corvo, I'm looking at you. It would be nice if Wade Redden could throw a few nice ones in there, too.

No matter what, it'll be a hell of a series. If Ottawa plays as well as they can, there's no way the Devils can match.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

The sens want to apologize for winning

The Ottawa Senators would like to apologize to the following people/organizations for defeating the Pittsburgh Penguins and Sidney Crosby so easily, in only 5 games:
  • The CBC
    • Bob Cole
    • Harry Neale
    • Elliot Friedman (example)
  • Americans
  • NHL sponsors
  • Sidney Crosby's sponsors:
    • Gatorade
    • Reebok
    • Pepsi
    • Tim Horton's
    • FritoLay
  • Nova-Scotians (especially their politicians)
  • People who picked the Penguins to win in 6 games:
    • Sports writers from Toronto
    • Idiots
  • Actual Penguins
  • Children with diseases, who undoubtedly would have been cured had the Penguins won the Stanley Cup
  • Colby Armstrong - Chris Neil never got the opportunity to mercifully end his life
  • Gary Roberts, won't be able to win a Stanley Cup to validate his past 15 NHL seasons
  • Ottawa Senators bloggers, who won't be able to see their families for another 2 weeks
Feel free to add to my list, but the idea is simple: HAHAHAHAH!!! Screw you all.

(Except the last one, we screw ourselves... yeah, I said it.)

Ottawa Senators Eastern Conference Semi-Final Opponent Watch, day one

Right now, there are two possibilities for next round:

If New Jersey wins: Ottawa plays the Devils starting off in New Jersey in round two.
If Tampa Bay wins: The Sens play the Rangers with the first game in Ottawa.

Buffalo defeats New York Islanders 4-3, wins series 4-1

With this win, we know we won't be playing the New York Islanders. It was a (technical) possibility if the Isles were able to come back and win the series and the Lightning won their series against the Devils, but now we know it won't happen. There is also no possible way that the Sens will play the Sabres in the second round.

Of note in the Sabres/Isles decisive game: Former Ottawa Senators Sean Hill, Alexei Yashin, and Mike Sillinger were all factors for the Isles in their first-round defeat. Hill, as we have seen, missed the series-clinching game in the first of his twenty-game suspension for violation of the league's substance-abuse policy, after playing a significant part in the Isles run to the playoffs and in the first-round escapades. His presence on defence was certainly missed, given the fact that his replacement (Drew Fata) was -2 on the night. Sillinger was dominant for most of the series in the face-off circle, winning something like 70 per cent of the draws. He wasn't so impressive in game five (56 per cent), but still won more than he lost. Yashin, I think, had a decent series. Was he worth $9 million? No, but he actually showed some resilience and worked well with Viktor Kozlov. Watch out next year if Garth Snow can get some decent defencemen on the Islanders team.

New Jersey defeats Tampa Bay 3-0, leads series 3-2

If the series ends with New Jersey defeating Tampa Bay, Ottawa will face off against the Devils in the next round. This will give home-ice advantage to Jersey, with games three, four, and potentially six coming to the Bank (i.e. Scotiabank Place). If Tampa Bay pulls off the win, the Sens will have home-ice advantage and host the New York Rangers in round two. Time will tell, but if Martin Brodeur's play was any indication, it seems like he is once again deciding that he wants to win. When Brodeur wants to win, it'll take more than an apparently exhausted one-line team to defeat him.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Memo to Nick Kypreos: Eat my ass

Dear Nick Kypreos,

You know nothing about hockey, unless it's the Toronto Maple Leafs. When the Ottawa Senators declined an 'offer' from the Florida Panthers to acquire Gary Roberts, Kypreos declared that he had lost all respect for the Ottawa Senators. This is stupid for three reasons.

First of all, this implies that Kypreos had respect for Ottawa in the first place. I think we all know that his love-in for all things Maple Leafs is evidence enough this is not the case.

Secondly, it assumes that Florida was asking the same in return for Roberts from both Ottawa and Pittsburgh. Conspiracy theories are always fun, but I will reference Don Cherry as a citation for the following statement: Jacques Martin did not want to give Ottawa a major factor in the repeated defeats of the Martin-era Senators to the Maple Leafs. Why would Martin offer Roberts to the man who fired him (John Muckler) without trying to gouge as much in return as possible? Especially if the opportunity is there to trade him to Pittsburgh--at a time the Penguins looked to be Ottawa's first-round opponent.

Finally, Roberts wasn't the decisive factor. He pissed all Sens fans off, scored a few goals, threw some borderline hits (which probably should have been penalized if the refs weren't so sorry Roberts is such a poor skater), bitched at the refs constantly (once again, for some reason unpenalized despite the lack of a letter of his left shoulder), and apparently helped the young 'Burgh whippersnappers, but none of it really helped. The Pens lost the series.

In a related story, Oleg Saprykin didn't look like such a bad move, after all. This goes out to all the folks responsible for berating Muckler for this blockbuster (that means you, Ottawa Sun): Don't judge a move until you see what it's brought. Sappy played a solid game last night, and in game four, and probably should have had a goal or two in those matches. Furthermore, he looked like he was willing to take a hit once in a while, and has some darn good speed. Ottawa didn't need a slow old-timer to lead a team with solid internal leadership, they needed (more) offensive depth.

In an unrelated story, Anton Volchenkov might be my all-time favourite Ottawa Senators player. He is certainly giving Norm Maciver a run for his money. Let's take a look at his first-round statistics:
  • Points: 4 (1G, 3A)
  • Hits: 16
  • Blocked shots: 14

What more can you ask for? His one goal was a game-winning goal, too... incredible. Game five was a testament to his toughness; after Roberts appeared to hit Volchie's elbow and bend it the wrong way, "the Big Defenceman" (Bob Cole's nickname for Volchenkov, as well as all other Ottawa Senators defencemen) barely missed a shift, and returned to play the last shift of a 3-0 game rather than staying in the dressing room on a precautionary basis. Still incredible.

Now... awaiting the second-round opponent. Stay tuned for a "Ottawa Senators Eastern Conference Semi-Final Opponent Watch" update later tonight.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Senators defeat Penguins in 5 games

Way to go boys, you make me proud. I've heard alot of rhetoric recently about this being a changed team; that the Senators this year are more focused, more experienced and more physical. A dominating victory like tonight's game 5 lends weight to that argument.

Stars of the series for the Senators:
  • Chris Phillips/Anton Volchenkov - Shutting down Crosby and hitting anything that moves
  • Christoph Schubert - for being our Darcy Tucker, a real ass
  • Ray Emery - for making the saves when it truly matters
  • Daniel Alfredsson - for leading by example
More on this on Saturday. We're likely seeing the Rangers or Devils next round.

No... THIS could be the greatest thing ever!

Quoted from

"Defenceman Wade Redden has struggled through the first 4 games of the series and was directly responsible for the Penguins lone goal in Game 4. With the improvement of Anton Volchenkov and Joe Corvo, Redden's role on the team has diminished and there are now rumours circulating that the blueliner could be on his way to Edmonton in the off-season. Those rumours are being fuelled by the fact Oilers coach Craig MacTavish and head scout Charlie Huddy have made appearances during the series. - Ottawa Sun"

*CLAPS* I've only been saying that for the last 4 years but he was on the failure of a Canadian olympic team so he must be amazing, right?... right?... no? Good riddance.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

This could be the greatest thing ever

I don't know who did this, but my God, it is fantastic! The best thing is that Jason Spezza does the little girl voice... nice. You earned it Rayzor!

Also, did you all see Emery have a little chat with Crosby last game? It was during a commercial, but CBC showed it afterward. You could tell by their body language it went something like this:

Emery: "Don't you EVER come near my net AGAIN!!"
Crosby: "Sorry sir."

(If Crosby's smart, he'll listen. Emery has slashed people in the face for less - and I don't think Gatorade will sponsor a guy with only one eye.)

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

A close one makes it 3 - 1 for the sens

Maybe there will be a bigger blog tomorrow, but for now let's just say that game was extremely important for the Senators. Ray Emery stole this game for us and got CBC's first star of the game, dispite hardly being mentioned by Bob Cole, who doesn't seem to know Ray's name.

Unlike in previous games, Daniel Alfredsson was not the story of the game. We got some offense from unlikely sources. The Senators' first goal was a fluke. It reminds me of a blog by Ian Mendes that stated simply the sens would be successful because they were due for some good breaks - and I think we cashed them all in tonight.

The second sens goal came off some good work by Mike "Best trade ever" Comrie, who got the puck out to Volchenkov for the shot. Later, Emery made the 1-goal lead stand.

...and Senators, please end it on Thursday. You need the rest, and the city of Ottawa needs the relaxation.

Playoff beard update: It's getting there... I'd say it's somewhere around the level of a Hollywood actor who's trying to show how casual he can be off screen.

...and a shiny nickel to the person who can name the movie poster over my shoulder!

Coach's Corner checklist

In preparation for tonight's game against the Penguins on CBC, I've prepared a checklist of what Don Cherry will do during the first intermission on Coach's Corner (in a rough temporal order):
  • Yell at least 3 variations of "Watch this," in reference to a clip
  • Use at least 3 onomatopoeical exclamations in rant about clip (e.g. bam, boom, pow)
  • Talk about Staal brothers for minimum 10 seconds
  • Shut Ron Maclean up by shouting "Lookit!" and then ranting about something nonsensical
  • Show pictures of most recent casualties from Afghanistan. If no recent casualties, show photos of recently deceased young hockey players.
  • Call recent casualties, "Beautiful boys" or, alternately, "lovely boys".
  • Get choked up and start crying.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Now we've got something to 'boo' about

Did anyone catch a time after a whistle that Gary Roberts or Sidney Crosby weren't bitching at the referee?

Now we've got something to boo about in Game 5 - Crosby being a whiny little girl... I'm surprized he can skate so well, wearing a dress all game long.

In the photo I think he's complaining about an offside, or about the fact that his team got whooped last game.

Big, huge, MONSTEROUS game by Daniel Alfredsson. The man has really taken charge in this series. I read an article in the Ottawa Citizen a few days ago about how Alfredsson has played in all of the Senators 80 (at the time) franchise playoff games. He is not only the team leader, he is their mirror. His success is the team's success, his faults are their faults, and when he is playing well, the entire team plays well.

I called on the second-liners in my last blog, and they came through for me. I did not mention Dean McAmmond specifically, but he was due.

Christoph Schubert is running around the ice, all the time, kicking maximum ass... and by the way, his hit on that Penguins player was no worse than the hit on Patrick Eaves.

On OTR today, they had a couple (4th line) Leafs players as well as Martin Biron and some other LA Kings player, and they all had a big hate-fest for the Schubert hit, saying that he should have been suspended instead of Radulov. WTF?! First of all, how about some differing perspectives OTR?! ...and secondly, if Eaves gets carried off on a stretcher without a penalty then I think you can let this one go (and Schubert DID get a penalty for it).

I also called on Ray Emery to have a huge game for the Senators, and he did. Including what I call a 'brilliant' and stopping a shot from 'point-blank range' to save the game for the sens. Fleury who? RAYZOR!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Game 3 preview - some corrections

This has to be the most biased game preview that I've seen in a long time - Pens and Sens take series to Pittsburgh.
Fleury was brilliant in net, stopping 34-of-37 shots, including a 12-of-13 in the third period.
Emery made 17 saves for the Senators.

I'm not sure about 'brilliant' I think that term warrants a little more more than two flashy glove saves in the third period.
Marc-Andre Fleury stopping Ottawa's Mike Fisher from point blank range with 13.1 seconds remaining.
Watching this game on TV I could see that hit the back of the defender's leg. So let's just call this what it is - a failure by the Senators to score - not a spectacular game, by an average goaltender.

Looking to tonight's game, we need to see that secondary scoring from the Comrie-Fisher-Schaefer line... that's right, I'm
calling them out! Spezza and Heater did have some success in the last game, but they can't do it themselves.

I'm also looking to Ray Emery for his stand-out game tonight. He's been solid so far, no weak goals, but we really need him to steal one for us tonight.

Watching last game's review reminded me what I really wanted to talk about in this blog, officiating. WEAK CALLS! QUESTIONABLE CALLS! BS (that stands for 'bull shit') CALLS! I don't think it dictated the outcome of the game, and the Senators had a crazy advantage in terms of power plays, but the officiating slowed down the game and made me angry!

Did I mention that Colby Armstrong is a little punk-ass bitch!? His goal in life is to injure Ray Emery on the ice. I think the Senators should respond the same way - yes people, REVENGE!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

After each period blog...

First Period

After watching that first period, I'm not extremely happy with the Senators' performance. It seems that they don't have to same jump as in Game 1. Fleury is making the saves that he didn't make in Game 1. This is the recipe for disaster for the Senators.

Spezza tried sakting through a few Penguins, and Alfredsson tried the same thing. It's not working. Right now, I would say that our success in this game depends on whether Spezza and Heatley can step up.

...and the second period is starting, I'll see you at the post-game show.

Second Period

Much better! I called them out, and Heatley and Spezza stepped up. Another player who has been playing really well is Joe Corvo. He's rushing up the ice and getting the puck into the Penguins' zone with ease. Also, he's one of the few players on the powerplay who thinks 'shoot' first. He's blasting shots at the net at every opportunity.

Lots more odd-man rushes for the Senators - I want to see more of that in the third - it benefits the sens alot more because when Heatley's staring Fleury in the face, Fleury is going to blink first.

Crosby has been dangerous in this period. But, I suppose if you can keep Crosby at 'dangerous' and not 'deadly' then you're not doing too badly.

In the third, I want to see more of the same from the sens, with a further crack-down on Crosby and Staal - the sens' D might as well send a message while they're winning the game.

Third Period

I guess I can't just start a period-by-period blog and then not finish it. We definetly had our chances. Alfredsson blew at least one GRAND scoring opportunity. The Senators were taking plenty of shots at the net, they must have finished with at least 35. But they took way more shots than that, many of which simply missed the net.

Some prime examples of poor defensive positioning cost us this game. Staal was alone in front of the net (didn't I say to watch out for that guy?). Plus, Crosby was left uncovered when he netted his (lucky) goal.

I watched parts of the game on NBC. Not bad Americans, not bad. They did talk about Crosby alot, and they did call Christoph Schubert 'Christian' for most of the game - but their analysis was fair and they did not overload the viewer with stats - something that networks that are used to covering NASCAR sometimes do.

The Penguins were put to shame in the first game and rebounded with a win. The Senators now have the cris-atunity (crisis+opportunity) to come back and show the Penguins that they can bounce back as well. Note that the Senators have less than 24 hours to rebound from their loss, whereas the Penguins had more than two days.

See you tomorrow! Go sens!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

I'm not sure what animal eats Penguins, but the sens are that

What a game! In the post game news conferences people from both teams were admitting that the Ottawa Senators dominated in every aspect during that game. I would like to point out two things that I believe made the difference.

First, body-checking. The Senators were hitting everything in sight! It started with the captain, Daniel Alfredsson, and trickled down to the entire team - I think I even saw Heatley try to hit somebody. For some lines, I think the whole objective of their shift was to hit the Penguins at every opportunity, if they scored, it was simply a bonus. This strategy paid off in spades. The Penguins were frustrated, injured, and afraid to touch the puck.

Secondly, Chris Phillips and Anton Volchenkov were everything you could ask a pair of defensemen to be. They shut down Sidney Crosby and put the hurt on Malkin. CBC put together a collage of Sidney Crosby with just a few minutes left in the game, everytime he touched the puck Phillips was there to make life difficult. The extra little pushes and hits after the initial hit really drove the point home: "I'm gonna be there everytime you touch the puck".

In addition to all this, it seems that every line did their job. The fourth liners agitated, the first liners cycled the puck and went for the point, and the second and third line helped out with the scoring and the PK.

Hardly heard a peep about Ray Emery from the CBC commentators. Great! The less we hear about Emery, the better he's doing in the game! The way Rayzor carries himself both on and off the ice exudes the kind of confidence that the Senators need to go deep into the playoffs this year. The Senators played a solid defensive game, and Emery came up with a couple saves when needed - a great start.

Did I ever congratulate Heatley in his Drive for Five-ty? He did it! Way to go man, a little but of history right there. Now, if he can do it next season, Dany would solidify himself as one of the top Canadian players of this decade.

Playoff beard update: I cheated. I waited until this morning to shave. So I had same face-hair for the first game, hopefully it doesn't jinx our team for their next outing. Right now, my face is smooth yet scratchy.

This weekend's games are gonna be great. Should allow plenty of time afterward to blog and no work the next day to make me sleep - instant analysis, sweet!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Game 1 Preview

I'm not going to make any bold predictions about how many games or who will score the most points, but I will say this: It's going to be an awesome, action-packed series. We dodged a bullet by not playing New Jersey - this series is going to be full of scoring, amazing saves and talented players.

But we'll wait for some post-game analysis and then let the real discussion begin. For now, let's focus on what we do know:
  1. Mats Sundin is not worth 7 million per season
  2. Players will go wherever they can get the most money when they're a free agent

Look at what TSN posted on their website earlier this week. Do players think we're dumb? Every player you ask EVER will say that they want to return to their current team - it's simply good PR... but honestly, we've seen it enough, it's a non-story. The funny thing about this is that Sundin has an extension for next season, but the Leafs don't want to pick it up. He got 76 points this season - that's a breakout year! Unfortunately, he's not turning 22 next year, he's coming up on 40.

...okay, enough Leafs bashing for now *couhgtheydidn'tmaketheplayoffscough*...

This whole underdog fight that's going on right now is pretty dumb. Coach Bryan Murray says the sens are the underdog because everyone (including the CBC in my opinion - you'll hear the evidence tonight) is rooting for Sidney Crosby and the pens. The teams finished with the same amount of points, and I would say that they both have their question marks going into this series, so let's just drop it. This sort of posturing didn't help Tampa Bay at all last year.

Chris Phillips re-signed with the Senators today for a 4 year contract - very cool. $3.5 million per season is fair I guess for a solid defensive player who got a career-high in points last year. Hopefully he and Volchenkov will be the defensive foundation that gets the team into the playoffs for another 3 or 4 years.

Watching the game tonight with Kyle (our famous other poster) and Nick, who has yet to post on the site. Should be plenty of fun.


Monday, April 9, 2007

First Round Here We Come!

I'm gonna make this short and sweet... no essays or facts here, just my calls. So let's start in the western conference, you know... the one i don't even care about.

Western Conference (Round 1)

Detroit vs Calgary

Calgary is riding into the playoffs on a 4 game losing streak!!! *Claps* And for once Hasek is actually healthy? I'm giving it to Detroit, they won't be upset two years in a row.

Anaheim vs Minnesota

Two teams I couldn't give less of a crap about to be honest, seriously. Anaheim wins easily.

Vancouver vs Dallas

If I had to cheer for another Canadian team it would be the 'Nucks all the way. And with Roberto how can you go wrong? I gotta give it to Vancouver.

Nashville vs San Jose

I'm not exactly sure how Nashville got into the 4th seed but I like Thornton in the playoffs, a LOT! San Jose will take it, but it might come down to a game 7.

Eastern Conference (Round 1)

Buffalo vs NY Islanders

Ha...haha...hahahaha...HA! Buffalo.

New Jersey vs Tampa Bay

Can you say boring hockey? Brodeur will not only put St. Louis, Lecavalier and the rest of Tampa's offense to sleep, but I'm sure everyone watching the game as well. So for not falling asleep, I choose New Jersey!

Atlanta vs NY Ranger

This could turn to be an interesting series but I really don't see the Rangers putting up much of a fight with Jagr sucking as much as he has. Cheers to Atlanta and Hossa!

Ottawa vs Pittsburgh

This will definitely be the tightest race in the East. Lots of offense, and hopefully lots of great goal tending, but I really don't expect that. In the end I gotta take Ottawa, or else I'll probably never be allowed to post here again.

So there they be... I know not many upsets in my picks, but seriously folks, do you really think the Islanders have any semblance of a chance? Cheers.

It's kinda a big deal

It looks like the Ottawa Senators have resigned Anton "The A-Train" Volchenkov to a new 3-year deal worth 7.5 million.

My first impression was, 'sweet! Finally a deserving Senator gets rewarded for an outstanding season'. My second thought was 'what does this mean for Chris Phillips?' Will the Senators still pursue their supposed #2 defenceman when they just locked up a D-man who has arguably played just as well, but for half as much money.

On another note, the playoffs are here and the Senators are playing Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday. I won't even dress this weekend. No calls, no MSN, just leave me alone with the TV and my sens flag and I will be fed through an I-V feeding nutrients directly into my veins.

Sorry for the no-post for a long time - Easter weekend. The bunny brought me a small chocolate bunny to eat - only his legs remain.

...and in hilariously cruel news - the Toronto Maple Leafs did not make the playoffs again - and neither did the Montreal Canadiens. Hip Hip Nobody!

Saturday, April 7, 2007

I'm not watching the sens tonight

There's just too much drama right now between the Leafs and the Habs - that game tonight is going to be awesome. The Senators game (vs Boston) is only on Centre Ice. If the sens win tonight, they will clinch 4th place and get home ice advantage against Pittsburgh in the first round.

That said, I'm not even that concerned about the Senators getting home ice advantage. Look at what it's done for them the last few years. This season has been all about taking the long road, and I think that our playoffs should be no different.

The sens are 3-4-0 vs the Bruins this season. This is Heatley's last chance in his Drive for Five-ty. He currently has 49 goals. I hope he makes it... but like I said - long road this season. I'm not betting on it at this point.

Took the day off yesterday from blogging and participated in an Easter Egg hunt on the University of Ottawa campus - sweet - my team won.

Playoffs start in one week!

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Live Blog: Sens vs Pens

Greetings all. I hope you'll spend the evening with me as I watch the Ottawa Senators take on the Penguins tonight.

7:11pm - About half an hour till game time, I'm watching Senators Overtime on Sportsnet with Ian Mendes. Did you guys check out Mendes' blog on sportsnet the other day? He was taking about his man-date with Brent Wallace - hilarious!

7:20pm - Overtime was boring so now I'm watching Full House. Can you believe this show was popular back in the early 90's? Oh... now back to Overtime and they're talking to Sens' prospect Nick Folino, who has dual citizenship... another Brett Hull *sigh*.

7:24pm - Full House update: Uncle Jesse and his wife had twins!

7:33pm - Cool stat: Senators and Penguins are #1 and #2 top teams in the NHL since the all-star break. Gary Gallery is living in the 70's according to his outfit. Way to go Galley, don't let the decade tell you how to dress.

First Period:

13:16 - Both Kelly and Spezza were able to just walk in towards the net. Hopefully they'll take a freakin' shot next time they have the opportunity. But they've got some good pressure right now. Pens had their chance at the PP - now it's our turn.

11:30 - Sens goal! The key to this play was the pick that Heatley pulled on Gonchar. Then, Spezza gets stoned by Fleury, luckily he doesn't give up and fires the next one into the net.

Oh yeah - now a storm's brewing because Armstrong ran into Emery, then a sen went after Crosby. Not a good combination. Luckily, Neil's on the ice and he's not afriad to grab somebody. Could turn into a tough game. No suspensions though - too late in the season.

9:53 - Rutuu drops like a ton of bricks and stays on the ice to sell it. Good on Spezza though for being proactive. He gets 5 for the hit that Rutuu really should have seen coming. This was because Rutuu went for the late hit after Spezza touched the puck back out of the zone - at least it would have been a late hit if Spezza hadn't jumped out of the way.

4: 31 - Nice shot by Oullette for the tieing Pens goal. Nothing Emery could do he was left alone. The D were frozen trying to cover the guys at the side of the net.

Oh crap - Roberts scores. This was different. Emery could have had that one. ...I don't like Roberts as a Penguins anymore than I liked him as a Leaf. Argh! I'm starting to question Spezza's actions now.

Not sure if I'm satisfied with the first period - but if this is how entertaining the playoff series is going to be then I say bring it on!

Second Period

12:58 - I was going to say that this period is going really well until Armstrong almost gets away on a breakaway. That's just a reminder for me to keep my mouth shut. Heatley got his 49th some time ago. Sweet. It looks like the 2nd-line players are doing well too - Comrie, Vermette, Schafaer and Fisher are all playing their roles and body-checking hard.

6:06 - I just noticed Saprykin on the ice. He took a shot. He must be playing better than usual because normally I barely notice him on the ice.

Crosby does a spin-o-rama and I yell at the TV.

3:38 - This game is all about thr powerplays, and there's really only one measure for the effectiveness of powerplays: goals. Right now, I see some potential but no real scoring chances, only shots that COULD go in. I would like to see Fleury jumping around more - that would please me.

HUGE pass block by Volchenkov when Crosby tries to Roberts on a 2 on 1.

1:00 - Nice save by Emery standing way out of the crease. But WHAT WAS SPEZZA THINKING ON THAT DROP-PASS!?!! The whole crowd says 'awwwww!!!/argh!!!!'.

Third Period:

During intermission I watched the Ask A Ninja episode where he interviews Will Ferrell and Napoleon Dynamite about Blades of Glory. Hilarious stuff.

16:12 - Pittburgh just got a few scoring chances, Emery seems to be holding up well under the pressure. Hopefully the sens can score soon and really take the pressure off him.

14:25 - My dad and I scream at the TV as Spezza dances around everyone but can't getthe puck to Heatley. That seems to be the case alot. But Spezza's looking good for the final 14 minutes of this game. Right now, I would say that Heatley scores the winner from Spezza, or Volchenkov gets a shot past Fleury from the point.

11:12 - Ooooohhhh!!! What a save by Emery! How come the camera didn't stay on that for longer?! That save could have been the highlight of the night.

1:45 - Phillips takes a penalty. The Senators were playing so well 5 on 5 I thought they were going to be able to score one. Corvo especially was playing well, winning pucks in the offensive zone. Malkin takes a punch at Chris Kelly - the heart and soul of the team - and this evens up the players. Nice one Kelly. Should make for an interesting finish - no shootouts please!

:09 - Well... no shooutout I guess. Mezaros lost the puck in our zone and it cost us the game! Mezaros choked. I don't want the sophomore slump to cost us the series when we meet in the playoffs.

End game. Great game thought, very entertaining. I'm gonna go to sleep. Let me know what you thought of the live blog, especially if you refreshed a couple of times during the game.

Have a great night! ...not you Pittsburgh.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Know your enemy

It's coming down to crunch time, and if you're like me, you spend the sens off-nights watching the scoreboards for games that could possibly effects the Senators in the playoffs. Right now, there are only two teams that effect the Senators playoffs other than the sens themselves: New Jersey and Pittsburgh, so I thought we could look into what they're doing for their upcoming games.

New Jersey:
The laziest team in hockey is playing Philadelphia on Thursday and the NY Islanders on Monday. Right now, those look like wins to me - and I'm rooting for them too. If New Jersey maintains first place in their division then they'll play the 7th seed. As of posting time, that's the NY Rangers.

Everyone should know by now that I hate the Devils - not out of frustration or spite, like the Leafs - but from a pure spectator perspective, they produce the worst hockey games in the NHL, especially when both goalies are hot like in the last game.

Looking at the stats of Martin Brodeur, who is probably the only reason that anyone knows that New Jersey has a team, the sens don't want to play him.

TSN tells us we're supposed to fear the Penguins - but I can no longer trust the judgment of TSN, they thought that Tie Domi would make a good commentator. There's a rumor going around that the Penguins are too young to understand the pressure of the playoffs, and therefore they should be good... at.... them? I'm calling your bluff. This is bull.

Crosby's team plays Ottawa on Thursday and the Rangers on Saturday. If the Senators beat the Penguins on Thursday they will face Pittsburgh in the first round of the playoffs, assuming NJ beats Philadelphia or the Islanders, or ties each of them - and I'd say that's a pretty safe bet.

Heatley needs two goals in these last two sens games in his Drive for Five-ty. I hoped he makes them - I would hate to put a #48 on his back.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Pens or Devils?

So unless lightening strikes down Martin Brodeur in the next couple of days it's looking like our First Round match-up is going to be against the Pittsburgh Penguins, a team that hasn't seen Playoff action since 2001 when they were eliminated in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference final against... that's right none other than the New Jersey Devils! (Who went on to lose in 7 Games to the Colorado Avalanche backstopped by another All-Star goalie, Ben's idol, Patrick Roy.)

But the question is... in a perfect world, if we could have our choice between the Pens or the Devils who would we choose?

Well for me that's really a simple decision. I'm a strong believer in experience leading to success, I mean how can you expect to be great at something you've never tried before? There's a reason they say "Practice Makes Perfect"! One person who has practice and experience oozing from every pore of his body is Martin Brodeur... shall we take a look?

In all time records, Brodeur is:
  • 2nd place - Most wins (491)
  • 3rd place - Most shutouts (92)
  • 1st place - Most overtime wins (45)
  • Most consecutive 30-win seasons (11)
  • Most consecutive 35-win seasons (10)
  • Most 40-win seasons (6)
  • Only NHL goalie to score a game-winning goal
  • One of only 2 NHL goalies to score a goal in
    both the regular season and the playoffs
And in the Playoffs:
  • Most shutouts in a playoff year (7, in 2002-03)
  • 2nd place - Most shutouts (21)
  • 3rd place - Most wins (89)
*Coughs*... yea.... So sure, the Penguins may have 3 of the best young players in the league in their league leading points man Sidney Crosby, their league short-handed goal leader Jordan Staal, and their soon-to-be rookie of the year Evgeni Malkin... but where is their experience? And please don't tell me in Gary Roberts, holy way past his prime.

When it comes down to it, if Brodeur is on his game it doesn't matter how much offensive firepower your team has, the man can totally shut down a series. So hey, you may disagree, but I will GLADLY take Pittsburgh over New Jersey in the first round. They're a lot like Ottawa a few years ago, young, naive and skilled... so here's to being the Toronto to their Ottawa!... older, slower, more grunt-like, and less skilled? Okay so maybe it's a bad comparison but you get the idea. Stay tuned for my first round playoff predictions from around the league, I gotta at least be able to beat the monkey. Cheers!

Monday, April 2, 2007

Now we play the waiting game...

Resting players is always a funny predicament - do you want your #1 goalie and your (supposed) #1 defenseman to be well-rested or red-hot for the playoffs? This is the boggling mindset of Bryan Murray right now.

According to Ray Emery will choose which of the final 3 games he will play, with Martin Gerber filling in for the others. Now, it appears that Emery will start against New Jersey tomorrow night - an interesting choice. Is this simply to intimidate the Devils? To show them what they will get when they face the sens? It's a gamble - resting Emery and beating the Devils would certainly give the sens a confident swagger if Ottawa does face the 4th lowest scoring team in the league. Judging by Rayzor's flair for the dramatic, I expect him to play at least 2 of those 3 games.

Wade Redden on the other hand will likely play only 1 of the 3 upcoming games as he is dealing with an injury (and some speculate this have been the case all season). We may see him in the final regular-season game against Boston - a weak team, and time off afterward to prepare for the playoffs.

The Senators have had many players step up in the absence of Redden's normally-solid defending. Christoph Schubert has been contributing both offensively and defensively for the sens this season and is one of the Senators many valuable cogs that keep the team afloat when Spezza and Heatley aren't scoring.

I have no idea how I'm going to pull off this !!LIVE BLOG!! on Thursday because my computer is in the room with no TV and I am not blogging from the radio. I'll have to steal someone's laptop... if any of my loyal readers would like to donate a laptop send me an email and I will love you forever.

BTW: Way to steal my blog Ian Mendes! ...but I'll forgive you because I love your monotonous reports from an empty Scotiabank place and your ongoing fued with TSN reporter Brent "Is that grey hair or just the camera?" Wallace.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

I'm not watching enough hockey - sorry Satan

I admit it. I haven't been holding up my end of the bargain I made with Satan. I promised that if the Prince of Darkness helped the Senators win the Cup this year then I would watch all the Senators games that were on TV this year, thus ruining my social life, making me a fat alcoholic and thus leaving me in a state of hell-on-earth.

I watched last night's game between glass dividers at downtown Ottawa's Lone Star Texas restaurant - where anything can be Texas-sized!

I'm sorry Beelzebub, I just couldn't do it. I've missed the last couple games due to... well... life, and I've been blogging postmortem, once the game has long been put into the books. So if the sens don't pull it off this year, you'll know who to blame.

On the plus side, someone else must have made a deal with the devil recently because Mike Comrie is tearing up the ice these days with 5 points in his last 2 games - I think 4 of those are goals! Mikey scored a wicked one last night putting the puck to the outside of the defender then picking it up after passing him to the inside, AND THEN putting the puck past the Islanders' nobody goaltender.

The sens' next game is Tuesday against the New Jersey, Devils and I'm sure much will be made of this game as a possible playoff preview. Then, the Senators will play the Pittsburgh Penguins - but by then we'll probably know who we're playing. Look out for a LIVE BLOG that night on this very page.
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