Monday, April 30, 2007

Sens Take Game #3!!

Hoooooooooooooooooooooo BOY!!

Now that was intense!! I'm not sure my little heart can take much more of this edge-of-your-seat, nail-biter hockey!!

I don't think I even took a normal breath until Jason Spezza put away the empty-netter to seal tonight's 2-0 victory over the New Jersey Devils in the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals. I was absolutely terrified that, despite our strong play and two-billion chances, Martin Brodeur would once again steal a win for his team and set us back 2-1 in the series.

Perhaps Senators teams of the past would have let him. But not this team. Not this year.

The Sens never stopped coming, and they really took it to Brodeur and the Devils all night long. Every time he made a miraculous save, they didn't hang their heads and quit. They kept at him, pouring it on relentlessly.

Finally, in the third period, they were rewarded, when Tom Preissing's shot went in after Mike Fisher cruised through the crease, apparently bumping Brodeur and sparking an annoying post-game "controversy" on CBC.

I've tried to refrain from bad-mouthing the Hockey Night in Canada commentators this year, because everyone knows they suck, but honestly - how many times was Ray Emery interferred with in that first series against Pittsburgh, and they never even mentioned it?? Now tonight, Mike Fisher barely grazes Brodeur, knocking him a little off balance, and Preissing scores, so all of a sudden those Leaf-lovin' Losers are roaring about how Fisher should have been penalized, and the goal should have been called back. I hate Ron McLean. I hate Bob Cole. I hate Elliote Friedman!!

Frig them! Fisher did exactly what players are supposed to be doing this time of year: Getting in the opposing goalie's face and wreaking havoc in the crease. Poor little Marty, the CBC Golden Boy, wasn't prepared for the shot, so let's all cry foul. ARGH!!!! It pisses me off so much that I can't even enjoy my victory because I have to listen to them whine!

The fact of the matter is the Ottawa Senators deserved to win tonight's game, controversy or not. They clearly scored a goal in the first period, but because the ref blew the whistle (too quickly, in my opinion), it was called back. Brodeur was standing on his head most of the night, making spectacular saves and frustrating the hell out of me.

But the difference is, this year, the Sens are being patient. There was a time when no one believed the Sens could win close games. Usually the wheels would come off, panic would set in, and they'd lose the game.

Well, they won this one, and they deserved a better fate in the last one too. So now we hold a 2-1 series lead, with lots of hockey left to play, but I can't help but feel really good about how this team is rolling right now. Screw their controversies. Emery has been solid when necessary, the forecheck has been strong, the defence has been amazing (welcome back, Wade Redden!), and it's just this quiet confidence that the players seem to have that is making me feel different than other years.

More optimistic. More sure. More confident.

Game #4 should be a doozie!!


Thursday, April 26, 2007

Bring On the Devils!!

Hey gang!! Sorry for the lack of Blogs this week - it's just been crazy-busy, and I haven't gotten into the routine of writing the Blog at night yet.

As we all know, Round 2 for the Sens goes tonight in New Jersey vs. the Devils. Can't wait!! It will surely be a tougher test than the Penguins were, but I have confidence that if the Senators stick to their game, they'll be able to defeat Marty Brodeur - just shoot the puck from all over, and eventually they'll start going in!

Remember - BE RED!! Cheer on the Sens, and be loud & proud!!


Thursday, April 19, 2007

See Ya, Sid!!


That's it, folks! We did it! We beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-0 tonight to take the series 4 games to 1...YABBA-DABBA-DOOEY!!

Honestly, I don't know if I've ever seen the Sens play as well as they did tonight. Pittsburgh spent much of the first 10 minutes on the powerplay, with two 5-on-3's, and Emery was solid in nets. After that, the Sens shut the door and really dominated them. It seemed the Penguins even had trouble getting into the Sens' zone for most of the game. They were so strong defensively, and I was extremely impressed!! They made most of those Penguins look like the little kids that many of them are! All of our goals came in the second period, with Heatley getting one on the power play, and Kelly and Vermette notching the others. Mike Comrie, one of the darlings of this series, also had a glorious opportunity, and I think almost everyone thought he had scored, but replays showed it ringing off the post.

I also think Wade Redden played his best game of the series, which was a huge relief to me. I've been waiting for a sign for the past two weeks to show me that Wade's OK and can play out of his funk, and tonight, I think he made a big step towards accomplishing that.

The fans at the Bank tonight were loud and proud, and it was awesome to hear the chanting and cheering coming through my TV. It's great to see everyone BE RED and waving their pom-poms enthusiastically! For us here at the Young house, one of the highlights was seeing our neighbours JP and Troy and Troy's girlfriend Steph on TV at the end of the game - they were all decked out in Sens gear and holding a sign that said "Stanley's Cup Belongs In Canada". Of course, it would have been awesome to be in the stands tonight, but because I seem to be a Senator Jinx, I've resolved not to bother with tickets again this post-season. We've been having our own little party here at home though!!

So now that we've done away with Sid the Kid and his band of little Penguins, it looks like it'll probably be the New Jersey Devils or the New York Rangers (or a slight possibility of it being the Islanders) in the second round. It was predicted tonight that the next round won't start until next Wednesday, so we've all got a few days to relax, breathe, and look forward to another round of exciting playoff hockey!!

I can't wait!!


It Feels Like Tonight

OK, so I stole the title from a Chris Daughtry song, but it fit so well with how I feel about tonight's upcoming Game #5 between Ottawa and Pittsburgh that I just had to use it to title today's Blog.

It feels like tonight...

This is a big one for the Sens. Up 3-1 in the series, we need to put the pedal down and get things done tonight. Nobody on that Ottawa team wants to go back to Pittsburgh for a Game #6. Nobody wants to give the Penguins a breath of life when we've got a chokehold on them. Pittsburgh will come out all guns a-blazing, guaranteed, but the Sens have to be better.

It's time to show that killer instinct again, and get things done. Ray Emery has to be awesome. Our big stars need to fly. Our defence needs to snuff out Sid the Kid and his troops.

I have no doubts that they can do it. We've got 'em down, now it's time to put the boots to 'em.

It feels like tonight.


Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The Razor's Edge

In the playoffs, it's hard to find a game that is not referred to as a "must-win". Whether you're the team ahead or the team trailing, almost every game is a "must-win".

Last night, with the Senators leading the quarterfinal series 2-1, many of the Sens' spectators were calling it a "must-win". Then again, so were the Pittsburgh fans. With the Sens leading the series 2-1, it was imperative for them to come away with a victory to put a stranglehold on the series and show the killer instinct. On the flip side, the Penguins needed the win to stay in the series and keep their hopes alive.

For the team with the 2-1 advantage, this game is extremely important. There's a very fine line between taking a commanding 3-1 lead, and being tied 2-2. Had the Sens lost last night's game, momentum would have swung in Pittsburgh's favour, the slate would've been wiped clean, and it would've come down to a best-of-3.

In the past, under that kind of pressure, the Sens might've collapsed. But not last night.

Last night, with Pittsburgh giving it all they had, running our guys all over the ice and driving to the net every chance they got, it was the Senators who came out victorious. All thanks to the man between the pipes, Mr. Ray Emery!!

Ray was hot last night, that's for sure. The Sens took an early 1-0 lead thanks to a Jason Spezza blooper that just happened to tip of Jordan Staal's stick and then floated into the net. (Thank you, Chris Neil, for not touching that puck with your high stick, despite your best efforts.) The rest of the first was back-and-forth action, with nobody seeming to "click" out there. There were a lot of battles along the sideboards, and a lot of missed passes, with both goalies making big saves when necessary.

In the second, I thought the Penguins really took it to the Sens, and with either Chris Phillips or Anton Volchenkov spending much of the period in the box, the Sens were put back a little on their heels. The penalty-killing, however, was strong, and the Sens did not allow the Pens to capitalize on the power play. Staal did manage to squeak one through after a scramble in front of Emery even strength, so that technically gave him 2 goals on the night. But going in to the third, it was dead-locked at 1 apiece.

So the third period was what I like to call "gut-check time". And let me tell ya, it was hard on my ticker. When Anton Volchenkov finally broke the tie midway through the period, it was a minor relief, but all I could think of was how difficult it was going to be to hold that lead for the rest of the period. I was certain the Penguins would find a way to tie things up and send it to OT.

I didn't have to worry. The Sens went to work defensively and Emery shut the door. It's what my dad called "perfect playoff hockey". In the past, the Sens have been criticized for not being able to do what they did last night - sit on a one-goal lead and win a tight game. Last night, they did it.

I could be a lot crankier today. If the Penguins had won their "must-win game", it would be a different story.

But that wasn't the case. Last night, we won the "must-win". And that's thanks in large part to the Razor's edge.


(Guys, I didn't proofread this at all so if there's a million mistakes and it makes no sense, I apologize!)

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

It Can Make You Scared

I've done a lot of hockey blogs lately (duh - playoffs!!), but today I've decided to write about something else, believe it or not.

Yesterday, as you probably already know, there was another school shooting in the U.S. at Virginia Tech. This one was the worst in U.S. history, with 32 dead (last I heard), including the gun man, who was VT student. Everyone always remembers the Columbine shooting in Colorado in the late '90's - well, this one was much, much worse.

School shootings always kind of hit me in the gut everytime I hear about them. There are so many tragedies around the world every day, that we hear about in the papers and on the TV and radio. Wars. Natural disasters. Genocide. Mass murders. But for me, hearing about a troubled young person opening fire on their peers amidst the "safe walls" of a school - it always makes me stop and wonder, What the hell is the world coming to??

Reactions here at the office as the news broke were varied. One person said, "Oh well, just another one. Until the Americans get better gun control laws, this is what they can expect." Another said, "The worst part of these school shootings is that the coward always ends up putting the gun to his own head. I wish one of those freaks wouldn't get the chance to take his own life, and that he could be locked up in a room with the parents of the kids he killed, and let them exact their own justice." Yet another said, "Makes me wonder why I brought kids into this world. It's a scary, screwed-up place."

It's hard to argue with any of those statements. Tragedies like this always bring up the same topics of discussion - gun control laws, retribution, the state of the world. What scares me the most is that each time this happens, I'm reminded that there are some twisted kids out there who are able to take weapons into their schools and open fire on their classmates. In the aftermath, there are always people - family members, teachers, and friends - who come forwards and say, "I never would have predicted this. He was a quiet kid, very shy, very unthreatening."

So how are we supposed to know who the bad guys are? How are we supposed to know when someone's going to snap, at school or in the workplace? How are we supposed to differentiate between the good, happy-go-lucky people, and the ones who can be pushed over the edge and blow us all away?

When I think too much about it, it terrifies me. Schools are supposed to be safe. Since Columbine, they all have better security systems, and in the States, many even have gun checks at the doors. There are cameras and lockdowns and guards and drills.

So why does this keep happening?

Monday, April 16, 2007

My Poor Wade

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.


Thursday, April 12, 2007

Game # 1 In the Books


OK, so it's only one game, but it was a decisive Sens win over the nervous, shaky Penguins, and if we play every game like that, we're going to be fine. Strangely enough, it was the supporting cast in Senators colours that stole the show last night, with goals coming from Andrej Meszaros, Chris Kelly, Tom Preissing, Chris Neil & Mike Comrie. Dany Heatley was the only "big gun" to light it up for the Sens, and for me, that's a good sign. That means we still have all kinds of firepower yet to be seen...And for Pittsburgh, that can't be a good thing.

That being said, I am going to the game on Saturday, so that does not bode well for the boys. The Sens hardly ever win when I'm in attendance. Also, it's an afternoon game, and they rarely do well when they have to play before supper. Furthermore, Sid the Kid was pretty darned cranky by the end of last night's game, along with a few of his teammates, so you can bet they'll look a lot less nervous and a lot more determined come game time on Saturday.

It will be interesting to see if the Penguins go with Fleury again for the next game, after pulling him in the third in favour of Jocelyn Thibault. Fleury was very shaky off the hop last night, letting in 2 quick goals, but then he settled down and looked pretty good for most of two periods. It wasn't until the third that the Sens blew things open and Fleury was pulled from between the pipes. The Penguins did look nervous last night in the opening frame, but none looked more nervous than Fleury.

I can't be worrying too much about the next game, though, because there were a lot of positives on the Sens' side of things. Lots of goals, hard hitting, strong fore-checking, passion, grit, and heart - they were all on display last night, and Game #1 couldn't have gone better for my boys.

Can't wait for Saturday!!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


OK, I've been lazy when it comes to the Blog lately. I mean, I haven't even got you guys your updates on Survivor or Amazing Race yet.

But today's Blog will not be lazy, and it cannot be about anything except for the Ottawa Senators and their quest for Lord Stanley's Cup!!



It's that time of year when I get butterflies in my stomach from the moment I wake up in the morning til the moment the final buzzer sounds. It's when I get my car flags out (2 new flashy red Sens Army flags this year, courtesy of Hollie!) It's when the trash-talking begins, when the passion increases ten-fold, when the Leafs disappear (so long, BLUEY!), when dreams come alive, when, for a few weeks at least, glory seems within grasp.

Alright, so in the past, the Sens haven't tasted much of that glory. Our best playoff was when we went to the Conference Finals once, and lost to New Jersey in Game 7. Other than that, we've had many first- and second-round disappointments.

And this year, it's not going to get any easier against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

But this year, I've decided to ignore the nay-sayers, and the gloom & doom, and completely plunge myself into Sens FANDEMONIUM. I'm pumped, I'm wound, I'm EXCITED. As you can probably tell from my CAPS use today. Yes, folks, I'M READY!!!!!

This year's motto is "BE RED"...And I can't wait to BE RED tonight. And I REALLY can't wait to BE RED on SATURDAY, when I WILL BE AT THE GAME!! YAY!!!!!



Thursday, April 05, 2007

My Hot Football Players

It just dawned on me last night that I never re-capped last week's Survivor for you guys. It was too long ago for me to remember details, so if you missed it, here's all you need to know: Yau Man found the hidden Immunity Idol, then replaced it with a fake (a really bad fake) in an attempt to trick his tribemates. And Rocky got sent home. Boo hoo.

And now, onto Kenny's FNL re-cap: It was another amazing episode, of course, with the Coach accepting the job at TMU, much to the chagrin of his wife and daughter. Then there was the scene where Julie went to Matt's house to tell him that her family is moving to Austin, and Matt gathered her up in his arms and just held her, and I was sitting there with tears in my eyes, thinking, "Now that's why I love Matt Sarracen!!" However, Amy (that's the coach's wife's name...a whole year of watching the show, and I finally found out her name!!) - she's pretty determined that her and Julie aren't going anywhere. The Coach isn't really happy with her decision, so it'll be interesting to see if he changes his mind about TMU and decides to stay in Dillon with them.

Landry was in a quandry over the whole situation of Tyra's attempted rape. She swore him to secrecy, but he was so burdened by it that he finally told Matt. Of course, Matt insisted that he tell somebody, so Landry went to Mrs. Taylor. She took Tyra to the police, and after filing her report, Tyra ran into Landry who was waiting outside for her, and she tore a strip off of him for betraying her. Honest to God, I could have cried for the poor guy. I think I'm starting to fall in love with him, too. Tyra did apologize to him at the Roast, but Landry was still upset with her, and even more dejected that she showed up with her ex, Tim Riggins.

Speaking of Riggins - the neighbour lady broke it off with him, but I hope that Bo still gets some airtime, 'cause I don't think I've ever seen a cuter child actor than him!

Oh, and Street is now the new Assistant Coach of the Panthers, and I think one of my favourite scenes last night was when Coach Taylor and Street ganged up on Sarracen telling him he had to play better, work harder, eat & sleep football, and poor Matt just stood there, so bewildered, with this, "What the F$#@?!" look on his face, it was priceless. Street also got into more trouble with Lyla, after she caught him kissing the tattoo girl. She chucked her engagement ring back at him - so I think it's safe to say the wedding is off.

So now the Dillon Panthers are going to State, and next week is the season finale. I can't believe the season is already over; I don't know what I'm going to do on Wednesday nights without my hot football players. I might have to mourn for a while or something. I really can't wait to see how everything goes down in the big finale...Judging from previews, the Coach decides to stay in Dillon, and Amy finds out she's expecting. Hmmm...And I wonder who will win State??

Should be a good one!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Why I Want to Play the Pittsburgh Penguins in Round 1 of the Playoffs

Two words: Martin Brodeur.

It's the week before the playoffs, and there's been a lot of chatter lately in the Sens World about who we'd rather meet in the first round: the New Jersey Devils or the Pittsburgh Penguins. The majority seem to be favouring the Devils, as they fear the firepower of the Penguins with the likes of Crosby, Malkin, and Staal in the line-up.

However, I think in the playoffs it more often comes down to goaltending. And I'd much rather face a playoff rookie in Marc-Andre Fleury over Mr. Veteran-And-All-Star-Of-The-World Martin Brodeur. I'd rather take my chances trying to outscore the fiery Penguins over a defensive battle with the tight-checking and trapping Devils. I don't think it will be easy either way, but I think we have better odds against the young and inexperienced club in Pittsburgh.

Certainly, against Pittsburgh, we'd have a far more exciting series to watch. I forked out the $10.95 last night to watch the Sens vs. Devils match-up on Pay Per View, and for most of the first two periods, it was a snoozer. But that's what you get when you play the Devils, with their trapping game. Ho-hum, boring, boring. The third period kind of intensified, with the two teams exchanging goals in a 21-second span and lots of good chances throughout the OT. And then along came the shoot-out. As much as I love Ray Emery, and as proud as I was of him for going save-for-save with Brodeur all night long, I just knew that he wasn't going to out-duel him in the Shoot-Out.

So yeah, give me Marc-Andre Fleury any day. I think we can take him.

But it does make me sad to think that in a few weeks, the Penguins could very well be out of the playoffs thanks to me and my Sens. They are, after all, my second favourite team, and I really do admire Sid the Kid and his band of happy-go-lucky young'uns.

But this time of the year, there's no room for second-favourites.

Bring on the Penguins!!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

When Will the Shrieky Cousins Die???

OK, girls and boys, it's gotta be a quickie today...I'm swamped!!

First off, my re-cap of the Amazing Race:

It was a 2-hour mega-episode, with teams getting so far spread out that some were beginning the second leg of the Race before others were finishing the first. I can't remember the exact sequence of events, so I'll just run through a few of the highlights.

Some of the teams were stuck waiting at a travel agency for better flights to open up to Warsaw, Poland than the one that was provided for them. Uchenna and Joyce, however, decided to call the agent rather than show up in person, and somehow the Blondes and Mirna & Schmirna convinced the agent to hang up on them! Hours later, most of those teams were able to secure earlier flights, while Team Guido and Eric & Dani were stuck with the flight provided. Even worse, they missed one of their connecting flights, putting them almost a full day behind the rest of the teams. One of the Guidos little nuts when he thought he could run outside and flag down a plane that was already starting to taxi out. Those same Guidos finished last in the first leg and were marked for Elimination.

One of the stops along the way had the teams landing at the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, and it struck an emotional chord with all of them. They lit candles, said prayers, and it was one of those moments in the Race where they all seemed to gain a little perspective. And at this point, they all needed it.

There was also an Intersection on the second leg of the Race, when Teams had to pair up to complete a task. Uchenna & Joyce and Oswald & Danny took the Fast Forward and had to count a lot of steps, and they were then able to proceed to the mat, where they all landed in first, with Danny & Oswald giving up the prize to Uchenna & Joyce. Meanwhile, the rest of the crew were suiting up in armour for the Roadblock, where they had to guide a horse down a path before meeting up with Phil.

Mirna & Schmirna were having a tough time. First, they were completely frustrated by the Polish people who refused to speak to them. At last, they hit a country where people didn't like them shrieking at them with accents! I like those Polish people! Then, whichever one of them is the little one decided to dress up in the armour, and because the horse was walking faster than her, she just kept pulling it around in circles while doing a face-plant here and there. By this point, all the teams were starting to catch up, and I think the Blondes may have even passed them. Eric & Dani finished last, but because they were only a few moments behind the Guidos, they moved ahead into 5th place while the Guidos were eliminated thanks to their 30-minute penalty. I think it's best the old lads are gone, they were starting to go a little insane I think. However, there's no team that I hate more than Mirna & Schmirna - they gotta go next week!

So other than that, my weekend was spent at the arena where the Flying Elbows tournament was taking place. It was a lot of fun! I only wish I'd been there when Luke left to go get stitches on his chin wearing his full uniform and his head wrapped up in gauze! I hope you all had a great weekend, too!