Late Break-ing News.
I have to be honest, after watching the Steel Wheels roll over the Senators in Motor City, I was a bit concerned about this clubs mental state.
The Sens looked like winning that game would be nice, but it really didn’t matter, certainly didn’t matter enough to actually fight for the win. Whereas Detroit looked like a team wanting to win, and willing to put in the work to get it.
It seemed to me the Sens were already on vacation, or at the Olympics, at the drop of the puck in Detroit.
It looked no better at the start of the match on the Island.
The Sens looked dis-interested, with particularly poor play by Kuba and, surprisingly, Alfredsson. They were both guilty of making poor plays and showing little or no second effort. I was embarassed for both of them, and almost turned off the game after the 3rd NYI’s goal.
I’m glad I didn’t.
Credit goes to Clouston for challenging the dressing room to show some pride going into the third. Goals by Fisher, Kovalev and Spezza led the team to a huge third period and sent the players to their respective Olympic break schedules with a tidy win under their belts.
But, beyond highlighting the fact this team lost focus in the final 2 games prior to the break, the situation also uncovered a brewing issue; Goaltending.
Elliott struggled for 3 straight games. He was pumped by Semin, made into road-kill by the Winged Wheels, and all but voted of the Island in NY. And, despite this questionable play, and the fact the final 2 matches were back to back games, Leclaire, this teams supposed #1, never got a sniff in net. It certainly gives reason for pause.
Is it a case of Clouston riding the hot hand, and not wanting to shake up a winning formula?
Is it a case of Leclaire battling an under reported injury?
Is it a case of Leclaire having lost his confidence?
Is it a case of Clouston having lost confidence in Leclaire?
Is it a case of Leclaire being in lay prior to the March 3rd deadline?
I’ve asked around, and the answer from all sides is, “dunno”.
The Sens, for the last few weeks or so, have been keeping their cards very close to the vest, and nothing of substance has been trickiling out, not even crazy rumours let alone legit ones (apart from Eklunds Lecavalier rumour…please, that is beyond absurd).
I’m not even going to hazard a guess as to what’s going on with Snoopy, but something’s up, and time will tell, one way or another.
Lastly a huge nod of praise needs to be given to both the Sens management group, and Cheechoo, for their handling of the cap.
By gracefully accepting a demotion to the AHL, Cheechoo effectively has had his salary payments removed from the Senators cap for (at least) the duration of the Olympic break.
Now, to be fair, it was rumoured that Murray was hoping (as was Cheechoo, I’m sure) that Jonathan would be picked up on waivers and, should he be recalled prior to the post season, Cheech would be available to any team wanting his services, at half price, for the remainder of his contract. But, should Cheechoo remain in Bingo, he would be eligible to play for Ottawa in the post season, where neither the cap nor waivers have any impact on roster decisions.
Enjoy the Olympics.