Thursday, March 13, 2008

Murray Getting The Best Out Of Redden, Meszaros......Plus: Stillman's Strange Quirk

This was the game.

The first time you could legitimately say that the Senators have turned the corner on their strange winter train derailment where they could do nothing right. By beating Montreal, and racking up their third win in a row, coach Bryan Murray has swiftly changed the look and feel of this team in a subtle but convincing fashion.

What really stands out for me is the decision by Murray to put Wade Redden and Andre Meszaros back together as a pairing. Under John Paddock, the two were split up for a long period of time, and for good reason - they were terrible. While Meszaros was dropped to the third pairing with Luke Richardson, Redden played with either Joe Corvo, Christoph Schubert or Mike Commodore.

Nothing fit.

Murray correctly realized that Meszaros needed to be given back a larger role on the team and it has paid off in spades. It's not like they're burning up the league with offense but Redden and Meszaros are now a calming influence for the team on the ice, lessening the burden on Chris Phillips and Anton Volchenkov.

Besides the absolutely stellar play of Martin Gerber, the re-emergence of Redden and Meszaros is biggest godsend this team could have asked for.

Stillman A Goal Parade No-Show?

Has anyone noticed that Cory Stillman doesn't do the high five parade past the bench after a goal is scored? I've seen it multiple times now since he came to Ottawa. If Stillman is on the ice after a Senators goal, he skates to the bench and immediately takes a seat while everyone else does the traditional glove taps all down the line.

Not that I'm criticising him for it. It's just something I've noticed and I'd love to know the story behind it. When did this high-five tradition start anyways? I'm not sure I remember players doing this after goals when I was a kid in the 80's but my memory might be failing me.

It just looks like Stillman doesn't believe in it and that's just the way it is. Like the Seinfeld episode where Kramer refuses to wear a ribbon during a charity walk. It seems ridiculous to force someone to wear one and it seems ridiculous to even discuss how people celebrate goals.

But it's interesting all the same. Maybe the last time Stillman did it he went into a scoring drought and now he's just being superstitious? This is the kind of question Don Brennan should be asking.

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