Monday, April 10, 2006

Montreal 3 Ottawa 2

April 10th, 2006 will go down as an awful day in Ottawa sports history for reasons having nothing to do with the Ottawa Senators, but it wasn't a good 24 hours on the calendar for the team either.

Not only did they get the news that Martin Havlat was not medically cleared to play (the second time both he and the team expected to get the go ahead only to be disappointed) and would not be until, at the earliest, Saturday, but they also lost their 4th straight game, a new low for the season.

This is not to suggest the team played badly. I felt as though they were, as a whole, the better team on the night, but ultimately, the bounces didn't go their way, their mistakes were capitalized on by the opposition. That's the way this game called hockey goes sometimes.

That said, as a fan, it was a frustrating game to watch because as well as they played, you could see they were still not firing on all cylinders. The team's chemistry is not there, and the constant juggling of lines don't help the matter. I praised Bryan Murray after Saturday night's loss for reuniting The Big Line, but they were once again broken up. Is it reasonable to give them one game together to find their groove? I liked the way the Bryan Smolinski-Mike Fisher-Daniel Alfredsson line played tonight (it was probably Smolinski's most spirited game in too long a time), but I still maintain that for this team to be at its best, they need that top line playing well. The only way that can happen is if they actually get the chance to play a few games together and recapture the magic.

The fatigue of several guys has also emerged to the point that even the most rigid Murray defender could not ignore it. Andrej Meszaros once again logged 30 minutes, and it showed. By the end of the night, he looked dead tired. As well, despite my pleas, Murray continues to ride Ray Emery into the ground. I still think it's an incredibly idiotic thing to do. Yes, we know you say Dominik Hasek is coming back. You and John Muckler (who's job is probably on the line should this team underperform once again) better hope Hasek doesn't go down again (we know he's one butterfly save from a major injury) because at this rate Emery will be so worn down from all this action that he won't be able to step in and shine.

If you want another overwhelming positive coming out of the game besides the effort, it's that the game was tremendous. Very physical, tons of scoring chances, good pace, back-and-forth action, and a lot of intensity. It was a lot like a playoff game, which makes sense considering the odds are pretty good this will be a first round match-up. If that materializes, hockey fans will be in for a treat because it'll be a great series. The only unfortunate part is that a very good hockey team will be out of the postseason early.


At 5:17 PM, Blogger BaYo said...

Ottawa reminded us why they haven'T won the cup !

when you shut down Alfreddson, well whats left !

At 6:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, that makes a whole lot of sense.


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