Friday, November 18, 2011
Senators Sweep Alberta... Plus Notes On Filatov, Whiny Goalies and Long Island Misery
Ottawa 5 Edmonton 2
These big Western road trips are tough on the players, but they're tough on the fans back East too. A lot of late nights, a lot of groggy mornings where you walk out the door with shaving cream still on your face.
But for the Ottawa fans who held on past midnight, they're at least getting to see their team rack up some unexpected wins.
Not that Calgary and Edmonton are superior teams (although nearly every pundit predicted they would be), but it's tough to win two games in a row when your body clock is shot and you don't have access to Kettleman's bagels.
Yet the Ottawa Senators just pulled it off (they also beat Toronto before the Alberta trip which makes that 3 straight road wins) and now they can relax for a couple of days before they have to face the Canucks on Sunday.
It was a little tough to see the young Oilers get schooled like that at home, but the Senators certainly know how that feels. They were bulldozed a few times early in the year but all of a sudden that feels like a very long time ago.
If you think these guys are coming together as a team through their Alberta sweep (the first time since 2003), how much closer will they be after a couple nights off with nothing to do in downtown Vancouver? Seems like a good time to throw that annual rookie dinner.
Black Aces Senators 3 Stars
1. Milan Michalek (His goal turned out the lights on the Oilers)
2. Jason Spezza (All around great game)
3. Colin Greening (Best showing in a while, was a beast physically as well)
Honourable Mentions: Filip Kuba, Kaspars Daugavins, Craig Anderson, Jesse Winchester and Erik Karlsson.
As for Nikita Filatov wanting out of Binghamton and possibly going back to Russia, I’m not going to waste your time by cranking up the vitriol. You can read others who do that better than I can. But I will say that Ottawa has seen much better and higher profile players pull the chute on the organization. Filatov barely warrants a ripple in the history of this team. If he wants out, who really cares? You can’t have him in that Bingo dressing room much longer and you certainly can’t have him up with the big club after this. He won’t be respected by the players or the fans. The team took a calculated chance on him and it didn’t work out. No big deal. They only gave up a third rounder in a draft where they already had multiple picks which they used very wisely. The NHL club has too many forwards as it is right now and they don’t have room for some kind of petulant kid who thinks the world owes him something. This would be a bigger story if Filatov was a superstar, or at least a useful player. Right now, he’s neither. He’s just a headache….
.....What was Jesse Winchester looking around for as he crossed the blueline on his breakaway goal in the second period? Did he think there was a penalty, or that he was offside or was he thinking "Geez, this has never happened before. What the hell do I do now?" I bet he thought about dumping the puck into the corner for just a split-second. If there's one thing Winchester seems to love doing it's protecting a puck along the boards........How about Colin Greening just punishing Oilers defenseman Corey Potter behind the net when he knew Potter was already hurting from a previous play. Potter was likely gutting it out because defenseman Andy Sutton had already left the game with a groin injury. But that hit put him out of the game for good. Greening can be a cruel, heartless machine out there when he wants to. And that's a good thing..... I truly feel sorry for Islanders fans. They've been brutalized for close to two decades with everything from bad ownership, terrible hockey teams spawned by horrible general managers making embarrassing trades, a dilapidated arena, legendarily ugly uniform experiments and of course, Alexei Yashin. Now they have to endure another jersey that is already the laughingstock of the league. You wonder why the organization feels the need to do this when their standard "dynasty era" uni's are among the most classic in the league. Judge for yourself. Maybe you'll rush right out and buy one of these bad boys.....
......Is there anything more annoying than a goalie whining (ie. Ryan Miller)? Goalies have had it so good for so long that it's hard to find sympathy when they get a little knock once in a blue moon. How do any of them get hurt with all that bulky equipment on anyways? They've been cheating with impunity since the 1990's. They should keep a low profile and hope they continue to be allowed to do so.......I’m telling you, the reason the Carolina Hurricanes are floundering this year is because they failed to sign Jarkko Ruutu this summer to play with his brother Tuomo. OK, maybe that’s not even close to the reason, but that team is lacking some snarl and personality. Jarkko could have helped in that department…. Everybody in the building knew Kaspars Daugavins was going to shoot that puck, including Nikolai Khabibulin. There was no "looking off" the goalie, no head deke, no fake pass. Daugavins stared Khabby down and just blew the puck by him. It's easy to say Khabby should have had it but I'm not so sure. That was a perfect shot.......If Daugavins is going to stick around, he should ask for a better jersey number. #23 is too blah for a strange character like Daugavins. Maybe Peter Regin is more than ready to give up #13....London, Ontario is having a bad year. First they had a fan throw a banana at a black hockey player that made headlines around North America and now they have a baseball team, the London Rippers, named after a serial killer. What's next? Giving Nickelback the Keys To The City?.....
.....When the Edmonton Oilers finally shut down Northlands Coliseum to move into a new rink sometime in the near future, the final night is going to have a pre-game ceremony for the ages. You can just see the greats walking to centre ice. Gretzky, Messier, Kurri, Coffey, Fuhr et al. in Oiler blue. But it will be hard (nee impossible) to top the night they shut down the Montreal Forum in 1996. The ovation they gave Maurice "Rocket" Richard has to rank as one of the greatest moments in all of sports.....