Random In-Game Thoughts

- A nice touch by the Maple Leafs to honour the men and women in uniform. Alfie gets booed for the ceremonial puck drop, Dominic Moore gets the nod for the Leafs. I wouldn’t have put it past Alfie to win the draw, Moore’s not even wearing the ‘C’.

- It looks like Ottawa’s trying to throw this game. Not only is Gerber in nets, Spezza spears Dominic Moore to start the game. Those poor Moore’s have it tough.

- Spezza somehow only draws a slashing penalty for the incident. Moore gets an incidental minor as well. I call collusion by the referees. They obviously don’t want to see a Canadian franchise get the top pick.

- Mike Fisher and the Senators are setting a physical tone for the start of the game. Wake us Sens fans when he starts scoring consistently.

- Nice dive by Ruutu, Finger to the penalty box.

- Toronto’s doing their best to enter the Taveras sweepstakes as Kubina crosschecks Alfie. Ottawa with the 5-on-3 advantage. This rivalry is really taking it to the next level. Ottawa’s Power Play is about as strong as one of Nicole Richie’s biceps. It’s anemic. Naturally, Alfie scores once the first penalty expires.

- With a 1-0 lead, I wouldn’t blame Hartsburg for sitting on the lead.

- Right now, I’m wondering how many defeatist Sens fans miss Bob Cole right now. The Sens goalie has a shutout going. Craig Simpson however, is kindly doing his best imitation.

- First the Spezza non-spear call, now Martin Gerber gets a phantom call for delay of game after the Leafs’ Mitchell knocks the net of its moorings. They’re obviously trying to atone for their earlier error. Playoffs!

- Ottawa kills the short-lived 5-on-3 without breaking a sweat. It’s pretty evident that Toronto really wants the two points tonight.

- The first period ends with the Sens holding the lead 1-0.

- Here’s a first intermission thought, can you imagine the Taveras/Hedman Cup coming down to the final game of the season between the Sens and Leafs on April 11th? It’d probably make for one of the most unwatchable games in the modern history of the NHL.

- Intermission thought #2: If the Isles start dumping salary and talent (ie. Guerin, Weight, etc.) will Bryan Murray be tempted to follow suit? And if the plan is for the Sens to rebuild, shouldn’t they beat the Isles to the punch in some kind of ass-backwards arms race?

- Hughson and Simpson are discussing the Senators’ plight. Hughson seems to be under the impression that because of the term and value of the contracts that the Sens are paying their top players, Ottawa can’t rebuild. I smell bullshit. Paying the Big 3 superstar money isn’t the problem in Ottawa. Overpaying the likes of Fisher, Kelly, Vermette, Gerber, Phillips, Smith while they provide zero production is killing this team. Compound that financial squeeze with some poor player development from John Muckler’s draft picks and it’se easy to understand why the Sens have been shitty. The mainstream media likes to blame the Big 3 because it makes for a good story. It’s like when the tabloids and comedians were ripping Kevin Federline for riding Britney’s coat-tails. Who could have imagined that he’d turn out to be the stable one?

- Great. Volchenkov and Smith misplay a puck in the Ottawa zone and it lands right on Dominic Moore’s stick. He proceeds to bury a backhander gloveside. I’m surprised the referee didn’t get on the phone, call into the Toronto offices and ask them to investigate collusion right there and then.

- People were critical of this Sens team when they failed to retaliate after Jere Lehtinen hit Alfredsson from behind. After watching that 10-man hugfest, I’m not surprised the Sens didn’t respond. Just embarrassing.

- Jason Blake has a goal called back after he made a distinct kicking motion to knock the puck in. The Taveras Gods are overlooking the Ottawa Senators this evening. If this were seven years ago, it wouldn’t even have been reviewed. We had such bad karma back then. Anyone remember the infamous no-goal against Buffalo where a goal was disallowed because Randy Cunneyworth’s head was hanging over the blue paint?

- The second period comes to a close with the game tied at one goal apiece. I’m desperate for some meaningful hockey so I’m switching the broadcast to the World Juniors. Within minutes Eberle scores, Canada’s up 3-2. I flip back to CBC where they’re discussing the struggles of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Note to Pittsburgh, you’re the new Ottawa. Enjoy the regression after a trip to the Cup Finals! According to Milbury, some of the blame can be attributed to the fact that Sidney Crosby is still living at Mario Lemieux’s place and it’s raising eyebrows in the dressing room. Boom goes the dynamite! And I thought the Senators had some problems. At least we don’t have to worry about any of our players living with Melnyk. Pierre Lebrun comes to his defence saying that there are problems in Pittsburgh that extend beyond Crosby’s home.

- The Sens are now on the PP and on a dump in, Martin Gerber turned it over behind the net to Jason Blake. With an empty net Blake fails to come out from behind and bury it. These two teams are doing their best to give the game away. Someone’s got to want this more.

- If the NHL wants to increase ratings, maybe they could think about a new reality show featuring Sidney Crosby living in Lemieux’s home. Think of the drama that could unfold as Crosby could break curfew, bring home a puck bunny, make an offhand remark to Lemieux’s wife. The potential is endless.

- The Taveras Gods have made another appearance as Anton Volchenkov has gone down with an apparent shoulder injury. Hopefully it’s not too serious but it’s unbelievable how this game is working out for the Leafs. It’s like they’re being set up to win.

- While Volchenkov stayed on the bench for a bit, he has no gone to the dressing room. Fuck….

- Unintentionally funny line of the night goes to Jim Hughson. While the Senators are on the PP, he says, “Mike Fisher can’t shoot.” (He was referring to there being no shooting lane for him.)

- I wish this was football, for the simple fact that Hartsburg would have the ability to decline penalties. Holy fuck the PP is awful.

- If watching the PP operate wasn’t painful enough, having Kubina jump out of the box and set up Ponikarovsky for the go-ahead goal is salt in the wound.

- I didn’t think it was possible but I think Jason Blake blanks on more scoring opportunities than Mike Fisher. That’s fucking mindboggling.

- Problems, what problems? The Leafs, statistically, are the easiest team to score against in the League and Ottawa can’t score against them.

- Taveras Gods rear their heads again and Jason Blake scores. Maybe there’s hope for Mike Fisher after all?

- Chris Neil retaliates for a hit on Mike Fisher by Ian White. He jumps White and single-handidly takes Ottawa out of the rest of the game with a dumb penalty. Down 3-1, Ottawa’s going to be short-handed for two of the last three minutes.

- After tonight’s game, Ottawa is 1-4-0 on their 8-game trip with an accumulative road record of 4-12-2. Playoffs! If this ineptness continues for the remaining three games on the road, it’ll be interesting to see what kind of response the club will get in their return to SBP. Frankly, I’d love to see them take the ice to Gerry Rafferty’s Baker Street.