Warning: This blogger completely despises the Ottawa Senators and thinks they're a bunch of slew-footing, knee-on-kneeing, cheap-shotting dirtbags and that's when he's feeling generous, so salt the following comments to taste.And that is with a complete lack of irony!
I'm sure Peter Schaefer will be looking for another opportunity to put his elbow into Tim Connolly's jaw.I have tried my hardest to see an elbow but the hit was basically Steve Moore's hit on Naslund and a few other headshots this past year: within the rules but with an odor. Oh, and definitely not an elbow.
I'm wondering just when Dany Heatley tries to slew-foot Dainus Zubrus?Do sens fans get to wonder when Spacek is going to try to 'Nichol' a forward into the post in an attempt to hurt them? Or if Briere's stick will magically turn into a groin-divining rod?
The key to beating Ray Emery is getting him moving and forcing him to do something he doesn't like to do, think. He's an extremely aggressive goaltender and beating them has always been using that aggressiveness against them. Ryan Miller, on the other hand, just out-dueled the best goaltender in these playoffs, and in doing so made me look like a veritable genius by pointing out his ability to be one save better than the guy at the other end of the rink. Miller makes the tough saves look easy because he's the opposite of Emery, smart and positionally sound.Emphasis mine. That one was long but the book on Miller (based on seeing about 20 of their games this year) is pretty simple: Shoot high and create traffic. For all of his 'smarts', and this will shock some of you that think that Miller is God and Raycroft is terrible, he is a carbon copy of the Leafs' tender but with a slightly better glove. He plays the butterfly and goes down early but you can definitely get him out of position when he is scrambling. The sens's forwards are well suited to exploiting these weaknesses.
They have a solid team from top to bottom but whose mental toughness is still a serious question mark for me, though the rest of the hockey world seems to think otherwise.Again, while I do wonder just how mentally tough the senators really are (based on the second half and the playoffs they are tough enough) I would point out that the Sabres are just as much of a question mark. How did the accepted wisdom become that the Sabres are mentally tough?
as opposed to trying to win the Stanley Cup in November as they've done in the past.Ironic because that's the arc that the Sabres' season has taken.
Great teams rise to challenges and there isn't one guy in that Ottawa dressing room who has ever achieved more than he was supposed to or won when he had to.Those guys don't exist in the room across the hall either. These are two teams of chokers and never-been-theres and one will get to take one more step towards shedding that label but make no mistake if there is any advantage in experience it is precisely that the senators have more experience losing and it seems to have steeled them to the path to victory.
I re-watched last year's Pominville winner and it's hard to picture a scenario where Alfie makes a limp stick check on that play. This year he'd probably grab Pominville and drive him through the glass before scoring the winner. What a scary thought.