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?!