Friday, March 2, 2012


So I am, as the title above says, a bit torn.

Torn because the Chicago Blackhawks came in here and while I figured they would be beatable, the demonstration they left on the ice suggests that tonight they were by far the better team. They were faster, more aggressive, tighter, looser, everything-er.

Frankly the only reason the score wasn't run up was Lehner.

That's not to say this was a bad outing for the Senators. No, the fact that they could live with -- more or less -- a demonstrably better team reflects well on them. For a first year rebuild team, this was an exceptionally good game. They lost, yes, but it wasn't a blow-out and while I felt they were running around in their own end a bit much -- as well as the neutral zone and frankly the offensive zone -- they never really stopped trying. They looked like a young team, but they never gave up.

I think with the ongoing implosion that is going on behind them in the standings (see also Toronto) the first round of playoffs is a lock for the Senators at this point. Beyond that, anything can happen. And again, for a first-year rebuild team, that's an outstanding achievement. Even if it is more of a condemnation of how mediocre the east really is.

The ever-present danger here is that the Senators won't be able to continue to build on this momentum, that management might decide to go back to trying to "tweak" the team into contention.

So I'm continuing to enjoy the games I manage to catch. I'm just not sure I'm optimistic about the long-term.

In other news:
  • Good on Ray Emery to get his career back on track. The boy can play, and as long as he focuses on that, he'll continue to do just fine. I don't know why he was run out of Ottawa, but he's clearly got his act together in Chicago.
  • Also nice to see ex-Sen Antoine Vermette get some attention through the game.
  • Hossa still looked dangerous at times, but he kind of came across as a faded star -- someone capable of occasional flashes of his former brilliance, but not a regular super star. Sort of like -- and it pains me to say this -- how Daniel Alfredsson might look next year.