Monday, November 15, 2010

Vancouver Redux In Philly

It was an eerie feeling watching the Senators lose to the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday night because it was a near replica of their game against Vancouver from last week. For two periods the Senators were in the game but imploded in the third period in a span of a single minute to seal their fate.

The 5-1 score was ugly, but the Senators actually had a good effort. What really hurt them was the fact that only one line is capable of being dangerous at the moment, and that's the Jason Spezza-Alex Kovalev-Peter Regin trio.

Word is out that Mike Fisher is playing through an injury, but at some point the Senators are going to have to either sit him down for a game or two or swap him out with Chris Kelly in order to get something going for that line. If Fisher can't hit, as he has already admitted, then maybe he shouldn't be in the lineup. As unpalatable as it would be to insert Brian Lee onto the fourth line as they did already once this year, maybe Fisher sitting out a few games will add up to a big payoff down the road.

As it is, the Mike Fisher-Daniel Alfredsson-Milan Michalek line is sputtering big time with Michalek looking like he's still feeling the effects of the tendinitis in his knee, if his slowness is any indication.

The Senators have only scored five goals in their last three games, and not surprisingly, have lost two of them.

Yet they are now 1-1 on this current road trip, which may be one more win than anyone expected. If they can win at least one of their next two against either the Hurricanes or the Blues, this mini-road trip will have to be considered a success.

In light of the lopsided score, we'll skip the Senators 3 Star Selections for the fifth time this season. If we had to pick one player who stepped up tonight, it would be Jason Spezza who's become a legitimate goal-scoring threat and seems to be skating as good as he ever has in his career.


The "Goat Cam" on hockey broadcasts is the shot right after a goal where the cameraman usually focuses on one player who, for one reason or other, contributed to a goal being scored against his own team, like a player coughing up the puck in front of his own net and the other team scores. So what do the Sportsnet people have against Alexei Kovalev? After the first Flyer goal by Daniel Briere, the goat cam went right to Kovalev even though the goal was quickly scored off a faceoff loss which Kovalev had nothing to do with. Then Darrell Powe of the Flyers scores less than five minutes later, and Kovalev was again the focus of the goat cam, but this time he wasn't even on the ice. He was sitting on the bench watching the Fisher line get scored against! He's not the second most despised hockey player by the media for nothing (of course, the other is Sean Avery - how entertaining was it to watch grown men in suits like Craig Button on the NHL Network froth at the mouth in unchecked rage talking about Avery's "sucker punch" of Ladislav Smid on Sunday night?) .....

.....Brian Elliott has made his case and is undoubtedly the Senators number one goalie right now. But to say that Pascal Leclaire is totally finished is a tad premature. Remember, it was the exact same situation last season, with Elliott taking this team to the playoffs while Leclaire struggled with injuries. Yet it was Leclaire who got a chance and ran with it once the playoffs rolled around. It's only November. Leclaire will get lots of chances to play well and try to steal the job back. Whether he does or not, that's another question.....It's incredible to think that the Detroit Red Wings are so good at either drafting or signing obscure European players that they could afford to basically give one away in Ville Leino to the Philadelphia Flyers last year. And just like the Red Wing Euro's that come through their system, Leino made his current reputation in the playoffs, where it really matters..... Looks like Sergei Bobrovsky is the real deal. Whenever he moves in the net, it sorta looks like he's on fast forward. Scary fast.....

....As predicted, there is a bit of a split in opinion in regards to NHL VP Colin Campbell over the email flap that arose today, but regardless of the tactless emails that legitimately shed doubt on Campbell's objectivity in regards to his son Gregory Campbell (who plays for the Bruins), the NHL is about 5 years too late getting new blood into that position. Campbell was so engulfed in controversy over his various decisions on suspensions before this current brouhaha, that his credibility had already been compromised to the point where people were openly mocking him - not the kind of respect that should be afforded to someone in his important position. For a guy that still thinks and talks like a coach, he would be better off behind a bench somewhere instead of being a target for every critic wanting to take a shot at the league..... The one thing many are not talking about when it comes to the Campbell controversy is that his written remarks have the ring of truth about them. Marc Savard is a kind of national hero since Matt Cooke nearly took his head off, but before that incident, Savard's rep had been through some major ups and downs over the course of his career and not everyone had a high opinion of the slick centre, or his attitude. Think Mike Ribeiro and you'll have a general idea.....

Someone who can no longer be accused of nepotism is Calgary GM Darryl Sutter, who demoted his son Brett to the AHL after the 23 year old brat got loaded and punched a cab driver in the face in Arizona recently..... Chris Campoli is quietly having a bounce back year... And Nick Foligno is not.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

As a fan, I've got a lot of confidence in Elliott. But, I agree with you that Leclaire is just a couple of good performances away from being "back in the mix".

The thing is, the more compelling storyline is, "This is a huge game for Leclaire. His career is on the line."

As for Colin Campbell, Puck Daddy had a great take on the story.

My view is that even without the e-mails, Campbell's not very good at his job. I don't care if he's a good guy, or has integrity, or is good in the community, or works hard, or tries hard, or that it's a tough job, or whatever.

The only thing that matters is: is he good at his job? If not, replace him.

Do you want to go to a cardiologist who's not very good, but who works hard and his good in the community? Pick any profession. You want people to be doing a good job.

The NHL is not a local ball hockey league. It's a multi-billion dollar business. It's time they started respecting the dollars and time that their fan base puts into the game. Something as fundamental as discipline is being mismanaged.

They need clear rules and consistent enforcement.