Sunday, October 6, 2013
Sens Lose Shootout In Hogtown... Turris Line Rolling Early...And More Game Notes
If the season opener in Buffalo didn't exactly live up to the hype, Saturday's tilt against the Leafs on Hockey Night In Canada certainly made up for it.
After the 1-0 goalie battle on Friday, it was a welcome sight to see a few goals no matter what team you were cheering for. The Senators were a victim of their own success after Jason Spezza and Jared Cowen opened up the game with two goals in 15 seconds to go up 4-2 in the second period. That got James Reimer the hook (maybe for good) and Jonathan Bernier came in and absolutely stoned the Senators the rest of the way, allowing the Leafs to chip away until winning it in the shootout.
You could see Coach Paul MacLean rewarding the best Senators on the ice as the line of Kyle Turris, Clarke MacArthur and Cory Conacher kept getting sent out, and for good reason - they were incredible tonight. Turris and MacArthur in particular were all over the Leafs, while Jason Spezza was the only one making anything happen on the top line (more on Bobby Ryan in the Notes section below).
Erik Karlsson, the hero from Friday in Buffalo, didn't seem to have much going on and looked a little too casual until finding his legs late in the third period. Craig Anderson didn't have much of a chance on the goals he gave up and still made 38 saves in total.
The real positive for Ottawa has to be the fact they showed some secondary offense with the Turris line, while Spezza also scored and looks healthy. If that holds up, it's only a matter of a few games until Ryan and Milan Michalek get their first of the season as well.
BLACK ACES SENATORS 3 STARS
1. Kyle Turris
2. Clarke MacArthur
3. Jared Cowen
When Clarke MacArthur made that semi-breakaway dash to the Toronto net at the start of the third, it was like watching Shawn McEachern again in a Senators uniform. MacArthur is a lot faster than I thought he was and could end up being the sleeper UFA signing of the summer.... Hmmm, not sure I made the most brilliant move dropping Kyle Turris from my hockey pool. With Spezza healthy, Turris is going to get away from facing the best shutdown combos that slowed him down at times last year. The only thing slowing me down is my annual tendency to overthink everything about my fantasty team. Just saying "fantasy team" makes me think I'm lucky to have ever kissed a girl..... It looked like Dion Phaneuf was ready to turn around and floor the Senator who pressed him to the glass at the first period buzzer, but when he saw it was old buddy Clarke MacArthur he let it slide. If that was Chris Pronger, whom Phaneuf was compared to early in his career, the ex-teammate would have eaten at least three fingers of Pronger's glove....
..... Speaking of brotherly love, Brian Sutter, longtime NHL coach and player once said to The Hockey News, "Let's put it this way: if one of my brothers were standing in front of the bus last night and we were about to leave and he was on the other team, I'd have run over him. I wouldn't have called out first to ask him to get out of the way, either. That's my mentality, that's the way it is. I don't really care." That's one of the best hockey quotes I've ever come across. Insane, but probably true. Luckily Brian was never presented with that situation in real life, although it's not hard to imagine a Sutter brother standing in front of a team bus wanting to fight every single person in it..... James Van Riemsdyk looks like he's going to have a huge year. I never really understood why Philly let him go in the first place, but they also moved Mike Richards and Jeff Carter who both went on to win the Stanley Cup almost immediately....
....Don Cherry is right about Dave Bolland looking like Doug Gilmour. He doesn't have the same skill, of course, but Bolland just looks like one of those guys on the early 90's Leafs teams that went to the conference finals a couple of times. He's going to be a blue pain in the ass for the Senators for the next few years..... Interesting moments in colour commentating: Glen Healy criticizing the Leafs defense after the first period Turris goal by saying “It’s like the Three Musketeers out there. Too much stick checking”.... Veteran move by Chris Neil not to fight Colton Orr moments after Jason Spezza had made it 4-2. Ottawa had nothing to gain from a fight at that point.....
...... Colin Greening has always looked strong in puck battles, but this year he seems to be meaner against the boards and a little quicker and more involved. Wonder if it's just maturity or that new multi-year deal he signed in the summer that's given him some jump. Not sure he'll ever score 20 goals in a season but his value really isn't in points anyways. It's early, but I like the way he's playing so far.... Tough watching Phil Kessell lying on the ice near the end of the 2nd period after taking an undetected high-stick from Erik Condra. I'm not saying it didn't hurt, but lying there like you've been hit by a sniper waiting for a call while the Senators break out with the puck is a little much. He looked fine complaining on his way to the bench. Hopefully he recovers....
.... CBC did a nice job isolating Bobby Ryan on a replay of the Kessell goal that tied the game 4-4. He had gotten tied up with a Leaf defender behind Jonathan Bernier, but it also showed Ryan coasting back down the ice before he realized his team was in trouble and had to start moving his legs. Not a very flattering few seconds for the highly touted winger.... Not completely surprising to see Joe Corvo sub-in for the rusty Eric Gryba in Toronto, but Corvo didn't exactly make a strong case to keep Gryba on the sidelines for more than a game or two..... Stephane Da Costa was a healthy scratch and Matt Kassian went in to the lineup in case there problems with Colton Orr and others. Nothing ended up happening but Kassian played a pretty strong game when he got onto the ice by going to the net and being part of a few rushes. The guy doesn't get much respect from the snippy Twitter heads but MacLean sure likes him. I do too..... It's nice to have hockey back, isn't it?