Friday, December 31, 2010
At that time, Ottawa was 10-3-3 at the Bank and in the midst of a 5-in-6 run of victories, posting a 12-7-3 record.
Things are different this year!
Ottawa is sucking hard at SBP, is out of the playoffs and Pascal Leclaire is injured. Ok... maybe things haven't changed all that much.
Gonchar or Kuba may be watching from the stands. If it's Kuba in the press box, Sens have a chance. If it's Gonchar, Elliotte Friedman thinks that'd be a bad move (see 12 - see also point 30 for a terribly unfortunate linkage between Ottawa & Toronto).
Here's Spezza's replacement:
Jim O'Brien (C) was brought up today to help out at centre. Sporting 12 goals, 13 assists in 33 games and 200 lbs on a 6-2 frame, plus a set of radar-ears, perhaps he'll be one of those sleeper prospects and give us a little blind hope.
No one gives a shit about this game. It's all about the BoO tomorrow night. Because that's the only thing that can really matter this season.
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Ottawa loses its best centreman to an injury (f$#k you, Letang!) and Toronto loses its best centreboy to giving-up-hope.
Here's a little fun:
Google Image Searching of "nazem kadri soother picture" brings up the following:
Friday, December 24, 2010
Enjoy the time away from your respective non-playoff team, folks.
A Very Merry (& safe) Christmas everyone.
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Unlike most of his modern counterparts, who said the World Juniors acted as a great springboard into an NHL career, Toronto Maple Leafs forward Phil Kessel downplays the impact of the tournament on the careers of NHL prospects.
"No, it's a short tournament, you just go out there and play for your country, try and do the best you can," Kessel says.
Then again, that lack of enthusiasm could be attributed to the fact that Kessel's two years playing for the U.S. weren't particularly successful ventures for his team.
I'm not going to defend MacLean because I don't know enough about the guy, truth told. But one thing that gets me in this and most professional sports leagues is that you can fire the coach but you can't fire the guy making $100M who was a healthy scratch because he's floating around out there.
Just makes me question the sanity of the professional ranks that we invest so much time into as fans.
What will this mean for the Devils? My guess is the team will improve as they revert back to that sickening brand of hockey Lemaire is so apt at providing. For the fans of New Jersey I'm sure today provides them with at least a little optimism too.
It's just too bad the Devils couldn't simply give Kovalchuk a paycut and use that money to help the team instead of reinstating the trap and boring us all to death with 2-1 games.
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Update: Quotes like these aren't going to help:
“The guy’s an idiot,” winger Clarke MacArthur said. “It’s not funny, whoever’s doing that.”
“It’s just brutal,” added teammate Luke Schenn. “It’s one thing to have your fans booing you, but it’s another for people to start throwing things on the ice.”
Update2: Time to revive the old BoO Cafe Press shop. Anyone with some good waffle tshirt art? I'm thinking something like this:
Dear Burke, (Picture of waffle) YOU!
I (Picture of heart shaped waffle) MLSE!
Garbage. No other word describes what we're seeing on the ice at ScotiaBank Place or the ACC of late. Except waffles. That is a literal description of what we see on the ice at the ACC. You know that scene in Slumdog Millionaire where the kids are picking through the garbage to find recyclables to sell for cash to buy food while sometimes identifying a piece of clothing they'd like to keep and wear? If they were to film that today, you'd see some kid picking out a blue and white '81' sweater or a red, white and black '55' sweater, curl up his or her nose and toss the jersey underneath the shitters that the actor blew his innards from.
Grabyourcrotchski and Undrarkid Karlsson are the only bright lights on either team. The next BoO on January 1, 2011 should feature a flat out one-on-one between these two kids (1-on-1 on 1-1-11! Great TV promotion there!). Put a
Sundin bobble head tomato can on the ice at either end of the rink and tally the number of times each hits said can with the puck. Highest total wins.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
I started to write a story yesterday about the Leafs remaining games up to January and how important they are if the Leafs hope to get close to 8th position before the new year but I got sidetracked. Damn job...
Anyway, one game down in this important string of contests, and Leaf fans have to be happy Toronto got that first one out of the way against Edmonton. They looked good doing it too, but the Oilers have made a lot of teams look good this year so lets not get too excited right?
As you can see above, the Leafs are now 1 point away from 9th position with two games in hand on that other Ontario team. The biggest obstacle now, besides some of the tough teams Toronto still have to beat before NYE, is of course Carolina who have two games in hand on Toronto and then any other team around us capable of going on a run. Which is all of them.
Still, Toronto went into this week needing to win two of three against the Canadian West and that number has turned into one win in their next two. One foot in front of the other and all that. If the Leafs can somehow get within 3-5 points of 8th place in the next few weeks, I think we can all look to the rest of the season with some hope. If the team struggles the hope of playoffs could be gone before the calendar flips.
A FEW NOTES ON LAST NIGHT'S EFFORTS:
KADRI: Taylor Hall stole the show last night if you're keeping track of the rookie content, but Kadri was close again on a few occasions. That goose egg will break at some point and the kid might have 15 goals in him after that we could hope, but he's not going to win the Calder this season and as long as he gets better as the season goes on Toronto fans should be happy.
ARMSTRONG: I was glad to hear Phaneuf in his post-game comments give props to Armstrong for screening Khabibulin on the captain's blast from the point. I've lost track now, but the Leafs record is excellent with Armstrong in the line-up as opposed to when he hasn't. The little things he does, every shift, are the things that I hope fans start to appreciate more. We've needed a guy like this for a long time it seems. I'd like to see more Armstrong love out there.
GIGUERE: If he had gotten the shutout he would have been a star of the game. Instead he just stopped two Hall breakaways and everything else after the Eberle goal (what a set of hands), and continues to prove that Vesa Toskala should be on my Men's league team. As the back-up.
MACARTHUR: This is what the Leafs probably wanted from Lee Stempniak game in and game out. Burke will have a tough decision come end of this season because so far MacArthur has earned that arbitration awarded salary he didn't get this summer from Atlanta. Can the Leafs afford him? Can they afford not to sign him?
Monday, December 13, 2010
Besides the standings and perhaps goal differential, in my opinion that's where the comparison ends.
AGE: Ottawa are around the 8th oldest club in the NHL, depending on which players play on any given night around the league. The Leafs were the youngest team in the NHL last week, jockeying with Edmonton on nights Aulie doesn't dress. This is an important fact when you consider Alfredsson who hasn't scored in weeks is 38 years old. Is it a slump or is it the end? This is what happens when you have players pushing 40. Toronto on the other hand don't have a forward over 28 years old.
DIRECTION: Ottawa finished 6th last season in the east and currently are out of a playoff spot. Toronto are better than where they were at this time last year and where they finished the year, but not by much. Still, Ottawa are heading south and Toronto north.
PROSPECTS: Ottawa have a good young d-man in Karlsson but after that it's a bit dicey. Cowen hasn't made the NHL yet but has upside for sure. Corey Locke is the leading scorer in the AHL right now but at 5'9" and this his 7th season in the AHL, is he a prospect or a career AHLer? Binghampton also have Butler and Condra in the top 30 scorers in the AHL, but again, these are older players and in the AHL that can be a bad thing. Jonathan Cheechoo is the 10th highest scorer in the AHL and ex-Leaf prospect Kris Newbury who is 28 is in the top 20. So it's hard to get a read based on points alone. Toronto meanwhile have two players vying for team Canada positions at the WJC (Ross and Ryan) plus Gregg McKegg has already won player of the week twice in the OHL and is 5th in scoring. D'Amigo will represent the US at the WJ tourney. Add a trio of killer goaltending prospects in Rynass, Reimer and Scrivens, plus the youth on the Leafs big club (Kadri, Aulie), and it's fair to say that Toronto flat out have a better youth brigade than Ottawa.
STABILITY: Love him or hate him, Brian Burke will be GM for the Leafs for years to come. He has four years left on his contract and has installed a team of proven veteran coaches, assistants and scouts. It's a stable management structure with only Wilson seeming to be on the hot seat according to media but not so far by Burke. Ottawa on the other hand have an unproven coach, a GM on the way out and an owner who seems to open his mouth about hockey things when he shouldn't. If I'm a Sens fan I'm thinking who knows what the hell is going to happen in the next year or two. Not very attractive for players.
RECENT WINS: Toronto are coming off a week where they won 3 of 5 games against some of the best teams in the NHL. That's a .600 win % against Boston, Washington, Pittsburgh, Montreal and Philly. Impressive no matter how you slice it. Since November 24th Ottawa have three wins and two of them have been against teams below them in the standings. Not a bullet-proof statistical argument by any means, but lately Toronto are doing more to make folks believe there is hope with this roster.
SCORING RACE: Alfredsson would be tied for 3rd in scoring if he was a Maple Leaf right now. Toronto have 6 players with more points than Jason Spezza. Even in the early 2000's when Toronto and Ottawa were both cup contenders in the east, Ottawa always had an edge when it came to top talent production. This is actually a bit of a head scratcher. Ottawa can't even blame injuries at this point.
LUCK: Folks will try and blame every trade gone sour on the GM and give props to every move that works out brilliantly. I'm not going to say that Murray was an absolute moron trading Heatley for Michalek, or swapping Vermette for LeClaire, but neither have worked out well for the Sens. Meanwhile Burke picks up McArthur for $1M in salary and the guy leads the team in scoring along with rampage beatings of Montreal defenceman. You need to be a bit lucky in deals and I will be the first to admit that Murray hasn't had a horseshoe land on his boot for a long time. In a league this close, that shit comes back to haunt you.
I can't remember who Don quoted from the Ottawa media, the writer who said he wouldn't trade rosters with Toronto right now, but to combat one homer perspective with another, that dude is out of his mind. Toronto may not make the playoffs this year and this roster and organization still needs seasoning and some additional help, but you would have to be a little crazy not to see that the Leafs are a much stronger bet going forward than Ottawa.
Thursday, December 09, 2010
Monday, December 06, 2010
They have a plethora of all-star talent.
They have scored almost 100 goals already.
They are the Washington Capitals, only the best team in the NHL standings.
To predict a win would be silly. To predict a close game, even, would be ill-advised.
Leafs 5 Capitals 2.
I'm crazy like that.
Dion will make the trip and practice with the team but is not supposed to play tonight or Wednesday in Pittsburgh.
Also the Jays have traded Shawn Marcum.
That's all I got.
Friday, December 03, 2010
Ugly here in Ottawa. Sounds like its uglier in Toronto.
For as ugly it is in Ottawa right now we know it's far worse down in Hogtown.
McGuire said this morning that he wouldn't trade rosters - but just because of Cowen, Rundblad, and Weircioch? That's a little too close for comfort!
It's days like this we need to remind Leaf fans of THIS.
Wednesday, December 01, 2010
More so than being a Leaf or a Sens fan by what I could cobble together from drunken wifi looks at scores and standings while I was away huh?
I did watch the 2nd and 3rd period of Leafs/Sens on my laptop in the hotel lobby. Couldn't miss that. Otherwise I laid in the sun, cut my elbow open playing beach volleyball and tore something in my elbow playing ping pong. It's a good thing I don't drink and play hockey too...
I figure I'm back just in time to see the Leafs take 5 of 6 points this week and maybe a phone company purchase my favourite hockey team.
Monday, November 29, 2010
Elliot gets the start again for the Sens after his shutout of the Leafs. Obviously if Leclaire had of started on Saturday we'd be talking about him playing after shutting out the Leafs. Heck, if Karlsson was playing in net on Saturday I guess he'd get a 2nd start to follow up on his Leaf shutout.
How bad are the Oil this year?
Well - their GF/G is actually a bit higher than Ottawa (26th in the league btw) but their GA/G is a league high atrocious 4.3 on the road. (Probably the worst PK in the league by a big margin (67%) is a big part of that.
Obviously, it's a game where the Sens need to bank 2 pts and move back to .500 again.
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Who won then? I'm assuming the Leafs didn't get shut out again, did they?
I was going to put up a post about my keys to victory for the Sens - thinking the Kovalev, Fisher, Michalek line would be the group to watch. Wonder how that turned out....
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Friday, November 19, 2010
At least we're standing out for something right?
Kadri now has 3 points in 3 games (all assists), and Aulie might just earn himself a spot on the club too, if he keeps using that enormous reach and 6'5" frame like he has been. Add Gustavsson as the first star of last night's game with 34 saves, and the beating of a very tender and frankly bad New Jersey team was completed. The Devils did come on strong at times, but the Leafs executed a perfect road game at home, utilizing the dump and chase anytime an easy play wasn't available.
Back to Kadri, I'm glad to see that the media circus around him has actually calmed down now that he is up and contributing. He made a few of his old giveaways last night which Wilson pointed out after the game and will surely be addressed, Kadri seeming to forget for a period what he learned on the Marlies. All in all, I like that he's getting some confidence and looking to have some real chemistry with Kessel.
Happy Camper out.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
My gut feeling that the Leafs will reign victorious tonight is strong, like the force. That's why I'm even going to break my own proline rule and bet on the game involving the Leafs on my ticket for tonight.
I will not guarantee the score, but let's throw down a 5-1 ass woopin'.
Go Leafs. And go Unicorns!
Monday, November 15, 2010
As anyone with a bookmark to a sports website knows, the New York Islanders today fired head coach Scott Gordon owing, in part, to a 10 game losing streak.
All this talk about Colby Armstrong & Dion Phaneuf's injuries being the cause of the decline of the Toronto Maple Leafs (and hence absolving Wilson of culpability) begs a comparision.
On Long Island, top defenseman Mark Streit has been out for essentially the entire season and Kyle Okoposo is still recovering from shoulder surgery; neither have played a game this season. Effectively, two of the top players on the team are unable to contribute.
The Islanders do have a prior 1st overall top-6 forward in John Tavares, but otherwise lack a "40 goal scorer" (hold it in, folks) and are forced to platoon an oft injured, has-been goaltender and a 41 year old overager journeyman. There is no washout former 'best goaltender not playing in the NHL' , nor a Conn Smyth/Stanley Cup winning veteran netminder to rely upon.
The Islanders saw the second worst decline in the league after a surprising start; second only to Toronto. So the Islanders fired Gordon.
What else did the Scott Gordon lack? A buddy-buddy relationship with the General Manager. Or, if that's not true and Snow & Gordon really are BFFs, then Gordon lacked a GM with an ego.
Why is Ron Wilson still coaching the Leafs if his team - with far more 'star power' in goal and at the back end - has suffered a more severe decline?
If the addition of Kadri and Aulie do make a difference and the team wins more than a few games over the next 5 to 10, is that demonstrative of coaching or the advantageous result of desperation moves by Burke?
He's obviously still a wee while away, but getting closer.
If anybody has been frequenting PPP over the last few weeks you will have read some of the healthy back and forth between Leaf fans who think the team misses him or don't miss him, usually sparked by myself who believes he is sorely missed.
The Leafs haven't won a game without Armstrong this season. While there is a lot missing right now besides Colby, it's still revealing if you ask me. I'm counting the days.
Also, since nobody has talked about it here, I thought Kadri played great on Saturday. He was good defensively, he set up a few point blank chances for his linemates that unfortunately weren't converted into goals, and yes, he made a few blatant rookie mistakes. So far, I can say it doesn't look like a mistake to have him up. Lots of high-profile rookies don't immediately score in the NHL, so I say give him a week or two to get into the team concept. It's clear he will eventually contribute.
Friday, November 12, 2010
Thursday, November 11, 2010
The best thing about no-game days for Leaf fans? They don't have to watch their team lose.
On the brighter side of the BoO, Ottawa looks to protect its 5 game win streak against the West's 3rd best team.
There will be Swedish forwards on each team, but Vancouver has determined the only way to match Alfie's power is to clone their top forward and put two of him on the ice at once.
The Greatest Captain Who Ever Captained an Ontario NHL Team had some things to say about that. This little bit of conversation should garner some interest from the blue & whites:
REPORTER: "If we were to ask other Swedes, do you believe they would say you’re the best?"
ALFIE: “Maybe Sundin would.”
After that cool moment, and our moment of silence, I turned back to my computer to see how the Marlies are doing on their epic 19 day road-trip. They've taken a possible 8 of their last available 10 points, and seems like things are starting to click as they rebound from a shitty start.
Rynnas got his first win of the season this week, and both Marlie goalies have very nice statistics. Rynnas a sparkling 2.11 GAA and 9.27. Reimer's numbers are almost as good.
Kadri set up D'Amigo for the game winner earlier in the week as the Leafs prized rookie now has 13 pts in 13 games. Since Zigamonis came back to the team, his line which includes Mueller and Crabb have combined for 12 points in 5 games.
Nice to see one MLSE team doing well lately.
Here is video of 3 fights from the Marlies vs Wolfpack. You can see Lashoff get beat up twice and Aulie absolutely mangle some guy half his size. I like the looks of this Aulie kid.
Tuesday, November 09, 2010
TONIGHT: Toronto @ Tampa + Atlanta @ Ottawa.
Frankly, I would rather play the Thrashers than the Lightning. Which brings up an interesting debate - who has had the tougher schedule so far this season? I think the Leafs have had it slightly tougher but not by much. Ottawa have a hell of a "next 5" after tonight that I don't envy, but Toronto's isn't much easier as both teams host the Canucks. Who wants to play the Canucks right now?
Man, I got nothing to say today. Real busy at work and at home.
So here's a picture of Minka...
Monday, November 08, 2010
A little while ago, some debate broke out about the role of a player's linemates in making said player's trip to the Hall more palpable.
Simply put, I argued that a normalized (i.e., "same conditions") comparison of the numbers put up by Daniel Alfredsson (Praise Alfie!) and Hall of Famer Luc Robitaille would show that the latter's numbers were elevated by the luxury of playing with the league's record smashing players.
This was met with near ridicule. The idea that a great player wasn't seeing high numbers owing - in large part - to his teammates productivity was considered blasphemy. It appeared implied that Robitaille's career totals (or even the direct 10-year comparison under the same rules, against the same opponents, etc.) were independent of the pleasure of receiving passes from (or directing passes to) Gretz, Brett, Paul Coffee, etc., etc.
What then, should we make of this piece over at PPP.
I'll excise the most notable portion:
"For his centres, he has been blessed with Matt Stajan, Mikhail Grabovski, Tyler Bozak, and John Mitchell. Holding out hope for Bozak, but this is not an impressive group of centres. No Luc Robitaille on the left either." [Emphasis added.]
A bit of silence to let that sink in.....
The crux of the article is that Kessel - a "37 goals in 83 games" man (wasn't he supposed to be a guaranteed 40 goal guy?) is suffering in production due to his linemates.
Hm. I guess my theory wasn't so bad afterall.
That's the way it goes. When the losses start piling up the fingers start pointing, and while I too am pointing at the Leafs first line wondering where the scoring is, I happen to think that for a hockey club that needs maximum energy and effort just to compete most nights, what hurts most right now is that we're missing a key guy who does both those things:
LEAFS RECORD WITH COLBY IN LINE-UP: 5-2-1
LEAFS RECORD WITH COLBY OUT: 0-3-2
I had a good heated battle with Leaf fans over at PPP a few weeks back about Armstrong, my high opinion of him opposed with expanded stats and the such. I said it then and I'll say it now: this guy is worth every penny of his $3M contract because he brings intangibles to the table every night that don't show up in the stats. His hustle and heart, his defensive energy, his physicality and his never-say-die attitude rubbed off on this hockey club. He is a soldier, through and through.
You can see a difference since he's been gone.
Then add Phaneuf to the IR, another guy who brings it every night, and to me it's no coincidence that the Leafs are hustling for about 40% of games these days.
Hurry back Colby.
Friday, November 05, 2010
If tonight Washington beats Boston and Buffalo finally wins against Montreal, the stage will be set for a showdown tomorrow night in Montreal for first place in the Northeast Division and 3rd in the standings.
Ottawa have vastly improved but let's face it - a win over Montreal will be tough. Primarily a win by Buffalo over Montreal, but Ottawa isn't a top tier team yet. But things are rolling, we've seen solid goaltending, Kovalev isn't sleeping as much on a line with Spezza, the broadcaster-consensus Hall of Famer Alfie is a Habs killer, and Montreal is on a downer two game loss streak.
It's looking promising.
So here's how things look this morning at the bottom end of the standings. Last year's 2 & 3 spot teams remain under the heap whilst the 1 and 2 positions from a short while ago have plumetted like a former Leaf Captain's credibility in 08/09. Meanwhile, only one team from the bottom 6 has seen improvement rising like a phoenix (no... it's not the Coyotes), beating teams it should beat, and recovers fairly substantively from the sketchiest start since 06/07.
Beastly Spezza with a role in every goal scored by Ottawa; could he perhaps be just geting warmed up?
Also, for those who watched the nationally televised game on TSN, you may recall "Monster" McGuire stating [paraphrased]: 'I don't have a vote for the Hall of Fame, but if I did, I would be casting my vote for [Alfie]'. Remember: national broadcast - not a regionally pandering feed.
Thursday, November 04, 2010
I figure I have to do this before the Sens and Isles play tonight!
Also, what did you think of Crosby's scrap last night? Are you going to link us to his fight and tell us Sid is a scrapper so it was perfectly fine for Neil to drop the gloves and beat on him while the refs were holding him in some future game? Let me know, I'll try and get you a decent quality video.
Wednesday, November 03, 2010
Andy has already unwisely watched the Clint Malarchuk footage which was recalled owing to neither that, nor Dion's skate-induced laceration appeared possible based on leg position during contact.
So now Dion is out 4 to 6 weeks with a deep laceration and 'nicked' MCL.
This time, the information came from TSN and not from
Mata Hari Elisha Cuthbert whom appears to have raised the ire of MLSE and had her twitter knocked down. Can we assume she is now being educated by The Church of Scientology the Teacher's Pension Group on the terms "lower & upper body injury"?
Well, the title sums up the feelings of most Senators fans having watched the Senators fend off nearly 6 minutes in late 3rd period penalties.
The folks over at PPP actually think Toronto out-played Ottawa most of the night. This isn't difficult whence one ignores the power-plays, 5 on 3s and 6 on 4s, but what is interesting is that the Leafs appeared to improve shortly after Phaneuf was injured while attempting to board Peter Regin in the second.
Interestingly, this came just after the first intermission impromptu press conference by Burke to complain about fans booing Phaneuf. Wait... haven't we been through this before? Maybe it's an act by Phaneuf to get some sympathy. Or maybe the booing was by upper-bowl fans upset that they couldn't occupy the almost empty lower bowl. Even the old guy with the bleached goatee was missing from behind Ron Wilson.
All in all, it was a decent result by the Senators (3-1-0 over the last 4) over the Leafs (1-3-0). No gloating, there's work to be done.
Addendum: MLSE is now employing Elisha Cuthbert to deliver injury updates via twitter. Bookmark it and barf every time you think of the knuckle-dragger calling her 'baby'.
Tuesday, November 02, 2010
"I'm sure he's trying to get into the lineup," Neil told reporters following practice. "I have nothing bad to say about the guy."-TSN
It's what I would say too, if I wanted to throw water on the bush fire it will be if Boston put McGratton into the line-up when the two teams face each other in less than two weeks time, in Boston, Saturday night, on Hockey Night in Canada.
Hmm. Maybe you should have thought about all this before you outright attacked and instigated a fight with a non-fighter, aye Chris?
Payback is a... well, you know.
Battle of Ontario Game Two!
Prior to the season the so-called hockey experts agreed on two things that BoO fans should expect:
1. Toronto would have a tough time scoring.
2. Ottawa's biggest flaw would be in goal.
Pretty tough to argue with point #1 when the Leafs are tied for dead last in the NHL with 23 goals scored. Pretty tough to argue with point #2 when Elliott and Leclaire both have GAA over 3.20 and a combined .898 save percentage.
Add that Ottawa haven't been scoring much either and it should come as no surprise that the Leafs are 2 points up on Ottawa in the standings with a game in hand. But lets be honest here... both teams are struggling and would it shock the hockey world if one team won instead of the other?
Rotoworld is saying that Giguere and Elliot will get the start. I'm not so sure about this... it would make more sense to play Gustavsson against Ottawa and save Giguere, (who has the 10th best GAA in the league) for Washington tomorrow night. I'll keep an eye on this.
I spoke with my father this morning (who is a Sens fan as some of you know) and he thinks the Leafs are gonna win this one. His faith is at an all-time low.
Can't say I blame him. Been there before.
Monday, November 01, 2010
Enough with the hatred that clouds objectivity and negates substantive changes in game foundations and pre-and post-95 goal & total point trending.
On to darker topics such as:
1) The unrivaled leader whom has partaken in over half of team total goals might be injured.
2) The questionable leader whom has presented opponents several "gifties" is being outed.
Tomorrow's BoO game is likely to be calamatous anyway. Could this be inflated by the absence of 11 or the presence of 3? We might miss our Captain, Leafers; you might want to miss yours.
Saturday, October 30, 2010
Leafs have also called up Hanson to get some size into the line-up, something Toronto could have used against Boston. Caputi or Mitchell will play the wing, one guesses it's Caputi after a pretty nice game in Boston.
Spezza, after putting in 82 games a few years ago, appears back on track to do the partial season, point per, which I'm sure drives Ottawa fans crazy. He will help the Sens cause at home against the Bruins though...
As luck would have it my Halloween party doesn't start until after 10pm, which means I can kick back in my costume and drink a few at home and then head out. Hopefully many of you can have your cake and eat it too.
Happy Halloween HNIC party night.
I'm going as Barack Obama. You should see my mask, it's creepy as hell...
Friday, October 29, 2010
2 points. How's that for perspective?
What's THM talking about?
Let's set aside the Leaf's game-in-hand advantage for a moment and click over to the NHL Eastern Conference standings as of today (do it NOW because it changes at ca. 21h30 tonight!).
2 points. That's all that separates Ottawa (11th position) and Toronto (5th position). For fun, let's imagine the best possible scenario for tomorrow night:
Ottawa defeats Boston in a close game whilst Toronto falls to the Rangers in a blowout.
That sets up Tuesday's BoO game as a slightly more meaningful game. Could the Senators take a more favourable position in the East?
Thursday, October 28, 2010
They thought that he doesn't get the respect he deserves from the 'local' media and fans - I think they might have meant Canadian media as opposed to Ottawa itself. The colour commentator said he considers Alfredsson to be in the class of Yzerman and Sakic.
It would be an interesting discussion - those two are in the top 10 for career points in the league. (Though, I wonder if there is a normalization tool to account for league scoring changes over the years.)
Anyways, since the Sens won and the Leafs are going to lose to the Bruins, I thought a little Alfie love would be nice to throw on the fire.
This from Scott Stevenson:
"Well, the good news is the New Jersey Devils have 15 years to work things out with Ilya Kovalchuk."
This from Eric Duhatschek:
"Instead, the Devils were a collective no-show against the Sabres. Maybe the players figured that if Kovalchuk didn’t have to play, why should anybody else?"
Last night on TSN Quiz when asked if Kovy should have been scratched:
Keith Jones: It is a no. It's an unnecessary distraction that the New Jersey Devils did not need this season... It was a major mistake and the way the team performed that night really told me that was wrong.
Whatever lies ahead for the Devils and their left winger (who has been moved to right wing against his wishes, just to add to the fuss), the honeymoon phase was over before it started in New Jersey. Right now a lot of people including Kovalchuk's ex-teammates are piping in with negative observations about the character and quality of the 100-million dollar player. Bobby Holik even went on record wondering why Lou Lamerello would build a team around a guy like Ilya?
A premature observation perhaps, but ten games into the 2010/2011 season the unthinkable looks to have transpired. Lou Lamerello has messed up. Bad. And if you have that old familiar sinking feeling in your stomach, like when you found out Santa wasn't real, or when you had the realization that your Dad wasn't the strongest man in the world, you're probably not alone. When a man with a track record as impeccable as the Devil's long-time GM flat out falls on his face, it makes one wonder if other mere mortal GM's should be trusted to be making significant trades at all?
I think both Sens fans and Leaf fans will admit that their respective GM's have probably made mistakes. Maybe Sens fans would like a few of the 2nd round picks back that Murray has sent away at trade deadlines. Maybe some Leaf fans would like Seguin instead of Kessel. Michalek for Heatley is still a hot button topic. Some folks don't think Armstrong is worth $3M at all. While these and other deals Burke and Murray have made are still up for debate, rest assured that no matter how lopsided they become in the end, none will come close to the blood on Lamerello's hands if #17 ends as badly as it's began.
Timely, isn't it, that both Burke and Murray are working the trade phones as we speak, both looking to make significant deals as indicated by recent comments to the press? Surely there is a small seed of doubt in both men. If Lou can make a big mistake, Burke must be questioning his own ambitions and it has to be making Murray second and triple guess any thoughts he has about moving a big piece like Spezza. It has to be affecting them. It has to be making GM's who are in discussions with Burke and Murray a little nervous too. It could even be stinting the growth of deals, pushing GM's to consider smaller deals that have less risk of damage if they go awry.
Or, perhaps I'm completely wrong and it's just business as usual, the ego's of such men outweighing the contemplation of their own mortality.
One thing is for certain, the Kovalchuk deal is a loud and resounding notice that General Managers of NHL teams hold in their hands the power to make or break a franchise. Murray and Burke are out there right now looking to make a deal, and by the sounds of it significant ones. Let's hope they know what they're doing.
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
PHOENIX @ OTTAWA: Murray is already on the record talking about changes coming if things don't turn around. As we've seen lately, trades don't exactly happen overnight but would a loss to Phoenix, on home ice, the dogs having played last night, be the tipping point? Would it be major surgery or does this team just need a tweak?
FLORIDA @ TORONTO: While realistically the Leafs are a win away from leading the division, the good vibrations that surrounded Leaf Nation only a week ago are all gone. Tonight Kulemin is back on the top line, but does another loss make Wilson consider some roster moves via the Marlies or even more drastic, does Burke phone up Lou in New Jersey and make a deal?
Saturday, October 23, 2010
The Marlies are playing as we speak and in the 2nd period Kadri already has two goals. One of them is of the highlight-reel variety, the other just a great quick release.
I bring up Kadri because Bozak was benched for a stretch of the 3rd period on Thursday. I have all the faith in the world in Bozak but it's good to see the kid figuring out the AHL - leading the team in points now too - because it can only make the guys on the big club play a little harder.
It's date night in the Muppet household. Will be watching the game on PVR later. Enjoy.
Friday, October 22, 2010
Just was contacted by a source "The NY Rangers are being very aggressive in terms of Spezza. There are some high level talks ongoing."
More to come.....
I thoroughly enjoy the perception that Eklund would like us to believe. Him with three cellular phones all ringing at once with NHL folks constantly CONTACTING HIM with inside trade info. And then? More to come... as he and his cell phones and wall of computers scour the highest ranks of the league looking for more on this scoop.
Meanwhile all he's really doing is lighting another smoke and getting back on Xbox live.
With the Rangers win over Toronto last night and an Islanders win over Tampa in OT, several interesting things happened:
1) Toronto's surprising season opening points streak comes to an end;
2) The New York Islanders - pre-season favourites to finish last in the NHL - take top spot in the East.
3) The Ottawa Senators take up residence in the basement and winter approaches so it's getting rather chilly.
Leaf Nation is taking the Toronto loss without much complaint or concern because of the early success and, well, see pt. 3. To this point, it's been pretty entertaining seeing the glee of the Blue & White drones and reading commentary about how it's so crazy-amazing, all this success.
We'll ignore further discussion on pt. 3 for now (15 games, folks, 15 games). But have a look at this graphic of the standings for top and bottom 4 at present and the end of last year. Three of last year's Eastern bottom feeders (TOR, NYI, TBL) are leading the East and two division leaders (NJD, BUFF) are catfish. Florida & Pittsburgh are humorously consistent!
Question: is Toronto all that special?
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Will the Rangers seek revenge on Armstrong for putting Gaborik on the DL?
Will Komisarek look for a chance to repay Avery for that two-handed slash on his ankle?
Will the Leafs keep the lovin' feeling alive?
GUSTAVSSON GETS THE START.
Otherwise the line-up remains unchanged from Monday.
I'll be taking this one in at RealSports, my first visit to the MLSE sports bar that I understand was named ESPN's Best Sports Bar in North America. Mixed reviews from my friends. They all agree it's an awesome space and the concept is sound, but others say these facts only sort of makes up for the fact that it feels like a dance club and tries just a little too hard.
In Sens news, I found it strange to read a quote from Murray that he's looking at trades, while admitting he has been talking to the Minnesota GM. Is that weird that he's straight up saying these things?
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
I remember at the time being pretty pissed off that somebody was suggesting such measures after only a few weeks of play.
So if this question makes you mad, Sens fans, I completely understand:
If you were the Gm or owner of this team, would you be getting antsy or even more extreme, be starting to think about some renovations on this hockey club?
Monday, October 18, 2010
The Leafs are first in the NHL and plays a team tonight that is expected to compete for next years lottery pick.
The Sens are tied for last in the NHL and to move up must defeat a team that just 17 months ago won the Stanley Cup.
I do think both teams still very much need a win tonight, even if it is for completely different reasons.
LEAFS VS ISLANDERS
Toronto can't get caught up in the fact the Isles are a pretty bad team and even worse right now thanks to a bunch of injuries. This matchup has all the making of an embarrassing loss, the kind that ruins a really good thing and plants doubt in players minds. The Leafs must walk in with the same mentality they brought in their first 4 games and prove that it really is "just one game at a time". Playoff teams win games they shouldn't and they definitely win the games they should. Toronto haven't had a killer instinct in years. A beat-down on the Isles will be a good stepping stone in proving this team isn't a big fluke.
SENS VS PENGUINS
While we're still only talking less than 10% of the season here, one has to think the Sens are only a handful more losses away from a complete meltdown. Sens fans are some of the most enthusiastic smack talkers I know, so the silence right now says a lot. Losing to a Cup contender in the 6th game of the season isn't the most shameful thing in the world, but I worry that the BoO as a blog will cease to have an Ottawa contingency if something positive doesn't come out of this game and the next. So while I'm not endorsing a division rival here, I wouldn't be that upset if the Sens got a point out of this one. I also worry that a few more losses will convince Murray or Melnyk to make drastic changes and I'm more worried about a Sens team rebuilding than I am about this roster.
Sunday, October 17, 2010
MARLIES VS SENATORS: LIVE @ 1PM
If you play right wing on the farm this would be a good time to step up and get noticed. A couple of big games and you could be passing Alex Kovalev in the Binghampton Bus Depot on your way to play for the big club.
If you are a Marlie with any aspirations of making the Leafs soon, you don't like the Leafs winning streak at all. Just keep your Kris Versteeg voodoo doll with the pins stuck in the knee caps hidden from the coaching staff.
Marlies 5 Binghampton 1. Jeff Finger scores all of Toronto's goals.
Saturday, October 16, 2010
Friday, October 15, 2010
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Carolina continues it's road trip with a stop in Ottawa on the way home from overseas. Ottawa are hoping they are exhausted from the travel & jet lag. Ottawa appear to be on the verge of panic which is about as inadvisable as a leaf fan being over exuberant about. Hopefully a convincing win will put to ease the pundits and pussies (read: leafers).
Alfie is in, no word on Leclaire or Elliot for the start. Leclaire has earned it. Just tighten up that 5-hole, man!
Game day vid:
(and yes.... I recognize the irony of Miss Teen South Carolina.... don' y'all?)
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
New Canuck Captain and MVP Henrick Sedin was just asked on next question, who was the best Swedish Hockey Player of all time:
Nik Lidstrom, Peter Forsberg or Mats Sundin.
He says Mats. I guess that Gold medal Mats won for him must have convinced him.
We miss ya bud.
New Jersey ditched three players for their game against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Monday due to being extremely tight to the salary cap. This effectively eliminated an entire line of forwards.
As in the linked articles, some suggest this could be good for hockey. So the question arises: who, from the Senators or Leafs would you ditch if rosters were restricted to 15 skaters? And how do you think the game would change?
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Thanks to PPP for passing this on.
This move can mean/result in a few things:
a) That the Leafs are simply going to send him down and get him off the cap right now since he isn't playing anyway.
b) Toronto think a team will actually claim him.
c) Leafs have already decided that they will recall him knowing a team will definitely claim him.
Finger at half the salary will be picked up by somebody.
I actually think Ottawa grabbing him on re-entry is not out of the question. Surely Murray doesn't want Clouston using Carkner to kill penalties as he was on the weekend, and I think it was a Sens fan here that said Lee shouldn't be in the NHL yet.
Could you look past the hate and see Finger at half the salary with no outgoing assets needed to get him as a good idea?
Or, is a Maple Leaf coming direct to your team just too much to stomach, even if he might help the cause?
Sunday, October 10, 2010
Does any Sens fan in the pool want Leclaire? I'll take pretty much any other NHL regular goalie. Let me know or make a proposal. I can't have a Senator as my #1 goalie, It's making me feel all yucky inside.
I have to keep looking at this to make me feel better:
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!
Saturday, October 09, 2010
Will it be an early season test of goaltenders that played above expectations in their openers? Will Kessel expose a suspect Sens D? Will the Sens get their PP going with the dynamic duo of Gonchar and King K on the blueline?
Spezza's a gametime decision again. The Sens won't want to be 0-2 going into their game against Washington on Monday. Two wins in a row for the Leafs would keep the media at bay for another few days at least.
4-3 Sens in OT. Alfie scores the winner!
Friday, October 08, 2010
The team weakness is said to be in net and the fear is that the 18th place goals against per game may drop as the team has lost shot blocking in having Volchenkov and Sutton gone. They were the 4th best in league in shots against.
Volchekov blocked about 2.6 shots per game - a 'normal' D is usually 1 to 1.5 per game. So assume 2 more shots per game on shot blocking alone. At the save percentage we had from our tandem last year, that would mean 0.2 more GA/G. That would move the Sens from 18th down to 24th and surely out of the playoffs. They definitely need better play from LeClaire and Elliot.
Will Gonchar be a big reason why the Sens move up from being the 18th place team in shots for per game? Will the Sens score more this year?
My prediction is yes to those questions and yes, the Elliot/Leclaire tandem will improve on their 26th/46th ranking in save percentage.
Note - Alfie and Kovalev need 8 and 10 pts respectively to hit the 1000 career point mark - look for those markers to get hit tomorrow night in Toronto.
Thursday, October 07, 2010
As usual, I'm cautiously optimistic about the Leafs this year but I must admit, something just feels different about this team. Not "we're going to win the cup" different, but more "we're not going to be a dumpster team" different. Maybe even "PLAYOFFS!!!1" different... depending on the goaltending we get.
Fuck you Toskala.
Go Leafs Go!
Wednesday, October 06, 2010
Tuesday, October 05, 2010
I set it up the LIVE DRAFT for 7pm, tomorrow night. We can move that time if it's bad for all, however if you can't make the draft and have registered it will auto-pick a team for you.
Sign up HERE!
If you guys could, please incorporate your username into the team name so we all know who we're up against.
Any questions, concerns... please post on the blog and we'll sort it out.
PRIZES? Bragging rights, at this point. We'll see if we can get some prizes though....
Lee the 7th D, and Shannon the 13th forward with Kuba on the IR.
I think the success of the season rests with something besides the normal goaltending questions and production from Spezza/Alfie and Kovy. I think we'll look back on the season in the spring and it will be the performance of Foligno, Regin, Winchester and Smith up front and Karlsson and Campoli in the back that will drive the position the Sens are in come April.
I'm looking for 50 goals from those forwards (that would be doubling their performance from last year) and a big improvement on the 44 pts we got from the young offensive D of King K and Campoli.
I've got my tickets for opening night. Can't wait!
Monday, October 04, 2010
5 years of bonding and you give back nothing. You jerks. You're on the couch for a week!
Meanwhile, in Toronto, you get the impression from this story that no scarred writer will predict anything positive without covering their ass. The stars must align, every player must be 100% healthy and maybe, just maybe, they'll get into 8th. Talk about once bitten.
Sunday, October 03, 2010
A few things I like about Toronto as we kick off the season:
1. We have a legitimate first line. Kessel/Bozak/Versteeg are really clicking.
2. Our special teams look much improved. The powerplay is most impressive.
3. Phaneuf looks like he's ready to do some damage this season.
A few things I haven't liked:
1. Our defence overall is not playing well enough to merit their salary. They all seem to be trying to do too much still. Except Beauchemin. He's been the Leafs best defensive D-man.
2. We scored a lot on the PP. That's fine if it keeps scoring, but 5-on-5 goals need to come and I'm not sure the roster as it stands will put up enough to compensate for a dry PP stretch.
3. Gunnarsson has taken a step back. He's looked horrible. Really really horrible. What the hell is with the sophomore slump thing?
Overall, Toronto are a much improved team, but we're also very young and mistake-prone. I'm thinking that as it stands the Leafs are going to be with striking distance of a playoff spot for most of the season, if not sitting around 7th or 8th.
Friday, October 01, 2010
I couldn't help it THM.
Leafs face the Red Wings with Kadri on the second line and Ottawa face the Rangers.
While he will start the season in the minors, I'd still like to see another giant game from the Leafs top prospect. It might not be enough though.
Leafs 3 Detroit 4 OT
Sens 1 Rangers 4
Who will be Ottawa's #1 Goalie anyway? Is it really a "battle", or is LeClaire pretty much inked in?
Thursday, September 30, 2010
Hey everyone, you know who else scored 2 goals and 1 point in a preseason game?
Muppet - what does last night's game translate to in terms of playoffs PPG?
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Sens fans already have an advantage in this one since YOU get to watch it on sportsnet and WE have to watch it on Гостелерадио СССР.
Judging by the line-up Ottawa sent to Dundas, I would expect we should get a better opponent tonight. Toronto are still carrying 7-8 guys who are on the fringe and Wilson hinted that many of them will get their last shot tonight. That includes, of course, Nazem Kadri.
We'll get line-ups as soon as they surface.
What else we know... Sjorstrom will play his first game of the pre-season. Toronto's PK has only allowed 3 goals in 6 contests (I believe). Also if Spezza, Gonchar and Afraidsson are out there it will be a good test for our PK which I'm hoping they have been practicing. I know it's something I'll be watching closely tonight.
Also, Leafs Kris Versteeg and Danny Richmond are gone to Chicago to get their Stanley Cup rings, so they won't be in the line-up.
Game means nothing, but it means more than the back to backers we witnessed last week so this should be fun.
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
So here it is. Apparently I am supposed to watch Mike Hoffman to see what a real prospect looks like. I'm watching. And waiting...
My question is, where is that Shannon kid? He still messed up from the Rosehill encounter?
Monday, September 27, 2010
"Rather than wallowing in despair – if, in fact, he is prone to such a tendancy – Nazem can study two of the greatest players in Maple Leafs lore. Hall-of-famers Darryl Sittler and Lanny McDonald were similarly overwhelmed by the immense leap from junior to the NHL.
Sittler, like Kadri, came out of London a terrific junior centre-man four decades ago this fall and made the Leafs as a 20-year-old. But, he played sparingly in 49 games on left wing and produced a mere 18 points. The next season wasn’t much better, as Sittler generated 32 points in 74 games. Only in his third NHL campaign did the St. Jacobs, Ont. native begin to display the form that would keep him atop the Leafs’ all-time scoring list for more than a quarter-century. Sittler had 29 goals and 77 points in 1972-73; he’d put up 80 points or more in each of the next eight seasons while establishing single-year franchise marks of 100 and 117.
McDonald was even more of an early disappointment. Chosen fourth overall by the Leafs in 1973 after a 62-goal eruption in junior for Medicine Hat, he spent much of his first two NHL seasons on his back-side – repeatedly falling, while chipping in only 31 goals in 134 games.
It was ultimately determined that his skates were being improperly sharpened. “Rocker” is the term used for achieving balance between the toe and heel portions of the skate-blade, and Lanny’s were causing him to stumble all over the place. Once he was on solid footing – and teamed with a confident Sittler – the right-winger bloomed spectacularly with 37 goals and 93 points in 1975-76 (his third season), increases of 20 and 49 respectively. He went on to seasons of 46, 47, 43 and 66 goals, the latter with Calgary in 1982-83.
Three of the most prolific point generators in NHL history – Guy Lafleur, Mark Messier and Paul Coffey – also began their careers modestly before flourishing."
Sunday, September 26, 2010
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Elliott will play 60 mins in goal
And the Blue teams via Sportsnet:
Scrivens and Reimer in net
We'll see if Kessel can get the Leaf offence going and if Lessard is up for Orr.
The 22-year-old Ottawa Senators winger turned the page on an injury-plagued campaign in style, racing around Maple Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf and scoring a nice goal in Tuesday's pre-season opener
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
I'll keep it short because I would still like to see a Sens GDT from one of the crew before the puck drops so lets just start with line-ups for tonight.
Kris Versteeg - Nazem Kadri - Colby Armstrong
Jay Rosehill - Christian Hanson - Mike Brown
Jerry D'Amigo - Brayden Irwin - Marcel Mueller
Ryan Hamilton - Mike Zigomanis - Joey Crabb
Carl Gunnarson - Dion Phaneuf
Brett Lebda - Tomas Kaberle
Simon Gysbers - Matt Lashoff
Goalies: Jonas Gustavsson, Jussi Rynnas
Bobby Butler, Nick Foligno, Matt Hoffman, Ryan Keller, Corey Locke, Chris Neil, Ryan Shannon, Zack Smith, Tim Spencer, Roman Wick, Jesse Winchester
Andre Benoit, Chris Campoli, Matt Carkner, Jared Cowan, David Hale, Brian Lee
Raise your hand if you're just a little giddy at seeing Kadri with Versteeg and Armstrong out there right out of the gate.