Sunday, October 11, 2009

Same Story, Different Night

So, like many of you, I did not get to see the Senators - Thrashers tilt last night and therefore I won't try to comment on it too specifically, other than to say that it looks like you can take my last post from the win over the Islanders and apply it here.

You can even take Anton Volchenkov's hit on John Tavares and substitute second year youngster Zach Bogosian. Other than that, things unfolded in much the way they did the game before - big plays from unheralded players on the third and fourth lines like Chris Neil (1 goal, 2 shots on goal, +1), Jarkko Ruutu (1 goal, 2 shots on goal, +1) and Shean Donovan (1 assist, +1).

You also had a couple of guys who haven't made an impact so far come through with big games. Brian Elliott made 28 saves for his first win and Alex Picard had 2 assists and was a +2.

Just from looking at the stats sheet you can tell that the Mike Fisher, Alex Kovalev and Daniel Alfredsson line had a good night and we can probably expect them to stay together for at least a few more games.

Probably the best news to come from this game was that the rink was sold out after the embarrassing fact of the home opener being significantly shy.

That's a hard concept to wrap your brain around, especially when all those supposedly "weak hockey markets" in the South mostly managed to have better attendance than the Senators did on their opening nights.

To me, that's more an end result of two years of constant negative imaging from certain segments of the media who exploited minor to medium issues into catastrophic character assassinations, poisoning the atmosphere around this team to the point that fans were openly talking about boycotting games until the "scumbags" were traded etc.

I've talked about this before ad nauseum but the Senators themselves didn't do a good job of protecting their players in the media and getting ahead of negative stories.

Now, when a home opener doesn't sell out, everyone is left scratching their heads.

It's collateral damage from two years of negative stories that the team let fester in the public's mind.

But as long as they keep winning, the fans will come back and certain radio hosts and columnists will be forced to talk about some of the positives, hopefully erasing some of the damage they've done in the past.

Anyways, happy Thanksgiving and don't drink and drive.


Anonymous said...

Clouston deserves a lot of credit for implementing a system where players are motivated.

Anonymous said...

"To me, that's more an end result of two years of constant negative imaging from certain segments of the media who exploited minor to medium issues into catastrophic character assassinations, poisoning the atmosphere around this team to the point that fans were openly talking about boycotting games until the "scumbags" were traded etc."

Also, It's the first home game of 3 in 5 nights and with un-employment at an all-time high, add in that ticket prices went up, significantly, in price. People have to pick and choose which games they can go to, if any.


Anonymous said...

If they keep winning, people will eventually fill the building. I don't anything correlates with attendance like a winning record.

I had a chance to catch parts of the pre-game show on the Team 1200 while I was in the car.

I wish I could have taped it. They were talking about the pressure of playing in Toronto and how the media unnecessarily takes small things and blows them, and how it affects the players.

I couldn't believe it. Some of the guys who were talking about that, do the exact same thing to our team. I was like they didn't realize that they were guilty of the same.

Michael said...

I was at the game last night. It was a different Senators squad than I've seen in many years.

Gone is Wade Redden and his lazy looping in the defensive zone. Spezza got into a tussle at the net. We were in section 205 and got to see it pretty close.

Gone is the goal output of Dany Heatley, but what else is gone is Dany's Wade-like looping in the neutral zone while the defense has its hands full.

There were mistakes. Karlsson made a few, but his insanely crisp passes between two opposing players will be a pleasure to watch after you realize it's not Jason Spezza making them, and Spezza doesn't do that anymore. He hits. Holy crap, Spezza hits!

Peter Regin is fun to watch. He got hurt and disappeared but he was noticed until he he wasn't. Cheechoo is playing like Fisher did last year, he tries, but doesn't get the gold star. Still, he hustles.

What gobsmacked me was that Chris Neil could skate. I had to look twice. WTF? Chris Neil skating? Huh? What?

The team is finding its feet in a new system, which is a different system than the one. It's clear that they're not there yet. But it's also clear that they're trying, really trying, and are being coached to actually try, which is really something.

I don't know where the Senators are going this year, what I do know is they're going to go about as far as they can, for good and for bad, and after years of people mailing it in, it's worth spending the dollars to go see it.

Anonymous said...


I gotta take issue with your post slamming Redden and Heatley. Redden served this franchise extremely well. He represented us at All-Star games, a World Cup, and the Olympics. He also led the defense when we won the President's Cup in 2002-03 and when we reached the Finals in 2007. He was part of the greatest team we ever had. He also stabilized the defense for 10 years.

Until we have a team that surpasses the others, Redden was among the best defensemen we have ever had.

As for Heatley, he has the franchise record for goals in a season, and points in a season. He averaged 45 goals a year. He was at All-Star games and Olympics. He was also part of the team that accomplished the most in franchise history. He along with Spezza and Alfie, led the playoffs in scoring that year.

It didn't end well, but while he was here he accomplished about as much as anyone could have asked for.

I appreciated having both these guys on the team.

As for Spezza hitting, that's great. But, I'd rather he score. I think that he also has a record of accomplishment for the franchise. I think we're lucky to have a true #1 centerman. Not all teams do. He was also a key contributor to the best team we ever iced.

I'm fine with this year's Sens, as long as they win. But, I also feel that slamming past versions of the team is a little unjust, especially ones that had a record of accomplishment.

As for past teams "mailing it in", I think that that's a little revisionist history. I didn't hear anyone saying that in 02-03, 03-04, 05-06, or 06-07. In these years, people either blamed the goaltending or blamed Alfie for lack of leadership, or blamed the absence of a leader like Gary Roberts (which was nonsense in my view).

Michael said...

The last time I saw Wade Redden use his body was in a bar, and it was with a Blonde, not a Bruin.

It's true that Dany Heatley scored lots, but it was a bit annoying watching the game in person, (where you get to see things you don't see on the TV) and watching Dany tap-tap his fucking stick going 'me me send it to me' just after Chris Phillips and Anton Volchenkov worked like fucking dogs to get the damn puck out of the Ottawa zone. Spezza was hindered by this as he had to be the guy caught in the middle. We're going to see him become our Stevie Y. He's pushing for a leadership role, and he's earning it.

And this is from a reformed 'trade Giggles' guy.

Sorry Jason. I was wrong.

Anonymous said...

Even if Redden didn't hit much (neither do Niedermayer or Lidstrom for that matter), he was still the anchor on the blueline for the better part of 10 years. We were a very successful team, and Redden was recognized by Hockey Canada as a top defender by his selections to Team Canada.

You might not like his style of play, or Heatley's for that matter, but they were among the best players at their profession. (Are you among the best at your profession?) They were effective and had a record of success to back them up. The team won games, that's the bottom line.

Spezza's a special player, on par with guys like Thornton and Lecavalier. These guys think and see the game differently than average folk. For some reason, some people think they're not working hard unless they're playing like a third-line checker.

I think we're lucky to have a guy with so much natural talent.

Michael said...

"Are you among the best at your profession?"

Yes. I am. That's why I get irked when people with talent don't give a shit.

Anonymous said...

Redden and Heatley,

You guys are on notice. It doesn't matter if have been successful in the past. Smarten up. Some people are irked.