Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Outclassed



It was a brutal game to watch if you're an Ottawa Senators fan.

Outclassed in every category, the Senators were simply unable to answer the far superior speed and skill of the Canadiens.

And it's not like they didn't "work hard" as everyone will be questioning. They simply don't have the proper personnel to compete at an elite level.

Take Chris Higgins - Ottawa doesn't have a guy like Higgins anywhere in their lineup. Antoine Vermette is supposed to be that guy but Vermette was blessed with hands of stone despite being able to blow by people with speed.

Take Mike Komisarek - He dominated the game tonight and handled big players like Jason Spezza and Dany Heatley with ease. Ottawa has no answer for a player like that.

Take Georges Laraque - Ottawa has some middle-weight agitators who can scrap but no nuclear weapon like Laraque to enforce the peace.

Sadly, Ottawa used to have these answers but they were either let go or dealt away.

But that's in the past. What does Ottawa need to change to have success now?

For one, Alex Picard showed tonight that he is not the answer on the power play. He played his worst game of the season but it was eerily similar to the rest of matches he's played in. Hesitant with the puck and hesitant with the body. He's like Andrej Meszaros on a bad night, minus the size and physical play.

If Bryan Murray could work some trade magic, he'd definitely like to bump Picard from any sort of major responsibility with a bona-fide confident offensive defenseman.

It was surprising to see Craig Hartsburg sticking with his lines even when it was obvious no one had anything going tonight. Should he have united the Big 3 for the third period? Should he do it starting next game?

He won't but he probably should.

At this point, the team needs goals. They've shown that they can play defense and stick to Hartsburg's system. But now they need an injection of skill and the only way that's going to happen is if Hartsburg swallows his pride and re-unites the big line while he waits for Murray to do his job and get some skill back on this team before it's too late.

This squad could do some damage down the line if they had some real secondary scoring and a proper power-play quarterback. Hartsburg's system is effective but without the goals, it doesn't really matter. Alex Auld played one of his best games of the year but still got blown out of the rink. That's gotta be disheartening.

Even if it means players like Jesse Winchester and Nick Foligno have to take a back seat or sit out, the Senators need players who can score goals and that's going to have to come from outside the organization.

***

One small pleasure derived from tonight's loss - Jarkko Ruutu waving goodbye to the Montreal fans with a big smile after getting ejected in the third period. I nearly choked on my beverage when I saw that.

***

I'm at the edge of sanity with my hockey pool goalies. First Marty Turco's career goes into the dumper. Now Chris Osgood trumps all his crappy performances this year by letting in 7 goals against the Pens tonight after leading big throughout the game.

Have you ever seen a grown man cry?

5 comments:

mickey said...

Im getting tired of all the discussions about the sens leadership and their apparent lack of team chemistry- according to the hockey media (TSN, The hockey News and CBC). The fact is that the sens defense has been pillaged for years and to blame the problems this year on heatley, or spezza or anyone else is ignorant at best. I had to laugh when hartsburg said he wanted the team to play a puck possession style like detroit this year. Good luck with that d, 5 shut down defensemen arent gonna cut it. Youve got plenty of great forwards on this team but they wont be able to compete with the teams that apply puck pressure. Kuba has been great for his intended purpose but he still cant move the puck. For fucks sake, they have 5 defensemen who shoot with the same hand. As long as the media keeps up this "lack of leadership and grit" thing I suspect bryan murray will continue to look in the wrong areas to try to improve the team. Jesus christ...

Oman said...

You are assuming Mickey, that Murray is listening to anything we say...

He should do something soon however, or the Sens will have a tough fight to make a playoff spot, let alone make it past the first round.

Watching the first 5 minutes of the game last night said it all. Pickard makes a brutal giveaway in front of Auld and Fisher gets a holding penalty on the first shift. Ault makes several spectacular saves on the PK, but it's just a matter of time before Montreal scores, and scores again, and again, and again.

The lowest point was the Ottawa power play near the end that was dominated by a relentless Montreal forecheck, leading to the fourth goal.

Murray: more skill on scoring and more skill on D. Auld was great last night, so wave, trade or send down Gerbs and bring Elliot up. Make the cap room. Sadly, Winchester, Pickard, Foligno and even Vermette should be trade bait.

Anonymous said...

the sens were a joke last night - all the forwards, except spezza, were terrible. heatley can't even score on a break away. vermette is a loser, kelly is on vacation and all our defence are playing at least 1 line (or level) above their capability.

FIRE MURRAY FIRE MURRAY, this team is in BBBBIIIIIGGGGGG trouble.

mickey said...

Ever since this team collapsed with the stanley cup hangover Murray tried to change everything the media has portrayed as the sens weakness. Things like team toughness, team chemistry and leadership were questioned. Really, last year the problem was not any of that. The team was just tired from going to the stanley cup finals, there were too many distractions, the goaltending wasnt consistent. Instead everything was blamed on leadership and lack of grit and the team was gutted accordingly. If he just stuck with the defense we had last year, this team would still be a contender. I havent heard a damn thing about how their defense has been decimated since the cup run on TSN or CBC and why thats the reason for alot of their troubles this year. I think I heard Ron McClain briefly saying something about it one time in between bitching about spezza's turnovers and how great jason smith was, but thats about all ive heard about it- and i watch a lot of hockey programing. Maybe hearsay and speculative sports psychology sells better than actually evaluating the teams problems based on ability and hockey. He just needs to think for himself, not listen to us because im sure that if anyone inspected this team from a hockey standpoint instead of from the idiotic standpoint i listed earlier, this offseason overhaul wouldnt have happened.
Sorry for the length, but this has been making me angry lately.

Jeremy Milks said...

Good points Mickey. I agree with a lot of what you said there.