Thursday, November 29, 2007

Game 23: Isles 3, Sens 2 (SO) – The Creamy Middle, Drive For Five Edition

Yes…well…*cough*…That should just about take care of those pesky 76-77 Hab comparisons. And now that that’s out of the way, any chance we can get back to playing hockey now boys? Any at all? That would be great, thanks.

The Highs:

  • Waddya say now, Miss Don’t-Find-Me-Sexually-Attractive-Anymore??: Andrej Meszaros launches his reign of terror against league goalies by doubling his productivity! And he was one OT swing-and-a-miss into an empty net away from being declared a living god and having numerous barber shops erected in his honour.
  • SPEZZOR SMASH!: Quick question for you Ray. When you saw the Isles break out on a 2-on-1 late in the 3rd period of a tie game and then noticed that Golden Groin was the last guy back on D, did you pee yourself just a little bit? Really? Yeah, me too.
  • SwissAir Flight 29, now boarding at Gate 1: A solid performance, with occasional flashes of brilliance by Master Emery, means that the title of “Senator Goalie Most Likely To Be Traded (and the commemorative albatross figurine that goes along with it) is firmly back in the trembling hands of Swiss Pastry. This, of course, is subject to review. Daily.


  • I too have been violated by the cold, cold finger of injustice: I don’t think I’m overstating things when I say that Mick McGeough is the absolute epitome of the worst sports official in the history of everything ever. First, the “goaltender interference” call that waived off Randy’s goal was shite of the highest magnitude. Replays clearly show Vermette being shoved into DePietro from behind (and, while I’m at it Healy, just shut the fuck up with the “he didn’t get out of the way fast enough” bullshit. We all know you’re auditioning to be Peddie’s new lap dog. TSN should really just fire your ass. If not for conflict of interest, then how about for being galactically stupid.) Then, phantom hooks and holds that were called in the first, suddenly disappeared for a period and a half until the game had degenerated to one of those pre-lockout rodeos we all remember so fondly. And finally, just as suddenly he couldn’t keep the damn whistle out of his mouth. 4-on-3s in overtime! What fun! At least we were granted the small solace of seeing him almost fall on his ass on the way to the scorer’s table.
  • C-O-R-V-O! C-O-R-V-O! And CORVO was his NAME-O!: I’ll say this for you Joe. You seemed to be all over the ice last night. Yes, I have to say, we certainly noticed you. Mostly because you were usually in the wrong goddamned place. Bad breakout passes. Whiffed shots. Dumb giveaways. Numerous rather ill-advised pinches. In other words, exactly what we want from our two million dollar defencemen. Look, we already told you, your cab for the airport will be here on February 26th. Um…until then, do me a small favour will you? Can you go stand over in that corner like a good boy? Thanks. Oh, and one more thing. Don’t. Touch. Anything.
Creamy Middle:

While certainly not the result we were looking for, all-in-all, not a bad effort. At least there were some signs of life this time, ahem, as opposed to a game not so long ago against a certain dysfunctional expansion team from Southern Ontario. This too shall pass Sens fans. Hold on to that thought. By June, we will be looking back on this little rough patch and laugh at the depths of our own panic. Right? Right?!?! OH DEAR GOD, TELL ME I’M RIGHT!!!

Up Next:

Er...Nashville. A which ended about an hour ago. Thanks to the magic of brutal traffic and an immediate dinner engagement a la familgia, I got home just in time to watch Swiss Pastry give up the winning goal to the Preds 27 seconds after we tied it with the extra man, but before posting this little missive (written earlier this afternoon). Five in a row. Lost. Believe me when I tell you, my mind has already written half of my next post. Just a hint, but goaltending, and why Gerber Baby should be shipped out of town on the next express train to Palukaville might figure rather prominently. Then again, it may just be the seething cauldron of disgust talking.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

JFJ Continues To Enjoy The Confidence Of His Employers

Come with me, children, as we jump into the way-back machine to those heady days of summer when Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment enthralled us with their own, shall we say, particular motivational theories around getting the most out of their employees. Yep, nothing says, “We think you’re a terrific General Manager!” better than actively searching for a baby sitter for that General Manager. In public. Twice. Then being turned down by everyone to whom you offer the job. Ah…good times indeed. Well, fear not, kids. MLSE would like to remind you anew that they hold John Ferguson Junior in the highest regard:

Richard Peddie, the President of Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment, told the Toronto Sun that hiring Ferguson, who had no prior experience as a general manager, was a mistake.

Seriously, John, how much longer are you going to take this? They’re obviously not going to fire you (either your buyout must be fucking enormous, or Larry’s worried about certain…photographs…getting out) so they’ve opted for the next best thing. They’re trying to humiliate you out of the job. For Christ sake, just quit! Take your cash and retire to someplace saner like say, Pyongyang. Jesus, I don’t know whether to pity your helpless ass or admire you for trying to stick it to the man.

To be perfectly honest, I think it must be enormously difficult to be JFJ, at anytime, let alone now. He grew up the son, and namesake of a hockey legend. He’s 40 years old, and his legendary father’s equally legendary friends still call him “Junior”. The Toronto Maple Leafs, the fixation and enabler of the most pathologically irrational fan base in the NHL hired him without any GM experience whatever and then refused to trust him with the authority necessary to actually do the job. He’s forced to spend more time negotiating the Byzantine structure of his corporate overlords than he does player contracts. In the last three months his own boss has inferred that he’s incompetent and “a mistake”.

And as a final perk, he gets to be bombarded constantly with steaming piles of monkey dung masquerading as “journalism” from a no talent hack whose “inside sources” invariably turn out to be a) the ACC cleaning crew, b) his imaginary bathroom buddy “Fritz” and c) wrong (remember that Mats Sundin Is Retiring!! story, Steve? Yeah, didn’t think so. But I do. Fool me once…jackass).

And to think, until today, I had no idea the poor man had to endure all of that without possessing a human spine. You know, it almost makes me feel bad for him. Almost.

Hiring Ferguson A Mistake []
JFJ On His Way Out [Toronto Sun]

Monday, November 26, 2007

Game 22: Flyers 4, Sens ...Who Cares?? I'm Hopped Up On Goofballs!!

Last Saturday afternoon, I came down with the mother of all head colds, contracted, I can only assume, from some rather foolish outdoor activity undertaken earlier that week (next time Ma, get yourself off the damn roof). And so, I did what all men do in that situation, bitch and complain about it until the woman does something to make us feel better. Thus it came to pass that, as Beloved abandoned my phlegmy and mucus ridden corpse for a previously scheduled social engagement, I settled in to watch the Sens/Flyers game wrapped in the twin cocoons of a thick blanket and the soothing narcotic effects of a certain night-time cold medication (I don’t want to name names here, for fear of having my comment box deluged with badly spelled spam…but NyQuil ROCKS!) And I discovered that, under those effects, what I was witnessing on my television wasn’t nearly as infuriating as it normally would have been.

Swiss Pastry’s (no more Darth Gerber for you) three weak, weak goals were met with a series of shrugs. I actually giggled a bit at Briere’s winner, mostly because he looked like a giant bobblehead to my drug addled eyes. No really, an actual bobblehead. In pink, no less. So this got me thinking a little bit. Well, it got me thinking Sunday morning. Saturday night, I was too distracted by Jim Hughson’s repeated attempts during the late game to eat the giant marshmallow that had suddenly replaced his headset.

So Sunday I thought to myself that we, as Sens fans, should embrace this slump. And let’s not gild any lilies; it is a full-blown slump. Why? Let us count the ways:

· It’s November, not March: Historically, the Senators play their best hockey after Christmas (and I’ll pre-empt the witless wags here and say “until the second week of May”). So, we get the shitting-our-pants phase out of the way early, and we’re home free for the rest of the year.

· A bad Sens game, makes a great drinking game!: The rules are simple. You divide the number of players on the ice between the participants. You then drink every time one of “your” players fucks up. For each nervous pass fanned in the offensive zone, one shot. Defensive zone? Two shots. A fanned shot gets 2 drinks and a drop pass resulting in an odd man rush the other way (a.k.a.: The Spezza Surprise), means the owner of that player picks another participant, who then has to drink three shots. Did I mention I was alone Saturday? My dog really didn’t like this rule very much.

· I’ll put $10 on Rayzor: Office pools, Super Bowl style, on which of Ottawa’s goalies is going to suck the most over a given stretch of time. Bonus money to anyone who can pinpoint the exact moment Gerb’s confidence hops a flight to Geneva, or Ray snaps and goes Rambo on the asses of his fellow commuters.

So there you are, fellow Legionnaires. Enjoy it. Have fun with it. And always remember, things could be worse. We could be Leaf fans.

At Least We're Not The Leafs [Four Habs Fans]

p.s.: The picture is from a site called Subversive Cross Stitch. Seriously. As stitching is one of Beloved's many many creative talents, I include it here for her benefit. And I totally want "Don't Make Me Cut You" for my cubicle wall.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Game 20: Sabres 4, Sens 2 -- The Creamy Middle: Roadkill Edition

Gentlemen, you will kneel before the scheduling gods and do homage. Render unto them thanks and praise for their mercy and wisdom. Why? Because you have a game to play tonight. Oh yes, verily, be ever grateful that Sid and the Kiddie Korps are in the House. Why, you may ask? Had this been an open date between last night's disgrace and Saturday's rematch with the Flyers, you would have had to answer for your "performance". You would have answered for it with the longest, most grueling, downright evil and quite possibly fatal bag skate of your careers.

How bad would it have been? Plenty. Coach P. would have established a twenty-mile perimeter around the Bank into which no puck could venture and still hope to survive. He would then, bullwhip in hand, had you dress in full gear, and strapped weights equivalent to a Volkswagen to your backs to run you through one hundred wind sprints, red line, to blue line, to hash marks, to goal line until the weaker among you were slicing open your own jugulars just for the excuse to stop. First man to fall would reset the count AND have to clean the puke from the ice afterward. Then how about a two hour "cool down" session on those pretty stationary bikes Brenden Shanahan thinks are so funny to top it off? Gentlemen, Coach P. would have ensured that if any of you had somehow survived the ordeal to go on and procreate, your future grandchildren would still be in pain. Okay, maybe Coach P. wouldn't have done any of that. Aren't you glad I'm not your coach? You have tonight's game to redeem yourselves gentlemen. I would suggest you take full advantage of the opportunity and perhaps not suck the moose cock quite so enthusiastically.

The Lipstick On The Pig:
  • Hello, Leon's? About that don't pay a cent thing...: My television somehow made it through the first 29 minutes and 27 seconds of this exercise in craptacular with most of its major components intact. At 29:28, Alfie scored to make it 3-1, and I put my hammer away.
The Lowest Of The Many Many Lows:
  • Lost puppy, free to a good home. Answers to "Rayzor": Ray, I don't know where that horse went, but you'd best find it and get back on it and right smartly. 3 goals, one of them a soft floater from the top of the circle, on 9 shots after losing your last game to the worst team in the league (Hi Coach Han -- oh, sorry) is a one way ticket to being traded to the British Ice Hockey League for some battered haddock wrapped in newspaper. Or worse, Los Angeles. That would leave Swiss Pastry to carry our Cup hopes, and that is something for which I could never forgive you.
  • Why no, I don't believe a six foot opening is large enough for a three inch object. Why do you ask?: Chris, as your picking the carbon slivers from your palms this morning, I want you to forget about it. Forget, for the moment, that that shorty would have meant a 3-3 tie and the completion of an improbable comeback. Forget that your miss cost us any momentum we'd managed to generate to that point and therefore probably cost us the game. Forget, as hard as it seems, the fact that you hit the freakin' post on a deserted net from three feet away!! Forget all that. Look at those splinters. Now, perhaps you're squeezing the stick juuuust a tad too hard, no?
  • Well, if it's in a "newspaper", it must be true!: Last Friday, I advanced the theory that Heater was in a slump. The following Monday, the Ottawa Citizen's Allen Panzeri reported to the breathless masses that...wait for it...Heater was in a slump. I don't know what that means, except that I should probably track the IP addresses of my visitors a little more closely. Anyway, Dany, your two goals in the last three games ( or 3 in the last 12 for those of you scoring at home) does not mean your slump is dead. Only that it has been relocated to other parts of your game. Apropos of nothing, standing still while flailing helplessly at opponents with your stick (as lovely a tribute to the Golden Groin --BFF 4EVAH!! -- as it may be) and taking stupid penalties is not the optimal way one would go about being a leader.
Curdled Middle: Depending on what happens against the Flightless Birds tonight, we may be on the verge of a full blown slide. Of course, I can't actually see what's happening in tonight's game as it is the first of seven of those abominations before the eyes of man and God known as "Pay-Per-View". As I would rather urinate down my own throat than shell out money for a third rate broadcast, thus feeding and giving credence to the beast that is corporate greed, we'll move straight on to...

Up Next: Bobby Clarke's fiendish army of the undead comes to visit on Saturday. A bright shiny penny to the man, or woman, who brings me Steve Downie's head on a plate. What? He's in the minors? All right. Two bright shiny pennies.

Monday, November 19, 2007

A Pre-Emptive Apology to the Friends and Family of Larry Robinson

As Four Habs Fans has been reminding the hockey world all day, your favourite son’s number 19 jersey is finally being lifted to the rafters tonight, to take its rightful place amongst the true giants in the history of your storied franchise. On an occasion as well deserved and momentous as this, I am reminded of the wise words of one of England’s most mediocre greatest Kings, Edward the Penitent: “We’re really, really, really, really sorry.”

It’s not like we set out to ruin Larry’s night. We didn’t look at the schedule back in April and say “Hmmm...Retiring Robinson’s number? Time for a good old-fashioned curb stomp boys!” A combination of scheduling fate, a fluke loss and Darcy Tucker’s asshatery brought us to this unfortunate pass. I’m sure I speak for absolutely nobody when I say that had the Leafs not beaten us, the Senators would, to honour the occasion, be happy to grant the Habs a chance at victory so that Larry’s big night could be celebrated in style. We would be the Washington Generals to your Globetrotters. The Curly to your Moe. The France to your…er…everybody. We would call up the entire farm team. Send Golden Groin, Alfie, Heater, Fish, Darth Gerber and Philichenkov to Chez Paree with a dump truck full of money and orders not to emerge until a minimum of three strippers have been impregnated. We would have been happy to play along. But alas, as you know, we don't lose two in a row, so this cannot be.

So it is with a heavy heart that I extend this apology on behalf of the Ottawa Senators and their Legion of supporters. We’re sorry. We really are. this is know...we kinda want the points.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Game 18: Laughs 3, Sens 0 -- Oh Dear God, There Will Be No Living With Them After This

As I watch a game, I keep a notepad by my side to record any random brain farts that may or may not become fodder for the breathless prose my loyal reader (Hi Mom!) has come to expect in the subsequent game post. What follows is an exact transcription of tonight’s abortion: Flat. Skate! Hit? Goddamn it. Paddock, what the hell?? FUCK! Tucker. C’mon, hit them! Son of ….JAYYYYYSSSSONNNNN!!! Crap. HIT…THEM!! Fuck! Fuckity fuck FUCK!! Tlusty…wonderful. Celebratory junk shots for all. Break the shutout? FUCK! Fuckin’ Leaf fans…insufferable bastards. Hey, look. Cops is on…

The Singular High:

  • The Schwartz is strong in this one: Okay, fine. This will come as a shock to Beloved, but I will, occasionally, admit when I’m wrong. Swiss Pastry is playing pretty well. There, I said it. Happy? Two losses (including tonight) in his last 25 games and he seems to have cut down on his wanderlust on the rebounds. I still don’t trust him with our Big Ugly Trophy aspirations. Nothing personal Martin, but you’re…um…from away, you see, and Euros fold like a cheap suit in the playoffs, particularly if they play for us. But for now, you have my rather qualified endorsement. And don’t paint your mask. “Darth Gerber” is a pretty cool nickname. Might even make the hotties overlook that bald spot.
The Lows:
  • If it ain't broke...: Look Coach, I know how you feel. You're the boss. You're the grande fromage, the undisputed leader of the best team in hockey. Hell, you might have the best team in history on your hands. Your team is 15-2. You Is Da Man! But...but...they've done it by themselves. How can you stand out? How can you prove what a genius you are if people think all you do is just tap guys on the back and send them over the boards? No! You must do something! Anything! Everyone must know of your brilliance! I know! Try scrambling the lines! The same lines that got you to the Finals! Yes...that's it! I'll put Eaves between Spezz and Alfie! Heater to the second line with Fish and Robitaille! The fourth line won't even see the ice! GOD, I am a master! So for three games now, you've changed things up. The result? All the chemistry of a Grade 8 mixer. Won one, barely won a second and didn't even show up for the third. Here's an idea John. How about you just, oh I don't know...LEAVE WELL ENOUGH THE FUCK ALONE?!?!? Read this. Tap your guys. Stay the hell out of the way.
  • Geez, if only I were allowed to somehow physically impair my opponent: I can almost guarantee that there was more fight in the crowd than there was on the ice. How do I know this? Well, easy. By the time it was 1-0, Leaf Nation were already taunting Senators fans, unaccustomed as they are to a lead. At 2-0 they were throwing popcorn. At 3-0, Sens supporters had finally had enough with mono-syllabic grunts and bad sentence structure and were swinging for the fences. On the ice? There was six minutes left it in the third before I saw a blue sweater on his ass. 'Nuff said.
The Creamy Middle:

It was inevitable really. We were due for a stinker. But did it have to come tonight? Against the Leafs? Christ, we don't play them again until February 2nd. Even if the Laughs win all of 4 games between now and then, Larry Tannenbaum gets fired, JFJ is assassinated, the ACC collapses under its own hubris and the unholy union of Grapes and Darcy Fucking Tucker finally implodes due to irreconcilable differences, we'll have to listen to them. They are impervious to logic. They can't grasp just how badly their team sucks. They are incapable of independent thought. They simply empty their wallets, Pavlov like, at the sight of anything in blue and white. They are Leafs Nation. And they'll never, ever, shut the fuck up.

Up Next: I killed a man, just to watch him die:

Monday night, Habs, at the Phone Booth. I almost feel bad for them, and especially for my friends at Four Habs Fans. The last time we played them, we were coming off a loss. We beat them just to make a point. This time, we're coming off a loss. To our most hated enemy. We don't lose two in a row. As I've told them before, they're going to need a bigger boat.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Game 17: Sens 3, Sabres 2 -- The Highs, The Lows, The Creamy Middle

Dear friends of the Northeast Division,

Really, is this the best you can do? Is this all there is? I mean, it's not like we haven't given you any chances. Boston, you took one game to overtime riding the back of a ridiculously hot goalie. We won in a shootout. Sure, you managed to steal a point, but still. And how about you, Montreal? In our first game you made rather foolish promises. In the second, we gave you a lead with five minutes to go, and yet you couldn't beat us.

And you Toronto, what about you? Hello? Toronto? I'm talking to you...listen here ple -- yes that's a very nice, I'll put it on the fridge. What? Darcy, stop screaming! Now what was that? No, you can't have any cookies this close to bedtime. Shhhh...I'm talking to the big people now. Thank you. Good boys.

Buffalo, you were our last hope. You were the one we were counting on to make this interesting. And yet...and yet... Young man, we are very disappointed in you. Look, we realize you were violated this summer, losing almost 80 goals and 160-ish points from the roster that surrendered meekly lost to us in five games in the Eastern Final. We know. And that mean Mister Lowe treated you just horribly.

But please, for all our sakes', pick it up will you? And if not for us, than do it for the sake of the Commissar. Can you, as a group, please, please try to make the 24 remaining games we have against all of you a little more...shall we say...competitive? Just a little? Please think of the ratings!

Thank you, and God Bless,
The Ottawa Senators.

The Highs:
  • Traditional gift for one's 800th anniversary? 35 pounds of bowl-shaped silver: As the chants of Alfie! Alfie! Alfie! rang from the Bank's rafters last night following the Captain's two goals and announcement of his 800th game in a Sens jersey, I couldn't help but wonder how many of those chanters had been calling for his head not one year before. Stand and be ridiculed, heathens!
  • Mike, if I weren't straight, and you weren't an evangelical Christian, we would so totally hook up: Never have I seen two more beautiful no-look passes as Fish delivered to Alfie and Donovan, each for goals. Ever. WHY CAN'T I QUIT YOU?!?!
  • Nurse? It hurts when you touch me there: The Golden Groin finally made it back into the line up. While he wasn't quite the JAAAYYYYSSSSON!! we've come to know and love, he did cough up the puck just enough to remind us why he doesn't play on the penalty kill. But when you hear the play-by-play guy exclaim "Spezza! Helping out defensively!", you know he's having a pretty good game.
The Lows:
  • If it's not on our site, it didn't happen: While the official team site conveniently fails to mention this, the Senators went 1/7 on the power play against the Sabres. Or to put the suckitude in a different light, 16.9% (13/77) for the season. Good for 18th (God, I feel like Dean Brown, quoting all of these dirty). Apropos of nothing, Coach P., I couldn't help but notice Chris Neil's absence on the power play last night. While I'm sure it's strictly an oversight, how about trying him out, front of the net? Worked pretty well for Murray last year. Just sayin...
  • My Heater has gone cold. Can I get a rental?: Dany, Dany, goal in the last 9 games. This is no way to impress the prospective father-in-law. If you're going to be here for the next 7 years, AND you want to get laid, you better have more than millions of dollars in your pocket. You have to produce man! Wait, what? Oh...apparently your millions are enough. Okay. But if you could score a couple of goals, that would be cool too.
The Creamy Middle: This game was never really in doubt, even with the parade to the penalty box in the third period. Let's face it. The Sabres, after having been raped and pillaged over the off season, are no longer the threat they once were. And at 15-2 it's getting a little tough to find things to complain about. Luckily for me, there's always the Leafs...

Up Next: Hey! Looky here! It's the Leafs. Tomorrow night, in Toronto. There are several certainties surrounding this one. 1) Alfie will be booed each time he touches the puck. 2) Bob Cole will climax every time he says "Mats Sundin" and 3) Jiri Tlusky's text messages will be very, very closely monitored.*

*More on that later. You didn't think I would let that go did you??

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Thank You

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

John McCrae
We tend to take the lives we lead, the things we have and especially the games we play for granted. And that's okay. That was their gift to us. And the greatest thing about giving is the joy the recipient takes in that gift. And so we should go on fretting over the meaningless trivia of our day-to-day, or the seeming insurmountable difficulties we face today that, once conquered, will be promptly forgotten tomorrow. And we should continue to take our little games far too seriously, to mock and jeer and imbue contests of sport with an importance out of all proportion to that which they actually have. That is what they would have wanted. That is why they fought. That is why they died. So that you, I and everyone else could go on enjoying their gift.

But today, on this day, as we sit in our comfortable homes, agonizing over the games we play and watch, we are reminded of them. And we should always, always, say "Thank You".

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Game 16: Sens 3, Habs 1 -- Highs, Lows, The Creamy Middle

Photo courtesy of Wayne Cuddington, Ottawa Citizen

Wow. Way back in October (my Naive Period if you will), I made the mistake of dismissing the Habs as a serious threat to our birthright, otherwise known as the Northeast Division title. And sure enough, the season began, we rolled to the best start in league history (dispatching Montreal along the way with memorable consequences) and were generally feeling rather good about ourselves. We were hot! We were masters of all we surveyed! Accusations of hubris flooded in!

Er...okay, I got one email from a friend of mine accusing me of being a little on the arrogant side (this from a guy who is the self proclaimed Chair of the Bill Belichick Friendship and Mutual Admiration Society). But something was going on right under our noses. Down in the trenches where the plebes were rolling around in the mud for the right to call themselves Best of the Rest, Les Habitants had quietly, imperceptibly, crept to our gates. Yesterday, they tried to bust down the doors. And they almost made it. We managed to repel them this time, but in the future, this little rebellion bears watching. Carefully.

The Highs:
  • Many rubber chickens will lose their lives for this: Whatever deity you happen to worship, be it God, Allah, Yaweh, Nicole Kidman, whatever...pray to that Devine Being, making whatever sacrifices that He/She/It deems necessary to ensure that these two teams hook up in the playoffs. This game was too exciting, too damn entertaining, to have been played with nothing more than two points on the line.
  • Now witness the firepower of this FULLY OPERATIONAL Daniel Alfredsson: With six minutes left in the third, the legion of Hab fans in attendance (seriously, guys. We have to get a handle on invading fan bases) were up and doing that quaint little "Olay!" thing they do. Five and a half minutes later, they were skulking, stunned, toward the exits, flags and banners limp in their hands. The Captain had decided that he doesn't much care for that song, you see. And so the command went forth to do something about it. The rest is history. Let this be a lesson to the rest of you. You do NOT step on Superman's cape.
  • That's it. We're declaring war on France: While Swiss Pastry played surprisingly well for the good guys, Huet was positively out-of-his-mind, batshit crazy fantastic. He stopped 34 shots. He pitched 56 minutes of shut-out hockey. He stopped the Captain on a gift penalty shot. And Randy Robitaille will require intensive therapy and faces many sleepless nights coming to grips with the absolute sodomizing Huet layed on him in the third period. Not bad for a cheese eating surrender monkey.
The Lows:
  • Those big novelty cheques apparently weigh more than we thought: This was the sixth game our $7 million wunderkid missed with his groin pull. Look, Jason. I understand. As a single guy you want to take special care of that area. No problem. We get it. weeks? Some people, not I mind you, but some people may interpret that as being a little...oh, I don't know...soft. But on the flip side, we keep winning without you, so take all the time you need.
  • Playing the part of Darcy Tucker for this matinee, understudy Mike Komisarek: Pssst...Mikey. I have a pretty good hunch that Coach P will dress #16 for the next game. How do I know this? Why, you told me. Right after you took repeated runs at Heater and the Captain and then went to great pains to avoid any discussion of the matter with a certain Mr. Neil. 19th of November. Circle it. And sleep well.
Creamy Middle: Easily the best game of the year. Playoff games in November usually are. It was so good, in fact that it allowed me to temporarily forget about the useless hunk of metal that was once my hot water tank languishing in my basement. And facing a week's worth of cold showers, I'll need a 14-2 record to keep me warm.

Up Next: The magic carpet ride through the division continues next Thursday with Buffalo coming to town. Lindy Ruff gets another chance to yell at the referees about his team's propensity to fall down and get hurt. Meanwhile, Ray Emery is working the speed bag with extra enthusiasm.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Game 14: Sens 5, Latest Victims 1 -- The Creamy Middle

In thoughtful response to my guest appearance over at Pension Plan Puppets, witty and erudite commenter, LeoSC saw fit to post the following: "just wait till tonight!". Um...Leo? I'm still waiting. Leo? You there? Hello! Is this thing on?

The Highs:
  • Does this mean we have to play the rest of our games at the Hockey Hall of Fame?: 13-1 and proud holders of a new league record! Now there's been some crazy talk around these here interwebs that this year's Sens team may equal, or even surpass the all time win record set by the 1976 Montreal Canadiens. That team lost all of eight games on route to a 136 point season. With a clear head, and unimpeachable logic, I will endeavour to expound on this in a future post, but for now ladies and gentlemen, allow me to state the following with neither qualm nor reservation: IT AIN'T GONNA HAPPEN SO EVERYBODY SHOULD JUST CALM THE FUCK DOWN! Thank you. As you were.

  • Ladies and Gentlemen, Vessa has left the building: For those of us not fortunate enough to have erased the memory engrams through the self-administration of enormous quantities of alcohol, watching Vessa Toskala skulk to the bench after having given up his 4th goal on 12 shots was sweet indeed. The days of manhandling a vastly inferior Leaf team only to have guys like Belfour and Joseph stand on their heads and beat us seem to have been relegated to the dustbin of history, right next to Gary Roberts' ghost and Mats Sundin's dignity.

  • Look up. Look waaaaaaaay up: I get to use the picture you see above. I think I'll have that airbrushed on the hood of my car, 70's poon-van style. All it needs is a buxom, leather-clad Amazonian warrior princess holding a white tiger on a chain.

The Lows:

  • Hey, why is your picture on a milk carton?: Memo to Joe Corvo. Please observe the gigantic contracts being signed all about you. Now calculate the impact of those signings vis-a-vis the salary cap in the coming years. Next, examine your own salary in relation to said cap. Finally, review the level of your own play in the first 14 games. Please ensure personal affairs are in order for a late February departure.

  • Sleep Mercy is for the weak, Abu!: Did Troy ease up on Athens? Hell no. Did Nelson turn to the Spanish at Trafalgar and say, "Oh dear. Terribly sorry old man. Sherry?" No fucking way! They not only defeated their enemies, but they crushed them, ground their bones into dust and displayed the eviscerated corpses as a warning to others that "WE ARE NOT TO BE TRIFLED WITH!" In short, they removed the very will to exist from those enemies, their families and their countrymen. So, remind me again Coach P., exactly why we got off the gas after the 4-0 goal?

  • Your shower Bubba ain't gonna take to kindly to that: Hey Mark! That was a classy piece of work there, suckering Chris Neil with under a minute to go and then running behind the linesman. Noticed you had your gloves on too. Very nice. But a word of caution: Your "friends" out in the yard, 155 days hence, probably won't view that as very heroic. Fellow inmates can be bitches that way.

The Creamy Middle: While I could go on ad infinitum about the sweetness of last night's humiliation, I'll let ESPN (tWWL for you Deadspinners) take it home:

The Senators improved to 15-2-2 in their last 19 games against their provincial rivals, including wins on consecutive nights to begin the season.

Oh, and as a final shout-out to my friend LeoSC, in response to your cutting analysis that "The bully will still beat the shit out of you, just wait till spring!", I can only add...No. Not so much.

Up Next: The Caps come a callin' at the Bank tomorrow night. While "Battle of the Nation's Capitals!" doesn't have quite the same ring to it, at least it promises to be more of a challenge. They've got this Russian kid you see. I hear he's pretty good.

Senators win eighth straight, off to best start in NHL history []

Monday, November 5, 2007

Well, That Settles It. Tim Thomas Is Clearly Inhuman

I was originally planning on posting the usual half-assed snark masquerading as quasi-serious analysis following the Sens home-and-home series with the Bruins. But something funny happened on the way to the Creamy Middle. Tim Freakin' Thomas. The man is utterly ridiculous.

He's 33 years old. He was drafted by Quebec (Quebec!) in the eleventh round, presumably because the quadriplegic midget was no longer available. The draft doesn't even have eleven rounds anymore (may have had something to do with the midget).

His Bruins page is the War and Peace of player bios. He's played in just about every league anywhere that ends in "HL", and I'm pretty sure I read somewhere that he also spent six months in a Turkish beer league. And all he does is give us fits. Did last year, and is doing it again. Outshot 80-39 in two games, the Bruins managed to steal a point they had no business getting, all because nobody told a 217th overall pick to pack it in, that he'd as like have monkeys fly out of his ass than be a big league goalie. Ridiculous.

Well, I say good for you Timmy. I've always had a soft spot for grizzled journeymen who won't give up on their dreams no matter what their mother thinks. Now go jump in a well before our next game, will you? There, that's a good boy.

Up Next: Speaking of ridiculing goalies, the traveling three ring circus that is the Toronto Maple Leafs are into the Bank for their third date with humiliation this year. If you're attending the game and are over the age of 80, please be careful. You may be kidnapped and forced to act as mentor to JFJ.

Keep an eye on Pension Plan Puppets, not only because it's chock full of Leafy goodness, but also because Plan Puppetmaster (Puppeteer?) was kind enough to interview yours truly for his 5 Questions With... feature, an honour for which I am deeply flattered. I can only hope I can insult Leaf Nation as eloquently as Four Habs Fans did last week.

Update: For those who may be interested, here's my turn on the PPP hotseat. REPRESENT!

Friday, November 2, 2007

Senators Ensure Blind Behind The Back Passy Goodness Through 2015

Our favourite defensive liability, Jason Spezza, the Ying to Heater’s Yang (not that there’s anything wrong with that) has signed a 7yr/$49M contract extension that will keep him coughing up the puck in a Senators uniform until his 32nd birthday.

Spezza will get $8 million in each of the first five years of the contract and $5 million and $4 million, respectively, in the final two years. The cap hit will be $7 million per year for the Senators. Negotiations for the new contract proceeded quickly. Spezza's agent Rick Curran met with Senators' GM Bryan Murray last weekend and the deal was consummated Thursday night.
Aside from the mental image of Bryan Murray consummating anything with anybody, I have to say I think this is awesome news. I really do. As maddening as Jason can be sometimes, he is scary-good on the rush and can put a puck through a stripper’s g-string without ruffling the folded twenties tucked therein …8 times out of 10 (Pssst…Jason. It’s what happens those other two times you try that that makes people yell at you. Just sayin’, you might want to work on that a bit).

It’s also much better than losing him next year to restricted free agency after say, JFJ goes Kevin Lowe on our asses and puts in a ridiculous offer sheet, always assuming he’s been suitably instructed on the proper use of opposable thumbs or that MLSE hasn’t fired him by then.

The concern of course, is that we now have an enormous amount of money tied up in our “core” (Heater, Alfie, Fish, Rayzor and now Spez). So let us all hope and pray that either the Commissar’s much ballyhooed promise of an ever rising salary cap comes to fruition, or the Sens find some hitherto undiscovered font of Bangladeshi third liners who are willing to play for food and stay locked in the Bank’s basement between games. Otherwise, we could be in deep, deep shit in about four years. But oh boy, are those four years shaping up to be one hell of a ride.

Seven More Years []

Game 11: Sens 6, Thrashers 4 – The Highs, The Lows, The Creamy Middle

I have a vivid recollection of an Ottawa-Atlanta game played last year. It was a Sunday afternoon in early December. The Sens had just finished the worst opening two months since the Dark Ages of Expansion. The mob, torches and pitchforks in hand, was out at 1000 Palladium Drive howling for the blood of somebody, anybody to exorcise the demons. Mucks, Murray, Alfie, a vestal virgin, it didn’t matter. Sacrifice was needed to pacify our gods, dammit! In that game, Ottawa went up 4-0 with about twelve minutes to go in the third. They yarked up the lead the way my cat throws up a hairball, all spit and convulsive gagging, and lost 5-4. As I watched the third last night, I couldn’t help but think on that. Thankfully for all concerned, especially the virgins, the cat managed to hold it in this time. Barely.

The Highs:

  • Randy!! True to my fearless prognostication (see below), our future 112 goal scorer pots his first two of the year while replacing the Seven Million Dollar Groin (see above) on the top line! Almost had the hat trick too, before getting dazed and contused by a borderline shoulder.
  • Nicky!! Spawn of Mike gets his second career goal in a cute, if futile attempt to stay with the big club now that Dean McAmmond’s “shoulder” has healed. Trust your coaches, son. Another year in the “A” won’t be fatal. Just ask Jason. Hell, get him to buy you dinner too.

  • Alfie!! 300 career goals, pushing Yash ever further down the first page of the team record book. A grateful Nation’s capital turns it’s lonely eyes to you.

The Lows:

  • The Senators PR department. Granted, it wasn’t as big a milestone as, say Gretzky surpassing Gordie Howe, but c’mon. Did absolutely no one in the organization realize Alfie was sitting at 298 coming in? Stopping the game for a curtain call on his 300th wouldn’t have killed you would it? Let’s see if we can give 400 a bit more fanfare than Stuntman Stu screaming into a PA system, shall we?

  • Paging Mr. Neil. Mr. Chris Neil to the white courtesy phone please. Chris, Chris, Chris. For future reference, if you’re fighting an opponent whose team we are currently crushing, do not, under any circumstances, humiliate said opponent by playing to the crowd during the fight. I believe my point was made most eloquently by Mr. Kovelchuk in the third period and one Mr. Cherry will no doubt make tomorrow night, provided of course he can tear his lips away from Darcy Tucker’s ass long enough to articulate it.

  • The 3rd period. You got away with one boys. Don’t ever do that again.
The Creamy Middle: We'll take the win, third period near-catastrophe and Rayzor's general shakiness with occasional flashes of brilliance notwithstanding. There is still the small matter of our continuing (and baffling) inability to play a full 60 minutes, something Coach Paddock is no doubt losing sleep over. Hey, at 10-1, A-type personalities need something to worry about.

Up Next: Home-and-home this weekend with the Beantown Bears. Riddle me this: If a Chara falls in the forest and nobody hears it, does it make a sound?

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Hey Look! Ottawa Has A Hockey Team. Cool!

Sens/Thrashers tonight, two weeks (2 weeks!!) to the day from the last televised game. Since then, our boys were out playing Lord of the Flies in the Muskoka wilderness, and dispatching New Jersey while living to tell about it. Meanwhile we've been forced to subsist on a diet of Habs, whatever crap TSN chooses to inflict on us through the cacophonic stylings of PIERRE MCGUIRE!!! and *shudder* Leafs games. A thin gruel indeed.

McAmmond comes back which is great news. Spezza is out...which may also be great news (how the hell do you pull a groin in practice??). I will maintain a studied, yet dignified ambivalence. Nicky stays off the buses for another game and Randy Robitaille gets a spin on the top line. Also cool. On my NHL 07 franchise, I traded Vaclav Varada for Randy, straight up. I think he's scored 112 goals for me in two seasons. Of course, I may have to get off the "beginner" level for that to mean anything.

See you tomorrow for the Creamy Middle kids. In the meantime, try not to let Gord Wilson drive you crazy enough to club seal pups with a nine iron. Always a struggle, I know.