Thursday, 17 April 2008

Frenchmen On A Mission

Another team faces the brink of elimination tonight, and it appears that the fat lady may have already sung when it comes to the Bruins. The Canadiens have acquired a hunting license, and look to put the "Big Bad Bruins" out of their misery tonight. Despite all their fighting, Boston appears to be facing ridiculous odds, and the Habs want this series so bad that they can taste it. I say it's all over after tonight for the Bruins.

Carey Price has elevated his game, much like that other 20-something goalie in Pittsburgh. Their defence has turned their game up another notch, playing a solid team-first game. Offensively, the Canadiens haven't stopped scoring goals while playing a consistent defensive game.

Sorry, Beantowners. This series is over tonight.

Emery Speaks Out: After cleaning out his locker today in Ottawa, Ray Emery met with reporters to discuss where this season went wrong and what may lie ahead for the troubled netminder.

"I don't take responsibilty for the team losing in the playoffs I can tell you that much," Emery told TSN reporters.

"The worst year I've had - on and off the ice - it just wasn't enjoyable at all," he told a crowd of reporters. "I learned a lot of things but that's about it - not too many positives."

Emery never saw the ice once after Bryan Murray replace John Paddock behind the Ottawa bench. It's hard for Emery to not to shoulder some of the load regarding this disappointing season after his antics this season. I called for Emery's departure earlier this season in an article entitled For Sale: Goaltender - Real Cheap. And now, TSN's Bob McKenzie has written a column stating how Emery must go.

However, there are a pile of other issues that need to be addressed before Ray Emery packs his bags. They have a very soft defensive unit. Gary Roberts, Maxime Talbot, Georges Laraque, Jordan Stall, Tyler Kennedy, and Jarkko Ruutu embarrassed the Senators down in the trenches at times. The Ducks absolutely ran over the Senators in their own zone during the 2007 Stanley Cup Finals. This must change. The Senators looked for every excuse in the book regarding this playoff year, but the truth of the matter is that the Penguins played the majority of every game in the Senators' zone because they couldn't stop the Penguins. 'Nuff said.

Secondly, the Senators have to develop a little more grit. Mike Fisher usually brings buckets of grit, but his injury exposed a glaring void of grit on the team. Chris Neil showed an abundance of stupidity throughout the playoffs with his disregard for playing smart, gritty hockey. If Neil wants to be effective as a pest, he should look at how Sean Avery has handled himself in the Rangers-Devils series (minus the stick-waving in the face of Brodeur). Otherwise, Neil would be better served as a mascot than an agitator.

Lastly, Shean Donovan and Chris Kelly should be rewarded as the only unrestricted free agent signings that the Senators should bring back. Andrej Meszaros and Antoine Vermette should also be brought back. However, the Senators need to either develop or sign some legitimate second-line players. Nick Foligno deserves a full-time NHL gig as well.

"I signed here for seven years because I want to be here and I think they want to have me here," centerman Jason Spezza said, in regards to hearing trade rumours. "If one bad playoff spurs trade rumours, then so be it. But I'd like to think I'm here for the long haul and I want to have success here."

Regular season success is great for contracts, but everyone remembers magical playoff stories. It's how legacies are built. That's why Patrick Roy gets remembered. That's why Glenn Anderson gets remembered. That's why Mark Messier gets remembered. It's time for guys like Spezza, Dany Heatley, and Daniel Alfredsson to step up, or step out of the limelight in the nation's Capitol when it comes to the playoffs.

Other Series: Washington and Philly square off again tonight, with the Flyers leading the series 2-1. Personally, the Capitals look a lot like Pittsburgh did last year: deer in the headlights. The Caps just look dazed against this bigger, badder Philly team. Here's hoping that they can break out of it.

Anaheim looks to even their series against Dallas tonight. Colorado and Minnesota play in a pivotal Game Five matchup in the Twin Cities. San Jose and Calgary meet in a Game Five matchup as well.

I love the playoffs.

Ok, I'm off for some beer and big-screen hockey action. Keep your eyes glued to the TVs where ever you are!

Until next time, keep your sticks to the ice!

1 comment:

Sage Confucius said...

The Bruins' offense finally showed up last night. I don't think it will make a difference in the long run, but it was nice to see them take control of a game.

I'm disappointed you didn't mention the Predators in the short section. I'd be surprised if they won this series, but they have certainly outplayed Detroit the last two games. I am definitely looking forward to tonight's game. Osgood will give the Preds a different look if nothing else. It won't matter who Detroit puts in goal if their defense keeps giving away pucks in the neutral zone.

On another note - last night we apparently had an earthquake nearby. I didn't feel a thing. I'm very disappointed in that.