(I couldn't help but go with one more Springsteen song reference in the title...that's for you Sens Army!)
When's the last time you saw Ottawa play as good a game as the one they played against Buffalo tonight?
I'd have to go back to game 2 of the season in Stockholm, Sweden when the Senators dominated the Pittsburgh Penguins with precision and style.
The penalty kill was the story of the game as the Senators seemingly spent half of the 60 minutes in the box and only gave up one power play goal. Of course, much credit goes to Brian Elliott who played another great game.
More than anything, it was entertaining.
This year has been a bit of a bummer on the entertainment front but Cory Clouston's aggressive coaching style is making the games much easier on the eyes. Jason Spezza has suddenly come to life again and he nearly scored a mind blowing highlight reel goal after he beat the entire Sabres team in their own zone but was stopped by Ryan Miller when he quickly closed the five hole.
Spezza has looked ordinary at times this year but the new system suits his style and he looks less afraid to make mistakes. Those high risk passes are starting to work again but it was his determination to go to the net that got him his first goal when a pass went in off his skate.
This team isn't back to the "glory days" by a long shot, but at least the Senators are fun to watch again.
So it's off to Philly tomorrow night with a chance to make it 3 wins in a row.
No one will ever forget the disaster that was the Senators 8 game road trip over the Christmas season but so far, this mini 5 game trip has the potential to bring some pride back to this team.
The latest fiasco over what Dany Heatley did or did not say was absolutely ridiculous and completely blown out of proportion by certain writers and radio personalities who were just waiting to pounce on the young superstar for something. They found an angle and went to work, distorting what Heatley actually said.
The blog Blood Red Army does a good job of looking at the actual question which was asked of Heatley and how his response was distorted to make it seem as if he was at odds with Clouston.
"For starters, Clouston repeatedly said that Heatley is no different than anyone else on the team. "He's not where we want him to be and neither is the whole team in general. He's not different (...) Again, it's only been two or three practices. It's coming." But they weren’t interested in exploring that avenue. As far as the radio boys were concerned, Heatley had been singled out, publicly embarrassed and taken to task by the new coach, resulting in his smug, arrogant rebuttal.
But the smallest bit of common sense could lead a reasonable person to the following conclusion:
The last part of the question was "He thinks maybe you're pressing too much. Is that fair?" To which Heatley replies "No. I don't feel that way right now. I think I'm just trying to shoot the puck. I've had some good chances, like I said, last game, and it's kind of funny. The way I go, if a goal goes in and you play horribly, you guys all say everything is great and if you play well and the puck doesn't go in, you're playing bad, so... I'm just going to keep trying to shoot the puck and eventually they'll go in." ...
He's not saying anything about Clouston's assessment of his adjustment to the new system or anything like that at all... he's merely saying "No, the problem is not that I'm pressing too hard".
And this all comes after the Senators just got 3 out of a possible 4 points and Heatley led the team in shots with 8 against Buffalo on Saturday.
If you want to criticise Heatley for not playing well, that's fine. But don't take a harmless comment out of context as your means to do it. Just come right out and say he's been crap and list the reasons why.
To concoct a non-existant rift between a player and coach is beyond fair play.
What a joke.
This is good stuff. Over at Puck Daddy, they are running a "Create-A-Card" contest where readers can send in their photo shopped hockey cards taking some shots at Sid the Kid and other NHL personalities.
My personal favourite so far is this David Puddy (from Seinfeld) card. Be sure to also check out the Jonathan Toews "Super Skills" card which involves a beer bong.
Just before the start of the 2nd period, TSN showed a brief clip of a little tyke hockey player scoring an easy goal against the Sabres mascot during the intermission. James Duthie remarked that it reminded him of the Senators past goaltending....... Good move by the Sabres to use their original logo at centre ice this season instead of the Buffaslug. Those classic uniforms look amazing out there as well and someday when the Senators do the same thing, everybody will be wondering why it took them so long to do it....It must be tough for Craig Rivet to look at San Jose and see them building towards a championship run. Rivet came to Buffalo in the Brian Campbell trade and the Sabres look like they're first round fodder for a team like the Caps, Devils or the Bruins. Plus, the weather's not as nice....
Speaking of goaltenders past, Patty Lalime looked pretty sharp on the bench with a yellow toque on his head. That's a new style that I hope catches on. Just don't try to put one on Ray Emery's dome....Another thing I really like about Brian Elliott - he doesn't wear ridiculously oversized shoulder pads ala J.S. Giguere and Martin Gerber. He's trim and quick out there, the way goalies are supposed to be........ I hate to make another joke at Antoine Vermette's expense, but the guy couldn't even put one in an empty net at the end of the game with only one defenseman between him and cage. I've never seen such a skilled guy miss so many opportunities to score. He's one hell of a penalty killer though...