Friday, March 03, 2006

St. Barnaby Pt. 2

After receiving much criticism for my Barnaby post I think the boys would be wise to look at my backlogged posts. 1st priority is a scorer period. If Muckler can get his hands on Jokinen, he will. Problem with Jokinen is that there are about 7 teams trying to get him right now, which drives up the cost considerably. Do I want to give up Havlat and a second for this guy? Do we want to give up Volchenkov and a first? It depends. Question 1: Can we sign him, because Havlat and a second is a lot to give up for a guy who may be with us for two months. Question 2: If we sign him, what happens to Redden and Chara. If we give this guy an extension you can all but say goodbye to one of the two stalwarts we have on the backend. Itdefinitelyy makes you think.

Number 2 priority is goaltending. Hasek will be healthy come playoff time and he will be ready to roll. It is imperative to give Emery a couple more games to prove himself. If he falters at all, an insurance goalie becomes priority number 1. Possible suitors: Roloson and Cujo. Nobody in the east will trade a goalie to Ottawa, which leaves two. Cujo does not want anything to do with Hasek and will do anything in his power not to come to Ottawa. Roloson has had an off year but a change of scenery would do him good. If Muckler decides to get a backup, I think it will be Roloson for a pick.

Finally, priority number three is characters and grit. You can never have enough. Barnaby is all character and ultra grit and would be great in Ottawa. It would be nice to have someone who can handle the media and take a bit off pressure off Alfie. Dallas Drake is another possibility but I truly believe Muckler wants Barnaby. We all know how he loves his old Buffalo boys.

"Muckler will be the most active GM this trade deadline" TSN

Sens Game Report; Washington at Ottawa; Thursday, March 02, 2006

Photo from CP and

The Balance in the Bank:

Final Score: Ottawa wins 7-1
Ottawa goals: Fisher (19) sent in alone on a pass from Meszaros, Redden (9) on the backdoor powerplay pass, Vermette (13) shorthanded after Kelly’s shot went off the end boards, Spezza (15) on the powerplay from the goal line, Schaefer (15) in alone shorthanded, Pothier (3) from the point on the powerplay for his second in two nights, Smolinski (13) on an absolutely beautiful snap shot from the side boards.
Making Sens(e): Meszaros, Mostly everyone
Not much Sens(e): McGrattan (healthy scratch)
It was over when: Vermette scored shorthanded only 31 seconds into the second. Funny that a 2-0 lead can go either way, but that third goal to open the second period always seems to put it away.
It was definitely over when: Pothier made Ottawa locals fatter with the pizza goal.
Message in a Molson bottle: People had warned Ottawa, including myself, that their level of play wouldn’t cut it against an upstart Capitals team. Luckily, nobody warned the Capitals that the Sens can occasionally have the best team in the NHL again.
Courtesy Boxscore:

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

Eddie Vedder says, “Can’t find a better win.”
Finally, a complete effort from end to end as we quickly took down….the second worst team in the conference. No matter, let’s take the good from this win and show a little bit of glee that Ray Emery made 30 saves in what was definitely his best performance of 2006. For the time being (the next 24 games until playoffs), this situation can work. If Emery can just hold us in games long enough for us to put up 3 or 4 goals, then he’ll be loved in Ottawa. People will quickly forget the cockroaches he ate, the tattoos he gets, the hair he colours blonde, the sex offenders he paints on his masks, and the GAA of over 7.00 he has during January. His job now and until Dom gets back is to keep us in games. Leave the job of stealing games to Hasek, Emery just needs to keep us in it. He did that tonight and the offence found its stride and its special teams with a converted touchdown. 3 of 5 on the powerplay and two more shorties helped out (we lead the league with 19 now). The most encouraging news of the game was in the completeness of the effort. Emery was sharp, the defencemen didn’t give up the chances, and the forwards made scoring chances into goals. Now if we can just do this against the Carolinas and the Philadelphias…

Back to our roots
Chris Neil of old, we missed you. Neiler managed to pick up for the healthy-scratched McGrattan with a pair of bouts and really made sure that Washington couldn’t gather up any momentum from a winning fight. It didn’t help the Capitals that the first of the two fights came with the score 6-0, but I guess that’s why they are second last in the East. Chara was also back to his old tricks and absolutely crushing people with each chance he had. Even the faithful Washington broadcasters that I had the pleasure of watching were scared of him! Sorry guys, it’s da ribs. Smolinski played well and his point-after goal (if it didn’t go of Witt’s stick), just unreal. Now Brian, I’ve told you enough times now, get the puck up and good things happen. Brent Johnson didn’t even know that he had replaced Kolzig when this puck flew over his shoulder and into the top drawer of the net. And Alfredsson was at his playmaking best, working the powerplay and having a nice, fun time out there. Shocking is that Alfie was only one of two Sens to not record a single shot on net (Eaves left the game).

Whoop-de-doo, Basil, what does it all mean?
Well, Austin, this means that our heroes can now rejoice in the fact that they aren’t as bad as we were starting to think they were. Some may play this game off as a nice practice session against a terrible team. But practice makes perfect, so by this game’s result, we are back on track towards perfection, right? To use an old sports cliché, the only team that can really beat us consistently is ourselves. Boooooooo, sports cliché, booooo. But seriously, there rarely is a loss where we really played at the top of our game and got beat. The times that we lose, you can see Spezza floating up in the rafters and Chara hailing a cab for dinner at the Kanata Centrum and Muckler calling the Swiss Elite League for replacements. In other words, we lose games because we play lazy, sloppy, and stupid. The truth is, though, we aren’t a lazy or sloppy or stupid team, so when we just play our own game, we shouldn’t have a problem. Let’s take this game for what it really is – a nice step in the right direction that helped out rookie goalie get some more demons out of his head, helped out #1 center get his second goal of 2006, helped Meszaros add to his league leading +/- total, helped Mr. Muckler get an idea of what type of deals he needs to make before next Thursday, and helped the millions and gazillions of Ottawa fans around the world sleep better knowing that somewhere, deep down inside, we still have the ability to make another NHL team look completely out of place. Sigh.

Loblaws Express Lane – 10 items or less
How does Alfredsson finish +2 in a 7-1 romp, but his linemates on the Pizza Line finish -1? I guess since 5 of the 7 goals were special teams.
Our best faceoff man tonight – Antoine Vermette was 2 for 4. Ouch. We were creamed in the faceoff circle 38-19, the biggest faceoff coming on our poweplay but after an icing call – it led to Ovechkin zinger.
I wish I could make a case to put Neil back in front of the net on the powerplay, but he didn’t get a second of PP time and we went 3-for-5, so I guess that’s why Coach Murray is behind the bench and I’m in South Carolina second-guessing things.
For those that missed the pregame show on the team1200, Bob McKenzie, the self-proclaimed “most knowledgeable hockey analyst on the planet,” said that not in a million years will Mucks trade Chara or Redden before the deadline if he doesn’t think he can sign them this summer. For those that haven’t followed this story, I’ll speak louder so you can hear this under your rock. Chara and Redden are unrestricted free agents this summer and with Toronto once again screwing up the market by giving Kaberle $4.25 million, we risk losing one of our defencemen to free agency as teams will likely be willing to throw $6-7 million at either one of these guys if they are still unsigned by the free agency date of July 1st. Wouldn’t it be nice to celebrate Canada Day with a Molson Canadian tall boy, a downtown Ottawa concert, and the knowledge that our blue line is intact?
Brian Pothier had over 20 minutes of ice time and had the second most powerplay time of any player on the team (behind Spezza). I like it – it will get even our #6 d-man ready for the tight games.
Don’t forget to check this site daily – and post your thoughts, arguments, or praise.

Upcoming Games
Saturday at Toronto, 7:00pm
Monday at Tampa Bay, 7:30pm
Wednesday at Florida, 7:00pm
Friday at Atlanta, 7:00pm – should I go? Vote now at

Thursday, March 02, 2006

St. Barnaby

Photo from
Matthew Barnaby, the leagues ultra super pest, has said repeatedly that he would like nothing more than to play for the Ottawa Senators. Seeing as the Hawks are selling, this seems like the perfect fit. I do understand that the Senators have more pressing needs but personally I beleive that Barnaby would be an excellent pick-up by the Senators and could play a major role in a long playoff run. If Muckler can secure a goalie I would suggest that Barnaby would follow in short order. So here it is: I GUARANTEE THAT MATT BARNABY WILL BE TRADED TO THE SENATORS before March 9, 2006. Yep, i said it, feel free to chastise if this does not happen.

Sens Game Report - Ottawa at Pittsburgh - Wednesday, March 01, 2006

photo from CP and
Picking up where we left off – being bad

The Balance in the Bank:

Final Score: Ottawa wins 4-3
Ottawa goals: Schaefer (14) on a generous rebound of Fisher’s shot, Alfredsson (35) on another generous rebound from Meszy’s point shot, Pothier (2) on a slapshot from the point, Heatley (35) on a textbook 2-on-1 feed from Alfie.
Making Sens(e): Alfredsson, Heatley, Fisher
Not much Sens(e): Redden, Spezza
It was over when: Heatley scored Ottawa’s 4th – we are now 34-0 when scoring four goals. I’ve got an idea! We should try and do that every game.
It was definitely over when: Coach Murray tore the bench a new one after three unanswered goals from the Penguins made a game out of this laugher.
Message in a Molson bottle: Our performance tonight was so mediocre tonight that there is only one team in the NHL we could have beaten. Luckily, we were playing that team. Still, it is Murray that has his work cut out for him and not necessarily Muckler.
Courtesy Boxscore:

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

And down the stretch they come…
But the Sens came out of the gates much like they had just gone into the break – playing just well enough to beat the lowly Penguins. This game was sloppy and occasionally ugly. The guys didn’t play terrible, but they didn’t play great, either. And after a two week hiatus and led by our gold-medal captain, didn’t we all expect to come flying into the last 26 games with the same excellence that we had in October and November? But instead, the game kind of just happened out there. Nothing special, some powerplay goals, killed some penalties, and Emery had a few get by. If this game was a French expression, it would be “comme-ci, comme-ca.” If this game was the afterlife, it would be in purgatory. If this game was an item at Bed Bath and Beyond, it would be on a shelf in the Beyond section. If this game was one of the Baton Rouge ribs on Zdeno Chara’s plate, it would be that small burnt one at the end that you aren’t sure if you should eat or not because it might ruin the taste of the rest of them. And if this game was the first of the 26 games in the Sens homestretch, then you’d say that these guys need to step it up and play a lot better in the next 25 of them, because this performance won’t beat other teams anymore and it certainly won’t win in the playoffs. Snap.

The Usual Suspects
Jason Pezz Dispenser Spezza picked up right where he left off in early February – playing like an idiot. I’m not sure if Jason spent the Olympic break with the team in Italy or somewhere in the Ottawa Valley practicing his moves in Junior B games, but you’d think he would have learned his weaknesses by now. For some reason, his skill continues to improve but his mentality is the same as when Jacques called him a boy playing in a man’s game. Ah, forgiveness please, M. Martin. Spezza has fun out there, which is a good thing, but he can sometimes be way too careless out there, which is a bad thing. This is the time of year when everyone tightens up their game and somebody forgot to mention that to our #1 center. Alfie, can you take care of this, please? Thanks, buddy. Knock him upside the head with your one pound golden donut or whatever those things were that they handed out in Torino. Meanwhile, on the blue line, Wade Redden looked like he was still playing in Italy. Not much more to say on that one other than that it looked like Meszaros was bailing out Redden way too often than a rookie should need to be doing. Redds needs to get his game back now. Alfie, you know the drill.

A Ray of Light?
Not really. It appeared through the first 45 minutes of the game that Emery might pull off a much-needed shutout that would not only get us the win, but do absolute wonders for his psyche going into this little streak of starts he is about to get. Imagine that – a potential goaltending issue in Ottawa and Emery answers the critics with a shutout. But sure enough, as we’ve noticed by now, Rayzer doesn’t ever let just one goal get by. He must have the same mentality that Lalime had after letting one in – the flood gates open and you start to wonder if he’ll actually make a save for the rest of the night. Granted all three goals can be attributed to poor defensive work, I would just once like to see Emery make a highlight reel save or even better, let in one goal and then stop everything other puck he sees all night. Pittsburgh was a tune-up. Washington is a tougher test and a faster team. And Saturday in Toronto will be the pressure cooker that he has been waiting his whole life for. Um, yes, Mr. Muckler, I am almost finished the assignment titled, “do we need to trade for a goalie” but can I turn it in on Sunday instead? I should have all the information I will need. Thanks.

The Loblaws Express Lane – 10 items of less
Alfie was good. He looked a little tired at first, but he does what a good captain does and became one of the best players on the ice. Good chemistry with Heatley. Like it a lot.
Mike Fisher, is there anything you can’t do? I’m starting to think that he might have overtaken Alfredsson for the most dangerous wrist shot on the team (Havlat’s hurt). Fisher with the puck inside the circles will automatically lead to a scoring chance because either he’ll put it in or his shot will catch the goalie off guard and the poor positioning will lead to a juicy rebound on Schaefer’s stick.
Smolinski showed some spark at times throughout the night. It sometimes looks like Smoke turns the passion switch on and off throughout the game whereas a guy like Fish has it turned on and then broke the switch off. Smoke is a third liner now and should be in a position to dominate the opponent’s third lines. Should.
Havlat is practicing with the team with no contact and might be ready in a month. Hooray, yippee. This might be better than any trade deadline acquisition. Unless Havlat is the trade deadline victim.
I concur with Redden when he says that Phillips will be the best defencemen leading into the playoffs. Over the past few years, Phillips has been by far our most consistent spring season d-man.
We were outshot 14-7 in the third period. And we’re supposed to be the best third period team in the NHL.

Upcoming Games
Tonight hosting Washington, 7:30pm
Saturday at Toronto, 7:00pm
Next Monday at Tampa Bay, 7:30pm Be there.