Last night was one of those games that you could spend hours micro-analysing and still not come away with a distinct conclusion as to what you had just witnessed. After two mediocre periods of nothingness, Ottawa overcame three deficits of 3-0, 4-3 and 5-4. The latter erased by a Chris Phillips goal that came with only 1.6 seconds left on the clock. The elation and disbelief that accompanied The Big Rig’s tally was remarkable. I couldn’t believe that the Senators had sent the game to overtime after Gary “fucking” Suter’s kid nephew had scored at the 19th minute mark of the third. (An aside, I refer him as Gary “fucking” Suter because of that dirty, vicious cross-check that he laid on Paul Kariya. Not only did it hurt Canada’s Olympic gold chance, I’ve always felt that between that and the Stevens hit, Kariya’s never been the same.)
So when Shea Weber scored a powerplay marker with Matt Carkner in the box, my high disappeared faster than a Theo Fleury cocaine hit. (Sans helicopter ride to Atlantic City for some gambling at a Trump Casino. But you get the point.) Instead of being happy that the Senators came out of the game with a point, I am mind-numbingly headfucked that they didn’t steal two from a beleaguered Nashville team that featured the horrendous goaltending of Pekka Rinne. Who consequently, did nothing to disprove the sophomore slump. Need an indictment of his play? I was actually confident that Ottawa could victimize the guy in a shootout.
Not strong performance by either of these two last night. It’s easy to shit on Picard because of his egregious mental and physical errors and the fact that he was benched for the third period, but why are some shitting on Carkner? It’s not like he was the beneficiary of Picard’s play in the first period. (An aside, if Picard was given credit for the goal and assist that he gave Nashville, his numbers wouldn’t be that bad.)
Much has been made of the Senators early season powerplay woes and it was nice to see Chris Campoli chip in with a goal last night. It was a rare incidence of seeing the defence just blast a shot from the point with the other team guarding Spezza’s patented backdoor/cross-ice pass.
Too often I find that Ottawa’s defencemen are willing to throw the puck up front and let the skilled forwards work their magic and creativity down low. Right now, Ottawa’s powerplay runs like a NBA offence. It’s all about giving the stars as many touches as possible to keep them satisfied. Unfortunately, I think Erik Karlsson’s suffers a bit from this. Whether it’s confidence, an inclination, or pressure to feed the puck to Ottawa’s elite guys, Karlsson’s not shooting the puck as often as I’d like to see. Even though last night’s game was a bit of a clusterfuck, one of the few things that I appreciated in Nashville’s game was the fact that their defence loves to shoot and can hit the net with consistency.
Eklund Has Swine Flu (E5)
According to his Twitter, the hockey rumo(u)r blogger is battling the flu. It’s tough to believe him though. I mean, I checked TSN and neither Dreger or Bobby-Mac had broken the news first. Get well soon Ek.
Winchester to the AHL
As I had speculated, Cory Clouston announced at practice today that the Senators have optioned Jesse Winchester to Binghamton for a 2-week conditioning stint and will play tonight against the Syracuse Crunch. If you’re a big believer that a trade is imminent, this 2-week period should serve as a window of opportunity for Bryan Murray to make a move and address the team’s abundance of depth.