Saturday, December 09, 2006

Sens Game Report - NY Rangers @ Ottawa - 12.9.06

Where are those leaders we built from within?

The Balance in the Bank:

Final Score: New York wins 3-1 (with an empty netter)
Ottawa Goals:
Spezza (15, pp) tipping in a Schubert blast to bring us to within one.
Making Sens: Phillips, Volchenkov
Lacking Sens: Schaefer, Spezza – guys that need to be stepping up
It was over when: Spezza shows the wrong way to backcheck by whispering to Jagr to slow down instead of knocking him off the puck, and #68 roofs it over Emery’s glove
It was definitely over when: A funky bounce on a forecheck in the last minute and instead of fighting to get the puck back, we back off an let Shanny pot it into the empty net.
Message in a Molson bottle: This one was a bit sickening when you consider the effort this organization has put into developing leaders in the dressing room. The guys that we expect to fill the void of Alfredsson are playing a lifeless brand of hockey that leaves with two straight losses at a time when we need to continue going forward. Everyone seems to be skating around wondering what to do and where Alfie has gone instead of taking the opportunity to rack up a few points in his absence. Interesting how Toronto wins when Sundin misses games and we ALWAYS lose when Alfie is gone. Forwards need to want it more than they did this afternoon.
Courtesy Boxscore:
Next Game: Tomorrow evening in Columbus, a Sunday tilt to kick off a four-game trip

Three storylines to wow your friends over a Timmy’s double double:

You’re not Ron…
Remember that scene in Anchorman when Veronica Corningstone did the evening news as Burgundy was locked in a glass case of emotion as a result of watching his dear Baxter get punted off the Coronado Bridge? The rest of the news team goes about everything in a tentative manner, not really knowing how to act. That is how the Sens are without Alfredsson. I hate to keep harping on this, but to me it was the predominant theme in today’s game. Vermette and Schaefer are useless with Eaves up there, and everyone just seems to wait for someone else to lead the way. Heck, Cassie Campbell made a mention of it in pregame when they discussed the ridiculous move of Schaefer waving the white towel on Wednesday. We’ve taken pride in trying to develop leaders within the organization but only Phillips seemed to really show he wanted the letter on his chest. These guys had better snap out of it or we’ll get absolutely embarrassed on this trip against four streaking teams.

Chara Jr.?
Not quite, but Chris Phillips was great in covering Jagr this afternoon. Whether he was stickchecking him all the way back to the blue line or roughing him up behind the net, I thought Philly looked up to the task of taking care of Jagr, besides the latter’s two points (one of those was an assist on a 5-on-3 and the other was a shot from the top of the opposite slot). I don’t know that Murray will go to the shadowing that Chara did last year against every star in the league, but it is nice to know that we have someone that can handle that role. And make no mistake, Jagr was on fire today and still scares me as the most dangerous player in the league. Nice work, Philly. I’ll work on helping you hail a cab, though.

Dumb and Dumber
No, that’s not fair because Spezza and Heatley created a lot of scoring chances tonight and were solid in the offensive zone. What drives me and Jacques Martin crazy is that they need to realize that any kind of turnover isn’t going to be against the other team’s fourth line or something. For about the half of the game, we had the pizza kids against the Jagr/Nylander/Straka line and those three are fast as hell and just waiting for the puck. Spezza and Heatley need to realize this and while they can still go hard at the net, they need to understand that they need to be quick on their horses to backcheck. Two of the three goals were a result of these two floating back….again. Should we sent them to Binghamton to learn a lesson? Maybe Zdeno can do us a favour and smack them upside the head with a half rack of ribs to get the message through? Nah, he’s a division rival now.

Beaver Droppings
1. Why doesn’t Dean McAmmond get the spot with Vermette and Schaefer? We certainly don’t gain a thing with Eaves up there as all three play a different style.
2. Peter Schaefer, down a goal in the dying minutes of a game, is useless. The only thing he can do is skate fast down the wing and then kick the puck around the corner for a while. I continue to be unimpressed by what he brings to this season’s edition and am waiting for something to change my mind.4.
3. Emery needs a rest. I’m not saying this because I like Gerber and want him to get the job back, but it is obvious that Emery isn’t healthy. Why, when Washington exposed his weak glove hand for 60 minutes on Wednesday, are we still forcing this guy in there? The game winner was a result of his inability to get his glove up. Guess what? If we’ve heard about the injury and its effect on his game, then you can bet all the opposing players know about it, too. Get Gerber some games this week, coach.
4. Neil hits really hard.

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