Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Ottawa 3 - Washington 2 on Inauguration Day

Unbelievably, the Senators have just racked up 7 of a possible 8 points going into the All-Star break.

And tonight three new heroes happened to step up in Brian Elliott, Brendan Bell and Dany Heatley after the likes of Jason Spezza, Mike Fisher and Dean McAmmond took turns the previous three games.

A lot of people got their backs up after last Wednesday's Atlanta game when TSN's Pierre McGuire criticised Elliott's rebound control. Tonight, McGuire mentioned it again but ended up giving Elliott the "Monster" of the night award which should prove he's not just picking on the rookie.

And Elliott deserved all the accolades. Without him, the Caps would have won this game in the second period when they outshot the Senators 19 - 3. Elliott stopped 17 of those shots which turned out to be just enough for Bell to clinch it with a power-play goal in the last two minutes.

Craig Hartsburg made a smart decision to move Christoph Schubert back up to forward to allow Bell back into the lineup. Schubert is more effective as a hard hitting forward than an indecisive and mediocre defenseman and Bell is really good at stepping up into the play (although he's risky in his own end).

Not to bring up Martin Gerber again in a negative fashion (he's taken enough hits), but that major roster move seems to have sparked this team. I'm not going to say a "curse" was lifted but a fresh face in Elliott with little to no baggage in that locker room seems to have been part of the short-term cure.

This mini-streak will probably not amount to much as far as the post-season goes but it does give the fans a little hope and the players some life which will probably make the rest of the year much easier to watch.

Those Corona's on a sunny beach somewhere will taste pretty good for the players deciding to take full advantage of a much needed break.


Outside of Heatley and Elliott, Jarkko Ruutu was the Senators most effective player in the first period. He goaded Mike Green into a roughing penalty and blocked a shot when the Senators couldn't get the puck out of the zone late in the first. He even made a beauty move around a Caps defenseman but his backhander at Jose Theodore didn't have much juice on it.

This guy is all entertainment.

Who in the history of the Senators would have the kind of mind to wear a long blonde wig , sparklers on his skates and bring out the classic puck on a string routine at a Sens Skill competition?

The only other guy who comes to mind is Andre Roy.

Back in 2002, there was a photo-op during a Sens practice for the players who had been selected to the Olympics in their respective national team jerseys. Then out skates a smiling Roy with a makeshift U.S.A. sweater that has strips of hockey tape crudely spelling out the letters on the front. I think he even made it into a group photo with the all the Olympic guys. The good old days...


Blast From The Past

Going through some old clippings I came across this piece written by Bruce Garrioch concerning a major incident back on February 1, 2000 between Joe Murphy and the rest of his Boston teammates and coaches during a game at the Corel Centre here in Ottawa that ended in a 4-4 tie.

Garrioch writes:
"Sources say during a first-period Boston power play, Murphy told (coach Pat) Burns "put me out there, I'll score."

After (Marty) McSorley and Burns told Murphy to "bleep off," the 32-year old winger never played another shift.

The argument continued in the dressing room after the first period.

Burns told the players he wasn't going to put up with "this (crap)" and Murphy went face-to-face in an argument with (teammate Ken) Baumgartner.

Murphy packed up his equipment when the team went on the ice and left the building."

Garrioch also relates the time in Chicago when coach Mike Keenan tapped the then Blackhawk Murphy on the shoulder to send him out for a shift and Murph replied "Joe, Joe's tired."

I seem to remember that Keenan was involved in a bit of a spat with Pavel Bure when the Canucks were in town in the late 90's. If I remember correctly, Bure told Keenan to f@!k off on the bench but if someone remembers that incident, maybe you could correct me in the comments section.

For a building that's only about 13 years old, the Palladium - Corel Centre - Scotiabank Place has seen it's share of drama, both on and off the ice with some utterly strange incidents (and Ray Emery was only involved in about half of them!)


nick said...

I didn't see the game so I can't be certain, but no love for Antoine Vermette as one of tonight's "three new heroes"? After making the horrendous choice of Vermie in my no-trade hockey pool this year, it was more than a delight to see him assist on all three Sens' goals today.

Canucnik said...

Thoughts: (1) Brian Elliott is so special! (2) 20 shots in any period is too many, when our "D" goes to the cottage, do they ever leave our goalie high, dry and eventually fatigued! Much better energy in the third from everyone including Mr. Goalie. (3)Like to see our forwards in our own goal crease helping cover up pucks. (4) Pierre McGuire had a much better game. Everyone needs a little quality control now and then. "Read and react" Pierre but from a "fundamentally" good posture and position. (5) Our guys (the experts (ex pros)) picked up their game today - very professional. (6) I am still weighing the pros and cons of up or down? He gets show type money (perdiem) over the All Star break. If we protect him like the guys did tonight - no problem. However if we go on the road and take the gas??? (7)If you think Mr. Elliott was good tonight, he has more to give. (We ain't seen nothin' yet!) I just hope were not pushing the envelope too hard with our fragile defence and I'm taking five man units. (8)Peter Regin has big league speed. "Good Wheels" will keep you in the "Show". (9)Nick Foligno was on for all our offencive production. He was involved all night. Big time foul at the end. Calculated risk? He won the game for us! (10)Philly is wound a quarter turn too tight. (Pressure) That free hand is so "Nineties" (I really feel for him!)

Anonymous said...

Hey Canucnik,

Does your computer have a return key, or is it just broken?

Canuknik said...

To Anonymous... that is such an apt term for you, you are no one, a nobody, you're contibutions?? I can't recall any. Strap on a "Nick Name" so we can track you. You once questioned my "I.Q.", I question your ego?

Anonymous said...

Look, all I was implying was that you need to format your rambling 'thoughts' as to make them more legible... assuming you actually wanted people to read it.

But no, better to prove yourself the ignorant jerk you are!

Canuknik said...

Anonymous you cannot be impolite to someone who is not there. For your information I am doing the best that I can (Free style). I was the last Pen & Ink man Business man in Ottawa. We are still very proud of that. For every task that has been computerized it now take three (3) people to do it. Do you know when I used to write to my friend Milt Schmidt as a kid I never made a spelling mistake or a gramatical error.

Anonymous said...

Anyways.... Thanks for proving my point.

Canucnik said...

"No one" (I have surveyed the blogs) wants to give Nick Foligno the credit for winning the game last night. There is finesse; there is brutality and then there is the risk/reward play in the dying moments when you commit the infraction to give your team one more chance to score! It's a "Veteren's" play, requiring smarts, calculation and execution. Great play Nick I sure saw it (I don't know about the broadcasters)allowing for some clutch shooting by Bell. They used to call your dad the "wylie veteren" he would have liked that play.

Anonymous said...

Guess real men like you canucnik are big fans of "strap on"s. Nothing personal, but the stream of conciousness stuff is very hard to read.

Canucnik said...

We could go for that, with you as the down man! I guess real men hide behind anonymity and witty repartee! You are self conscious enough to have to hide behind anonymous.

Anonymous said...

Canucnik, I suggest you stop taking criticism so personally. The dude with the comment about the return key was actually trying to help. You do continue to entertain though with your enraged retorts, though I wish you wouldn't have taken the bate on the "strap on" comment...

By the way, you knew Milt Schmidt? Did you know Bobby Bauer also? My grandfather played with them in junior. Hall of famers both of them. Unfortunately my grandfather was injured too much and didn't get to go with them to the big "show".

Canucnik said...

To Anonymous 8:47AM Sound advice, well taken.I should do better with my young correspondent but sometimes he is so critical I confuse him with the others. I apologise to him in my own way. To your question No. I only knew Milt as the Coach. Played out door at the Priest's Rink one afternoon with Father David Bauer and Father Costello we had nice conversation for a few minutes. My mom knew Bobby Bauer and Woody Dumart. (No, she was an Irish Lasse from Ottawa.) There were a couple guys didn't make it to the "show" with the "Krauts".