Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Rosie DiManno of the Toronto Star,
Senators Nation? Uh-oh Canada.
The Ottawa Senators may be the only franchise of seven from north of the 49th Parallel still alive and kicking — feebly, to be sure — in the Stanley Cup playoffs. Yet they remain very much a parochial, narrowly embraced entity, a team utterly yoked to one city and one city alone. Further, it’s a city that only civil servants and governance geeks could love.
Our national capital is less loathed than smug Toronto and less parodied than slacker Vancouver but also lesser envied than either. Nor does it possess the small-market virtues of Edmonton, Calgary and Winnipeg. And it made no friends in at least one of our two Canadian solitudes by handily dispatching Montreal in the first round.
This is not a town that will spiritually stitch together the country’s diverse parts through the unifying force of hockey.
from Ken Warren of Senators Extra,
It was one of the worst nights of Karlsson’s career. He played only 15:37, an all-time low for him in a playoff game, clearly showing that he’s not even close to full health since his quick return from Achilles surgery.
“We finished pretty strong, but we started poorly,” Karlsson said, earlier in the interview. “Some of the blame is on me. I’m struggling a little bit.”
Karlsson says he’s not sure whether his problems stem from the injury or fatigue.
“I don’t really know,” he said. “I don’t think I have the answer to that myself. I just have to find a way to figure my body out and obviously I’m not feeling the same way as I’m used to. It started bad and I just couldn’t get it going.”
Senators coach Paul MacLean didn’t disagree with any of that.
“He played 15:37, which isn’t normal for him,” said MacLean, looking at the official game sheet. “So, obviously, he wasn’t one of our best players. On our team, the best players play. He wasn’t one of our best players, so he didn’t play.”
from Bruce Garrioch of Off The Posts,
A source told the Sun Spezza is targeting a Sunday return, but has to get clearance from the doctors.
“He continues to skate on a daily basis and makes progress,” said MacLean Friday. “We’ll go through practice (Saturday) and the pre-game skate and we’ll see where it is. If he’s available to us, it’s Jason Spezza, we’re going to have him in the lineup.”
The Senators will have an optional skate Saturday and Spezza will skate with that group.
“I know I’m going to be there to watch it,” said MacLean. “I might not be on the ice, but we’ll make a decision from there. I don’t know about all the medical hurdles but I’ll know more about that (Saturday).”
By Eli Epstein, TiqIQ
As far as upsets go, the Ottawa Senators’ surprising triumph over the Montreal Canadiens in round one of the playoffs was pretty memorable. The undermanned, unheralded squad took it to the Habs and proved that grit, determination and hustle are what win playoff hockey games, not flare and hesitation.
The Senators face an uphill battle in round two, though. Already one game down to the Pittsburgh Penguins, they cannot afford to dig themselves into a deeper hole against the league’s most high-powered offense.
via Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,
While the Senators owned the Montreal Canadiens in Round 1, they found out the Penguins are going to offer a whole different challenge and if they don't get their act together quickly the stay in the post-season won't be as long as they like.
"We all know we've got to have a better effort throughout than we did (Tuesday)," said captain Daniel Alfredsson. "There will be analysing going on from everybody and adjust for Game 2.
"I thought we did a pretty good job 5-on-5 but overall I don't think we can be happy with the game. We have a lot to be faster in our decision making for us to be a faster team and we weren't that (in this game)."
The Senators also believe they have to do a better job trying to get in front of goalie Tomas Vokoun.
"We have to be stronger in front of both nets: Keep them out of ours and get some better chances ourselves," said Alfredsson.
from Ken Warren of Senators Extra,
Craig Anderson says the fear of being embarrassed is a motivating factor for the Ottawa Senators in Game 1 against the Pittsburgh Penguins here Tuesday.
With so many All-Stars in the lineup, headed by Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, there’s always potential for fireworks, according to Anderson.
“They’re world class players and arguably the two best in the game right now and it’s going to be a big challenge for everyone,” Anderson said following Tuesday’s late morning skate. “Everyone wants to rise to the challenge of the occasion. It’s a good challenge for our defence, for me and for our forwards backchecking, putting pressure on them.”
At the same time, Anderson says the Senators also need to pay attention to the countless solid support players in the Penguins lineup, as well.
from Tim Baines of the Ottawa Sun,
It’s got to be a head-scratching decision for Pittsburgh Penguins management types.
Do they go with wildly inconsistent Marc-Andre Fleury or older, steadier Tomas Vokoun in the opening game of their Round 2 playoff matchup with the Senators Tuesday night?
Do they dare ride with Fleury, the 28-year-old who was regarded highly enough to be named to Canada’s 2010 Olympic team, now the guy who may be playing himself out of consideration for next year’s Olympics?
A 6-4 loss to the New York Islanders in Game 4 was the breaking point. Fleury stink, stank, stunk. Vokoun won the next two games as the Penguins dispatched the tenacious Islanders.
While there’s no goaltending controversy in Ottawa, it’s all the rage in Pittsburgh.
"A lot of times I talk with my coaching staff and also my boys around the cottage and I say, 'We should change the game (name) of hockey to goalie' because that makes the difference. And I think for our team, Craig Anderson was the MVP of this playoff series."
-Paul MacLean, head coach of the Ottawa Senators. More on the Sens series win over Montreal by Pierre LeBrun of ESPN.
Ottawa with a convincing 6-1 win over Montreal gives them a 4-1 series win.
Now the Sens can get some rest.
by Eli Epstein, TiqIQ
If teams hadn’t gotten the point yet, they’re certainly getting it now: Don’t doubt the Ottawa Senators, at any cost. Montreal is learning this lesson the hard way. Through four games, the historic Habs are down three games to one to a team that was discarded as a hodgepodge of minor league have-nots during the regular season and then again as cobbled-together--and not particularly impressive--fluke team during the postseason.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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