Friday, December 27, 2013

That Was Terrible

Well I found a doctor willing to change my medication, but despite that I find that I still don't give any significant part of a rat's anatomy about the Senators right now.

Watching the Boston game tonight I didn't see anything worth getting excited over, either pro or con.  It was just, meh, why did I spend my Friday night watching this.

Frankly the team just isn't playing very well right now.  If anything, I think the current "results" even flatter the effort being put into it.  I think that the gap between a really good team and a really bad team is so small that if a really good team (say Pittsburgh) considers the game a no-effort "gimme", then they'll get blown out.  But frankly I think that's the only way the Senators are going to find success this year.

Maybe I need advice from a Leafs fan as to how I should go about being enthused about a team like this.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Unexpected Brains

Robin Lehner is smarter than he looks:
Lehner insists he’s still just Senators’ backup 
As long as Craig Anderson is the #1 goalie, he can be the magnet for all the boo-birds and other mouth-breathers in the media. Lehner understands that the problem with this hockey team is usually the five guys ahead of the crease, not the guy standing in it. And I bet that Lehner understands that one reason why he's "outplaying" Anderson is that Anderson is getting the tougher starts.

I'm sure Lehner is just hoping that next year when he's the guy that the team reverts back from its uncharacteristically poor level of play, and he can therefore take credit as being the one thing of significance that changed.

Lehner will get his turn in the entryway to the Goalie Graveyard; we shouldn't rush Anderson's time in the chute. We should savor this process. Just be patient. Don't skip to the surprise ending.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013


This is how a fan base disappears -- one by one, just silently not coming back any more.  No passion, no anger, no shouts and proclamations of wounded pride.

Just a lack of interest.  Just not coming back any more.

I may go to games in the future, I may watch on TV, but right now, I don't think I care.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Not Time To Panic

You have to hate the blogosphere some times, you really do.  Here we are, not 10 games into the regular season, and already the fans are pushing the panic button.

The problem is that this really isn't appropriate yet.  I mean, when most of your losses consist of games against western teams like Anahiem (twice), San Jose (twice), and Chicago, all of which can be charitably describes as "better than you are", you have to assume that most of those games are not going to go your way.

Never the less, the blogosphere is pushing the panic button: trade for defense.  Trade for offense.  Blame Ryan for not gelling with Spezza.  Blame MacLean for not playing this guy, or for playing that guy.  Blame Murray for the staffing problems.

The best one I read was a throw-away tweet vaguely blaming Alfredsson.  It is obvious that if he had stayed in Ottawa, then the team would come together better and continue to overachieve.

This is the first year in a while where the Senators have been expected to impress, and it is harder to live up to those expectations than the previous years expectations of mediocrity.  This year the team might just underwhelm.  And while that's not good for the front office -- which already seems to have some problems in that area -- it is, frankly, to be expected.

No, the time to panic will be much later this year, when we have played more of the divisional rivals we are going to grind against through the year.  Only then will we have a real picture of where the team is, night in and night out, against the competition that matters this year.

Comparing ourselves to the likes of Chicaco will only result in us coming up short -- and really that shouldn't be a surprise to anyone.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Leafs/Sabres: The Gift That Keeps On Giving

This dead horse really takes a beating, doesn't it. I was going to decide I didn't care any more, but this is too good to pass up:
The notion that we should let players “police themselves” is the highest of high comedy, as if Cam Janssen is a modern-day Wyatt Earp, dispensing justice on the hockey frontier when referees can’t get the job done. 
Seriously, I think that article should be considered the premier anti-fighting article thus far.

Related: NHL coaches don't like the fact that the Sabres coach was fined for "player selection" in sending out a goon with his line change. Toronto tried to calm the situation by putting skilled players out against the goon, but hilarity ensued nevertheless. In this I agree with the coaches, in that if a player is on the bench, a coach should have the option of putting him out at any given legal time. To decide that some players can't be played in certain incidents only illustrates the degree to which the NHL will bend good sense in the pursuit of... I don't even know.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

NHL Logic

So the whole mess that is the Leafs-Sabres pre-season brawl has been done to death, but I just want to beat a particular part of this dead horse one more time:
Kessel Swings His Stick Not Once, But Twice – Whether or not he connected, and whether or not it was in self-defense (the first one, not the second), brandishing your stick in such a manner as a weapon is definitely contravening the rules and could be (and was) construed as an attempt to injure.
Attempt to injure, huh? Later, in the same article:
As of now, however ridiculous it sounds in the real world, punching someone of any size with your fist is not considered an attempt to injure in the NHL.

That said, I'm yet to read anyone really standing up and enthusiastically justify the thuggery that was a part of this "game".  It is all back-of-the-hand justification, half-assed references to "The Code", and generally not providing a ringing endorsement.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Beating That Dead Horse

The fighting debate in a nutshell:
  • On what possible level can you even begin to justify having more than $9 million worth of starting goalies fighting each other in a meaningless exhibition game? 
  • Notwithstanding the above, can we all agree that goalie fights are the greatest?
(Linked because it is funny.)

This is what happens when I pay even a passing attention to the NHL.  Somehow my urge to watch hockey is at a five- or six- year low.

That said, there seems to be more noise in the blog-o-sphere which are sounding tired of fighting.  A couple of entries:
The last article is interesting, as it compares the incidences of fighting in the pre-season (more than one per game) to the incidences during the regular season (0.8 per game) to incidences during the no-holds-barred, put-the-whistle-away playoffs (just over 0.5 per game).  In other words, the more the game "means", the less fighting there is.

I'm still following things, even if disinterestedly, so my interest level is still higher than 2005 when it was "who cares?"  But I wonder how much of even this minimal interest level is sheer inertia.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

One More Time, With Feeling

Some people, predictably, get excited over nothing.  But you know what?  To hell with politics, recriminations, he said he said, and "team loyalty":

I like this.

I hope Ottawa fans blow the roof of of CTC for Alfredsson when Detroit comes to visit this fall.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Grantland Fixes The NHL

Grantland has some ideas about how to improve the NHL product.  It is a lengthy list, and well worth reading.  For the most part I agree with the suggestions and the rationale for some things which were explicitly not suggested.

Things I disagree with, kinda:

Lose the puck-over-the-glass penalty: The cynic in me says that people don't like this rule because it is black and white.  There's no room for interpretation as to whether or not the puck went over the glass -- if it is in someone's beer, and that someone isn't on the ice, it went in the glass.  Fans -- and players -- like rules with room for interpretation (or "discretion") because it means that in certain game-critical situations, the enforcement of rules can be suspended in the interests of letting the boys play the game.  Changing it so that it is the same as an icing call is fine with me from a game-flow point of view.  As long as the rules are consistently applied, I really don't care too much about the specifics.

No more Bettman Cup Presentations: I'm all for making Bettman sad, but frankly the cup presentation isn't about the players.  This is about the owners inserting themselves into the process so that history will look back and see how gracious the owners were about providing this format for the feats of greatness that the players perform.  It is, in short, about the money rather than about the sport.  And as long as Bettmen is involved with the NHL, he'll be handing out the cup.  Besides, it makes the cup presentations something to remember and talk about when it goes so comically, hilariously bad.  Otherwise nobody would care about it after the live presentation.  I mean seriously, which Prince Of Wales Trophy presentation is the most memorable to you?  If you exclude those awarded you your favorite team at the time, I bet the answer is none of them.  (And I had to look up the trophy name.)

Crossover Final:  I'm pretty sure this will never happen because of the potential for increased travel costs.  And frankly it would lead to situations approaching those as ridiculous as the Mets and the Yankees playing a subway series for the "World" championships.  And really, that will lead to larger segments of the country feeling left out when every final is played between two Western teams.  Because it will.  So if you want a crossover series of playoffs, why start at the second level?  I say, rank the teams from first to last in terms of points, and seed the top eight, and go from there.  That will make more of the regular season games meaningful, give random playoff combinations.

Place a moratorium on redesigned logos/jerseys: Again, this is about money, although in this case it is more blatantly about moving it from the fans' pockets into the owners.  I think that as long as fans keep buying the jerseys, the teams should be permitted to make whatever changes they want.  A fan spending a couple thousand bucks a year on tickets and parking and beer probably has a budget where another $200 jersey is a rounding error.  If fans really don't like it or feel that the costs are exorbitant then they'll stop buying the new jerseys.

Go back to home whites: Home whites only look good if you are the Toronto Maple Leafs, frankly.  Just about everyone else's look stupid.  The only time I liked the Ottawa Senators whites was with the "old" logo (see any Ottawa Senators post on this blog) because it didn't look good with the black.  So if we can go back to the "old" logo for the Senators, I'd possibly be down with going back to home whites.  But maybe not, I'd have to see how the logo looked on the current red.  I really like the red first.  And changing the Senators logo would conflict with his "moratorium on redesigned logos/jerseys".

More home-and-homes: I'm totally OK with this if it is applied fairly.  See also the 2011-2012 season, where something like seven of eight Senators-Leafs game were the second of a two-games-in-two-days sequence for the Senators.  That was totally ridiculous.  And yes, the Leafs totally deserved to win most of the games they won against the Senators that year, but wouldn't Leafs fans prefer that those victories were earned fairly? </rhetorical>

Fewer outdoor games: See also the entire discussion about how if fans think the costs are too high they'll stop paying.  But more to the point, outdoor games are interesting because they are rarities.  But if there are only one or two of these games a year, the pressure will be on to ensure that they are big draw teams like Pittsburgh, Toronto, New York Rangers, all the time.  The series would lose media and fan interest if one year you had a Nashville-Edmonton game, and the next year it was Phoenix-Tampa, and the next year it was Ottawa-Winnipeg. Having lots of these means you can keep the focus on the big draws, while throwing pity events to those of us who live in smaller markets.  And it will spread the pain in the standings of having to play a game on bad ice around more.  Maybe six is too many, sure.  But one or two isn't enough.

So there you have it.  Most of my objections or comments surround those changes to the way the business is organized.  His proposed changes to the on-ice game I more or less agree with.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Next Year's Scapegoat Hired

Because of their poor playoff performances, the Pittsburgh Penguins have taken the step of hiring a new assistant coach with a track record of being fired because of his teams' poor playoff performances.

I'm sure there's a way to say that so it doesn't sound stupid, but I can't immediately think of it.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Good News Everyone

Boy, isn't a good thing now that the Phoenix ownership situation is settled, the NHL can get on with the business of running the league without having the inherent conflict of having to run one of the teams as well... wait, what? Oh, nevermind then.

Monday, July 8, 2013


Detroit drama aside, the league must be really wondering about Alfredsson.  I mean, the last all-star game was basically an Alfie-lovefest.  He has a rebound year and helped take a rebuilding team into the playoffs.  And then, after that high note, he came back.

Last year he had a respectable year,  an unexpected appearance in the second round of playoffs, and the league ackowledged his special career with the Marc Messier leadership award.

...and he comes back again.

The league has to be wondering what it will take this for this guy to quit!  

I wouldn't expect any serious award, though, unless it is something like the Brian Burke award for neatest laces tying.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Alfredsson to Detroit



The man gives you his all for 17 years, becomes the heart, soul, and backbone of the franchise, and you call it betrayal that he goes to play with another team?

Look.  Daniel Alfredsson has earned the right to do whatever he pleases as far as hockey is concerned.  If he is more concerned about trying for a cup before he retires than filling in for another year of Ottawa mediocrity, that is his right, and the only thing Ottawa fans should do is wish him well and thank him for his service.

Ottawa won't win a cup this year. There are many things you can say about this team, but "they will contend for the cup in 2013-2014" isn't one of them.  Maybe it is a budget issue, maybe it is a lack of availability of quality players, maybe it is a systemic problem that prevents the right pieces from being assembled.

Detroit's chances at a cup this year may be thin, yes -- but that's light years ahead of Ottawa's chances.

Alfredsson ran out of time waiting on Ottawa's window to open again.  Don't blame him for chasing the ultimate reward while he still can.

Lets hope he decides to come back to Ottawa after he has retired.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Round Two Prediction Time

So: on to Round Two.

I did make some round one predictions, albeit elsewhere:

...and albeit incorrectly, but I did make them.

My round two prediction: I think that the Penguins may have problems, but overall the gap between their offence and our defense is greater than the gap between our offence and their defense.  I think this series is Pittsburgh's to lose, and they'll make a mighty effort to do just that -- but in the end will come up short.

Pittsburgh in six.

Monday, May 6, 2013

This Is Why I Don't Watch Playoff Hockey

What We Learned: Why ‘letting them play’ is nonsense in the NHL:
But the problem with this insistence on letting guys play is that when you do so, they tend to start committing penalties, and that, in turn, necessitates that, at some point, some of the infractions actually have to be called.
In a nutshell: hilariously inconsistent officiating gets even worse.

Hypocracy from team staff and boosters is to be expected (ie: an offensive call against one of your players would be just fine if the same call had been made against the opposition), but the fact that the rules are apparently different in period one than they are in overtime is just plain unacceptable.

Frankly it is hard enough to watch during the meaningless regular season games.  But when there is actually something riding on the outcome, I just can't do it any more.

Choosing to not call a penalty affects the game's outcome just as much -- if not more -- than calling a penalty.  Why more?  Because if a penalty goes uncalled, it will likely be repeated again, and again, and again if the game lasts long enough.

Add in the random acts of goonery that seem required for a playoff game and the Random Wheel Of Shahan-a-ban Justice, and it is just too much work to get invested in playoffs.

See you in the summer.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Jerk Them Knees

So, in evidence that trading Ben Bishop was a bad idea, I offer you this single data point:
Since this is the Internet, we can therefore extrapolate the rest of their careers from tonight and conclude that Bishop is the greatest goalie to ever play the game, and Lehner is a pinball machine.

I jest.

Sort of.

(Update: Here's an article which calmly compares the Bishop-Lehner situation to that of Chara and Redden.  I think he's on to something, and this deal will be talked about for the next couple years at least as both goalies move through the next phase of their careers.)

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Shipping Bishop

And while we're on the topic of writing knee-jerk, poorly thought out headscratcher blog posts about deadline-day trades:

I'll call it right now: trading Ben Bishop is a mistake.  I know we can't keep three goalies on the team, and Anderson's return is supposedly imminent (and lets hope he's really healthy when he comes back, ankles in goalies can be tricky things) -- but I'm not sold on Lehner.  I don't think he's the man.  When he plays things are wild and exciting and he gets lit up like a pinball machine. He's one of those players who thinks his balls click together when he walks around*. I just don't have a good feeling for him.

Bishop I thought had much more upside potential.  He was more quiet, more professional, more just-get-the-job-done.  I don't think his potential will be realized terribly well in Tampa, where he'll suffer from the same problem that Ottawa goalies have had -- that being, playing behind a terrible team -- but of the two, I'd rather of kept him.

I don't even care about this rookie-of-the-year candidate we got back in exchange right now.

I will go on record as admitting that I wasn't a fan of the Runblad-for-Turris trade, and overall that worked out quite nicely.


*: and we've played that game before, a certain Mr. Ray Emery.

Now That's Crazy

You gotta wonder if someone in Boston has a head injury.  In a deadline-day deal, we have this story that Boston has traded... to acquire... Wade Redden. On purpose.

I... uh...

I really have nothing.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Siri Likes The Senators

Proof that Siri is an Ottawa Senators fan:

You've probably already seen this, but I think it is hilarious.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Blah Blah Blah Trade? Blah Blah Blah

So since Spezza's untimely injury, the Senator's offence has been noticeably less noticeable. Who knew that when Spezza had his surgery, the description of "season-ending would be just as appropriately applied to the entire team's prospects for the rest of the season?

This leads the echo chamber to start chattering about whether or not the Senators should trade in order to add more front-end talent. And while there are compelling reasons for short term gain, there are none for the long term set-back that the outgoing assets will cost.

The whole point of a rebuild is to rebuild. Not to sell off some prospects for a short term boost.

Frankly if this year the team misses the playoffs I am good with that. Last year was a bonus, and if we have to miss the big dance so that next year we are in a stronger position, so be it.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Redden 1K

Congratulations to Wade Redden on making his 1000 NHL game.  For all the stick that people gave Redden when he was at the end of his stay in Ottawa, he was a good player for a good part of that stay and he helped the team accomplish a lot.  Just because he can't play the way he used to is no reason to forget what he did for the team when he could.

Monday, February 4, 2013


Who would have thought that the worst part of post-lockout hockey would be the officiating?

Frankly between the circus-clown officiating and the lack of conditioning and polish of these teams, I find I'm just not that interested in hockey right now.

I mean, I went to the home opener, and what resulted from that? It was fun and all, but the most noteworthy reaction I had was the fact that I paid $5 for a fountain drink that was all carbonation. So I went and found a vendor selling pop by the bottle, and paid her $5 for a 600mL bottle of pop. So I ended up paying $10 for a bottle of pop.

Hockey? Yeah, there was some hockey. And the good guys won, which was good.

But overall I don't feel the need to vent about the officiating because frankly I'm just not watching. For some reason I just don't care.

...other than that, I got nothing.

(Update: This article talks about the new definition of interference, which explains some of the calls which would be ordinarily stupid.  Personally I look for normal service to resume well before the playoffs.)

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Hockey is back!...

Hooray, hockey is back! I kept the afternoon clear, made sure the were the requisite number of snacks, and had the drinks on ice. 3PM came around and I got on the sweater, flipped the channel to CBC, and settled in for the afternoon.

And you know what?

Meh, that's what.

Maybe it was the fact that the broadcast started at three, while the puck was dropped at 3:35. Maybe it was having to watch the LA Kings Stanley Cup love fest. (Which they have totally earned, by the way, I just don't want to have to sit through it myself.) Maybe it was having to watch the Jets introducing their team to the home crowd.

Maybe it was the early goal given up by the Senators. (Totally not Anderson's fault, by the way. We knew this defence would give up goals, and that is what they did on this one. And the two posts in the first.)

But put it all together and I wasn't engaged.

Hockey is back, I'm just not sure I care yet.

Which isn't good news for Monday, because I have a ticket in section 109 for the home opener.

(Also, free beer at the home opener. Not sure this is a good idea. In fact I think it is a terrible idea. But since I don't drink I'm not exactly an unbiased commentator on that part.)

Random thoughts from today's game (which are totally worth half what you paid for them):

  • Is it just me, or were the senators unable to hold on to their sticks? Seems like everyone was dropping them.
  • First penalty call of the night: legit. But only if the officials keep calling penny-ante stuff like that. Which I don't ink they will.
  • Kind nice to see goalie give up some soft goals for Turris and Michalek. Remember a couple of years ago when the Senators threw over 50 shots at him and he shut them out?
  • Only real difference between the Jets and Senators tonight: Ottawa did a better job of capitalizing on Jets errors. Other than that, the game was as bad as I thought it was going to be. Wait a month for everyone to shake off the lock-out rust and the game will be much better to watch.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

2012-2013 Preview

Screen-grab from Facebook, because I'm lazy.

My prediction: no playoffs, but no lottery position either (if there even still is such a thing in the new CBA world).

Update: nobody pointed out that I should have written "2012-2013". Stupid new year.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Burke Fired -- Instant Reaction

With ten days to go before the season starts:

And frankly it continues to get weird, since promoted former-deputy-and-not-temporary GM Dave Nonis is pretty much going to keep doing what Burke was doing.  Which is good from a short-term perspective -- there's no sea change expected nine days before the puck drops on the shortened season and makes it perhaps slightly less insane (say top five instead of top three).

But from a long term perspective it is trouble, because the last four years have not exactly yielded any success beyond periodic beatings of better Senators teams.

I've long wondered why the Leafs were so chronically bad. I didn't think that Burke was the idiot that the last four years have made him out to look like, even though his decisions have been head scratching at times.

But then I don't think like a lot of hockey fans. I don't think that Roberto Luongo would be the solution to the Leaf's goaltending issues because the main problem with the goaltending is the rest of the team playing in front of the goalies. I guess that's a rant for a different blogger.

I'd say that for the Leafs, it isn't possible to make things worse any more -- but I've been proven wrong on that time and again.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Amnesty Targets History

So I lost the good fight on amnesty clauses -- I guess it was too attractive a dumb idea to not get tapped. Teams will get two amnesty buyouts each -- one this year and one next.

Which brings us to this article listing potential amnesty targets for each team.

What gets me is that if you read down the list, it reads like a whos-who of Ottawa Senators history:
  • Marian Hossa in Chicago
  • Anton Volchenkov in New Jersey
  • Alexi Yashin in Brooklyn New York
  • Wade Reddin in the other New York
  • Dany Heatley in Minnesota
  • Martin Havlat in San Jose
I suspect if you look at it, you'll see more Senators alumni on that list than any other team.

Man, those glory days were something, eh?

And really, who on today's roster is going to attract the same kind of reminiscing?  Spezza?  Yes.  Karlsson?  Absolutely.  Alfredsson?  Without a doubt.  And after that?... does anyone seriously think we are going to be remembering the glory days of Colin Greening?

It was fun while it lasted.  Now we're just trying to not be Toronto.