My flight from Ottawa back to SC is delayed for fog, so here are my random thoughts on the past week in Hockey Country, or whatever we call it these days:
- Amazing how much can change in a week, eh? This time last week, we were being handed our lunches from the Southeast Division with no sign of an end. This week, we're fresh off two huge wins against bubble teams, our Captain is back with a vengeance, and our highest paid player is ahead of schedule in his recovery. Spezza might be a week away, Kuba is supposedly playing this afternoon, and Michalek is 'very close'. When it rains, it pours but when the sun is shining, she shines bright on our Sens!
- Two great road games last week. We never tried to do too much (although the Karlsson pinch late in MTL was ill-advised) and good goaltending helped. I love the 'back to basics' games that we pull out to climb up from a funk. It really is a shame that we can't play basic, fundamental hockey 82 times. Ebbs and flows of a very long season, I guess.
- On the captain: is this guy amazing or what? The entire team plays differently when he's in the lineup. Not just his linemates, but the entire team. That is a testament to his importance and a knock on the rest of them. It is a few years away, but I will be an inconsolable mess when Alfie hangs 'em up. Who is next in command for the torch? Spetz? Fish? Someone new?
- I love the way Brodeur is playing, but I hate the way some fans are ready to put him as the #1 guy. Can't we just 'ride the hot goalie' without applying ranks to all of them? He's been given a great opportunity and he's blowing away expectations. Let's be thankful for his performance, but let's not think for a moment that he'll be here once Pascal recovers from his concussion/bruised ego. It isn't a contract thing, it is that Pascal is the best goalie we have and he's in a funk. Luongo starts slow, Marty slips up, it happens to every goalie. Pascal's problem is he has the added heat of a fanbase desperate for a goalie that doesn't suck...ever. We don't allow goalies to have a bad game without opening the debate. I'm not sure if Pascal really is THE guy, but he's our best right now and he'll be back between the pipes when his head is on straight. That means that Mike Brodeur, for all his wonderful efforts today, will be riding the buses again soon this year. And no, Don Cherry doesn't really have our best interests in mind...
- If we can play on the road like we did last week all the time, then that might neutralize one of my five reasons why we're gonna come up short of the playoffs. I love that we're winning, but for today, I'll stand by my prediction and hope that the boys will continue to prove me wrong. I miss the playoff badly and boy, oh boy would it be awesome if this lunchpail, ragtag group can squeak in.
Thoughts on Mike Brodeur and our recent road success?
Mark Stone: First Line Player
5 hours ago