Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Look at this picture

Round two, 2010:

Two things leaped out at me.

First: the only top-four seed in the east that beat their opposition in round one was... Pittsburgh.

Second: the seed numbers from the east that failed to get through are the seed numbers in the west that succeeded.

The second factiod means precisely nothing.

The first one confirms that the East really is drowning in mediocrity.

Monday, April 26, 2010


Just found out that a local sports radio show has the same name as this 'blog. Which I am sure would make most people think I'm a copy cat. Of course since the radio show probably had the name first, I doubt anyone would believe my cries of ignorance -- not sure I would either, hearing the facts of the matter. So my guess is that sometime over the summer, this 'blog will change its name again.

Fortunately, there's A) some time to figure this out and B) no one other than me reading, so it isn't the huge issue it might otherwise have been.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Made Them Earn It

Well considering where we were at the beginning of the year, the fact that we took the defending champions to six and made them earn the win, dragging them through overtime twice -- with the officials staying out of it for the most part -- well I am disappointed but I did expect this.

Now we relax until the cup is dealt with in May (or June?...) and then it is planning for next year.

Here's hoping that the team can build on this and do even better next year.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Sens force game 6

Well THAT... that was unbelievable. First time in a long time I've watched a game end-to-end, and first time ever I've stuck with the OT. Most of the time I bail out halfway through OT1 because it is getting late.

Putting LeClaire in tonight was a no-lose decision for Clouston tonight. Everyone (me included, I'll admit) thought that tonight was going to be it, the last game of the season. If LeClaire lost, well the series was over anyways. If they win, everyone's happy. LeClaire played like he was out to prove something, and I think he did. He got a LOT of help from the guys in front of him, and that meant he didn't have to carry the whole effort on his back.

I thought the Senators were outclassed in periods 2 and 3, like they were just waiting for opportunity to be handed to them. Fortunately for them it was handed to them, permitting them to tie the game.

Through OT1 and OT2 I thought that Pittsburgh looked more affected by being tired, with the Senators seemingly able to take the game to the Penguins end almost at will. My theory was that as the teams got tired, the speed factor that the Penguins could bring dropped off much faster than Ottawa's output did. In OT3 the Penguins came back hard, with Ottawa looking more like they were getting run around in their own end. However even though the Penguins were pressing, I didn't think many of the chances were truly dangerous. The Senators hung tough and stayed disciplined and kept the opportunities to a minimum. They still were able to press when the opportunities to go the other way presented themselves, and that resulted in the game winning goal.

So congratulations to the Senators for forcing a game 6 to bring the series back to Ottawa for Saturday. Honestly I still don't think the team can win the series, but I'll happily be wrong again. If the Senators make Pittsburgh earn the win then I'll be satisfied with the end to this year.

Trivia: one commenter on the "Live Blog" thing I was participating in during the OT periods (since my PVR caught up to live TV for once) said that before tonight, the Senators had never won a playoff game when their opponents had 3 wins in the series.

LeClaire sets a franchise record for the number of saves made in a playoff game by an Ottawa Senators goalie with 58 56 stops.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Toronto As A Sports Town

Here's another article crapping on Toronto sports fans: When it comes to sports, Toronto is a city of losers

I agree with the notion that because the fans continue to come out to see the games, win or (as seems more likely) lose, the organizations behind the teams has no financial incentive to improve the on-field product. However, the problem isn't so much the individual fan, but the fact that there are so many of them that demand for the product far exceeds the organizations' abilities to deliver.

My favorite example of this is the Maple Leafs. The problem is that the fan-base in Southern Ontario is so wide that even if every fan who attended a game this year totally boycotted the team next year, the arena would probably still sell out.

Maple Leaf Sports Entertainment (MLSE) has a monopoly, in that they are the only ones who can supply regular access to games played by the Maple Leafs. Such is the demand that MLSE can demand high prices for tickets to those games; the surrounding market provides enough rich people who want to see the games that these games will frequently (usually?) sell out.

So consider what happens if by some miracle the Leafs are built into a contending team. How does this affect the box office? Since the box office sells out already, it doesn't. The fact that a winning team would increase the desirability of a Maple Leafs ticket means MLSE could conceivably raise prices. However the fact that there is a secondary market for Leafs tickets shows that MLSE is already leaving some money on the table.

The combined Southern Ontario market in general, and the Metro Toronto market in particular, is so big that any organization with even a moderate market penetration will find enough fans with enough money to keep them in business.

In a smaller market, say for example Ottawa, a losing team does become economically unviable. This will eventually run the ownership group out of money, resulting in a change of ownership, management, and eventually -- should the on-field product not improve -- venue. We saw it with the CFL several times, and minor league baseball has left Ottawa twice already too.

But Toronto's sports enterprises have such a rich market in potential fanbase that it is unlikely that you could measure a drop in fan support at the box office. As such, while the organizations want to improve for pride reasons, there isn't any financial mechanism to sweep out the ownership and management which has thus far failed to deliver.

Monday, April 12, 2010


Two notes from the weekend.

First, how about this for a trade rumor:
LeClaire for Price. Two goalies who are not as bad as the teams in front of them made them look, who are both looking for fresh starts.
Second, in a discussion of this year's season just done:
I be Dany Heatley is glad he didn't go to Edmonton last summer. He'd be a Leaf now!

Round 1: Penguins

Here's my prediction for round one: Pittsburgh in six. Ottawa will come out of Pittsburgh with a split series, but it will be split again when they go back; Ottawa loses a close game 5 with a spirited effort, but folds completely in game 6. Historically when Ottawa has been in a "do or die" situation, they choose "die".

(I do know that Ottawa has never won a game 7.)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


I only saw the game from about half-way through the 2nd. But some quick impressions:
  • What did I tell you about Alfredsson? Effort at both ends, PK and PP time, and a point. Too bad he couldn't grab a goal, but a win for his 1000th game is what he said he wanted. Class act all the way. The Ottawa Senators will definitely be retiring his #11 once he's done with it.
  • LeClaire gave up two goals, one on a bad play by Karlsson, one on a bad line change by the on-ice players. I don't blame him for either of those. He didn't have to make any circus stops, which means that in general the team was playing well in front of him.
  • Mike Fisher was on. Two goals and a couple of posts, with another half-dozen quality chances. I give full credit to his linemates for helping to make this happen.
  • Karlsson made some excellent plays to compensate for the brain fart that led to the first goal. This kid will be an excellent player one day.
  • The own-goal on Florida credited to Neil shows what kind of night it was. The Senators were going to get the bounces, and the Panthers were not.
It was a good game for Ottawa, a nice steady game where the outcome was never really in doubt. This is a good foundation to look to the post-season from.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Man

Daniel Alfredsson is set to play is 1000th NHL game tonight, every one having been as an Ottawa Senator. If history is any guide, tonight will be a game just like many others -- leadership in effort at both ends of the ice, power play and penalty kill time, and probably a point.

Go get 'em.