Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Sens Let Caps Back Into Playoff Spot....Plus The Hard Truth About Filatov...And More Notes

Washington 5 Ottawa 3

Tough night for Ottawa. Hell, it was a tough night for Washington.

For a moment it looked like the Senators were about to pull the comeback routine on the Caps late in the third when Alex Semin took a lazy penalty and Milan Michalek popped one in to make it 4-3 and get himself tied for the NHL goal scoring lead.

Daniel Alfredsson was inches away from tying it up but Tomas Vokoun made a desperation save and that was all she wrote for the late dramatics. The Senators didn't look too into the game until Chris Neil did what he does best and bulldozed Alex Ovechkin. Ovie got up, muttered "fat f**k" and then speared Neil in the gut which somehow prompted the refs to call Neil for diving. The anger from that call gave Ottawa some legs and they began to play with some emotion and took a hard fought 2-1 lead into the third.

Then all hell broke loose. Three goals went past Craig Anderson in a five minute span and Ottawa only got one of them back.

Now the Sens have put themselves in a tough spot having to fly into New Jersey tonight to get some sleep ahead of the back-to-back. If they can't beat Jersey then they come home to the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday and they're starting to look dangerous again.

In short, that was one Ottawa let slip away and it cost them their sole spot in eighth place that they now share with the Caps. You can imagine the turmoil it would have caused back in D.C. if the Caps had lost this one in the dying stages. Ottawa would have been three points clear of them and Ovie and company would be hitting peak levels of angst and frustration. Now they're just a little looser, Ovie scored a trademark snipe and suddenly things look a lot brighter for the Caps.

The Caps were a giant the Senators would rather have left sleeping as they continue their season-long crusade to stick it to the pre-season critics and actually make the playoffs in April.

Black Aces Senators 3 Stars

1. Milan Michalek
2. Nick Foligno
3. Daniel Alfredsson


Nikita Filatov was made a healthy scratch again. At this point I think it’s rather clear that coach Paul MacLean just doesn’t like The Filatov. He’s not a MacLean type player and that seems to be the start and the end of it. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that either. If MacLean thinks he has a better chance to win without Filatov on the ice, then just get the kid out of here and move on with the season. It's even worse when you realize that the player he's competing with - Bobby Butler - isn't producing but still gets the nod ahead of him. Some people will say it’s not fair, but whoever said the NHL was fair in the first place? Think of how many guys never got a chance to even play in a single game in the league, let alone a guy like Filatov who’s now on his second team and still can’t convince anybody he’s worth playing full-time. It’s a cutthroat business and Filatov just hasn’t made his mark. ….I actually think it would be a good idea to name the four new conferences the Howe (Detroit’s grouping), the Gretzky (West coast), the Orr (Northeast) and the Lemieux (Pittsburgh’s grouping). The cynics will find something not to like about it as they always do, but there’s nothing wrong with going the sentimental route…. Latest Twitter nonsense: Sportsnet's Mike Brophy immediately chimed in that Brendan Shanahan should be reviewing Sens goalie Craig Anderson tripping the Caps Jason Chimera into the end boards in the first period. Pffft. Please. Andy was going for the puck on a play by his net. Chimera got a stinger. It's hilarious how so many people watch hockey simply so they can jump up and feign outrage on Twitter every time someone gets a bruise. Maybe hilarious is not the right word. Pathetic is more like it..... Imagine they had Twitter back in the 50's? Gordie Howe would be public enemy number one and U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy and his legion of blacklist elves would be tweeting that Ted Lindsay was a commie. The big debate on Twitter would be about making helmets mandatory.....

..... Hard to believe that two teams as talented as Ottawa and Washington could produce nearly unwatchable hockey for the first ten minutes of the first period. It took a 5 on 3 power play for the Caps to open up the game, but the rest of the period was only marginally more exciting than the first half......Interesting to see Paul MacLean pulling aside his entire defense corps during a TV timeout to give them an animated talk about moving the puck. Usually you'll see an assistant coach do that in-game. But MacLean is as hands-on as they come, compared to stoics like Scotty Bowman and Jacques Martin. The "pep-talk" came immediately after David Rundblad looked like he was taking a stroll along the Champs-Élysées with the puck when a Cap back-checker lifted Rundblad's baguette and almost got away with it. That's been Rundblad's weakness his whole rookie season so far - thinking he has way more time than he actually does. Maybe MacLean needs to put him on the old stopwatch routine. Two steamboats and then the puck has to go......

......Heard someone talking about hockey cards today and it brought back a painful memory. I lived in Montreal for about three years going to university in the early 2000’s and became a bit of a card collecting nutcase for a while, amassing a huge collection of cardboard. When I left to move back to Ottawa in 2002, I was forced to leave behind the cards to save space in the car (yes, I moved my entire life in the backseat of my buddy’s car), with the intention of going back for them later that month. Months turned to years and I forgot all about those cards and they’re either sitting at the bottom of a landfill right now or my old roomie who I lost touch with cashed them in for beer and steaks. Leaving those cards was either the worst or best decision of my life. My wife thinks it was the best by far. Marrying her came a close second…..Among those cards? A huge Alexei Yashin collection, probably the finest in the East. Go ahead and laugh….. As a kid I had the O Pee Chee Steve Yzerman, Mario Lemieux and Patrick Roy rookies. My mom tossed those like they were regular garbage. Go ahead and cry…..


Anonymous said...

I'd be really disappointed if we've seen the last of Filatov.

I like the job that MacLean has done, so I don't want to criticize him. But, I dont think that Filatov has been given a fair shot.

The context is important. It was reported that Filatov was told that he would be given a legit shot at a top 6 role when we acquired him.

If he was told that, then the Sens aren't holding up their end of the bargain.

If he wasn't told that, then I question why we even bothered trading for the guy.

However it ends up, I don't blame Filatov if he bolts to the KHL to pocket a few million. I think many people would do the same thing, under the same circumstances.

Jeremy Milks said...

Anon, I'm as surprised as anyone Filatov hasn't gotten more of a chance. To me it looked like he just needed one to go in to start playing well. But right now, he doesn't seem to fit the team identity which is a more lunchpail type of mentality than in the past. Obviously MacLean feels like Filatov doesn't fit.

Anonymous said...

This makes me think of the Sergei Kostitsyn saga we had in Montreal, with Martin not liking his style of play. Nashville finally gave him a chance to play and he his proving he has the talent to produce in the NHL... I hope Filatov will get a chance somewhere too

don said...

At the rink at my kids practice and my boy asked for 25 cents to get hockey cards out of the machine - it dispenses random cards from whatever year / whatever style. He ends up with two cards, one an Antropov card from a few years ago, and the 2nd an Andy VanHellemond referee card. My 8 eight-old says something like "What a crock! A ref card!" Classic.

Jeremy Milks said...

Don, I wonder if that rink happens to be the Kanata rink in Beaverbrook. They have one of those machines there and I got some cards for my boy. But I kept putting in quarter after quarter and I was more excited than my kid. Old habits die hard.

Adam said...

Is that the Mlacak Centre? I haven't been there since I played as a kid.

I've never heard of ref cards before. They're probably worth more than my old WHA cards, though.

No wonder that league folded. The Toronto Toros???

SCSF said...

^ Hey hey, don't knock the WHA. Those were the good old days. Lots of color to the game.

The Toros actually started off in Ottawa, btw. One of two failed Ottawa franchises in the WHA.

Adam said...

Not knocking the WHA (a bit before my time, so don't have any memories of it), but I always thought that the name 'Toros' was pretty goofy for a Toronto hockey team.

Hey, I've even got Murray Heatley's WHA hockey card (yes, the father of He Who Shall Not Be Named). Also the 'fake' Paul MacLean where they put the wrong picture on (although I'm pretty sure that was the NHL Jets, not WHA). I can't remember what year that was from.

I probably should get rid of all my cards at some point, but I still find it fun to go through them occasionally.

SCSF said...

All those goofy, relatively unsophisticated cards (compared to baseball cards and modern hockey cards) are just one of the many reasons to keep them. Hockey memories from childhood are so much purer. I love going through them every 2 or 3 years when I visit my parents up in Ottawa. Last time I realized I had 2 Gretzky rookie cards, which was pretty cool, though definitely not the highlight of the collection.