Thursday, February 09, 2006

Sens Game Report - Ottawa at NYR - February 8, 2006

Tonight, we spell humiliation O-T-T-A-W-A

The Balance in the Bank:

Final Score: New York wins 5-1
Ottawa goals: Kelly on a rebound after a nice play by Meszaros
Making Sens(e): Kelly, Eaves, Meszaros
Not much Sens(e): Neil, Alfredsson, Heatley, Spezza, mostly everyone
It was over when: Ward scored shorthanded on us to give NY a 3-0 lead.
It was definitely over when: we didn’t manage a shot for the first 18 minutes of the third period, ensuring that a two-goal deficit was just too much for our feeble souls.
Message in a Molson bottle: a complete lack of effort from everyone involved – if you weren’t starting to worry if the Sens are going to be up for a long playoff run, you should start being worried now.
Courtesy Boxscore:

Grab a Timmy’s double-double and listen to what really happened:

Time to refill the Spezz Dispenser
If you think I’m going to go easy on the kid because he had his lights turned off mid-game, you’re wrong. In fact, the biggest contribution Spezza made to the Sens tonight was being out of the lineup in the second half! Tough peanut gallery tonight. As Pierre Maguire kept saying, Spezza needs to show some spark – it never happened. His lackluster performance should be earning him time on the bench. Since his giveaway in New Jersey last week, Spezza’s performance has remained right along the line of mediocrity. If he is supposed to be the playmaker of the top line, then I think I’ll go with the calzone, because this pizza stinks. Not to be outdone, Alfredsson and Heatley owe money back to the organization for not fulfilling their contractual duty to show up and play. Ask Yashin. The top three guys tonight might as well have been holding out and living in Russia – at least we wouldn’t have wasted ice time on waiting for them to get going.

Turn the ambulance siren off, nothing urgent going on here
What we have grown to love about Bryan Murray is his ability to take his team into the locker room for an intermission and come out of there with what looks like a totally different team. You can always tell when he has torn them a new one because they come out hard in the first five minutes of the next period. But what did he say to them tonight? After Kelly scored to actually make a game of it, we should have gone into the third period looking to get some quick goals and work our butts off. Instead, we played our worst period of the night and didn’t record a shot through the first 18 minutes or so. If you are losing by two goals going into the third period, and you manage all of two shots during that same third period, are you going to win the game? Stop, don’t answer that, it was a rhetorical question. The Rangers scored five different goals on us, one on the powerplay, one shorthanded, a couple going off our players, but none of it mattered. We had zero response to everything they did. Spezza went after Malik and ended up with a pair of jello legs and being helped to the dressing room. While Spezza made this bed, is it not out of the question for someone like Neil to maybe go drive Malik into the boards in the corner? Maybe Alfie could take over the game and show us why we once mentioned his name as an MVP candidate. Or do we have to count on Kelly and Eaves and Vermette and Varada and Schubert to be our top performers? Smolinski referred to these games as the dog days of the season – by my calculation, shouldn’t that make every other team THAT much easier to beat? Why is it the other way around for us?

What is a management team to do?
So what do we do about this issue of inconsistency and lollygagging? Well, perhaps we’re overreacting. Maybe Ferris isn’t such a bad guy; after all, I got a car, he got a computer…there I go again. If anyone out there is 100% comfortable taking this exact lineup into the postseason, then I suggest you check to see if Lalime and Bonk are available, because they’ll know how to play in our next first-round exit. I understand that Havlat should be back and would give us a second line scoring threat. I understand that there is the Olympic distraction and this point of the schedule becomes a lull, and I understand that sooner or later teams will learn how to defend our top line. But what I don’t understand is why we continue to rest on our reputation. Not only do teams get fired up to play against us, they now are having a pretty easy time beating us, too. The Rangers simply looked like a different caliber team tonight that the one that we dressed. The same can be said of the Devils game, the Ducks game, the Sharks game, the Bruins game, should I go on? Here’s my two cents – if we play as terrible as we did tonight in our next two games, then John Muckler will have the spotlight in the first week of March. Atlanta and Philly made us look stupid when we were playing great and if we can’t get fired up for these two games, then I simply can’t see how we can get fired up to win 16 playoff games. Is Joe Sakic available?

The Loblaws Express Lane – 10 items or less
- Phillips still played a solid game, even after learning that Bouwmeester and Boyle were chosen ahead of him for Torino. I was really hoping that Wayne et. al. would keep McCabe out of the lineup and bump these other two into the open spots. McCabe is a major liability and his fake injury against Atlanta last night was teetering on the edge of classless.
- Did anything go right for the Sens tonight? Great question. No. Highlights for me were that I didn’t have to watch the game live (taped it and lost sleep watching this disaster) and instead rocked with Jon Bon Jovi. Can we sign Tommy and Geena for the playoffs?
- Potential trade targets – who knows if there is really someone out there available that can help us with what we need. Is Jokinen a playoff-ready guy? He’s never been there! Ditto Marc Savard. Perhaps Barnaby wouldn’t be a bad idea after all.

Games this week
Thursday hosting Atlanta
Saturday hosting Philly
That’s it before we cross our fingers that everyone makes it back healthy from the country that resembles a boot.

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