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- 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.

Categories: Hockey

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10 comments

  1. Mike8888 says:

    Hey Don, is Bruce writing the celebrity gossip column now?

  2. OD99 says:

    Hey Don, link to this article on the Bruins and Sens match-up?

    Did you mean to write that the Bruins would be heavy underdogs to the Sens? Of the teams that Ottawa could face I would probably prefer the Panthers just because it wouldn’t be as physical a series and if the Sens did win it they could be healthier than if we play the Bruins or Rangers and manage to get by.

    That said, the Bruins aren’t scoring and they aren’t keeping the puck out of their net…how many times have we expected the Sens to “turn it on” when the play-offs begin but they just can’t? If the Bruins keep on their streak and the Sens keep winning you may be right – the Sens could still get home ice advantage and that is just mind boggling…

    On another note from previous post, Karlsson is already used to being a target – he has probably been a target since he was a kid and the best player on the ice…nothing to see here and nothing new for any sport. All top players get extra attention and what makes them great is they still get the job done. Karlsson isn’t new to the league and teams have played him tight for a couple of years, it is just that he has improved so much that now it isn’t as noticeable.

    25 points ahead of 2nd place in D scoring and a +15 which is 17th among all D but 10th among the top 80 D scorers (6th among top 30 and 3rd out of the top 10)…4 more goals than any other D…it must be getting harder and harder to come up with negatives against him but I know I will see many more. It could almost remind you of Spezza and how some people apparently just pick him apart despite all the good things he does.

    I have a ticket to the Habs game on Friday but I am trying to see if I can trade it for one against the Leafs on Saturday night…it was nice to hear some gusto in the voices of fans this past Saturday…just took one time for the “Leafs Suck” to really get going and you have to know it will be extra loud against the Laffs on Saturday as they prepare to clean their clubs and hit the links nice and early once again.

    Maybe they can fly out to San Jose and join the Sharks – their courses will be in better shape since it is SO EARLY in the Spring…BTW Kevin this is not intended at you at all, strictly speaking about being able to enjoy a game at SBP when the Leafs are in town – many of their fans make it difficult most nights but even if the Sens lose it won’t matter…

  3. Daniel Murphy says:

    Don,, do you think the Bruins are struggling right now because they are fatigued from winning the cup over 9 months ago? Do you think that physically fit top shape 25 year old men, after having almost 4 months to recuperate are truly tired and exhausted because they played hockey last May and June? Really does it not sound very silly for observers to really think the above? What do you say? Why is Vancouver not going through the same problem? Are Vancouver players exhausted and if so, why are they doing fairly well? How can one team be exhausted and the other not? Are Vancouver players in better shape? Maybe, and just maybe Boston is not that good and last year’s Cup was a bit of a fluke and attributable to great goaltending.

  4. Visitor - Pierre D. says:

    Whoever they face there will be no pressure, the Senators will be treated as underdogs, a miracle that the veteran squad is even in the playoffs. Truth is this team can win and should win against anyone. If they roll oever in four to five games the arrow needs to be pointed to the GM and his player choices, the veterans on the team unable to perform and the goaltending. It won’t be tough because they will advance to round two, guarantee it right now.

    Anything less is underachievement.

  5. Bobby Goodman says:

    Was that a shot Mikey?

    I agree with you Don, Florida would be good for the Sens; but the Panthers aren’t push overs, expecially if all are healthy. Playoff hockey is fun and tough.

    I must say, I never understood the logic behind the Trapazoid. Goalies wear padding enough to withstand a Grizzly attack and allowing them to play the puck protects their defencemen. I just don’t get it. I have been a proponent of the “hybrid” icing calls for a couple of years. Re-instating the red line at center ice is just plain silly. I love the speed of the game now so why slow it up? Let the goalies play the puck! The problem with the new rules (as far as I am concerned) is not that the referees aren’t calling them like they did at the start of the year as much as there is little consistency. The skaters don’t know what’s a penalty and what is not! For example, a hook is called if the stick is parallel with the ice but…it should impede a players progress to warrant 2 minutes in the box.

    It looks like Nashville will be adding Radulov to their roster. He isn’t agruably the best player outside the NHL, he is by far the best! The kid is magic (but another tempermental Russian?). Although he is making a gazillion dollars in the KHL, I suspect he has had enough of the 3rd rate conditions and longs for the limelight, class and posh of the NHL. Should he join the Preds, they instantly become a major contender and would most certainly beat Detroit in the first round (anyone for that matter). The team has (perhaps) the best goalie on the planet, very good defence, team tougness, great additions at the trade deadline that made the team deeper and a fantastic coach who is overlooked year after year. Fisher is having a career year and this team can compete with anybody. They will be scary!

  6. Visitor - Pierre D. says:

    Od99:

    “On another note from previous post, Karlsson is already used to being a target – he has probably been a target since he was a kid and the best player on the ice…”

    Then why is he acting like an 8-year old girl who got her dolly taken away any time a player hits him or brutalizes him? Why does he keep taking selfish penalties all the time? Newsflash to Erka, you have accomplished nothing, you have won nothing, you have done nothing in this league until you have a Stanley cup ring on your finger. You do that and I’ll shine your shoes as i have for Sergei Gonchar, Alexei Kovalev, Paul MacLean and Ryan Shannon. Until then, I will not buy a Karlsson jersey and my Senators jerseys will remain Shannon, Kovalev, Gonchar and Hasek.

  7. Daniel Murphy says:

    As a a former goalie who played some serious hockey (Senior A and some Central Junior A) I agree with Bobby’s comments about letting the goalie play the puck. I would scrap the trapazoid all together. The goalies are well protected and if they want to roam outside their crease, then they are fair game as far as I am concerned.

    If a goalie wants to risk arm and leg to go after a puck in the corner, then let him. I, like most fans, enjoy seeing goalies getting creamed by the Lucic’s of the world. Brodeur roamed for many years and never got hurt so lets stop babying our hockey players.

    Keep the two line pass in. The last thing we need to see is a dozen more stoppages in play because of the dreaded inside the blue line over the centre ice line pass. I think making a penalized player serve his full two minutes, no matter how many power play goals are scored would add a bit to the game. I never did understand the rationale that you can score unlimited goals while enjoying a 5 minute major man advantage but you could only score once while enjoying a 2 minute minor man advantage.

    One more rule that would make things interesting is that a team should receive a two minute minor after a certain number of icings or perhaps restrict a team to two icings per period. Nothing ruins a good game more than a deliberate icing or a stupid pass that went for icing.

  8. Potter says:

    Daniel …. Probably not the only factor, but I don’t discount the fatigue issue, physical and/or mental. Just checked the standings: Vancouver is 4-4-2 most recent 10 games, not exactly setting the western conference on fire. Was the Bruins Cup run a fluke? No, but they were a bit lucky: three of four series going to seven games, you have to have a bit of luck on your side to win three deciding games. (Actually, since Don is a Bruins fan, lets call it a fluke!)

    Aside from that, maybe a first-round series against the bruins would be OK, get them before they get rolling, and they do seem to match up ok with them. And don’t forget, they do have that 1-game winning streak against them!

  9. Bobby Goodman says:

    Dave, no need to explain yourself. I think the Maple Leaf organization brings it on themselves what with: Leaf Nation, Leaf TV, Canada’s Team, the world-wide celebration of all things Toronto Maple Leaf and of course, Brian Burke! I wonder at what point the hockey fan in Leaf Nation will wake up and finally rebel? If I was Kevin, I would be concerned if not hopping mad. I wouldn’t be buying what the GM is selling. Forget about Lord Burke walking around in every public forum with his tie undone and strategically placed around his neck (WTF is that about and why have the tie at all?), didn’t he promise a Stanley Cup in 5 years? Is the team on track; are they close? Do Leaf fans really expect to even be competitive next year? I don’t think so! Burke is a master sales man; he has many completely convinced he knows what he is doing! But the reality is he is lost somewhere between truclulence, speed, youth, experience and a rebuild! But, how many excuses can he invent? The last one was Wilson, will the next be Carlyle or his bum boy, Nonis? Although my buddy Pierre suggests their farm is healthy with young talent, I beg to differ. Only Zigamanus shows up among the scoring leaders and it has baffled me all year why he remains in the manures! Sportsnet, TSN and the rest of them, in a desperate attempt to find a positive, are now heaping praise on Gustavson! He is good now (like Reimer, the Monster has been good, then bad, good, then bad…now good again). Whats more, the team is competitive again and….wait for it…..they are defencively responsible! How creative is that? Any moron can make a team defencively responsible but are hockey fans like Kevin excited to see the team continue to lose but to make matters worse, lose 1 – 0 or 2 – 0? Afterall, this is the entertainment industry. I strongly suspect that we don’t see Holzer and Colborne because they, like Ashton although big, have little to offer and their play will be a testimony to all that Burke has accompolished in his 4 years as Lord and Master.

    Pierre, I will bet you a beer the Sens do not get out of the 1st round.

    Danny-boy, the suggestion that Boston’s tired is ludicrous. It is akin to suggesting Mclroy is tired the next week after his PGA win…he played 72 holes just like everyone else and he doesn’t feeling the pressure of having to win to pay the bills (like so many of the rabbits do).

  10. OD99 says:

    Vis, I am sure that Karlsson will be quite upset that you don’t have his name on your jersey…and really, Shannon? What has he done?

    Karlsson has taken a few penalties but they weren’t because he took some hits – the wisdom around here was that the Rangers really roughed him up but did he even take a penalty that game? He took a penalty late in OT against the Sabres because a guy (not his guy btw) got open and he was trying to prevent a goal – that’s actually a good penalty.

    Your opinion on winning a Cup or you are worthless odd to me but you are entitled to your opinion…let’s just say that pro athlete or not, being 21 years old brings it’s own challenges and wisdom and patience usually come with age. Like him or not Karlsson is having an all-time good season with lots of games left to make it even better.

    Bobby, I now feel for you and your thoughts on Spezza – I knew he was a lightning rod but I always appreciated what he brought to the team and it was interesting how many would pick his game apart…Karlsson is putting up dumb numbers and more importantly lapping his competition yet you would think he doesn’t have a clue what he is doing out there.

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