Archive for March, 2012

Fighting for a reason

- March 20th, 2012

There is a reason for fighting.
It happened the New Jersey Devils and New York Rangers game Monday night at Madison Square Garden. If you didn’t see it, here it is:

This was incredible. It had to happen because John Tortorella and Peter DeBoer wanted it to happen. The NBC Sports Network televised this effort. Old time Hockey.
There will be fines and suspensions.
There has to be. You wonder if Peter DeBoer will be behind the New Jersey bench tonite.
He might not be. He has some explaining to do and just to show everything is politically correct, Brendan Shanahan may have to suspend DeBoer. Not saying it is right but it could happen.
But, sometimes messages have to be sent.
Ban fighting from the game? Please.
l A QUICK UPDATE: No Jason Spezza tonight. He is sick. He attended his friend Nic Zoricic’s funeral in Toronto Monday. He has the flu. Won’t play. Bobby Butler gets to play.

Bish-ner or Lehn-op

- March 16th, 2012

The Senators should really call up Robin Lehner and make Alex Auld a healthy scratch this weekend.
With back-to-back games against Montreal and Toronto, they should give both Lehner and Ben Bishop a start.
They should use the opportunity to get a better idea of which to take down the stretch and into the playoffs as Craig Anderson’s backup.
It could be a very important job.
Who’s to say the four or five week layoff won’t have a negative affect on Anderson? Maybe he doesn’t regain the form he showed before his supposed chicken-separating accident. Or maybe he re-injures the wound on his finger and can’t play again.
Either way, this surprising season has presented the Senators an opportunity to have a long playoff run, and their success will rest on the shoulders of the guy between the pipes.
Who is best suited to be the Anderson Insurance Plan? Both Lehner and Bishop have played well well given the chance. They deserve equal consideration.
Everyone has an opinion – most will likely lean towards Bishop because Lehner is still only 20 – but none of us knows for sure.
Neither do the Senators.
Recalling Lehner without demoting Bishop would leave Binghamton shorthanded, with just Mike McKenna left on the farm. But who cares. Sign Connor Crisp (it’s a joke) for all that matters.
Either Lehner or Bishop could become a very important player for the Senators in the next month or two or three. Why not give each an opportunity to argue his case against a couple of teams the Senators should beat?

A big weekend

- March 15th, 2012

It’s rivarly weekend.
First it’s the Habs Friday.
Then the Maple Leafs Saturday.
CBC will do both games.
They chose these a long time ago. I’m sure they thought they would be meaningful. I’m sure they also thought they would be meaningful for the Habs and Leafs, not the Senators.
It has not gone as it was scripted this year.
Ottawa has been one of the biggest surprises.
I know what happened to the Habs. They’ve got the wrong guy in the GM’s chair. His mistakes, and there have been plenty, have caught up with him. Mr. Gauthier botched the firing of Jacques Martin.
As for Brian Burke. he didn’t address the Leafs needs.
He had the wrong coach and fired Ron Wilson after giving him a contract extension. That whole thing was just mysterious to me. Burke didn’t address the need for a No. 1 centre or a goaltender.
So a national audience will get a good look at Ottawa for two nights.
The Habs and Leafs are going nowhere.
Nobody would have believed it in October.
That’s why they play the games.

Keep Filip Kuba

- March 13th, 2012

There is no question in my mind the Senators should bring back Filip Kuba next season. Not at the $3.7 million, he’s making this year.
Not a chance. But he should be brought back if he is willing to take a large haircut and is affordable. Don’t agree with me. Listen to coach Paul MacLean singing his praises after practice Tuesday.
MacLean said Kuba has had a strong bounceback season.
“Filip has been outstanding for us,” said MacLean. “Without the play of Filip Kuba, I don’t think Erik Karlsson develops into the type of player that he is. He’s a partner for Erik that gives him a bit of a safety net and a real dependable guy that he knows will help him out. (Kuba) takes care of things if Erik’s not around. My feeling coming here was he was going to be a good player for me. He’s done nothing to disappoint me at this point.”
We’ll see how Kuba does in the playoffs but it sure sounds like he’ll get consideration for a return.

Back to prac

- March 12th, 2012

Watching the Senators practice at Scotiabank Place with my fellow deep-thinkers of the media, trying to figure out where the Senators would be best to finish in the standings.
Sportsnet’s Ian Mendes has an interesting theory why they don’t want to wind up sixth, but I still think the ideal playoff matchup for them is against Florida – simply because I don’t believe the Panthers are very good.
That said, Florida really shouldn’t win the SouthLeast Division. And does Ottawa want a Washington Capitals team that may finally be getting its act together? And do the Senators want to go into the Winnipeg Arena for potentially four games?
Somebody I don’t respect at all wrote today that the Bruins are the Senators most likely first round foe. It’s way too early to say that, but if they do meet the B’s there are a couple of things to consider:
Boston isn’t going very good right now at all. The Bruins are 12-14-2 in their last 28, with observers believing the team is tiring because of its long, hard playoff road to the Cup last spring.
I still don’t think the Senators want them as an opponent, though, even though they’d be heavy underdogs. Why? They’ve only beaten Boston once in five tries this season, and come crunch time I believe Timmy Thomas is going to be very tough to defeat.
Anyway, the Senators are currently being skated hard by coach Paul MacLean, as is the custom following a day off. Goalie coach Rick Walmsley was just racing the goalies. But Craig Anderson wasn’t one of them.
We thought Anderson would be practicing with the team for the first time today, but he skated before the formal workout. Walmsley and assistant coach Luke Richardson were taking shots at Anderson, who was apparently in full gear, wearing a blocker and handling the goalie stick.
That should mean he’s close to returning. My prediction: Saturday, against the Leafs at Scotiabank Place.