Sunday, October 30, 2005

Ottawa 8 Toronto 0

THE GOOD:

Total domination.
The Senators beat the Maple Leafs 8-0. What else needs to be said?

Dany Heatley’s four straight goals. Talk about a dominating effort. And the Thrashers lost again. Hey Marian, how you liking Atlanta?

The second line of Mike Fisher-Bryan Smolinski-Daniel Alfredsson. I was very critical of Smolinski’s play, as in addition to not contributing offensively, he often looked like he was coasting out there ala Radek Bonk. But ever since rookie Patrick Eaves was put onto this line, they’ve gotten their act together, and I thought, as a unit, last night was their best game. They were creating a lot of chances in the Leafs end, moving the puck very well, . It was nice to Fisher get his first goal of the season as well. He struggled in his first game back against the Habs Thursday night, but looked very solid Saturday against the Leafs. Strong on the forecheck and very good on the PK. Smolinski was cycling well and distributing the puck like he’s supposed to, and Alfredsson was his usual steady self. All the press will, and should go to Dany Heatley, but I thought this group deserved some recognition.

Dominik Hasek’s timely saves. While the Leafs didn’t put up much of a fight, there were moments, when the game wasn’t totally out of reach for the Buds, that they were putting pressure on “The Dominator”. He held firm and they were unable to get any momentum going.

Brian McGrattan KOing Tie Domi. You can probably count on one hand the number of times someone knocked Domi down and out and bloodied him with a punch (no, Richard Persson, you do not count). I really think that was a demoralizing moment for the rest of the Leafs players, as they saw one of their heart and soul guys get knocked the fuck out by a rookie. I have to hand it to Domi though. Even with, likely, a broken nose, he still came back out in a timely fashion and maintained his play on the ice, still finishing checks and trying to stir something, anything, up. No one can question his toughness. Don Cherry made a comment after the game about being disappointed that no other Leafs went at McGrattan, but I truly think they were so shocked they didn’t know how to respond. And who would’ve? Wade Belak already had a broken nose. Nathan Perrott has never been a true heavyweight. Who? Eric Lindros? The Sens would’ve taken that trade off in a heartbeat. Same for McCabe. Even though it had nothing to do with the scoresheet, this was a big moment in the game, and could end up being a big one overall in the Battle Of Ontario.

Darcy Tucker getting knocked silly. I know, I know, I’m a terrible person for taking pleasure in the misfortune of others, but there are only a handful of players in the league who would fall into this category and Tucker is at the top of that list. It wasn’t very hard to be happy at the sight of Tucker laying motionless on the ice when I saw the replay of a play moments earlier when he went headhunting on Anton Volchenkov.

The penalty killing. I’ve talked about it before, but it warrants another mention: the penalty killing is SO much better this year under Bryan Murray than it was the for the last few years when Jacques Martin was at the helm. The Leafs came in with the best powerplay in the NHL and were completely shut down by the Senators.

Christoph Schubert. Solid, but unspectacular play from the rookie in his first ever career game. He took a bad hooking penalty in the second period that was just a result of laziness, but overall I liked his game. He was very physical in his own end, and unlike Brian Pothier, was not easy to move off the puck. I was questioning the decision to put him on the powerplay, even with the Sens already way up on the scoreboard, but I guess they just wanted to get him as much ice time as possible (he ended up playing over 17 minutes). I’d like to see him get some more game action soon, as in the next couple, to see how if he can keep it up.

Chris Kelly’s first NHL goal. It meant very little in the big picture, as it was already way out of hand by then, but Kelly’s been mucking and grinding all year, so it was nice to see him get rewarded with a goal. When Martin Havlat comes back from his suspension, the team will have a decision to make as far as sending a player down, and I think Kelly’s play has at least made that call difficult.

THE BAD:

Only eight goals scored. Really now, that’s all they could put up? I was hoping for double digits. They probably could’ve but Murray decided to be a gentleman and not try to run up the score. Does anyone think Pat Quinn would’ve done the same? I sure don’t.

HNIC not showing replays of the McGrattan knockout. Am I out of line or being paranoid in suggesting that had it been Domi knocking Gratts down and out, that would’ve not only been replayed a few times but Cherry would’ve had it on his post game spiel?

John Muckler and Leafs GM John Ferguson Jr. conversing like pals on the HNIC pre-game show. I’m all for professionalism, but in a rivalry like this, can the GMs at least pretend to dislike each other? I don’t think you’d see Theo Epstein and George Steinbrenner standing together talking about baseball before a Red Sox-Yankees game.

THE OPPOSITION:

Remember in my preview when I said we hadn’t seen both teams play be on their A-game against each other? I still don’t think we have. The Sens were clearly rolling out there, but the Leafs looked, well, absolutely terrible. I would say they were tired, but they only played on Thursday, as did the Senators. I haven’t seen enough Leaf games this season to have any explanation beyond they’re just not a very good team. Every club has off nights, but yikes, that should go down as one of the worst in the history of the franchise. Their were no bright spots. None. It was terrible. I did feel bad for Steffan Kronwall out there. His first NHL game and he had to be paired with the pylon that is Wade Belak. He was –3 for the night. As someone who I watched the game with noted, when the Senators have a very bad game, they beat the Leafs in a shootout 3-2. When the Leafs do, they lose by 8 goals. Leaf Nation, you have officially lost any right to talk smack. Maybe ever. Hope and pry this serves as a wake up call to this club and not a window into what your season will look like.

UP NEXT:

Unfortunately, the Senators will have little time to bask in the glory of beating the shit out of the Leafs up and down the ACC as they’re back in action tomorrow night back at home, with the Flyers coming to town. It will be an interesting test though, as the Flyers are one of the better teams in the Eastern Conference. If they can beat the Leafs on their own ice 8-0 and then beat the Flyers the next night, the Senators should get an abundance of confidence.

21 Comments:

At 1:08 AM, Anonymous David Johnson said...

I didn't think that Ottawa played that great of a game. For a team that supposedly dominated, the shots were just 33-27 in the Sens advantage. The 8-0 score is more indicative of how bad the Leafs played in their own end as much as how good Ottawa played. At least 5 of the 8 goals you can directly attribute to a bad Belfour rebound, or an intercepted pass or an extremely soft play by a Leaf defenseman. You have to give Ottawa credit for capitalizing on their chances, but the chances were given to them as much as created by them.

Another 'Bad' might be Ottawa's power play as they were only 1 for 8 scoring only with the 2 man advantage.

 
At 1:18 AM, Blogger CMcMurtry said...

I didn't think that Ottawa played that great of a game.

Of course you don't. I'm surprised you didn't try to dismiss the win as a "skills competition victory".

 
At 7:27 AM, Anonymous David Johnson said...

I could go through it goal by goal to prove my point if you like, but you won't listen of course. But just look at goal #1. Belfour picks up the puck behind the net, throws it around the boards right to Alfredsson, Alfredsson immediately dishes it out to Fisher 15 feet in front of the net and Fisher one-times it in past Belfour who had not yet got settled back in goal. Ottawa didn't create that opportunity as much as Toronto gave it to them. Ottawa had a good game, but not a great, dominating game as the lopsided score would suggest.

And no, the skills competition is the shootout. It is part of the rules so whoever wins the shootout gets the win, but it is not real hockey and I am sure even you will agree to that.

 
At 8:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

>> Dany Heatley’s four straight goals. Talk about a dominating effort. And the Thrashers lost again. Hey Marian, how you liking Atlanta?<<

Hossa hasn't killed a teammate yet. Maybe the Thrashers are content with the deal.

 
At 11:13 AM, Anonymous Duff Wormburner said...

Darcy Tucker is such a lousy actor that even his trainers didn't come out onto the ice to help him.If the league is considering suspensions for diving then Tucker sure has made the case!!!!

 
At 2:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

DJ: All these plays you are breaking down and such: Those are called HOCKEY.

 
At 3:45 PM, Anonymous David Johnson said...

To the guy who doesn't have the guts to identify himself: Yeah, I never said they weren't hockey. I'm just saying that at least half the goals were on opportunities the Leafs gave to the Sens, not so much ones the Sens created from hard work, smart play, skill, and talent. That doesn't mean they didn't play a good game. They did. But they didn't dominate to the extent you might assume from an 8-0 score. In fact, in the first, before the game got out of hand, I thought the game was choppy with little flow through the neutral zone. Of course, I wouldn't expect a Sens fan to recognize this because they just looked at the 8-0 score and say, cool, we gave it to the Leafs tonight.

 
At 4:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Johnson, you should work spin for the White House. They could use some of your expertise right about now.

 
At 4:55 PM, Blogger CMcMurtry said...

Of course, I wouldn't expect a Sens fan to recognize this because they just looked at the 8-0 score and say, cool, we gave it to the Leafs tonight.

You mean they didn't?

As far the "Sens didn't play that good, it's that the Leafs played that bad" argument, I think I can feel safe in speaking for most Sens fans in saying that we take as much pride in the misfortune of the Leafs as we do our own success. So we'll take that.

The real question is, still think the Leafs defence is as good as Ottawa's?

 
At 4:57 PM, Blogger CMcMurtry said...

Hossa hasn't killed a teammate yet. Maybe the Thrashers are content with the deal.

If they're content with being tied for last place in the league, then they're running some kind of operation over there.

Also, I assume you're the same person who brought up Dany Heatley "killing" a teammate back when he was traded. Is it too much to ask you identify yourself rather than hiding people the anonymous tag? I don't mind anonymous comments, but when they're of this variety, I do. Grow some balls.

 
At 5:21 PM, Anonymous David Johnson said...

The real question is, still think the Leafs defence is as good as Ottawa's?

I don't think I ever said that explicitly. Mostly I was trying to point out that Ottawa's defense lacked expereinced depth and that the Leafs defense was underrated. To some extent I have been proven right. Pothier has been sub-par which resulted in him being a healthy scratch. Meszaros has been better than expected but the season is still early.

At the time I also didn't expect Belak to play defense which in my mind is a terrible mistake. I don't understand why Quinn likes Belak so much as much of the Leafs defense woes center around him. Belak is a -9 while McCabe, Kaberle, Klee, Khavanov and Berg are -9 combined.

Ottawa's played great and they are a great team. But remember, they aren't going to finish the year 72-10. They are going to go through bad stretches and they are going to struggle at times. And yes, they might even lose a game by 8 goals. Maybe even to the Leafs. So just remember how smug you are right now when that time comes because although I myself won't stoop to the level of 'I told you so' or 'your team sucks' other Leaf fans might.

 
At 5:40 PM, Blogger CMcMurtry said...

I don't think I ever said that explicitly.

If you say so.

Mostly I was trying to point out that Ottawa's defense lacked expereinced depth and that the Leafs defense was underrated. To some extent I have been proven right.

How have you been proven right about Toronto's defence being underrated? Beyond the Kaberle-McCabe combo, they've been pretty either average or awful, have they not? I've only seen four Leafs games, but in the ones I saw, Ken Klee looked very ordinary, Aki Berg was terrible, and Wade Belak was even worse. Khavanov was alright, I suppose.

As for their lack of experienced depth on D, who does Toronto have? All of their call-up options are rookies while Ottawa has two guys in Lance Ward and Tomas Malec with NHL experience.

Pothier has been sub-par which resulted in him being a healthy scratch.

He wasn't scratched because of his play, though he probably could've been. It was to get Schubert game action.

So just remember how smug you are right now when that time comes because although I myself won't stoop to the level of 'I told you so' or 'your team sucks' other Leaf fans might.

Oh, give me a break. Ottawa beats the Leafs by eight goals on national TV, in their own building, and I'm not allowed to gloat a little?

Of course the Sens will lose some games, and it's very possible one of them will be to the Leafs as in the five games left between them, it's doubtful they'd sweep the Buds, but can we not be just a tad smug when we dominate (and yes, they dominated them last night, regardless of how you want to spin it Iraqi Minister Of Information style) our biggest rival? Is that not allowed?

If the Leafs had even beaten Ottawa by a single goal I can guarantee I could go to the Battle Of Ontario blog and see countless posts by now about how great the world is.

So when the Senators embarass the shit out of Toronto in front of their own fans, please believe Sens fans, who've had to eat a whole lot of shit from Leaf Nation (and justifiably so), are going to give it back just a bit.

 
At 5:46 PM, Anonymous Sens fan in Flagstaff said...

Hey - are there pics of the McGrattan-Domi scrap out there somewhere? It sounded great on the satellite radio here in Arizona, but I imagine it looked even better.

 
At 6:42 PM, Anonymous Duff Wormburner said...

I don't know if ther are any pics of the scrap out there but if you take your pumpkin and drop it of your roof onto the sidewalk you will get a really good idea of how Domi's nose looks.....ps.what does Domi say at Halloween?..tnick or tneat....LOL

 
At 7:16 PM, Anonymous David Johnson said...

Considering Klee missed all of training camp, I think he has progressed well. In 10 games he has a goal, 2 assists and is a -1. If you look at those numbers they are quite comparable to Chris Phillips. They are similar defensemen with similar skills and similar numbers.

Lance Ward and Tomas Malec.
Ooooohhhhh. They'll instill fear in the opposition. Lance Ward is probably on par with Wade Belak. A bit of a tough guy who can play forward and defence but neither very well. Malec experienced? He is 23 years old and has 43 games of NHL experience. If that is experience, you've got low standards.

Hey, you can be smug, just remember, it might come back at you.

 
At 9:50 PM, Blogger CMcMurtry said...

Lance Ward and Tomas Malec.
Ooooohhhhh. They'll instill fear in the opposition. Lance Ward is probably on par with Wade Belak. A bit of a tough guy who can play forward and defence but neither very well. Malec experienced? He is 23 years old and has 43 games of NHL experience. If that is experience, you've got low standards.


As opposed to zero, I'd say yeah, that is experience.

Hey, you can be smug, just remember, it might come back at you.

Of course it can. That's part of being a hockey fan. Did you tell Leaf fans not to celebrate beating Ottawa every year because maybe, just maybe, they might lose the next round? Of course not.

Such a Debbie Downer...

 
At 10:58 PM, Anonymous David Johnson said...

You can be smug but you also have to be objective.

 
At 10:57 AM, Anonymous pete said...

Leaf fans have officially lost the right to talk smack?

Come on, man. We're Leaf fans! What's the point of living if we can't strut around like we own the place?

Enjoy the win. I think that game was maybe 75% Sens awesomeness and 25% Leaf crappiness, but you're right. That was complete domination, on all fronts.

Fortunately, we'll live to fight again. I recall Don Cherry said after the season-closer (two season ago, I think) when the Leafs embarrassed the Sens 6-1 or something to win home ice for the 1st round over the Sens, and Cherry said "this is the worst thing that could happen to Toronto"

He was right. Chutzpah aside, you know this win means nothing for the Sens ultimate goal of winning the cup. So ramp up the rhetoric even more if you want, because I'm sure you enjoy making Leaf fans feel like shit as much as Leaf fans enjoy making you feel like shit.

We'll see you again in December, but more importantly, you know we'll see you again in May. And I'll give you an iron-clad guarantee that no matter what happens it'll go 6 games at least. :)

Until then, you can bask in the glory of beating the Leafs 8-0 in October, and I'll bask in the glory of beating the Sens in May. Repeatedly.

Keep up the good work. I enjoy your site a great deal.

 
At 11:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a Sens fans, was glad to see the win -- but have to give Leaf fans credit. With the score 7-0 in the third, still hard pressed to see an empty seat in the rink on TV, and they're still cheering like mad when the Leafs press for a goal. Maybe it's sheer blind devotion, but most rinks would have been empty by then.

 
At 11:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When the fans must give there first born or their left arm or both to get tickets, they stay for the entire game!

 
At 5:48 PM, Anonymous missy said...

The Senators and the Leafs went out for dinner one night. None of the Toronto players were hungry so they all eight nothing :)

 

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