Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Oh Captain, My Captain

I tuned into the Team1200 this afternoon upon a frenzy of news reports that Kings scouts were watching Alfredsson in Montreal on Tuesday night (Muckler refuted the rumour before most people even knew it existed). As always, there is one buffoon that calls in and claims that Ottawa can't win the Cup so long as it has a European captain. We're supposed to be knowledgeable in hockey, but there is always an army of simpletons that think the only way you can win a Cup is by putting a letter C on an aging Canadian. So I took to the books (read: wikipedia) to uncover the truth behind this myth. Let's call this next blog a mythbuster. Here are the key facts that I found. ALL RESEARCH IS FROM 1950 - PRESENT

1. Since 1950, there have been 361 different captains in the NHL. 306 of them have been Canadian, 26 have been American, and 29 are European. That means since 1950, 85% of the captains in the NHL have been Canadian, 7% American, and 8% European.

2. Of those 29 European captains in the past 50 years, 13 of them are currently the captain of their team (9 in the East, 4 in the West).

3. Of the 55 Stanley Cup Championships since 1950 (mind the lockout), there have been 24 different captains to be the first to raise the Holy Grail. 23 were Canadian, Derian Hatcher is American.

I understand there doesn't seem to be much meat in this sandwich, but please take note of the incredibly weighted statistics before you say a European captain can't win the Cup because it has never happened before. 85% of captains in the past 55 years have been Canadian - that is kind of a factor in Canadian captains winning Cups. Remember that in the past 55 years, only 24 captains have WON a Stanley Cup. So let's all take it down a peg or two and instead discuss who will be the first European to lead his team to a championship, because with 13 European captains, it is inevitable that it will happen soon. Quit throwing proverbial danishes at the head of our captain and let's just hope that he starts scoring in bunches or at least finds a scoring centre to play with!

Other interesting facts I came across that you can use at your local Royal Oak Pub:
- Scotty Bowman lost three straight Cups as coach of the Blues, two of them to Montreal. His solution? He took over as coach of Montreal and won four of the next seven.
- Of the 24 captains to lead their team to the Cup, 14 of them did it multiple times.
- The only two Stanley Cups that Boston has won since 1950 had no captain.

Come back on Friday as Matt and I issue our first ever POINT / COUNTERPOINT where we debate three current topics involving the Senators.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Sens Game Report - Ottawa @ Montreal - 10.31.06

Here's a scary Halloween thought - we stink.

The Balance in the Bank:

Final Score: Montreal wins 4-2
Ottawa Goals:
- Spezza (5) on a seeing-eye puck that almost gave us a chance to think we could we win
- Preissing (2) with 9 seconds left....yaaaaaaay
Making Sens: Alfredsson (I'll defend this one in a moment)
Lacking Sens: Defencemen 1 thorugh 5, Coach Murray
It was over when: Kovalev's goal at the end of the second put us out of our misery
It was definitely over when: Markov threw one at the empty net when we started to press to ice it
Message in a Molson Bottle: This just in - we kinda suck. Our powerplay is absolutely atrocious to the extent that when I said two weeks ago that we should actually just tell the refs we'd rather keep it five-on-five, it has become something we really need to think about. Our defencemen phoned this one in and all they were really missing was having Redden out there to go minus-3 or something. We didn't even deserve the opportunities we did have with the terrible skating we showed tonight.
Courtesy Boxscore:
Next Game: Saturday at home against Carolina.

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

The Good
- This may be a stretch to find something positive out of this game, but I really liked the effort level of Alfredsson tonight. He was trying to lead by example, but unfortunately the rest of the team must have been full from their $2.99 poutine from the Peel Pub down the street or something, because this one was ugly. The worst part about Alfie's night is that he is the only forward that showed up and he finished a minus-4. I'm usually a strong proponent of what that statistic means, but this one isn't justified. The few opportunities we did have to score goals and to move the puck well were created by the captain. I hope he has a temper and throws some chairs, because he's gotta be just steaming inside right now at his stats and his team's record.

The Bad
- Hi, I'm the puck. Whoa, wait, you just skated over me. Peace out. Where in the dickens were we skating tonight? We'd either pull up way short of the puck or skate far past it. Now I'm somewhat partial to the Senators and usually like to argue that we can match the Sabres in terms of speed and skating, but they sure didn't back my argument tonight.
- More on the powerplay later, but the work we did on the 5-0n-3 in the second period when we were only down 1-0 was a joke. We pass the puck around the perimeter and set up the hulking Daniel Alfredsson in front of the net and maanged one shot from the point with no traffic. I think we need to score on 100% of our two man advantages. On the bright side, at least we didn't give up a shortie n that powerplay! Hooray.

The Ugly
- For the sake of time and space, I'll only focus on two. First, our defencemen were halfway to humiliating tonight. Preissing was left standing naked by Higgins, Meszaros coughed it up a handful of times, Phillips and Volchenkov looked as stupid as they did in game one, Corvo was a bit overanxious, Schubert, our number seven defencemen, was just the cat's meow tonight, the only guy that had a half decent game.
- I'm going to point a finger here for a second, at Coach Murray. Why is our powerplay so bad? Why is our defensive coverage so bad? Why do we have trouble moving the puck through the neutral zone with the lineup we have? As much as we can single out different players that screw up regularly, one has to start to wonder what the hell we're doing in practice when we show zero improvement in so many key areas each game. I love our coach and think he can fire these guys up pretty good and proper, but he said it best himself when he said there hasn't really been an improvement in this team from the time he took over last year until now. Why is that? At some point, fair or not, this becomes the responsibility of the coach. Our powerplay is garbage and has been for some time - why hasn't that been fixed so we're at least giving the appearance of having scoring chances?

- Not much else to say. This is one where you have to let it sting for a few days to learn the lessons, and then get ready for the Cup Champions.