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Toskala’s Brilliance Makes Sens Shootout Victory Extra Sweet

Luke Richardson is waived, but not to play in the AHL, but first…

From the Ottawa Sun, on Ottawa’s 2-1 shootout win over Toronto,

“To the players there’s a little bit of a relief to know that we can win a shootout,” said Senators coach Craig Hartsburg. “We knew we could win one. We got what we deserved because I thought we worked hard.”
“We know that’s a huge game for both teams,” said Fisher. “It’s a good win for us to pull one out. We didn’t play well against them in the first game. We stuck with it and to get one in the shootout was huge for us.”

Coming out strong after a five day layoff was the Senators’ main goal. While they did not look as sleek as in a 4-1 win over the Rangers, the Sens were more importantly able to find a way to win the little battles.

Coming into the game, Toronto was netting over three goals a game, but looked to improve upon their League-worst defense. Ottawa, on the other hand, had one of the League’s better defenses, but needed to pick up their bottom-of-the-barrel scoring.Toronto fought hard to play a more defensively sound game, but let it affect their scoring chances, limited as they were to 16 through the first two periods (from NHL.com), and held shotless in overtime.

Ottawa managed to play their defensive game, succeeding with skill at times, with Auld’s great goaltending (he now sits 4th in the League with a .928Sv%, and 3rd with a 1.96GAA), and at times with sacrifices, such as a mid-game flurry in front of Auld that saw Vermette clear the puck from just above the crease in the scrum, sacrificing himself to a Schenn hit to do so.

The scoring began early, with the Donovan, Fisher, and Ruutu line working aggressively. Donovan sprung into the Leafs’ zone, and left a drop pass for Fisher, whose shot was redirected by a Toronto skate just outside the crease, where Donovan had rushed to (he would later leave the game with an upper body injury). Contrary to reports that it was a deflection off of Kaberle that let the shot go in, overhead camera views clearly show Kaberle swiping at the puck, pulling off the move that made McCabe so popular by putting the puck behind Toskala. My apologies if that hurts the trade value of your new asset, Burke.

Quickly, the game was evened up, as both Phillips and Volchenkov found themselves chasing the same Bud behind Auld, and a quick pass through the crease would reach the unguarded Kulemin, who gently tapped the puck through the slim section of net Auld’s 6’5 frame doesn’t cover while down in butterfly position.

While Heatley smashed his stick on the boards in frustration after being stonewalled, the Senators kept up their attack, ending Toronto’s franchise record 17 game streak in which they were never outshot, putting 35 shots on Toskala to the 26 Auld faced, and vastly outchancing the Leafs. Kelly, Spezza, and Heatley all had four shots and Fisher had five, each one being robbed by Toskala at one point or another.

But the deep-in-net play that allowed Toskala to deal with up close shooters in the game, where Toronto worked to force them to be, came up short in the shootout. Spezza and Alfie would both score on Toskala, opting to shoot on the deep-in-net Toskala, who was still able to maintain his dominance over Heatley, while at the other end Auld stopped both Kulemin and Stempniak, who both tried to exploit Auld down low. As proud as the Sens are of this win, there is a long way to go to reach shootout dignity, their record holding at 8-20.

From the Ottawa Citizen, the game managed to reignite the Battle of Ontario,

Can you imagine?

Burke and Wilson, good pals and former hockey teammates at Providence College, colourful USA Hockey cowboys running the most famous hockey organization in English Canada. Just picture these two media hounds tossing gasoline on the embers of a once-great rivalry like Ottawa and Toronto.

The possibilities are enormous.

Burke loves rough, tough hockey, with enough complementary skill to compete in the world’s fastest game. Take a look at the Anaheim team he just left. The Ducks won the 2007 Cup with the scoring of Teemu Selanne and Ryan Getzlaf, Jean-Sébastien Giguère’s goaltending, Scott Niedermayer and Chris Pronger on defence and a group that got into more fights than any team in the league.

Wilson coaches an up-tempo game of skill, not so different from the style of Quinn, who liked to trade chances with the cautious Jacques Martin of the Senators, through four memorable playoff series, all won by Toronto.

No eruptions last night, but there were quakes of things to come. Ruutu decided that 6’4 Andre Deveaux, a brute recalled from the AHL to make his NHL debut last night, needed to be properly welcomed, tugging at him while sitting on the bench when Deveaux skated by, and pestering him on the ice, though he did not drop the gloves when Deveaux beckoned him.

The glove dropping was left to Dominic Moore, who took exception to Smith’s high hands on a hit behind the Leafs’ net, though Smith could have destroyed Moore with what ended up as little more than a nuisance hit. Smith, never one to back down, followed Moore in dropping his gloves, but only let him attempt a few jabs before hulking him to the ice to have a chat with the youngster.

No Domi, no Neil, no Tucker, no Sundin. The names are gone, but to the players, the passion of the rivalry is still very much alive, especially in Ottawa, where the stands are as divided between blue and red as the ice is, although last night marked the Senators’ second appearance and second win in their new black third jerseys.

From the Ottawa Sun, Richardson goes on waivers to begin a new stage in his career,

The Senators placed Richardson on waivers yesterday, clearing the way for his retirement. GM Bryan Murray said once Richardson officially clears waivers today at noon, the 39-year-old Ottawa native will be offered a position within the organization—likely as a development coach.

“There’s a little bit of sadness, but there’s also excitement,” Richardson said before taking his perch in the press box to work as a spotter for the Senators’ coaching staff during last night’s game against the Leafs. “This is a good opportunity for me. I’m going to let the weekend pass and then I’ll sit down with Bryan next week to talk about my role.”
“It’s a decision Luke and I talked about before he signed his contract,” said Murray. “He was signed as a veteran, depth player. He’s a great guy to have around the players. But also with the understanding that if he wasn’t going to be used, we would use him in a different capacity if we could. To start the process, he cannot be an active player.

“Hopefully, he can help us within other areas. One of those areas is to do a little coaching and work with the coaching staff in some capacity. In one respect, it takes him out of the fun part of the game and into the serious part of the game, but that’s what Luke would like to do.”

Originally a Toronto draft choice, the 21-year NHL veteran had never played a game in the AHL, and Murray wasn’t about to start that, not that it was any part of the plan at all.

Luke Richardson, as mentioned in my post last week, began his career as a defenseman more apt to take risks to chip in offensively, but his game adjusted to make him a steady blueline presence, appreciated during his time with the Sens as a calming player in the dressing room and on the ice.

Now, coaching the new Senators players to be solid two-way defensemen will likely be his aim, not only with Bell, Lee, and Picard, but also with less senior Senators, such as the pair of Karlssons Ottawa has drafted. A very welcome and classy move to see, keeping an eager Richardson in the fold, and hopefully a sign that Ottawa will continue to be regarded as one of the more professional and respectful clubs in the League.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Ottawa Senators, | SENShobo | Permalink


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About SENShobo

Native of Northern California.  Hockey fan since 1998... sort of... there's a hiatus in there that I still can't explain.

I want to know about anything and everything related to the sport and the spectacle.  I watch, I react, I write it down.

My interest in the Sharks was initially a matter of geographic convenience and regional loyalty because that seemed to be how it worked.  I had no prior interest (at all-- AT ALL) in professional sports of any kind.  When I met hockey, it might have set off a chain reaction of general sports fandom.  It hasn't, I don't think it will.  At all.

Since then, that interest developed into full blown (mostly sort of usually almost completely) exclusive loyalty to the Sharks.

I started blogging a couple years ago on wordpress. I still occasionally put things there that I don't think fit here because they are not about the Sharks. Wherever my words wander, here on Kuklas Korner, they will (usually) hang on to a teal thread.

I can be found in cyberspace on Twitter @petshark47, or emailed at talkingstick@petshark.net