One more victory

- April 1st, 2012

UNIONDALE, N.Y. _ The Senators can book a trip to the playoffs today.
One victory. Two points. That’s all they need.
The Toronto Maple Leafs did them a favour with a victory over the Buffalo Sabres Saturday night.
Now, the Senators can help themselves.
The Senators are excited. They should be. The playoffs is where they want to be. Nobody expected it. Nobody predicted it. The Hockey News, a respected publication, picked them to be No. 15 in the Eastern Conference.
The Senators can see the Promised Land.
Beat the New York Islanders Sunday and book yourself a trip to the NHL’s spring dance. Is a first-round matchup with the Boston Bruins ideal? No. But anything can happen. All the Senators have to do is get there.
The Islanders have given the Senator some issues this year but they sure didn’t look very good against the Bruins. Expect to see Craig Anderson make the start for the Senators. They are going to ride him down the stretch. That is the way it has to be. Two points. One win. Glory ahead. Big Day. No April Fool’s Joke.
BIG CHANGES: Late update that Daniel Alfredsson (flu) and Jason Spezza (birth of second child) won’t be in the lineup. They are going to be replaced by Rob Klinkhammer and Bobby Butler. Spezza has returned to Ottawa.

Categories: Hockey

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29 comments

  1. PaV says:

    Bruce, I think the SENS clinching are going to make all of us look like fools, who would have thunk it?

    btw how come you didnt respond to my tweet about that jerk PJ Stock tearing apart Erik during the first intermission yesterday?

  2. Bruce Garrioch says:

    I didn’t see PJ Pav. Don’t know what he said.

  3. PaV says:

    Bruce, ill see if i can get the link.. he obviously doesnt like him

    BRING
    ON
    THE
    PLAYYYYYYYOFFFSSSSS BABY!!!!

  4. OD99 says:

    Impressive win for the Sens – 5 goals without Alfie and Spezza?

    Perhaps a blessing to get the others a little more ice time and maintain the hot streak? Good to see Turris get his game going again as well. He is going to be a very good two way player for a long time, can’t wait to see what he looks like next year after a year through the Sens off season training regiment.

    Also great to see Gonchar stepping up lately by scoring goals and being more physical…the D has a ways to go but they moved the puck out of the zone very quickly today. Here is hoping that Karlsson gets 3 more points over the next couple of games (I suspect he may get sat now that the Sens have clinched a spot) so he can get 80 on the season…another goal to make the 20 mark would be fantastic as well.

  5. Visitor - Pierre D. says:

    Karlsson is always going to divide people. Today we saw the best and worst of him, on Streit’s goal he just stood there mouth agape but the rest of the time he created rush after rush. He really needs to be sheltered because in the playoffs…wide open doesn’t work.

  6. OD99 says:

    It’s actually getting hilarious how much scrutiny Karlsson gets, especially from people who have made up their mind about how good or bad he is defensively.

    Karlsson stood there mouth agape…of course there were four other skaters and a goalie but Karlsson stood mouth agape as a pass bounced in off Streits skate. If only he wasn’t on the ice that time Anderson could have a shut-out.

    He has the 5th best +/- of the top 30 scorers in the league and by the way he is 10th in the league in scoring…something not done by a D in 20 years…one of only Coffey, Orr and Potvin to lead the D scoring by 20+ points (might end up clsoer to 30).

    He does things only a handful of D have done in the history of the game but because he isn’t a big bruiser who is even capable of being overly physical some people like to rip on him…either you don’t actually watch any Sens games Visitor or you don’t understand how things can evolve. Karlsson plays very effective D for the most part and leads D in take aways. He isn’t and doesn’t need to be sheltered any more than any other player who is on the ice for almost half a game.

    BTW for Bobby – Spezza has one more take away (an underrated portion of his game) than Karlsson and 3 less give aways (an area that 10 years into his career he has begun to fix)…of course once again the very large Spezza has less than half as many hits as the scared Karlsson but I know there has to be a very good reason for that.

    I guess i will try to refrain from commenting on Karlsson for a while but I find it amusing how so many try so hard to minimize what he does and find reasons why he isn’t as good and valuable as he is.

  7. Bobby Goodman says:

    Indeed Pierre or as Dennis calls you “the voice of reason” (a junenile attempt to poke fun at me for my complimenting you on an insightful observation earlier this year…hell, eveyone makes good sense sometime). Karlsson will devide people including my son and I, my twin brother and I and many others. It is amazing what they call a take away these days. Picking up a losse puck to me, no matter what anyone may say, will never be a take away. Pav, you shouldn’t take a CBC commentator’s comments so personally, afterall, it is just the CBC. Having said that, the kid has no axe to grind with the Sens and for a little guy, Stock played the game very tough. I am sure he adheres to the old school where defencemen were supposed to defend at least some of the time? Hell, even Lidstrom will block shots sometimes! I am one of those who is not a Karlsson fan. As I have suggested, he is a 4th forward who lines up on the back end. He is as much a defenceman as Spezza is. I can say that Spezza is an offensive defenseman who lines up in the Center spot. What determines a players position? Pierre, you say Karlsson takes the puck up the ice perhaps that is true but only when the coast is clear. I have said this all year, he never goes coast to coast and deke by people like we witnessed PK Subban do for Montreal and Chris Letang do so often with Pittsburgh. Half of the time I don’t know if Karlsson is playing for the Sens or the opposition. How many times every game is he caught out of position and way up the ice? Why can’t he block a shot (are his pads less protective that others?). For him to jump out of the way is God awful and he should be embarrassed but if he is not shamed by avoiding all 4 corners all game every game, he certainly wont be embarrassed to avoid blocking a shot. Nor is he embarrassed to stand around and watch as the other teams score. Offensively he is great but he plays a game that is more akin to Sunday afternoon pick up, only one way all the time with zero accountability. He plays the easiest game in the entire NHL! We will soon witness how effective his game is when he faces the Bruins in the post season. I strongly suspect we will not see Gilroy in a single game unless someone gets hurt; Karlsson like some others will play a little less guarded with Carkner watching their back.

  8. Bobby Goodman says:

    Coming back from an appointment I forced myself to listen to 1200 (sometimes Donovan isn’t too too bad). McGuire said that Ottawa matches up well with Boston although he conceded it will be tough. For Ottawa to enjoy success, he suggested the team needs to hit Chara and hit him often. At 6′-9″ and 265 I don’t think he will be as bothered by a hit as someone who (when it is convenient) is 6′ and 175. Do you? McGuire learned a long time ago that when he talks to the local boys (and I am sure he makes a number of calls across the land) is serves him well ($$$) to tell them and their listeners all they want to hear. This is what drives me crazy, honesty and candour be damned. If anyone with 2 active brain cells (I just squeaze in…on a good day) made the effort they would see that Boston’s goals against is almost 40 goals better than Ottawa’s. Of the 32 teams going to the post season, the Sens have allowed the second most goals to be scored against them! 6 of the players with the best plus/minus play for Boston! The Bruins have scored 259 goals whereas Ottawa has scored 245; they have a Vezina winner in nets and a Norris Trophy candidate and previous winner on the point. Now you tell me, does Ottawa match up well? But, the 1200 boys were giddy as if Mcguire was actually complimenting them. Not a single challenge was offered. All Chara would need to do to quell the focus on him is go absolutely squirelly just one time and the focus on him would come to an abrupt end. Indeed, celebrate a soft one dimensional offenseman but he and the team that allows so many shots and so many goals every game will have to play very differently in the playoffs. This has been my issue with the hockey club. The team has old and/or slow, soft defenceman, far too many AHLers (many of whom are as soft as the D) and they allow many shots and far too many goals (need to rely on their goalie way too much). I hope they knock of the Bruins, but I also want to win the 6/49.

  9. PaV says:

    Bobby, I think we could take the series if we play smart and not get in to a run/gun/physical. I do think Ottawa can match Boston in the physical portion of the game. We are a big team.

    Chara is big yes, but he has his issues and players like Neil and Carkner are not intimidated by him. I think Boston has more to worry about than Ottawa, yes they have been playing good hockey of late, but they have also had a long season…

    I am going out on a limb here that if we have Boston first round, we will take them in 6. If we get NYR.. well… I not sure we can win.

  10. Bobby Goodman says:

    16 teams in the post season….one active brain cell………

  11. Visitor - Pierre D. says:

    Hey OD, not that I’m one to pat myself on the back but remember when we were all doing our pre-season predictions and I went “7-11″ and you were all “LOLOLOL what is 7-11??!!!” and I explained that I expected the Senators to finish anywhere between 7th and 11th in the East, and you pooh-poohed me as being an Anti-Sens fan? Well look where the Senators are right now, 7th in the East.

    Sometimes it helps to take off the fan goggles and I put mine in storage when Murray was hired as GM.
    Karlsson is getting a lot of points, in an extremely mediocre Eastern conference with only three good teams, that is New York Rangers, Pittsburgh Penguins and Boston Bruins. The others are a moribund mess of average goaltending, a hodge-podge of forwards and erratic defense. People are agog that Stamkos might score 60 goals. He is the forward version of Karlsson. Rarely on the backcheck, but cherrypicking away. The two should get together for a nice meal at Yangtze or Baton Rouge the next time the Lightning are in town, I can see the conversation now:

    Karlsson: “Offense is SO important!”
    Stamkos: “You can’t win without scoring more goals than them!”
    Karlsson: “No one here understands me, I just want to get points!”
    Stamkos: “It’s the same with me, did you know I got benched once?”
    Karlsson: “I got benched too, no one understands me. I’m special!”
    Stamkos: “I’m really special, I have 50 goals!”
    Karlsson: “Here’s my phone number…”

    Karlsson didn’t just drop the ball against the Islanders. He did against the Panthers and a multitude of other teams. His gameplan is simple. Wait for the puck to go into the corner, lift up arms to protect self and hope that a backchecking forward dislodges the puck so he can get it. If the puck is in front of the net, just stand there with your stick parallel to the ice and wait for Kuba to attack the opposing forward or for Anderson to freeze the puck.

    I will be VERY interested to see the matchup vs. the Bruins. I expect that Brad Marchand, Milan Lucic and company will not be whispering sweet nothings to Erik when they go into the corners and slash his legs and arms and elbow him and kick his knees out. I expect that Erik will drop his stick and wave his hands to the referee while play goes on and a goal is scored against, or he will dive to draw a penalty. Shameful, disgraceful and acceptable to MacLean and Murray.

    I too hope they knock out the Bruins, but I honestly do not see them winning more than two or three games (three max) unless Spezza goes “ultimate” and Anderson is a complete wall back there!

  12. Mike8888 says:

    Bobby,
    Two things. First of all, you have a twin? Secondly, if Karlsson is as a defensive liablilty as you say, then how do you explain his top notch plus minus? This is a stat that you have talked about religioulsy in the past. Unless of course you think that Kuba is the second coming of Rod Langway, and he is covering for Karlsoon all of the ti time.

  13. PaV says:

    Bobby my man, I bet its driving you nuts that we made the playoffs eh? We have dified all odds and made it in. We beat out 14 other teams (Toronto, Canadian Captian…. Calgary another Canadian Caprian….)… Teams that were meant to be better this year…. Montreal, Minnesota, Dallas….

    You have to admit that you are happy to see the SENS make it in mate……..

  14. Sean Hogan says:

    @Bobby…nice of you to bring up the goals against stats. Try these on for size. Since the All Star break, the Senators have allowed 71 goals in 27 games for a GAA of 2.63.
    Boston has allowed 88 goals in 33 games for a GAA of 2.67.
    So suck it Phaneuf.

  15. PaV says:

    Bobby and all, note the following: EK65 has been n the ice for 41.83% of the goals scored against Ottawa at 5vs5 this year. Chara has been on the ice for 40.71% of Bostons….. not much difference!

  16. Dennis_w says:

    Bobby,

    Me, juvenile? Thing is, you’ll never admit that you’re ever wrong, especially about the “girlie man” or the old man who shouldn’t have come back as captain this year. If we had it your way, the “girlie man” would’ve been traded and the PP would be run by Campoli, Shannon or Schubert.

    From day one, your analysis couldn’t be taken seriously since you’re completely biased. Ironically, your opinions are pretty much the same as Cherry’s and both of you are entertainers.

    But like you say, everyone is entitled to their opinion especailly in what has become the Bobby blog.

    BTW, where’s your buddy Hater been lately?

    And Visitor, you promised to stay napping till Ottawa made the cup finals. Please go back to sleep.

  17. PaV says:

    Dennis_w … Bobby knows Hockey. He knows what he is talking about. He is allowed to voice his concern and what he feels about the team… him and I have gotten in to some heated discussions over it, but when it comes down to it, we made the playoffs, we beat out teams that were meant to be in the post season.. and you can’t argue with results. We have a team that has a chance to take out Boston.. (not sure about the NYR)..

    I am looking at some of the teams that we beat out.. and its susprising Ottawa is there, but man Ill take it..

    btw – crybaby Heatly is currently sitting at 22G and 28A for a total of 50

    Michalek on the other hand has 35G and 25A for a total of 60…..

    Wonder who won that deal eh? ;-)

  18. OD99 says:

    Vis you have a good memory. I had completely forgotten about your 7-11 comment but that isn’t the reason I called you and continue to call you anti-Sens. It is all your other comments that take snippets of games or a few games here and there and try to boil down your opinion from them.

    So Karlsson was on the ice for a goal against yesterday…and a couple against the Panthers…he (and everyone else on the ice – they are allowed to try and stop goals too aren’t they? The Sens are a team, correct? Not individuals scoring or protecting on their own special nets?) has also been a major contributor in victories all season. You and Bobby like to pick stats at random to try and bolster your arguments but you never comment on stats that fly in the face of your one dimensional viewpoints.

    There are some newer stats, similar to the “Moneyball” metrics in baseball that really show a players impact on wins for a team. You may not believe in them because they won’t support anything you think about Karlsson but in case you are interested, check this out (courtesy of Hockey Prospectus):

    GVT is very similar to VORP in baseball: it is the value of a player, in goals, above what a replacement player would have contributed. The fact that GVT is measured in goals is crucial: statistics that divide up ‘Win Shares’, so that the ratings of a team’s players sum to that team’s number of wins, are very erratic and non-linear, since wins don’t increase or decrease linearly with team caliber. While hockey is ultimately about winning or losing, players’ contributions always come down to scoring goals and preventing them. A player cannot ‘win’ a game, even though he may be put in a situation where scoring a goal or making a key save would create or conserve a win. Each player’s role, no matter his position, is to try and increase the goal differential in favor of his team. An offensive player who scores a hat trick only to see his teammates allow 4 goals against has nevertheless done his job; a goaltender who stops 39 of 40 shots only to lose 1-0 has likewise performed well. Using this standard, all players can be compared by the same yardstick: how much did they help (or harm) their team’s goal differential?

    Karlsson is the number one ranked D and the 10th most valuable player in the league according to those metrics: http://www.hockeyprospectus.com/sortable/

    Above all, this shows you don’t follow or have the sense to look at things as a whole, and I quote you from above: “Sometimes it helps to take off the fan goggles and I put mine in storage when Murray was hired as GM”. Sad for you but explains a lot.

    Bobby your comments about PK and these mysterious end to end rushes confuse me…please tell me the next time you see one that accomplishes anything because his 35 points (much less than half of our scared little guy) show he obviously doesn’t know how to finish.

    The stats don’t lie.

  19. Bobby Goodman says:

    Dennis, I never called you juvenile, but I did suggest your comment was. As for the girly-man, I still think Karlsson is a girly-man on the ice (so does Stock) and that is just my dumbass opinion and I represent a very small minority. You see Dennis, that is what is great about western civilizations and that includes this forum, we are all allowed to have our opinions and no matter if it is shared or not and the author needs not to be demonized. I am very sorry if I have offended you but, Dennis, we are talking about hockey. My opinions are the same as Dum Cherry’s? This confuses me Dennis. I do not condone ilegal hits. I have said often that the game will be safer and better if fighting was taken out of the game. I am not a cross dresser (cross between Bozo the Clown and Liberace). I speek more gooder English. I can pronounce people’s names properly. I have two active brain cells he has but one. Bobby’s blog? Again, I am sorry for an effort to keep it going, inspiring participation/interest, wanting to hear other’s opinions and utlimately, keep it from becoming an Ottawa Senator Celebration Blog.

    Where is my buddy Hater…good question. I don’t know where he is and I hope he’s well. I didn’t always agree with him, but with each participant leaving, the forum becomes that much less interesting. I didn’t always agree with Nancy but loved her input and she is gone and I miss her. Ja Du popped in for the first time in ages and he and I agreed maybe only half the time but I miss his input. I will gladly leave this site if that is what you are suggesting Dennis. If that what bloggers want. Oh yes, I don’t always agree with the “Voice of Reason” but damn he adds some colour and I love hearing from him as do everyone…even you Dennis.

  20. Bobby Goodman says:

    Dave, we don’t agree on Karlsson and as I have said a million times, I represent a very small minority of hockey fans. You are in the same corner as my twin brother and my son and…its fine! I have itemized what I don’t like about Karlsson, he plays a very easy game; we will see how valuable he is in the playoffs. As for PK, I know you watched the game and for you to suggest he didn’t carry the puck, deke by many people (something I never see Karlie do), is foolish and less than truthful. You are better than that Dave. Do I ignore stats to make my point…hardly. I am not trying to convince anybody of anything, I am just sharing my dumbass opinions on things and that is all. The fact is, I have never, ever liked one dimensional, soft, scared defencemen who will not hit anyone, allows free access to the puck, concedes the corners, watches as the opposition scores goals and never blocks shots! But, that’s just me. As for Moneyball…the movie was a bore but the notion of using statistics to identify where and when a player might best make a contribution is a good one. It is probably best suited to baseball because it is a far more slower moving game and players come in and out of the lineup. Hockey is too dynamic for that to work in a game condition. Pehaps when your team is playing a particular team the stats might be usefull to dress players that might make you more competitive. A good example might be a different outcome had Bryan Murray dressed some meat against Anaheim….. ;-)

  21. OD99 says:

    I watched PK do some rushes and skate around people but have yet to see one of those rushes turn into a goal

  22. Dennis_w says:

    Pav,
     
    Of course Bobby knows a lot about hockey.  You just have to ask him;) But he doesn’t know more than everyone else. (Almost) everyone’s input should be respected and I respect his. (The only opinions I don’t respect are those from trolls and sens-hating rumour-mongers; you can guess who they are).
     
    Bobby,
     
    While you’re entitled to your opinion, I just find that it’s hardly ever based on any logic or fact. That’s why I made the comparison to Cherry, who’s biased against Europeans, Quebecers etc.. for no logical reason, just his biases. You say you don’t like Karlsson because he doesn’t play enough defence, but you used to drool over Mike Green and Karlsson looks like Rod Langway in comparison. You say you don’t like European captains, but, per capita, they have had much more success than North American captains. But you are definitely entitled to your biases based on your feelings.
     
    In any case, I hardly want you to stop posting.
    Visitor on the other hand…
     

  23. Bobby Goodman says:

    Davey-boy….he is not responsible for being a member of a crappy team, is he? The Habs are the 3rd worst team in the entire league! PK will skate with the puck from end to end, he has soft/quick magic hands like Letang and is not afraid to hold on the puck in traffic. The more skilled you are, the more patient you can be. Great stickhandlers can do that. Moreover, he lays on the body, goes into corners first to retrieve a puck, punishes players in front of his net and he blocks shots. PK doesn’t have a Spezza (who in Karlie’s words)…to pass to as soon as and as often as possible…..

  24. Bobby Goodman says:

    Dennis, come on out and I will buy you a beer…waddyasay. Indeed I loved and still love to watch Mike Green play hockey. He is a strange one based on what my son tells me from watching 24 -7 (I don’t watch it) and he rides a “Vespa”; he must very comfortable with his sexuality. At 6-1 and 200 lbs he is big enoug, can skate like hell, like Letang he has magic hands/great shot and he actually goes into the corners. That is why he, Letang and Doughty get hurt, becase defencemen not offensemen, they go in to corners and actually body check the oppositon. They block shots. They remove people from in front of their net. Gren scored 18 goals his 3rd year in the league and 31 goals the next and then he had 19 after that. Injuries has limited his production but I fully expect him to make full recover and be better next year. Doughty has all that Karlie has and like Letang, more. At 6-1 and 200 lbs, Doughty is very physical, As an 18 tear old he scored 6 goals and as a 19 yearld he had 16. The last 2 years he has had 11 and 10 respectfully but he is a complete defenceman. He and Letang are my favourites. Letang would have been hands down favourite for the Norris this year. Flipping between our game and the Bruin’s game I saw the difference between Karlsson’s Play and Letang’s. Night and Day mon friend. Letang hit everybody and even went after Lucic. This too, is my own opinion. Now…pick your poison my friend (if I can call you that)!

  25. Dennis_w says:

    Bobby,

    If I come out you won’t be enjoying a round on me because I happen to agree with you that the sens won’t make it out of the first round. Then again I also agreed with you about their chances of making the playoffs this year, so you never know.

    As far as Karlsson goes, he and Spezza are my favourite players on the team because they’ve always entertained me with their skill. But they’ve also driven me crazy with their risk-taking. But I’ve noticed that they’re both much better this year.

    And I don’t think Karllsson can be the guy that goes in first and lets a 4th line forechecker come and beat him up repeatedly. At his size, he just won’t last. He probably knows that too.

    Of the other defenceman you mentinned, they’re all bigger. Letang isn’t much bigger, but I don’t find him to be as physical either. If he tries to be, I guarantee that he’ll have a short carear.

    Of those guys you mentioned, Doughty is my favourite when he’s on his game.

  26. OD99 says:

    As you said to me, you are better than that Bobby…

    Each team is what they are and players play with what they have. PK isn’t in Karlsson’s class when it comes to puck handling and offensive skill but he is bigger and plays physical. Good, he should do that because that is where his skills lie.

    I could just as easily say that Karlsson would have 100 points and be +50 if he was on the Pens and had all that skill and good D around him.

    I have no problem with you liking guys more than Karlsson or thinking that Karlsson is lacking in some areas my only real issue if you even want to call it that is that you seem to think the Sens would be better if we didn’t have him. I find it crazy that you would think he isn’t a star and a huge factor in why the Sens are way ahead of schedule. I guess it is some sort of praise that you pick the other two top young D in the league to choose to compare him with but I will also add this – give Karlsson 3 more years (the age difference between Letang and Karlsson) and let’s see how good Karlsson’s overall game is then.

    For clarity, I dont’ think for a second that PK or even Letang is more skilled with the puck than Karlsson although I do agree if Letang played the entire year, he would probably be looking at the Norris – he is a fantastic defender.

    That said, Letang is 6′ 205lbs compared to Karlsson at 5’11″ and 175lbs.

    If you want to say his size is a hindrance then so be it but to expect Karlsson to play the same way guys 30lbs heavier than him can isn’t reasonable. By the same token, believe the stats or not, Karlsson takes the puck away more than any D and you must admit he has gotten pretty good at skating even with guys and then angling them with his body and stick to strip the puck….

  27. Bobby Goodman says:

    When I talk Letang, I am looking at his inate skill…not the team around him or his points. He is very fast (interesting that in the Allstar game his race included going forwards and backwards and wouldn’t it have been better and more interesting to see Karlsson race him doing the same…Karlsson’s raced going only forward…why?). Letang is willing to use his body, will go into corners, can stickhandle in traffic, will block shots, and has magic hands! Both Subban and Letang have way better hands than Karlsson and the last game Ottawa played against Montreal proved that. It matters not that Karlsson is slight, are we to add a qualifier when we describe his play? Anyway, this discussion is circular and we solve nothing. You are among the overwhelming majority who (understandibly) really like the kid, I am one of the very few who does not…c’est ca.

  28. OD99 says:

    I don’t even remember what happened in that game against the Habs but I do know that a few plays in one game doesn’t prove squat. You like every D over Karlsson, no problem, loud and clear, I get it.

    In fact, I have known that since the Sens drafted him, you made your mind up then and nothing will change it. Again, I have no issue with your opinion but…the only reason this goes round and round is because you can’t go more than 2 days without trashing Karlsson for some of your perceived shortcomings. I don’t come on here and rave about him for the heck of it – almost always just to make some counterpoint to your rantings against him.

    I guarantee if you don’t write about how terrible you think he is, I won’t write a word about him either.

  29. OD99 says:

    And as for a qualifier on Karlsson, yes, there has to be one since you somehow expect him to defy the laws of physics and be a brute when his frame just won’t allow it.

    If only I had a qualifier on why the very big bodied Spezza refuses to throw a hit…you never do address why your favourite, big Canadian kid is such a pussycat on the ice…he is quite a bit bigger than Zack Smith yet he won’t touch a soul.

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