Thursday, November 08, 2007

Has the time come to cancel the newspaper subscriptions?

Perhaps the Sens have taken to reading their press clippings a little too intensely. Taking all those platitudes to heart and beginning to believe that they are the second coming of the Silver Seven.

One Ottawa paper was busy reviewing the comparisons of the Senators to the Canadiens of the mid seventies, a squad that was a juggernaut that could not be stopped, apparently an observation that has some strong believers in the capital these days.

So with all the hoopla in Ottawa and beyond about the Sens, imagine how the Washington Capitals must have felt arriving in the capital for their Thursday match with the Senators. One wonders how many Washington General jokes they had to listen to over the last couple of days leading up to the game, an event on the schedule that had been all but posted as a win for the Senators. After all when number one plays number fifteen, it rarely works out well for the bottom feeders. That is if number one manages to tie their skates to the right feet.

Ottawa took to the ice giving Ray Emery the start against the Caps, marking his third game as a starter of the season. Last years Sensation missed the start of the season due to a recovery period from wrist surgery. Since his return, he has found that while it hasn’t been publicly announced, it would appear that the starters’ job belongs to Martin Gerber’s until further notice.
While Emery may have been anxious to get back into that zone he was in last season, his team mates played as if they were in a different time zone altogether. The Senators were sloppy, incapable of finishing checks, allowing the Capitals far too much space in the Ottawa end and misfiring on a number of the 28 opportunities that they had to put the puck behind the Capitals Olaf Kolzig. Particularly worrisome for John Paddock was the brutal work on the power play Thursday, which saw the Senators squander five man advantage situations during the game.

Washington fired 35 shots at Emery, four of which found the mark, ane evening that won't do much to reclaim the starters job, but surely wasn't completely the fault of the Sens goaltender. By the end of the night, the conference leaders were a quiet lot, leaving the ice with a 4-1 loss posted on the home town scoreboard.

In the great picture of the 2007-08 season, a loss in early November probably won’t be a pivotal moment in any Senator run for a Stanley Cup. In fact, it could be a very important learning tool for the Senators; one that helps keep them focused on the task at hand each and every game.

Perhaps John Paddock should send Washington coach Glen Hanlon a thank you note, the Capitals gave Ottawa a stern hockey lesson at Scotiabank place on Thursday. It was a simple reminder that you really have to do more than just show up for the game to get the win.

Until they learn that valuable lesson, perhaps it's wise to tell the newspaper carrier to dump the papers in the bushes of Kanata, after all ignorance can be bliss, and could go a long way to help the team from getting blitzed again in the future.

Photo from the Ottawa Citizen website.

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