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Sunday evening Deglaze

Sunday, October 24, 2010

...because I get to listen to Theo Fleury sing in just under 3 hours.

Who wants to sit like bumps on logs and not call Jason Spezza's off-season conditioning into question, because he's been saddled with a groin injury so early in the season? Sounds like a good time, yes? It's not like they could really use any offensive presence, seeing as Ottawa is 29th in the league in average goals per game with 2.00 (New Jersey is last, with 1.75). And in continuing with criticizing the guys who aren't playing, here's an take on Spezza from a well-known retired NHL player: "(Jason) Spezza was one of the easiest guys to play against in the league. He's soft and he's scared." Nothing we haven't heard before, except for the "scared" bit. Your thoughts?

Meanwhile, over at The Hockey News, John Grigg tells us that a trade isn't enough to fix the Sens. Who wants me to push him over Elaine Benes-style with a "Get OUT!" response? I always zero in on defence, because I'm obsessed with blueliners. I know people were concerned with goaltending, but where did they think the scoring would come from? I think I've made my thoughts regarding Mike Fisher's offensive tendencies quite clear, and Kovalev has been a lost cause since he arrived. Obviously, there are variables - we assumed Spezza would be playing, and that Milan Michalek would pick up where he left off. That said, even if they were, it wouldn't be enough to keep the Sens' heads above .500. There are too many things wrong, and it's going to take significant upheaval to make it right.

Sigh. It's difficult for me to comment on the Oilers' cheerleading controversy without seeming like I'm having a Camille Paglia moment. Truth be told, it has less to do with feminism than you might think. Full disclosure: I have never been a cheerleader. I've been asked (most notably by a Sun Media editor who thought it would be "fun" for me to perform with the 'Gades), but I've never gone through with it. The reason? As a dancer, I've always felt that cheerleading was bull(expletive). If these girls are doing even less than your standard female with pompoms, and basically standing in the stands while yelling, what purpose do they serve? (For the record, the Oilers have stated that cheer, dance, and gymnastics experience is helpful, but not an asset.) The NHL's female fanbase continues to grow steadily - men should be contented enough to look at them. If not, too bad - last time I checked, there was still a game going on. Look, if the tables were turned, and the teams were placing attractive men in the stands, I'd sooner they turn their attention to more relevant things - like improving the concession menus. *cough* Scotiabank Place *cough*

More later.

UPDATE: A reader, who was very upset with this post, my work and my "Mickey Mouse blog" in general, insists that he has the inside track on all things Sens. (I know - I really set up his credibility, right?) Anyway, this guy insists that Spezza hurt his groan (that one's for the old-schoolers) during the team's training exercise at CFB Petawawa. And what better place to look for corroborative evidence than the Sun's own Don Brennan, right? Here's a clip from Oct. 8:

"Could be wrong, but I don’t remember Spezza having a sore groin BEFORE he started pulling tanks, repelling and jumping off 50-foot platforms at CFB Petawawa."

Do I believe any of this? Meh. It's hard to pinpoint the exact time of the injury - various reports mention groin problems before, during and at the end of training camp. Camp began on Sept. 17 and the Sens' trip to Petawawa was on Oct. 4. That said, it does bring up a Chewable: Let's say for the hell of it, that Jason did hurt his groin on a team-building exercise. It would stand to reason that the Senators would want to keep it hush-hush, and hell, even let someone like little old insignificant me take shots at Spezza's conditioning instead. Anything to protect the image of the club, and not expose a major mistake.

More later.

Yesterday, the Ottawa Senators announced that there were fewer than 4,500 tickets available for tonight's game vs. Carolina. Yes, you read that number correctly.

Naturally, the excuses started rolling in. "It's a mid-week game!" Uh, Thursday games have been commonplace in Ottawa for years, and people have continued to show up. "It's early in the season!" If you are part of the majority of fans who bitched and moaned about the lack of all hockey all summer, you would think you'd be getting your ass out there every chance you got. "It's Carolina!" You claim to be Senators fans, yes? Go and see your home team. "They're 0-2-1!" Sigh. And you get pissed off when the critics call you "fair-weather." Next?

The reality is the Senators have always relied on walk-up business. The days of the 12,000+ season ticketholder fan base, post-Cup run, was short-lived and it won't be returning any time soon. Based on the way the year has opened in Ottawa, the Senators better come with some heavy promotional gimmicks, because this isn't going to be pretty - especially when the evidence appears on a national broadcast via TSN tonight.

More later.

In case you hadn't heard...

Thursday, October 07, 2010

The news is out: I'll be contributing a consistent dose of snark and estrogen representation over at Puck Daddy. The dear Mr. Wyshynski, a man who, on occasion, has seen me far drunker than I'd like to admit, was kind enough to take a chance on this bitter Quebecor reject, and for that, I salute him.

If you'd like to bookmark my vitriol over at Yahoo!, use this link. Meanwhile, here are my predictions for the Eastern and Western conferences, which are just bound to piss you off.

As usual, you'll still find me here, and on Twitter. As you were, cynics. More later.

Sunday afternoon Chewable

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Another year, another power-play perimeter game from the Sens. We all know the drill: Passes along the boards/blueline, shoot it to the man down low on the right side, and await the garbage goal. It's the Greg Carvel special.

The thing is, the man down low used to be Dany Heatley - remember? Well, it's interesting to look at the stats before and after No. 15's departure in the power-play department for Ottawa. In 2008-09, Ottawa was 10th in the league, with a PP percentage of 19.5. Last year, they dropped to 21st, with an average of 16.9.

Based on the pre-season, it appears that Carvel is going with the same plan. Regardless of whether there's an improvement on last year's numbers, would it kill the assistant coach to try something new? In the last four years, the Senators have yet to finish above 10th place in PP%, and three of those years saw Heatley at the helm, which likely boosted the numbers. Collapse down low, get a man in FRONT of the net - it's hardly rocket science. Carvel's been here so long, everyone already knows how Ottawa is going to play it. Not only is it predictable for the opponent and boring for fans, but lately it's proven to be ineffective for the team.

Go ahead and chew on that.