Monday, April 14, 2008

This Is Not Sparta!!

The night started out on a bizarre note as the Senators unveiled perhaps the most embarrassing pre-game schtick ever seen in the NHL.
Talk about a gong-show.

Some knucklehead dressed up as a Spartan walked through the team as they were lined up against the wall outside the dressing room while the video was piped onto the scoreboard. You could tell the players were told to look serious but half of them looked like they were going to crack up laughing. The most mind-bending aspect is that the players had to go through this awkward piece of theatre and break their pre-game rituals before their biggest match of the season.
Someone actually thought this was a good idea.
Instead of getting mentally prepared for the game, you can just picture some PR dunce having the team rehearse looking mean for the camera.

Then the Spartan guy gets to centre ice and starts screaming about something which we can't hear because his microphone starts going in and out. How is it possible that the people who put this together didn't slap at least three spare microphones to this guy just in case the original mic didn't work? Everyone knows that microphones never work when you need them to.

So the dude is yelling but then his helmet almost falls off because it doesn't fit properly. He barely keeps it on his head when he allows the camera to see the inside of his shield where his moronic speech is printed in case he forgets the words. Not that it mattered because no one could hear it anyways.

It was literally enough to make you retch. Then the team decides to not play the traditional Senators theme that the players always skate out to and replaced it with some kind of canned heavy metal.

This is all on top of the controversy about someone in the organization making the decision to put up a mural next to the visitors dressing room of the Senators shaking hands with the Penguins after defeating them in last year's playoffs. The Senators players were privately embarrassed and coach Bryan Murray made it clear during a press conference that he had nothing to do with it.

And this is all before the puck was even dropped.

The game was tight and well played by both sides until the opening two minutes of the third period when the Penguins scored two quick goals before the Zamboni had even shut off its engine.

No one in the press is going to come out and blame Martin Gerber for those goals because this guy has been built up so much that he is immune from criticism. Instead the blame will be placed on the other players on the ice.

But Gerber had to stop those shots. And he didn't. He made some great saves all game but he couldn't make two critical saves at two critical moments. Just like that, the game was over.

He has let in four goals in three straight playoff games and no team is going to win like that, no matter how good Gerber played overall.

The truth is that Pittsburgh is a better team right now in all aspects and they deserve to win this series. The sad reality for Senators fans is that the opportunity for success may have passed them by because Pittsburgh is only going to get better in the next two to three years while Washington, Philadelphia and Montreal are not far behind.

Strangely enough, Ottawa doesn't need to re-tool too much over the summer. More than anything, an early exit might pay off down the road because this team is physically and mentally tired from two straight years of non-stop hockey.

The end is nigh...


Peter said...

The end is nigh? Good to see there's some optimism kicking around.

As hard as it is to win games when the other team scores four goals, it's just as hard to win when you average just 1.3 goals for.

At the end of this season, a lot of people will talk about the Sens' window of opportunity having passed us by. Although this year is still not done, I would like to point out that under the current CBA, teams are able to retool in a matter of months. Look at the difference in the Philadelphia Flyers from one season to the next. Or the Montreal Canadiens, who you've cited as one of the East's powerhouses. Assuming, as you say, that the Sens aren't skilled enough to win the Eastern Conference, all it takes is a few good signings in the off-season.

That's getting ahead of ourselves, though. There's still at least one game left in this season.

Peter said...

Sorry for the double-comment, but good point on the Sparta debacle. It was embarassing for all involved.

Ben said...

You're right about Gerber. Somehow, he has become immune to criticism in the Ottawa media.

He blew this game as much as the rest of the team. He ALSO didn't come through when we needed him in the third.

Anonymous said...

This is a team sport. Gerber is not responsible the ONE goal wasn't even a regular Sens player for pity sakes. Nor is he responsible for the weak defense, leaving Gerber to fend for himself. What he DID do was keep 34 shots out. How about all those players who contributed nothing? How about all those players contributing to penalty minutes and leaving Gerber out to dry. Focus on someone else. He's doing all he can for a team that has become helpless. And the reason the fans like Gerber is because he's WORKING out there!!

Don said...

I'm pretty sure the Spartan walking through the team would have been taped earlier - not live.

SoCal said...

That pre-game show was beyond embarassing. It sounded like something from Wrestlemania. I'd expect that schtick in Nashville or even here in LA, but not in the cradle of hockeyland.

Gerber probably deserves a B- for his play. He definitely made some very good saves early in the game and then tailed off a bit. Not Martin Brodeur, circa 2000, but who is?

The offense was pitiful once again - sorry, but splitting up the big 3 in an effort to deepen the offence is great in theory but evidently not in practice - and my god, Redden was probably our 2nd best defenseman... The team, especially Neil, played very undisciplined hockey. Giving Pittsburgh 8 power plays is never a good idea; when you're down 0-2 in a series, it's pitiful.

Anyway you look at it, we're not good enough. We're still not looking very strong in Bingo, so I'd be surprised if we improve next year. Hope I'm wrong, though.

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