Tuesday, April 29, 2008

If voting could change anything it would be illegal...

After this season I'm finally ready to tolerate a Burns-style clamp down, even if it means tedium on the ice. Other than that, Quinn as coach in Ottawa and Muckler as GM in Toronto would pretty much make my summer.

Other candidates: Babcock in Detroit; if Vigneault gets the sack in VanCity, there's a former coach of the year with some local history who can certainly coach boring defensive hockey.

Monday, April 28, 2008


Thought it was a good time to check up on the very quiet BoO playoff pool. Chugging along are the Sonic Surfers who have held #1 for quite some time, while Anshu is so confident he's apparently not even submitting a roster until the 3rd round.

Friday, April 25, 2008


Looks like Gary "Sens Killer" Roberts will miss game one tonight. Too bad, he sure set the tone last series aye?

Well he is 41 years old or something... I suppose he doesn't bounce back like he used to. Say, is "Sens Killer" his real middle name?

I believe so.

That must be grating for Sens fans?

I'm sure it is. Speaking of grating, there sure is a lot of focus on Sean Avery aye? It's good to see that this big NHL love-in for soft skill-first hockey hasn't completely erased the need for good old fashioned agitators.

Ya, that gritty son-of-a-bitch is getting all the attention. Add that the Rangers are putting Colton Orr in, plus Ruutu and Laraque on the Pens side, and I think I know where most Canadians TV's will be tuned tonight.

Who are you cheering for?

Pens. For sure.

Who do you think the Sens fans will be cheering for?

Probably against Pittsburgh. They seemed very happy the Ducks were eliminated too, so the basic rule seems to be if you beat them in the playoffs, they hate you.

I don't blame them. I would probably feel the same.

I don't hate Philly though, or Jersey, or all the other teams that have sent our sad sack team packing. Yet, I hate Ottawa. This doesn't make sense? Why hate a team we always beat when it counts?

Daniel Afraidsson.

There it is.

Thursday, April 24, 2008


Anaheim is keeping Brian Burke. For now. Which means that while he's trying to sort out the salary cap mess in Duckland, MLSE's search continues.

Who's next to be put through the BoO rumour mill?
Damien Cox has a few suggestions in today's Toronto Star:

"But that doesn't mean the Leafs can't still find a hockey person with strong qualities and the potential to make the team competitive again.

In fact, there's a long list of such people.

Maybe not a home run. In terms of optics, they may have to "settle" for a triple – Ken Holland, Doug Wilson, Colin Campbell, Jim Rutherford, Doug Risebrough or Doug Armstrong".

I say add Lou Lamerello to that list. You can't argue with three cups on a shoestring budget.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Only defending champ to get past the 1st rnd

I'm almost embarrassed to say that I'm winning the playoff prediction pool again. Losing 7 pts on the Ottawa series, I only lost 3 on the rest. Click on the picture below to get it bigger - or click here.
Don't worry, you can catch up. Again, follow my format for picking the next round in the comments - your points get multiplied by 1.5 this round.

Monday, April 21, 2008



The Maple Leafs should learn soon whether they have won the Fabian Brunnstrom sweepstakes.

"There are two or three teams on his short list and we are one of them," Leafs assistant general manager Jeff Jackson said last night from Dallas as he travelled to San Antonio for the Marlies' American Hockey League playoff series.

Shortlist is better than no list. Anybody hear who the other teams are?

Friday, April 18, 2008

Supply and demand

Mirtle with a look at the goalie market next year.


It all goes back to last summer. Did Murray ultimately agree to terms with Emery against his (and certain team leader's) better judgement? Was his attempted return to the lineup really that much of an inflection point in the season?

We know that both parties were headed to arbitration "with plenty of work to be done" until a Emery agreed to a last minute deal - practically on his way to the bargaining table. Were Eugene and Bryan expecting a DiPietro-like award would give them their out?

By October 16th, the Sens were 6-1 to start the new season when Emery returns from surgery expecting to take over where he left off.

In mid November, Allen Panzeri's sub-head is already telling: "The goalie who has taken back the Senators' No. 1 job was back on the ice for an optional skate, but Ray Emery was nowhere to be found" (Gerber was 12-1-0 at the time).

December 1st is the "one-shot-shutout" where Ray decides his hip is tweaked and bails five minutes into the first. More perceptive observers recognize it as an unprofessional slight to the team, however, as the Sens have rolled the Canes handily, it's not a big deal to most fans.

By late January and early February, we're already well into disciplinary fines, run-ins with the OPD and "win-and-you're in".

I found the immediate dumping of every Ottawa ill onto the shoulders of Ray Emery a little opportunistic. Granted, I've never played organized sports beyond mosquito baseball and road hockey so how and why a sour teammate can affect individual performances so drastically is beyond my ken (their backup goalie's a piss-pot, so suddenly Spezza and Heatley can't put anything past Marc-Andre Fleury?!). But the trend is pretty clearly there.

[link timeline via Rotoworld]

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Learn something every day

Alfredsson's injury:
Grade III MCL TearA grade III injury is a complete tear of the MCL. Patients have significant pain and swelling, and often have difficulty bending the knee. Instability, or giving out, is a common finding with grade III MCL tears. A knee brace or a knee immobilizer is usually needed for comfort, and healing may take 6 weeks or longer.

Not making excuses here. Just wanting to push PPP's post down the page. I'm not ready for a post mortem yet - lots of time for that.

This, however, is a joke.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Wha' Happened?

Aaaaaaaaand that's all folks. Here's our friendly neighbourhood anthropomorphic mocking numeral wondering what happened to The Dynasty That Never Was.


On the bright side, at least it wasn't an annihilation. It was close though. The sens held the lead for only 4:38 in game 3.

In an elimination game the Cash Line went bankrupt: Total shots = 5. Plus/Minus = minus 6

I wrote you guys a poem to commemorate your loss.

As always, thanks to The Pensblog for excelling in all things photoshopped. Enjoy the off-season


What can I say - I'm an optimist

It's a position I've argued with anti-Sen Leaf fans who live in the Ottawa area. Feeling like a part of a victory makes it so much sweeter - cheering against the franchise in the city you've lived all your life is denying yourself of the chance to experience something fantastic. If you lived here and cheered for the Sens, and cheered for them for years, last year's run to the final was something you'll remember forever.

You've heard the history of 3-0 comebacks.

But I'm not watching this game and cheering for the Sens because I don't want to get swept. I want my team to be that third team in NHL history to come back. I want to say in 2041, when some team is down 3-0, that I was in Ottawa cheering on the Sens when they did it 33 years ago.

If they can win tonight, and the NHL historical odds for that are 0.481, we can cheer another day and think that the comeback is possible.

I say 5-1 Sens. Powerful, muscular, strong legs be damned. 2 on the PP, Malkin doesn't finish the game, and a little voice in the Pen's heads start to wonder if they can match the physical play of the Sens without their 42 year old freak.

Pregame music for this aft? I've had Stronger, Best of You, As Good As I Once Was, and Armageddon It on my brain the past few days. Music as fractured as the Sens room? Perhaps. But sometimes things come together unexpectedly - lets cheer for it today.

Guest Post: Down Goes Brown

Ed.'s Note: This post is a reproduction of one done by Sean at his blog Down Goes Brown, named after one of the most devastating fights by a Leaf that I have ever seen in my life, which looks at the senators' traditions. In light of the trainwreck that was Monday's opening I thought it could use a wider audience. I apologize about the photo captions but I am running out of time and like the sens I am folding like a cheap tent.

p.s. Damn Don for putting the GDT up early. That was far more efficient that I was expecting.

Post-season hockey returns to Ottawa tonight, as the Senators host the Penguins in game three of their four game series. In addition to desperately trying to fill the building (good seats are still available two hours before game time), the Senators are encouraging fans to buy red "Sens Army" wristbands.

Putting aside the wisdom of promoting your fan base as an "army" when the real military is off fighting a war, aren't red wristbands supposed to be for AIDS awareness? Yes they are, and that makes them the perfect candidate to be the newest Ottawa Senators tradition.

You see, the wristbands are only the latest in a long line of Senator traditions that have been borrowed, copied or flat out stolen from other sources. Let's take a stroll down memory lane.

Photo Caption: This year's mission: don't get swept

Tradition: Sens Mile
Stolen from: Calgary and Edmonton

One of the defining memories of the back-to-back Finals runs from Alberta's NHL teams was the raucous post-game street parties. The Flames kicked things off with the Red Mile in 2004, and the Oilers took the baton in 2006 with the Blue Mile. When Ottawa made a finals appearance in 2007, the city's fan base was faced with a challenge: How can we take this tradition, strip it of all spontaneity, and make it safe and non-threatening for Sens fans? A dozen city zoning committee meetings later, Sens Mile was born.
Results were mixed. While Calgary's Red Mile was known for hot girls flashing their boobs, Sens Mile focuses on Ottawa fans' favorite pastimes: yelling "Leafs Suck", awkwardly high-fiving, and then passing out in a bicycle lane after three beers.

Photo Caption: Wow, there must be... dozens of them

Tradition: Thundersticks
Stolen from: The 2002 Anaheim Angels

Ah yes, those demon-spawned balloons that are banged together to produce a delightful "PING PING PING PING PING PING PING PING" all game long. The Senators started handing these out to fans during the 2003 playoff run, about six months after the rest of the sports world had made simple possession a crime punishable by death.

These handy tools were a godsend for fans who wanted to make noise but felt that clapping and cheering were just too much work. They haven't been seen lately, meaning the only over-inflated Senators prop that makes repetitive, annoying noises these days is Bryan Murray.

Tradition: Cheering for the Leafs.
Stolen from: Toronto Maple Leaf fans.

(Technically this tradition only applies to games against the Leafs. But thanks to the league's unbalanced schedule, Ottawa and Toronto play once a week during the season so we can include it here.)

There may be no stranger sight in the NHL than a Leafs/Sens game in Ottawa, during which Toronto fans take over the arena and drown out the hometown crowd. Unlike their fellow fans at the mausoleum known as the ACC, Ottawa-based Leaf fans will actually make noise. Fill one half of the building with bitter Leaf fans and the other half with typically timid Sens supporters, and the result is a one-sided embarrassment that culminates in franchise player Daniel Alfredsson being booed in his own rink every time he touches the puck.

In fairness, Sens fans did manage a breakthrough this year when they finally responded to the Alfredsson booing by (meekly) booing Mats Sundin. And it only took four years.

Tradition: The White Out. Or maybe the Black Out. Wait, let's try a Red Out!
Stolen from: The Winnipeg Jets.

Easily one of the NHL's coolest traditions, the Winnipeg Jets "White Out" was a spectacular sight in the 80s and 90s. The Jets left Winnipeg in 1996. When the Senators began making playoff appearances shortly after, they tried to bring the White Out to Ottawa.

There were two problems with this idea. The first was that changing out of the gray suit they wear to their government jobs was too much work for Ottawa fans. The second was that the Jets franchise still existed, in Phoenix, and fans there wanted to keep the tradition alive. A short-lived White Out battle ensued. You can probably guess how that turned out for Ottawa.
In subsequent years the team tried to revisit the idea. Showing the daring creativity the city is known for, the Senators first encouraged fans to wear black to games, and later red. Neither attempt caught on, largely due to the confusion caused by the Senators being one of those NHL teams that insists on gouging fans by redesigning their uniforms every six months.

Photo Caption: A real White Out

Tradition: Actually making the playoffs
Stolen from: Not the Leafs, that's for damned sure
Choke and die, Richard Peddie.

Tradition: Playing Blur's "Song 2" (aka that "Woo-hoo" song)
Stolen from: Your favorite 1997 mix CD.
Ah, the late 90s. Internet stocks were on fire, Monica's blue dress was in the news, and Blur had a minor hit with this catchy number. For much of 1997 and 1998, you could count on hearing Song 2 blared over the speakers at just about any major sports event.
Now, since then just about every other team in the universe has long ago abandoned the song, relegating it to the "sports novelty music" shelf next to "Woomp there it is" and "Who let the dogs out". But not the Senators. No, they've decide to stick with it, and still break it out every chance they get, especially at playoff time.

Little know fact: During the 2000-01 regular season, the Senators arena staff played this song after goals so much that Ottawa players refused to score any home ice goals for an entire post-season just so they wouldn't have to hear it again.

Tradition: Calling their town "Hockey Country"
Stolen from: The Detroit Red Wings

Any hockey fan knows that Detroit is "Hockeytown". While you could argue the merits of the nickname as compared to, say, Montreal or Toronto, there's little doubt that Detroit is one of great hockey cities. Thanks to a rich NHL tradition, several recent Stanley Cups, a thriving college hockey community and a working class fanbase, Detroit is one of the few US cities that can be truly be called a hockey market.

A few years ago the Senators decided to blatantly rip off the nickname. But in an amusing act of passive aggressiveness, the upped the ante by going with "Hockey Country". Get it? A country is bigger than a town. Burn on you, Detroit!
Side note: Nobody outside of Ottawa has ever referred to the city as Hockey Country. Ever.

Photo Caption: No, you're really not

Tradition: The goal horn
Stolen from: Chicago Stadium, Buffalo Auditorium

In fairness, the Senators are far from the only team to have borrowed this little piece of hockey nostalgia. In fact, just about every team uses some variation these days (including the Maple Leafs). But what the Senators lose in originality, they more than make up for with enthusiasm.

Yes, the horn operator at ScotiaBank Place apparently gets a nickel per blast, because you can count on him wailing away like a frustrated Family Feud contestant on even the most inconsequential goal. My one-year-old daughter shows more restraint on the Baby Einstien learning sounds piano.

Ottawa scored a goal. We get it. Dial it down a little there, Samuel Morse.

Tradition: Always finding new and exciting ways to lose the big one.
Stolen from: The Buffalo Sabres.

Whether it's losing to the Leafs four straight times, choking away game seven at home to the Devils in 2003, being humiliated by the upstart Sabres in 2005, or getting curb-stomped by the Ducks in front of the entire hockey world, the Senators keep finding new and creative ways to torture their fans. It's not just that they lose -- they lose in ways that nobody could imagine.

This is a team whose last three playoff runs have ended thanks to Patrick Lalime's infamous game seven meltdown, Jason Pominville deking out the entire team to score the series winning short-handed goal in overtime, and scoring the Stanley Cup winning goal into their own net while the other team was changing lines.

What will they come up with this year? The mind boggles.
Photo Caption: You're doing it wrong

Playoff Pool Standings

You get 25 trades, so maybe a good time to "release" the Sens off your roster and get in the game lads.
Also, Anshu and Spossens, you guys can still set your roster and get in this thing. Now would be a good time. I don't think Jay wants to be last anymore.



33 years separates the years since teams have come back from 3-0 deficits. 2008?

33 years - 'This number has the meaning that good will always triumph over evil.'

Also, 33 is the largest positive integer that can not be expressed as a sum of different triangular numbers and it is also the first member of the first cluster of three biprimes (33,34,35). Coincidence?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Signs it is not your year

Metal pilfering crackrats steal your memorial:
The vandals smashed the 122-centimetre (four-foot) granite structure to smithereens and stole the bronze plaque that recorded the victory on March 10, 1903 when the Ottawa Hockey Club defeated the Victorias of Montreal.

The monument, erected 11 years ago at Bay Street and Gladstone Avenue, was at the site of the Dey's Arena, which operated from 1896 to 1920. The Dey family, wealthy local businessmen, built three hockey arenas in the city where the Ottawa Hockey Club -- also known as the Silver Seven and the Senators -- won its most notable early glory.
Gotta love Bay and Gladstone - the old hood representin'. What's next, Ray Emery caught up in a Pacman-esque strip club shootout?

[Citizen link via Black Aces]

Update: Here's what the crackheads took to fund their habit. The saddest part: at the current rate, in 100 years that might be all that is left of Maple Leaf Gardens. Thanks to Gee for the pictures.



Fun With Pictures!

The sens need a miracle. At least, that's what the ottawa sun is telling its readers this morning. Anyone that has watched this series knows that it would probably be easier to walk on water or turn water into wine than to get this carcass of a hockey squad to win four straight games. Only two teams have ever come back from a 3-0 deficit and only one made its home in Ontario.

The 1942 Leafs fell behind 3-0 against the Detroit Red Wings. The Wings even had the audacity to invite the Leafs to their victory parade/party. It's eerily similar to the sens' move to put up images of the team's post-victory handshakes against the Penguins from last year. Both moves have played out about as well.


Last night the senators actually played a pretty good first two periods. On the first shift the team announced it's intention when Chris Neil hunted down Kris Letang on the forecheck. He then re-iterated what a moron he is by punching him in the face in front of the ref. Actually, the sens announced their intention with that embarrassing 'Leonidas' opening that was meant to amp up the crowd. The only problem with that was that his mike kept cutting out and it was a senators' crowd so it couldn't get amped. What a joke, glove tap to The Pensblog for the picture of said embarrassment:


Update: Thanks to Down Goes Brown for finding video of the most awkward opening skit ever. Seriously, I felt embarrassed as a Canadian to see that show. His speech is taped to the inside of his shield! Good work by the Penguins to skate out and ruin the climax of the speech.

Things were actually looking good for the senators. They were tied 1-1 going into the biggest period of the year and were playing in front of their own crowd. How did they respond?


Classic senators playoff hockey! So the Dynasty That Never Was folded up shop and watched as a former whipping boy pick up a goal and an assist in their most vital period to close the coffin on the sens' season. All that's left is for the final nail on Wednesday night.

And all that is left in this post is everyone's second favourite mocking anthropomorphic numeral!

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Go Pens Go!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Round 1, Game 3: Only Chuck Alfie can save the Sens now

Is a 75% Alfie better than no Alfie at all? With another spadeful of dirt about to be tossed on the shallow 07-08 Senators grave, we may just get our answer. As alleged "stars" Jason Spezza and Dany Heatley have been neutered by the 1-2 shutdown pair of *cough* Brooks Orpik and Sergei Gonchar, adding Alfredsson's creativity and intensity surely can't hurt. The problem is, of course, that many have speculated the captain's been wounded through much of the season as the expected effort has occasionally gone missing.

The Sens need to take their cues from the Bruins yesterday. Keep it tight, keep it simple and stay out of the box. Also, if Marty G can continue his outstanding play that would be really swell. I'm of two minds on the predictions tonight. I had them giving up the first goal about 30 seconds in (as they are wont to do at home) and falling to a 2-1 Overtime decision (Crosby awakens to express his displeasure for the Bank's new mural theme). I think it could just as easily go 2-1 the other way (Crosby first 30 seconds, Stillman, Alfie (OT)).

Let's let The Clash take us to game time. Will it be Death or Glory for the Sens tonight?

A Perfect Record

Who Wins? is a fun site for fans to check out during the playoffs. You can get all of the odds of your favourite team winning a series based on the history of the league or all sports. Take the senators for example. When losing the first two games of the series an NHL team has a .132 record of winning the series. If those two games are on the road then the odds fall to .099.

"But that's history, that's not the sens! We're going to wake up in front of our quiet crowd that only cheers against other teams! Alfie might be back! And Spezza might be out!"

In that case, sens fans would be right. All of those things go in their favour and it's true that those numbers apply to all NHL series in history and not to the senators entirely. This number, however, does apply to the Trojans:
when trailing 2-games-nil, the Ottawa Senators have a perfect series record of 0-6 and a Game 3 mark of 3-3.
The Dynasty That Never Was has achieved perfection in at least one area. Of course, there is a light at the end of the tunnel:
In the history of best-of-7 NHL playoff series from 1939 through 2007, inclusive, when a team such as Pittsburgh takes a 2-games-nil lead on home ice and wins those two games by six or more total goals, its series record is 69-4 (.945). Ottawa might take collective heart in the fact that, of those four losses in that situation, three occurred in the NHL Preliminary round.
So there you have it, the odds that the sens come back from their deficit are .181, .099, .055, or .000. Conversely, the odds that they will pack it up at the first sign of trouble: .891, .901, .945, 1.000. Leaf fans know where to put their money.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Carlton and Church Curse

I'm in Toronto for work and drove by this place tonight - had to snap a picture it looked so depressing.
Any coincidence that MLSE sold the building in 2004 to a grocery store - refusing to allow any hockey team to play in the historic building - and haven't been in the playoffs since?

The Future

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Oh the heady days of the sens rolling (or stumbling) towards the post-season when sens fans could laugh at the Leafs' inevitable failure of a run for the second season. "You're blowing your chance at a top pick!" or "Why not tank guys, you're just going to get smoked in the first round!".
Well, the sens are now down 2-0 to the Pens and have shown that if Pittsburgh stops caring they can actually do anything. All of the rest of the time they have been manhandled and dominated. It's been so bad that that shrinking violet Sidney Crosby called it domination. sens fans have been able to remember just why they lost the Stanley Cup to Anaheim as once again Jason Spezza and Dany Heatley have disappeared at the first sign of strong opposition while Mike Fisher yucks it up in the press box. There are 7 more years of frustrating playoff performances from the first pair. Enjoy!

p.s. the sens will draft 18th in the upcoming entry draft. Should have tanked.
p.p.s. yes, the numeral is laughing at your pain sens fans.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Round 1, Game 2: A little inconsistency would be nice

The Senators have been too consistent through the (15-2 adjusted) regular season. Consistently awful. The hot potato puck movement in their own zone, the predictably immobile powerplay, Tony Rocco's Junior A dangles and other bad habits have all carried through to the first game of the playoffs without missing a beat.

A lot of good buzz regarding Smolinski's "initiate, don't retaliate" guideline last night. The teams that initiated in their respective game ones were smashing successes (Pittsburgh, Montreal, Dallas). The few unambiguously good games the Sens played in the (15-2 adjusted) regular season (vs. Detroit, a couple against Montreal and Pittsburgh) were also won by initiating a smart, controlled physical game and forcing their opponent to match the tempo. Unfortunately, they've have been poor at retaliation, or coming up with much of any response to the considerable stimuli they've been exposed to this season, as the handy reference chart below shows:

I think I've seen enough by now to know what goes in that last entry. Pens 3, Sens 1 (Stillman). Forecast continues to call for handshakes Wednesday night. Pre-game pumpdown music going out to the soulless zombie filling the Number 6 jersey.

Know Thine Enemy

I want to get this out before Jay buries it with his Game Day Thread this afternoon (or whatever time it is in LotusLand) but part of the fun of the playoffs is visiting opposition blogs for their view. Most of the time it's blinkered but hilarious. Sometimes it means reciprocal visits and an exchange of thoughts takes place and sometimes you wish opposition fans had never learned to use the internet.

Here's a sampling of some of the Penguins sites that you can peruse over the next week or so before turning your thoughts to how it's possible that the CFL has given ottawa a THIRD chance at a team:

PensBurgh - a fellow SBNer

The Pensblog - I defy you to not laugh out loud

Empty Netters - Good

The Confluence of the Three Rivers - Name's too long

The Sidney Crosby Show - Stalker or greatest stalker?

Faceoff Factor - The PensBlog and Gary Roberts say it's informative so it must be

Let's Go Pens - Same here

Going Five Hole - Check out his TSN.ca screen caps. Poor Darren Pang. Also, Deadspin loves this site.

ps. If you don't appreciate the comment on your site it's probably because I have never visited it.

So there you go. If you say anything too objectionable, don't let them trace you back here because I am allergic to Habsblog-esque comments.


Turns out that Volchenkov will likely play after losing taking this shot to the head on Wednesday. There was concern initially as the trainers and medical staff could not find a needle capable of piercing his Volchenkian hide. Also, when asked about his initial reaction, Anton said he stayed on the ice for that period of time in shame as he thought he gave up too big a rebound on his head save.

Thursday, April 10, 2008


If you don't know, you better ask somebody.

It probably involves potting two goals and hitting everything that moves. Noted sens-slayer Gary Roberts picked up his 23rd playoff point in 24 games against the senators.
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It's the return of the anthropomorphic mocking numerals!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Round 1, Game 1: With a small enough sample size, perhaps we can find some positives

Yes, it's true that the Sens have sucked it long and hard in the last 20. The suckiness can also be detected against all other playoff teams. But let's look at those again once the field gets winnowed by 8 teams in a couple of weeks. For now, the focus will be square on the only team we actually need to focus on - the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Let's reset the season series.

1. October 22nd, Game 21: 6-5 Pens (SO)

Crosby and Malkin are held to one point each, while Gerber stops 20 of 25 shots and Fleury gets yanked. Not bad for a loss, considering the Pens had eight powerplays and Sens scored on half of their four opportunities.

2. December 13th, Game 31: 4-1 Sens

Gerber makes 26 saves, including all 9 Sidney Crosby shots. All 3 Pittsburgh penalties are killed off, while Ottawa goes 2 for 3 with the man advantage.

3. February 23rd, Game 62: 4-3 Sens (OT)

This is Paddock's final win as coach, as the Sens stage a massive four goal comeback after getting hosed with 6 straight penalty calls. Crosby is not in the lineup, while Malkin goes pointless.

4. March 1st, Game 66: 5-4 Sens

Murray's second game, he implores the Sens to show some emotion and they respond, driving Sergei Gonchar up the wall and exposing Ty Conklin's glove hand. Again, Sens make good on their powerplay opportunities (2 for 4).

None of the games came in the now irrelevant first 20, but the Sens went 6 for 12 with the man advantage and killed off 19 of 22 [!] Penguins powerplays. High scores and close games as expected, but if the Penguins wanted revenge for "what the Sens did to them" last April, they sure were keeping things bottled up for a highly improbable first round matchup.

Sens 5, Pens 3 (Spezza EN, Stillman, Vermette, Schubert, McAmmond). Duff loads up the eighteen-wheel bandwagon, led by a hot-shot wheelman with the dicey moves. The rest of the fanbase (played by young Sally Field or the basset hound - your pick) reluctantly comes along for the ride, while the boys in blue once again tear around Texarkana hoping to trap the bandit at every turn. We got a long way to go and a short time to get there...

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Why The Experts Hate ottawa

There's quite a bit of gnashing of the teeth around these here parts among the sens loyalists (or as loyal as you can be called after switching your allegiance from another team...I bet DC regrets abandoning Detroit) as the 'Experts' have roundly canned the sens and their nascent dreams of a repeat run to a horrific beatdown at the hands of the Ducks. While the four contributors to the BoO try occassionally to impart some statistical posts we are hugely indebted to the good folks around blogland that do great work for us. Matt from The Battle of Alberta took a different look at the NHL's final standings last year. You'll notice that he only counts games 21-80 but his rationale is sound:
    • Games 1-20 are effectively ancient history
    • Most teams are in a different dynamic than at the beginning of the season (roster turnover, players filling different roles within the team, different goaltender usage, etc.)
    • Even the teams that aren't, you could certainly say that about their opponents at the time
    • Still a large enough sample to encompass streaks and slumps of both the team and its individual players
It really should not have been that big of a surprise that the senators steam-rolled the Eastern Conference since they were the (cl)ass of the conference during the aforementioned period. Which brings us to why the sens are screwed this year:

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Hey! I found standings that have the Leafs ahead of the senators! Man, if the Leafs were really as terrible as the sens fans said what could that mean about the sens' chances against the team that tops both sides of the table? Wait, I am guessing it just means that the sens finished their season on a roll right? Wrong.
So Maggie wasn't full of crap, she was just flinging it at a worthy-target. Enjoy your two weeks in the playoffs sens fans.

Throw Marty the keys to victory...

A compilation of 2007-08 Sens highlights is bound to have some serious gaps, but for my money this minute and change performance against the Rangers exemplifies what's going to be needed starting asap on Wednesday evening:

The three-man unit right there: Vermette skating it up ice, Phillchenkov blocking shots, and Gerbs seeing every incoming shot.

Bonus: Gerber stones Nash (and Team Canada) in Torino.

Monday, April 07, 2008

BoOB Awards Night

Congrats to this years winners:

1. DC in YOW held a commanding lead throughout the season, taking over just prior to the break and not relinquishing it. Anshu ran him down to within 86 points, but couldn't overcome the deficit. DC, class guy that he is, wanted me to donate the value of the prize to a worthy charity. But they were purchased long ago, and as such he's still getting his gift card and I'll even throw in $50 to the Canadian Cancer Society on behalf of the BoO.

2. SonicSurfers win the iTunes card for highest percentage points increase since the All-Star break. SS jumped 3 positions and added over 837 points to his bottom line.

3. Although our very own PPP made a valiant tank job, he was unable to pry the McCabe Memorial Award out of the cold, dead hands of Varada for Hart.

The winners can shoot me a gmail to claim their prize. Thanks for coming out, and don't forget the Battle Bench Boss and Don's Playoff Pick 'Em. There's even a $10,000 Pool for those of you on the Book of Face.

2nd Annual BoO Playoff Prediction Contest

I'm putting up the trophy I won last year. The rules are simple. Predict the series outcomes and your score is the sum of the differences - understand? You pick Ottawa over Pit 4-1 and it turns out to be 4-0 for Ottawa you'd get 1. If it ends up 4-1 Pit then you'd get 6.
In the 2nd round, your score get multiplied by 1.5, 3rd rnd 1.75 and the final 2.
Lowest score come June wins. You must participate in each round to win.
My picks - and use this format in the comments so I can put in the spreadsheet easily.

Mtl 4
Bos 3

Pit 1
Ott 4

Was 3
Phi 4

NJ 1

Det 4
Nsh 1

SJ 4
Cgy 3

Min 1
Col 4

Ana 3
Dal 4

And Crosby still needs his potty mouth washed out with soap

You know Murray's going to bring it for Round 1:
The Senators GM/coach accused the Penguins of tanking their final game against the Phildelphia Flyers Sunday because Pittsburgh wanted to face Ottawa in the first round the playoffs beginning Wednesday at Mellon Arena.

Asked by the Sun what he thought when he saw Sidney Crosby as a healthy scratch in the 2-0 loss against the Flyers which cost Pittsburgh first place in the Eastern Conference, Murray didn't mince any words.

"I knew what was going on," said Murray.

Which was?

"You guys all know they wanted to play Ottawa. That's fine. That was fairly obvious from the drop of the puck," said Murray.

Even I was looking forward to the santa-booers having a go at Crosby. If Ottawa fails, I hope Philly hangs around to finish them off (like they always did with the Leafs).

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Doom, also Gloom

One way or another, thanks to down the stretch bumbling, we were determined to draw a potent offensive foe that we don't match up well against. Between the Habs, Pens and Caps (first, third and ninth best powerplays, respectively), I would have preferred the latter simply due to their lack of playoff experience. Painfully ironic that that's the only edge we seem to have left over the east front runners, eh?

I don't see any reason to hope for much beyond an epic Pittsburgh meltdown, but in the playoffs anything can happen. Should they somehow knock off the Pens though, I still think the east is wide open. Any other die hards want to throw me a bone, here? DC? Duff? What say you?

UPDATE: The Sched, via the Ottawa Sun:

Game 1 Wednesday @ Pittsburgh - 7 p.m.

Game 2 Friday @ Pittsburgh - 7 p.m.

Game 3 Monday, April 14 @ Ottawa - 7 p.m.

Game 4 Wednesday, April 16 @ Ottawa - 7 p.m.

Game 5 (if nec) Saturday, April 19 @ Pittsburgh, time TBD

Game 6 (if nec) Sunday, April 20 @ Ottawa, time TBD

Game 7 (if nec) Tuesday, April 22 @ Pittsburgh, time TBD

Alfredsson's contract situation

Not really anything to say about it but I was looking for it earlier this year I hadn't seen it anywhere before:
Under the terms of Alfredsson's contract with the Senators, he is scheduled to make $5.465 million US next season. Three option years -- all at $3.8 million per-year -- then kick in at the start of the 2009-10 season.
That's where it becomes tricky. Under the terms of the agreement, if Alfredsson plays in 70 or more regular-season games and averages a point per game, then he has the right to decide if he wants to return the next season.
Should Alfredsson not meet the point requirements, then it's up to Ottawa management to decide if they want him to return the next year. The same rules exists for the final two options years of the contract.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Did you know...

...that Alfredsson was drafted by the Senators the same summer that Sundin came to the Leafs and that since then the Senators have won more playoff series than the Leafs have?

Since Alfredsson was drafted the Senators have won 8 playoff series. The Leafs 7, Edmonton 5, Flames 3, Montreal 3, and Vancouver 3.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Congratulations Sens!

11 years in a row of playoff hockey in Ottawa!

No sign of this streak ending with the core of the team under contract and youth again coming up through the system. This season's debacle can be addressed in the offseason but the bottom line is that playoff hockey is coming to Ottawa and stranger things have happened than an unexpected run.

Years in the playoffs of the other Canadian franchises:

Calgary 4
Montreal 1
Vancouver -1
Edmonton -2
Toronto -4

Friday night

A nice drink and some reading for the pregame warmup.

It's a miserable afternoon here in Ottawa as the planet is sad for Alfie. I'll be looking to see what the mood is in the rink. The game's on TSN.

Assuming the next few days go as planned....

Alfie and Fish out for 'weeks'

Bryan Murray told reporters Friday that both players have knee injuries and will be out for "weeks."

First thing - they aren't in the lineup for tonight. Still business to finish.
Lines for tonight would look like what?

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Gotta think Maclean's liked tonights game.

Cover story:
Or just read the Battle of Ontario. We pretty much have covered most of the reasons.

Are you ready to RUMMMM-BBLLLEEEEE?!?!?!

Game 1 in Toronto: Sens win 4-3 in OT
Game 2 in Ottawa: Sens win 3-2
Game 3 in Ottawa: Sens win 5-1
Game 4 in Toronto: Leafs win 3-0
Game 5 in Toronto: Leafs win 4-2
Game 6 in Ottawa: Leafs win 5-0
Game 7 in Ottawa: Leafs win 5-4

Sens need to win to tie the season war. They need to win by 5 to tie the season goal differential.

The game is only on PPV in Ottawa. On LeafsTV in Toronto.

Let's get some predictions posted. Keep the sticks down, elbows up.

PPP Update: Game Day Thread save this for when the sens regulars get too upset post-loss.

JAYUPDATE: Pundits are calling this a Game 7, but to me it feels more like a Game 6. We do not too bad at Game 6's.

Clippings: Apr 3

While we await todays Game Day Post, here's a small offering to get things started.

"Any time you go through a losing streak it's always hard, especially towards the end of the season," Spezza said yesterday. "We're all kind of baffled a little bit about why we're in (this slump)."
-Toronto Star.

That's the frustrated deer-in-headlights approach you like to see from one of your most talented players. If I was GM in Ottawa I would trade this choker on draft day.

"We could take the wind out of Ottawa..." said Leaf centre Matt Stajan. "It's their season on the line."
-Toronto Star.

That's the loose cocky overconfidence you like to hear from a player on a team with absolutely nothing to lose. I think a few players on Ottawa just pooped themselves a little.

Should be a good night.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Too late to fire the coach, too late to make a trade, too late to switch goalies, too late to rest the captain...

Now what?

UPDATE: Murray on the post game show "they tried real hard tonight"

Game Day: Out of Town Scoreboard Edition

Here's all the news fit to print about tonight's game for the Leafs.

The game at the ACC is secondary because as Jay points out, the real battle tonight is between the sens and Montreal. While tonight's game against the Sabres is worth nothing, as if to prove it Raycroft is getting the start, the result between the Leafs' two bitter rivals will dictate whether the team's last two games count for anything.

A sens' loss would leave them in 6th place with 92 points and only two points ahead of the surging Capitals and the Southeast leading Canes with all teams having played 80 games. That gives the team from the City That Fun Forgot an extra game played over both Boston and Philadelphia who would lie just one point back of the Trojan Ads. Wins for those teams over New Jersey and Pittsburgh respectively would leave them with 93 points resulting in the dream-like sequence for Muppet and myself. It would mean that Thursday's game would see the senators enter the ACC against the Leafs, who have won four straight meetings, in 8th place and just two points ahead of the Capitals. Are those a lot of what-ifs? Sure, are they outlandish? Not by a longshot. It's pucker-time in the National Capital Region.

A win by the Habs would also move them back into a tie for the top spot in the conference which might mean that Saturday night's finale would be an opportunity for the Leafs to keep the Habs from winning the Conference title.

So, on a night when the Leafs will be in action the real drama will be played out on The Score/TSN/Sportsnet's tickers as we wait to see whether there might still be a miniscule bright spot in the season's last week.

Game Day: Bullbleep Edition

Even the happy-go-lucky face of the franchise couldn't contain his frustration in the scrum yesterday. Clearly (hopefully?) 79 games of inconsistent play, including the most recent imitation of the performance that put John Paddock out of his misery, have the boys a tad testy. The threat of missing the playoffs looms, however, if you see a Hab fan trolling, it's helpful to point out to them that the Northeast is yet to be clinched (tie would go to the Sens).

Don Brennan's in the April Fool's spirit again, this time calling for Ray Emery to take over with the clock running down on the season. I think that fork in the road has been passed some distance back, although I've no particular preference for the league's 32nd best GAA over the 43rd best GAA. The only GM who's ever attempted to fix the Senators perennial mediocre tender pairings was John Muckler when he brought in Hasek. Since we'll be stuck in the default position for at least another season, it's worth knowing for absolute certain whether Muckler's second attempt can produce any legacy out of his career other than having the best seat in the house for three of the last four Stanley Cup Finals.

Sens 5, Habs 1 (Spezza, Donovan, Neil, Vermette, Fisher). Following through on Carbo's plea to the media, injuries will henceforth be referred to as Upper Body Volchenkovs.