Friday, October 31, 2008

Even Crosby is getting badmouthed!

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

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

An Open Letter to Fans of the Toronto Maple Leafs

Dear Most Valuable Losers:

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

Quite frankly, we've had enough.

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, October 30, 2008


He's locked in. Afternoon news conference.

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

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

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


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

Zach Parise said this about the Leafs:

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

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

7:30pm. TSN. Enjoy the game.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Stamkos' Turn?

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

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

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

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

Monday, October 27, 2008

Sens win! Sens win!

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

Who would have thunk it?

Schenn staying. Officially.

Schenn leads all rookies in ice time and awesomeness.

"Mock" Draft

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

Victor Hedman or John Tavares?

PPP Interviews Pat Quinn

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

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

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Battle Game Day: "It's Still Early"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, October 24, 2008

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

Mirtle on average team age.

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


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

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

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

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

That whole 1967 thing.

Of course. Well they have us there.

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

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

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

If they're winning...

Of course.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Going into Battle on a high

Or not.


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Game Day: Panthers vs. Sens

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

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

Wednesday at the BoO

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


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


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


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

Fingers crossed.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Wilson can juggle too.

Except his Yahtzee cup only throws out fourth liners.

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

Oh dear lord.

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

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

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

Monday, October 20, 2008


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


[link via Everyone]

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

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

Sunday, October 19, 2008

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

Saturday October 25th. Or, one week away.

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

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

Ah. Ha.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Senators stats you don't see everyday

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

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

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

Friday, October 17, 2008

Game Day: The Day That Never Comes

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

-the dead zone between playoff and regular season games.

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

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

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

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

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

GAME DAY: About Fricken Time Edition

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

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

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

No mention

of Ottawa's start last year here.

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

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

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

We're leading the league!

In goals allowed.

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

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

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

Happy Tuesday.

Friday, October 10, 2008

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

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

Here's how the rest might shake out:

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

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

Monday, October 06, 2008


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

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

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

Leafs hanging onto 8th spot

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

Sunday, October 05, 2008

It was the worst of times...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy the game.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Game Day: Getaway in Stockholm

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

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

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

Injured: Fisher

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

Goal: Gerbs

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

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

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

Friday, October 03, 2008

Lies Make The Baby Jesus Cry

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

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

Season starts tomorrow! WOOO-HOOOO!!!!

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Game day: All your playoff records are belong to Alfie

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

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

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

Take that, Fodor's!

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

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

Alfie contract

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

Wednesday, October 01, 2008