Friday, October 22, 2010

Mike Fisher Sportsnet Ad: Awesome

Just saw this awesome Sportsnet ad after the Sens thrilling win over the Sabres (blog tomorrow with thoughts). Enjoy!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Leclaire has made himself expendable

It's hard to imagine a scenario where the Ottawa Senators would consider re-signing Pascal Leclaire at the end of this season. It seemed the gods conspired to make our oft-injured netminder a footnote in the Sens (not exceptional) goaltending records.

I found myself aggressively agreeing with Don Brennan's column from Friday's Ottawa Sun (and it pains me to type that). Despite his stellar play so far this season, Leclaire just can't be trusted to be the Senators' number one goalie. It seems that if the Sens invested any faith in Leclaire, he would simply throw it away with another momentum-draining injury.

I'm not one to throw away goaltenders quickly. I still think Patrick Lalime doesn't get the credit he deserves for his time in Ottawa, and I'm still waiting for someone to tell me in simple language why Ray Emery was sent away, but Leclaire has been given a dozen opportunities in the past season (and three weeks) to play constantly and consistently and he's never taken full advantage.

I'm also not one to jump on a bandwagon for promoting a rookie goalie and betting the Senators' season on an unproven commodity; Robin Lehner is 19 years old and Mike Brodeur has three big-league wins.

I've stated before that this Sens' success this season depends on Brian Elliott. I just didn't think I would be so right, so soon. In that article, I said that Elliott would start between 25 and 40 games this season. With Leclaire officially continuing his injury strike, I think I'm going to bump that up to 40 or more.

So I think it's time to formalize what the universe already seems to have planned. Name Elliott the default starter for the remainder of the season, make Leclaire sit on the bench (with his freaking mask ON this time) and give the Senators the stability that the name I wanted to nickname "The Answer" is, unfortunately, unable to provide.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Season rests on shoulders of Brian Elliott, not Leclaire

I've been keeping an eye on a few different preseason rankings, and many of them seem to reference that Pascal Leclaire needs to have some sort of bounce-back season in order for the Senators to be successful.

I would like to politely disagree with this premise.

Leclaire didn't have an unsuccessful season last year - he barely hit the ice. With 34 starts, he collected 12 wins. That's far from a great record. And despite this, the Senators won 44 games. Now, I'm no mathemagician (that's a joke, not a typo - geez) but those other 32 wins must have come from somewhere (I see Mike Brodeur had three)... hmmm... let's double check the roster.

Oh yeah! That saviour!... I mean other goalie, Brian Elliott. He's the only reason why the Senators were able to scrape their way into the playoffs last year. And he may turn out to be the only reason they make it in this year.

Pascal Leclaire is more injury prone than the Wile E. Coyote, and - combined with at least one slump from #33 this season - chances are that Elliott will again start between 25 and 40 games.

So when making win predictions for the Sens this year, I recommend that prognosticators expand their thought process from "12 wins? Need better!". Look a little deeper and see the true corner stone of the Senators' goaltending - he spends less time on the bench than you think.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Bill Guerin - the player the Sens have always needed

I can recall a low point in the history of the Ottawa Senators when Daniel Alfredsson was on the chopping block. It was just after another loss to the godfersaken Leafs in the playoffs and Gary Roberts was putting the Sens to shame with an absolutely pestering style and rugged good looks.

Even hard-core Sens fans wanted Alfredsson gone. He wasn't the leader we needed - and you know who was? Craig Conroy - that who the rumours said that the Sens would get in return from Calgary.

That would have been among the worst trades of the decade, and praise Alfie that we didn't go through with it. But the idea was that the Senators needed some grit to help them get to the next level.

Though those frustrating times are behind us, it could be argued that the Senators still lack that grit - even for the post-lockout NHL. So let me propose that the Senators sign Bill Guerin. Or, at least, the player that I recall Bill Guerin to be.

I presume that the Flyers cut him after a tryout for some very good reasons. The man is 39 years old and may not be able to keep up with the pace that these 20 year-old Swedish defencemen are setting. But last year's stats prove that he can still score with 45 points in 79 games (!) last year, including 21 goals.

Guerin's stamina is admirable; seventy-nine games at 38-39 years old is no small feat. But what's really appealing is the leadership and the grit. Just look at that playoff beard, not to mention the 15 points in 24 playoff games in 2008-09 that he and the beard contributed.

He can still score, and he's the rough old power forward that can provide leadership for the five forwards under the age of 25 that will see icetime with the Sens this year.

Just don't trade Daniel Alfredsson to get him.
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