Note: I'll be off to Montreal this weekend so there won't be a new article until Monday at the earliest or until I sufficiently recover from the heavy libations. Sante! (And yes, that title is another Springsteen reference. I'm not that melodramatic normally)
The Senators became the last team in the NHL to win 3 games in a row and for that they can thank Brian Elliott. The guy was unbeatable for most of the game and some of the saves could safely be called spectacular.
It's blowing my mind that Elliott has been able to step right into the NHL and start winning the way he has. Of course, his success has been concurrent with the coaching change and all the positives that has brought to the team, but in Philly tonight, Elliott made the difference in the game until the offence got going in the second and third periods.
There have been whispers about the Senators not being in top physical shape this season and it might have been a factor tonight when they began to look tired in third period. They had some troubles getting the puck out of their zone but Elliott bailed them out.
I have to eat some crow concerning Antoine Vermette as well. I made a good natured jab at the boy with the hands of stone just yesterday but he scored a big goal late in the third to snuff out any hope of a Flyer comeback. For all the frustrations he's given fans, it's hard not to like the unassuming and quiet Vermette.
Okay, maybe he could score in a whorehouse...
When Dany Heatley scored late in the first period, he probably wasn't thinking it but I was -- that goal was for Kulka and Versage who have been trying to destroy his credibility all week long. How does it taste fellas?...... The second one might have been for a certain Sun columnist who started the imbroglio in the first place with his scalp hunting article earlier in the week......It's going to be tough for Alex Picard to be a healthy scratch, but who is Clouston supposed to take out to make room for him? Picard hasn't played well enough this season to warrant bumping anyone from the lineup just because he's healthy. But there is part of me that would like to see how he does under Clouston's more aggressive system. The guy can skate. But I wouldn't take Brendan Bell out of the lineup for Picard right now. Bell has shown that he deserves some more games and a possible chance to stick around longer than one season, even just as a depth player........I actually think Brian Elliott's shoulder pads are only marginally bigger than Mike Fisher's. I'm not exaggerating. Elliott might have the smallest equipment among goalies in the NHL right now. That makes his success that much more satisfying.....
A recent ESPN poll asked a wide group of NHL players which team had the most disruptive fans. Philly was the winner and you have to wonder if poor Antero Nittymaki cast one of those ballots. He was getting slaughtered out there by the home fans who mock-cheered every time he made a save in the last two minutes of the game...... Someday, I would love to see an NHL goalie in the middle of a bad game just take his net off the pegs, turn it around and push it up against the back boards in protest. That would be the highlight of the year. The only guy I could picture doing that is Patrick Roy (and how soon do we begin to hear the rumours of Roy taking over for Guy Carbonneau in Montreal?)
"Murray v. Paddock Part II: This Time It's Personal"
It wouldn't be a normal week in Senators City without at least one or two mind blowing controversies. Unlike the false crisis that surrounded Heatley earlier in the week over some harmless comments he made to the media, there's nothing lost in translation over what ex-coach John Paddock said about GM Bryan Murray and the Senators players.
He basically threw the whole team under the bus and said that Murray was in line to be fired. Today, Murray shot back with a threat to cut off Paddock's salary and re-iterated why Paddock was fired in the first place.
"There are a couple clauses we could put into play. We're not vindictive in that regard - we're just disappointed," Murray said. "In all of our contracts, you don't have the right to share anything from inside the organization or say anything about the organization. And he is aware of it."
Murray also took the time on Thursday to re-iterate why Paddock was fired last February 26th - despite the fact that the team was in first place in the Northeast Division at the time.
"My only complaint with John was I don't think he worked hard enough to get himself ready or the team ready to play games," Murray explained. "We were slipping so badly that we had to make a change."
The article says that Paddock called Murray Thursday morning to apologize, claiming that he didn't know he was being interviewed at the time. Unfortunately for Paddock, he wasn't speaking to a Russian newspaper at the time which has been the source of many scandals involving players like Alexei Kovalev and Jaromir Jagr who survived by claiming that something got lost in the translation. Paddock simply crapped himself in plain old English.
Murray seems like a nice fellow when he speaks to the media but you don't survive for over 3 decades in the NHL without having the ability to kick the balls off someone when they cross you. Let's not forget Murray ripping Kings broadcaster Jim Fox a new a-hole after getting wind of some criticism sent his way during the game a few years back.
It's been a running gag to reference Bruce Springsteen all week long between Black Aces and Sens Army and it's got me digging through his back catalogue.
I may get in trouble for posting this, but "Growin' Up" is my favourite Boss song of all-time (just beating out The River and Open All Night). From 1973's "Greetings From Asbury Park" LP. Dig it.
The Boss - Growin' Up