Monday, January 02, 2006

Atlanta 8 Ottawa 3

THE GOOD:

A nice, big slice of humble pie. Sometimes games like this are needed. Needed to show a team riding a high that they’re not invincible and that even if they are more talented, they have to bring their A game or they’ll be on the losing end of the stick. This was one of those instances, I think, though truth be told, I’m not sure the score is indicative of how the game was. Even though they went into the first intermission down 3-0, the Sens didn’t play a bad period and had a bounce or a break gone the right way they could’ve been up. Unfortunately, they couldn’t capitalize on all their chances and the Thrashers did. Every time. That second period was what really decided the game. After scoring two goals to lower the score to 4-2 you could feel the momentum swinging away from the Thrashers and over, even if only slightly, towards Ottawa. However, the Senators weren’t able to sustain this, and quickly gave up another goal. This deflated them thoroughly, and it might as well have been called a game right then and there because none of the guys on the ice showed an indication they had an interest in playing a competitive game from that moment forward.

The Binghamton Senators are doing very well. There’s some good news for ya!

THE BAD:

More injury troubles. While I doubt it’ll end up being a serious matter, the last thing the Ottawa Senators needed was another important played on the sidelines hurt. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that Hasek’s back gets better soon, and that the hockey gods don’t continue to send bad luck this team’s way.

22 missed shots. Compared to Atlanta’s 6, this was massive. Mike Fisher alone had four (as did Patrick Eaves) and three of them were excellent scoring chances that had Fisher in the slot. I’ve been groaning about this team’s propensity to miss the net for a while but it sure hits home in a game like this. Bryan Murray really needs to get this corrected ASAP.

Playing without Daniel Alfredsson. The Senators have had to face their face share of adversity already this season, from when Martin Havlat was suspended for five games to his season ending injury, to losing Wade Redden for two weeks, to this recent run without Jason Spezza. Throughout it all, however, there was one force present who was able to calm the waters most nights: Alfredsson. And so without him in the line-up, they’re a very inferior hockey club. In that aforementioned key moment where it was 4-2, Alfredsson would’ve stepped up in some way, put the team on his back. You could see without him there, the club was lost.

The effort from most of the key players. I’m looking at you, Wade and Zdeno. I can’t recall a game where these two, collectively, played so poorly. Neither were finishing their checks and often got exposed in their own end. Not like everyone around them performed admirably either.

Ray Emery. I can’t hold him too close to the fire, because he only found out he was playing 15 minutes before the puck was dropped, but this game did not reassure me that the Senators will be okay if Hasek goes down with that serious injury everyone else in the hockey world seems to think is inevitable.

The Atlanta fans booing Dany Heatley. I get that fans can be disgruntled about a player leaving, as we all get a lot of fun out of booing the shit out of Alexei Yashin whenever the Islanders come to town, but did this situation really warrant such a response? Yeah, he asked to be traded, but surely most of us can understand why. Heatley did it in a respectful manner and did not go to the media and make a fuss. It was disappointing to see him received so poorly by people who, 18 months ago, embraced him so warmly. Let’s hope Marian Hossa gets a warmer homecoming whenever Atlanta comes to the Corel Centre.

THE OPPOSITION:

Atlanta can score goals. This much we knew already. What we didn’t, however, was that they can against the alleged best team in the NHL, and the club that had allowed, up to that point, the fewest amount in the league.

Much props have to go to Marian Hossa. He proved why so many in Ottawa were disappointed to see him leave town. We’re happy with Dany Heatley (though not as much as we were, say, 48 hours ago), but some of those moves would’ve looked good in a Sens uniform still instead of those fugly Thrashers sweaters. Hossa showed regardless of where he’s playing, he can take over a game, and boy did he.

His ability to take over a game remains second to none in the league, and though it hurt me deeply to see him blow by Wade Redden the way he used to defencemen on every other team in the league, part of me is happy to see him doing so well down south.

Atlanta beat the shit out of Ottawa, yeah, but this was hardly the Sens’ A game. Hell, it wasn’t even their D game. Far too many guys didn’t come to play and those that did just didn’t have it around the net to make it a game. Atlanta was outskating them, outworking them, and just wanted it more.

UP NEXT:

Hopefully, a severe tongue lashing from the coach. But truth be told, it may not even be necessary. The embarrassment of getting blown out the way they did, in front of the entire country on TSN, should be motivation enough and hopefully doesn’t require any additional ingredients.

The team travels to Washington for a Wednesday night affair, once again on national TV, and in theory, you’d think it would be a cakewalk for them, but without Daniel Alfredsson, likely without Dominik Hasek, and with half the people in the line-up playing like they should be in the press box, it could be another humiliating experience.

Please Daniel, come back. Save us.

4 Comments:

At 10:48 AM, Blogger d-lee said...

On a nightly basis, Atlanta is not a world-beating team. However, they have some je ne sais quoi that allows them to kick the shit out of a red hot team. As a Hurricanes fan, I know this too well. It was at their hands that our early season 9-game winning streak came to an end. They served us a very large slice of that humble pie.
I don't know how they do it, but they do.

I wouldn't sweat the Crapitals game, though.

 
At 11:48 AM, Anonymous David Johnson said...

Atlanta is a very good team when they get good goaltending. Their forwards are every bit as good as Ottawa's. Kovalchuk-Savard-Hossa is every bit as good as Alfredsson-Spezza-Heatley and they have experienced depth with guys like Kozlov, Bondra, Holik and Mellanby. Atlanta's defense doesn't have a Chara or Redden on it but it isn't horrid either and now that Lehtonen is healthy again they should be able to get some solid goaltending which will make them a very good team. They are 8-1-3 in their last 12 games. Don't underestimate Atlanta. I wouldn't want to face them in the playoffs.

 
At 3:54 PM, Blogger pale said...

Sens are always brutal in afternoon games especially Redden - good thing they only have a couple a year!

 
At 12:05 AM, Blogger aquietgirl said...

Sens are always brutal in afternoon games especially Redden - good thing they only have a couple a year!

Why is that? Drugs? Alcohol? I hate to think that this can cost us in the playoffs.

 

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