Thursday, November 09, 2006

Sens Game Report - Ottawa @ Atlanta - 11.8.06

So THIS is what it is like being a Cubs fan...

The Balance in the Bank:

Final Score: Atlanta wins 5-4, with Ottawa blowing a two-goal lead for the third straight game (Monday was a three goal lead...)
Ottawa Goals:
- Spezza (6) tipping a Corvo shot
- Alfredsson (4, pp) showing that his wrist shot is still incredible
- Kelly (2) banging in a rebound on an excellent forechecking shift
- Vermette (6, sh) using his speed shorthanded to get one past Hedberg on the near side
Makins Sens: Alfredsson, Spezza, Redden, Kelly, Vermette
Lacking Sens: Heatley, Schaefer, Fisher, Meszaros, oh yeah, Gerber
It was over when: Kozlov's second goal late in the second period made it 4-3 Ottawa and as has been the case lately, it was just inevitable that we'd lose.
It was definitely over when: Kovalchuk sent the somewhat interested crowd into a frenzy with the tying goal early in the third period. Kozlolv's hat trick game winning goal was really just a formality because we were done.
Message in a Molson Bottle: We stink when we're ahead and we stink when we're behind. The sad part is that you can actually pick out the moment in the game when the team self-destructs. When Atlanta brought the score to 4-3, I actually would have felt confident making bets that we'd lose by on because this team has lost its ability to compete in the third period. This is no longer a matter of not getting the bounces or waiting for someone to break out. By the looks of what happened in the second half of this game, the Senators almost look like they're in some kind of freefall.
Courtesy Boxscore:
Next Game: Friday in Pittsburgh. We used to beat up on them last year.

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

The Good
- Alfredsson is the hardest working guy on our team. He has his vision back, skates to the puck instead of skating away from it, and his shot is still there. If this team is planning on making some personnel moves, they cannot include him. It does concern me, however, that not everyone on the team seems to feed off his play like they used to.
- Kim, my girlfriend, had a really tasty coffee in the third period at the game. Yum.

The Bad
- Where to put Martin Gerber? I mean, he was downright ugly last night. He looked a bit shaken up after taking a shot up high in the chest or neck, but it seemed any shot taken in the third period had a chance to get by. His rebound control was awful meaning an innocent wrist shot taken as a dump in ended up being a scoring chance on the second shot. It is now okay to question whether or not this is the right guy for us.

The Ugly
- I'll tell you what is ugly - this losing streak. At no point during the stretch of five games has this team appeared ready to break out of it! That's the worst part. We come out and score early and at the start of the second period, we saym "uh oh, we're not that good in the second period." Then at the start of the third period, we say, "uh oh, we're not that good in the third period lately." Well I'm no coach, but I've heard from reliable sources that you should be a decent team in the second and third periods to win games. Jus ta thought. Whether the players aren't buying into a system to control a lead or they are in the worst psychological funk known to professional sports, this team needs help. I am not saying we need to trade for Conroy or we need to hire Ken Hitchcock, I'm just saying that this team needs a shakeup because I can't imagine how this group of players with the current mentality in that dressing room is going to find at least one win in the next 72 hours in Pittsburgh and Boston.

- 30 takeaways by Atlanta. That's not goign to be good for business
- How about the portly fellow in the Thrashers leather jacket that I had to sit beside last night? This spherical-like gentleman's jacket smelled so awful that I'd rather stick my nose inside of a used hockey glove for a while to get away from it. Since the Thrashers aren't that old of a team, you just know that this jacket has probably seen and done some strange things that jackets aren't supposed to do. But hey, this is Georgia, people. Draw your own conclusions.
- Fisher/Neil/Schaefer line was irrelevant because they spend their entire shift on the boards and in the corner. They will go an entire 45 second shift and not have one scoring chance because not one of them heads to the front of the net. Even getting the puck back to the point doesn't do any good because the ensuing shot from the defenceman doesn't go through any traffic.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Sens Game Report - Ottawa @ Washington - 11.6.06

The Balance in the Bank:

Final Score: Washington wins 4-3 in overtime, coming back from a 3-0 deficit.
Ottawa Goals:
- Alfredsson (3) in a line change taking a pass from Spezza
- Vermette (5) using his speed and finding some power to get around the d-man and cut back around Kolzig
- Heatley (8) walking in on the left side and tucking one away to spell the end of Kolzig’s night.
Making Sens: Spezza, Alfredsson, Volchenkov, Neil
Lacking Sens: Schaefer, Schubert
It was over when: Phillips taking a penalty in the last minute put us on a 4-on-6 and it just had an eerie feeling to it.
It was definitely over when: Clark tipped in a Semin shot, giving Washington four goals on four deflections. Awesome.
Message in a Molson bottle: We played well early, didn’t turn the puck over, backchecked, started to trap a bit in the second half of the third period, and then remembered, “wait, we don’t win close games!” After they recovered from this brief lapse in memory, we got back onto our self-destructing ways by giving up a goal with 24 seconds left in the game and then another one 1:33 into overtime. These losses in one goal games are WAY to familiar to all four losses to Buffalo in May and it is making me want to puke, to be quite honest.
Courtesy Boxscore:
Next Game: Wednesday in Atlanta, and I’m hoping to be there to take on the brunt of boos in my Heatley jersey.

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

The Good
- Alfredsson has scored legitimate goals in the past two games and is skating very well. He and McAmmond were flying tonight and if it weren’t for the laziest forward of the night, Peter Schaefer, they might have found a few more goals. Vermette would be fun on this line.

The Bad
- The powerplay is ridiculous right now. The first one at least produced chances, but once again we lost the game on special teams. We didn’t convert on our chances, they scored on two (three if you count the one when the penalty door opened and Heatley had yet to step back on the ice). As I said last week, I’m looking to Coach Murray to straighten this out. Whether that is fair or not doesn’t really matter at this point, does it? These units need to score goals or we will continue to lose.

The Ugly
- When it rains, it pours. We eagerly anticipate a four-game road trip to get out of Dodge and focus on hockey for a while. Then we blow a three goal lead on four deflection goals to a lesser team (say what you want, they just shouldn’t be able to play with us). It doesn’t matter that this loss was out of the school of hard knocks because it goes in the books as us blowing another lead and losing another one goal game. Here are two things that Ottawa fans don’t want to hear but ring the truth: 1) Jacques Martin almost always held onto a one-goal lead, and 2) Toronto wins close games like this. If our coach can’t figure out a system that is conducive to winning in games like this, then perhaps our changes don’t need to be the guys on the bench..

- We had five giveaways to their eighteen. Apparently that is irrevelant.
- At least Pothier didn’t score the winner – he was their leading ice time guy again.
- Phillips looked to be playing a great game early and kind of fell of late, culminating in the tripping penalty late.
- Volchenkov actually didn’t a decent job shadowing Ovechkin, hitting him whenever possible but still didn’t live up to Chara’s record of completely shutting the kid down.
- Volchenkov also blocked eight shots tonight and led the way with four hits. As I said, apart from the Ovechkin goals, he rose to the occasion.
- I’ll continue to dismiss the ridiculous Alfredsson rumours. He was our best player tonight and it is hockey suicide to try and change the culture of your franchise mid-season. That doesn’t mean I don’t think something big needs to happen to this team.