Friday, February 22, 2008

Pizza Line Officially Cooked and a Sensquatch Sighting

Are we now finally seeing the effects of John Paddock riding his top line into the ground during the early days of the season?

It seems that way to me when for at least four or five games, Daniel Alfredsson, Jason Spezza and Dany Heatley look listless and tired.

Perhaps the biggest clue might be the quote that Spezza laid on the media last week about the team maybe having to “rest our way out” of the current funk they find themselves in.

The facts are that Paddock rode this line hard in some kind of attempt to obliterate the rest of the league early on and now that the Senators are struggling, these guys don’t seem to be physically able to pull them out.

Alfredsson hasn’t looked the same since his hip injury and is obviously having trouble with his skating. If Paddock rushed him back into the lineup because the team was losing games, that probably won’t look very good on him if Alfie struggles into the playoffs.

But then again, Paddock hasn’t exactly excelled at decision making all year long.

Stillman and Commodore Starting To Look Good

Last night's game was probably the first time since they've been acquired that Cory Stillman and Mike Commodore have looked really comfortable. Stillman was part of the best line on the ice with Antoine Vermette and Chris Kelly and he even threw his body around a few times in the offensive zone. What's really evident is his hockey sense. He looked good on the powerplay and should help improve those ghastly numbers.

Speaking of throwing the body around, Commodore has been delivering huge hits from the moment he stepped on the ice as a Senator and has now been in two fights, one dandy last night with the Jackets Jared Boll, after he took a run at Wade Redden in the Senators end. This guy is an absolute beast and is the first time the Senators have had a real physical threat on the D since Zdeno Chara left.

How long will it be before Commodore's nickname is Sensquatch?

Keep Emery In The Nets

It would be a mistake to take Ray Emery out of the nets for Saturday’s matinee against the Penguins. Paddock should follow through on what he started this week. Keep playing him until his game is back in gear. Taking him out now will only slow that process and further confuse the situation. This team is crying out for a consistency in approach and Paddock would be wise to stick with Emery to see how he responds to a tough loss.

In the playoffs, it’s important for goalies to bounce back after losses. Paddock should let them practice it.

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