Wednesday, May 8, 2013
Sens In Control, Habs In Chaos In Soon To Be Legendary "No Respect" Series
Like many of you, I had largely given up on seeing a Senators comeback after the first 10 minutes of the third period last night.
There were signs of life when the third opened, as Ottawa came in waves at Carey Price but for most of the night, passes were going off sticks and pucks were bouncing into skates on seemingly every rush. It was painful hockey to watch. Painful. Guys like Cory Conacher and Milan Michalek had sticks made of marshmallow and the clearly still-injured Erik Karlsson was botching as many plays as his rookie season.
Thankfully there are guys like Chris Neil playing in the red and black. He smartly just fired a puck at the net from the half-boards and Mika Zibanejad was there to kick it in. Yes, that’s a jab at Habs fans, but clearly I’m not in the same league as Paul MacLean, who was in fine form in his post-gamer, giving it endlessly to Michel Therrien... again. But more on that later.
The Neil play, which led to a momentum shift that lasted through Conacher’s last-minute game tying goal and ended with Kyle Turris (another frustrating player to watch for most of the night) putting a shot past Peter Budaj minutes into overtime.
Just a bizarre series of events.
Think of it this way.
Pretend you were that kind of fan who decided to bail from the arena with 10 minutes to go in the third period. You left your buddy Deaner at the game because he was too hammered. You get in your car and play some Rick Astley because you can’t stand to hear any Senators talk for the night. You get home and put on a movie to further escape. Deaner calls your phone, just screaming and you can barely make out what he’s saying. But he tells you Ottawa scored twice to tie it up, including one with less than a minute to go from Cory Conacher, who was in the process of playing one of the worst hockey games any Senator has ever played. Then Deaner tells you Carey Price exploded his groin waving at a shot in the final seconds of the third. Then Turris scored in OT against Peter Budaj to blow the roof off the joint.
Think of how unbelievable that sounds. But that’s exactly what happened last night and nobody can get their heads around it. Except maybe Deaner.
Nobody is sure how Montreal responds to this crushing blow. It at least looks like Price could be out for Game 5. Heart and soul player Brandon Prust can be scratched right now because he could barely move his arm near the end of that game and had to leave early. Nobody really knows what’s going on with Brian Gionta, and Max Pacioretty is in the same zone as Michalek – playing hurt and thus playing ineffectively.
Then there’s P.K. Subban, the wonder boy. He clearly plays for his own team. He was at it again last night, showing moments of brilliance tempered by scenes of childishness and chaos. He celebrated his first goal of the series like he had just broken the Senators backs, going to the one-knee fist pump and generally just yelling and screaming at nobody and nothing. But then he ended the period by essentially slew-footing Turris and having a temper tantrum on his way down the hallway off the ice.
In the third period, Subban had nothing, probably because he’d expended all his energy acting like Hulk Hogan after a belt-winning match through the first two periods. Meanwhile, his team is in flames all around him.
I’m telling you, I’m nearly spent here. Four games in and this series has seen as many incidents as last year’s NHL playoffs in total. It’s like going to see The Rolling Stones and we’re on the third encore and they haven’t even played Brown Sugar yet. How loud and crazy is it going to be when they pull that one out?
And there’s Paul MacLean, setting up at least one more battle in this series by challenging Erik Karlsson to be better in his press conference and poking the big grumpy bear, Michel Therrien, by once again talking about Habs sweater numbers and smiling like he was in complete control, not only of this series, but of Therrien’s fear-addled mind.
Once again you hear MacLean stepping on Therrien’s neck and part of you wonders if this is giving too much ammo to the Habs. But they may not have enough strength left to use it anyways. We all saw the life being sucked out of that Montreal team in the one-two blow of Conacher’s goal and the Price injury.
MacLean’s presser reminded me of that old Louis CK routine, where he talks about seeing a barrel of duck vaginas on sale in Chinatown – just a big barrel with a metal scoop in it - and wondering “Could we possibly dominate a species more than that? That we’re selling their vaginas in a f***ing barrel? The ducks are like ‘Dudes...please... you won the war, take it easy’”.
Seriously, it’s getting almost that bizarre now. They had the MacLean look-alike sitting behind Therrien fer chrissakes. Just sitting there and smiling. Not banging on the boards or holding a dumb sign. Just sitting there like some kind of Jungian vision, a ghost from Therrien’s mind.
Get ready for another one on Thursday. And get a beer or two for the nerves, because this one won’t be easy either.