Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Sens Come Home With 9 of 10 Points


These late nights are killing me.

While it was difficult to stay up to see the Senators lose in overtime to the Avalanche, it was a noteworthy game for a few reasons.

Jason Smith played in his 1000th game (and not many of those 1000 were soft ones either) while the team's new "young gun" Nick Foligno played in his 100th game.

If you had talked to me just two weeks ago, I would have told you that Foligno would have been better off in the AHL because he certainly wasn't getting it done in the big league. Now he looks indispensable on a line with Mike Fisher and Ryan Shannon, giving the Senators a legitimate second scoring presence for the first time this season.

And now they have a chance to put that to use. With 9 of their next 10 games at home, the Senators could conceivably go on a run here and put themselves in a position come April when there are 12 points up for grabs, all against Eastern Conference opponents.

Now I'm not saying that the Senators have a great chance of making the playoffs here. They don't. But it's conceivable they could rack up enough points in late February and March that the games in April actually become meaningful.

Even with 9 of a possible 10 points in their last 5 games, we don't see much improvement in the standings. But if they play over .750 hockey for the next month, that gap will close considerably.

But you have to remember that February is sort of a Twilight Zone for the NHL. Good teams go into slumps and bad teams go on tears. Last year at this time, Detroit was going through hell but they went on to win the Stanley Cup. It wouldn't be too surprising to see Ottawa level out in the coming weeks here but at least they are playing a system that's entertaining and gives them a chance to win every night.

Here's a strange thought. Last year the Senators got off to one of the best starts in NHL history. It would be bizarre to say the least, but wouldn't it be appropriate if they finished off this season they way they started the last. That's the Hollywood ending everyone desires here in town but what are the chances?

***


In tribute to Jason Smith playing in his 1000th game last night, here's a clip of him tangling with tough guy Mark Tinordi when Smith was still a Leaf. Quite the bout.




It's hard to believe with all those great teams, but Smith was also the longest serving captain of the Edmonton Oilers. I find it hard to believe that Kevin Lowe ever let players like Ryan Smyth and Jason Smith leave town. That team hasn't been the same since, no matter how much money they saved (which they then blew on Dustin Penner).

***

Alex Picard went into the lineup last night, replacing healthy scratch Brendan Bell. I don't think Picard looked too sharp. Bell is certainly inconsistent at times but I think the Senators missed his skating ability against the Avalanche. I wouldn't be surprised to see him back in against an equally quick Vancouver squad.

6 comments:

G said...

Dare to dream .... I almost cancelled centre-ice(the losing in the least entertaining fashion possible was getting to be a bit too much)I almost got aboard the tavares/hedman bandwagons. Then Mcauley takes over behind the bench and the whole team has transformed, into something fun to watch, scoring shorties winning a shootout winning some games. Its is possible for them to make the playoffs not probable but possible. So fuck tavares and hedman, I want Stanley. Go Sens Go.

"This aint piano lessons out there"- gary galley

Anonymous said...

Welcome back.. good to read what you have to say ..

bRian5o6 said...

Jeremy, your breath smells like SHIT. Pop a TIC-TAC you fucker

Anonymous said...

Smith is the fucking man, as is
galley!

Canucnik said...

To Cory:

Never change a line up when you have won 5 in row!!!

Bell is the physical, outward manifestation of the Ottawa 2-1-2; he goes back in immediately.

Mile high and the sched conspired to kill our pressure offence, we did well to get a point.

Jason 21 get a pass on his 1000th game.

Dress 7 D and roll 3 left wingers through 4 lines, let's get a little friendly competition for ice going here.

Save "Ells" (Jason's nicker) for the Habs.

When, at the first of the year, Alex lost sight of the puck he would stand square in the general direction of the puck carrier, make himself as big as could (He's pretty big)and let the puck hit him. Now he tries to peek around the crowd in front, could be an unconscious correction but does not seem to work as well as the old way. Then again if you were seeing as much rubber as he was you start to guess it's only natural. Let's not forget he's a reliever and his relief apperances have been superb. Some investigative type radio show host (Initials SL) keeps talking about Alex like he is/was our Number one goalie.

Anonymous said...

If Auld has a couple of more good games, I would trade him at the deadline, when his market value is high.

The reason being is that he is not#1 goalie material. Elliot definitely has a future with the Sens. The team plays a confident game in front of him and he has that ability to bail them out with a big save every so often.

That being said, I don't think the Sens would be wise to go into next season with Elliot as their #1 goalie. He still needs time. He should be the backup.

That leaves Auld the odd man out. Trade him now, while other teams are looking for depth going into the playoffs.