Monday, February 06, 2006

I'd like to oblige, but...

Kevin over at the BFLO Blog, a weblog that covers all things Buffalo, which right now means the Sabres, as well as the Best Show On Television, wanted something from me I can't provide.

(by the way, why is it that the Sabres have two good blogs about them while I can't find a decent blog about 15 other teams?)

Hockey Country usually has a very complete wrapup of every Senators game. For an outsider opinion, you may want to go visit there later and get their take on tonights game.

My prediction: they probably won’t make as big a deal out of a shootout loss as we will out of a shootout win. And rightly so. This game meant much more to Buffalo than it did to Ottawa.

I'm not sure who "they" are, but the truth is, because the game wasn't televised locally, I didn't see it. Yes, I am too cheap to spring for the CentreIce package. Join the 50 other people I know who've told me I need to if you must.

I was prepared to rip those pricks at the CBC a new one for not carrying the game, because on paper it seemed like a great matchup, however, based on all accounts, it was a pretty dull game that failed to live up the lofty expectations I had, so I can't be too mad at them. It wouldn't be a bad idea to add a few more Sens games to their schedule though.

What's more disturbing than the fact Ottawa lost, because really, losing in a shootout to maybe the hottest team in the league isn't a big deal, especially when it was their third game in four nights, is that Ottawa once again choked in the shootout.

If you were to rewind the clock to the first week of October, this would have been hard to believe. After all, it was then that they beat the Leafs in the shootout twice. Ottawa was able to score and had a goalie who looked to be unbeatable in nets. Sens fans were basking in the reality that should the game go to the newly instituted decider, their team would be fine.

My oh my how things have changed. Ottawa has now lost their last three shootout appearances. Fine. You're not going to win them all. However, in all three, they have failed to score a single goal.

The highest scoring team in the NHL, with two guys in the league's top five goal scorers, can't score in the shootout.

And the truth is, I have no explanation for why this is the case.

Daniel Alfredsson is usually money on a breakaway. Almost all of his shorthanded goals have come that way. When he is in all alone, you can basically cue up the celebratory song because the red light is sure to be lit. Mike Fisher, though not as dependable as Alfie on a breakaway, is still usually quite good. So why can't either of them score in the shootout?

Logic would dictate that it's more difficult to score on a breakaway. The player usually has to worry about a backchecking defender as well as the prospect that, if he misses, it might create an odd man rush the other way.

One theory I've seen thrown out there is that the Sens practice their shootouts on Ray Emery, who's notoriously shitty on one-on-ones, and thus, haven't really had to work hard to score on him. Therefore, their shootout skills aren't up to snuff. Suggesting they practice on Dominik Hasek, widely considered among the best in the league on breakaways and shootouts, isn't worth your breath, because why risk an injury in practice?

Another is that they miss Martin Havlat. They do. He's a dynamic player and was quite good on breakaways. But he's solely responsible for their woes? Did he take the team's ability to score in shootouts with him when he went under the knife?

I'd love to say I have the cure to what ails this team, but unfortunately, that's not the case. I have no explanation, other than they haven't scored in a while there and thus their confidence isn't strong.

How to correct it? Who can say. Maybe bring in a beer league goalie for a few hours and let the entire team take runs at him to boost their self esteem in one-on-one situations. I know a few guys who would gladly volunteer to be humiliated by the guys if it means they'll start netting some goals.

Thankfully, there are no shootouts when it matters most.

Did I mention I'm now on board with the "take this foolishness out of the game!!!!!" cause?

So sorry Kevin, I have no thoughts. Apparently this pleases Christina Abt though.

Who cares what they think or how they wrap it up…
I'm crushed.

5 Comments:

At 6:35 PM, Blogger Tom L said...

Chris,

You can count me as one of those who would have liked to have known what you thought about the game... as a matter of fact I popped on over here first that night after the game hoping you'd already put up your account so I could link to it from mine... oh well.

As well, I'll add myself to the list of those who've told you to spring for the CI package. :)

Ta,

 
At 7:08 PM, Anonymous KevinP said...

Plenty more games between our teams are yet to come. I'm a bit surprised that every game isn't on TV there.

Is that common or is it the rare game that doesn't air on broadcast TV?

 
At 8:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Being a Sens fan in Toronto, I have the CI package and I must say that I feel sorry for everyone in Buffalo who has to listen to those gawdawful commentators. I am glad that the Sabres only lit the lamp once because that goal celebration was more drawn out than a Spanish soccer commentator.

 
At 11:06 AM, Blogger Tom L said...

Anon,

Feh!! A pox on you! RJ and Lorentz are the best pair in the NHL. RJ may take a bit to get used to, but no one calls a better game and no pair of announcers to their homework (except maybe Hahn and Remenda in SJ... Darryl Reaugh's pretty good too) better.

Guaranteed, when Jeanneret retires he'll be in the Hall.

Ta,

 
At 12:21 PM, Blogger Andy said...

Just spend the $25 extra dollars a month on Centre Ice like the rest of us. ITS DEFINATELY WORTH IT!

 

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