Kukla's Korner

SENShobo

Auld Ready for the Challenge

Auld will start in net tonight and looks to excel for his new team, and Redden settles into New York as he prepares to make his preseason debut for his new and possibly last NHL team.

Auld is ready to start showing that while he is a team player, he is going to play to his limits, from the Ottawa Citizen, the Ottawa Senators’ website, and the Ottawa Sun. There’s no question that Martin Gerber is the starter, and while ‘backup’ is the label that points to Auld’s games played this season, it should not point to his performance in them.

“First and foremost, your role is to be ready whenever you’re called on,” he said. “But, as a player, in any position, you want to make it hard for them to pull you out of the lineup.
“I’m sort of fine with whatever role they give me, but, at the same time, you always want to be striving for me and showing what you can do. I’m excited about the opportunity here.”

Auld will play the first two periods tonight, followed by Glass in the third. Gerber, Auld, and Elliot will then each play for the full 60 minutes in one of the next three preseason games. Nobody seems to be giving either of our goalies a chance. Despite this, Gerber turning aside 23 of 24 shots last night (.958 Sv%), allowing only a single powerplay goal, should make them think twice. Auld will get his chance tonight and in another preseason game, and while I don’t want there to be pressure on him right away, he has shown on the team’s he’s played for that he has the skills to step up to the challenge when he’s called upon.

Auld will have to work hard to help the team win this game though. If you look at the roster for the Sens tonight, you’ll see Phillips with Richardson, Volchenkov with Bell, Schubery with Lee, and forward lines of Foligno-Vermette-Shannon, Ruutu-Bass-Donovan, Kelly-McAmmond-Isbister, and Zubov-Regin-(Mauldin or Carkner). You would not be mistaken: there is no Smith to be found (though I am pleased to see what Phillips and Volchenkov can do on separate lines), nor more importantly is there any Alfie, Fisher, Heatley, or Spezza, meaning defense and goaltending will be important keys to winning tonight’s game.

Redden is settling in for his new career with the New York Rangers, according to the Ottawa Citizen and the Ottawa Sun. Unlike his teammates, Redden has taken up residence in the heart of the Big Apple, fully immersing himself in his new home. I fully expect that in honour of his new home in New York, his next visit to Ottawa will earn him more than a few Bronx cheers.

This should not be the highlight of our cheers, however. Fans sure do seem to blame Redden for leaving, signing a six-year, $39 million deal (not 5 and 30, as the Sun story attests) to play in New York, but can you blame him for taking the deal, better even than the one we signed him to two years prior? Can you blame Commodore for accepting a contract that will pay him $3.75 million annually, or Stillman for taking a Florida home to earn $3 million a year? It’s a tight cap world today, and money will often end up being the deciding factor, for as many hometown discounts as there are, they will never amount to 50%.

Aside from that, it is our players who deserve the cheers. It’s always disappointing to go to a game, and hear Sens fans booing ex-Sens more than they cheer their own currently-iced team. Is it any wonder that players might not feel especially loyal to a team that doesn’t even support their successes? Sure, we cheer Alfie whenever any sign of him is around, but you won’t hear every good hit Neil makes getting a roar. Worse still, many players won’t ever get a cheer it seems, despite all the hard work Phillips and Volchenkov make to break up rushes, or the way Kelly follows his targets with good positioning.

Fans seem to wonder how a team could lose a sense of loyalty towards them and their city, and yet the sad truth is that to listen to their cheers, you’d think the team didn’t even have a single line to ice. Take this as your cue, fans, to make every player know they have your support, and to remember that the team-supporting fans and cheers of Montreal are what we should be always be aiming for.

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