The backup plan

- February 5th, 2013

It might not seem like it, but the Senators have been getting a break these days from opposing coaches.
Tonight, when they try to sneak a few by Buffalo goalie Jhonas Enroth, they will be facing a backup goalie for the third time in their last four games.
Drawing Enroth, instead of Ryan Miller, appears to be the a great chance for the Senators to end their scoring woes. Enroth is 0-1-0 this season with a terrible goals against average 5.26 and an even worse save percentage (.854).
Furthermore, he hasn’t won a game since Nov. 26, 2011, going 0-9-3 in the process.
With the Senators offence looking to get back on track after averaging .5 goals a game over the last two outings, this would seem to be a golden opportunity.
What is Sabres coach Lindy Ruff thinking?
Well, he’s probably thinking that if Enroth is going to get back on track, this would be a golden opportunity for him.
The Sabres are going to need their backup goalie to contribute at some point, especially with Miller struggling himself, and the Jason Spezza-less Senators do have just one goal in their last two games.
Also, Enroth has had great success against Ottawa in the past.
In four career starts against the Senators, he is 3-0-1 with a 2.16 GAA and a .939 save percentage.
So yeah, while it at first looked like Ruff was crazy for making the starting goaltending decision he did, it may turn out that he’s crazy like a fox.

Categories: Hockey

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17 comments

  1. Bobby Goodman says:

    He might be crazy like a fox Donny but it could be for an entirely different reason. Perhaps…he recognizes this is but a one line team and their chances of doing anything resembling success is limited. Perhaps, the organization wants a high draft. Just sayin’. Perhaps he was delivering a message to his nuber one. Perhaps he wanted to see how his team would respond (and they did not).

    Their goalie Enroth was God awful and allowed 3 real softies. What has happened to Myers, he looks completely disoriented and his skating used to be his forte? Foligno never took it out of second gear, didn’t use his body and looked completely disinterested (if only he had the heart of the two munchkins on the team). The Sabres had trouble completing two passes in succession and their performance was a total embarrassment.

    I didn’t see anything at all from DaOates-like Costa; he was minus 1 for the night after 7 minutes of ice-time but was excellent on the draw (80%). Again Brown and Potvin were terrible homers (they make me gag) and are so desperate they will celebrate anything Zibby or Sly do. Anything! It is important that we fans continue supporting Murray’s key acquistions! I really want to see so much more but I don’t. I don’t see the excellent stick handling/play-making from Sly nor do I see the excellent skating/speed from Zibby. We have to be honest here, he had but 5 goals last year and 4 or 5 in the AHL? So what gives anyone confidence he would suddenly develop scoring touch in the best league in the world?! He goes on the top line, again, because he……why is he there again?

    Again, Greening was a bystander. He will never carry the puck, nor will he be a goal scorer (unless of course he plays on Rocko’s line) so he has to skate and use his body to be effective…he isn’t doing that! Is his play acceptable to Coach Maclean? Condra and Obrien really do put in a great effort every game.

    Andre Benoit is under appreciated and never gets any accolades; he has yet to have a bad game! He is second, behind Karlsson with a plus 3 (Karly is plus 4). He looks calm, doesn’t make mistakes, moves the puck well and can contribute to the offence! Smith didn’t get a star last night but damn he looked good and had the puck on his stick a lot! He looks much more confident this year.

    You may want to adjust your picks Donny. The NYR are awful. The team is one of the lowest scoring teams in the league because Yosemite Sam is a one dimensional idiot only knows a defencive style but the difference this year is Lundquist isn’t standing on his head winning games on his own! He has 3 wins in 8 played and has allowed 2.83 goals per game. Perhaps…Yosemite Sam isn’t a great coach afterall! Nash has 2 goals; I suspect they were expecting much more. Oh Yosemite Sam can huff and puff, be crass and short with the media but lets not confuse his theatrics with ability. It all makes for great theater but doesn’t translate to success on the ice!

  2. OD99 says:

    It is interesting how two people can view a game so differently – although I know we focus on different things.

    DaCosta looked just fine to me – he had some jump in his step and made a few nice passes while not being out of position much and doing well on the draw. No complaints at all.

    Zibby looked quite fast to me on a number of occasions and his reading of plays was great. He stopped one puck right at the Buffalo blue line and got a nice chance out of it (he could pull the trigger a bit quicker and drive the net more) and he had a beauty set-up for Alfie after some good forechecking turned the puck over.

    Sly isn’t where I want him to be but I will be patient – he looks so close to breaking out. I warned of him not being a flashy player so don’t expect end to end rushes from him but he is getting lots of shots.

    Crazy stat of the day – Karlsson is far and away the shot leader (39) but guess who is second on the team in shots taken?

    Chris Neil with 27 then Alfie and Silf with 24 each…Turris is at 18 and that has to be higher.

    We completely agree that Benoit has quietly been very good…maybe guys aren’t all ready to play in the NHL at 18 or 19 years old? The D as a whole has to be a pleasant surprise. With Cowen gone and Gonch/Philips a year older the expectation was that they D would be atrocious and they have been pretty good as a whole.

    Bobby, without having to add any stipulations, what do you think of Methot?

    Lastly, Da Costa was even in the game, not a minus player…only guys on team who are minus on season are Smith, Alfie, Philips and Daug.

  3. Bobby Goodman says:

    Hi Dave, I got the minus 1 for Da Costa from the ESPN NHL Games – Box Score.

    If I sound hard on the kids I don’t mean to be so…I am just saying I expected so much more. No one wanted them to be more than me! I don’t know what they will do this year or even how they will be measured (I have always believed if there isn’t a goal/expectation or measurement criteria, there is no way someone can fail. If the numbers aren’t there in another 20 games can we continue to say they played well?

    Da Costa is a player you like and for good reason, he is skilled and has proven that in the A. I just don’t think it will happen for him in the bigs (I saw nothing last night). I saw nothing I liiked in the games he played last year. He is very slight. I liked Hoffman and Petersson both last year over him!

    As for Methot, I was totally wrong and pleasantly surprised with his play. He is big, strong and…major bonus…he can really skate! He is the perfect partner for Karlsson! Philips is horrendous. I hear that Lundin will be in the lineup and the coach will send Borowiechi down. That would be a shame, he is the only guy who will punish on the D.

  4. Visitor - Pierre D. says:

    DaOatesa may have been a -1 at some point though, ended up even on the evening.

    I find Don’s columns hilarious. Who cares if Erik had a bunch of points in the Finnished Elite League? He can’t even come close to Selanne, Kurri, Lehtinen or other Finnish greats. And really, does getting that many points overseas give the Senators a first-round bye? If not, who cares?

    I was talking to some yokel Sens fan, must have been 20 at most. He said Erik Karlsson was the BEST at stripping the puck and probably of all time! Better than Lidstrom, Bourque, Pierre Pilote, Langway, Ludwig, Orr…I just nodded, bought him a double double and patted him on his Karlsson jersey before walking away, bemused. The whole Karlsson thing reminds me of Terry Marcotte (Saw a picture of him and was shocked, he looks 30ish to 40sh, he sounds like a 70-year old on radio) and Marcotte was saying: “Excitement! Excitiement!” To which I replied…if it doesn’t win in the playoffs, who cares? I found watching the Kings v. Devils very exciting, two teams tha didn’t blow doors off but got it done! I found the Martin era quite exciting, we had 100 point seasons and a Preisident’s Trophy! I know Don claims Murray is the smartest hockey man to come out of the National Capital Region (gusss Robinson, Yzerman, Potvin, Kilrea, B. Smith et al. don’t count because they don’t have scoops for Don) and if so why is he trying to force the issue of “excitiemnt” and wide-open hockey that clearly can’t work in a league regressing toward the defensive mean? There may be a reason our GM is still trying to figure out how to win the big one, non?

    As for Bobby, short memory! Torts innovated “Safe is death!” in Tampa Bay! He doesn’t have a prime Richards, LeCavalaier, St. Loiuis and company so he has to adapt a more defensive style and it works! Are the Rangers struggling? Sure! But so are a lot of teams. Capitals are Crapitals, Sabres massively mediocre, even the Kings are struggling.

    But don’t worry Bobby, the plan is in place. I got a secret recoding of this conversation (allged) between Murray and the team:

    Mruray: “We have a good a chance as any, we have the best defenceman in the league, a good goalie and this is Alfire’s last year.”

    Alfie: “We can win, it’s our year.”

    What more needs be said! Just let me know when to buy my finals tickets so I can finally see a non-67s championship in this town! It’s inevitable and I’m sure the Ottawa Sun will let me write letter, if not a column, since I’ll be the first to have made that call!

  5. Mike8888 says:

    Bobby wrote odd Methot is the summer, before he even played a game for us.

  6. Mike8888 says:

    make that wrote off. :)

  7. Bobby Goodman says:

    Pierre, your right, Yosemite Sam is brilliant! He has people actually thinking he is a great coach! Cory Couston could have coached Tampa back then and won the Cup! Personally, I think he is a crass and offensive drama queen who is as dumb as spit.

    We have to concede Karlsson is extremely talented but equally we must concede he plays the game much easier that most defensemen. He, as I have said often, is a 4th forward. His Tk/A are often the result of hard work of others who go into the corners to push a player off of the puck while he picks off the scraps. Most defefencemen go into the corners, he follows. Most defencemen block shots; of just the defencemen in the league he is 151st. Most defencemen in the league will give up their body to hit the opposition; of the defencemen in the league, Karlsson is 131st and he is 7th in the league in the number of give-a-ways. He plays defence but it is far different than any other d/man in the league as he is encouraged to join/lead the rush all the time, all game and every game; and he is told to avoid pucks and bodies. It is a much easier way to play on the back end but it is the way HE will be most successful and beneficial to the team (during regular league play). Before someone attacks this comment, I will say he is a once in a generation talent, no Doughty about it!

    Mikey, indeed I did have some negative things to say about Methot. I was wrong. Although I would have prefered someone like a Deryk Engelland, Methot has impressed me! I still think that the team is far too soft on the back and will be made even softer if the send Boro back. Lundin is yet another passive defencemen and I don’t know what he brings that Lee couldn’t. Is he even better than Gilroy?

    Mikey, if I wrote some people off, you overwhelming wrote them on! I ask you, what are your expectations for Sly and Zib? I suspect no one wants to answer that because expections that are set up front can be measured against actual results (just like the business world). I hope they do fantastically well, but I just don’t see it happening! I think it is great and I wish I could be that way but I cannot. I will celebrate what deserves to be celebrated. I am a fan of hockey first and a Sens fan second! I loved the teams before Murray arrived and have not liked the teams that Murray built that required a rebuild! Can’t celebrate that…naaaa, na na na!

  8. Mike8888 says:

    Just a few observations from last night’s game:

    -the Sen’s played really well and should have won
    -Zibanejad and Silferberg are looking better and better every game (perhaps we shouldn’t write them off)
    -Lundin looked good, he skates well and makes smart plays (maybe we shouldn’t write him off)
    -Alfredsson is looking better every game as well (maybe we shouldn’t write him off as well)
    -Greening played better and looks like he’s going to the net more
    -Neil is playing inspired hockey
    -all in all, the Sen’s are looking good

  9. Mike8888 says:

    I forgot to say that I thought Dacosta had a great game and really added some offence to the team. He seems to have good hockey sense.

    Bobby,
    Re Zibby and Sly: I’d say we won’t know for sure how they will turn out for a couple of seasons. You seem to dislike them because one was drafted 6th overall and one was hyped a little too much. Well, in your world I guess that means they will both be failures. You also harp on the fact that Zibby had a bad year last season. Perhaps he did, but he was all of 18. You keep harping on the same negatives over and over, but that is your right and I guess I don’t have to read it. In one of your posts you stated that you’d take Magnuss what’s his name on Edmonton over Cowan. I really can’t express in words how much I am glad that you are not our GM. :)

  10. Bobby Goodman says:

    Indeed they should have won, just like other teams should have won games that Anderson won for the team earlier; it happens! Any game Nashville wins is because of Pekka Rienne.

    Silfverberg didn’t register a hit , went another game not scoring a goal but that is playing better? Zibby, in spite of every opportunity (Playing with the better players and even playing the point on the PP…go figure) didn’t get a point but he did deliver 3 hits! But this is looking good? You are easy to please Mikey. Da Costa made a couple of great plays but aside from that, he did diddly. He and Condra didnt’ register a single hit and that line had a total of one. After a torrid start, Obrien has been what we expect but he works very hard.

    Greening looked good? He couldn’t hit water if he fell out of a boat and did the square root of diddly squat. He has many chances to score. The great big lug had one hit and when you don’t handle the puck, score goals or make plays…you have to bring the physicality. I thought, again, he was terrible.

    Lundin looked good? I would suggest he didn’t look anything, he was invisible and he didn’t register a single hit in the game. How does a defenceman (especially one who is not an offensive defenceman like Karly) play a game and not hit a soul? But that is his game. If I am writing off Lundin, are you then writing off Wiercioch and Boro? I will take them in the lineup any and everytime!

    Alfie is skilled, no doubt about it but he is looking his age and has lost a few steps. His smarts and his skill is allows him to continue to be a good player. Philips is a bum (did you see him caught up the ice trying to get back on one of the C goals and did you see him flopping around like a flounder on the winning goal?!

    Karly and Methot are great together, Methot’s reliable play and skating ability/agility allows for Karly to be the 4th forward for 28 minutes a game (he spends more time in the offensive zone than his own forwards). Oh, he is now 4th amng defencemen in give aways.

  11. OD99 says:

    I will of course agree that Karlsson plays the game differently than most but again I won’t have a problem with a generational talent changing how the game can be played.

    I don’t know if they count Karlsson picking up the puck from a scrum a take-away Bobby but I do know the 4-6 times he just removed the puck from a rushing forward will be counted – did you see how easy he snagged it away from the big and powerful E. Staal? Staal to his credit swiped it from Karlsson behind the ‘Canes net a little bit later.

    For me there is no reason to look at the fact that Karsson isn’t a bruiser or a defensive D-man so that is why I don’t mention it – he is what he is and he is right now the best. It is impressive to see how much better of an overall game he has this year, he has improved tremendously.

    I don’t give expectations because I don’t have any for new players. I couldn’t say Silf should score 20 goals because I had no idea how he would react to the NHL. I can say I like his skill level but he is thinking way too much and too slowly still…it is obvious he hasn’t gotten things figured out yet but I think he is better now than the first game and that is encouraging.

    I thought Greening had a better game last night too, and Alfie has had a bit more jump the last couple of games but he is still not where he was last season. More than a few times he is less than a stride away from a play or the puck but he can’t get there in time, something that rarely happened his entire career.

    I liked some of the plays that DaCosta pulled yesterday too and think he will continue to get better.

    Lundin does look like another soft D but he looks like he can wheel and he was miles better than Gilroy (that guy was awful for us)…if he can get to the puck and move it up the ice in a hurry I won’t have an issue with him as a short term player for us.

    You had to know Boro was the one going back…he hasn’t played bad at all but we all agree Benoit deserves to be here and I think Wiercioch has shown he can play here and have an impact (he has created a few chances with heads up skating and passing). Boro will be back soon – no doubt there will be more injuries, etc…let him go down and play the PP as well as the PK and sharpen his game even more.

    Sooo many chances to put the game away last night…not the least of which was Karlsson fanning on the great PP feed from Alfie for an open cage…then more over passing at times…the team is good though and will certainly make a push to remain in the top 8.

    Only scary thing is how many times we have already played some of the lesser lights…although NYR and Philly aren’t playing well right now either.

  12. KevinF says:

    Re Greening, saw him play at least twice each of his four years at Cornell. The year after the Sens drafted him I sat beside a Kings scout at Appleton Arena. Might have been Mark Hardy but I’m not sure. After the second he asked me who I liked, I said Greening based on his size and great skating, even in a great skating league. He agreed but said that the consensus was that he would be a checking type as his hands were lousy. True dat.
    We did not discuss his sexual or partying habits which will disappoint the main contributors here.

  13. OD99 says:

    Hey Bobby – how about that hit DaCosta laid yesterday against the Jets? I had hoped that would spark the team (although if he buried his break away that would have done it for sure) but they were out of sorts right from the start.

    It wasn’t even that they weren’t trying it was laughable how terrible they were handling the puck. At one point in the second period the guys overskated the puck a few times and just kept giving it away…insane.

    Overall very disappointing and the team is really slumping now, they better get out of it quick or it will be a quick slide to the bottom as a few teams are starting to find their games.

    One positive I saw is that Bishop looked good – other than that not much…I did like DaCosta’s game for the most part and am looking forward to him getting some top 6 minutes now that Regin is out.

    I wonder if they will call up Grant?

  14. Bobby Goodman says:

    Kevin, you are right; there is not doubt Greening has speed and we see it every year in the Skills Competition! Greening in 12 games has 1g and does nothing. In spite of all the praise, the Sens have some major problems. Condra in 12 games has one goal, Obrien scored 3 early but has had a tough time since. The Dog has played 5 games now and has upped his stats to minus 5 (why him instead of Obrien?). He didn’t register a point, shot or a single hit yesterday. Silfverberg yesterday again had no goals, no assists and didn’t register a shot and now has 2g in 12 games (and he is supposed to be a star). Zibanejad looks like a kid in a man’s game. Although he has courage, I do not see the speed that has been promoted and he has but 1g. Again he didn’t register a point and had only 1 shot. He shouldn’t be playing in the NHL. The very soft Lundin had 1 shot and 1 hit and was invisible. The team will be overtaken most certainly by both Toronto and Montreal (and perhaps others).

    It amazes me how details are ignored in some articles. For instance, there is no mention of Karlsson’s 3 give aways and extremely tentative play. There were no 11 shots yesterday, only 3 and his play was reminiscent of the way he played against NYR in the playoffs last year – tentative and scared.

    York, Yorks, Yorkie says he is the best player in the NHL!? He is certainly allowed to offer his opinion but it is extremely jaundiced. He like the rest of the Usual Suspects know on what side their bread is buttered. I read his article and I had to laugh. York, Yorks, Yorkie, never let facts get in the way of a great story. Karly, the best Dman and Player in the entire NHL, leads all Dmen in give aways. He is 114th in hits among those who play defence. He is 143rd in blocked shots! There are 15 Dmen ahead of him in plus minus and there are 4 ahead of him in scoring! So,York, Yorks, Yorkie on what basis do you proclaim he is playing better than last year and is indeed the best player in the NHL? There is no denying his amazing talent (speed, quickness, stickhandling and shot) but he is a very soft, slight forward who only lines up on the back end. There are job descriptions and responsibilities when one plays defence.

    I truly think the team is in trouble (Spezza made them 20% better). Those who would be stars, aren’t. The team outside of Gums and Knuckles are as soft as hell. Although Methot will use his body, no other D will. I don’t know how they will contain the bigger tougher teams. I watched Toronto and their defence last night. For the most part they are big, mobile and physical. They have what I call a real NHL 4th line; big, physical and intimidating. The team is being assembled to play hockey the way it is played in the NHL, not a European league! Kessel who was invisible all year is now playing with confidence; why do you think that is?

    You don’t win championships with soft defencemen (soft, old, slow defencemen are worse) or soft teams.

  15. Mike8888 says:

    Bobby,
    I guess the coach should tell Karlsson to hit more and block more shots? Now that would be a good move.

  16. Bobby Goodman says:

    Dave, Da Costas hit was fabulous and would like to see more. You are right, the team looked…listless. Mis- handling the puck often happens against physical teams; it is hockey’s version of the football term: “hearing footsteps”. Another key indicator is aimlessly ridding oneself of the puck.

    Should the team get out of the funk quick Dave? The team won games early but Anderson was a huge reason why! This team isn’t very good (the organization isn’t good nor is it deep). I would perfer to have the team be what they are and secure a high draft choice (the reward for futility).

    If I was GM (something MIkey certainly wouldn’t endorse) I would be working the phones. The organization, media and fans all talk about Lehner and he is a great talent (he is responsible for Bingo’s success) but I am worried about his ego/attitude. But I am basing that on history. I would be shopping Bishop and either Anderson (who is fabulous) or Lehner, around for draft choices in this a talent rich year! Bishop is a very good goaltender (he faced 37 shots last game) and the 6 goals surrended in his only other appearance was an anomally and not entirtely his fault (Price surrendered 6 goals on Saturday). Bishop looked fabulous and he should get more reps to make him more marketable. What is the point of playing the best goalie in the NHL (statistically and right now) and win games artificially? It doesn’t serve the “rebuilding plan” well. There are a bunch of teams in need of goaltending. I would be making deals for young, fast, talented centermen, young big, mobile and tough defencemen and/or draft choices.

    I will never understand why this organization make the decisions they do. Grant may not be an NHLer but there are few on this team who play and aren’t. This team needs to migrate away form their fascination with Swedes and simply draft the best player available (all things being equal, choose a Canadian). Toughness should be a priority as well as skill and by toughness I don’t necessarily mean willingness to fight. I want kids who willingly engage. The great big lug Greening has yet to earn a penalty minute and the diminutive Galagher with the Habs has shown far more courage and the 20 year old rookie has scored 4 goals. Knuckes is 4th in team scoring and what round did he go in (3rd I think). I like kids who score 100pts and earn 100 penalty minutes in the best breeding ground for NHL palyers, the CHL! Overwhelmingly, those who have played 3-4 years in NCAA do very lttle in the NHL (most don’t even make it). There are some who do but as I said most do not.

    Dave, I think there should be some expectations set. If one is willing to accept anything, how does one fail? If the Murrays were calling Zib and Sly the future of the team, what does it say for their ability to judge talent? What was it they saw in Zibby that justified a 6th pick overall (Coutourier)? Everyone should work hard (and they do) but numbers tell the real story.

  17. Bobby Goodman says:

    I think you missed my point Mikey; I have often said he is encouraged to play he can be most effective ( 4th forward) and he is extremely successful at it but he is the only one who plays that way! I was trying to understand why York, Yorks, Yorkie says he is playing better than last year, is the best defenceman and the best player in the NHL! If the yardstick is points, he has 4 ahead of him! I tried but failed to point out that he falls behind in some categories than define 99% of the defencemen in the NHL! I understand that York, Yorks, Yorkie is a cheerleader but perhaps once a year he can say something a little bit inteligent!

    Mikey, you are endorsing everything now. What is wrong with Karly blocking a shot; should he not? I witness Gerby, Ennis, Gionta and Gallagher all playing aggressively and I suspect Karlie is bigger and faster than all of them! Was it like dejavu watching Karly in the Jets game? 3 shots, no rushes and leading both teams in hurried/frantic give aways was exactly how he played versus the NYR last year. On another note, you wont tell me what you expect from Silfverberg or Zibanejad (and I understand why). You like Lundin!? You endorse Boro going down to the manures!? You like the Dog in the lineup. You like DaOates-like Costa in the lineup (and what do you expect from in the final 35 games; I will wager you wont answer that either. You think the very guy who destroyed the team with a gazillion players and coaches and end up with the product you see today is the best man for the “rebuild”! You think that 29 other teams in the NHL have it wrong and should be building a management team of individuals who never played in the NHL!

    Mikey, Ottawa is one of the softest teams in the entire NHL. They have accumulated only 144 minutes in penalties and that is the 6th least in the league. They rank in the bottom ten in minors taken and 3rd least in majors. All this wouldn’t matter much if they were talented (ie: Chicago) but they certainly are not!

    You are a fantastic Sens fan and truly respect that but it shouldn’t trump the reality.

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