Friday, November 10, 2006

The Pre-Game Show

Yes, folks, this is a Blog entirely about hockey, so if you don't like hockey, move along.

Tonight my slumping Ottawa Senators are taking on the young-and-talented Pittsburgh Penguins. The Sens are currently 5-8-1, and they have lost their past 5 games. The last time they did that was in 1996, and that was also the last year they did not make the playoffs. The only player remaining from that team is Daniel Alfredsson, who won the Calder Trophy for Rookie of the Year that season.

Now, he's the captain, and I hope he - along with the other leaders in the dressing room - are figuring out ways to right this ship now. Otherwise, it could cost GM John Muckler or Coach Bryan Murray their jobs. There are also trade rumours flying all over the place, with the names of Daniel Alfredsson, Christoph Schubert, and Anton Volchenkov being mentioned most often. And I'd hate to see any one of them traded.

I'm trying not to freak too much over this slump. I do have the utmost faith that they are going to turn things around and in a few months I'll be laughing about how I once feared my team might not make the playoffs. It's still too early to be pushing the panic button, right?

So to calm myself down, I'm going to make a Pros & Cons list about my team, and hopefully at the end of it, the Pros still out-weigh the Cons.

CONS

  • As mentioned, they are in a 5-game slump, the worst slump they've been through in 10 years.
  • Our expensive #1 goalie Martin Gerber, who couldn't be beaten last year with the Canes, so far has been a bust in a Sens uniform. He sucks.
  • We lost Zdeno Chara to free agency, leaving my boy Wade Redden as the top dog on the blueline - and God love him, I know he's better than Chara, but he hasn't had much chance to prove it yet, as he was out for 4 games with a pulled groin. Great time to get injured, Wade. Lovely time.
  • Jason Spezza's too flippin' fancy. Period.
  • Captain Alfie only had 1 goal through the first couple of weeks, and it was into an empty net in Game #1 vs the Leafs. He's been scoring more in the past few games, but his drought sure didn't help the team right off the bat.
  • We're apparently incapable of holding a 1-goal lead, or even a 2- or 3-goal lead, for that matter. They are 1-7 so far in 1-goal games, and have blown 2- and 3-goal leads in the past three games.
  • The salary cap has hurt, forcing us to lose players like Hossa, Havlat & Chara without getting much in return. Everyone knows this team was one of the hardest hit by the cap, but it's also necessary for this team to survive with the large-market teams. It puts everyone on a more level playing field. But parity sure can be a bitch, can't it?
  • We have practically zero second-line scoring. Antoine Vermette has been a pleasant surprise, but the likes of Mike Fisher and Peter Schaefer have been practically no-shows. OK, they work really hard every night, and Schaefer also had a hip injury that kept him out of the line-up for 4 games, but we need those guys to start tickling the twine. Dany Heatley can't score 'em all.
  • Last year, we led the league in shorthanded goals. This year we've allowed 5 against us, which is the worst in the league thus far.
  • The power play SUCKS. I wish we could decline penalties, like in football.
  • We've won 5 games this year, and 3 of those games were against the Toronto Maple Leafs. That means we've only beaten 3 teams in the NHL through a full month of hockey.

PROS

  • We've won 3 of 4 games against the Toronto Maple Leafs this year. We have 4 more games to go against the Laffs, so that means I should win at least 4 more games this year. And everyone loves beating the Leafs.
  • We're not getting blown out of games by scores of 8-1 or 9-0, like the Philadelphia Flyers. Every game, with the exception of a 6-0 loss to the Leafs in game #2 of the season, has been close.
  • We're finally getting the scoring from guys like Alfie, Heatley & Spezza that we weren't getting in the first few weeks. Now if we could just get some goaltending...
  • The fans may be going retarded, but all the Sens brass seem to be very calm and confident things will work themselves out, and I think that's better than taking drastic & stupid actions.
  • Joe Corvo has been a great addition to the team in the absence of Zdeno Chara, and Dean McAmmond has also fit in nicely. The new guys definitely aren't the problem.
  • Wade Redden is hot. That's always a nice bonus.
  • Ray Emery has had some of the best stats of all the goaltenders in the league through the early part of the season. He suffered a slight sprain to his forearm this week, but once he's back and healthy again, he's one of the best "back-ups" in the league.
  • On paper, we have one of the best teams in the NHL. If they decided to put the entire team up for auction, GM's across the league would be trampling over each other to get in line. Now we just need to start translating that to the ice. There's too much talent on this team for them to continue like this.
  • Chris Neil has been our most consistent forward. I guess that can be considered either a pro or a con, but it's nice to see that he has developed into a skilled forward that has the grit to go with it.
  • As mentioned in the Pro section, Antoine Vermette has been a pleasant surprise. He was good last year, but he's even better this year - and he scored our first shorty the other night.
  • In the past two games, we've had such great starts that the other teams have been pulling their goalies. It's come back to bite us both times, but if we could just figure out how to hang on to a lead, all would be well in Sens Land.
  • In the past, we've always had great starts and crappy finishes (ie: NO success in the playoffs) - so this year, maybe we're going to do the reverse.
  • There's still 68 games to go. Surely to God we can figure this out before it's too late!

Alright, so now I'm a little more calm.

Bring on the Penguins! GO SENS GO!!

10 comments:

Stacy said...

Good Morning, i did scim through your morning blog - i guess you had to search for stats and stuff to be correct this mroning and thats why the blog was a little late this morning....haha!
how was your church night and Ladder 49? I have only seen that movie once and it was in theatres i think. Well we got home, had supper and went to visit the guys (and Jackie) back at the hunt camp - came home and watched Survivor. That was about all. Today we're leaving around 2 so Ricky can get the afternoon hunt in - freakin hunting. No plans for the weekend, just cleaning up the house and relaxing i suppose. Actually Saturday night is Ricky's cousin's surprise 30th in Aylmer so we're going there for a bit to show our face. Anyways i'll check in later and see if other bloggers have wrote!

Sharon said...

Well Jill I thoroughly enjoyed that boost of confidence for the SENS. I can still remember the days when I hated hockey and didn't know how anyone could watch a game. But now here I am watching the SENS games with Wayne and enjoying them thoroughly. I am glad that you have come to my side to conclude that Martin Gerber is as sucky as they come. He makes me so angry that I won't continue on that string of things.

Now if I may, I will do a recap of the OC. I don't think you watched it last night... So here it is...

In the episode missed on Wednesday Ryan and Seth went to Ensenada and Ryan was going to kill Volchuk. Seth got drunk with some Marines and got a tatoo and Sandy and Kirsten found out that Julie had given Ryan the where abouts of Kevin and basically told him to kill him. So they went to Mexico to get the boys.

Last nights episode began when they came back. Ryan was mad at the interfering. And doesn't realize it was for his own good. They are getting ready or Thanksgiving and Kirsten makes Ryan and Seth go grocery shopping together.

Sandy get a call from Volchuk who wants Sandy to defend him and get him a light sentence. Sandy picks him up and puts him up in a hotel until the papers have gone through. Ryan see Sandy drive by with Volchuk.

Sandy gets home and begins to tell Kirsten when Ryan walks in. He leaves in a hurry to go and find him but has no luck. At one of his stops, Sandy finds him and says to go with him. Sandy takes him to the hotel where Volchuk is and tells him he trusts him. Ryan goes in takes a good swing and then proceeds to break a bottle that he plans on killing him with. He then realizes that this will only satisfy Volchuk because he won't have to live with what he has done. Volchuk is arrested and brought to jail and Ryan is happy with this.

Julie and Doctor Roberts break up. He's moving to Seattle for another job. Julie is still ignoring Caitlin. I feel bad for her. She just wants her mom to love her.

Summer is not dealing with her grief and Seth finally tells her so. After she has brought in about 25 homeless people to the Cohens for thanks giving dinner. then she leaves. She's going back to Brown and has to figure things out on her own.

Julie shows up at the Cohens and she apologizes for sending Ryan on a homocide mission. Her and Ryan go to the poolhouse to talk and she asks him to tell her about Marissa. And they start chatting about their lost love/daughter. It was quite touching.

So that's about all for the OC. I hope everyone enjoyed it.

I am going to pick up the 2nd apparel peice for Waynes present. They called me and it's in today. I can't wait! I wish it was Christmas so I could give him his present now!

Jill are we still on for the 25th? I thought we should leave at 8:00 so that we can get there early. I hear there are crazy lineups. I will refresh your memory the week of.

Jill said...

Good morning ladies!
Yes, Stacy, I did have to look up some stats on the TSN website while doing my post...LOL. Church movie night was OK, but I didn't think they'd ever leave. Of course, I bawled. I love Joaquin Phoenix, and it bothers me every time that he dies.
Then I helped mom clean up the snack stuff and then caught about 45 mins of the O.C. - I'll have to watch Grey's and Survivor tonight, so re-caps coming this weekend, folks!
Sharon, thanks for the O.C. re-cap. I was a little disconnected, as I didn't see Wednesday's episode, but I'm glad this Volchuk stuff got resolved, 'cause I thought it was dragging too much.
I was glad to see that after some awkward kisses shared between Seth & Summer, he finally swooped in and gave her a real, casual, normal kiss while up in his room. Of course, it was right after that that she saw one of Seth's comics with Marissa in it on the wall and freaked a little again. Poor Summer. You know, I almost did my blog on her this morning. She's really intriguing me so far this season.
Favourite moments from the episode: When Summer took Seth off to help at the soup kitchen for Thanksgiving, lecturing him on the importance of feeding the hungry and tossing stats at him about poverty in the world, and as he trails behind her, he grumbles, "But we feed Ryan, and he used to be homeless, doesn't that count?"
Also: When Dr. Roberts informs summer that he's taking the job in Seattle, he says: "It's a hospital that I hear has a quirky bunch - it's called Seattle Grace" - cool reference to Grey's! Loved it!
Anyways, yes, Sharon, I'm still on for the 25th as far as I know. But I may have a conflict that has just come up, but I'll let you know via email if it's not going to work.
Have a good day, gang!

Stacy said...

The OC sure has changed since it first started - how long before Julie and Ryan are having sex??? lol

Stacy said...

I dont know how many people would be interested - but i really want to go christmas carolling this year....go around Quyon and singing on the streets and going to people's doors. i know people do it (or used to anyways) - i love it. Last year some were on a horse and wagon and went singing by our house. if anyone is interested, we should plan something!! LOL

Jill said...

I'll go carolling with you. But I hope you find more people to come with us, or else we'll look like knobs. LOL...Now where can we find a horse-drawn wagon to drag us around in? The church used to do Xmas carolling - I'll find out if they still do, and then we could go with them!

sara said...

I love carolling!!! I want to come too! I haven't went since "cornerstone" days at church!

Anonymous said...

Martin Gerber was not unbeatable last year, I seem to remember a certain low scoring Canadiens team blowing him out and embarassing him during the playoffs. I laughed when the Sens signed him cause I knew he would be just as bad or worse than Lalime. I can't believe that the upper management can't give the rest of the team a goalie they deserve.

Jill said...

I'd still like to belive Gerber is in a slump and will play his way out of it. His definitely been disenchanting thus far. Kathleen, you may have your memories as a Habs fan of the way he played last year, but as a Sens fan, all I can remember is him stoning us left, right, and centre all season long. And we were the offensive powerhouse of the NHL - at least in the first half of the season. We couldn't beat the guy. For awhile there, the Canes were the only team we couldn't beat, and thanks mostly to Gerber. God, I hope he can re-gain that form, and that his season last year wasn't some cruel fluke.

Anonymous said...

honestly I don't think it was a fluke and he has the capacity to be that good. What I saw in those two games he seemed like someone who really did not want to be in the net. Like he almost gave up. If you remember no one thought Carolina would be that good last year so he was pretty much playing for an unknown team in the southern United States. For the simple reason that Ottawa is in CANADA it means the pressure is on him. Not good. This is all just my opinion, of course. We have two good goalies and if I were Bob Gainey I would give you guys one in exchange for a marquee defenseman named Wade.