Friday, February 29, 2008

Flyers 3, Sens 1: Wade Redden Owes Me Twelve Bucks

I'm afraid I must insist. You see, my Beloved, she has been most vocal on the subject of the Pay Per View Refund monies. "Where's the money? "When are you going to get the money?" "Why aren't you getting the money now?" And so on...

The Highs
  • What's German for "I'm in your kitchen all night, Byotch!"?: Good evening Mr. Downie. My name is Christoph, and I will be treating you like the chicken shit punk you so obviously are by pounding your kidneys into schnitzel this evening. Would you like to hear our specials?
  • Anybody? Anybody at all? No? Fine, I'll do it: Speaking of everyone's favourite ass pimple, my man Fish went a long way to dragging himself out of the Sens Army doghouse with his spirited, if somewhat belated, defence of Dean McAmmond. Thanks Mike. By taking young Master Downie to school, you've restored our faith in the integrity of frontier justice, as it applies to our little game. That said, the fact that a) it took until late in the third period of our last game against the Flyers this season and b) Downie didn't leave the ice on a stretcher is a source of shame which will remain with us for some time.
  • Okay, once more from the top. Only this time, with FEELING!: Sure, the defensive brain farts were still in evidence. And yes, our propensity and talent for brutal giveaways remain for all the world to see, note, and salivate over. But for the first time since Christmas, I could actually tell that our boys wanted it. They didn't get it, but at the very least, they looked like they wanted it. A (very small) building block around which THE COMEBACK can be fashioned? Or the fevered imaginings of the author's delusions? Discuss.
The Lows:
  • You have 24 hours to give us our money. And to show you we're serious… you have 12 hours: Of all the players on this team who should have responded to Teflon's axing with their best game of the year (and there are so...SO many), you, Wade, were the number one candidate. So what did we get? For starters, we were treated to the sight of your useless, pathetic stick flail on Knuble's tying goal, when by rights, he would never have been in a position to score had you done your job and put him on his ass. The icing on the cake, of course, was your beautiful, nay, damn near elegant slide into Rayzor (who's having his own little issues I should point out), thereby knocking the puck into your own net and pretty much killing any hope of a comeback. Well done. Please feel free to make a donation, in my name, in the amount of $10.95 (plus tax) to the charity of your choice. Oh...and turn in your "A" while your at it.
  • NHL Officials. Putting the "sodomy" in "butt end" since 1917: Look, I know it's a tough job. We fans, sitting at home, have the benefit of replay. You don't. You have to make a split decision based on what your brain tells you your eyes saw. We can analyze ad infinitum from multiple angles, in high definition, with frame by frame blow ups if we so desire. In addition, you have all of that hooking, interference and obstruction to ignore, thus regressing the flow of the game back to pre-lockout tempo. I get that. But after seeing you give Golden Groin five and a game for an offence (an offence no camera could find, it should be noted) supposedly perpetrated while being pummeled by three separate Flyers in a goal mouth scrum started by a Marty Biron cross check, I can only wonder whether Colly Campbell has been fishing for talent at the shallow end of the gene pool.
  • Well, it didn't take long for you to fit in, did it?: Welcome Marty Lapointe. On behalf of Senators fans everywhere, I'd like to thank you for your valiant effort at fitting seamlessly into the line up. And by that, I mean thanks for largely disappearing in the last two periods as well as your truly Spezza-esque turnover on our own blue line, which resulted in a Philly scoring chance, late in the third. Welcome aboard! That's exactly why we gave for you. At least next time, pick a fight would ya?
Pithy observations of questionable importance from a PPV virgin:
  • Hi Mom! I'm on the Tee-Vee!: Note to "SensTV" talent scouts. When trying to pump up the home team during a brutal losing streak by doing one of those now fashionable "Gosh, let's grab him coming off the ice between shifts!" interviews, it might be better to give a relatively attractive, yet clearly clueless "sideline reporter" (Hi Trish!) a better question to throw at The Captain than (and I'm paraphrasing here, but not by much) "So...must have been pretty bad, what with all the sucking over the last three months. Can you possibly turn it around?" Then again, I guess we should all be thankful she didn't uptalk, or use "like" after every second word.
  • "After Forty Minutes"-- Brought to you by Cousin Bob's Bait Shop And Erotic Doll Emporium: On HNIC we get Ron McLean and a relatively knowledgeable panel of NHL experts on a swanky set in downtown Toronto. On SensTV, we are treated to Gord Wilson and a panel of deeply concussed former players discussing how "we're getting SO screwed!" on a set framed by a wrinkled bed sheet held together with clothes pins and coaxial cables running between the legs of their lawn chairs. Please contrast and compare.
Creamy Middle:

In Bryan We Trust. What we saw last night should gladden our hearts, Sens fans. No, really. While we obviously didn't benefit from the usual bounce most teams experience after having their head coach replaced, I'm attributing that to the lack of "new coach smell" (might want to change your cologne there, Bryan). But what we did see is something that has been sadly lacking since December: Emotion. All the other issues (DEFENCE!, passes that don't end up in skates, and dare I say, goaltending) are simple mechanics that can be straightened out in practice. But now our guys look like they might be caring again. And that, really, is all we've wanted to see for the last two months. Well, okay. Seeing that other stuff would be cool too.

Up Next:

Pittsburgh's Flightless Birds, tomorrow afternoon, at the Bank. Coast-to-Coast on the Cee-Bee-Cee. They have some much ballyhooed guy named "Hossa" who won't be playing due to a knee injury. But watch out for perennial Sens killer Colby Arm -- oh wait. Never mind.

Update: Habs beat Sabres! Take Over Lead In Division! Senators Now In Fifth In Eastern Conference! Dewey Beats Truman!

I'll believe it when I see the (much more sober than I, at the moment) headlines tomorrow. Bryan, I believe you have your motivation. Now repeat after me: SENATORS! SMASH!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

God, I Feel So Dirty...

I've done something bad. Something for which I am deeply ashamed. Beloved burst into tears before barricading herself in the bedroom, sobbing uncontrollably. My dog refuses to make eye contact. Priests look down on me as some kind of deviant.

But I couldn't help myself. All day, I fought the temptation. All day, I raged against myself, consumed by an uncontrollable burning. "NO!", I railed. "You CAN'T! What would the children say?" But it did no good. None at all. It was just too tantalizing...too new...too intriguing.

In a daze, my face, a rictus of demonic determination, I drove home. I barely remember it actually. One last chance before the deed was done and I condemned my soul forever. I peered into the bathroom mirror, searching for a sign, a flash, anything to upon which to hang my last shred of dignity. Alas, I saw nothing but Satan's imp dancing behind crazed eyes. "Doooo it!" it hissed. "Doooo knows youse wants to..." And so, here I sit. Defeated.

I have ordered tonight's game on Pay-Per-Screwed. May God have mercy on my soul.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

And Lo, It Came To Pass That The Bryan Ate His Minstrels. And There Was Much Rejoicing

I need to start this with an apology. *Ahem*...sorry PPP, but you aren't going to get the rage filled re-cap of Monday's unpleasantness you were so hoping for. I know I promised one (and actually had it half written. It was just taking far longer than usual, what with having to mop the spittle from the keyboard every now and then. But...) And for the rest of my Gentle Readers, I offer the same apology. To those of you who came here tonight, expecting a froth and profanity filled tirade following last night's Boston Massacre, I'm sorry. I can't. I just don't have it in me. I'm just too freakin' happy!

Sure, I could give it the old college try, singling out Mesz for his execrable play in those two games. I could go on about how he was directly responsible for, at the very least, five of the opposition's nine goals.

I could also excoriate Swiss Pastry for publicly humiliating the only shot blocking defenceman he has. I could, if I were of a mind, point out to him, in no uncertain terms, that the guy he was screaming at after Chara's goal, was the very same player who has, in all probability, been most instrumental in keeping his already obscene GAA from ballooning even further. Every puck Anton blocks, after all, is one less that won't get through that gaping maw you call a five hole.

It might also behoove me to call out the team as a whole, and point out that our opponents would probably find it much more difficult to score if you all weren't just standing around the crease, but instead endeavouring to put those same opponents' asses on the ice, where they belong.

Yes, I could try all that. But I'd do it with a shit eating grin on my face, and you would probably see right through it. And that wouldn't do. I don't have many principles here, but the one I hold above the other two, above everything really, states that the words you see on the screen are as genuine and real as I can possibly make them. So sorry, gang. No rants. I'm just too fucking ecstatic!

As I told a colleague today, I can pinpoint the exact game where the wheels started falling off. The very moment our now former coach (oh my goodness, but I do believe I've become aroused just typing that) started reading his own press clippings and let his ego run away with his common sense. It was the 21st of November, the 4-2 loss to the Sabres that kicked off our first eight game losing streak. The first game that Teflon (not anymore! Whee!) started playing with the Line Blender. I didn't mention it then, because I still had faith in the man. I still thought he knew what he was doing. But then, it just kept getting worse. And worse.

Then came his "handling" of Rayzor and Pastry. Other bloggers (Sherry and Jeremy in particular) began to mention that things may not be all that rosy in Bytown by the Rideau. And like any support group, we were mutually reassured by each other that, no, weren't imagining things. This guy really is unfit to be a Head Coach. By Christmas the cry had gone up all over the blogosphere (Ottawa sector) that we couldn't win like this. And still nothing came of it. Then finally, mercifully, the MSM woke up and took the long ignored pulse of the fans and, as one cried "Holy shit! We gotta get out in front of this!" All of a sudden, a lot of the same things we'd been saying for two months started popping up in Wayne Scanlan's columns, or being spouted on That's Hockey (for a brilliant take on this theme, please see Jeremy's post at Black Aces). And all it cost us was, what...10, maybe 12 more losses?

But all that "I told ya so!" crap is in the past now, isn't it? Yep. Water under the bridge. I merely mention it here to illustrate that WE TOLD YOU SO DAMMIT! But now, it's all different.

So to our players, I offer this: While a good number of you have been rightfully splattered with the shit we've been dishing, all is forgiven, for now. You are largely the same group that tore a gaping hole through the Eastern Conference on the way to the Final last year, and there is absolutely no reason you can't do it again. You'll get the coaching consistency you need. You no longer need to worry about being thrown under a bus at your Coach's daily press conferences for minor offences. You'll finally know, well in advance, what is expected of you and what the consequences will be should you not meet those expectations. But you only get this one last chance. Kindergarten is over. The Bryan is back.

Update: I would be remiss if I didn't point out the take from my new Timesian Overlords on the Teflon torching. C'mon, they need the traffic.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Bruins 4, Sens 0: Suggested In Flight Movie For Philly Charter

Goodbye John. Don't let the door hit you on your arrogant, clueless, pompous ass on the way out.

Of Disasters and Deadlines

Things I don't have time for before puck drop against the Broons in twenty minutes, but will definitely touch upon in the coming four days because our next game, against the Flyers, is televised on Pay-Per-Screwed only and hence does not actually exist:
  • Still coming to grips with getting bitch slapped by the Laffs. Psychoanalysis expenses are piling up as I write this. Relax, Laff-heads, I'm not ducking you. I'll have my recap, complete with multiple derivations of the word "shit" soon. Parental discretion advised.
  • Martin Lapointe? Really? What, was Harold Snepts not available? And who let Mucks back into the building and then gave him unsupervised access to a telephone?
  • Hue-ETTE for...nothing. Was Gainey screwed by a certain Mr. D. Waddell? I think so.
  • I for one welcome our new Flightless Bird Overlords.
  • How, in the name of all that is holy, does John Paddock still have a job?
Okay gentlemen. The Deadline has come and gone. You're all (inexplicably) still here. How about you relax a tad, and go play some hockey? Hm? Yes? Hockey? You've heard of it? Super!

New York Times Plumbs Depths Of Internet For Quasi-Informed Snark. Hi Mom!

As I briefly alluded to last night, your humble scribe, in what must surely be considered one of the Seven Signs, has been asked by the kind editors of The New York Times hockey blog, Slapshot, to contribute to a feature they're running called "Hockey Night in Blogdome".

Here's the first installment relating to our division. Sure, it was posted at 1:26am. And subsequently buried by the flurry that is Deadline day. But, hey! It's the Times baby!

Anyway, the idea is to do this every couple of weeks or so, through the regular season and into the playoffs. Don't worry, I'll be tooting my own horn keeping both of my readers fully informed when anything new goes up.

I'd also very much encourage all of you to pay a visit to the respective sites of the other teams' bloggers. Lord knows, after hanging out here for a while, you could probably use a higher quality of discourse.

The New York Times. Pretty cool. Almost cool enough to make me forget about last night.

Update: While I can't keep up with all of the Deadline goodness swirling around the Sens here since, you know, I'm supposed to be working, rest assured I'm following the proceedings with baited breath. Example: Razor wasn't at practice today. Pre-emptive to a trade? Murray had him executed in the back lot following last night's debacle? Or maybe he just got lost on the way to the rink. Discuss amongst yourselves.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Somebody Get Me An Umlaut! I Want To Tell Foppa To Go Screw Himself!

As we moisten our loins in anticipation of tonight's reminder to Mats of why he probably should have waived his no trade clause, we would like to take a moment and congratulate Peter Forsberg on his miraculous recovery from his debilitating injury.
The Colorado Avalanche have won the 'Peter Forsberg sweepstakes', signing the centre to a one-year deal to return to the team for the rest of the season.
I'm sure I speak for a majority of Senators fans when I wish you all the best, Foppa. You could have had it all, but you turned us down, while hiding behind a weak ass excuse about "not feeling ready". That said, I have the sneaking suspicion that you may miss us more than we'll miss you. But please, by all means, do enjoy the first round. Cock tease.

On another, much happier note, there is something rather exciting coming down the pipe for your humble scribe. While I don't want to give too much away for fear of jinxing it (kind of like uttering the word "shutout" in a scoreless game), here's a hint.

Go Sens Go!

Forsberg returns to NHL with Avalanche []

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Sens 4, Happy Feets 3(OT): Message To Heirs Presumptive -- Get The Hell Off My Lawn!

Finally. We finally showed some intestinal fortitude, some gumption, some...balls. It wasn't pretty, but we did it. We peered into the dark abyss that is fifth place in the Eastern Conference, and with one voice, exclaimed unto the heavens and to the omnipotent and benevolent Hockey Gods gathered therein "Fuck this shit".

The Highs:
  • Zoinks! Score one for those meddling kids: Despite the CBC's willful ignorance (The Captain? First Star? Really? Were we watching the same game?) Schubeedoo was clearly the best Senator on the ice. And by "best" I mean "the only one who actually looked like he gave a crap for the first thirty minutes of the game". He skated hard, finished his checks and did his best to be a royal pain in the ass for Malkin and Co. In short, he's everything I should want in a son. However, a small word of advice Christoph, if I may. In future, please refrain from physically striking an opponent when said opponent is two feet off the boards and has his back turned to you. It's not very nice. Unless, of course, said opponent happens to be wearing blue and white...and the number 16. Then by all means...Giddy. Up.
  • Wow. That must have been one hell of a slump buster: Okay Heater, you can loosen that grip now. You got your deuce. And only 20 to go until you hit your third consecutive 50! Isn't that great? Oh, and thanks for playing some pretty solid D too. Maybe you can pull Jason aside and have a 'Cause that would be great!
The Lows:
  • Where's Dave Hodge when you need him?: While it wasn't exactly on the level of preempting an overtime game so Auntie Mabel in Moose Jaw wouldn't miss Peter Mansbridge and the report on wheat futures, I'm just a little peeved by CBC's decision to stick with the extra ends of the Scotties' semi final (that's the Canadian Women's Curling Championship to all of my American friends. The Dave Hodge thing? It's a long story) rather than cut to the game, at least in the Ottawa market. In an age where almost everyone has access to multiple feeds of the same channel, the hardcore rock heads could easily have switched to, say, the Halifax feed. Look, I like curling. I do. In fact, I'll make it a point to watch tomorrow's final, even if the women don't wear those sexy sexy kilts anymore. And sure, it was only the first five minutes, but if you've watched any Senators games over the last month or so, those first five minutes are usually the only time you'll actually see them play hockey.
  • Even the Deathstar had a fatal weakness: Psssst...Ray. Not sure if you've heard, but teams seem to have figured out how to beat you. Sykora certainly went to school on you. A word of advice? If your blocker hand is bothering you, and the bad goals along with the multiple completely butchered attempts at handling the puck would seem to indicate it is, now is the time to tell Teflon, and not...say April...when your tough guy act could cost us a Cup. Again.
Creamy Middle:

This game was like getting laid on Prom night. Without a lot of luck (and in my case, a whole lot of booze), it wasn't going to happen. While we should be ecstatic about coming back from 3 goals down, we should also feel slightly dirty about how it happened. Not that I'm turning my nose at the two points (two points that keep us in first place, at least for another day) , but I'm not going to fly into orgasmic flights of fancy and declare an end to our now three month old "slump". We still have too many passengers ( I'm hurting here dude) or beat up superstars (Alfie? How's that hip buddy?) to feel all that confident going into the stretch run. Then again, The Deadline is Tuesday. Everything could change between now and then. Apropos of nothing, what's Swedish for "Welcome to Ottawa, former Toronto Maple Leaf captain?"

Up Next:

Well, looky here. The Formerly Evil But Now Mostly Pathetic Empire that is Leafs Nation makes a visit to the Bank on Monday night. It just so happens to be the night before the trade deadline. This may be a first, sports fans. Sportsnet will pay more attention to who isn't playing than to who is. wouldn't be the first time. But a least this time, it's on purpose.

Behind Enemy Lines: Round up the usual suspects. I'll be hanging out on the BoO game thread, doing my bit to rile Muppet into a consonant and ampersand heavy rant, but I'd also like to point you to Bitter Leaf Fan. Just the right amount of hope mixed with exasperation and futility, don't you think?

Friday, February 22, 2008

Definitely NOT Insects 3, Sens 2(SO): Mommy Drinks Because You SUCK!

Sit down boys. Sit please. I have to talk to you. I'm not asking agai -- What was that Jason? No, you certainly cannot be excused to go play with Dany! Seriously, sit down -- Wade, stop poking your -- I SAID SIT DOWN AND SHUT THE FUCK UP!

What the hell is wrong with you?!?! Your mother and I are at the end of our ropes. We honestly don't know what to do with you anymore. We've tried everything. We've asked nicely. We've tried to bargain. We tried talking to your teacher. We even tried talking to the principal, because I thought it may have even been the teacher's fault...for all the good it did. And just won't...refuse to...SHIT! DON'T LISTEN! Every goddamned time it's the same goddamned thing! "Yes Daddy, we'll be good." "Sure Dad, we'll do better. We PROMISE!" And, sure, that lasts for a couple of days...but then I get pulled out of a fucking meeting --an IMPORTANT meeting -- by a call from your Mom, usually after she's had a couple of belts to calm down, because Ray trashed the secretary's car, or Randy got beat up by a girl again. It's always something! And now this. Yet another note from school. Anybody want to guess what this is about? Anton? What? I can't hear you. Speak up please. Yes, that's right. The note is about last night. But you knew that didn't you? Right Daniel? You knew that? What? You didn't? You DIDN'T?? DON'T LIE TO ME BOY! You're already in a world of hurt, so don't make it worse. For Christ's sake, you're the oldest! Try to lead by example.

This thing is eight fucking pages long. Eight pages! And it's full of the same crap as the last one! "Jason ambivalent to instruction. Lack of willingness to sacrifice fueled by indifference." "Ray disruptive to the class. Must show greater commitment in order to reach full potential". "As a group, goals remain unfocused. Lack of effort leading to results below expectations." "Wade needs to show greater leadership. Talents remain lapsed. May benefit from transfer to another school district." Transfer to another district! Is that what you want, to be transferred?? No?? Then stop being such a fucking useless lump, go back to the way you were, the ways that got you that huge raise in your allowance, and show me something dammit!

We are so SICK OF THIS SHIT! It has to stop. There's less than 6 weeks left in the school year and if ANY of you want to graduate, this shit STOPS NOW! Do you hear me? So here is the way it's going to be. For the next six week, you guys WILL bust your asses. You will do what you're told, when you're told to do it, you will not bitch about it, and I will NOT ACCEPT ANY MORE EXCUSES! Otherwise, I'm blowing this whole family up. Some we'll keep, some we'll send to live with relatives and some will just be cut fucking loose to live on the streets! Get it? DO YOU GET IT NOW?? Oh, stop crying Andreij. We're all adults here. Suck it up.

So here's the deal. You don't give a shit? Well then, neither will I. Prove to me you want to be here, and we're good. Don't...well fuck you too. It's all up to you. Now go to your rooms. We need you to be well rested for your trip tomorrow. God knows I don't want you pushed around by a bunch of kids even younger than you are. And make no mistake. I'll be watching, so no more of that half assed shit, do you understand?

Now go to bed. I have to go out and buy another fifth of bourbon. Your mother is having her bridge club over tonight.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Sens 3, Flyers 2(SO): If Only Bullitt Could Play Left Wing

There is a school of thought among the more cliché prone members of the hockey commentariat (you will know them by their twin predilections for headsets and pointing out the hottest puck bunnies in the crowd) that states "a 2-0 lead is the most dangerous in hockey" (although the Rangers may beg to differ).

It's an odd statement when you think about it, peculiar to our little game. Hell, if you have a 2-0 lead in a soccer game, your fans all already burning cars and clubbing little old ladies with bar stools for kicks. And you'd never hear...say...Emmitt Smith state "a two touchdown lead is the most dangerous in football", would you? No, you wouldn't. And why not? Because that sentence structure is way to complex for Emmitt. But my point still stands. All leads, no matter the score, are good. Why? Well, after all, leading leading, and by a fair margin, I should think. So, Mister "Hey Look! My Microphone Looks Like A Penis!", if a team loses a 2-0 lead, it's not because of any inherent danger in the number itself.

It's called "choking". Ask us. We know of what we speak.

The Highs:
  • Don't worry Martin. You'll look great in a Kings jersey: Almost as much fun as seeing Swiss Pastry's pained expression after watching Ray (finally!) turn in a big-league, "money" performance? His attempts to hide it. I'm told that the SBP maintenance staff should have the teeth marks removed from the bench door in time for tomorrow night.
  • Holy crap! When did we get a third scoring line?: Verms-Kelly-Stillman. Write it down John. Write it down in stone, have it bronzed and surgically inserted where your heart should have been, had you not been born a cyborg. You've been looking for people to play with Cory. You may have found them. Chris was a mad man, and Vermette's tip in to go up 2-0 (stick that in your poke check, Martin Biron) was a direct result of the Philly D keying on #61. Ah, but what to do with Neiler when he comes back from the flu, you may be asking yourself? This one is easy, no matter how much the itch to scramble the lines is eating at your soul. Randy, please report to the press box.
  • Well THAT sure beats the hell out of my hand crafted porcelain ashtray: As my regular reader knows, I don't generally offer too many bouquets to opposing teams here. But I have to give credit where it's due, and congratulate Flyers coach John Stevens for putting Ottawa's own Claude Giroux, a rookie emergency call-up, out as the first shoot, knowing that his whole family was in attendance. Sportsnet had a great shot of Giroux's dad rushing down the 100 level steps to take a picture as the fruit of his loins twirled at centre ice, waiting for the go ahead from the ref. Awww...that was nice. What was even nicer, though, was the fact that he missed. Sorry Claude, but my "aw-shucks" squishiness only stretches so far.
The Lows:
  • Maybe Brian Burke is on to something: Four feet high. Six feet wide. Behold, gentlemen, the regulation NHL net. So please tell me why it was that most of you couldn't get anywhere near it? By my highly unofficial and possibly inebriated count, a total of 14 shots, most from the point or high slot missed the net completely. Oh, and The Captain's turn in the shoot out? Wide right, by two feet. Natch.
  • CASH and burn! Thank you, I'll be here all week. Try the veal: Thankfully, I haven't had to call any of the the Big Line out very often this year. Otherwise, we'd be languishing somewhere down around the sixth circle of hell in the standings (but still ahead of the Leafs!). But, last Gentlemen, though I suspect you know this already, let's not repeat that performance too often shall we? And Jason? Watch the tapes. There's a reason Teflon John kept you on the bench while we "enjoyed" a power play with less than a minute to go in a tie game. Damn you for making me agree with him.
  • Seriously. Dude. What the hell is wrong with you?: Jesus Wade. I mean...damn. Is it gas? It's gas isn't it? Are you gassy? All night long. You whiffed on holding the point. You were beaten to almost every puck (with one colossal "sit down bitch" hit taken in the second for good measure). You couldn't make a first pass to save your life and generally treated the puck as if it were a live grenade. What the hell? You're making it really hard for some of us to defend your continued invocation of your no-trade clause my friend.
Creamy Middle:

We'll take the points, thank you. After spotting the Devils the first half of the game on Saturday, I guess the boys thought it would be fun to try it the other way around last night. Here's the thing though. You may not have noticed, but just down the 417, the greatest game in the history of everything ever (according to some) happened, and, despite the win, we're still tied for first in the Eastern Conference. So...howza 'bout we try something new, starting...say...right fucking now. How about we try to put a whole game together? Yeah. That would be cool.

Up Next:

Tomorrow night, at the Bank, those terrors of the Midwest, the Columbus Blue Jackets come calling. Now, I've never been to Ohio. I'm sure it's a lovely, if somewhat corn addled state. But do you really think that a hockey team named for giant wasps is a good way to attract the tourists? Just askin'.

Behind Enemy Lines: Yet another representin' (do the kids even say that anymore?) talent from HLOG (man, they are everywhere), I give to you Bethany's Hockey Rants. What she lacks in hot pink formatting, she more than makes up for in passion.

Canadiens Complete Improbable Comeback
The Impossible is Made Possible [Four Habs Fans]

Monday, February 18, 2008

And Bryan Dies A Little More Inside

Peter Forsberg is not coming back to the NHL this season.

Or at least it's highly unlikely, according to his agent, Don Baizley.

"The prospect of Peter having enough confidence in the foot-skate issue to commit to being able to play in the NHL this season isn't where it needs to be at this moment," Baizley told TSN. "As a result, teams are being told it is unlikely he will be able to commit to return to the NHL this season."

You know, if it weren't for the beautiful cities, awe inspiring scenery, fjords, first class health care system, incredibly responsive social programs and insanely hot women, Sweden would have a hell of a lot to answer for.

So...looks like we'll have to go to Plan B. Anybody else know where I can find a gifted Swedish scorer with unimpeachable leadership skills, currently mired on a last place team and in the twilight of his career who deserves one last shot at a title? Anybody? Anybody at all?

Forsberg likely won't return this year [TSN]

Human Sacrifice! Dogs And Cats, Living Together! Mass Hysteria!

In the latest sign that End Times are upon us, THE COACH (or, as he is henceforth to be known until somebody in the MSM wises up to how craptacular a coach he really is), The Teflon John himself, admits that his grand goaltending strategy may not, on the whole, be working out quite as he had envisioned.

Ray Emery will be the goalie Tuesday when the Senators host the Philadelphia Flyers at Scotiabank Place. It marks the first time since Jan. 24 that coach John Paddock will stray from the 'win-and-you're-in' method of determining his starter.

"I think there are a few different things that go into it, I don't even want to get into," Paddock said of the decision after today's practice.
But wait! There's more! In a stroke of motivational genius, captured by CTV Ottawa's cameras (and quoted here from memory, so forgive me if I paraphrase), Teflon went on to say this at his daily circle jerk press briefing: "They don't like alternating. All they have to do is stop the puck."

Wow. That's some primo stuff there, John. You know, the more I hear you speak, the more I'm convinced that you spend off days in Kindergarten classes, ripping up teddy bears and kicking over sand castles, just to hear the kids cry.

Emery to Get Start Against Flyers [Ottawa Sun]

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Faceless Drones 3, Sens 2: In Which The Devils Continue To Struggle With The Elimination Of The Rover

Welcome back to the Bad Old Days. I had no idea, but apparently there is a vast, silent majority of fans secretly pining for the return of the rodeo that hockey had become before the lockout. Who knew? Big Lou, that’s who. So let’s all thank Lou Lamiarello and his army of clones, the New Jersey Devils (ably abetted by on-ice officials we should add), for once again being at the vanguard of those forces eager and willing to destroy flow, squash offence wherever they find it and ensure the inevitable regression of hockey’s popularity in dumbass idiotic undeserving “non-traditional” markets back below that of Antique Roadshow and midget mud wrestling.

The Highs:

  • This? ‘Tis but a scratch: Anyone who doubted just how valuable A-Train is to our Cup hopes, I submit to you the following sequence:Early in the first period, Anton, as is his wont, drops to block a shot from the high slot. Not content with the usual, leg first technique, our boy decides to add an element of risk to it. He blocks it with his face. A quick trip to the bench and a self examination of the nose later (nope, doesn’t look broken), he’s back on the ice for his next shift. In a soup kitchen somewhere in America, Craig Ludwig sits, smiling.
  • That’s an impressive display of man meat right there. Wait. What?: Schubeedoo, Fish and Neiler. Ladies and gentlemen, your beefed up, stoked up, truly terrifying starting line for last night’s game, and boy howdy, did they do their jobs. CBC should put overlays on the replays, POW!, WHAM!, OOF!, Batman style. And for the first 90 seconds of the game, there was more energy and excitement on the ice, and in the stands, then there had been for weeks. Seeing this, THE COACH decided to capitalize by immediately splitting up his new CRASH line, thus allowing the Devils to suck all life out of the contest. Once the game was safely out of reach, THE COACH once again demonstrated his considerable brilliance by putting them back together in the third. Once.

The Lows:

  • Egregious Golden Groin Defensive Brainfart of the night: Fearlessly picking up the torch so skillfully dropped by the late, unlamented Joe Corvo, and on a night marked by The Captain’s own goal (can he at least get an official point for that? I’d hate to see him lose the scoring race by one), our boy Jason distinguished himself with an absolute frozen rope from his own corner, into the low slot. A fantastic, no look pass. The only problem, of course, was that it was a fantastic no look pass directly onto the stick blade of John Madden, Sens killer of note. The fact that Emery made the save (I know!), in no way mitigates the unbridled, bile producing stupidity of this play.
  • Behold the terrifying scoring machine that is Arron Asham: I’m going to take it a bit easy on you Ray. Just a bit, mind you, and for a couple three reasons. First, you didn’t exactly get any help from the guys in front of you, and once the rest of the team got their collective heads out of their asses, you made just enough big stops to keep us in it. Secondly, we all know that THE COACH doesn’t take a good effort in a losing cause into account when picking a starter for the next game, meaning you’ll be sitting on the bench Tuesday night, so I don’t want to rub anymore salt in the wound. But…um…geez Ray. Arron Asham? Really?

  • Duct tape? Aisle 47: The operating budget of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation is on the north side of one billion dollars. To put that into perspective, this is roughly equivalent to the GDP of Bhutan* or, conversely, Amy Winehouse’s monthly meth allowance. So, would it be too much for this humble taxpayer to ask that the CBC feed emanating from our Nation’s Capital not look like its being beamed from the dark side of (Nancy Lee’s) Uranus, and that’s when the signal isn’t breaking up completely? Perhaps to make up for the extra costs, Mothercorps could scrap that fiber optic connection between Dean Brown’s brain and the NHL statistical database. All that bandwidth must cost a fortune.

*I have no idea what the GDP of Bhutan is.

The Creamy Middle:

I really don’t think I’m overstating things, when I say the continued success of the New Jersey Devils is the absolute worst thing to happen to hockey since the Fox glowing puck. Standing defiant against all of that post-lockout run and gun fun, they just kept hanging around, clogging up the neutral zone and otherwise sucking all that is good and just and righteous about hockey right out of the game. Combine that with the knee-jerk “monkey see” mentality of the other teams (except THE COACH, of course. Lord knows we can’t play defence to save our lives) along with the inevitable backslide in the competence of the on ice officials, and…well there’s a reason one of the most successful teams in the league with a brand new arena can’t draw more than 12,000 per game. I mean, a reason other than playing in Newark. As for the Senators performance last night, I’ll give them a very slim pass based on the strength of the last two periods. Hey, it’s hard pulling yourself out of a coma that quickly.

Up Next:

The fast fading Flyers make an alliterative appearance at the Bank Tuesday night. Don’t look now Sens fans but both the Habs and Devils are now nipping at our heels for the conference lead (and it could be tied by game time). Now, I’m sure THE COACH is stressing to our guys that the tightness in the standings dictates that they must put all thoughts of reclaiming their manhood and exacting revenge aside. Playing a solid game and getting the win is what must take precedence. God, I hope they tell Paddock to piss off.

Behind Enemy Lines:
Better late than never, but I'd like to rectify a long standing oversight and introduce Flyers.Femme, a key member of HLOG. As the banner proclaims, Not. A. Puck.Bunny. Obviously not. There's far too much knowledge there. Needs more infuriated desperation though.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Please John, Don't Make Me Shove This Someplace Unpleasant

Ray Emery will start after Martin Gerber took the overtime loss vs. the Devils Wednesday night. The "win and you're in" approach doesn't seem to have brought the Senators any closer to a definitive No. 1 goalie.

Paddock didn't sound like he's any closer to a decision on who's No. 1.

John, have I ever mentioned I have a cigar? Yep. I bought it the day after Game 5 of the Finals, the same day I wrote this. And not just any cigar. This puppy cost me close to fifty bucks. The nice gentleman wearing the trench coat assured me personally that this particular Cohiba had been hand rolled betwixt the thighs of a 21 year old Mayan virgin. Even if I hadn't been in such a hurry to get out of that alley, I wouldn't have had it any other way. In fact it was one of the conditions of sale, for this cigar had, and still has, a purpose. This is destined to be my Victory Smoke. This cigar will be lit, and consumed with great pleasure, possibly accompanied by a glass of 40 year old scotch (neat please. I'm no barbarian), when, and only when, Captain MVP takes his lap around the ice holding the Cup aloft. And yet, you want to take that away from me. Why, John? Why?

After what has been an exquisitely shitty week here at Casa De Cojones (the reason I haven't been around much. Sorry Mom), all I want is to watch tonight's game against the Devils, to see if Stillman and Commie have come any closer to gelling with their new team, to watch us finally start to get our shit together. And then you decide to play musical goalies again, starting Rayzor, despite the fact that Pastry was one of the few Senators who had, by all (impossible to verify due to the infuriating lack of television coverage) accounts, a rather good game Wednesday night. And why is that again?
"I don't think it's based on anything specific," he said of his decision to start Emery.
Not based on "anything specific". Hmmm....Another mark of your genius, I suppose. After all, why take a chance on actually letting one of our guys gain some confidence and get hot, if it means proving the increasingly evident fact that you don't have a fucking clue what you're doing.

And so, I can only stare at my cigar as it sits in its custom made humidor, mocking me. Am I destined to smoke it this year? It's looking increasingly unlikely. So, should I just say "Fuck it" and spark it up now? After all, if it doesn't happen this year, I have a feeling it will be quite a long time before we're in the same position and even Mayan virgins can't make anything last forever. I'm close John. So very close. But I think I'll wait a bit longer before completely giving up, John. I'll see how it shakes out. Make no mistake John, it's completely on your head. Besides, Beloved has made it rather clear that I will only smoke it outside and February is really fucking cold.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Joe Corvo: He Is What We Thought He Was!

The interwebs are an amazing invention aren't they? Just think, ten years ago Joe Corvo could have whined to a local reporter in Raleigh about how those big meanies up in Canada hurt his feelings and no one would have been the wiser. He would have been free to go on his merry way, fleece yet another team who may have the crazy idea that they should get a return on their considerable investment, like he did to the Senators, and the Kings before them. Nobody in his former town would have realized just what a pathetic excuse for a hockey player he really was. Yeah...before the internet, life would have been pretty sweet. Today? Not so much:
Corvo acknowledged that his family didn’t like living in Ottawa and being away from home, but said it had more to do the small-town attitude that surrounded the team and the nature of the criticism.

“It’s hard to understand if you haven’t played in Canada,” Corvo said. “The media here at times can be completely ridiculous, the way they can take some of the stories that are nothing and make something out of them.”

So does that mean you'll be cutting a cheque to the team for some of that $5 million you literally sucked out of us? Yeah, didn't think so, fuckstick.

But wait! There's more! If ever we needed more proof that we sent this ass wart to the right place, it lies with "Josh", one of the commenters on the News Observer story:
Corvo does have a valid point, you know. There are some people who thrive when they have the threat of being lambasted by the media hanging over their heads and there are some players that do not.
Um...Josh? North of the border, we have a name for those "who thrive when they have the threat of being lambasted by the media hanging over their heads". Up here, we call them Stanley Cup Champions.

Lord Stanley's Blog [News & Observer]

p.s.: Big ups to the boys at Battle of Ontario for pointing this out.

Monday, February 11, 2008

If Erection Lasts For More Than Four Hours, Please Consult Your Physician

OH! Oh. Oh my heavens. Um...geez this is embarassing. Anybody got a towel? Anybody? How about an old gym sock?

The Ottawa Senators have shuffled the deck in a big way by completing a four-player transaction with the Carolina Hurricanes. The Senators have acquired defenceman Mike Commodore and forward Cory Stillman in exchange for defenceman Joe Corvo and forward Patrick Eaves. []

Three more Cup rings gets added to the roster, a potential replacement for Reds when he walks/gets pushed under a bus next summer and all it cost us was a guy we were going to lose to a ridiculous offer sheet anyway, and a bunch of ulcer inducing bad pinches, stupid penalties, and dumb-as-a-bag-of-hammers giveaways at the blue line.

But what makes this deal go from "pretty good" to "orgasmic" is the newly liberated cap space that now allows Bryan to sign a certain Swede and his bionic ankle.

As an aside, if the fine folks at Carolina On Ice want to borrow my "Trade Joe Corvo" tag, (and you will, possibly by the end of March), I'll be happy to oblige.

See ya Joe. Who knew you'd be more useful as trade bait than you were on the ice? Oh, that's right. Everybody. That's who.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Sens 6, Habs 1: There Was This Bird See...And The Bird Burned. And Then...Aw, Forget It

Sorry guys. We should have warned you. It would have been the neighbourly thing to do, after all. We've become acclimatized over the years of course, so it never really occurred to us that there might be others who would be new to the experience and therefore a little unprepared for the utterly strange environment they would now find themselves in. Well, better late than never I suppose. So...*AHEM*...On behalf of the Ottawa Senators I would like to offer this word of caution: When planning on joining us at the summit of the mountain, please keep in mind that the air is somewhat thinner than you may be accustomed to, impairing judgment, sapping strength and weakening resolve. All new comers please prepare accordingly. You're welcome.

The Highs:
  • Reunited and it feels so goooood: I've decided I no longer care that we' re a one line team. Nope. "Don't make no never mind" as they say in Britney's trailer park. Not when they can do what they did last night. As I argued in the FHF game thread, 3 superstars and 19 third line bangers, ain't a bad thing to have. 15 points and all of the Senators goals between the three of them with the added bonus of Golden Groin's first career hat trick. Oh, and in case this may have gone unnoticed, Captain MVP has jumped back into a tie for the scoring lead with five points. Reunited and it's understooood...
  • By jove, I think he's got it!: Well, looky here what we found. Why, if it wasn't an honest-to-god, Number One goaltending performance from Rayzor! Now, it remains to be seen whether he can keep it up, in light of our little habit of handing our opponents easy power play chances and the continued and baffling under performance of our "defence", but at the very least it looks like one of the two nutbars wearing the funny pads has finally decided to try and step up. Way to go Ray. I promise I'll (try to) lay off you until you fuck it up again.
  • Oh no you DI'INT (Redux): Wade, I have to be honest with you. You were really starting to piss me off. Not because of the "no trade clause" non-story (more on that below), but because you simply were not worth the ice time THE COACH was giving you. You weren't hitting, spent most of the time standing around while the other team's forwards amused themselves by jamming their sticks into our goalie's scrotum, and worst of all, you weren't doing the one thing you can do better than anybody else on the team, namely the breakout pass from our own zone. Then you took Andrei Kastsitsyn to school after his ill advised sucker punch. Well, "punch" may be too strong a word. Let's call it a "face wash with enthusiasm". But schooling Big Tits (FHF(TM)) on proper scrum etiquette isn't why I'm singling you out either (hell, my dog could probably take him. They fight the same way). No. It's because for the first time in a long time, you looked like you cared. We need to see more of that.
The Lows:
  • Good little boys don't play with matches: In case you didn't know it coming in guys, the Habs have the number one power play in the league, clicking along at a ridiculous 25%. In fact it can almost described as "scary as shit". In addition, you may noticed that neither of our goalies would exactly be considered "money" right now, Ray's exploits last night notwithstanding. So, what do we do? We give them ten chances. Let's do the math, shall we? They score on every fourth chance. We gave them ten. Let's see...four into ten...carry the two...ah, here's the answer: STOP DOING IT!
  • Have stick, will play defence for food: Note to all Senators defencemen not named Christon Philichenkov: Please inform management, at your earliest possible convenience, as to whether or not you actually know how to play this game in order to allow the more accurate manufacture of trade rumours and to better prepare our fans against their inevitable angst and rage. Also, please complete the section on questionnaire entitled "preferred travel arrangements". Thank you.
Now...about this whole Redden business:

There's been much gnashing of teeth in the MSM over the last couple of days over the audacity of Wade Redden refusing to waive his no trade clause, thereby quashing a potential deal with (reportedly) the Sharks. In fact, this morning's TSN The Reporters, spent a considerable amount of time flying into sanctimonious paroxysms of outrage over the fact. Unfortunately, they missed the real story. Namely that this entire episode was media driven from the start.

Some pissant TSN staffer looking to make his or her bones, caught wind of a "conversation" between Reds and Murray on Thursday morning. After asking a couple of vague questions to a few people within the organization, said staffer, thinking they've put two-and-two together, files a small story with the Mothership to the effect that Murray had inquired whether Reds would consent to a trade if one presented itself. Ten minutes later "REDDEN REFUSES TO WAIVE NO TRADE CLAUSE TO HELP TEAM" blares across the front page of TSN's website.

I'm not going to get into a big debate over "new" vs. "old" media here. For one thing it would take up way too much room, and besides, I don't have enough beer in me (yet) to work myself into a sufficiently frothing rage. But suffice to say, this is a prime example why MSM has lost all credibility in the eyes of so many. Murray wouldn't be doing his job if he hadn't asked Wade about the possibility of his accepting a trade. His job is to improve the team. Wade, as is his contractual right, said no. That should have been the end of it. But that wasn't sexy enough. The 24/7 News Cycle Beast must be fed, regardless of any completely manufactured distractions this may cause. We see the same effect every time some obscure scientific study notes an increase in the chance of "X" occurring if we keep doing "Y" gets spun by an overzealous news editor into the lead 11:00pm story as "DOING "Y" WILL KILL YOU!!"

It's cheap. It's unprofessional. It's sensationalist for no reason other than to scream LOOK AT ME! And it's the main reason we won't listen to any of you anymore.

Pithy Observations Questionable Importance:

Who says hockey fans don't pay attention? Before getting yanked after our third goal, Cristobal Huet was enjoying the usual taunting sing-song from the crowd. As some of you may be aware, a couple of weeks ago, he had kindly asked people to begin pronouncing his last name properly (Hue-ette as opposed to Hue-ay). So I was happy to hear the Ottawa fans oblige him with a rousing chorus of Huoooo-ETTE! Huooooo-ETTE! After all, we Sens fans are nothing if not polite. Not sure they would have caught that in Phoenix.

Creamy Middle:

BOO-YAH byotch! We'll put aside our shaky D and penchant for tempting the penalty kill fates (for the time being), and savour a statement win over our closest division rival when we needed it most. Our boys served notice that it's going to take a little bit more than that to knock us off our mountain folks. Count on it.

Up Next: Tuesday night, at home to Buffalo. Sportsnet has the coverage, so for those of you who didn't quite get enough of Dean Brown, statistical regurgitator extraordinaire and Gary Galley's former player/good old boy stories, you're in for a treat. As for the rest of us, we'll just have to stuff socks in our ears, or something.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Hello Canada! It's The Most Wonderful Day Of The Year!

I had a whole post written about Thursday's game against Florida. A bright, new, shiny Creamy Middle just sitting on the showroom floor. It was chock full of snarky, sarcastic goodness. I had fully planned to highlight the fantastic work from the 4th line (Schubeedoo, Spawn of Mike, and Gratz in your program kids) and using that to indulge in a little gloating after THE COACH finally listened to the mob and just rolled his lines for most of the game. It had an entire section entitled "Can't anybody play defence?" in which Mesz was singled out for his singularly putrid performance in a game that was far tighter then it needed to be. Then Doug The Plug rolled into town. A new face in the comments, Doug The Plug had this to say in my recap of the Habs game: this site is far too angry.

This gave me pause. I read his comment. I re-read my last few posts. Then I read his comment again. And I realized that he was absolutely right. It was far too angry. In the midst of one of the darkest stretches of Sens history since the bad old days of expansion, I had lost sight of why I love this game. And on this, of all days, that just wouldn't do. You see, it's Hockey Day In Canada. Not "Hockey Night In Canada", not "Three Hours Of Hockey Later This Evening", but a whole fucking day. And it's one of my favourite days of the year.

Why? Because I'm a sucker. Sure, the entire thing is a creation of a television network, an overwrought, saccharine and overly patriotic ploy to generate ratings, as my esteemed colleagues at Four Habs Fans point out here. I know that. But still, I'm powerless against it. And I defy anybody to watch the three hours on CBC before puck drop on the first game of a triple header (THREE games!), where t.v. crews set up in small towns and big cities across the country to remind us why hockey is the greatest sport on the planet, and not be affected by it, even just a little. A story on a special needs team in Richmond B.C., and how much it means to the kids playing, gives me goosebumps. The first shot of a house league Timbits practice, with six year olds flopping and falling all over the ice, never ever fails to turn me into a choked-up, blithering idiot (hell, I have trouble making it through one those stupid commercials). Besides, as completely manufactured, industry driven "faux holidays" go, Hockey Day In Canada kicks the shit out of Valentine's Day.

That's not to say that I won't be watching tonight's rematch with the Habs with a critical eye. I'll still take my notes, yell at my television and post angry comments about abysmal goaltending or crappy defensive zone coverage, using multiple exclamation points for emphasis at the FHF game thread (mostly because by that point, I will have been drinking beer for six hours or so). And, I imagine, that certain parts of my game post tomorrow will still be, while perhaps not angry, at the very least mildly annoyed. But maybe, just maybe, something somewhere in the more reptilian parts of my brain will remember that this is just a game, after all, the greatest game in the world.

So thanks Doug. I owe you one.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Habs 4, Sens 3: Well, It Has Finally Come To This: Dear Satan...

Alright, let's consult our handy pocket guide here. First comes Shock and Denial, characterized by disbelief, avoidance, and fear. Check. Next is Anger with its attendant frustration, embarassment and shame. Done and done. And I mean done. Now...let's see here...Yep! There it is. Bargaining. Meh, I wasn't really all that attached to my immortal soul anyway.

The Good:
  • Hey, we don't go on strike! We are solidly half-assed: Yes, I know. I'm reaching here, but cut me some slack will ya? I saw some good, spirited hockey from our boys in this game. The legs were going. Actual physical contact made on our opponent. Beating people to loose pucks. And every now and then there was a spark of something...something I can't quite put my finger on. What was that word again? It's been a while... Oh yeah! Emotion! That's what it was! Congratulations gentlemen, for six minutes in the first and most of the third, you almost had me believing you cared. Though, you probably would have been more convincing had you not spent the intervening time shitting yourselves.
  • Now witness the firepower of this fully armed and operati--What? Aw, crap. My bad: Proof that Dany Heatley is, in fact, a cyborg has been conclusively proven thusly: He's playing Thursday night against Florida, a full two weeks before he was "scheduled" to be back from a shoulder separation. And:
    Recovering from a hip strain, the captain says he's hopeful to be back for Saturday's home game against the Montreal Canadiens. [Ottawa Sun]
    I promise to sacrifice any number of rubber chickens to make this happen. See? Bar-gain-ing.
The Bad:
  • Somebody get Peter Sidorkiewicz on the phone!: Um...not sure you're aware of this Bryan, but we do have goalies in Bingo. No, really! Look it up. Jeff Something-or-Other. A really nice lad, or so I've heard. I might even let him date my sister. And really, what do we have to lose? And THE COACH could have that threesome he's been dreaming about for so long.
  • Leeeeavin' On a Jet Plane! Don't Know If I'll Be Back Again...: Thanks Wade. With what was possibly your absolute worst performance in a Senators uniform, you've now replaced Mighty Joe Corvo in the Likeliest Player Wearing A Condom Logo To Get His Ass Traded In The Next Twenty Days Sweepstakes. But I must say, that play in the 2nd where you coughed up the puck on our blue line to Maxim Lapierre, then made up for it by cross checking him only to have the Habs score what would turn out to be the winning goal on the ensuing powerplay? A rare trifecta indeed good sir. Truly inspired. Well played.
  • And lo, ye shall know them by their purity of heart...and opposing colours: Until Bryan Smolinski took a penalty for delay of game almost exactly at the half-way point of the second, the Sens hadn't so much as sniffed a power play in a game and a half. Now, I don't want to get off on a conspiratorial rant here, and the way our PP has played, this may have been the next best thing to having the ability to decline penalties, but c'mon. Can anyone honestly tell me that the Toronto Maple Leafs, of ALL teams, actually earned their first penalty free game since the halcyon days of Harold Ballard protecting janitorial child molesters? I'm looking at you Mr. Director of Officiating Stephen Walkom.
Pithy Observations of Questionable Importance:

There was a story on CTV Ottawa's six o'clock newscast earlier tonight that reveled in the adorable fact that a group of 12-13 year old Bantam players were at the Bank,
on Big League Ice for a "joint practice" with the Senators. The kids skated drills with them, and got to shoot on what the Sens coaching staff continue to insist on calling "professional goaltending". Awwww...wasn't that great? Yeah, really cute. So tell me, does the fact that the only thing going through my mind as I observed this heart warming scene was "Well, at least they won't beat the crap out of each other in practice this time" make me a bad person?

The Creamy Middle:

If we're looking for a slightly silver suckiness in the suckiest dark cloud that ever sucked, it's that we did show some, albeit small, signs of getting our shit together. A good shift here, some good grunt work there. Sure, it didn't come all at once, and by no means was it a consistent effort, but it was there. At least I think it was. Then again, I might have been drunk. Now, conventional wisdom holds that neither a junkie nor a flailing hockey team will reform themselves until they hit rock bottom. And for my money, hitting rock bottom for this team will come if and when we lose the division lead, which could happen as early as tomorrow night. Of course, there's always that bothersome little tenet that goes something like "The first step to curing a problem..." Bryan, admit it. We have a problem.

Up Next: Once again, we're playing well enough to suck the teats off of a pregnant goat, only to get the Panthers (fresh off an 8-0, "you're my prison bitch now" stomping of the Leafs it should be noted) tomorrow night at the Bank. I know all of my special places are tingling in anticipation of watching three hours of Jacques Martin's tutorial on how to grind any excitement out the sport. That said, it's like any other train wreck...we are powerless to look away.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Montreal Canadiens, Come On Down!! You're The Next Contestants On "Please Kick Our Ass!!"

Apologies to all (Hi Mom!). After a rather crappy Saturday night (see below), Beloved and I spent most of Sunday cleaning house (note to self: Never host a Super Bowl Party again...) and when coupled with an epic Monday hangover (note to self: Hosting Super Bowl Parties means you don't have to drive! WEE! Oh, and HA-HA!! Suck it Belichek!), the result is two post-less days.

That said, I would be remiss if I didn't point out that we'll be hanging out with our fondest interweb compadres, Four Habs Fans for this evening's edition of Ass Rape The Sens. There's fifteen minutes before puck drop as I write this, so I should have just enough time to fetch my ball gag and ask for the safety word.

But one last note before I go, COACH. Dean MacAmmond has just finished an interview on Sportsnet's pre-game show. When asked about his 10 minutes per game ice time and being on the revolving door that has become the fourth line, he said, and I'm quoting directly "Well, it would be nice to play with the same guys all the time. It's easier to build a little chemistry that way." Just sayin'...asshole.

Update: 4-3 Habs final. Despite our valiant heroes' finally deciding to show up in the third period in order to mount a feeble, and futile, comeback from three goals down, we still lost. Our division lead is now down to one point. More tomorrow, but I must say, this was probably the worst game I've ever seen Wade Redden play. Somebody remind me when the trade deadline is again?

Oh...and Jason? Do me a favour? The next time you find yourself deep in your own zone, down by one, less than a minute to play, with our goalie on the bench, try not to get knocked off the puck like a bulimic 12 year old ringette player. Thanks. That'd be GREAT! Fuckstick.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

An Open Letter To Bryan Murray: What Part Of "FIRE PADDOCK" Did You Not Understand?

Dear Bryan,

Please come back. Seriously. Get your ass behind that bench. I can't take it anymore. Not to put too fine a point on it, but John Paddock is an arrogant prick who can't be trusted with directing an Atom team through a weekend tournament, let alone an NHL team to a Cup final. And make no mistake, we are expecting nothing less.

We've just lost 4-2 to the Leafs. The Leafs!! Our lead in the division is down to three points. The Habs play tomorrow. We play them twice in the next seven days. We keep this up, and we're looking up at Montreal by this time next week, fourth in the conference, fighting for home ice in the first round.

He's lost the room, Bryan. You know that. Hell, I saw a shot of you tonight on HNIC that proved it, head buried in your hands, face looking like a sunburned shrimp it was so red. They aren't skating, they aren't hitting, they don't know what the hell they're supposed to be doing. The defence is as bad as it has been since the expansion years. I know you weren't here for that, but it wasn't a whole lot of fun, let me assure you.

So, to recap: He can't convince anybody not named "Alfredsson" or "Heatly" to score, his bench management is atrocious, he can't show our guys how to stop the other team from scoring, and he's single handedly destroyed both of our goalies. How much more do you need to see Bryan?

In case you don't quite grasp my point here, FIRE THE FUCKING COACH, BRYAN!!

Friday, February 1, 2008

Bruins 4, Sens 1: I Deride Your Truth Handling Ability

Paddock announced afterward that Ray Emery will start against the Maple Leafs tomorrow at Air Canada Centre. Goalie Martin Gerber, who allowed three goals on seven shots in the first, wasn't great, but didn't seem thrilled when he heard the news that Emery will be between the pipes.

"No comment," said Gerber.
Five For Smiting's crack team of cryptologists has spent all day...most of the afternoon...the last ten minutes poring over Swiss Pastry's interview, teasing the real message out from this statement. Consulting nothing but a WWII Enigma machine, some tea leaves and the evil monkey in our closet, we've decoded Pastry's words in order to discover their real meaning:

Son, we live in a world that has nets. And those nets have to be guarded by men with pads. Who's gonna do it? You? You, Ray Emery? I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep for Nikolai Khabibulin and you curse Martin Gerber. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know: That Emery’s implosion, while tragic, probably saved your Cup. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves Cups.

You don't want the truth. Because deep down, in places you don't talk about at parties, you want me in that net. You need me in that net. We use words like honour, code, loyalty...we use these words as the backbone to a life spent defending something. You use 'em as a headline.

I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very goaltending I provide, then questions the manner in which I provide it. I'd prefer you just said thank you and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a stick and stand between the posts. Either way, I don't give a damn what you think you're entitled to.

Look COACH, I realize that you have to stand by your ego word. But I also want you to know that by doing what you're doing now, neither one of our "goaltenders" will be in any shape to play worth a damn come April and no amount of save-ass press conferences will keep you from wearing it. I'll see to it.

Let Pastry play.

Creamy Middle: Ten minutes. Two turnovers (thanks Jason!...asshat). One bad faceoff. Three goals. Game over. That was this game in a nutshell. For future reference, any time you hear the play-by-play guy scream "And there goes the shutout!" when the losing team scores a (disallowed) goal with nine minutes to go in the first period, you know it's going to be a bad night.

Up Next: After an eternity, the Battle of Ontario resumes at the ACC tomorrow night. Since the Laffs are involved, I'm assuming we're getting the CBC coast-to-coast treatment. Considering how we've been playing lately, and what happened last time, I can only hope that Grapes' semen stains are water soluble.

Behind Enemy Lines (...ish): Be sure to drop in on the other Battle of Ontario for all of your taunting needs. I know I'll be there. Because, you know, I haven't quite been kicked in the nuts often enough.