Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Chris Stevenson of the Ottawa Sun,
In what is surely one of the stupidest and most ignorant moves going, somebody with the Senators organization decided to cover a wall near the Penguins dressing room in Scotiabank Place with a large mural. It’s a photo of the Senators shaking hands with the Penguins after the Senators eliminated them in their first-round matchup last spring.
It’s positioned so it is about the last thing the Penguins will see as they make the turn from the main hallway to enter their dressing room.
It’s right in an area where the visiting teams have been known to play their warmup game of “Keep Up,” bouncing a soccer ball around from player to player, trying to keep it from hitting the ground.
“That’s what they’ll be looking at when they play soccer,” said another player, with a shake of his head.
As if you need to give a team any other reason or motivation to want to beat you at this time of year.
from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
There was a telling moment in Bryan Murray’s news conference Sunday when the Ottawa Senators’ head coach and general manager was asked about the fact that both of last year’s Stanley Cup finalists are on the ropes this year.
The Anaheim Ducks, who won the 2007 Stanley Cup by beating the Senators in five games, are now, like the Senators, down 2-0 in the first round of the NHL playoffs. Murray pointed out several things troubling the Ducks, who are trailing the Dallas Stars, but he could just as easily been talking about his own team.
“I think everybody learns from the guy [who] won,” he said. “I think what Dallas has done is really neutralize Anaheim’s defence. I think they’ve really pressured them consistently and made them pay for almost every penalty.
from Elliotte Friedman of CBC at From the Pressbox,
I’m not covering Ottawa-Pittsburgh, but had an interesting conversation with an NHL coach yesterday about the Senators.
“Every rumour I’ve heard about the Senators this season…Well, now I believe them,” he said.
“The playoffs are about playing for each other. Teammates are supposed to be motivated by watching each other block shots, watching each other making sacrifices, watching each other play with pain.
The whole idea is to feel that you can’t let down the other 19 guys, so you do something extra, too.
From Bruce Garrioch at the Ottawa Sun,
The word is if Alfredsson tried to come back now he wouldn’t be much help anyway. He hasn’t been on the ice since he suffered the injury a week ago against Toronto for a reason: He’s not ready to skate.
The Senators have to prove they can win without Alfredsson.
They didn’t do it this season by going 3-9 in the 12 regular-season games he missed as a result of various injuries—including his hip and groin.
“He’s a key part of our team, but we can win without him,” said Senators centre Jason Spezza.
from David Naylor of the Globe and Mail,
Do the Senators have any chance of defeating the Penguins without Alfredsson?
“I think we can,” Jason Spezza said. “He’s a key part of our team, but we can win without him.”
Clearly, Alfredsson’s absence has left some gaping holes in Ottawa’s lineup. For example, after Randy Robitaille replaced Alfredsson at right wing on Ottawa’s top line for the first game, general manager and head coach Bryan Murray now plans to use Martin Lapointe in that spot alongside Spezza and Dany Heatley for tonight’s second game.
“[Lapointe] will go up and down the wing and be really solid and has a bit of a physical element to him,” Murray said.
From Ian Mendes at Sportsnet.ca,
Anton Volchenkov told reporters on Thursday that he expects to play in Game 2 on Friday night in Pittsburgh, after leaving Game 1 with a head injury.
The defenseman said he did not suffer a concussion when he blocked a Evgeni Malkin shot with his forehead in the second period Wednesday night. He required 15 stitches to close the gash and says that if he is able to put on a helmet, he will suit up for Game 2. He did not participate in a full team practice in Pittsburgh on Thursday.
from The Good, The Bad And The Duthie,
For all of you who believed there was some magic playoff pixie dust Bryan Murray could sprinkle on his team and wipe away the mess of the last five months, sorry.
It is what it is. Or, the Senators are what they are: a wounded, shattered, lost, hockey team. The 4-0 score was kind.
I know. You should never judge a series by the first game. Things can happen. Momentum can change. But there is a sense of inevitability creeping in here.
more and a quick look at the other games from last night…
from Don Brennan of the Ottawa Sun,
The very banging and battering the Penguins wanted to avoid from the Flyers can serve as an equalizer in this series for the undermanned Senators. They just need to bring it. Schubert, Chris Neil, Martin Lapointe, Cody Bass, Shean Donovan, Mike Commodore and Anton Volchenkov will be key players for Ottawa.
They have to frustrate the skilled Penguins. They have to throw them off their game. Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Marian Hossa, Petr Sykora and Sergei Gonchar have to be targeted. They cannot be allowed to free-wheel without concern or they will roll right over the Senators.
Crosby’s got a bad RIGHT ankle? How will it stand up to a two-hander? The Senators have to find out.
via Bruce Garrioch at Off The Posts,
Asked what he thought about the Penguins tactics by sitting Sidney Crosby Sunday, Murray stated what I thought.
“I knew what was going on,” said Murray. “You guys all know they wanted to play Ottawa. That’s fine. That was fairly obvious from the drop of the puck.”
from Don Brennan of the Ottawa Sun,
Some will say he has already moved on.
But the fact remains that Wade Redden is a key member of the Senators and if he can somehow turn up his game, the 30-year-old defenceman will greatly enhance this team’s chances of a first-round upset while helping himself re-establish appeal to other NHL teams.
Redden, one of the most popular Senators ever, has as few as four games left here. With Redden set to become an unrestricted free agent in July, Ottawa won’t even bother to try to re-sign him
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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