Saturday, May 06, 2006

Did you people even watch the game?

Right on cue, a lot of the so-called experts in the media, as well as a couple boneheaded blogsphere inhabitants, have started up with the "Senators are in trouble!" nonsense. You guys are nothing if not predictable.

They lost. They blew a golden opportunity to go up 1-0 in the series. It sucks. But it's not the end of the world.

The Sens were the better team. They deserved to win. They didn't win, sadly, but it's not as if they got blown out the way New Jersey did this afternoon. Some people try to argue it's better to lose big than lose a game you should've won because the latter can deflate a team greatly. I'm not one of those people.

There were a lot of good things the Sens can build on by the time Dora leaves town. They played a good physical game, were skating well, the PK did an excellent job of shutting down Buffalo's potentially potent powerplay, and Ottawa responded well to getting scored on.

And the things that need to be fixed can be. If Ottawa lost and it was painfully obvious they don't belong on the same ice as the Sabres, then I'm be right there with you on the doom and gloom stuff. That was not the case. Buffalo didn't win the game as much as Ottawa lost it.

This is not meant to be disparaging to the Sabres, because they too can and will play better. And the sign of a good team is winning even when you're not supposed to. But even their fans know they got lucky with that one.

The same way the game 2 loss to Tampa was good wake up call for the Senators, I believe Friday night will serve a similar purpose. Maybe the Sens were too confident. Why, I have no idea, because winning a first round, even with ease, is no reason to get all high and mighty. Not with the expectations everyone has of this group.

A point was made about how Ottawa almost knew they could score at will, and thus, the errors that Buffalo capitalized on to routinely tie the game. It was as if they said "well, we can take this lead back, so big deal."

I doubt they feel that way now.

I still believe Ottawa is the better team and will win the series. I don't think they'll fold like this again.

Some apparently do though.

Much of the criticism is downright retarded. Nick Kypreos on Sportsnet talked about how terrible Chris Phillips and Wade Redden were. What game was he watching? Phillips was terrific, and though Redden finished -4 on the night, by no means did he have a bad game. He was just on the ice at the wrong times. Both of the shorthanded goals took place when Redds was out there, and Wade was the lone Senator back on both of them. His partner on the blueline is the one who fucked up.

Now, you might say Redden didn't play the rushes wisely, but as I remarked when someone said as much in the comment section, Ray Emery is not a strong one-on-one goalie. It's one of his primary weaknesses. So the traditional approach of playing the shooter and letting the goalie handle the pass if it happens was out the window. Redden did as well as he could've in the circumstance.

Kypreos' idiocy didn't end there. He took the Sens to task on the OT winner, almost to the point of absolving Anton Volchenkov. He said the Sens skaters messed up by leaving Volchenkov all alone. Excuse me? What were they supposed to do? Hold his hand when he touched the puck? He's a three-year NHL pro. When a defenceman of his salary, experience, and track record handles the puck, is it not common practice to skate up so he'll have someone to pass it to?

All those punches to the head have clearly taken their toll on Kypreos. Where was Bill Watters to smack the shit out of him?

And his Sportsnet collegue Gord "I used to be a GM once, remember?" Stellick had some genius insight of his own when he announced Ottawa has a goaltending crisis. It's one game Gord. That's the kind of thoughtful discourse that should get him shipped back to that unwatchable AHL show TSN used to run in between Motoring '89 and Calgary Stampede wrestling when I would come home from school and have my snack.

Ray Emery had a bad game, and yeah, perhaps I'm more concerned than I was 48 hours ago, but if we were to make a list of those responsible for last night's collapse, his name would not be at the top of my list. He is, after all, still a rookie. I'm confident Emery will bounce back big only because I know he's beating himself up even harder than the tools who make a living out of offering useless hockey insight in order to fill the gaping hole that is Canadian sports cable programming.

Hockey pundits, please follow these simple instructions before offering your opinions:
1) Watch the games. Really, watch 'em. Don't just look at the score, the superstats on, or solely rely on what some other equally unintelligent analyst has to say. This might be asking too much, as I'm sure a lot of you Colin Farrell lookalikes have better things to do and are sacrificing much time with the ladies to honor us with your thoughts, but this is after all the NHL playoffs. The games are sorta important.
2) Use your brain. I know, common sense, but apparently a lot of you have overlooked this essential step.

You'll thank me later gentleman.


At 10:24 PM, Blogger The Universal Cynic said...

Stellar Motoring '89 reference.

I've found that the bulk of criticism is coming from two sources: The Toronto-centric haters, and the bandwagon jumpers. You can guess which group Kypreos falls into. Members of both groups are attempting to fan the flames of a goaltending "controversy" in Ottawa. One goalie had a touchdown, but the other let in two field-goal's worth. Somehow I doubt Lindy Ruff is going to start Biron because of it. Just because Buffalo won doesn't mean they played a solid game, but it seems that only those with level heads are willing to make that observation. It was one bad game. Let it be.

The jumpers may have been walking around Kanata last night with a Post-it note containing Hasek's home address, and morphine obtained from an inauspicious source. Give it up. Let Ray have his character test. In fact, let them all. It'll do them good.

At 2:20 AM, Anonymous Graham said...

Best Post i've read all year - i agree whole-heartedly

At 1:51 PM, Blogger Steve C said...

"the traditional approach of playing the shooter and letting the goalie handle the pass if it happens"? I don't know where you learned your tradition, but my coaches always told me to stop the pass and let the goalie worry about the puck carrier.

Does Redden handle 2-on-1's well? One of the most traumatic goals in Sens history was Jeff Friesen scoring the series winning goal for the Devils when Redden couldn't stop the pass on a 2-on-1 late in the third period of game seven, back in '03.

Wade had to face three 2-on-1's against Buffalo on Friday. He had no time to do anything on the first, when Meszaros left him hanging. Redden did his job on the second, but Emery couldn't stop Connolly. He looked bad on the the third allowing Connolly's pass to Roy. Otherwise, I thought he had a good game, particularly getting the offense started.

At 7:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do not fear. All that's needed is a bit of mojo.

I'm Ricky Mooston the beat up play off stuffed moose and I will add some great mojo.

Great blog by the way. You are cheering for the best team.

At 8:14 AM, Anonymous Rachael said...

I totally agree with you...the one thing that bothers me about being a Sens fan is how easy it is for the whole city to go into a panic because we lost one game in a playoff series.
I thought we played fairly decently, and while I was very upset when they scored the tying goal with with 10 secs left and subsequently giving up another in OT, I was more upset listening to the commentators this weekend berating players that they were praising just days before.
Just another observation about Friday's game...could Don Cherry show his hate for the Sens anymore?? First he gives Melnyk crap for booking Dora (no mention of the fact that we're playing back-to-back in Buffalo b/c they were booked too), then he's all over Meszaros (who's name he doesn't even try to say correctly) and mention of any mistakes by Buffalo which if I recall there was some.

At 2:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So the traditional approach of playing the shooter and letting the goalie handle the pass if it happens was out the window

i thought your job as the d-man back on a 2 on 1 was to stop the pass, allowing your goalie to come out and cut the angle down on the puck carrying shooter, without having to worry about being beaten by the one timer from the trailing man.

seriously, is that just me?

At 8:00 PM, Blogger LC Scotty said...

Honestly, the real big bonhead maneuver was not hitting the empty netter. If I were a Sens fan, that would be the one sticking in my craw. Since I'm a Sabres fan, well, not so much.

At 10:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i said same thing but team 1200 did not print my e-mail

riicky mooston


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