Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Goalie Contraversy? Part 2...

Good morning Sens fans! And a great morning it is! As you likely know, I've been cautiously optimistic all season about the Sens success. I have faith, but I've felt (and this likely won't change) a queezy uneasiness approaching just about every game this season...and tonight's game was certainly no different. Ottawa's one of the hottest teams of the week and coming back home versus the mighty Hawks (not to be confused with the mighty Ducks, freakin' Disney...get it?) still left me excited but weary. But hey, what do ya say, everything's ok!

Despite getting badly outshout, Ottawa looked amazing versus arguably the best team in the NHL (and I would argue they are). Another great all around game. All lines plugging, the D looked solid, even the PP scored! (though they made up for it by giving up a shorty, but I digress). It was a great game. And in true ASB tradition there's no game recap, but I will highlight the obvious...

- Brian Elliot - save of the year? I don't like to give that type of acknowledgement for such a desperationally weird stop. But hey, he did everything he could to keep the biscuit out of the basket, and it worked. As lucky as it was, it was truly an athletically awesome save. Thanks BE Keeper! (more on goaltending as you keep reading...)
- Solid all around scoring feels great, doesn't it? Neil made some big plays, despite a scary trip to the locker room. I'm a big Neil fan, and I'm glad he's here, especially on night's like tonight.
- More for secondary scoring as Peter Regin is apparently a Vikings fan, listening to Brett Favre's celebratory "Pants on the Ground" post game chant. He left ex-67 Brian Campbell's pants on the ground with an unreal highlight wrap-around grape. He's either a Favre or American Idol fan. We know that Fisher takes the latter, and I'd prefer Regin's the former.
- Karlsson - as much as we've dogged the rook all year he finally seems to be coming around. He had likely his best game of the campaign and has played well in the recent winning steak. Hope this is a sign of the future.
- Daniel Alfredsson - who does this guy think he is? Answer - my hero? Ding ding ding! Correct! Talk about stating the obvious, but wow! Like most of the Sens Army, I've been a hardcore fan of this guy since his rookie campaign. Does anyone remember his short, early season hold out in the late 90's? Cause it doesn't matter. This guy is still the most underrated player in the league, in my opinion. The proof is in the pudding. The pudding being the sweet flavour of a convincing 4 game win steak, albeit only 3 of which he was in the line up. But still, this is a completely different team that we were writing off a mere week ago. I can go on and on, but I have to work. He makes me proud to be a Sens fan, and I'm a-ok if his dominating importance is out little secret.

So there's the obvious, here's the talking point. An infuriating losing streak made us go bananas over everything, especially goaltending. Then, bad breaks lead us to giving Mike "Don't call me Marty" Brodeur 2 straight starts resulting in 2 straight wins. Then what? We (well some), and other professional insiders and pundits, proclaim Brodeur is the solution to our woes. Check, check, is this thing on? Let's not get ahead of ourselves people. Let's be happy, but let's remain on Earth. Going into the game versus Boston, I was really looking forward to seeing how Brodeur would fare. Then, as the powers of this season would have it, they challenge us once again by casting a flu over Brodeur...and it's back to Elliot. Last season, Elliot was our savoir, then it was Snoopy, then Elliot again, then Leclaire, then Brodeur, and not it's back to Elliot. And he snaps a deep losing streak to beat Boston. The next night against Chicago - he gets a big W! Wowowow!

This roller coaster is fun, isn't it? Especially cause it gives us so much to talk about. Such as...

1. Is Elliot's solid play these past two games the result of Brodeur's strong play? Or, was it the winding down of a road trip, a home game, and a little less pressure after a couple of big wins?

2. Who do you go with for Ottawa's Thursday night bout, at home against the Blues? Both Brodeur and Elliot have played posted two recent solid starts. Elliot most recently, but is he due for a loss? Then again, can Brodeur go 4-0?

3. Is Snoopy still our #1 when he gets back? This question will be easier if Elliot and/or Brodeur post some/any losses, but if not, do you give it to Snoopy???

My humble take? Start Elliot versus St. Louis. He's the hot hand right now and Brodeur is not experienced. Hold your breath and hope for Ottawa to play has they have the past two game with Ells between the pipes. His recent success had nothing to do with Brodeur, but because he's a pro and he had some time to clear his head. Of course, it doesn't help that Alfie's changed the way this team plays. Finally, Snoopy is still our #1. You have to give him the ball. If he fails yet again, we'll take it from there. Strong teams rely on backups to give them wins in dire straights. And despite his recent struggles, Clouston needs to show Pascal that he's still the go to and there's confidence behind him.

That's what I got. What do you got?

Finally, I'd ask for you to wish my good friend and co-blogger Duff a healthy recovery from, ahem, a cold. As you may know, Duff - an Ottawatian - now resides in South Carolina. However, a recent 4 day jaunt to Ottawa's bitter, yet mild-for-January, weather have left him with the sniffles. Hopefully he can rest and recover, despite the shivering 16 degree temperature in the dirty South. He'll rag me for this, but I'm sure that's just the congestion talking.

But back to the real deal. Alfie for Mayor! Regin for, well, honourary something-or-other! Has Karlsson earned your respect? And what do we do between the pipes?!


duff said...

Good discussions points. I've been much more impressed with Karlsson these past few games for sure. I think it is easy for fans to get that hype and raise the expectations too high, and I've been guilty of that with Karlsson, but he's really come around. The touch pass up to Foligno on the fourth goal is something that none of our blueliners have done all season!

Alfie is amazing.

As for goalies, I hate calling it a controversy, but I think it is fair to say that it isn't a clear cut decision. If Snoopy were healthy, you'd have your 'starter', plus two backups that have both looked VERY strong in each of their past two starts. I'd imagine you give Pascal the nod and hope like hell he plays great, or else you have to go back to Elliott. Brodeur is a nice story, but not much more than that, sadly.

And finally, screw you, Pynch. I do have the sniffles from my trip to the homeland but that won't stop me from letting you know right here that you're a jackass.

Master Of Puppets said...

Nice post.

You forgot to mention how the resurgent goaltending has co-incided with a depature of the goaltending coach. hmmm.

I'd love to see Brodeur get more starts but sadly $$$ and waiver rules will govern. Snoopy will get the nod on his return, and really, he has to have the reins. But unless he get's his stuff together and plays solid injury free hockey to close the year we may be hooked.

There is time to save face and a season, but will he?

At the very least, Brodeur should be extended for another season in Bingo. With Lehner perhaps making a jump to the AHL, the minor league netminding could be lights out next year.

Brodeur sort of has this Craig Anderson thing going on ...

In general, when the pucks go in this team can beat anybody, because they do get their chances. They just need to tilt the law of averages in their favour a little more, like last night.

Rink Rant said...

I was talking to a co-worker yesterday who I hadn’t seen in a long time. Among usual chitchat she asked me if I was getting up to anything exciting after work and I said “yeah, I’m going to the Sens game with a bunch of people” She, a Sens fan herself, said, “Oh, I hate to say it but I haven’t been following at all this season. Last year was just too much of a bummer.” I thought about it and had to admit “You know what? You’re actually missing a hell of a season” When all is said and done, hasn’t she? The dizzying highs, the positively crushing lows…the creamy middles. The last two games I‘ve attended are a perfect case study of the 2009-10 campaign. One, a flat 3-0 shutout at the hands of the panthers and the other, last night’s inspired pounding of the blackhawks. The difference in this box of chocolates? Daniel “there goes my effing hero” Alfredsson. The guy was stunning last night. So were many others. It’s been said a million times but…He. Makes. The. Team. Better. Anyway, yes, the wheel of goalies will continue to spin. After B.E. Keep’s mind blowing save last night a thought came to me…what to do when Snoopy comes back from the vet? I too think for sure that he should get the start when he’s cleared to play but he’s gunna be at his absolute best for at least a couple games to quell management and fans nerves. Did Pascal break his brain or did he just hit a bit of a rough patch? Maybe the play of Baby Bro™ will spark a more positive competition of ‘who can play the best?’ instead who is playing not the worst. LETS MAKE IT FIVE!!! PS. If you get the chance watch the highlights on listen to the freaking building lose their minds on Elliot’s save…one of the best I’ve ever seen in person. Great to hear the building come alive!

Anshu said...

There's so much I could say but I think I'll stick with "I told you so" for now.

duff said...

Anshu - I'm loving the way we're playing right now and I sincerely hope you're right. I will gladly accept harsh jabs if we make the postseason. Lest we forget that prior to these wins, we lost to Atlanta, Carolina, and Florida. Let them play 82 before the 'I told you so's'.

Dadeleine said...

newbie here from the Wetcoast...but I know who Neil Brady is.

I've watched Kid Karlsson all year (minus his stint in the A). What I see is exceptional skating (he can stop on a dime and turn on a nickel. )
He shoots hard and hits the net.
He has the best vision of any of our Dmen...better than most I've seen play ever in a Sens uniform...going back to Crister Olsson (sigh) and Steve Ducshene.
He is not afraid to take a hit, but is smart enough to be able to avoid them (big difference).
He is strong in the corners and wins more battles than he loses.
He is a rookie, and not only can't be expected to play perfect hockey, but ISN'T expected to do so. By seasons' end, I'd like to think he'll be our best Dman. High praise perhaps, but with a skill set like he has, I can't imagine any other scenario.

Yes, Alfie for Mayor, Regin for some other high paying city gig and Erik Karlsson for being awesome and fun to watch.

peace to the east. Vancouver is electric with Olympic buzz...I wish I could get the hell out of here!

Anonymous said...
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pynch said...

Some final thoughts on this string of comments...

- Love the comparison of Brodeur to Anderson.
- Love Rink Rant's new handle for Brodeur: BabyBro
- Love the love we're feeling for Karlsson, and the love his play is giving us
- Love the West Coast representation and the random Crister Olsson name drop

Lots of love. Hopefully that continues after tonight. St. Lou played a few extra minutes last night in MTL so hopefully they're legs are hurting. Looking forward to the jump that the Watermelon Warrior will bring to the mix. And let's hope Elliot can keep it together and bring another strong game!

Anshu said...

Let them play 82 before the 'I told you so's'.

Don't worry, the moment the Sens are mathematically guaranteed of a playoff spot, I'll be all over the "I told you so's".

But I did truly feel the earlier pessimism was unwarranted. I don't think any team in the league would have fared any better while being without their entire top line, and with other key players injured at various times over the last few weeks.

Rink Rant said...

Baby Bro is for all of us...both in nickname and in fandom.

Dadeleine said...

When Crister Olsson arrived in Ottawa, I truly thought he was the 2nd coming of Paul Coffey. Sad how that turned out.