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?