Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Ottawa 6 Florida 3

With no local TV covering the game, you’ll be without my indepth, often genius analysis of the game. A shame, I know.

But even having not seen anything more than the highlights, it’s probably fair to assert that last night in Sunrise was the coming out party for Brandon Bochenski. He scored a hat-trick, and assisted on another goal, giving him six points in three games since being called back up.

I have to say, I’m eating a bit of crow here. I was very much against calling up Bochenski over Patrick Eaves who looked a whole lot better when he was in the line-up than the man they call Bo. However, this is one of those rare instances where I’m quite glad to be wrong.

Now, they’re no telling if this will last. Based on how he tore it up in the pre-season, and then shit the bed once the regular season started, it’s probably wouldn’t be out of line to suggest Bochenski’s a streaky scorer, so he could very well go 10 games without putting the puck in again.

But according to those who saw the game, even beyond the goals, Bochenski was doing all the other things right last night. The things he wasn’t doing in his previous stint. Skating hard, going to the net consistently, backchecking with some vigor, and positioning himself well for rebounds.

With still no definitive word on how long Martin Havlat will be out with this damn shoulder injury, there’s no telling how long Bochenski will even be with the Senators, but if he keeps scoring at this rate, he’ll secure himself a job regardless of who’s healthy. And if the worst case scenario becomes reality, and Havlat’s gone until the playoffs, Ottawa will need someone with Bochenski’s scoring touch in the line-up.


Another extended break, though it was supposed to be even longer, as last night’s game against the Panthers was a make-up affair. The Sens will travel West to get another taste of the Western Conference, first visiting the Vancouver Canucks Friday night. The Canucks, on the surface, appear to be, yet again, one of the Western powers, but it seems what team you’ll be facing depends on where the game is played. They’re nearly unbeatable on home ice, but when on the road, become significantly inferior. Unfortunately for the Senators, the game’s in Vancity, but if nothing else, it’ll be a good test for them.

Zdeno Chara will be back after serving his suspension, and Wade Redden could be as well. He’s resumed skating, and is targeting Friday as his return date, but it’s hardly concrete, and it doesn’t seem like he or the organization is rushing it. Especially since Christoph Schubert has been so solid in his place.


At 9:16 AM, Anonymous David Johnson said...

This is a game that with better goaltending and better refereeing Florida could have won. Florida outplayed Ottawa in the first period but Luongo let in a Neil goal which he should have stopped and a bad luck deflection off of a Panther defenders skate resulted in a 2-2 tie after the first. Florida could have easily been up 2-0 after the first.

The second period Ottawa dominated but it was the second period that featured some missed penalty calls that might have helped Florida stop Ottawa's momentum. Early in the second Chris Neil had an obvious high stick on a Florida player (might have been Gelinas) that was not called. A little later on a Florida player was hauled down right in front of the Ottawa goal that was not called only to have a similar (but less obvious) penalty called on Krajicek about 10 seconds later. That penalty led to Alfredsson's power play goal and the 4-2 lead. I didn't watch all of the third period but what I saw was fairly even but again, Luongo didn't play great.

The top line of Alfredsson-Spezza-Heatley were all but shut down. While the Senators had 43 shots on the night, Spezza and Heatley combined for zero and both were a -1. Alfredsson had 5 shots but several of those (including his goal) came while playing the point on the power play.

And Havlat, he's going to be out for a while. I wouldn't expect him back until the new year unless he needs surgery then it might be late March or early April, but likely before the playoffs.

At 12:07 PM, Blogger Groane said...

Sheesh, talk about grasping at straws...
"some missed penalty calls that might have helped Florida stop Ottawa's momentum."
Wake up. The cats got crushed.

At 12:16 PM, Blogger Andy said...

Ottawa looked rough in the 1st, but they played a decent 2nd and a strong 3rd.

Chris, you should order NHL Centre Ice from Rogers. It'll set up back $30/month with the digital box and you get every Ottawa game (which is great given that i live in Toronto) as well as ANY televised NHL game. No more radio broadcasts AND you can watch killer out of town games too. DO IT!

At 12:35 PM, Blogger CMcMurtry said...

1) Dave, it seems like you're putting a negative spin on the game. They were playing without their two best defencemen and one of their top five forwards and still dominated the Panthers.

2) Andy, I had the Centre Ice package in years past and got burned as far as not getting all the Sens games, so I've sort of swormn off Rogers in that sense. I'm alright with missing a game every month.

Besides, I already watch too much hockey as it is. If I had that many games at my disposal, I might never leave the house.

At 1:32 PM, Anonymous David Johnson said...

I am pointing out facts. In the first period Ottawa was clearly out played and if it weren't for a bad goal let in by Luongo and a bad deflection off of Van Ryn's skate, the game would have been 2-0 for Florida after 20 minutes. This was not one of Ottawa's best games. Some of that can be attributed to misisng Chara, Redden and Havlat but Spezza and Heatley still combined for **ZERO** shots. Try as you might, you can't spin that fact into something that sounds positive. Ottawa did have 43 shots in the game, but 21 of them came from defensemen and a few others came from Alfredsson while playing the point on power plays so their shot total is somewhat misleading. They didn't get as many high quality scoring chances as they do most games. And yes, if goaltending was equal, Florida might have been able to pull out a win.

If that is being negative, I apologize. But it is also reality.

At 2:08 PM, Blogger CMcMurtry said...

Again, if you say so Dave. You're always shitting on the Senators, and every other account has the Sens dominating them for the majority of the game.

So pardon me if I'm not taking what you say at face value.

At 2:22 PM, Blogger Groane said...

How does it matter who the hell was taking those shots? If the Cats pulled out a win after getting outshot 43 to 29 and taking twice as many dumb penalties, the Sens would have gotten robbed. Florida wasn't anywhere near winning last night's game.

At 3:25 PM, Anonymous David Johnson said...

Chris: Maybe I am overly pessimistic but have you ever thought that maybe you are overly optimistic? I mean, you really do seem to know a lot for someone who watched exactly 0 minutes of the game.

By all accounts Luongo didn't play a great game and by all accounts Ottawa was out played in the first period and by all accounts were lucky to come out of it with a 2-2 tie. And by the score sheet two of Ottawa's best players had zero shots and were both a -1 and that wasn't because Florida is a dominating defensive juggernaught. It's because Spezza and Heatley **didn't play well** and just because the Senators won doesn't change that.

But it's not just last night. Over the last 4 games your "Cash" line has combined for just 5 goals and 10 points, for 2.5 points per game. They had 114 points in the first 21 games, or 5.4 points per game. On the season the Senators have been held to 27 or fewer shots just 4 times, 3 of those times in the last 4 games. The only other time it happened was the first game of the year. No matter how you slice it, they haven't been as dominant in the past 4 games against generally sub-par competition as they have for the most of the previous 21 and it's not like they were playing top tier teams either. Boston and Florida have been horrible all year, Montreal was playing without Kovalev, and at least half of their defensemen and Los Angeles is only an average defensive team. Ottawa's next 4 games are against Vancouver, Calgary, Colorado and Dallas and if they play them like the last 4 games they will be in tough to come out better than 2-2.

groane: Would you rather have Brian Pothier taking a shot from the blue line or Heatley shooting a one-timer from 15 feet out on a cross ice pass from Spezza? Still think all shots are the same?

At 3:47 PM, Blogger Groane said...

Actually, I could care less who's doing the shooting. Or how they're doing it. As long as the team is shooting like hell -- which they did. And the goals are going in. Seriously, I don't know how you can knock the Sens on a pretty solid team effort. In fact, I was only a little surprised it was only a 6-3 game.
Is something else going on here that I don't know about?

At 4:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


The Senators are not good at something: Losing.

Thank you.

At 4:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Chris:

Love your blog dude.

Do you post on HF?

At 4:04 PM, Anonymous David Johnson said...

Actually, I could care less who's doing the shooting.

Well, I can guarantee you that there are 29 other teams which would much rather see Pothier shooting the puck than Heatley.

At 7:11 PM, Anonymous Duff said...

You can't have Pizza every night!

At 7:52 PM, Blogger Groane said...

I guess we might as well end our disagreement on an entirely incomprehensible note.

At 11:10 PM, Anonymous steve d said...

David Johnson, you are comedic gold. I know deep down you have respect for the sens, since you do have them as a solid first place in your power rankings. I just find it difficult to take you seriously with comments like, for example, "I didn't think that Ottawa played that great of a game" when they win 8-0. There is no such thing as a perfect hockey game (only baseball has such a thing). I'm happy with damn good.

At 7:17 AM, Blogger Andrew said...

I have Center Ice so saw the game. While there were definately some missed calls that hurt Florida (Neil's high stick, and an obvious trip in front of the Sens net), the Panthers were alllowed a fair bit more clutch & grab than I've seen in a while. The reffing was bad, yes, but it was consistently bad against both teams.


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