Just another road trip … sorta

- March 25th, 2014

Sitting in my hotel room a few hours before the Senators wrap up their latest sojourn, reflecting on the past five days. Interesting things happened both with the team and myself …
-The Senators should not have lost in Dallas. They were catching a team playing its first game after their own trip, and you know the trend in those situations.
Generally, players take losses hard, but these guys were very dejected after this one. As they should have been. They blew a lead and a good performance by Robin Lehner ….
-We arrived in Tampa a day later than scheduled, so instead of having two nights here we had one. Went to watch basketball Sunday night at a downtown bar close to the hotel. WS wanted to head back to the hotel before I did … I have Arizona in my bracket and wanted to make sure they won. So I was left alone at the bar, sipping my beer, when two locals came in and saddled up beside me. They were young guys, in their late 20s it appeared. They were wearing suits and they were feeling no pain. We started chatting. They don’t like basketball much. When they found out I’m from Canada, they asked if we carry guns in our country. I said no, not usually. I asked the guy beside me if he does. He turned slightly, lifted his vest to show me the pistol jammed in the back of his pants. His buddy had one in his sports jacket. They had to be coy, because they have “concealed” weapons permits, and there was a couple of cops hitting hamburgers behind us.
I thought it was a little disturbing that these drunk guys had loaded weapons, but such is life in Florida.
An hour or so later, I left and so did they. I started walking to the hotel, and they drove up beside me in a jeep. The guy in the passenger seat rolled down his window, smiled, waved his gun at me and said “see ya later.”
I’m glad they weren’t Senators fans who don’t like some of the stuff I’ve written about the team.
-The reaction to the end of the losing streak Monday night told just how much of a toll the last few weeks has taken on the players. When Lehner stopped the final shootout try, he banged the butt end of his stick in the ice a few times, clearly relieved. First off the bench to join him was Chris Neil, and they hugged like they had just won a big playoff game.
You could that a huge load had been lifted off their shoulders when you saw the players in the dressing room. There was laughter and a lot of chatter, for the first time in a long time.
-So now they face the lowly Panthers, and this is a game the Senators should very definitely win. But they don’t always take the “shoulds”.
All of us realize they’re not going to make the playoffs, but it would be nice if they made the last few weeks interesting. Nine points behind Toronto, which is in the last wildcard spot, and the Senators have a couple of games in hand. Senators also have one more game against the Leafs.
If Washington, Columbus, New Jersey and Carolina weren’t also in between them – and with the Buds are fading – I would say this thing is not over yet.
Only two players met reporters outside the hotel this morning, as the Senators stayed away from the rink in favour of an off ice workout.
Erik Karlsson was asked if there is still hope.
“We want to string a few together here, I think,” he said. “As of lately we’ve been playing better and better. It’s nice to get the win yesterday even though it was in overtime and we needed shootouts. But I think we’re getting more and more pleased about the way we’re playing. Hopefully we can build off that.”
Asked what he liked most about the team’s game in the 4-3 shootout victory over Tampa, Karlsson said:
“I think we played better defensively, and didn’t give up as many chances. And I think we created a lot more offence, got some more zone time. We’ve just got to keep spending time in the other team’s defensive zone, and put a few more pucks in the net.”
I know, gripping stuff.
“(The win) should give us more jump,” said Kyle Turris. “We played well last night, we’re happy with the result and now we’ve got to keep it going.
“All round we played a good game. We were smart at times, we killed the penalties we had to, we had lots of offensive opportunities,. Lehner played great. It was just a collective, great team effort. Now we’ve got to follow it up.”
“Everybody really wanted to be determined to win their individual battles as well as the big team battle. Obviously it went a long way.”
Watch for Lehner to get the start again tonight.

Categories: Hockey

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11 comments

  1. PaV says:

    Don, it was nice to see them finally win. I know the playoffs are not in the SENS future, but I do hope they manage to take a few more down the road to make it interesting. The Leafs are in a little of a downward spiral, but with Bernier back in nets tonight, I think they will get a much needed boost.

    EKs attitude over this season can now be slightly justified with what is going on in his personal life. Being so young and having your marriage end will take its toll on anyone.

    The SENS are sitting at 71 points with 11 games left in the season. Even if they ran the table and took the last 11 games that would only be 93 points. It would take an act of god for them to make it.

  2. Bobby Goodman says:

    At a Federal Government Departmental Golf Tournament a while back, one of the Feds I was playing with told me on the first tee “I don’t need any more friends” (I responded with “I can always use a new friend…it caught him off guard). He didn’t want to hear yet another salesguy pitch his company/products/services but I did of course and per my policy, it was brief and when I got what I wanted (a committment to meet officially), he realized I was just a regular guy doing my job. We had a great time that day and ironically, did a lot of business over the years on the golf course here and in California!.
    It is the very same with you Donny! If some fans or players don’t like some of the stuff you’ve written that is their problem…you don’t need any more friends do you? You are just doing your job. If they want nothing but bouquets they should tune in to Y3 in the am in the CJOH at 6:45 pm!

    Do you regret some of things you’ve said or written? Are yo sorry you said “you hate the way Karlsson plays his own end”, that “he doesn’t care and doesn’t even make an effort” and “he is only interested in accumulating points and setting records”? I certanly hope not! You distiguished yourself from the others that night and I hope you, Bruce and the others in the media will go even further. Get it all out!

    There is so much more that can be said:

    - After the torrid start, Ryan has been in a horrid slump
    - Spezza is now 11 points ahead of him and MacArthur
    - Zzz: why PP, PK, Center, OT, why can’t he win a one-on-one battle
    - Dubya sits, why
    - Philips got 2 more years…why?
    - The team allowed 38 shots last night and are among the leagues worst
    - On the PP, Karly wont get the puck to Hoffman when he is wide open on the right, why?

    You aren’t in the job to make friends Donny, if readers or athletes are offended, I would suggest it speaks volumes about their character. And, they wold all wait with baited breath for your next piece! Twits will tweet away. The think is, t’s not like they don’t know all this stuff anyway….most just choose to live in denial and pretend it isn’t happening!

    You can be gentle and kind and blend in the multitudes or…you can state the “facts as you se em” and distinguish yourself”. Damn the torpedos Donny…you don’t need any more friends! Perhaps you would like more, but do you need em?

  3. OD99 says:

    So Zibby got scratched and I don’t mind at all. The kid hasn’t had a very good sophomore season and perhaps that will wake him up a little.

    Yet another 2 goal lead blown quite easily it seems as well? Won’t be seeing it until Friday but no way you can have consistency if you can’t hold any type of lead.

  4. Bobby Goodman says:

    After reading the paper(s) you would never know the Sens lost to the 3rd worst team in the League but what’s worse, Florida won the game while missing: Barkov, Gudbranson, Petrovic, Huberdeau and Kopecky. Karlsson “dominated as usual”, with one shot on net and the only one on the team to give the puck away (2x). The Sens are now tied with NYI with the most goals allowed, 243! Again, they allowed 40 shots on net (41) and again, the Team couldn’t hold a lead. Lehner was awful in the shootout (the goal by Turchov was unbeleivable) but he was fabulous in regulation!. Brown and Potvin again, embarrassed themselves.

    After the loss to the 3rd worst team in the 30 team league, 2 Senators are named Stars of the contest! An article is written that implies the Referees have united to pick on the Ottawa Senators, which begs the question, what role have they played in: shots allowed, goals allowed, turn overs, Gva etc and most importantly…lack of effort, especially in their own end of the rink? The bulk of another article is focussed on Karlsson’s points (his lack of defence is always ignored).

    It is a shame that Hoffman didn’t get more ice-time and didn’t earn a line in the paper. He actually led two rushes from end to end and his blazing speed was on full display! He had the puck on his stick in one shift longer than Zzzz had the entire year! Who wants to wager Zzz will be back in the middle, where the DAC likes him, next game he plays? The Hoff tied the team lead with 4 shots on goal (most likely because Zzzz didn’t dress). Why not give Hoff (the fastest skater on the team) some time in OT, the dominating Zzzz gets every opportunity? And why not give the Hoff a chance in the shoot out? Je n’understand pas?

    Speaking of Zzzz, I suspect he isn’t hurt at all. I would still like to see the Hoff at center with some real hockey players with him or on the left wing with Spezza (who actually did dominate as usual). Michalek was, again, awful. Hoffman thinks like Spezza and Hemsky (Zzzz and Condra and most certainly Kassian, do not).

    I’ve always believed that the Centerman doesn’t have to take the draw. If a winger is better, let him take it and in the flow of the game, return to your position. If a player wants the puck and is fantastic with it, why take it out of his hands by having him patrol 1/3 of the ice? A centerman does most of the skating…it has been said many times…so why have a guy who stands around the periphery and can’t carry the puck play the position?

    Kassian and his 4 minutes on the ice helped the hockey club? Not! The Team needed him to dress for the 3rd worse team in the league? Couldn’t the 6-1, 215 Neal take on the 6-2, 225 Barch? Was the fight necessary?

    Stone was great on the right side with Turris/MacArthur. He’s a very smart hockey player and didn’ look out of place at all. With any luck, he could have had two more goals! Good for him! He’s not the best skater but neither is Ryan!

  5. PaV says:

    OD99 – when we gave up the two goals in like 23 seconds, I just had to ‘give my head a shake.’ The players were just silly. Why would the DAC scratch Zibby? I have been saying for months that Zibby is one of the best players on the ice? Where was Karly? He was weak and slow in his own end. He must be missing Annika. The DAC should have had Karly off the ice for 50 minutes!!!! Can someone tell me if and why Phillips is hurt? Just because he went in to the boards head first and twisted his knee doesn’t mean squat!!! The DAC must feel so silly for not putting Spezza on the ice for all three shoot out attempts. Doesn’t the DAC know that Spezza is the best player on the team? Doesn’t the DAC know that the +/- rating only applies to Karly??????? My god man, why aren’t you speaking up more. Why aren’t the fans breaking down the doors to CTC and demanding the DAC to listen? Better yet, why don’t the fans stalk Eugene and make him fire Murray and the DAC? The team needs to have all Canadian’s in order to be competitive! Why won’t Karly pass to Hoffman – doesn’t Karly know who cares if he leads the league in points for a D Man for god sake he is a -17!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (I previously stated that the +/- stat only applies to Karly).

  6. Bobby Goodman says:

    Pav, you are proving me right with ever post…you totally lack originality…this had been done before!

    Start a conversation son that doesn’t begin with Les Habion and Suckubban! I would ask you to offer why you are optimistic and all the rest…but I have done that many times before. You still wont/can’t give us all an answer.

    You are definitely the biggest cheerleader I have ever seen and it serves you well. Tell me this Pav, is Don now think he is a General Manager…aferall, he did say he hates the way Karly plays in his own end, that he doesn’t try and doesn’t even care about defence….only accumulating points and setting records? That must have hurt, huh? Is Mikey now a GM, he thinks Couturierre is better than Zzzz and he think the DAC shold go. How does that make you feel?

    Are you impressed with the single point last night against the 3rd worst team that have many missing?

    Pav…do you care at all about wins and losses. I strongly suspect you and many others would have been totally content if the team (as God awful as they are) squeaked in to the post season. Then you would sound off how great the Organization is run. But he reality is they wont….but predictably, you don’t say a word.

    You were here al lot when the small, gutless, talentless, slow and unowrthy Habilons lost a few games out west againstt the best (the Sens were losing against the worst, and again last night). If the Habions are terrible, what does that say about the Senators who are 16 points behind them?

    Have you and many others considered that acquiring personal stats may be great, but if the team loses consistently because they allow many goals scrored agaisnt them (now 30th in the 30 team league) perhaps it is time to consider playing defence if your are a Defenceman? Plus 3 the other night was fabulous…but he is minus 20 before that one game! It is never made public of course.

    Have you ever considered why I may like a particular player and by the same token, no care for another, Pav? The same applies to an executive or a Coach? Do I simply dislike a player because I choose to. Why do I like Eckman-Larson or Hedman, Haglan and many other Swedes. Why do I like the 19 year old Trouba. Why do I love the young centerman Johanson in Columbus? Why do I like Hoffman?

    Nothing matters to you Pav and if that makes you happy, so be it. You’re going to love it all regardless of the results. Wouldn’t you like to have see Hoffman in the OT or Shootout? Did I say something wrong again when I said I would have?

    Why not resond to some of the gazillion questions I put to you Pav. You think a man isn’t a man if he cries (that is sad enough to make this BOY cry) but a great big man like you shies away from simply questions…..hiding behind a keyboard! Why not enlighten us all by suggesting what you would do to: hold on to a lead, stop the flood of goals, prevent the many shots against, line combinatios etc. This boy does.

  7. Visitor - Pierre D. says:

    Don, that’s nothing. I went to visit some friends in Ohio about 5-6 years ago and I went to pee at night (I’m not young, sometimes I have to) and one of the housekeepers pointed a .30 ought at me! Good thing I was on the throne for that episode! We all laughed it off when he said he thought it was a burgler. I just assume all Americnas are armed and don’t cause trouble.

    PaV, we don’t have to ask for Mac to get canned. If the team pulls a stinkeroo next year he’ll get the axe and Murray will take the rens for the last time of his career. Spoiler alert: he won’t win the Cup. Do try to write in coherent sentences next season, you read like a 15-year old at times with your lack of punctuation and grammar.

    I heard the contrived and all-too-predictable Pierre McGuire say that Karlsson was going to be a Norris finalist, mostly because he had points. I don’t know if Pierre has been looking at Karlie but he’s been an absolute crapshow in his own end. Great, he got divorced, he lost his best friends. That gives him some leeway for this year. NEXT year he needs to step up and play better in his own end or we’ll be a horrid team again; I guess we’ll get Connor McDavid though so that’s a small benefit, maybe he’ll be able to replace Spezza, who is soon to be chased out of town for not responding to expectations.

    Bobby, I LOVED your letter to the Ottawa Sun and you were bang on. Too much praise given to someone that, while he played excellently at both ends of the rink, ultimately never elevated when we needed him against the Penguins in his last year here.

    Toronto sure is in a mess right now, and while it’s easy to dislike the team’s fanbase, I find it sad that only Montreal may represent us in the Stanley Cup playoffs this year. I very much despise the Bruins, the style they play is anathema to what the NHL should be. Tripping, elbowing, head shots, I dearly hope a team with skill overcomes them!
    I think I will be chering for Tampa Bay in this year’s playoffs, the Stamkos kid is a beauty and Ben Bishop was one of ours for a short time. I know Bobby isn’t a fan of “Mr. Smiley” but…

  8. PaV says:

    Visitor – Pierre D – I know it was lost on you, but I was mocking Bobby, the guy you cheerlead for. I would not expect you to understand with the lack of knowledge you tend to hold on all matters. You may want to get back to being Bobby’s cheerleader and apologize with making fun of the post that mocks his posts.

    Bobby – why bother responding to the crap that you post? All you are going to do is be the immature old man that you are and put words, make up childish nicknames and rant about nothing. Like I said, grow up first then we can talk.

  9. PaV says:

    Mike888/OD99 – The SENS are done, we all know that, what do you think that we need to do in the off season? I wouldn’t mind seeing Bobby Ryan signed to a short term deal. I also would like to see a better pairing D for EK.

  10. Bobby Goodman says:

    Pierre….didn’t you have a gun of your own hand eee?

    The Norris debate will go on and on, year after year. Until there is a clear definition, it will continue. Personally, I think there needs to be two awards, one for the best defenceman (voted on by the players) and the other going to the highest scoring defenceman. It will take the debate right out of the equation. Personally, I think a defenceman should be difficult to play against, certainly not easy. But that is just my prejudice. I can only imagine what other defencemen could do if they were allowed to play most of the time up with the forwards and completely ignore defencive responsibilities. But they don’t.

    I loved the way Alfredsson played Pierre…but a leader? It was all an invention on and off the ice. It served the organization well. I was shocked my letter was published actually; over the years we’ve seen far more of the garbage like what is published in the Sun today on Spezza. Personally, I think real leaders need to speak up and will call some out when it is required. Many players play hard every night (lead by example) and are silent, should they all be Captains? Nonsense. Didn’t Messier speak up AND deliver on the ice? Captains these days is all about the marketting. Is Ovechkin a leader…sometimes he is. Is Sedin, Phaneuf…and I can go on. The trend is to appoint the best player because, they are the most recognizable mug…not necessarily the best choice to lead. You can bet Karly will be the next Captain on the Sens. He is afterall the defacto face of the franchise.

    Isn’t it fascinating that the media in Toronto can hound Phaneuf after a bad game? He was only minus 3 (not minus 4). Should he have faced the music after the game, my opinion is yes he should have. He took the easy way out going on the radio the next day. What fasciates me is how the Coach is ignored. Many pundits say the Blues play a style of game Carlyle has been preaching all year but can’t get his players to perform. At what point idoes he take responsibility? The Leafs (the team that Lord Burke built) will miss the playoffs this year. Nonis’ big signing was a bust which is too bad because “Clarkson is built for playoff hockey”…too bad he didn’t have any regular season in him and they got him at a bargain basement price at 5.5m for 6 more years. Only the small, cowardly, slow, talentless, unworthy and ilitgitimate Habions will see any action in the post season.

    I see that “Stone’s time has come”! That’s great but didn’t we read the very same thing about Zzzz, Silfverberg, Cowen, Daisey, Pageau, Da Costa, Ryan, Lehner and Anderson? A more reserved (realistic) approach should be taken. Certainly concede the kid has played well but allow him to do it over 10 or 20 games then say his time has come. Perhaps say his time is com-ing! But it is a mistake that is made over and over again, year after year.

    Lazar’s time has come and he hasn’t even arrived!

  11. Bobby Goodman says:

    Oh Pierre, it’s not Mr. Smiley….his name is Mr. Happy!

    Tampa is where they are primarily because of what Bishop is doing. As I said way back when, if a goalie is athletic and technically great, it bodes well but if he does all that and he is 6-7, it is that much better! I could be wrong but doesn’t it stand to reason that a 6′, 7″ goalie will cover more of the 4 x 6 than someone smaller? There were some here who wanted Murray to move Anderson and keep Lehner and Bishop and we’re just dumbass fans! The multitudes however, loved the trade. Bishop also had a great personality and didn’t he have an inflated ego. The move worked out very well for him and that’s great. It will work out very well for Spezza when the inevitable happens this summer.

    Isn’t it amazing how some GMs can be fooled by the buzzz. Mr. Happy jumped all over Boucher who turned out to be a major bust (is he coaching anywere?). Kruger was unceremoniously dumped by Edmonton to secure a spot for Dallas Eakin. He came with much fan fare: strategist, disciplinarian, motivator, tactician…..nonsense. The Oilers have all of 59 points so far this year. You would have thought that the team should have been much better with the “kids” having had a year, two or three under their collective belts. To get are real indication of what Eakin is like, you only had to look at how he responded to getting sprayed by a water bottle in an 8-1 thrashing. He could have taken the opportunity to lend a little levity to a terrible situation but instead, the egotistical Eakin, chose to publicly berate a kid who was guilty of venting frustration on a…..water bottle. The coach wouldn’t let it go! He is much too full of himself to appreciate how foolish he looked. A real indicator on the health of the relationship between a player and coach is when both (with a solemn expresson on their face) say their is nothing wrong and their relaitonship is fine. It isn’t of course. The Oil is good hands though, they have Kevin Lowe and Craig McTavish leading the way….their so good at their jobs, they will get another great player in the the draft! I know whoever they may take, will be infinitely better than Ottawa’s first round selection this year.

    I find it fascinating how players can leave one team where they were deemed liabilities and go to another and get rave reviews. I remember Michael Ryder getting heat from many (indluding Murray Wilson) for his lack of defence with the Habs but when he joined the Bruins, his numbers went in the opposite direction! The dreaded Bruins have 3 players in the top 5 in plus/minus, 4 in the top 7 and more should you scroll down the list. The Bruins have only 1 player among the top 30 in scoring. Boston have 4 in the top 60 and 5 players in the top 90 in league scoriing. Yet, he Bruins have 104 points while the Sens sport 72. Is it possible the Bruins pay more attention to preventing goals from being scored?

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