Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Senators Miss For First Time Since 96
With the uninspired loss tonight against the playoff hungry Panthers, the Senators are now officially eliminated from the post-season for the first time since 1996.
Just to bring you back to that era:
Jean Chretien was the Prime Minister Of Canada.
Jacques Martin was still rocking a moustache.
Patrick Roy had just been traded to Colorado.
Steve Yzerman's leadership abilities were being called into question.
Tiger Woods was just about to turn professional.
Wayne Gretzky was a St.Louis Blue.
Daniel Alfredsson was a rookie.
Wade Redden had yet to play a game for Ottawa.
Steve Duchesne was already the best defenseman in Senators history after only 62 games (with apologies to Norm Maciver)
Nick Foligno was 8 years old when the Stanley Cup was won by the Colorado Avalanche. His dad, Mike, had only been retired for two years.
Here's a prediction: If Ottawa fans didn't like Andrej Meszaros, they aren't going to like Chris Campoli. Their games are pretty similar but Campoli doesn't have the physical element that Meszaros brought to the table. Good luck, Chris, but the Ottawa faithful are going to eat you alive a year or two from now.....
Shaun Van Allen is a man of few words, an interesting characteristic for a TV color man, which Vanner has been doing off and on for Sportsnet during the Senators games with Dean Brown. But in a way, it's kind of refreshing, even if it takes Brown off his guard occasionally. There was a moment before the opening faceoff when Brown cued up Vanner but the ex-Senator took about 5 seconds to sum up what he wanted to say and the dead air clearly caught Brown by surprise. Some guys would take that opportunity to go on and on about the useless "Keys Of The Game" but Vanner is more like Hemingway - direct and blunt......
I know that Chris Kelly has been wearing 22 for a long time now, but I can't help but think of Van Allen whenever I see that number on a Senators jersey. I'm getting old I guess....
For the record, in my previous post I mentioned that the emergence of Nick Foligno and Ryan Shannon might convince Bryan Murray that he should be spending whatever money he has on his blueline, and I mentioned Jay Bouwmeester as a possibility.
I actually don't think that's a likely scenario but it won't just be a money issue. If Bouwmeester wants to sign with Ottawa, Murray will have no second thoughts about moving money around to accomodate him.
Players like Bouwmeester are rare and Murray would probably have no trouble parting with any combination of Chris Campoli, Mike Comrie, Chris Kelly, Alex Picard, Alex Auld or Jason Smith to make room.
That being said, I don't see Ottawa having a better chance than anyone else of signing Jay other than Florida......
The last time Ottawa switched coaches in mid-season (with someone who wasn't the GM at the time) was during the 95-96 season when Jacques Martin took over for Dave Allison (who took over for Rick Bowness just a month or two earlier).
Just like Cory Clouston, Martin instituted a whole new system and the team began to turn things around. It didn't get them into the playoffs in 96 but they made it the next year. Is history about to repeat itself next season?.........If there's a broken stick during play, Jarkko Ruutu is the guy you want to have on the ice. During a 5 minute span late in the second period, Anton Volchenkov broke his stick and Ruutu didn't hesitate for a second in handing over his lumber (both are left-handed shots). Then a few plays later, Ruutu broke his own stick but dove headfirst into the slot to take away a great scoring chance from a Florida forward. It's been a disappointing year for a lot of Senators but I think Ruutu has been great all season long......
Chris Neil passed Alexei Yashin on the all-time Senators games played list with his 505th contest tonight........Dude, I paid $384 dollars to a dentist today, for what amounted to 45 minutes of plain old cleaning. Is it me, or is the dental industry completely out of control? Someday soon, dentists will start buying NHL teams (see how I linked a petty personal complaint to hockey to make it perfectly relevant on a hockey blog....).......$384 dollars? Total madness I tell you. But that's still not as crazy as the premier episode of the Osbournes Reloaded that I casually witnessed tonight. Ozzy is now the host of a variety show in front of a live studio audience. I will call it now - this will go down as the worst show in the history of broadcast television - next to the NHL Awards of course (see kids, I tie it all in....)
A big salute goes out to Brian Kilrea, whose coaching career came to a stunning end tonight when the Ottawa 67's lost to the Niagara Ice Dogs in overtime of Game 7.
If I was brave enough, I'd post an Anne Murray song for you.
But I'm not that brave....