So the series between the Sens and the Pens now stands at 2-1 in our favour. They lost on Saturday when we were in attendance, of course, because they hardly ever win when I'm there. Fortunately, it wasn't Game 7 or anything like that. They bounced back well in Pittsburgh last night, taking it 4-2 on the strength of Captain Alfie's 2 second-period goals.
Things are going well. If they play like they did in Games #1 and #3 (and most of Game #2), then we should be OK.
There's only one thing throwing a damper on my playoff hype this Spring. And that is the fact that Wade Redden - my beloved Wade Redden - is not playing up to his capabilities. Truthfully, he hasn't played well for much of this season. He's battled injuries, and while he had a good stretch between Christmas and the All-Star Break, he has otherwise been a disappointment this season.
It takes a lot for me to admit that. I usually defend Wade up and down, all over the place. And when he's healthy, I'd still take him over any other D-man in this league. Yes, that's right. I'd take him ahead of guys like Chris Pronger and Scott Neidermeyer and Niklas Lidstrom.
Mainly because he's just so damn hot.
But so far in this young playoff season, Wade hasn't played well, and I can't deny it.
My dad's theory is that his partner, Andrej Meszaros, sucks, and Wade has spent much of this season trying to clean up the messes the young d-man makes. While he's been covering for Meszaros' mistakes, he's ended up wallowing in his own messes, and because he's the $6.5 Milllion Dollar Man, he's the one who ends up taking the heat in the sports pages and on sports talk radio.
For me, the sentimental sucker that I am, I have to think that this might be an emotional time for Wade, as these playoffs mark the one-year anniversary of his mother's death. It's hard to believe that it's been a whole year since Pat Redden passed away, and her son ended up bouncing back and forth between his home in Lloydminster, Saskatchwan, and his team, who were in the midst of a Round 1 playoff with Tampa Bay. Wade Redden played some of his best hockey in that series, and while he missed one game to be with his family, he garnered First Star status in two of the other games, including the final game when the Sens beat out the Lightning, with his dad and brother watching on. So I believe it is entirely possible that Redden has had a rough year, mourning the loss of his mother, and now he's back in the playoffs again, a time of year that brings more sad memories than just the Senators' pre-mature elimination from many a Stanley Cup run.
This morning on the Team 1200, Steve Warne chalked it up to an injury. He (and many other members of the sports media surrounding the Sens) believe that Redden is currently playing through an injury, most likely another groin strain, and while this bumps him down the depth chart to a 5th or 6th d-man, an injured Wade Redden is apparently still better than a healthy Lawrence Nycholat.
Maybe so. But should the Sens go deep into these playoffs (God willing!), how long can this poor man go on?? Will he not eventually need to take some time off to heal? Will "forcing it" not cause more damage? Isn't it better that he take a seat now and get better while guys like Joe Corvo and Tom Preissing have elevated their games, taking some of the pressure off of him?
Or is it about Wade Redden proving that he can fight through this and be a factor for the Sens? Maybe it's about not wussing out and playing through the pain. After all, those are the guys who get recognized as the playoff warriors. Got a broken arm? Who cares! Score 3 goals, dammit! Sprained your ankle? Ice it, you pussy, and get out there!
Clearly, either Wade Redden or the Senators' medical staff feel this is an injury he can play through (if it is, in fact, an injury). If so, I really hope he starts playing better, because I just can't take all this heat from the media. He's my boy. He's the reason I love hockey. He's why I love the Sens as much as I do.
Whatever the case, I know he can be better than he has been. And I truly believe that he can dig deep and overcome whatever it is that has been holding him back.
Because when it comes right down to it, this team needs him.
GO SENS GO!!