Zero’s To Hero’s

With a lot of ink against them, a few Senators combined to steal a game at home against their arch rivals.

Leclaire, who has been struggling with allowing bad goals came up huge in the third period to repel the Leaf onslaught.  None bigger than an outstanding glove save with under 3 min. remaining.

This brings us to Picard, who turned over the puck to create the aforementioned scoring chance.  But, as much as he had some poor plays, he also had some outstanding plays, and with 2 assists played a major role in securing the win.

Lastly is Kovalev, or who I call the “accidental all-star”.  Never have I seen a player show so little urgency, while making such a huge impact.  With 4 points in the last 4 games, he has been the impact guy he was brought in to be, yet never broke a sweat doing it…impressive?  I’m still not sure!

Look, taking two points from one of the worst team in recent NHL history is not something to get steamy about, but seeing big contributions from key players is.

That’s what I’m going to focus on.

I also think it needs to be pointed out that Carkner made an outstanding diving play in the final 2 minutes to save a sure goal.

Lastly, Winnie.  He was a beast, and made some tremendous hits, more than earning his ice time every shift.

Let’s hope they can carry the momentum into their next two tough matches, the Pens on Thursday, and Buffalo on Saturday…who happen to be 1, 2 in the league…yikes.



10 Responses to “Zero’s To Hero’s”

  1. GN:

    Did you catch the Pipes on Winnie…that’s it…crash and fight…stay in the line up. He’s still gotta beat Regin out??

  2. Regin has to add more jam to his game to remain in the line-up. He’s lost his spot to Foligno more than Winnie, IMO.

  3. Pulling all the strings (So ya don't like my MOP?) Says:

    Regin still battles and moves his feet, and can cycle the puck. Winnie does bring a bit of crash too so you can’t knock him for that. To me either man can do the job. If you want finesse, with a little grind, go with Regin, if you want a little more bang go with Winnie. We’re splitting hairs when talking about those two. Regin seems to have lost the offensive spark he brought earlier. I think a Regin Fisher Shannon or Foligno line would still produce, but Kovalev needs someone with finish and defensive responsibility, Foligno and Fish are it for now.

    Kovalev moved his feet a few times last night – it’s a start, but he needs to do that more to get himself into shooting lanes and get that extra second to work his stickhandling magic. Trying to slow down the play in hopes the younger opponents will stand in awe and watch isn’t going to happen much and result in more turnovers and wasted plays.

    People are quick to dump on Cheechoo, but though awkward, he still manages to get in there and bang, plus win a few battles on the boards. He’s looking like a slower more expensive version of ‘Chum’.

  4. Eeesh, a slower more expensive version of Chum, eh? That ain’t good.
    I like Cheech, but he has to score. He’s had his chances, and who knows…
    Totaly agree on Kovy.
    As for Regin vs. Winnie, agree there too, the difference being Regin is/was expected to score, whereas Winnie has been slotted to bang/agitiate.
    If Regin doesn’t create offense, then it’s unlikely he’ll out grind Winnie.
    I like Regin, and maybe he’s just finding his groove in the NHL after the adrenaline has worne off.

  5. Woozle man Says:

    About Regin, I hope so. Otherwise we’re still a scoring forward away from the playoffs. I like that Picard continues to put up points, it should make him that much easier to move. Please, god, let someone ask for him, I can’t bear to watch him in the defensive zone.

    Why did Clouston ever change the top two lines again? Was it the Spezza in jury? Well, he’s better now, so put them back please.

  6. Why do people keep saying Cheech needs to score? Not gonna happen. Not expected to happen by anyone in Sens management. There are plenty of other guys to take care of that. Cheech is being a good man just giving his all while he waits for his summer buyout. What a good pro.
    For Kovalev, can people just stop complaining? He’s not going to start playing differently. No-one expected him to. He’s not going to skate or hit like Fisher. He’s not going to grind like Alfie. I don’t care if he misses Montreal, Russia or his mom’s chocolate chip cookies. He’s a puck controlling, playmaking type of guy that floats and picks his spots. You can argue whether that has a use for the team or not, but just stop complaining about it. Against the Leafs, Kovy the floatie was on his game…making Bud after Bud look like a pylon as he twirled and set up Fish. It’s up to Clouston if he can mesh this in with his system, but he seems to be finding a way. When the top line sputtered (both Alfie and Spezz are obviously in way more pain than anyone will admit), Kovy made sure the “secondary scoring” was there. He’s supposed to win the team about 5 games…I think that was one, even though he didn’t even break a sweat (as usual.) I hope the rest of them are against better teams, not every squad is full of pylons like the Leafs.
    For the bottom of the forward roster, as long as Clouston can avoid sitting Chum Donovan, they’ll be fine. Once again, this guy did more with 9 minutes than most did with double that. Comparing him with Cheechoo is silly…talk about apples and oranges. Aside from both being great professionals with excellent character, there aren’t many similarities.
    I think Clouston might eventually realize that many teams, even the good ones, have weak or average fourth lines. A lot of other teams also have some bottom pairing defensemen (like the Sens) that make a pile of mistakes and mostly play against 3rd and 4th lines. This is something the Sens can exploit with guys like Donovan, Kelly, Ruutu, Neil on the ice. These are veterans who know what to do out there…and even stone-hands Kelly can put it in the net sometimes. Ruutu has better hands than just about any fourth liner. The Sens fourth line can really do a good job of keeping the puck in the offensive zone for their shifts…that has to be a good thing! Hagman scored against this line but mostly because Leclaire was all dizzy and Carks/Phillips were running around so the forwards were trying to play like D-Men.

    I wish politics wasn’t such a big deal and Clouston could just give Cheech a seat in the press box for a few games. I think he should rotate Cheech, Winnie, Shannon and Regin up there until there’s an injury or roster move. It’s bad for team morale when any other current forward is a healthy scratch.
    To Volchenkov’s elbow: Please please oh pretty please….HEAL! The Sens are so soft on D right now, I’m sure Murray’s popping ulcer and heart meds up in the press box during games.

    I’m still concerned about Snoopy. He made a lot of nice saves in the 3rd and is such a smart, talented goalie. I still don’t think he looked “right” or “confident” during the game. He never used to scramble that much, go down at the wrong times, take himself out of plays, etc. I don’t know what’s bugging him, but I’d sure love to see him get back to his pre-injury form and pitch a shut out against an elite team. I’ve watched Ryan Miller play a few times this year…that’s the type of goaltending I think people realistically expected from Snoop. It could happen….anytime now would be great! The Sabres don’t have an elite D-Corps, but they’re getting it done with goaltending and grit. There IS hope for our Sens!

  7. Sacul, people will continue to complain about Kovy so long as Kovy continues to float. Do we, or they, expect him to stop floating because we complain? No. But when something smells, it still smells, even if it’s always smelled…right?
    Kovy’s effort smells, and maybe you can stomach the stink without complaining, but I can’t.
    As for the rest, agreed.
    Except the “Carks/Phillips were running around so the forwards were trying to play like D-Men.”
    Absolutely not true. That whole play was created by a Kelly turn-over, when he missed a clean break-out pass. Because Neil peeled off on a change Carks had to track the puck carrier while Phillips controled the front of the net, the only forward back, Chum, had to take Grabo to the net (where Grabo slew footed Pascal). The shot from the half wall went wide off of Carks, and stopped behind the net. By this time Kelly was back into the zone, and as the centre, went low to retrieve the puck, where he failed to contain Hagman, allowing him to carry the puck up the boards, button hook to the top of the circle, and get his shot off. Cheech was now in the play, replacing Neil, but he covered the pass to the point, as he should have.
    Kelly missed the pass, then failed to check White, who recovered the puck in the nuetral zone, then failed to contain Hagman, who scored the goal.
    That goal was entirely Kelly’s fault, from start to finish. The D actually did a hell of a job recovering from the initial turn-over, then controlling the front of the net and high slot.

  8. I didn’t see the Hagman goal that way, but if you say so, I can go with that. I don’t think it was a “defining moment” for the team or anything…and Snoopy sure was seeing stars when he got back up. He wasn’t even looking in the right direction for a bit.
    As for Kovalev, I just don’t see what the deal is. When people complain about a bad game by the goalie, or a dumb penalty by Neil, or a give away by Picard…it’s usually because they’d like him to do better. And these players can, and will try to.
    With Kovalev, he’s doing exactly what he was expected to do. He’s delivering exactly what Murray signed up for. There’s no “getting him going” or whatever. Fans, coaches, management…you just have to watch and wait, hope for the best. It’s up to Clouston to see what he can make of it. I think he’s been really smart with him (Clouston.) Fish and Foligno would be my picks to play with him too, because they can back check, play “north/south”, throw checks, go to the net and all that stuff while Kovy’s brain figures out what kind of night it’s going to be. Also, Kovalev can be on his favourite wing. I didn’t see anyone else on the UFA list this summer that had the ability to do that kind of stuff….so Murray rolled the dice. If you stop wanting him to skate hard and check people, Kovalev is actually fun to watch when he’s “in the mood.” I can see what the Habs fans meant about him being exciting. You just have to change your expectations and get over it. When his nonchalance stretches into weeks, he might need a re-set or whatever like Gainey did. We saw Heatley play lazy for years and still score a lot. He’s a finisher, Kovalev’s a playmaker. If he was the only offensive threat on the team, it would be a major cause of concern.
    Now let’s see how the Sens can stack up against better teams…at least a few wins against these clubs would go a long way.

  9. Sacul, I completely agree with your take on Kovy, and am glad he’s on this team, I think it was a productive signing.
    My issues is, and will likely remain, his lack of urgency…or whatever. I’ve tried the “we’ll that’s just Kovy being Kovy”, but then I see him literaly glide from the face off circle to the bench, while the play goes past him into the defensive zone…arghhhh…must…not…throw….remote!
    I just can’t stand that kind of nonsensical floating. Poor back check..ok, he’s offensively focused. A few spin o ramas leading to a give away…ok, that’s the price you pay. A fly by stick check…fine, sometimes he just refuses to hit. But floating on a line change…I cannot accept that, ever, from anyone.

    • Woozle man Says:

      I’m not certain of the chronology (maybe he was signed already), but I wish they had offered that 5 Mil / 2 yr deal to Mike Knuble instead. Whatever, I’m happy to see Kovy grace the highlight reels. But watching him all game makes me lose hair 🙂

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