Revenge is a dish best served by a Swede; plus read at the bottom for the Gretzky story
The Balance in the Bank:
Final Score: Ottawa wins 3-2 (Ottawa wins series 4-1)
Ottawa Goals: Heatley, Spezza, Alfredsson (GW)
Making Sens: Alfredsson, Heatley, Phillips
Lacking Sens: na, Gerber
It was over when: We went to OT. You had to have that feeling that Alfie would get one back for last season.
It was definitely over when: Alfie ropes one in on a 1-on-3 past Miller for a beauty of a game winner.
Message in a Molson bottle: Evenly matched game, tough penalty calls to take in the third, but each and every player left it all on the ice in one of the greatest games in franchise history. Not much summary here because if you didn’t see this game, then you should be very upset with yourself instead of turning here for a recap. Seriously, though, if you missed this, it was a game where you could honestly write a thousand storylines and still not cover all the details. Amazing things took place for the city of Ottawa.
Courtesy Boxscore: http://sports.espn.go.com/nhl/boxscore?gameId=270519002
Grab a Timmy’s double double and listen to what really happened:
What a win!
Where do you start in trying to capture the best storylines of this game, this series, this playoff run, and this season? Pominville was on the ice during Alfredsson’s overtime winner, by the way. To say that Alfredsson and the Senators got their revenge against the Sabres is the understatement of the season. The similarities between the two series are just striking.
What I liked about this series is it showed two major aspects of our team – depth and leadership. The first two game winning goals of the series were off the sticks of Oleg Saprykin and Joe Corvo. The last two game winning goals of the series were off the stick of our beloved captain, Daniel Alfredsson.
Rather than get into a game report about what was good and what wasn’t (since everyone has seen the game or at least the highlights), let’s instead just enjoy the importance of this moment. Without a doubt, our lifelong captain and Ottawa’s greatest adopted son scored the biggest, most important goal in the history of this franchise. There to celebrate with him were the future of the Senators in Dany Heatley and Jason Spezza. Hugging Alfredsson after the scrum were other lifers in Wade Redden and Chris Phillips. Smiling like a child in a candy store was 73-year old John Muckler, who is headed to the Finals for a seventh time. Exorcising demons of this own was our coach, who is now coaching in the finals for the first time in his own storied career. As I said, what storyline do you start with in talking about this game?
And to go out on a bit of a soapbox here after watching The Reporters on TSN.ca, let me say that I couldn’t care less if we are dubbed Canada’s team or not. I don’t expect Habs and Leafs fans to bypass their hatred and cheer for us. I also think the Flames and Oilers fans, like Uncle Rico, are too caught up in the 80s and what they accomplished 20+ years ago to care about us. And Vancouver? Nobody listens to them, anyway. For reasons unknown, we just aren’t a popular team in the rest of the country. You know what? I don’t give a rat’s ass. Alfredsson and the boys aren’t trying to win a Cup for Canada, they’re trying to do it for the great fans of Ottawa. Let the Flames and the Oilers be the loveable losers and Cinderellas. We should be quite content to be there and actually have a legitimate shot to win this whole thing. If we pick up a few fans around the country along the way – great. If not, then beat it; October is right around the corner for you.
And the Gretzky story
Quick anecdote – for the second straight year, I had a chance to meet with Wayne Gretzky yesterday at the BMW Charity Pro-Am tournament in Greenville, SC. He is one of the nicest people I’ve ever met and also happens to be the greatest hockey player of all time, too. After the photo and getting an autograph from the Great One, I asked him if we had anything to worry about with Buffalo (it was about noon so we were just hours from Game Five puck drop). His response: “Yeah! Buffalo will win this one today and then the pressure will be on Ottawa to win Game Six. Buffalo isn’t going to lose three at home. Ottawa’s edge is that it is way more physical, way tougher than the Sabres. But Spezza has been playing great, Alfredsson has been playing great, and you’re getting great goaltending.” Hey Wayne, says the guy with the heart rate of around 180, who is gonna play in the Finals? “Ottawa and Detroit – good stories there with Ottawa and Hasek.” I told him that his prediction of Buffalo winning game five scared me because a year ago, when Montreal opened a 2-0 series lead on Carolina, he looked at me and said, “Montreal isn’t going to win that series.” When I reminded him of that, he said, “I remember saying that.” Then I soiled myself at the thought that the greatest hockey player of all time remembers saying something to me. We have since exchanged email addresses and cell phone numbers and I’m babysitting his kids next weekend. Later in the month, we’re going to go to Ocean’s Thirteen together and hit the town. Actually, I’ll just tell these stories all year and try and top them when he comes back here next year – just keep hoping the Coyotes miss the playoffs…
Until next week! GO SENS GO!