Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Did Ray Emery ask to be traded?

"Trade Emery" from Flickr user blix613

There are conflicting statements as to whether or not Ray Emery asked to be traded at some point during the season. Ray Emery himself denied the speculation, but if you watch the interview, there appears to be some hesitancy in offering his answer. He was careful when answering the first form of the question: "No, I didn't ask to be traded at the end of December" (emphasis added) and didn't seem to know what to answer in when asked if he'd ever requested a trade, eventually answering "No."

General Manager Bryan Murray suggested that Rayzor did think a trade was his best solution, however;
"He [Emery] thought that there was maybe a situation elsewhere that he would fit better and it could work for him, but in my last couple conversations it's been the opposite. He told me that he certainly wanted to be here, he liked this group of people, he even told John [Paddock] and I that he respected what we had to do yesterday, so that's a step forward for him."
So it remains an interesting situation, to say the least. Murray has openly stated that he spoke with other teams about goaltending, implying a possible trade of either Emery or Martin Gerber. If Emery did ask to be traded, I can't say I would blame him.

Emery has had a difficult time getting motivated this year, and he's admitted as much. He has lost the starting job, and hasn't given the team any reason to give it back to him; the only reason he's gotten repeated opportunities have been the struggles of The Gerber to maintain consistency. He has been run roughshod over by the media, which has likely hurt his motivation further; why bother trying to impress a group of individuals who continually label you as an embarassment?

It seems highly unlikely that Emery can have a meaningful future with the Ottawa Senators. Fans are very tired of his lack of motivation, and for good reason. The media, as mentioned over on Black Aces, seem hostile because Emery doesn't give them what they want. Management is disappointed because they've rewarded him with a 3-year deal for $9M, and he hasn't responded positively. Perhaps most importantly, though, is that Emery has likely exasperated and offended his teammates, where there is little reason for them to trust him as a teammate.

At this point, however, there are few ways to go. Ottawa fined Emery almost $15k for his lateness, which seems appropriate (if a little underwhelming), and they won't be suspending or demoting him. His behaviour and mixed results in games bring his value down in an already tepid goaltending market, so it's unlikely he can be traded for anything remotely resembling what we believe to be his market value. It seems we'll be running with the two-goalie system and hopefully this time around, Emery gives his training and play the work it needs for him to regain the top-goalie billing he earned in the last two seasons. If not for his present teammates, then in order to make himself a tradeable player so he can get a fresh start in another market--one with significantly less media exposure.
Postscript: Regarding the "Trade Emery" photo: Ottawa is awesome. What an eclectic town... graffiti, but it still all has to do with hockey. I guess that's why people want to get us called Hockey Country. Thanks to blix613.

Duthie hits the puck on the head... unlike Ovechkin

As much as I love James Duthie, I like being right more. In his blog he comes up with some very good suggestions for the Trick-shot shootout next year.
I've got another rule to add to this list...


Ovechkin won the shootout without putting the puck in the net. Basically, he threw the puck in the air, spun around, and watched it hit the ice. *clap, clap, clap* If you got paid for effort rather than results, Chris Neil would be the league's highest paid player.

Instead, give the guy 60 seconds to work with. He gets rated on his best shot/move that goes in the net. And Duthie's right in his article, if that put went in, it would have been talked about for days. Instead, it's now a faded memory of what could and should have been.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Emery fails his team again

From the Ottawa Sun:
Ray Emery is going to have some explaining to do.

The Senators goaltender, who has had his share of time management issues this season, showed up at 4:04 p.m. for the team’s 4 p.m. practice at the New York Islanders' practice facility.

Senators coach John Paddock didn't let Emery on the ice. The club is believed to be considering its options - including a suspension.

Players were given the option of meeting the team in Long Island rather than travelling back to Ottawa for the club’s 1 p.m. charter.

Last month, Emery was told to leave Scotiabank Place by Paddock after sleeping in and showing up five minutes before a practice.
It's time for Paddock to cut the foreplay and make a decision. I don't care if he's suspended, sent to the minors, traded, whatever; his behaviour is unacceptable from a professional whose only job is to show up for practices in reasonable shape and play competitively in games. Emery hasn't been making practices--and has barely been competitive in those he's made--and although I can't make a statement about his physical shape, he hasn't been good enough for followers of the team to forgive his behaviour (he's below .500 in winning percentage).

The excuse he's apparently offered is that he thought the practice was at the Nassau Coliseum, not the practice facility. Too bad. If that is the case, it still demonstrates an underlying lack of preparedness, commitment, and simple ignorance. It reeks of self-obsession.

If Martin Gerber is the best goalie available, live or die with him. If he isn't the best goalie available, get a new one. If Brian Elliott isn't ready to go, get a new backup. Second and third chances are long past, it's time to move on.

For the sake of covering both sides of the story, I'm sure Ben will post the other side of this Emery debate.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Sens soft in Super Skills

That wasn't really the greatest demonstration of the Sens' super skills, but it was pretty exciting nonetheless.

Jason Spezza got to do two things: stickhandle through a couple of pucks, and then pass the puck to the accuracy-shooters. Lame. Although he did both very well. It would have been sweet to see him pass to Dany Heatley for the accuracy showdown, just like the regular season.

Daniel Alfredsson, by contrast, did one measley thing. Accuracy shooting. And he didn't do well, going 2-for-8. But don't be fooled, Alfie's got a hell of an accurate shot; just ask Scott Niedermayer's left knee.

I think Alfie threw the conpetition so that if Niedermayer questions him, he can say, "What? There's no way I could have aimed at you, look how bad I was in the accuracy shooting competition!"

I want to mention how awesome I think it is that Tim Thomas looked to be having the time of his life. It's refreshing to see these guys, especially the goalies, enjoying themselves at this competition instead of treating it like an unpleasant chore.

Apparently Spezza's going to be on a line with Alexander Ovechkin and Martin St. Louis in the game, which could be cool. Alfie is still alongside Vincent Lecavalier and I guess Evgeni Malkin instead of Sidney Crosby.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Points per Million

Finally, I'm going to scoop James Mirtle and the (I presume) army of interns/monkeys that he employs to come up with stats.

Here are the point-scoring leaders in terms of points per million dollars of salary this year:

Daniel Alfredsson 67pts --- 14pts/$M
Salary - $4.676 M

Vincent Lecavalier 66pts --- 9pts/$M
Salary - $7.166 M

Alexander Ovechkin 65pts --- 66pts/$M
Salary - $0.984 M

Ilya Kovalchuk 63pts --- 12pts/$M
Salary - $5.000 M

Jerome Iginla 63pts --- 09pts/$M
Salary - $7.00 M

Alfredsson's good. But Ovechkin is the best. Look at that! No wonder he's getting $124-Million over the next 13 years.

Alfie 8, Lightning 4

You might be wondering why nothing was posted regarding the Sens' 8-4 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday. That's because I didn't feel the need to say anything; Daniel Alfredsson's 7-point performance spoke for itself.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Journey to the land of cheese and bikini teams! is reporting that the Sens will play the Pittsburgh Penguins in Stockholm Sweden next year to open the regular season. Finally, Ottawa doesn't have to smack down the Leafs self-esteem from day 1.

I fully expect the Sens to kick the Penguins in the eggs, burn Stockholm to the ground, drink all their vodka, sleep, wake up, forget where they are, join the Swedish national hockey team and then lose to Canada at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.

10, 000 Sens Army Blog funbucks to anyone who can identify this Stockholm-related road sign.

Sens to start season in Sweden

This just in, from The Senators, as anticipated will begin their 2008-09 season in the Swedish capital of Stockholm. Daniel Alfredsson must be pretty flippin' excited, I would be. The game will be against the Penguins, despite the fact that Pittsburgh has no Swedish players on their roster. Ottawa's going to play an exhibition game against Frolunda, Alfie's old Swedish team, which will add more exitement to the season's opening.

There's also going to be games between the New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Lightning in Prague, Czech Republic. The game times will be different so we can watch double-headers; awesome!

I'm excited. Even though it means one less home game during the season. Maybe I'll go to Sweden to watch the game...

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Life without Heatley

It seems that life for the Ottawa Senators without Dany Heatley is rather dreary:

Chris Neil doesn't forecheck as hard.
Jason Spezza can't giggle with as much boyish charm.
Chris Kelly doesn't "heart and soul" as often.
Ray Emery gets in less car crashes.
The Leafs suck less.
The stock market drops 600 points everyday.
Nerds' self-esteem continue to rise due to Guitar Hero.
Heath Ledger drops dead.

Come back Dany. The world needs you.

Peddie the puppetmaster

Holy shit, this is the weirdest f*cking thing I've ever seen. I always knew the Leafs had a weird board-of-shadowy-figures style of management, but this puppetmaster act is the weirdest thing yet. As Cliff Fletcher is giving his opening remark (about four and a half minutes into the video below), watch as Richard Peddie's lips move exactly in line with what Fletcher is saying. It almost looks like Peddie is speaking through Fletcher... weird as hell. It was shown on TSN That's Hockey:

So yeah... weird. Here is what Fletcher (or is it Peddie?) said;
"I'd like to thank Richard and the board for making me the custodian of the keys for a period of time, and I look forward to the challenge, and to a few tough months ahead... "
Yadda-yadda-yadda. Anyway, if you watch the video, you'll notice Peddie mouthing the words as Peddie speaks them, which is creepy as hell.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Whatever can go wrong...

There is a lot going wrong in Sens land these days. Not to overstate the drama, but with the sub-par play in the last 30 games there are issues that have to be addressed. Although the Sens lost 5-3 to the Florida Panthers on Tuesday, it actually looked like some things were on the turnaround. Maybe it's my eternal optimism, but I saw some good things in the game.

First of all, the secondary scoring. The line of Mike Fisher, Dean McAmmond, and Chris Neil looked pretty solid, and the three each scored a goal. Fisher also took seven shots, and McAmmond fired five. Hopefully that lines sticks together for a while, because they were effective tonight. If Jason Spezza, Daniel Alfredsson, and Randy Robitaille--who has been playing better of late--were able to get their offensive act together, the Sens could have put enough goals past Tomas Vokoun to win the game.

Most damaging to Ottawa in this lost, however, was defensive play. Forwards weren't in position to offer defencemen puck support, and defencemen like Chris Phillips and Andrej Meszaros made uncharacteristically poor decisions to cost Ottawa. When Phillips loses his check as badly as he did on Florida's fifth goal, then a lot is going wrong for this team.

No questions were answered in goal. While Ray Emery made some big saves at times, he also let in some very stoppable shots, and can't allow five goals even if he does face 40 shots. It's unknown which goalie is going to start against Tampa Bay on Thursday, but precedent will suggest it will be Martin Gerber. John Paddock didn't do the goaltenders any favours pulling The Gerber against Philadelphia, and probably should have let him finish the game.

Ice time was pretty equally distributed in the game, which is something I love to see. That's what Bryan Murray did last year, and it allows all players on the team to collectively fight through their slump, instead of 12 guys sitting back as the first-liners are continually thrown out their as the only possible solution to the problems; in the long run, it will benefit the team. Kudos to Paddock for realizing that.

The biggest problem appeared to be the Sens' hesitancy. There were pucks in open spaces, and Sens players looked hesitant to go for it and would choose to try and play defence while the Panthers would skate around them. If the Sens are more deliberate in their actions--easier said than done--a lot of the pieces will begin to fall into place.

I figure I'll mention one final thing. Although Wade Redden finished -3 on the night, I though he had a decent game, and I thought he was alright on Sunday against Philly, too. One thing that has been lost in his defensively questionable season is that Redden is fifth in team scoring, and is on pace for a career-high 47 points this season. Joe Corvo, seventh in team scoring, is also on pace to set a career-high with 41 points. If the Sens' play, and especially the powerplay, picks up in the coming games, these two will be a key part of it. Just something to keep in mind.

Searching for answers

I didn't write a blog about the Sens' 6-1 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers. There wasn't much to be said, it was a bad game that the Sens deserved to lose.

An interesting statistic graces the front page of the Ottawa Citizen today: In the first 19 games of the season, the Sens were 16-3; in the 29 games since then, the Sens are 14-11-4, less than a .500 winning percentage.

The fact that the Sens are still in first place in the East is a testament to how amazing the start of the season was, but that amazing start is far removed in the mind of most Sens fans. The nagging questions we've all been asking are what has happened since then, and how the Sens can get back to their winning ways.

Although this collapse cannot be placed squarely on the shoulders of one individual, you have to wonder what role John Paddock has in this dilemma. A lot of the problems start in nets, and by not choosing one goaltender to run with, Paddock has made both goaltenders worse. Ray Emery has not been given the consecutive starts he needs to get into a groove, and Martin Gerber has been unceremoniously pulled from games--the loss to the Flyers is a key example, where the result was not the fault of the goaltender--and hasn't been given reason to believe he'll be the starter. As the head coach, Paddock needs to make a goaltending decision and stick with it; both goaltenders can be good once they're given the opportunity.

In that story from the Citizen, Paddock seems to be asking the same questions we are all asking.
Why are we not playing harder? I think it's a matter of just raising the level of urgency and understanding that level of urgency has to be maintained.
-John Paddock
Once again, the head coach needs to have a handle on these problems. If the team is suffering from a lack of urgency--and I'm still a little fuzzy on what that phrase means--a coach needs to find a way to instill it into his players, and work off internal leadership to have the team work itself out of a rut.

The injuries to Dany Heatley and Daniel Alfredsson (although Alfie will be back tonight against Florida) have come at an inopportune time when the Sens started to look pretty good, as seen in the 3-2 victory over Detroit. And that is inconvenient to the efforts to turn the slump around. However, just about any coach with a top line of Heatley, Alfredsson, and Jason Spezza can win a game, especially when those three elite players are surrounded by the depth that Ottawa has. The challenge comes in having the team win when some of those players are not in the lineup, or are not playing at their best. And this is a challenge that Paddock has failed to answer.

There is a limited number of things a coach can do when a team is not playing hard enough. Paddock doesn't have control over the actions on the ice of a player like Antoine Vermette; he can't simply say, 'Antoine, go and score!' and have it happen. What a coach needs to do is establish a system the players can buy into and give the players the tools and the opportunities to play that system.

On a personal level, it's no secret that Paddock is a huge fan of the physical aspect of hockey. He needs to adapt his mindset to the assets of the Senators, however. Ottawa doesn't have players like Steve Downie or Scott Stevens, no matter how much Paddock wishes we did. Instead, we have Chris Neil--effective in small doses, but often prone to taking penalties while trying to draw them-- and Anton Volchenkov--much more effective for his positional play and shot-blocking ability than his bone-crushing hits.

More importantly, though, Ottawa has speed. Enough speed to break the trap when teams try it, and enough speed to outskate any team in the league. Almost to a man, the Sens are a fast team; Vermette, Dean McAmmond, Chris Kelly, and Shean Donovan are a few players whose speed can kill opposing teams, and even role-playing forwards like Cody Bass and Christoph Schubert are fast when they need to be.

So Paddock needs to adapt to the assets the Sens have. He needs to give the CASH line the ice time they need to be effective, but he can't over-use them; they will become worn out before the end of the season, and other players will suffer from their lack of ice time. And the players need to look at themselves in the mirror, and reflect on the run the Sens put together during last year's playoffs; if they want to get their again, every single person will have to step up their game. If they want to go that one step further, there's another step they'll have to get to.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Lightning strikes: Tampa 2, Ottawa 0

An ugly shutout loss to the worst team in the Eastern Conference. I didn't see the game, so I can't comment on it, but the losses of Dany Heatley and Daniel Alfredsson were certainly felt by the rest of the Senators.

Speaking of Alfredsson, according to the Ottawa Sun, he won't play today against the Philadelphia Flyers, either.

Back to the loss to Tampa Bay: The difference in the game was an ugly powerplay rebound goal by Martin St-Louis. The second goal was an empty-netter by Vincent Lecavalier.

Ray Emery started for the Sens, and he stopped 24 of 25 overall, so must have done alright. According to the NHL highlights package, though, Johan Holmqvist had to make a lot more difficult saves than Rayzor (seven Sens chances, while Emery was there twice). Maybe not the most accurate representation, but still.

A promising sign were the players who had chances for the Senators, with seven different guys supplying the Sens scoring chances (Antoine Vermette, Chris Phillips, Mike Fisher, Wade Redden, Anton Volchenkov, Shean Donovan, and Andrej Meszaros). While none of those scoring chances came off the stick of Jason Spezza--the last man standing from the CASH line--he set up at least two of them in the 26 minutes of ice time played. Ottawa finished with 25 shots on Holmqvist.

The quick turnaround to play Sunday evening against Philadelphia will likely not benefit the Senators. With Philly 9-2 in their last 11 game, I have a feeling that in order to come anywhere close to a win the Sens will need a show-stopping performance from Martin Gerber.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Alfie's out, Emery's in

It is official: Daniel Alfredsson will not play tonight against the Lightning. I don't know why he would... I mean, it's the Lightning. No need to rush anything and risk making injuries worse.

In other news, Ray Emery is starting tonight. Two days after Martin Gerber played well and stopped 36 of 37 in Ottawa's 5-1 victory over the Hurricanes. The only explanation I can think of is that John Paddock wants Rayzor to start against a weaker team so The Gerber starts against the stronger Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday. That's a strange new tactic, however, as Paddock was never afraid to start the same goalie on back-to-back nights earlier in the season...

Friday, January 18, 2008

Sens mediocrity masked by record

The Sens have been an average team lately. After an amazing start to the season, and then a decade-worst seven-game slump, the Sens seems to be balancing out and the results are not outstanding.

In their past 10 games, the Senators are a bland 6-4-0. With the departure of Dany Heatley, the teams is 1-2. At this point, the future is not sparkling. Especially if Daniel Alfredsson and crew have to go another month without the team's leading goal-scorer.

Goalies are being bounced between the bench and the ice seemingly at random, and I don't think it's benefiting the Sens' locker room. Martin Gerber has looked strong at times, and I recommend that the Sens go back to hanging their hat on him, at least until the playoffs... Then Ray Emery can take over.

Alfie!!!!! Nooo!!!!!

It appears that Daniel Alfredsson is now listed as day-to-day after sustaining a hip-flexor injury against the Hurricanes. With Heatley gone, the Sens will be leaning on Alfie more. If the Golden God cannot play, the the vulnerable underbelly of the Senators (lines 2 through 4), at long last, will finally have been exposed. Perhaps this will convince GM Bryan Murray that the ever-present need for secondary scoring is now an urgent ever-present need.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Skid stops at two: Sens 5 'Canes 1

Heck of an improvement on Thursday compared to the games Sunday and Tuesday, and the change in effort showed in the 5-1 margin of victory for the Sens.

Dany Heatley was out (obviously). When Daniel Alfredsson went down in the second, it scared the crap out of me. Imagine... Ottawa's first line of Shean Donovan-Jason Spezza-Randy Robitaille. It scares me, that's for sure. Spezza made the best out of it, though, and he hooked Cam Ward and reeled him in twice, the first time passing to Robitaille for an easy empty-netter and the second time keeping it himself. Alfie leaving the game was apparently a precautionary measure, we'll see if he's back against the Lightning on Saturday.

Once he realized that he'd have to fill the Sens' offensive void, Antoine Vermette had a solid game. His first goal was a little lucky (and a little plucky), and his second goal was great follow-up on his own shot. Even without scoring two per game, if he keeps his offensive game going as well as it was against the Hurricanes this team might be alright in the short-term.

Team defence was a significant improvement. Chris Phillips and Anton Volchenkov combined for NINE blocked shots (five and four, respectively). Puck support from forwards was much stronger. And Martin Gerber had a solid game, stopping all but one of the 37 shots he faced. Although he always seems strong against Carolina, hopefully The Gerber continues the strong play we saw at the start of the season.

Only two forwards had over 20 minutes of ice time for Ottawa, Mike Fisher and Jason Spezza. Four had between 15 and 20 minutes, and three were between 13 and 15. Could this be the beginning of John Paddock equalizing ice times? It may also be the result of so many injuries and the middling players sharing the load, but it is a step in the right direction in my opinion.

Live from the Locker Room: Listening to the Team 1200, Paddock seems pretty angry right now, which is weird. He is never hesitant to dish out criticism, but it takes a lot for him to give praise; "I think he did what he's supposed to do" about Vermette's great game tonight.

Spezza can hit?: Jason Spezza was number six on the NHL Hits of the Week ending Jan. 15 for his "bone-crunching" hit against Buffalo's Henrik Tallinder. Hey, Satan, watch out for that snowball coming your way. (Watch the top ten below.)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Rumour Mill: Erik Cole

I came across an interesting rumour today. I would, however, like to preface it with the note that while it is from someone relatively close to the team, it remains simply an unproven rumour. So take it with a grain of salt.

The rumour is as follows: Ottawa sends Antoine Vermette and Joe Corvo to Carolina in exchange for 'Canes forward Erik Cole. Contrary to many rumours that you read online, this one actually seems possible and even realistic.

I'll start on the Sens' end. Cole is a top-six forward that GM Bryan Murray has been looking for, and hasn't been able to find within the system. He is also a pretty solid power-forward, something John Paddock and Murray would both certainly love to have--imagine him on a line with Mike Fisher and Daniel Alfredsson.

However, Ottawa would be giving up some good assets. While there are some who aren't Corvo fans--his occasional defensive gaffs (standing out in my mind is the pass right to Alexander Semin in Ottawa's 4-2 loss Tuesday) being at the forefront of their concerns--the fact remains that he is a pretty significant part of our powerplay. One thing you might notice is Paddock experimenting with Alfie on the point with Wade Redden on the PP, and if that is a success than Corvo's value drops a little. Ottawa's d-corps has also shown Bingo's leading scorer Larry Nycholat to be a solid fifth- or sixth-ranked defenceman, so there would be a body to replace Corvo if he were moved.

The loss of Vermette would be a little different. For a couple of years now Vermette has been a vital part of our penalty kill, and his offensive skills come in handy some games. Without consistent point production, though, some question his worth. Ottawa also has penalty-killing depth in Dean McAmmond and Shean Donovan. Although neither of those two are quite as good on the PK as Vermette, it's possible that his loss could be offset.

From Carolina's perspective, it would solidify the team's depth at the cost of a top-line winger. However, it would be likely that Corvo would quickly climb the depth chart into the third- or fourth-ranked d-man, and Vermette is a natural centreman--something that team could use--and could also play left-wing on their second line.

In terms of salary, it is almost a non-issue. Cole is signed this season and next for $4M each, in real numbers and in cap hit. With the room saved due to Dany Heatley's injury, Ottawa should have no worries about breaking the cap this year. Corvo is making $2.5M this season and $2.75M in each of the next two, and Vermette is making just over $1M this season, but may be due for a pay raise even as a restricted free agent next season--offer sheets may be thrown his way, and he might be looking at between $2-2.5M per season. Factoring in a replacement defenceman (Nycholat) at $500k this season and $600k next year, Ottawa would actually be saving money.

It recently came about that Ottawa was close to acquiring Cole when Martin Havlat was being shopped around; it's not surprising his name has come up again. It remains a rumour, but it's always fun to look at hypotheticals; this is just playing around for now.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Sens lose an ugly one

That was a pretty ugly game to watch. The Sens ended up losing 4-2 to the Capitals, the fourth loss to Washington in the fourth and final game between the two in the regular season.

There were a lot of players who just had off-games tonight. No defenceman had a good game, and Luke Richardson and Joe Corvo had particularly bad games. Even Chris Phillips and Anton Volchenkov didn't seem at their best, although they managed to keep Alex Ovechkin relatively quiet (at least for a while). Wade Redden, who scored a goal for the Sens, and Andrej Meszaros weren't bad, but they were nowhere near where they need to be for the Sens to play as they can.

On forward, there were few bright spots. Jason Spezza did not look like he should have been playing; I'm concerned if he wasn't completely healthy why management would allow him to play at all considering he lucked out the first time, but might not be as lucky if there was another hard hit thrown his way. Tough to say it, but Daniel Alfredsson looked a little off his game, as well, and those two are going to have to find a way to offset the loss of Heater.

On a happy note, however, Ilya Zubov had a decent game. While he wasn't amazing, he looked a lot more comfortable than Alex Nikulin in his first NHL game, and his defensive coverage was very good. He even threw a few good hits. Patrick Eaves looked comfortable in his first game back, and hopefully his game picks up where it was when he was injured way back.

I've got to give credit to John Paddock for scratching Randy Robitaille tonight, what seems to me as an overdue move. He gave extra ice time to Dean McAmmond (that one's for you, Mike!), who responded with a tip-in goal and played a surprisingly physical game, including a solid hit against Mike Green.

Unfortunately, without Brian McGrattan in the lineup, Donald Brashear appeared to enjoy the freedom he had around the ice. Even if Grats played the 4:33 that Cody Bass played tonight, it might have limited the liberties that Brashear took with some Senators players, including Mike Fisher at one point after a whistle. Not that Bass had a bad game--he actually played well considering his ice time--but a heavyweight like McGrattan does serve a purpose.

But hey, it was only one game. One thing I take out of this game if that the Sens are nowhere near filling the void left behind with the loss of Heatley from within, and Bryan Murray might be in tough to pull a move similar to the Mike Comrie trade from last year.

Post-script: I'm listening to the post-game show on the Team 1200 right now, and I have to wonder why these hosts are even doing this. It seems obvious to me that they have no patience for fans calling in an expressing their opinions, and they flat-out don't like listening to what fans say.

Sens call up Zubov

According to the Bingo website, Ottawa called up Ilya Zubov from Binghamton today.

I'm not sure where they plan him to play. It could be a precautionary move in case Jason Spezza is unable to play, but Spezz seems confident he'll be good to go. Maybe this is a sign he's not as good as he though.

If Spezza is healthy, I don't see John Paddock giving Zubov much of a chance. He might get more ice time than Brian McGrattan, though; even Alexander Nikulin (4:55) averages more ice time per game than Grats (2:33). If Zubov plays on the second line, it might help provide some offence, although he'll likely have to play on one of the wings.

Zubov is fourth on Binghamton in scoring, with 26 points in 41 games.

UPDATE (Jan. 16, 2008): After playing 14:38 in his first NHL game (more than Christoph Schubert, Randy Robitaille, Patrick Eaves, Chris Neil, Dean McAmmond, Luke Richardson, Shean Donovan, or Brian McGrattan average per game), Ilya Zubov was sent back to the Binghamton Senators. He finished the game against Washington even in +/- with three hits, one takeaway, no giveaways, and 2-for-5 on faceoffs. Pretty good first game.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Heatley's out 4-6 weeks

According to, the injury Dany Heatley suffered last night against the Red Wings in an awkward collision was a separated shoulder, meaning the All-Star winger could be out up to 4-6 weeks. Shit.

Patrick Eaves is almost back from his separated shoulder, more than seven weeks after it happened. These injuries are all so different and unpredictable that it's difficult to draw parallels between two instances, or to offer a concrete timeline. Hopefully it's shorter rather than longer, though.

What a game! Sens 3 Wings 2

Wow, what an exciting game that was to watch. One of the best regular-season games I've watched in a while... just awesome, this matchup between the best did not disappoint (except maybe some Wings fans).

Just about every Sens player was on his game Saturday against Detroit. Head and shoulders above everyone else, though, was Daniel Alfredsson. He played like a man possessed, and he earned his two goals through his hard work. I'm proud to say that I started an "AL-FIE" chant after he'd scored what turned out to be the game-winning goal. He finished -1 on the night, but it's one of the times where the +/- stat is nowhere near indicative of the value a player had; the two power-play goals he scored don't count in calculating +/-.

Mike Fisher also had an incredible game last night for the Sens. He blew by Chris Chelios to give the Sens their 2-0 lead in the second, and he was pivotal for the Sens. Over the night, he played over 22 minutes, had the goal, and assist on the game-winner, five shots, three hits, and blocked a shot to boot.

The entire d-corps played well, especially Chris Phillips and Anton Volchenkov (although that mustn't be a surprise at this point). Luke Richardson had limited ice time, and Christoph Schubert played a lot of defence when the Sens were on the PK, making only one bad decision I can think of (going for a big hit instead of covering his man, costing a scoring chance). Joe Corvo was visibly angry during the game, but it didn't negatively affect his game and he got four shots through and the other assist on Alfie's game-winner.

Almost a third of Chris Kelly's ice time and over a quarter of Antoine Vermette's was on the penalty kill, and it's great to see this pair really get back to their solid play defensively. Kelly was playing with an edge all game, and gave Dallas Drake a solid shot, but he didn't cross the line and cost the Sens with a penalty. It was his best game in a little while, likely because he kept things simple.

Ray Emery played a solid game. The Sens did a good job defensively to keep his way clear, but Rayzor was there when he needed to be in the first and second periods, and neither of the goals can be said to be his fault.

Dany Heatley left in the third with a shoulder injury, and I haven't seen anything saying he won't be playing tonight against the Islanders. While I want to see him, I hope there's no rush in case a mild injury gets worse.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Detroit Red Wings: A primer

Thanks to Christy from Behind the Jersey for this preview of what we Sens fans should expect from the seldom-seen but much-discussed Detroit Red Wings team that is first in the league right now. Ben and I also offered a synopsis of the Sens' season so far that you can find on BTJ here.


Saturday’s game will mark the only time the two top current teams in the league, the Detroit Red Wings and Ottawa Senators, play one another this regular season. So allow me the pleasure to introduce you to this season’s Detroit Red Wings…


Let’s begin with the golden trio composed of Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, and Tomas Holmstrom. Zetterberg and Datsyuk were just named starters to the Western Conference’s All-Star team. Zetterberg has scored 26 goals thus far this season, fifth best in the league. Datsyuk notched 36 assists so far, third best in the NHL. Holmstrom just returned from a knee injury earlier this week, which has dampened his offensive efforts.

While Holmstrom and Zetterberg were out with injuries at the same time, Detroit’s secondary scoring stepped up to fill the offensive void. With Homer and Hank out of the lineup, Valtteri Filppula notched points in six straight games. As of January 2nd, he had scored goals in seven of his last eleven games. He was also +11 in his last 14 games through the 2nd. Other players like Dan Cleary, Mikael Samuelsson, and Jiri Hudler benefited from the increased ice time due to injuries to key players.

Ten players have at least 20 offensive points this season, three of which are defensemen.


You won’t find much better on the blue line than veteran defenseman and team captain Nicklas Lidstrom. He was recently named to the All-Star team as well, marking his eighth consecutive trip, and received the highest number of votes in the Western Conference and second overall (behind only Sidney Crosby). His numbers speak for themselves. In 44 games, he has notched 40 points (4G, 36A) and leads the league with an impressive +34 while averaging over 27 minutes of ice time per game.

His defensive pair on the power play is Brian Rafalski, who has 36 points this season (7G, 29A). While his signing this summer initially seemed to be more reactionary to the loss of Mathieu Schneider to the Anaheim Ducks, Rafalski has really fit in and benefited from Detroit’s style of play. I’ve been quite impressed and actually prefer the newcomer to Schneider.

Niklas Kronwall is the third defenseman to have over 20 points this season. While he only snuck by with 21 points (2G, 19A), his play has drastically improved due in part to the increased ice time and the fact that he’s gone most of the season without an injury (knock on wood).

Of course, we have the NHL’s second oldest player ever in Chris Chelios (please get the old jokes out of your system before the start of the game). The one player who still scares me almost every time he touches the puck is Andreas Lilja. Many Red Wing fans will blame his poor pass for our loss in the WCF last year, but he really has improved. Sometimes he’ll impress you with his physical play, but other times Detroit fans just yell at the TV over a stupid play or pass he’ll try.


This game should be a great match up as both teams feature two strong goaltenders. Due to the solid play of both goaltenders, head coach Mike Babcock has simply been alternating goaltenders each game. Since Chris Osgood will start in Thursday’s game, I would expect Senators fans to see Dominik Hasek in net (much to the delight of Sens fans, I’m sure).

Detroit has the Crazy Czech, what I like to call Hasek. When Hasek plays like the insane goaltender that he is, he will win the game for you. The other goaltender is Osgood, who just re-signed with the Wings for three more seasons. After switching his style in net, Osgood has seen a marked improvement in his statistics as he leads the league in save percentage (.932) and goals against average (1.68).


I believe this should be a close and entertaining game between the two teams. While I believe Detroit is the better team, anything could happen and the game could go either way on Saturday night.

Just a few fun for the whole family stats…

Detroit: 33-8-3, which puts them 11 points above Ottawa in the standings as of Wednesday evening when this was written.

  • #1 Team in Goals For as well as Goals Against (Detroit also takes the most shots on net, while allowing the least number of shots on their own net)
  • #1 Team in the Face-off Circle
  • #2 Power Play
  • #4 Penalty Kill

And opposing teams can no longer use the excuse that our points are inflated due to the poor Central Division as the Central Division is the only one where every team is at least .500 or above. Detroit has a 7-7-2 record against its fellow Central Division teams, but has dominated every other division with a 26-1-1 record.

Three Sens in All-Star Game

You have three guesses as to which Senators are in this year's All-Star Game in Atlanta on Jan. 27.

Okay, time's up: As we've heard, Daniel Alfredsson is starting, and he was joined today by Jason Spezza and Dany Heatley. While Alfie's going to start the game with Sidney Crosby and Vincent Lecavalier off the opening faceoff, hopefully John Paddock (who I suppose would be a fourth Senator in the game) will reunite the CASH line for the remainder. Or maybe it would be nice to see them with other players...

As for el capitano, he's been to the show before (four times), but he'll be the first-ever Senator to be named as a starter in the All-Star Game, a much-deserved honour for the best Senators player the modern team has seen. Heatley has also been to the game before (this will be his third trip), but Jeremy Roenick can't make fun of his toothless grin this time. The game will be Jason Spezza's first, and likely not final, appearance in the All-Star Game.

The rest of the Eastern team is as follows:

GOAL: Martin Brodeur, Rick DiPietro, Tomas Vokoun

DEFENCE: Andrei Markov, Zdeno Chara, Brian Campbell, Sergei Gonchar, Tomas Kaberle, Kimmo Timonen

FORWARDS: Sidney Crosby, Vincent Lecavalier, Daniel Alfredsson, Scott Gomez, Dany Heatley, Marian Hossa, Ilya Kovalchuk, Alex Ovechkin, Mike Richards, Martin St. Louis, Jason Spezza, Eric Staal

Sens slide past Sabres

I guess the Sens were just being generous on Thursday... they wanted to add a little suspense and donate the Buffalo Sabres a point, so they let the Buffaslugs back into the game before winning 3-2 it in a shootout. I guess they're still in the Christmas spirit; hopefully they lose that generosity when facing the Red Wings on Saturday.

Shean Donovan and Daniel Alfredsson scored the Sens' goals, with Shean Don taking a swell pass from Chris Kelly and el capitano ripping the puck past sabres goaler Jocelyn Thibault. Wade Redden, as I'm sure everyone has heard, had an uneventful 800th game. Martin Gerber had a solid shootout--the only goal allowed in six chances was to Tomas Vanek--and was alright throughout the game, although not stupendous. It's unclear who will be playing on Saturday against the Wings.

I don't understand John Paddock's tactics. Okay, I've been harping a lot lately, but only three players had less ice time than Dean McAmmond last night: blockhead Andrew Peters and unskilled pest Troy Kaleta for the Sabres, and Cody Bass for Ottawa. So what does D-Mac do? He wins the game with the shootout-clinching goal. That'll show 'im. Give Deaner another chance on the top line with Jason Spezza and Dany Heatley, and try it out for a whole game, he'll get more results than Randy Robitaille, guaranteed.

As for the Red Wings game, stay tuned for a game Wings synopsis courtesy Christy from Detroit Red Wings blog Behind the Jersey. Check out that site for a Sens-angled preview in the coming hours.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Answers to questions

While looking at the statistics surrounding the Sens Army Blog, I've come across a number of questions, entered into Google searches, that apparently brought up results from yours truly at the Sens Army Blog. In order to provide the fullest experience for readers, we answer some here:
  • ottawa senators to practice on snowmobiles: While it is difficult for hockey players to practice while on snowmobiles, two Ottawa Senators have recently communted to practice on their snowmobiles: Ray Emery and Daniel Alfredsson.
  • peter forsberg update: Not much to say, really. While Peter Forsberg has been quoted as being "cautiously optimistic" about a return to the NHL this season, it is becoming increasingly unlikely as time passes. Should he return, his preference is said to be to either Philadelphia (though I've no idea why), Colorado, or Nashville.
  • what animals eat penguins: You mean aside from the Ottawa Senators, who eat Pittsburgh Penguins and their offspring? Well, it is mostly sharks, killer whales, and leopard seals in the water, and foxes and wild cats can eat wild penguins, as well.
  • what does " put the cart before the horse" mean: When you put the cart before the horse, you're assuming a conclusion before proving it; instead of having the horse lead the cart, the cart is in the way of the horse, leading to often terrible consequences. Take, for instance, the Senators assuming that they would trample the Washington Capitals in consecutive games a few weeks ago; they puth the proverbial cart before the horse, and lost two games because of it.
  • why florida panthers are getting extinct: The Ottawa Senators, and the rest of the league, keep smoking them. Plus there's loads of poaching and habitat loss that take away their hunting and breeding grounds.
  • why does martin gerber have a black mask: The story is a boring and uneventful one. The black mask that has garnered Martin Gerber the nickname "Darth Gerber" is worn because The Gerber has become comfortable in it, and is afraid to switch to the newly-painted mask he has stowed away somewhere. Although some believe it's his silent protest for not being traded, The Gerber has denied that belief.
  • eat my ass stories: The searcher of this must have been disappointed when (s)he found my memo to Nick Kypreos instead of stories or videos of an adult nature.
  • ray emery fights mcammond: I think you're mistaken; a fight between Dean McAmmond and Emery would likely have ended quite differently than the one which did occur between Emery and Brian McGrattan. As for the fight between Grats and Rayzor, it seems to be water under the bridge as the two friends went out to dinner together the nigh after the brouhaha. Do I hear wedding bells? No word yet, but we will keep you posted.
That's all for this installment of "Answers to questions", hope it was helpful!

John Paddock the cretin?

I hated writing that title just as much as most Sens fans hated reading it. It's much easier to criticize an old man with some other, much-hated team than some old man with your favourite team. But with Head Coach John Paddock's recent comments, how can we think any differently? From the Ottawa Sun:

"I think there's some good penalties you can take," Paddock said yesterday. "I think there's good charging and the odd good elbowing penalty and stuff. I think there's nothing wrong with that.

"I think there's real good elbowing penalties. If you're playing in the playoffs and the other team's best player happens to get an elbow in the head, I think it's a good penalty."

Dammit, is this for real? In a way, I understand these people are paid to win, and that sometimes the common idea is that these are the things it takes to win. But it's not. Paddock went on to explain that when an elbow/charge takes the other team's best players off their game, the team has a better chance to win. Newsflash, John: When I pay money to go to a Senators' game, I'd rather see Alex Ovechkin play offense than play scared. I don't pay to see Chris Neil charge at him and risk breaking his neck.

Paddock went on to campaign for GM Bryan Murray to acquire Steve Downie, a move that might make me hate the composure of this team so much that I would have a hard time cheering for them:
"Every team likes those kind of players," Paddock said. "Do I think anything (Flyers rookie) Steve Downie has done so far this year is right? No. But I get a feeling there's 29 teams that would like him on their team, or in their organization."
I don't want a player like Downie on my team, or in the league in any capacity. Feel free to disagree with me (post any rebuttals in our 'comments'), but that's not the kind of hockey I want to see. Clean hits, sure, but charges, elbows, and suckerpunches? These comments are almost enough to make me wish Jacques Martin was back.


Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Bob Clarke the cretin

A four-year old Bobby Clarke, who apparently hasn't matured mentally since this photo was taken.
Used without permission from

Bobby Clarke is a complete and utter imbecile. How this man has a job, let alone a cushy job as senior vice-president of an NHL organization, remains beyond my grasp.

I'm not surprised he jumped to the defence of Steve "Degenerate" Downie on TSN today; this is the same player who slashed Soviet forward Valery Kharlamov, fracturing his ankle and knocking Kharlamov--who was arguably the best offensive forward in the 1972 tournament--out for the remainder. For those who haven't read or heard Clarke's comments, they are as follows:
"When he went after Blake, I loved it. Blake was a guy who had no problem going out and saying [Downie] should be suspended for life or suspended for the year. When you say something that stupid, why shouldn't this kid go after him for it? The kid did what every hockey player should do.

"The hit that Downie threw on McAmmond was not a whole lot different than the hits we all admired, including myself - that Scott Stevens used to do on open ice. He hit lots of heads and hurt lots of people and we said it was great. What Downie did was, it looked like Colin Campbell took it personally, [thinking] 'I told these players they couldn't do that and he did so I'm going to get him.' To suspend him for 20 games is ridiculous. [Dean] McAmmond was a veteran player who was skating and watching his pass and got nailed. Sorry for it, too bad he got hurt but it was his own fault as much as it was Downie's."

You've got to be kidding me. Clarke is the mastermind behind the goonish tactics we've all seen from the Flyers this season, drafting Downie ('05) and Jesse Boulerice ('96), signing Randy Jones ('03) and Riley Cote ('04) before finally "resigning" (read: getting fired gently) part-way through last season, in which the Flyers finished dead last. It wasn't until Paul Holmgren came in as GM that functional players such as Kimmo Timonen, Daniel Briere, and Martin Biron were brought in to try and win games by outplaying instead of outlasting the other team.

As ridiculous as his comments surrounding the Blake incident were, I'm going to focus on his analysis of the hit Downie threw on Dean McAmmond in the pre-season.

First off, let me say this: Steve Downie should have been suspended for the entire season for this hit. Downie, if you're interested in punching me in the eye because I said that, please contact me at because I would love to have you charged for assault.

Clarke's ridiculous 'blame the victim' justification and his goonish mentality are the kind of old-school ideology that I personally, and I thought most other hockey fans and pundits, are looking to get the NHL to move away from. I don't know what I hope happens, but Clarke deserves to lose his job and most respect people have for him over this, no matter how many points he got in his career (which, for the record, were a lot: 1210 points in 1144 games).

The Decider: Vol 1.

Issue 1: Is Steve Downie some kind of idiot?

The Decider's decision: Yes. He is a goon of the highest (or should I say 'lowest') calibre. He has been suspended for more games than he's played this season (20 suspended, 5 played). If his disrespectful hit on Dean McAmmond weren't enough, he punched Jason Blake in the face earlier this week. He punched a man with cancer (in the face!). I would even go as far as to say that he is (and will continue to be) a danger to the league.
Apparantly, Bob Clarke is some kind of idiot too.

Issue 2: Should the Leafs trade Mats Sundin?

The Decider's decision: Yes, JFJ, trade that whole damn team. It's not fair to the people of Toronto that they have such a bad team. Get some prospects, some first or second round picks and start the fuck over. Everyone loves watching the Penguins and Blackhawks because they have such potential, the Leafs fans should at least have potential to cheer for. What do they have to cheer for now? More time with their families in the summer?

Issue 3: Should there be another outdoor NHL game?

The Decider's decision: Hells yeah. Americans seem to like them, and they get the NHL its highest TV ratings of the season (including playoffs). Although they will inevitably become less interesting each year, the league should suck this event's potential dry.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

More on Emery/McGrattan

Seems pretty inconsequential at this point, but it still makes for an interesting story to tell. As an added bonus, this TSN story also discusses Daniel Alfredsson's experiment in a Team Canada jersey; he didn't sound like he was going to get rid of his Swedish citizenship any time soon.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Mendes' Ray of Hope

Sportsnet reporter Ian Mendes does a great job of defending Ray Emery in his blog post on

All Sens fans should read it. Especially the Ray-haters, or "Ray-ters"®.

If you're looking for an experienced playoff goaltender for Ottawa, look no further than your own goal crease.
In the post-lockout era of the NHL, only one goalie has appeared in more playoff games than Ray Emery, who has played in 30 post-season games over the last two years. Ryan Miller's 34 games trumps Emery by four.

But that still means that in the past two seasons, Emery has played in more playoff games than J.S. Giguere, Martin Brodeur, Roberto Luongo, Cam Ward, Henrik Lundqvist and Evgeni Nabokov.
You tell them Ian. You tell the world.

Emery and McGrattan fight


"Senators goaltender Ray Emery stopped more than pucks in practice today, getting into a brief scrap with tough guy Brian McGrattan.

The pair laughed it off afterwards, but were none too pleased with each other after they bumped during a skating drill. As they squared off and tossed fists at each other, teammates quickly jumped in and ended the brouhaha.

Both players dropped their gloves after an initial shove or two in the corner, then Emery ripped his mask off and the two set at it.

"I've got to keep him sharp. You never know when he's going to (fight) again," said McGrattan. "I think the guys kind of got a kick out of it.""

Will there be repercussions? It seems like it's a pretty innocent incident, and it's certainly not rare. Considering how unloved Brian McGrattan is with management on this team, you'd have to think he'd be the first to go if someone gets traded.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Bizarro Sens - 4-3 OT win over T-Bay

This might be a first. Usually the Sens are losing and then the coach would reunite the CASH line of Daniel Alfredsson, Jason Spezza, and Dany Heatley to get the team back in the game... against Tampa Bay on Saturday, it was the opposite. After CASH was on for Tampa's first two goals and the Sens were down 2-0 quickly, John Paddock bumped Alfie down to the second line with Mike Fisher and Randy Robitaille, which brought the Sens back into the game. It's like the bizarro world in Superman.

Dean McAmmond lucked out when the CASH line was dismantled, and I've got to agree with Don Brennan (not something I say very often) that D-Mac should be a good fit there. Unfortunately after three shifts with those guys he had to leave due to the flu, but hopefully Paddock gives him another chance because Deaner'd be great there. (I never try and hide my pro-McAmmond bias.)

After McAmmond had to leave, Antoine Vermette got a shot at first-line play, and he looked like he relished the opportunity. He was all over, and looked like a nice fit. He'd work out well there, also. Ropes Robitaille continued his streak of one two-goal game a month, and scored the Sens' first and second goals to get the team back in the game. As for Fisher, he had a hell of a game, scoring the game-winner in overtime and notching an assist to boot. The Sens' other goal was Heatley's 25th; he's halfway to 50 at the exact halfway point of the season.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

The hot hand

After defeating the Buffaslugs 5 -3 on Friday night, the Senators will again start Ray Emery between the pipes. Tonight's game against the Lightning should give a good indicator of how Rayzor is feeling about his game at this particular moment in time. Though they are at the basement of the Eastern Conference, the Lightning still boast some skilled forwards who should be able to test Emery.

The return of Anton Volchenkov last night should added some confidence to the Senators' defence corps, which resulted in Andrej Meszaros getting a goal and an assist against the Sabres.

Cody Bass got his first NHL goal last night. It seems curious to me that he would remain with the team while the capable Nick Foligno was returned to the AHL. Some have said that Bass brings more grit to his line than Foligno.

Enjoy the game tonight everybody. I'll be away covering University of Ottawa Gee-Gees women's basketball instead of watching my beloved Sens. Yay?

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Volchie's return, and other roster juggling

Public domain photo from flickr user kaatiya

If I'm going to berate players when they are doing things wrong, it's only right that I congratulate them when they turn their act around. And, while it's still early in his awakening, Ray Emery has certainly been doing the right things to get back into John Paddock's good books. After a lack of any visible commitment or work ethic earlier in the season, Rayzor's been regularly attending practices on time for the past week, and was the first player on the ice for Wednesday's optional practice. (As an aside, what's with Sens players taking snowmobiles to practice? Not that it's not completely boss, but both Emery and Daniel Alfredsson have done so in the last week.)

Meanwhile, Martin Gerber has been doing everything necessary to get himself into Paddock's doghouse. Allowing ten goals in less than four periods is one thing, but when you begin criticizing the coach you're asking for it. After allowing three in the first period of Tuesday's game against Washington and being pulled, The Gerber suggested that he's not getting opportunities to redeem himself, and that Paddock's tactics were folly.

First off, The Gerber had the opportunity to redeem the seven goals allowed in Saturday's game by getting the chance to start the next one. How many opportunities do you want? This is the second time this season The Gerber's complained about getting pulled, and the guy so many fans are loving as an all-team guy is quickly tarnishing his reputation. But maybe he's just being competitive, which is fine.

Anyway, this might mean a little juggling in the crease, as Emery should probably get the opportunity to start on Friday against the Sabres.

Speaking of Friday against the Sabres, Anton Volchenkov will be back. Which means there's an extra defenceman. Or, if Christoph Schubert moves up--and it appears he will--then there's an extra forward. Which, according to Paddock, is Nick Foligno, and he has consequently sent the 2005 first-rounder back down to Binghamton.

Cody Bass remains with Ottawa, though. While Foligno is more effective offensively, Bass plays the fourth-line role better than Foligno, so that might be why the BassMaster remains in the bigs.

Apparently Patrick Eaves is getting close to returning, anyway, so Bass might be sent to the farm pretty soon.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Sens start 2008 terribly

The Sens began 2008 the same way they ended 2007: by getting bombed by the Washington Capitals. Great.

After Dean McAmmond and Chris Neil each notched a goal and an assist to get Ottawa an early 2-0 lead, Washington scored five in a row on their way to a 6-3 victory. And Alexander Ovechkin only scored two assists... awesome. The other Sens goal was from Andrej Meszaros at the start of the third, but the Sens were unable to finish the comeback.

You've got to wonder what the deal is with Martin Gerber. I'm sure he's wondering himself. Every time Ray Emery does something wrong and The Gerber seems to get the green-light to keep going or redeem himself, he drops the ball and Rayzor gets the opportunity once again. There's really no excuse, and I don't really know how coach John Paddock could justify starting The Gerber on Friday.

Paddock behind the All-Star bench

Speaking of Paddock, he'll be coaching the Eastern Conference All-Star Team. I wonder if he'll smile at all behind the bench... it will be weird seeing him in such a relaxed atmosphere.

Finally, the Volchinator is back

The Sens will receive a much-needed boost on defence for Friday's game against Buffalo, when Anton Volchenkov will return from his finger injury. Thank goodness... 14 goals in two games against the Washington Capitals makes our d-corps look a lot weaker than it should be.
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