Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Tank 4 Tavares: Nearing Halfway


With Tampa, Atlanta and St. Louis all dropping early games, tonight's matchup with the Oil is becoming another must lose for the Sens. New York appears to have a lock on most balls in the bin, but with a fully recovered DiPietro they can possibly give up some ground in the second half. Remember, those three head-to-head losses give us the tiebreaker if needed!

UPDATE: Spezza's got us up 1-0, enhancing his potential trade return from holiday fruit cake to half-used Starbucks gift card.

Every media outlet in Vancouver would like you to know...

...that Matsny Spears just landed safely at YVR.


What, no box-flash for us gawkers? So much for that BSP nick...

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Game Day: Tickets! Tickets! Who Needs Tickets!?

Like Bryan Murray or your average bankster, in a downturn it's time for to take stock at year's end and unload any toxic assets onto the most proximate sucker. I've already uploaded the most troubled sector of the portfolio onto BuyMyShitPile.com in the hopes that they will catch the eye of a benevolent economic dictator. To shore up my own personal balance sheet, I'll be on the corner of Beatty and Georgia offering up two 300 level tickets to what will surely be an unwatchable and generally humiliating hockey experience. While a shovel would be acceptable barter, after last night's wrist-slitter, I will also consider cheap domestic whiskey, a shopping cart full of pop bottles and/or a moderately comfortable alley to pass out in.

If I can't make a deal, I'll be sporting my own contribution to A Farce United, enduring the stinging taunts of hundreds of Golden V-clad greaseballs from Surrey:

Friday, December 26, 2008

Holy Crap

Here I am watching Tavares with a 3-0 lead in the 2nd and it occurs to me that everyone connected with this blog is suddenly wondering if last place wouldn't be so bad?

Am I close?

Monday, December 22, 2008

MUPPET VS MUPPET

Ok, so let me get this straight. The Leafs signed Pogge in December 2005, haven't made the playoffs since, and he's only getting his first NHL regular season start tonight? What the hell have they been waiting for?

The Atlanta Thrashers, apparently. Oh, and the Vesa Toskala annual groin injury. The stars have aligned, now he has to take advantage. Nobody is saying he has to take the #1 job right now, but he ought to keep himself around for a while with some solid play.

Like Jeremy Williams has. Man, this kid has one hell of a shot. Have the Leafs stumbled upon a hidden gem or what? Is he on the team for good?

Tough call. It's no secret the Leafs want to get tougher and players like Williams aren't exactly making the Lucic's of the league second-guess themselves. But I think now is the time to dress as much talent as you can, show GM's what we've got, and worry about team toughness later.

So what you're saying is that Williams is better trade bait now than he was two weeks ago?

Exactly. It's not just the Leafs who are looking for young skill so my guess is Burke must be considering deals like the one Fletcher did for Stempniak. Williams is part of a logjam of smallish players on this team (including Stempniak), so chances are somebody will be traded - the Leafs will not be this slight in their top 6 come next September.

Is Williams the biggest surprise so far this year?

Not even close. For me it's Nikolai Kulemin. He's been OK from a production standpoint(13 pts), but what impresses me is the way he uses the body. He's about 18 months and 20 pounds of muscle away from being a very good power forward. There's a reason he's still up and Tlusty is down. Watch closely next game and you'll see how aggressive he can be, plus we already know he has great hands. He just needs some seasoning, but I think he might be a hidden gem.

Ok, so it's game night for the Leafs. Any predictions?

I think I'll take a page out of my Senator-Fan brethren and be way over-cocky at the slightest sign of success or whenever a player is called up (Yay, Cody Bass!!!!).
Let's call this one a 3-1 gem from Pogge.

Who gets the game winner?

We're all winners when the Leafs play. Don't be so daft.

Right. Sorry.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Game Day: Even Ruutu vs Avery couldn't make this bumfight watchable

Yes, the Sens are still barely staying in front of the Trashers, Lightning and Isles, but when you consider their record against those epic alley brawlers is a rather pathetic 2-4-1, it makes you wonder where those much needed W's are going to come from going forward. Wherever they wind up in the draft lottery, the boys are doing their best to look the part of the league's dumpster divers.


Like the bootleg DVD, deriving enjoyment from tonight's match will be considered a sign of moral degeneracy by future generations.

Sens 1, Stars n+1, where n > 0, enjoy the WJC everyone!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Game Day: Who Farking Cares Edition

What to do when it's well below zero, the snow is piling up, you're bombarded by 24-7 Mats Burke / Brian Sundin coverage, and your estranged Eastern Ontario team, the lowest scoring one in the league, is taking on the [groan] Jersey Devils?

1. Watch last year's Don Cherry video. Number 19, the one chronicling The Run. If you don't mist up reliving Saprykin's Game 1 tap-in you have no soul.

2. Think of a West Coast appropriate posterboard slogan / visiting fan attire for December 28th. For example, instead of the traditional paper bag and eyeholes, try one of those organic eco-bags or a Lululemon leg warmer pulled across the face in order to conceal your identity. As for sloganeering, "TREVOR LINDEN HAS AIDS" will certainly get you stomped on in this town, and perhaps a more humble "SPEZZA FOR LUONGO???" sets the appropriate tone.

3. Drink lots of whiskey to keep warm. Plan to escape future winters by keeping your eye on the Cali/Arizona real estate markets, waiting for the bottom (the Kings and Coyotes should have powerhouse squads in fairly short order).

Sens 1, Devilszzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

GAME DAY THREAD - Battle of the last place teams?

I thought this was a bit harsh of TSN: I mean really, does anybody see the standings from a "divisional" perspective anymore? Clearly somebody at TSN doesn't like Ottawa. Maybe everybody.

Leafs host the Devils and lately Clemmenson has looked a lot like the guy he's filling in for. Toronto have had more luck against the Devils since last year, but the bookies likely won't let that sway them. This smells like an end to the modest Leafs win streak.

Lastly, it's looking like Sundin will be a Ranger by end of week. They visit the ACC in Feb I believe, which already has me wondering: is he boo'd or cheered? Tough not to have at least one eyebrow raised when his reasons for not being traded last Feb have been completely contradicted in every way. Tough also not to give props to the Leafs all-time leading scorer and all-around good guy.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Game Day: Hedman Cup Edition

If 94 points gets you into the playoffs (the Sens barely squeaked in with that total last season), their current point accumulation pace is going to have to pick up significantly. At 25 points in 27 games, they'll need another 69 in the final 55! In other words, going from 0.92 PPG to 1.25 PPG. Setting even moderate goals of becoming a pure .500 team won't cut it, and there'll be a lot of chisler OT/SO losses needed to fill in the gap.

I think I'll have a white towel handy for tonight's match. In the meantime, enjoy this scouting viddie for 6'7", 220 lb Chara replacement Victor Hedman.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Hockey Central has given up. Have you, Sens fans?

It's 9:19pm. I'm drunk. 2nd intermission and the Leafs are tied. Suddenly, the Sportsnet panel talks about Ottawa (down 3-0 in the 3rd):

McLean: It's getting scary in Ottawa

Waters:You know what's really sad Doug? They're doing the best they can. This is not a very good hockey team, and I don't know whether there's a one move fix? I would think that Bryan Murray has got to do something?

McLean: He needs a shocker of a trade. That's what he needs. A blockbuster.
As I put my glass down and sit back slightly in over-sized chair, fire burning in fireplace, twin hunting dogs at my side, I look at you Sens fans, and ask: Are they right?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Game Day: Sens at Hawks

Gerber? Gerber! is on in relief of Alex Auld tonight, making his seventh start of the year. There's this nagging historical fact of the Senators never having a number one goalie that sub-heads like this one overlook. 'Former No. 1'? On paper once, perhaps, but like most of their previous tenders a 20 to 40 game stint of above-average play appears to be the most we can come to expect. Think of past trends: Ron Tugnutt taking over from Damien Rhodes, Emery doing the same for Gerber, Gerber's brief flash of brilliance at the start of 07-08. So this trend will hold, I fear, with Alex Auld - a guy who can come in off the bench or after an injury and hold the fort for a while in heroic fashion, but can't consistently maintain that dominant position over a 60-70 game starter's schedule (which includes the ability to comfortably re-assert the role following short, but regularly scheduled rest intervals). As always, I hope to be proven wrong, but when Hartsburg finally gave Gerbs the nod after Tuesday's loss, for some reason I was reminded of the Friends episode that even Friends-haters can remember - the one where Joey and Chandler's TV broadcasts free porn and they're unable to turn it off for fear of losing the stream. Regardless of how it goes tonight, I'm most interested in whether Auld can continue providing us that guilty pleasure of getting away with more than we were really willing to pay for.

Sens 3, Hawks 2 (Pizza x3 as per the script), Murray scrutinizes FBI affidavit, vows to apply Blago School of Negotiation techniques to next Khabibulin pitch.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Everyone just take it easy out there

After reading the account of the fortunately stable 300 level tumbler ("he took a hit and made a play" as Ben describes it) and Jeremy's reset of the poor guy who took a hot dog blast to the eye, I was reminded of the last major incident involving refreshments, laws of motion and exposed upper decks. The Sun headline was expectedly heroic.

Flying pucks are the least of your worries, try to keep your wits about you.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

In Sloth we trust

Your undisputed bang-for-the-buck champ:



[stats via Behind the Net and NHL numbers, nick via 6thSens]

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

How many fantasy points for trash talking through the media?

Luckily for Sean Avery he has been spared by the NHL from having to be Dion Phaneuf's punching bag tonight in Calgary. Suspended indefinitely.

Sadly, I'll miss out on the 25 penalty minutes he would have racked up for my BoOB team before he was rushed to the trauma unit at Foothills Provincial Hospital (they have a heli-pad and 24-hour service!).

What a card this guy is. Watching the reactions from Turco and other Stars in the video below the story, I'm thinking his chances of remaining in Dallas and my chances of trading him now, are slim to none.

Or are they? Who wants to make a BoOB deal?

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Battle Game Day: LIVE Edition - The Enemy of My Enemy is Still My Enemy...

Thanks to Scarlett Ice's Dany Heatley Speedwagon for setting up a live blog for tonight's Battle. It's like a hyper-responsive version of Haloscan, so we hope our BoO regulars will get into the action:



Sens 6, Leafs 2 (Heatley with a pair, Alfie, Ruutu, Kelly, and Schubert scores in his return). A pizza stimulus package is delivered, the leafs fall below the Sens in the standings and we all get up in the morning and go back to hating on the habs.

Music for the pre-game skate: It's gotta be LIVE - Live Wire LIVE.

GAMEDAY: LEAFS AT BRIAN BURKE

Poor Ottawa.
They only play Toronto six times a year and instead of getting to bath in the vast coverage and brilliant spotlight that only playing against God's team brings, Brian Burke goes ahead and agrees to become the next president and general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs hours before game time.

The Sens go from riding shotgun to sitting on the hump in the middle of the back seat. Sorry about that. Hope this helps you sell out those last 500 tickets though!

Burke, with all the reins. Welcome aboard buddy. Win a cup and we'll rename the CN tower after you. Do it by beating the Sens along the way, and we'll name all of Jason Spezza's hometown after you. Burkeville. Nice huh?

Just in

Toronto Maple Leafs
Nov 27, 2008, 8:40 AM EST
The Toronto Maple Leafs announced Thursday that they have asked the NHL that the team be allowed to forfeit their games until 'The Saviour' arrives.
They instead propose an around the clock circle jerk while chanting His name until that time. The team believes that since their fans no longer care whether or not they win hockey games, and that clearing cap space before He arrives is the most important objective for the franchise in 2008-09, the league should agree to this proposal.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The next GNR album will come before the Leafs win a cup

The post title is unrelated (or is it?) to this bit of trivia:

Pat Quinn has the best winning percentage of any Leaf GM. Who has the 2nd best?

Cue the Burke T-shirt vendors!

Today's stories about Burke in Toronto:
The Star: 3 articles
The Sun: 3 articles
The Globe: 3 articles

Anything to distract the fans from the mess on the ice. The team has the worst GA in the league with it's entire backend under contract for next year.

Flashback to September:
For a team that ranked 26th among the 30 NHL teams last season in goals allowed (3.2 per game), learning how to prevent goals could take longer than three weeks.
"It's going to be the running theme throughout the year," Wilson said. "Guys probably won't like it, because it's the thing that no one wants to practice. But it needs to be done."
Toronto also ranked second-last on the penalty kill with a 78.1% success rate. But Wilson said he would be preaching a defence-first strategy even if he were coaching the current Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings.
"Everyone in Toronto - from the fans to the media to the players - seems to be concerned with who is going to score," Wilson said. "I'm more concerned with preventing goals."


Not Fletcher. He's brought in another career minus player in Stempiak.
Maybe Burke can sign a sibling of Jay Bouwmeester or Mike Komisarek?

UPDATE: He's everywhere! 'Burke crowned 'Dancing with the Stars' queen'

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Screw the Habs

I just went and voted for the top players not Habs. I suggest we all vote for the following to punish them.

Crosby
Malkin
Ovechin

Chara
Gonchar

Fleury

Vote here.

Messianic Age is coming


Bigger head than Jesus.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Canadian Blog Awards

A big thank you to whoever nominated this corner of the intertubes for the Best Sports Blog in the Canadian Blog Awards. You can vote for your favourite site here. I would bet that it comes down to Joy of Sox, Mirtle, and the BoA and it's an honour to be nominated in such a select group, blah, blah, blah, go stuff the ballot boxed.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Early Game Day: Rangers @ SNES

Morning, all. I've not much to add on the Sens latest on-ice misfortunes, so I'll keep it brief on this "Third Jersey Saturday" and offer up a mildly Gladwellian observation: how cool a new sports jersey looks depends entirely on the performance of the team wearing it and has little or nothing to do with the color selection, historical references, lettering and other insignia (recall the Mighty Ducks / Ducks jersey transformation also accompanied a major ripening of talent in time for 06-07). If you swapped the Oilers and Jets jerseys back in the 80's which one would now look unironically cooler and which one would be just hideous?

So here's to a successful debut in the black, may it give us the illusion of size and speed. While "Back In Black" is sure to be in heavy rotation, I decided to go with the blackest of black: Chuck and Flava dropping a more appropriately titled "Black Steel In the Hour of Chaos".

Sens 2, Rangers 0 (Spezza, Alfie), while watching Redden fall down in his own end, we are reminded that although our blue line is thin, it's not scarfing up 6 million in cap space.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Game Day: Chin up, we're not at the 20 game mark yet!

"How far can they fall" was the sports section headline above the usual Toronto Sun crime scene / sunshine girl front page spread. It caught my eye while shuffling from security gauntlet to security gauntlet deep in the bowels of Pearson International. Our foes in TO were certainly loving the second straight defeat to the lowly Islanders although the lack of a professional hockey franchise anywhere in the province might be one more reason for a younger generation to consider moving west (if McGimpy's new driving restrictions don't force the issue). Take it from painful experience though, the first 20 games is an awfully crude indicator of how the rest of the regular season will unfold. If you don't believe me, I've got a 1976-77 Canadiens yearbook to sell you.

Drawing into the lineup tonight are the Super Bass-O-Matic 76, Brendan Bell (possibly working the PP) and Ilya Zubov. On the outs are Fisher and Neil (who have been largely unnoticeable with the exception of the Dumb Penalty Face(TM)), as well as Christoph Schubert (appropriately enough on Kick a Ginger Day).

Look out Habs! The lads are almost ready to play some real hockey. OTT's goal diff only puts us at 10th in the east after 20 (still much improved from how the last quarter ended). You'll note a certain first round opponent and eventual EC champ started off in Ottawa's position last year. Once the offence starts clicking again (i.e. the issue of how to move the puck smoothly out of our own end is resolved), we may be back on our way up.

Sens 5, Habs 1 (Bass, Bell, Heatley 2, Spezza), Scotiabank's second most irritating visitors save their applause for the post game strip at Pigale's.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Let's see it!

To make up for the loss of grit, the Senators recalled Cody Bass from Binghamton of the AHL. In 16 games with the Baby Sens this season, Bass has one goal and one assist while adding 37 minutes in penalties.

The expectations are huge!

When It Rains It Pours


Well, I guess there were just too many jokes attached to the Zero logo to stick with it. Glove tap to Icethetics for the find and I Can Haz Cheezburger for the captioning help.
And thanks to Donny Brennan for piling on:
Senators centre Mike Fisher is expected to miss two weeks with strained right knee ligaments, it was announced after practice this morning.The news is worse on Chris Neil. The rugged right winger will have arthroscopic surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee. It's not yet known how long Neil will be out of the lineup.

Hey Ottawa, here's a flashlight and the key for the fuse box.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Where are the car flags now?

Sens at Rangers 7:00pm - Sportsnet East
Bruins at Leafs 7:30pm - Sportsnet Ontario


It's almost as if our two Ontario teams are fulfilling each others destiny. Late September if you showed me records that read 7-7-4 and 6-9-2, I would have put money down the second one belonged to the Leafs.

A loss tonight will inch Toronto closer to where they are expected to be. Can't say the same for the Sens.

Enjoy this one responsibly.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

How The Mighty Have Fallen

Remember that run to the Stanley Cup Final two seasons ago? Remember how it was nothing like the Edmonton or Calgary runs because everyone in ottawa is so frigging boring? Well, hold on to those memories because there is one big warning sign showing that it will never happen again. In fact, it's one that just a short while ago fans around the league were using to show that the Leafs sucked. Courtesy of Senators Lost Cojones:
Not sure about you guys, but I'd be getting mighty offended: Joe ("Joe"? Really? "JOE?") MacDonald. Michael Leighton. Mike Smith. Jonas Hiller. Craig Anderson. Brent Johnson. Patrick Lalime (Jesus wept...). What do these names have in common? They're all backup goaltenders. They're all backup goaltenders who have started against the Senators this year. Sixteen games played; seven backups have started against us. And the first five listed herein? Totally kicked our ass. Make of this information what you will.

Ouch.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Good Morning!

It's 9:53am on a sunny warm Friday in Toronto and Matt Stajan is the leading scorer on the Leafs. And the Sens.

Jason Blake comes back after his 2nd benching and sets up two goals and gets under the oppositions skin.

The Leafs outwork another NHL team last night and find themselves in 8th place for their troubles.

We have the leading rookie goal scorer in the NHL and we didn't draft him.

Somebody carve Ron Wilson out of bronze and raise his statue on York street. Right beside one of Cliff Fletcher.

It's Friday morning, mid November, 2008.

We have a hockey team again.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Time to take out the anger?

After yesterday's feisty practice, the Sens will face the Islanders tonight. Shannon has been called up and will be on the top line with Spezza and Heatley according to James Gordon. Will we see the shannon shootout spin shot if it goes the distance?

The Leafs are in Edmonton and Lowetide understates the issue when your team faces the blue team:
Should be a good game tonight, with the only real negative being the number of Leafs fans in the house.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

First Sundin sells his house. Now this!

Brian Burke is on his way to a news conference where the Ducks will announce that Bob Murray is taking over immediately as Anaheim's GM.

Thank God the Leafs are on the west coast this week.

Let the carnival begin...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Game Day: Spit-take edition

Yeah, I saw that, too:

Let's safely assume, though that tonight's victory over the habs will depend less on goaltending and more on some Heatley-Spezza firepower, particularly on the power play. As both have have racked up over 30 points against Montreal in their last three seasons as a couple, a public ass-paddling from the coach couldn't have come at a better time.

Following up on Saturday's observations, is anyone else shifting (Sens fans or not) their hatred from Toronto to Montreal this year? Is it the "entitlement" vibe emanating from the Bell centre? The disappearance of old favourites like Sundin, Tucker, McCabe? No more Neale and Bob homerism from the Hockey Night booth? Was a town near you overrun with noisy, red-white-and-blue clad pests during last year's finals?

Let tonight stand as a reminder to the potential Eastern Conference champs - we may be waiting for you in that eighth seed. The Bruins gave you a good scare last year, and surely you wouldn't want a longstanding foe ruining the storybook season?

Sens 4, Habs 1 (Heatley 2, Spezza 2), Youpie covers his eyes and shakes his furry head before cuing up the Habs Riot Song.

Monday, November 10, 2008

THREE GAMES

Kostopolous gets what must be considered the minimum.

Here's the full story via TSN.
Here's video of the hit.

Although Van Ryn was facing the boards from about the blue line, Kostopolous' consistent with his excuse that "Van Ryn turned his back at the last minute".

Tough one to take.

Secondary Scoring?

OTTAWA FORWARDS
Heatley, Spezza, Afraidsson: 42 pts
The rest of the forwards: 39 pts

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Hard to accept


1. The Sens aren't playing till Tuesday.
2. I'm sober and cheering for the Leafs as they play the habs.

Thanks for nothing, Saturday night!

Friday, November 07, 2008

Game Day: From Pizza to Boxed Lunches

Marty tha G., Corvo, Eaves renew acquaintances in an untelevised Friday night affair. As the Atlanta matchups in previous seasons brought forth the Heatley versus Hossa trade hindsight, so too must tonight's game remind us of the shakeup that sent Joe Corvo and Patrick Eaves to the southeast in exchange for pics of Mike Commodore making it rain in his undies.

Thru 36 games with the Canes, Corvo is 9-17-26, +3 while thru 24, Eaves is 1-6-7, -1. Although Stillman put up comparable numbers while here and Commodore was never brought in to provide offense, it worth contemplating how much worse the 2008 playoffs might have gone had these two not led the team in scoring (as impossible as that may have seemed). In retrospect, given the way the Sens season played out, the trade was not quite the equivalent of shuffling the decks on the Titanic, maybe more like stopping to pick up a couple of strong swimmers just before hitting the iceberg.

Now, in case you're wondering if the pizza days are truly done, who would've thought around February of last year that the Sens could pull off a pair of sub five-goal victories with the big three averaging barely 20 minutes a game?

Sens 4, Canes 2 (Vermette, Schubert, Alfie, Kelly), members of the Joe Corvo fan club silently weep.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Game Day: We get results

Following Tuesday's evisceration on the front page of Ontario's most respected sports journal, Mike Fisher's pride as a professional athlete was clearly wounded. He responded with a classic performance: 2 points, 6 shots, 2 blocked shots and holding Ovechkin and Co. to S.F.A. through three and a quarter periods (no hits?!). Where will the razor sharp glare of the establishment be focussed next? Hard to go after the Big Rig, as he entertainingly dumped Number 8 aside on his way into the zone. The other Chris commited an atrocious giveaway, but continues to play his shit disturbing role as well as can be expected. With that I turn to mine and Dan Savage's special francophone heartthrob. Vermette continues to remind me of the dearly departed Magnus Arvedson, whose speed-generated scoring opportunities far exceeded his actual output. This is your call-out, Antoine: start bulging the twine or it's the Swedish elite league and argyle sweaters for you.

Sens 3, Flyers 2 (Alfie, Spezza, Smith!), Auld continues to battle in heroic Tugnuttian fashion.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

MUPPET VS MUPPET

Man, it sure is tough seeing Kyle Wellwood with 7 points in 8 games with the Canucks. Kind of makes you wonder if we let one get away doesn't it?

It sure does. We had a lot riding on this portly wee dangler last season and it blew up in our faces.

It did. Then again, at least this proves we weren't completely out of our minds.

And it saves MLSE a bit of money on team dinners.

That too.

Speaking of underachieving players, what the hell is going on with Vesa Toskala?

You mean him letting in a billion goals a game?

Yes. That.

Not sure. I don't think anybody's looking for superstar numbers from this guy, but he's pretty far below his career averages right now. He started last year slow too.

Ah yes, last year. Right about now we were comparing him and Emery on BoO weren't we?

Indeed. Of course this time last year America also had a white red-neck president, Heath Ledger was making movies and the Sens were 9-1.

So what you're saying is that things change?

They sure do you handsome devil. They sure do.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Game Day: This is gonna hurt a little

No team did more to expose the state of the 2007-08 Senators team defense than the Washington Capitals. In four humiliating defeats last year, the Caps outscored the Sens by a total of 10 goals. Alfie was a machine, playing his usual 25 minutes, but barely came out even on the season series in spite of his 6 points.

The six million dollar pointless wonder, Mike Fisher was a -3 against the Caps last year and it's anyone's guess whether he'll pick tonight to have a breakout game. I'd say its unlikely seeing as That Guy is back in action and could well go head to head with him. Even at almost 18 minutes a game, it's hard to notice Fisher out there. The trademark head down net drive is gone and he's been flopped around more than a 213 pounder should.

Sadly, I think November kicks off on a bad vibe. They're going with the dreaded backup goalie, and Ovie is itching to get his stats back up to pace. Caps 5, Sens 2 (Alfie, Neil), the Southeast owns us again.

In honour of tonight's battle between national capitals, and the occasion of our friends to south picking their latest preznit, we pump you up with a little Tenacious D. Feel free to give us your election picks, but try and keep the flamethrowers on safety.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Kovulchuk Rumours.

I read this morning that some media types saw Fletcher and Atlanta GM Don Waddell having conversations at the recent GM meetings. Rumours of course begin that they are discussing Kovulchuk who wants out of Atlanta.

Fletcher denies it flat out, and if the Leafs did want Kovulchuk it would be costly. Some might argue such a move also flies in the face of the Leafs "rebuild strategy".

But hold on.

Ilya is 25 years old. This isn't some washed up vet. Add that this guy leads the NHL in goals scored since 2002/2003, and the Leafs would have their franchise forward for years to come.

I'll guess that if Fletcher really wanted him, it would cost the Leafs their 1st and 2nd round pick and a cluster of our better prospects (maybe Kulemin and Tlusty?). Ouch.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

An evening with the Sens. A Weekend with the Leafs.


A rare Saturday and Sunday night schedule has Toskala and the Leafs facing the Rangers back-up tonight, while Joseph gets the start tomorrow in Carolina.

I imagine on a Hurricanes blog some guy named Tampa fan in Dirty Rutherford is making a point that Toronto are saving their back-up for the Canes. Or something like that.

The Sens will face the suddenly rolling Lightning, sending their back-up Auld who has been anything but a #2 this week.

By tomorrow the Sens could be tied with the Leafs. Maybe we'll start seeing some posting around here? Me and Duff can't keep the hate up ourselves y'all.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Even Crosby is getting badmouthed!

It's been a heck of a day.
Semin asks, what's so special about Crosby?

Man, I am definitely tuning in for the next caps/pens game!

An Open Letter to Fans of the Toronto Maple Leafs

Dear Most Valuable Losers:

Yesterday, continuing a long-standing trend, another Toronto reporter took a cheap shot at Leaf fans (screenshots: one two). This time it was Howard Berger who called us "losers" but we've seem the same cookie-cutter article from virtually everyone who covers the team.

Quite frankly, we've had enough.

As fans, we believe that those most deserving of our praise and our scorn are directly involved in the game, whether it's on the ice, in the press box or in the executive corridors. Fans don't pencil in the starting five, make bad trades, or write the headlines of the day and shouldn't be blamed (or praised) for the totals in the wins and loss column.

Hockey may be just a game but it's also a passion. If you're looking for passionate hockey coverage that offers insight and humour and you're sick of being blamed for supporting a team you're passionate about, you have a better option.

It's time to leave the media superstars behind. There's compelling, timely, wide-ranging content waiting just for you online in the Barilkosphere.

Many have found this better way of following the Leafs, but not every Leafs fan has been so lucky. Please send this message to your fellow Leaf fans via e-mail or postings on message boards and let them know that they do have a choice.

We hope you'll join us here in the Barilkosphere and become regular readers.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Alfie

He's locked in. Afternoon news conference.

UPDATE: The numbers seem to settle on 22 over 4 years - 5.5 per which is 1.1 more than his current cap hit.

Some here on the radio and print are questioning why this was announced in Florida and not at home.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

LEAFS IN THE SWAMP

The Devils are banged up bad right now and starting two rookies in place of Rolston and Holik. The good news ends there as Martin Brodeur will make his 977th NHL start.

Zach Parise said this about the Leafs:

"Coach told us that this will be the hardest working team we've faced so far this season."


I just checked the entire internet and nope, nobody has ever said the same thing about the Sens.

7:30pm. TSN. Enjoy the game.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Stamkos' Turn?

Last week the Leafs solved the scoring droughts for a couple of Penguins. Will they provide the same opportunity for a few Tampa forwards? Not if this guy has any say in the matter.

Colaiacovo, Frogren and White won't be stopping anybody, as they're scratched for tonight's game. Maybe Dallas need a d-man or two since they lead the NHL in fishing pucks out of their own net. Somebody give Fletcher's cell phone to Brett Hull, and fast.

Where stopping goals hasn't been the Leafs problem in the last week, the PP has. Will Wilson's new powerplay strategy help?

Tune in to find out. 7:30pm puck drop.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Sens win! Sens win!

Thank God. I was actually getting ribbed by Leaf fans today. Leaf fans - getting it into their heads that their team might actually be better than us! Fuck that shit.

Who would have thunk it?

Schenn staying. Officially.

Schenn leads all rookies in ice time and awesomeness.

"Mock" Draft

Ottawa are co-owners of the lead league in losses (5) and sit 2nd last in the NHL this afternoon. If this holds up who would you take:

Victor Hedman or John Tavares?

PPP Interviews Pat Quinn

Hello everybody! Sorry I have been a bit delinquent but thankfully Muppet's been up to the task of keeping the Leafs' side of things up to date.

What have I been doing? Oh, just talking to my new BFF Pat Quinn. Here's a sneak peek:
"It's important for Luke to be aware that the Toronto market is super competitive. You have guys that see sports coverage as entertainment and think that they are the story. There are guys that don't care about the facts and a lot of the criticism is disingenuous. This environment means that a lot of time the coverage in Toronto is not fair."
Read the rest here.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Battle Game Day: "It's Still Early"

We've sampled a number of team mottos here at the BoO over the years: "Wouldacouldashoulda", "Creating Cap Space for Burke is Everything", "A Work In Progress" have all fit the bill, but at this point I'm hoping to hang my hat on "The 2008-2009 Ottawa Senators: It's Still Early".

There is no logic to this of course, based on what I've seen in seven pretty ragged games so far. It's just the thought of the Leafs being ahead of us in the standings that is so upsetting to all that is right and orderly in the universe - I close my eyes, shake my head and think surely this aberration will correct itself sooner or later.

To take us back to the last time the playoffs bypassed Ontario entirely would get you to 1991-1992, when a certain Kanata-based club was still in the womb (for the last time the Leafs were in and the Sens on the outs, you'd need to rewind to 1995-1996, the era of Dave Allison, Mike Bales, Stan Neckar and Bob Dole). The simple fact of the matter is that the Sens are two points back of the Leafs, tied for 14th with the Lightning and Flyers and only a single point ahead of the last place Islanders (who have a game in hand). Sens have scored five more goals than the Leafs and maintain a GF-GA of -2 compared to the Leafs -8. The mismatch between Ottawa offense and Toronto defense has produced some pitiful beat downs in the past several years, but Ottawa's average scoring pace is depreciating rapidly since 2005-2006, in an opposite slope to the GA/gm plot:


The power play now appears to be Ottawa's best hope, as they are now the second worst 5v5 team in the league. Leaf penalty killers will have their work cut out for them.

With regards to this evening's Battle, recall that last year things were so close it took a single goal in the final game of the season series to break the tie in the Battle (4 wins apiece). Will the tables finally turn this season? Did Axl finally make good on his promise to rock the 21st century? Well, like I say "It's Still Early" to make that call.

Sens 5, Leafs 4 (SO): Heatley x2, Kelly, Kuba. Ruutu instructs Toskala on the art of the shootout. To set the stage, and to remind you that 1991-1992 wasn't all bad it's about time for everyone to GET IN THE RING.



Our last Battle GDT had 229 comments. That's right, that's how we roll around here.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Window, what window, I don't know what you're talking about

Mirtle on average team age.

Erin, don't be hard on the Senators rough start - they're a young group ya know!

MUPPET VS MUPPET

It's the day before the first battle of the year. Why is it so quiet around here?

I'm not sure exactly. Although, Sens fans tend to go into hiding when the Sens are losing. Even more so when the Leafs are winning.

You have a point. And since Ottawa are 1. Below Toronto in the standings and 2. Facing yet another back-up goaltender, well, this eliminates two of three most popular topics around here for them.

Ha ha. You have them there. Wait, what's the third one?

That whole 1967 thing.

Of course. Well they have us there.

Ya. They do. Anyway, onto the game tonight, it could be an interesting one. Two struggling teams that met in the finals a few years ago trying to get things on track. Maybe it will get rough?

Speaking of which, did Scott Niedermayer ever exact revenge on Afraidsson for shooting the puck at him in the playoffs?

You know, I have no idea?? Maybe ask a Sens fan. I'm sure there will be one or two around tonight.

If they're winning...

Of course.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Going into Battle on a high

Or not.

Mats

I know. I'm sick of this neverfuckingending saga just like the rest of you, but since he's actually picked up his jock strap and is working out it might be OK to speculate.

Here are some of the teams allegedly interested in his services and their available cap space (source nhlnumbers.com).

OTTAWA: $3.2M
Murray has made enough stupid trades to get band-aid help part way through the last two seasons. Could this be his next? Mats may take a pay cut but to expect him to play for $3M is a stretch, especially for a team with no hope of a Cup. Ottawa would have to subtract from the roster once again.

DETROIT: $999,000
If Mats was going to take a major pay cut this might be the team to do it for. Not this much though. Detroit would have to make room. They have quality players to move more than most teams.

NEW YORK RANGERS: $969,000

Same deal as Detroit, only less cap space. We're talking a major trade or buy-out to make room here. Hard to imagine them messing that much with a good thing, but if they want to compete with Detroit... I actually think this is the team Mats will sign with.

TAMPA BAY: $2.6M
They could swing a small deals and get the cap room, but is another forward what Tampa really needs? From Mats perspective, what would be the motivation to go there? Can't see this happening at all.

VANCOUVER: $8.5M
They have the room. They want him. But they suck. At least so far. I like Ohlund as much as the next guy, but this is not a defence that wins cups. It's clearly not just about the cash or Mats would be there playing right now.

PHILADELPHIA $1.5M
Like most teams fishing for Sundin, they don't have the bait. This one would make no sense to me at all.

MONTREAL: $1.1M
I know they took themselves out of the running and picked up Robert Lang, but Lang makes $4M so if they really still want Sundin they could move that money somewhere. Doubtful, but you never know with Gainey.

TORONTO: $8.6M
We have the money. This is his home. He's still the captain. Say what you will about all that, I just don't see why the Leafs would pay $6-$7M for what will essentially be a rental player for the rest of the season. If the Leafs goal this season is to break this team down and build it back up and hopefully catch a top 3 draft pick for our trouble, than stick to it. I actually think he'll play in Ottawa before here if Ron Wilson has any say.

Here are some other teams and their cap space...

DALLAS/$4.5M, COLORADO/$5.7M, PITTSBURGH/$100K, SAN JOSE/$600K...

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Game Day: Panthers vs. Sens

In what could well be an important two points come April, the ever so slowly developing Panthers are in town to take on the Sens. Unfortunately, Alex Auld's old [water] drinking buddy isn't in tow this time, nor are the half dozen or so ex-Leafs that Jacques Martin has assembled for the roster since his exile several years past. We do look forward, as always, to Wade Belak showcasing his mobility and defensive prowess, however.

The Cats have never had much luck in Kanata and even with Gerber spotting them the first shot, I'm still comfortable enough with a 3-2 Sens win (Fisher, Picard, Winchester).

Wednesday at the BoO

Good morning Eugene Melnyk. The Sens woke up today in 10th place tied with the Leafs. You must be wondering what the hell your hockey people are doing with all your money? Shameful.
On the bright side, your dream of owning the Leafs may never come true but you could dump your Kanata club and buy the next Toronto NHL team. Could there be a more bullet-proof investment in all of sports? No Government bail outs necessary here...

***

Speaking of shame, the Ducks didn't record one shot in regulation after the 7:40 mark of the second period last night. No shots for well over the last half of the game. I don't know whether to be proud of the Leafs or sick in my stomach that Brian Burke will be our GM in a few months.

***

Damien Cox wouldn't piss on MLSE if it was on fire, but Ron is apparently his guy. Sens fans will especially like the part about Sundin. Again.

***

The Leafs have only 5 points on the season and there are plenty of underachieving teams below us in the standings, which means the Tavares hunt is alive and well. Which begs the question, was Ron Wilson looking for an edge last night by putting an ice cold Joseph in for the shootout, or did he read this line in the paper yesterday afternoon:
JOHN TAVARES 13GP - 14G 9A 23PTS

Fingers crossed.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Wilson can juggle too.

Except his Yahtzee cup only throws out fourth liners.

Tonight we'll see the Leafs new #1 line that will feature none other than John Mitchell at center, flanked by Antropov and Blake.

Oh dear lord.

No knock on Mitchell, he's big and fast and is known for his playmaking abilities and work ethic, but he's spent a whole 5 games in the NHL and that was playing wing. On the fourth line. He has one assist to show for his troubles.

Last season with the Marlies he collected 56 points in 79 regular season games, but turned heads with an impressive playoffs, leading the team with 8 goals and 12 points in 19 games.

IN OTHER NEWS: The realism of EA sports is astonishing. In my first NHL '09 season on XBox since buying the game last week, my Leafs are a pathetic 3-8. My only win since splitting the first two games of the regular season? A 4-2 win against the Sens in the very game we will see this Sat night. Lets hope there's something prophetic in my game console...

Monday, October 20, 2008

KABOOM

Hartsburg has finally (eh, five games into the season?) dropped some surnames into the yahtzee shaker and let fly:

Foligno-Spezza-Winchester
Heatley-Fisher-Alfredsson
Ruutu-Kelly-Vermette
Donovan-McAmmond-Neil/Schubert

[link via Everyone]

Splitting up Spezza and Heatley?
Sez the coach: "There is no excuse why that will not work"

In other unresolved issues, why wouldn't Hartsburg start Auld in the second of back-to-back games against his old team? Farking Gerber responded to the nod by letting the game's first shot in yet again.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Finally, a Battle of Ontario game worth watching...

Saturday October 25th. Or, one week away.

Will it decide who sits in 13th place?
Stay tuned folks. Stay tuned.

I find it very satisfying that after all this talk of back-up goaltenders, Manny Fernandez gets me 5 points in my office pool.

Ah. Ha.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Senators stats you don't see everyday

In a six goal game, where Pizza were a combined +7, the likes of Antoine Vermette, Jesse Winchester and Mike Fisher all exceeding their ice time (> 18 minutes). Particularly interesting when the Sens went the entire game without using their penalty killers.

Is this the long welcomed Hartsburg course change? Considering those three were regularly pushing 25 minutes a night last season, it's definitely worth looking forward to.

Games in progress tonight: Sens are in tough 3-1 (oops 3-2) to the Bruins and Leafs are down 2-1 in Pittsburgh.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Game Day: The Day That Never Comes

Just a few of the seemingly infinite waits endured by Sens fans:

-the dead zone between playoff and regular season games.

-the development of a defensive conscience in our number one centres.

-the arrival of a bonafide, honest-to-gawd, indisputable, let him cradle your newborn, Number 1 Goaltender.

The Sens will look for their first home win of the 2008/09 season as they host the Coyotes tonight at the Bank. It's still early, but at 1-1-1, the Sens have a new defenceman leading their scoring (shades of Norm MacIver?!), a sniper averaging a power play goal per game and a starting goalie with a 3.41 GAA. Tonight, the Alfie knee watch will continue and the boys may be on the receiving end of a few Brian McGrattan knuckle bombs.

Sens 6, Yotes 2 (Spezza, Heatley 2, Fisher, Neil, Lee). Wayne makes lots of funny faces on the bench.

Post your predictions, smack talk and interpretations of Metallica's career arc in the thread below.

GAME DAY: About Fricken Time Edition

It hasn't been the anorexic schedule for Toronto that Sens fans have had to face, but it's been a while for both squads.

TONIGHT: Toronto visit the Rangers while Phoenix make a rare visit to Kanata. A long layoff and no Afraidsson will surely be the excuses tossed out tomorrow if the Sens can't get it done, while Toronto are expected to lose so no excuses necessary.
Frogren and Stajan are back in while the Rangers will save Lundquist for Detroit tomorrow, meaning the Leafs as expected will be taken lighly by opposition playing two in two. No shock there.
At this time I'm not sure who Phoenix will start since they'll be in Montreal tomorrow. If I was Wayne I would play Bryz tonight and hope with all your guns you get the easier win nailed down and then hope for a Habs meltdown.

GAME DAY SONG for all your patience this week, none other than "Waiting Room" by one of my all time faves FUGAZI. This is a weird one.

No mention

of Ottawa's start last year here.

A fast start to the season builds in a cushion so that when the inevitable ebb and flow of the year eventually catches up to a team, there is perspective. There is calm. There is no panic.

Or it hides major issues that should be dealt with before Christmas before its way, way too late.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

We're leading the league!


In goals allowed.

I just wish the NHL would give goaltenders the same respect they give skaters when it comes to powerplay goals. It doesn't affect your +/- if your a D-man or left winger, but if you're a goaltender it gets slapped right on your GAA and SV%. Toskala deserves better, he's been fantastic 5 on 5.

****
Ottawa are in 8th with three very good teams behind them in the standings. Could be a hell of a finish for 10th spot this year.

***
The Rangers lose Chepepanov in tragic fashion, but keep on winning. Today news breaks that Sundin has been working out harder and is on his way to Toronto. One could assume he's here to sell his house and move to Manhattan?

Happy Tuesday.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Right on Bremner, right on Front, left on Yonge...?

Speaking of First Blood, I just wanted to double check the directions for the cup parade. This development has of course set the bar uncomfortably high for the Sens home opener on Saturday night. Adding to the jitters, and possibly crippling my BoOB pool in the process, is the captain heading in for repairs. Sadly, this appears to be the only practical way to give non-Alfredsson surnamed right winger an honest try on the top line. I would have expected Jesse Winchester to move up, although the news release indicates Ruutu may actually have a go up there? I guess I'll have to reply with a Marge Simpson Noise for now. In any event, the line of Kelly, Vermette and Winchester was quite competent in the opening two games.

Here's how the rest might shake out:

Kelly / Vermette / Winchester
Schubert / Fisher (?) / Neil
Foligno / McAmmond / Donovan

Recall that third line put in a tremendous game last time the Wings were in town, setting the physical tone for what turned out to be the highlight of the season.

Monday, October 06, 2008

FIRST BLOOD

The Leafs made some decisions today, announcing Luke Schenn will start the season on the Toronto blue line while Mark Bell has been put on waivers.

Good to see the kid stick it out even if it's only for 9 games. As far as Bell, he brought this on himself. I'll be the first to say I thought he had more to offer.

UPDATE: Toronto today waived Devereux. They also waived Kronwall. Hey Murray, this guy would be a 4th d-man on Ottawa if you hurry up!

Leafs hanging onto 8th spot


I'm guessing this will last for about a week more.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

It was the worst of times...

The Leafs wrap up their pre-season this afternoon against the equally hopeless Columbus Blue Jackets (5pm, LeafsTV), ending their 9 game schedule.
It was an interesting camp. Here's who I thought stood out for all the right and mostly wrong reasons.

HAGMAN: This guy exceeded my expectations. He's fast as hell, has great instincts, is defensively sound and I bet he pots 30 goals this year. Him and Grabovski have really clicked.

GRABOVSKI: When the Leafs paid a 2nd rounder for this guy I was worried. Why would Montreal let a talent as significant as Fletcher and co were calling him to get away? Now that I've seen him try to drive the net through three players, all with 40 stiches in his face, I'm no longer concerned. It's refreshing to have a player with a one track mind to PUT PUCK IN NET. He's everything Kyle Wellwood, unfortunately, isn't.

SCHENN: Much will be said about him between now and the season starting. I've flopped back and forth on this a few times myself. One thing is for certain. No matter where he plays this season the Leafs have struck gold.

PONIKOROVSKY: He missed two wide open nets last night. He's always missing the goddamn net. I think it's time the Leafs had one less 3rd liner on the team. Anybody else?

FINGER: He only played one game but he led the team with 5 blocked shots in that game. Him and Kubina will ad a lot of toughness on the blue line once they're back.

TLUSTY: I think he's had an amazing camp. He's doing a lot of the dirty work on the line with Grabs and Hagman, and is showing real patience with the puck. No pictures of his penis lately either.

JOSEPH: Why is it I expect a goal anytime he faces a shot? Why is it he's allowed 10 goals in two games against partial NHL rosters? This is worrisome.
FROGREN: When he's a Marlie, be sure and get game tickets for you and the family. Very affordable.

BELL: I thought he would come out flying. I was wrong. He better do something if it isn't already too late.

MAYERS: Is that it? I was expecting a little more physical presence. Being the 2nd oldest guy on the team, maybe he's saving himself for the games that matter?

WHITE: Switches from D to F to end camp and was impressive. Unlike Bell, you get the sense that White knows he's close to losing his job and unlike Bell he's doing everything he can to save it. You have to admire him. A little.

Enjoy the game.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Game Day: Getaway in Stockholm

Wheeee! Here we go with some games of consequence. Sens (3-2-0 preseason) versus Pens (3-0-1) in a "home and home" on CBC 2:30 EST. Pregame is on the Team1200.

Make note of the opening day lineup, things will change rapidly as Craig Hartsburg attempts to fend off the onset of Paddockitis.

Scoring 1: Heatley ("A") / Spezza / Alfie ("C")
Scoring 2: Vermette / Kelly / Winchester
Energy/Pain: Ruutu / Foligno / Neil
Checking: McAmmond / Bass / Schubert

Injured: Fisher

Offensive Support: Kuba / Smith
Shut Down: Phillips ("A") / Volchenkov
Third Pair: Picard / Lee

Goal: Gerbs

Let's open it up with a 5-3 Sens victory (Alfie x2, Heatley, Ruutu, Kuba). Alfie returns home a Senator for life, the Pens reach for the Chaser as the hangover sets in.

We have no pump up music today, in silent protest against the CBC selling out the Hockey Night theme song. However, I do have some exclusive footage of Alfie heading to the morning skate*



*Warning: Alfie is Jesus. Do not attempt if you are not Alfie.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Lies Make The Baby Jesus Cry

Asked to reflect on how last year's senators managed to turn a 15-2 start and the attendant comparison to the 1976 Canadiens into a four game sweep at the hands of a team not from Buffalo or Toronto the $6.5M man, Wade Redden, had this to say about the insinuations that excessive "partying" (ie playing in the snow) played a part:
I mean, I'm certainly not a guy that's into that kind of stuff.

Sure Wade. The rest is classic Pinocchio (allegedly) stuff and throwing Emery under the bus with his "well, I didn't see him do anything..." answer.

Season starts tomorrow! WOOO-HOOOO!!!!

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Game day: All your playoff records are belong to Alfie

Sens are off to a "friendly" against Gothenburg-based Frolunda Indians. A perusal of their Wikipedia entry indicates a most familiar surname. From Stevenson's account of the recent Alfie "column dedication" at Scandinuvium arena:
"He really turned it up for the playoffs," said Fredrik Jonsson, an official with the Indians. "He made Frolunda one of the best club teams in the world.

"That was my first year here and I thought every year was going to be like that."

Dean Brown is also along for the tour and remarks that "we could have been on a trip to Sudbury".

Take that, Fodor's!

Meanwhile, Sens first round pick Erik Karlsson brings the smack:
"It's a game for the fans and we will do almost anything to win, then we can say we beat Ottawa, we beat an NHL team"

To get everyone else fired up, here's a lovely tribute to Swedish Death Metal:

Alfie contract

Expect to read more contract discussion as the season goes on. What do you think? A three year deal for $18?

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Pizza 4ever

As read on Black Aces, the Sens will be going with the Pizza line to start the season. Bad news for those with Winchester in their pools - eh Jay!

I don't know what I think about it. Vermette and Fisher will likely be the ones to determine how long it lasts.

I'm going to be interested to see how the icetime is distributed. Any sign of Paddock style coaching where Alfie is seeing 25+ min at the start of the season will be a major cause for concern.

Use the force

It's still preseason so I can go easy on the Leafs, right?

Nice of Wilson to give Schenn the shootout opportunity and great to see the young guy win it.

Video at TSN.

Monday, September 29, 2008

A season to remember

Mirtle pointed out a great quote by Ron Wilson:
“We're not going to win the Stanley Cup this year. There's a news flash for you.”

The passion that unites us.

Oops, the tagline this year is 'Spirit is Everything'. Everything?

Maybe we can help improve this tagline...
Ensuring a lottery pick is Everything
Creating cap space for Burke is Everything

Saturday, September 27, 2008

More cuts, preseason action

Sens cut Brendan Bell, Brad Isbister and Matt Carkner, along with Peter Regin and Greg Mauldin.

While Winchester is keeping up on the top line, the lack of punch on the power play is almost as disconcerting as the expected weakness in their own end. 1 for 19 so far with Schubert, Kuba and Lee drawing much of the man advantage time for defensemen.

For the Blue Man Group, Meatriarchy provides some first impressions.

On the eve of the BoOB draft Sens host the Habs (7 PM EST, TSN2) looking to atone for a sloppy 5-0 loss, while the leafs take on the Sabres.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Getting there

Based on James Gordon's observations of yesterday morning practice, it looks like the top three lines are closer to resembling their regular season format (for better or worse):

Sc1: Heatley/Spezza/Winchester (gawd help us if Spezza can't take the next step forward and Winchester can't keep up)
Sc2: Kelly/Vermette/Alfredsson (probably the most robust and responsible line available)
Chk1: Foligno/Fisher/Neil (a.k.a. energy/pain line 1)
Chk2: is uh, Smith-Mauldin-Carkner (?!)

Zubov, Hennessy, Shannon and Nikulin were all cut, so the fourth line will likely be Ruutu/Bass/Donovan (a.k.a. energy/pain line 2). Of course, since Mike Fisher will probably miss half the season with assorted ailments, I'd like to see Bass get a chance on line 3, with Deano centering line 4.

As for the defense, beyond Phillchenkov your guess is as good as mine.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Hell Yeah

Aesthetics can't mask lousy performance, but at least Gerbs looks to finally be buying in to the Vader theme:


[Sun pic]

On the other hand, the "SNES" rumored third jersey could cancel out all kinds of coolness.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Game Day

Leafs line-up for tonight.

Goalies: Curtis Joseph, Justin Pogge

Defence: Luke Schenn, Jeff Finger, Ian White, Carlo Colaiacovo, Mike Van Ryn, Staffan Kronwall

Forwards: Jiri Tlusty, Matt Stajan, Dominic Moore, Boyd Devereaux, Ben Ondrus, Mark Bell, John Mitchell, Nikolai Kulemin, Ryan Hollweg, Darryl Boyce, Robbie Earl, Jason Blake

Pogge will play the 2nd and 3rd.

Keep an eye on Kulemin and Mitchell tonight, two young guys gunning for a roster spot. Game's on Sportsnet Ontario, and there's a tailgate going on at ACC right now. The Watchmen are playing at 6pm, and the Leafs alumni are playing a ball hockey game against the fans.
They're also giving away 100 tickets at the tailgate if you want to try your luck.

Leafs win this one by a goal.
Sens suck.

Hands up

Who thinks Ruutu topples Redarse the first chance he gets? Who will cheer when he finally does it?



Above: a familiar sight, Redden's "I've lost my contacts" puck-fetching technique.

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Shallow Chart

Couple of charts I've been fooling around with to see where this edition of Your Ottawa Senators stands.

1. Last year's overall points by roster position (Tampa Bay, Ottawa, Detroit)

2. Last year's 5v5 points per 60 minutes of ice time by position (same benchmarks, data from Behind the Net)

3. Same as 1., but with the 2008-2009 adjustments to the Senators lineup (Ruutu's et.al.'s stats in place of Stillman et.al.)

4. Same as 2., but with the 2008-2009 adjustments the the Senators lineup


Sobering thoughts:

a) Detroit adds Marian Hossa to the depth chart and uh, they also still have Nick Lidstrom.
b)Tampa Bay signed like two or three dozen forwards in the off season, so the third and fourth line vacuum is less of an issue.
c) Ottawa? Two of their defensemen and one forward had no even strength NHL points last year. While that's obviously going to change and the chart is an overly negative representation, putting up Meszaros/Redden/Corvo or even Stillman numbers could be a stretch.

Ah well, chin up and let's have a look at what comes out of training camp.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Something to snack on

After losing their 2nd game in the rookie tournament, this time letting in 7 goals to the Sens after giving the Penguins rookies 5, it looks like Schenn has got the Leaf attitude down pat already:
But despite his team dropping a 7-5 contest to the Ottawa Senators at the three-team rookie tournament yesterday, Maple Leafs' first-round draft pick Luke Schenn looked much happier last night than he did following Toronto's 5-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday.
"I felt better," said Schenn, who was selected fifth overall in this year's draft by the Leafs. "As the game went on (Saturday) I was a little bit nervous and just kind of getting adjusted to the speed, but I felt better (yesterday)."
If only Raycroft and McCabe were still there to nurture this 'me first' attitude to its full potential.
A summary from the Sens perspective here.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

The Battle Rages On...

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, the 08-09 edition of the BATTLE OF ONTARIO BATTLE is ready to roll. With a click of the button, I can reactivate the settings from last year's league (I think it's only fair if we're going to compare year to year performance and retain bragging rights, the rules and point structure have to stay the same). Although no one claimed the Bryan McCabe memorial award last year, expect me to dig up some similar prizes for first overall, biggest second half point change and last overall.

I'm going to send an email blast to all of last year's managers to give them first dibs at getting back in. After that, I'll have an open invite to fill empty slots.

Right now, what I need is some candidate dates and times for the live draft, which will be of a similar format to last year (if you can't attend, don't worry you can set autopick to fill your roster as the draft proceeds). Until the draft date is set, the league won't activate.

Let me know what y'all think. Sept 29 is the first day of the regular season and the weekends are the 13/14th, 21/22nd, and 27/28th.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Long weekend deals

Plenty of Ontario - Florida movement in the works as the Leafs swap Bryan McCabe and for Mike van Ryn and a pick and the Sens deal Andrej Meszaros for Filip Kuba, Alexandre Picard and a badly needed '09 first round pick.

Like many Sens fans, I'm happy to see some more new faces given the truly toxic atmosphere around the club last season. But we can't forget Meszaros' incredible rookie year and the upside yet to come. He seemed to lack a stabilizing mentor on the blueline and missed a great opportunity for a bounce back season with all that went on. Kuba, on the other hand has quietly put together several decent seasons with Minnesota and Tampa, consistently averaging just under a half-point per game.

In other news, Jacques Martin's ex-leaf fetish just keeps getting creepier and creepier.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Let this post serve to identify the deepest point of the off-season trough

Apparently Giggles' new copper-roofed mansion merits the front page of the City section.
A report in the Citizen in June said the house, listed for $6 million, was the most expensive property on the Ottawa market.

The purchase comes after Mr. Spezza, one of the top centres in the National Hockey League, accepted a contract extension last November that will pay him $49 million over seven years and keep him in Senators colours through the 2015-16 season.

Lemme guess, this ran above the front page fold in the print edition. Between this and ferret lady, suffice to say it's been a compelling and rich past few weeks of news gathering over on Baxter Road.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Mark Bell a Free Man

11 weeks of hard labour under the scorching california sun behind him, Mark Bell will report to training camp this September with a clean slate.

55 days. Hard labour. Working along criminals.
Let's hope it leads to more of this delightful behaviour.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Thursday, August 14, 2008

McCabe all but a Panther

Or at least this story on TSN says so.

I read earlier there are even more teams interested besides Florida.

I think it's officially safe to say Toronto will not have McCabe on the blue line next year.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

TRAITOR!!!

Via Eric McErlain via JP:
Hamilton's Alena Sharp, Canada's top player on the LPGA Tour this year, has a
Toronto Maple Leafs head cover on her driver, but she said today she's willing to chuck it for this week."I was waiting for that one to come up. Last year in Edmonton, I got flack about it...so if someone is willing to bring an Ottawa Senators head cover, I'll put it on my bag for the week. I guess you can put that out in the media."

Wow. Just wow. Your Leafs Nation passport might get revoked.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Fletcher and Wilson hashing things out.

Kubina captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs if he's not traded?

McCabe giving up on his no trade clause?

Read about it here.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

CANADIAN CONTENT

A few things in the news, although neither providing much actual news.

First, Sundin's agent says there are now six teams interested. One has to think that if any of these new interested teams are a Western Conference powerhouse, he'll go there. Read that story here.

Second, McGuire posted an interesting breakdown of the Canadian NHL team prospects in WJ camp.
Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary all have two prospects vying for a place in the tournement. Ottawa and Montreal have one each, with Ottawa having the least chance of being represented by Canada at the tournament. Full story here.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Vermette arbitration

Our dreamy Antoine is scheduled for arbitration tomorrow. Will a multi-year deal be struck? Sign and trade? Who are the proper comparables?

Update: Signed.
The Sun has learned Antoine Vermette avoided arbitration.
Here is the deal.
$2.525 million next season.
$3 million in 2009-10.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Very sad news

Ottawa morning sports radio co-host Buzz died in hospital today. Never met the man but listened to him most mornings. He was a Leaf fan, and a big minor hockey fan hosting a weekly 67s show.

Shocking.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Not a bad guy to add

If the price is right.

Commodore Has Something To Say

A day after Spezza was all puppy dogs and ice cream with the media abut the state of the Ottawa Senators, Mike Commodore told us his version of what happened.

Which begs the question, Jason Spezza: If you can't identify complacency in the dressing room, is it because that complacency is you?

8 Million Bucks. Smile for the camera!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Fact: Leafs hire two assistant coaches.

Toronto signed former San Jose Shark assistants Tim Hunter and Rob Zettler today. Along with Wilson, Hunter and Zettler coached the Sharks to be one the leagues most stingy defensive teams, ranking first in NHL penalty killing (85.8%) and third in goals against average (2.28) last season.

With Finger, Mayers and Hagman also added to the mix, plus VESA TOSKALA ready to pick up where he left off last season, the only way to go as far as goals against is up.

It's something to look forward to.

In Ottawa news: Martin Gerber cashed his summer cheque last week and felt zero shame.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

2008-2009 Schedule

The NHL finally put out the schedule. Leaf highlights are here. Battle dates:
Battle of Ontario
In Toronto - October 25, January 3, April 11 (last game of the year)
In ottawa - November 27, February 28, March 9
The annual "Fill Scotiabank more than usual and embarass local fans" game has been scheduled for February 28's matchup which falls on a Saturday.
Don or Jay will probably update this with sens' highlights.

Also, a quick (and belated) note of congratulations to Dany Heatley Speedwagon who is undertaking the unenviable task of keeping Scarlett Ice humming at its usual high level while Sherry is working in England.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Taking the pulse

With the rumor mills cranked up to full capacity, I thought I'd step back, take a breath, and gather some crowd wisdom. Is it just me or is there a real sense of anxiety out there that is driving alot of the speculation? Leafers, feel free to jump in too.


What best describes your feelings toward the 08/09 Senators?
I guarantee they'll go deep in the playoffs
I am confident they'll make the playoffs, but a miracle trade / run might let them go deep
I am hoping for a late playoff berth
I am confident they'll miss the playoffs, but a miracle trade / run might clinch it
I guarantee they'll miss the playoffs
  
Free polls from Pollhost.com

Breaking News: Jobless homeless man takes in Leaf Game.

After 41 years of charging full price to every game but never sniffing a Stanley Cup, one wonders just how bad The Leafs expect to be this season when they're giving away tickets for free.

This morning.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Tonight at 6pm on TSN

Landsberg traveled to Ottawa to meet with the outspoken netminder. Always one to speak his mind, Emery will address hot issues about being released by the Senators, his decision to play in Russia next season, his biggest regret, and his strained relationship with Ottawa GM Bryan Murray and former coach John Paddock. Landsberg will also question Emery about the Senators' collapse last season, possible plans for returning to the NHL in the future, the rumours of his off-ice excesses, and whether or not he has any last words for Sens fans.
(TSN)

This Just In: sens' prospects stink

Hey! I know you've all missed me lately but I am back from living the high-life on someone else's dime. I decided to catch up on NHL news over the weekend and finally made it to Erin's site and found a nice surprise:

As for the Sens' development camp -- I don't know what some of the other bloggers/media were watching, but if I were Bryan Murray, I'd be extremely concerned. Yesterday's 3-on-3 tournament provided very little encouragement from the farm. Typically, you can see a difference in skill between potential AHL call-ups/signed free agents who have a shot at making the team, and the rest of the prospects. That wasn't the case on Monday. We saw very little out of Cody Bass, Nick Foligno and Jesse Winchester -- Foligno has filled out nicely, but still screams "third-liner at best". Winchester's conditioning is extremely suspect -- we caught him on multiple occasions panting for breath while crouched over on both knees. This year's No. 1 pick, Erik Karlsson, also seemed to be struggling with similar issues. Perhaps Ian Mendes filled him up with too many meatballs.

Also worthy of note: Karlsson has the Spezza disease. He likes to skate with his head down, particularly in the defensive zone. Given that the kid is a blueliner, you can imagine how many times we saw him doing this.

So while the Leafers here can look forward to Nikolai Kulemin becoming a superstar and Luke Schenn destroying Giggles for the next decade sens can look forward to a bunch of "third liners at best". The world is upside down.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Williams a Sen

UPDATE3: NOT. Thrashers announced today that they've signed Williams.


UPDATE2: Or not not? TSN only cites a London A-Channel report. No announcement by the Thrashers yet or on NHL.com
Let the speculation begin regarding the speculation.


UPDATE: Or not.
Let the speculation begin regarding the credibility of Senschirp. A shame.


'Let the speculation begin regarding the future of Antoine Vermette.'

No money announced yet. Stats here.

Is there another Redden I didn't know about?

Tom Benjamin talking about Redden:
The Sens will miss him and I think there is a real chance they will be out of the playoffs next year. Welcome to mediocrity, Ottawa fans.

From what I remember his game fell apart before the team asked to move him the first time and not vice versa.

Sens blogs

If you haven't been checking out Sens Chirp rumours blog, you should.

There are some others too that have come up over the past year. I'll be adding them to the sidebar but let me know of some of your new favs in the comments.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Giveaways

Just wanted to comment on something I heard on the radio this morning. The emailer to the Team1200 warned people about Jason Smith's giveaways - including how he led the league in giveaways in his last year in Edmonton. They said people who were upset with Redden's giveaways should expect more of the same with Smith.

Here are the stats:

PlayerYearGiveawaysTOIMinutes/Giveaway
Redden05-0662152525
06-0765146623
07-0866177727

Smith05-0686149317
06-07109173316
07-0833138042


No doubt Smith's improvement last year was a result of him being in the later pairings and getting reduced icetime against the top lines and perhaps a lighter workload from the Edmonton days suits his 35yr old body better. Nobody is expecting him to be on a top pairing. A even strength partner in Mezsaros is appealing with some PK time with Schubert.

As for the comparison with Redden... if you don't hit at all (and you don't block shots more than the average D) you'd better not give the puck away. Seeing Redden getting creamed into the boards again and again isn't something I'm going to miss. You'd like to give him credit for taking a hit to make a play but eventually it just gets depressing.