Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Scratching Smith Doesn't Make Sense

It's strange how things work out sometimes.

I was all ready to go on a rant about Craig Hartsburg's decision to sit grizzled vet Jason Smith and not youngster Alex Picard. Then, Picard, whom I've been picking on all year, goes out and plays one of the best games I've seen him have all season. He scored a one-timer goal off a great feed from Daniel Alfredsson that had both me and broadcaster Gary Galley fooled. With that huge windup and rocket shot, I was convinced that All -Star Dany Heatley had just cranked in another one.

Picard was also decisive with the puck, both in his own zone and breaking out of it and looked good on the power play. It would have been hard to write the preceding sentence during any stretch of the season so far but maybe Picard really does have an upside that I've ignored.

That being said, I still think it was a bad move to make Jason Smith a healthy scratch. I'm not sure what good it does to sit a warrior like Smith who is also supposed to be a part of your leadership group. But who else was Hartsburg supposed to sit? Brendan Bell was coming off a game where he had scored the game-winner against Washington and sitting him against New Jersey might have also sent the wrong message to the guys in the room.

Now that the Jersey game is over and the Senators prepare to hit the road again, I hope Hartsburg comes to his senses and puts Smith back in the lineup where he belongs. Bell has the ability to step in and provide some spark but I don't think you need to do it at the expense of a proud and effective veteran.

Along with Chris Phillips and Anton Volchenkov, Smith provides the defensive balance on this team and having him in the lineup still leaves room for 3 of your more offensive defenseman. Yet Hartsburg was quoted after the morning skate as saying that he had too many "defensive guys" on the back end. I think the problem is the other way around. He doesn't have enough offense back there so he's trying to compensate by shifting the balance with quantity over quality.

Didn't work.


If you've been reading this blog for awhile, you'll know that I've been a little peeved at the Senators decision to drop their traditional pre-opening faceoff song and replace it with some modern canned FM rock crap that is as utterly forgettable as it is annoying.

Well, now there are others raising their voice about this issue. And one individual has taken it upon himself to start a Facebook page and a petition devoted to bringing the song back.

In case you're unaware of what song we're talking about, this is it:

Yes it's overly dramatic and a little corny, but it has been there since the first year of the franchise until the geniuses from the in-rink entertainment division decided that Sens fans don't care about tradition and that they should be subjected to just a few more minutes of Nickelback inspired droning that is also played incessantly every whistle of the game.

That corny old theme song was one of the things that let you know you were in the Senators rink, and not in Nashville or Florida or Carolina.

It's too bad that the organization is allergic to all things traditional which includes changing the uniforms and the logo whenever they get a chance.

You can help change this by signing the petition or just email the in-rink entertainment guy yourself: gowerg@ottawasenators.com.


New Jersey coach Brent Sutter has a funny habit of tugging on his left ear during the game. It kind of looks like he's talking on a cell phone, ordering a pizza or something. Remember when Wade Redden used to blink over and over again before every faceoff? Not that this has anything to do with anything, but you have to talk about something....... I finally broke down and watched "Slapshot 2: Breaking The Ice" tonight. I'm fully aware that a part 3 has recently come out but I had been putting off part 2 for about 6 or 7 years now. And yes, it was as bad as I expected. The only time I smiled was when Stephen Baldwin got punched in the face by his female coach (who he was sexually assaulting outside of a bar in a scene intended to be funny). The film would have been satisfying if it ended right there along with Baldwin's acting career.......

Brendan Shanahan looked a lot like Mark Messier on his third period goal. Just like the Moose, Shanny came in on the off wing and released a laser-like wrist shot that seemed to come a second earlier than Brian Elliott expected. The only difference is that Messier would shoot on his off-foot as well which would really throw the goalies off. Shanahan just overpowers guys ........ Elliott was good tonight despite letting in 4 goals. He also showed that flashy glove hand a few times.

The winter of 2008 - 2009 will be a season to forget in Ottawa. The Senators are terrible, the bus drivers are on strike and now we get word that the Chalk River Nuclear Facility just west of town accidentally released a "significant amount of radiation" into the atmosphere back in December. They are also leaking gallons of radiated waste water straight into the Ottawa river every day now because they don't have the time to repair it.

Seriously, what is that? A f**king nuclear leak? Are you kidding me dude?

This town is straight up f**ked right now.

Have a good day, eh.


Peter said...

Don't worry, Smith will be back in before you know it. He was likely benched in an effort to increase the footspeed of the d-corp against a fast Devils squad, and also to give each of Brian Lee and Brendan Bell another opportunity to prove which one should stick around in Ottawa and which one will head back to Bingo.

Smith has reason to be upset, but I think the scratch was less a result of something he did or didn't do than it was other circumstances coming to the fore.

Anonymous said...

I don't think you're being overly dramatic about the theme. The fans in this city have to start coming together to demand the type of team that we deserve. Let's face it, the fan base will outlast current ownership, the GM, the coach, the players, and the marketing department. The team belongs to us. We've already had three owners, we'll have more in the future. I think that the people of Ottawa want to create the tradition and class that oozes out of the Montreal Canadiens. We've gotta keep the people who mess with that in line. Kudos to the guy who started the Facebook petition.

Watch for Hartsburg and Murray to go into CYA (cover your ass) mode for the rest of the year. After tonight's game, Hartsburg was very firm about his assessment of the game. He said the players were out worked. The players are not working hard enough. I sensed his tone to be more direct and firm than ever.

I don't think those comments will resonate with the players. They've heard them before. I think that they were likely meant for the fans. Just my opinion. It'll be interesting to see if they are repeated over and over again as the ship continues to sink. Another way of saying "Don't blame me."

The team has sucked for about a year now. It'll be interesting to see how Murray talks his way out of this.

Canucnik said...

(1) #21 would have had a tough time with the speed of the Devils, thus been a step behind all night and no help to the pups.
(2) If I'm Brian Elliott do I really want to be up here with these guys at this point in time.
(3) The Goals:
Exhibit (a) 1st goal. Philips is working on two hands on the stick, when he should be turning with Gionta. Galley blames Brian Lee? What more could he do, kick the man's skates out from underneath him. What gives? Why didn't Philips get blamed?
Exhibit (b) 2nd goal. The off side D man should get that rebound off the back boards, or at least cover the Jersey forward with the puck. (and yes my pad seemed to stick to this friggin' SBP ice.)
Exhibit (c) 3rd goal. Tough shot, rebound, rebound!!! OK I've had enough. Note: When the other guy is working harder and reacts quicker he usually gets the puck again and again.
Exhibit (d) 4 goal If you are in a one on one, don't play it like a two on one and give Shanny a clear shot. Show the man a little respect.
Summation: If you think Brian Elliott had a bad game you must have been watching the Toronto game. Tough one Justin.

Anonymous said...

when you mention how Smith is proud and effective, I think you are one for two on that statement; i agree that he is proud.

The reality of the situation is Smith's time has passed, he is too slow and inefficient to compete at the level that should be expected of him. I'm not saying any of the young guys are great but at least by giving them a chance hopefully they will improve over time...this is the best Smith you're going to see.

Anonymous said...

That's right, because Smith got into the league for his speed on D, and his ability to get the puck out of the zone....

Just because Smith isn't the highly coveted PMD that Ottawa needs makes him ineffective? Get a grip! He was brought in for his leadership and his ability to clear opponents from the front of the net, which he has been doing well. And has been the only Sen I've seen consistently battling in front of our net, something that can't be said for all other D-men on Ottawa.

He was sat because management wants to assess the depth (or lack thereof) in the defense corps., not because he has been ineffective.

Anonymous said...

Jeremy....two words for you...FUCK OFF ASSHOLE

Pook said...

Wow, that FUCK OFF ASSHOLE seems a little unwarrented, I think you just need to take a deep breath Mr. Douche, err... Gower and start playing the theme again!