Saturday, October 21, 2006

What to expect tonight...

So we head into our fifth home game looking for our first home win against the New Jersey Devils tonight. Understandably, Coach Murray has split up the Pizza Line in an attempt to find a pulse in our forwards. As of this morning, Ottawa sits in last place and our leading scorer is Dany Heatley with 5 points in six games. Alfredsson and Spezz, his former linemates, have 4 and 3 points, respectively. Our 'secondary line' (Mike Fisher - 0 points, minus-4; Peter Schaefer - 0 points, minus-4; Antoine Vermette - 1 point, minus-1) and our 'top defence pairing' (Wade Redden, 0 points, minus-2; Andrej Meszaros, 0 points, minus-5) are having some trouble, as well. After getting booed off the ice 48 hours ago, how will Spezza and the Sens come out tonight?

In Thursday's game, the puck was in the Colorado zone for the first three minutes of the first period before we ran out of steam and dogged it for the rest of the game. I'd like to see if it is in the genetics of this lineup for them to sustain that kind of pressure for 60 minutes. The difference between Ottawa and a team like Buffalo is that the latter will skate HARD for every single loose puck. Every single one. Do you know who skates the hardest for the Sabres? Daniel Briere, their captain. Do you know who skates the hardest for the Senators? Dean McAmmond, a late free agent pickup to fill spots on the second and third lines as necessary. Until our top six forwards start skating like the Sabres, we'll stay in our funk and continue to get booed. It isn't one player in particular who can step up their game and change the outcome of the game. It needs the blood and guts of all 12 forwards to win in this league now. I dearly hope that the Pizza Line toppings are humiliated and pissed off at their performance thus far.

I also want to put a little cap on the Sabres celebrations, though, before we crown them as champs after their 7-0 start. I remember a team that was close for a while, then lost a heartbreaking Eastern Conference Finals Game 7 to the eventual Cup winner, and then started a season 7-0. I remember that team well. They ended up losing in the second round in five games. Just remember that as we watch the Sabres this season, and be sure to enjoy tonight's Sens/Devils game.

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