Kukla's Korner Hockey
from The Good, The Bad and The Duthie,
If (so tempting just to say “when”) the Senators are eliminated in the next few days, the window will not completely close on their chances win a Stanley Cup in the next three years. Find a goalie, make a major shake-up trade or two, find a steal in the draft (any more Milan Lucic’s out there?) and this team could challenge again.
But the Senators need a fresh set of eyes in the front office to make that happen. A season this apocalyptic mandates major change.
Bryan Murray knew that when he fired John Paddock. He realized something drastic had to be done.
With one more loss, something even more drastic will have to be done. And Murray probably knows that, too.
from the National Post,
A shirtless man in a red cape and metal helmet made one of his final, grating appearances on the big screens above centre ice midway through the third period on Monday night. He was dressed to look like the face of the Ottawa Senators, and he exhorted the crowd to make noise: “Sens Army, our backs are against the wall - we must defend, defend, defend.”
But the man, like the team, failed.
Update 10:25pm ET: More on the game, the “half-naked gladiator” in the pre-game, and Daniel Alfredsson’s return in Tuesday’s Globe & Mail.
Watch the video of the pre-game…
Fan590 in Toronto reporting Bryan Murray stated this morning that Jason Spezza will play tonight and a small chance Daniel Alfredsson may play too.
added 11:31am, from TSN,
The Ottawa Senators received a boost prior to Game 3 of their series with the Pittsburgh Penguins as Jason Spezza will be in the lineup tonight as the series shifts to the Nation’s capital.
The Senators leading scorer in the regular season did not practice with the team on Sunday but took the morning skate Monday and declared himself ready to go.
Ottawa may also be getting a bit of a surprise boost as general manager and head coach Bryan Murray isn’t ruling out a return of Daniel Alfredsson to the lineup.
“I’m not shutting the door on it,” Murray told reporters.
Update 12:20pm ET— From Bruce Garrioch at the Ottawa Sun:
Jason Spezza is ready to roll, but the biggest surprise is captain Daniel Alfredsson will likely return tonight as well.
Senators GM/coach Bryan Murray hinted today that Alfredsson could be in the lineup tonight for Game 3 against the Pittsburgh Penguins after confirming that the injured forward had also skated on Sunday.
from Bob McKenzie of TSN,
You never know how a team is going to respond when adversity hits but what we do know is that if the Senators play as soft and ineffectively as they did in Game 1, get out the brooms. Pittsburgh looks like a team that isn’t going to be denied but the question is whether the Senators are going to make them earn it or just hand Geno and Sid a free pass to the second round.
many more NHL bits…
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.
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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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