Friday, January 25, 2008

Sens 8, Bolts 4: It's The Captain's World. We Just Live In It.

The Hart Memorial Trophy was presented to the National Hockey League in 1923 by Dr. David Hart.

The trophy is presented to the most valuable player in the National Hockey League during the regular season. The initial winner was Frank Nighbor of the Ottawa Senators. -- Hockey Hall Of Fame
The Highs:
  • Memo to NHL engraver. That's A-L-F-R-E-D-S-S-O-N. With two S's: Three goals (one short handed), seven points, the best defensive forward, if not the best defenceman on the ice, faster than a speeding Ovechkin, leaps tall Lecavaliers in a single bound, takes over scoring lead, walks on water, rents lake to Jesus on weekends. Ho-hum, just another day at the office.
  • Hey, the Coach was right! This IS a contact sport!: AWOL for a month, the worker bees in our lineup (Schubeedoo and Neiler in particular) made an impressive, if suitably sheepish, return, beating the Lightning to most loose pucks and wreaking havoc along the boards. I'll have to check the replays, but I think I even saw Golden Groin throw a hit on the backcheck TWICE! Amnesty on your collective desertion will be granted on a conditional basis, pending your performance after the All Star Break. But as a reminder, military law still allows us to hang repeat offenders from the nearest yard arm.
  • I have had just about enough of your crap, young 'un: Ladies and gentlemen, how about a big hand for the Geritol Brigade! Luke! Shean! C'mon out here boys! No, really, it's okay. Wave to the nice people. We just want to say thanks for showing us, for the first time this year, the leadership we had hoped we were getting when we signed you last summer. Ornery suits you Shean. You should try it more often. And Luke! The way you went after T-Bay's uber rat, Andre Roy even though you must have known you were going to get pummeled was truly inspirational. And that onion hanging from your belt? Stylin'!
The Lows:
  • Sean Avery thinks your a bit of a chickenshit: Speaking of hemorrhoidal abscesses, former Senator Andre Roy was certainly in fine form, wasn't he? In one sequence in the 2nd period he a) ran at The Captain (from behind), b) ran away from Chris Phillips who merely wanted to discuss said run and subsequent kick to Alfie's head c) ran Phillips from behind during a scrum in the corner after the whistle, and d) immediately went to the bench before Chris could turn around and find who had hit him. Then, on his next shift, backed down from Neil, but once Neiler was safely off the ice, dropped the gloves with a 38 year old Luke Richardson. That, in a nutshell, pretty much encapsulates why we traded his worthless grandstanding ass for a bag of pucks a few years ago.
  • Dammit! Didn't you guys get the memo?: Gerbs, if that was your audition for Coach's Goalie Idol, then prepare yourself for a comfy spot on the bench once everyone gets back for the All Star break. Sure, you got the win, but Christ... Perhaps language issues have prevented you from grasping the general gist of what your coaches and we fans are looking for, so allow me to try and explain: When people talk about a "money goalie" we aren't referring to someone who gives up four goals (two of them impossibly weak) to what is arguably the worst team in hockey not playing in Toronto.
Gord Wilson nonsensical homerism of the night:

In a ridiculous attempt to foment outrage at a perfectly legitimate hooking call on Andrej Meszaros, our intrepid hero and favourite clueless windbag blamed (and I'm not making this up), Vinny Lecavalier's "awkward syle of falling". Okay then. I wouldn't expect any calls from HNIC anytime soon, there Gord (apologies to those of you not "graced" with the embarrassment that is the local A-Channel feed).

We now pause for these twin moments of thanks, and blatant self promotional tripe:

Unbeknownst to your humble scribe, it seems our local sports radio station, The Team 1200, read a goodly portion of my "Fire THE COACH" post on their Three Guys On The Radio morning show yesterday. Unfortunately I missed it, but I must say, I'm humbled and hope it provided some of their audience a modicum of amusement while stuck in traffic. Had I known that was going to happen, I would have taken more care in not letting my participles dangle quite so freely.

But my biggest thanks goes to Don and the boys at the incomparable Battle of Ontario who, along with some wholly unnecessary but much appreciated kind words, initially pointed it out here. Even if 50% of their number have come down with incurable cases of Maple Pox, there's no place I'd rather hang out during our ritual curb stompings of the Leafs than their game threads. Cheers, gentlemen.

Creamy Middle: Skimming my notes from last night, I came across this little scribble in the margins: "Is it bad if I have zero confidence in a five goal lead?" And that, Sens fans, is why we should be very careful in assigning too much importance to this game. While the Ottawa MSM fall all over themselves declaring an "end" to our latest slump, those of us not drawing a paycheque by pumping smoke up Emperor Eugene's ass know better, don't we?

We managed 8 goals, sure...against Tampa. While the team's effort was a marked improvement from what we saw in Miami or especially (shudder) Philadelphia, seven points makes it fairly obvious that we won this one riding The Captain's sore hip. Two thirds of our D is still a wreck, and we still can't rely on either of our goalies to make a stop when they have to. I'll wait and see what happens next week before I'm ready to move the optimism meter away from "guarded".

The next game we can see without being extorted for the privilege: Ignoring next Tuesday's Pay-Per-Screwed tilt on Long Island, we come to Thursday against the Bruins, Sportsnet East with the pretty pictures. Thankfully, this one is being played at The Bank, thus sparing our boys from the suffocating cloud of smug hanging over the greater Boston area. Go Giants!

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