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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.