-Ottawa lost 3-2 to Tampa last night as their slump continues; Craig Anderson made 21 saves in the loss while Daniel Alfredsson and Guillaume Latendresse scored for the Sens. It was not a good night for referees Mike Hasenfratz and Dan O’Rourke, but it’s the NHL and that’s par for the course (Kerry Fraser thinks refs should consult with linesman over the call made on Peter Regin, but really, there’s no reason for that call to be made at all–officials ignore penalties all the time in the NHL, so it’s not about was it a penalty or not, but the timing and consistency of the call within the game). Paul MacLean essentially played three lines, which is not an approach that works with Ottawa, but as long as Matt Kassian dresses it’s impossible to roll four lines (Darren M echoes my sentiments about the pointlessness of dressing Kassian by indicating his presence had no effect on Mika Zibanejad getting elbowed). Here’s the boxscore.
–Nichols‘ opening to his news and notes is so perfect I’ll quote it in full:
Now’s not the time to pani…. OH MY GOD THE SENATORS HAVE LOST FOUR GAMES IN A ROW!!!! Of course the ensuing outpouring of sensationalistic drivel that flows naturally in any hockey mad city. Sports radio exploits it and in many cases, encourages it. blogs, forums, and Twitter thrive on the discussion and dialogue. Everyone either wants to know what’s wrong with the Sens or has their suggestion for what has gone oh so terribly wrong these past few games. Given the current circumstances, all this fretting is laughable.
I want to echo in particular his shot at sports radio, whose approach is one of the reasons I pay very little attention to The Team 1200 anymore. Nichols points out that the team is playing with house money given their position in the standings after suffering so many injuries. Another element is that the Sens are much better at home (due, I think, to MacLean’s influence), but struggle on the road. The team will eventually start to win again so there’s no need to panic.
–Don Laible writes about Luke Richardson’s rookie season coaching Binghamton and Richardson had this to say:
For me, we have been so fortunate in Binghamton to have good, young prospects to play. Ottawa has stock piled us all year. I have to see what works best for each player, what works best for their frame of mind. It is my job to figure out a system that works for everyone.
Laible looks primarily at the coaches Richardson had himself (John Brophy, John Tortorella, Pat Quinn, Roger Neilson, and Ted Green), although it’s not particularly in depth (just Richardson’s impressions of Brophy and Green).
–Rory Boylen writes triumphantly about shot blocking:
Remember last playoffs when the anti-defense establishment was railing against shot blocking and how it was “ruining” playoff games by denying scoring chances? (Aside: Geesh.) Last year’s playoff marker was barely higher than the regular season – and it had the benefit of a Washington team that suddenly blocked shots at an extraordinary and anomalous rate. Even still, blocked shots are even higher this year, so why no stink about it?
It’s called PTSD Rory, let the rest of us recover. In all seriousness, I have no idea if there’s less clamour about shot blocking or not, but on the issue Rory simply doesn’t know what he’s talking about. The problem has never been shot-blocking per se, but the entertainment value of the ultimate defensive approach. Hockey is entertainment and watching five guys play goalie in front of the goalie makes fans find other things to do. Rory’s opinions fit those of a lot of self-described “old time hockey” fans, even though no one blocked shots in old time hockey because they weren’t dressed up in body armour. At any rate, I’m sure we’ll get a solid dose of what Rory loves so much come playoff time.
This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)