At the rink last night in Kanata, two players turned the tables on their critics and one player only solidified his already legendary status in this city.
Jason Spezza and Martin Gerber both turned in stellar efforts, with Spezza notching 4 points and Gerber making 34 saves in a big Senators win over the Phoenix Coyotes. Spezza was back to his old self after appearing a little gun-shy from all the overhyped criticism of his flunky turnover against the Penguins in Sweden. The goaltender who failed to bail Spezza out on that same play showed up for the first time last night and the 3 goals he allowed in the third were on great plays that any goalie would have trouble stopping.
Fans can expect bigger and better things from Spezza in the future but Gerber will still have prove himself again and again, especially after Darren Pang went on Ottawa radio Friday morning and called into question Gerber's technical skills in the net.
But last night, it was a good win for Gerber all the same.
Meanwhile, Daniel Alfredsson was again the MAN last night, surgically repaired knee or not. His nearly-blind pass from the back boards to Dany Heatley in the slot for the goal almost shocked me sober. And that was no easy task my friends.
With Jerkko Ruutu getting two goals, he has now scored more goals against Phoenix than against any other team in his career with 5 in 13 games. Spezza also now has 7 points in only 3 career games against the Coyotes. It's too bad the Yotes play in the West.
But don't be fooled by the Coyotes poor play last night. They are in the midst of a road trip and might have been caught looking forward to tonight's game in Montreal. The Coyotes are stacked with youth and Olli Jokinen has been a great addition to a team that should challenge for a playoff spot this year.
Plus they have this guy on their team now - the Cool Bryz.
Best hockey interview ever. "Can you imagine?!"
It was a bummer not to see Brian McGrattan last night. He was one of the few true heavyweights the Senators ever had but it was probably a nod of respect towards the Senators that Gretzky opted for skill in Enver Lisin instead of doing the expected and dressing Gratts for ceremonial purposes.
Would Gratts have been booed? If fans were rational and not prone to believing tabloid style gossip, they would have cheered a guy who spilled a lot of opposition blood in the name of the Ottawa Senators over the years.
People in town bemoaned the loss of Andre Roy when he was traded to Tampa Bay but he left behind a swath of rumours that were much worse than anything McGrattan was accused of. For his part, McGrattan defended himself to Sun reporter Don Brennan:
"McGrattan did allow a little bitterness to seep out when asked about being painted as a bad guy here. "Yeah, it does bother me," he said. "I would never say anything bad about a place that gave me a chance to break into the league. That was kind of an under-the-belt shot. You could probably go and ask every single guy I played with in the organization in six years, and it would be the exact opposite. I guess when you lose, you've got to blame somebody. Blame the guy that played 30 games last year. If they want to do that, let them do that.""Gotta admit. He makes sense.
Speaking of line-up omissions, where the hell was Christoph Schubert last night? More and more, Schubert is drifting into no-mans land on this team. Not good enough for defense. Not good enough for the fourth line. Maybe he can try his hand at selling those hot beer nuts in the concourse (has anyone else almost broken their jaw on one of those 5 or 6 rock solid nuts that seem to be in every damn pack?)
Does anyone remember how effective Schubert was playing as that crash and bang winger during the Senators run to the Cup final? What happened to that player?
Chris Stevenson morphs into a schoolyard bully in his article today outlining the public opposition to commercial development at Lansdowne Park.
Jeff Hunt, owner of the Ottawa 67's, is trying to bring back a CFL franchise to Ottawa and the revitalization of the park seems to be the pivotal issue in the whole process.
Except Stevenson comes out with guns blazing against people who want Lansdowne, the most cherished publicly owned property in the city, to be hands off to commercial developers.
"Yesterday's press conference to reveal the proposal was turned into a circus by the opponents of doing anything with the Lansdowne site but apparently turning it into one big backyard where they could all link hands and sing Kumbaya. ...
As Hunt put it, this was "step two of 122," but the Glebeites, when they weren't pontificating, wanted details and they wanted them now.
What's going to happen to the interior of the Aberdeen Pavilion?
What about the soil conditions?
Why couldn't the NDP/Liberals/Green Party win every riding in the election? "
If some people want to retain green space in their city over a professional sports team in a dinky backwater league, they shouldn't be lambasted for doing so and they shouldn't have their political affiliations ruminated upon.
Yes, there's a lot of sports fans who would like to see the Rough Riders come back, including me, but you can't just hand over valuable public property to private developers when a loud majority of people are seemingly opposed to it.
Stevenson is usually a great hockey reporter but he should leave the nonsensical hippie-baiting to nutjobs like Lowell Green.