Sunday, May 14, 2006

Sens Done

The Buffalo Sabres beat the Ottawa Senators 3-2 in OT last night, eliminating the Senators from the 2006 playoffs and eliminating me from playoff pool contention. Already, the questioning have started on the Senators, whose postseason flops are becoming legendary (and actually make us Canucks fans feel better about our team).

Here's Erin Nicks (Slam Sports) after the loss:
Nine seasons. Nine seasons of playoff berths. Nine seasons that saw the Ottawa Senators top the 100-point mark five times. There was a President's Trophy, and a Jack Adams award-winning coach. Nine seasons that allowed the top defensive core in the league to form. Nine years that saw this team eventually emerge as the odds-on favourite to win it all -- a begrudging admission to make, specifically for the team's many critics.

But these nine years also bore witness to a team perpetually on the losing end of a mental battle. Goaltending issues. Confidence issues. History kept repeating itself, yet everything seemed logical on paper. Why couldn't it work out?

And more importantly, why couldn't this year be different, when so many believed it would be?
Ken Campbell (Toronto Star) was a little more specific:
The Senators outshot the Sabres 179-117 in the five-game series, but were doomed by an inability to put the puck past Sabres hero Ryan Miller. Spezza, Daniel Alfredsson and Dany Heatley had just one point each at even strength, while first-round hero Martin Havlat had just three. It was a shocking indictment of the Senators play at even strength.

To make matters worse, the Senators lost the game on the power play when Jason Pominville, who was on waivers early this season, slipped past Alfredsson, who was playing the point, to scored shorthanded.

It was the second time this series that the Sabres had done that to Alfredsson and considering all four of their wins were by one goal, many fingers will be pointing at Alfredsson as a huge factor in the Senators' latest loss.


Alfredsson, who has been the face of the franchise for the past decade, might not have to endure another disappointing playoff loss in the nation's capital. Those who know this team are certain the Senators will entertain the possibility of dealing Alfredsson, who is 33, doesn't have a no-trade clause and is under contract at $5 million (U.S.) per year for another four years. Zdeno Chara, another playoff underachiever, is an unrestricted free agent and if it comes down to a choice between him and Wade Redden, Chara is gone.
Captain Daniel Alfredsson doesn't have much of an answer:
"This one is the worst of all," said Ottawa captain Daniel Alfredsson. "We felt like we had a team here that could compete for the Stanley Cup and we just didn't get the job done.

"It's tough to take. I mean, crap, we had the chances and we just weren't able to capitalize on them. I'm just really disappointed right now and I'm really hurt. I hate this feeling." :
And neither does Chris McMurty of Hockey Country:
Well I feel pretty shiity, let me tell you. I don't think I've left the building formerly known as the Corel Centre so quickly or so discouraged. The drive home was quiet and, frankly, depressing.

Rather than dissect the game in this state, I'm going to sit on my thoughts for a few days and have something up Monday morning on the playoffs as a whole. Hopefully by then, we'll all be able to think rationally and discuss things like people instead of the raging lunatics/manic depressives we're all right now.
Not surprisingly, an ecstatic Tom L. from Sabre Rattling doesn't mind doing some talking:
I’m glad the Sens lost this series the way they did. Frankly, it was embarrassing. All that talent, all the words, the time, the promises… in the end it amounts to nothing if you aren’t willing to give everything in your being to overcoming that which stands in your way.
And he doesn't stop there:
The Sens played this series with a sense of entitlement, that this was their turn. Afterwards, Bryan Murrary finally conceded that they didn’t afford the Sabres the respect they deserved… I guess, visions of 10-4 romps were still running through their heads, replaying those easy goals against a disorganized team thinking that the guys in the sweaters hadn’t changed….

Well, they hadn’t changed anything… except the outcome on the scoreboard.
And the outcome on my playoff pools. Congrats to the Sabres.

Comments/Questions: Feel free to post in the comments section or email me at gocanucksgo10 (at) hotmail (dot) com.

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posted by J.J. Guerrero, 9:44 AM


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