Saturday, September 22, 2007

Senators 5 Capitals 4

Senators Goals
Alfredsson (1) from Spezza (1)
Spezza (1) from Schubert (1) and Redden (1)
Foligno (2) from Vermette (1) and Schubert (2)
Heatley (1) from Alfredsson (1) and Redden (2)
Kelly (1) from Foligno (3) and Donovan (1)

Team 1200 3 Stars:
1. Alfredsson
2. Foligno
3. Poti

My 3 Stars:
1. Alfredsson
2. Foligno
3. Spezza

I didn't get to watch Tuesday's game, so take most of these comments with a grain of salt.

- McGrattan looks like a new man. You talk about rookies showing off for spots, McGrattan was probably the hardest worker out there and is definitely making a statement that he wants to be considered a member of this team past the all-star game. I'm not a huge fan of the enforcer role in hockey, but if McGrattan can keep up this kind of play, I see no reason why Hennessy, Dimitrakos etc. should be in the lineup over him. He's obviously committed himself to improving his footspeed and endurance, and he's a whole new player because of it. He gets top marks from me so far.

- I've been weary of the expectations placed by some on Foligno, thinking he could/should make the team straight out of camp. I know he had a bright performance Tuesday after being ripped by Paddock, but seeing him tonight, gave me some confidence. However, I didn't really see him as that grinding, tireless, 100% effort player that the coach apparently wants him to be, but rather a solid playmaker and skilled player. I liked seeing him on the second unit in the second half of the game. I still think he'll start the season in Binghamton, and I agree that it will be best for his development, but I almost can't help but wonder if his demotion will be undeserved. Also, his goal was sick. I literally jumped up and down when he scored. He now has 2 goals and 5 points in 2 games, not too shabby.

- Nikulin was solid and had a couple really strong shifts, but I'd really have to see more of him. Based on what I saw tonight, he definitely won't make the team out of camp. He was solid but did not stand out.

- I was more impressed with Nycholat than Lee. Having Lee as anything but the #1 defenseman in Bingo would just be wrong, but I think if Nycholat keeps up his play he could earn the #1 slot there just as much as he could win the #6 slot here. Lee was smooth but didn't really stand out. I'll definitely need more time to evaluate him.

- Hennessy did not stand out at all, granted the lack of ice-time didn't help much. If he keeps playing like this, I don't know why he'd deserve the roster spot we've basically already penciled him into. He did have one great drive to the net which he deserved credit for, but he was far less effective at generating energy and momentum than his linemates McGrattan and Bass. He lacks the physical intensity (and intensity of any sort, really) to be a truly effective fourth liner for this team, I'm starting to think a slot on the 4th might be better served by someone else.

- Bass was solid and had a few high energy shifts, though he didn't play much. I enjoy his type of game and imagine he will be a fan favourite some day. A more physical Kelly.

- Heatley was both lazy and hot-dogging, a bad combination. I don't think I've ever seen him actually pull off a dangle, but he tries them at least 3 or 4 times a game. And yet, he scores the goal that put the game away. Ah, the Heater we know and love. He had a couple strong shifts on the PK and I hope he gets a lot of shorthanded minutes during the season. I really think it keeps his head in the game and enhances his gameplay - not that tonight was much evidence of it.

- Spezza was Spezza. I agree he looked speedier, and I look forward to seeing what other areas of his game have improved. Paddock also had him out of the PK for a full shift or two, it will be interesting to see if that was just a wacky experiment or Paddock's actually considering it. His set-up to Alfie, his set-up to Eaves... God I love watching Spezza play.

- Elliott was solid, not much else to say there.

- Alfie is God.

- Vermette's still bambi on ice as people like to say around here. But there is no doubt in my mind that he has what it takes to make it on the second line, especially if Alfie's there. Stop dicking him around Paddock and accept what is right.

- Likewise, Schubert was real solid on the backend tonight, and I actually like the pairing. There's going to be inevitable brainfarts like there were with Redden and Mez, but there's a good mix of positional/physical and defensive/offensive mindsets there. I think it could work. But then it leaves us with Mez/Corvo, and that might be an accident waiting to happen. Anyway, Schubert was very effective back there. Logged almost as much time as Phillips/Volchenkov, and was a +3 (actually, he was on the ice for no goals against). Please, please, please keep him on the backend full-time Paddock.

- Donovan was unimpressive throughout the first half, but seemed to get going about midway. The good thing is, even when things weren't really clicking, he was always skating. At best he'll be a light McAmmond; at worst, we've got a speedy hard worker who won't let bad things happen in his own zone, and I can live with that.

- Volchenkov owned Ovechkin every second of the night. He is completely awesome. Same goes for Phillips, just please shake the whole bad luck thing... broken stick, own goal - it's game 5 all over again. Come on hockey Gods, Philly deserves better.

- Kelly and Vermette were badass on draws. Why can't they both be centres?

- The jerseys look real sharp in action. I still hate the socks but to be honest I didn't even notice until I thought about it. The striped pants are still sick, I love them. Washington's jerseys are pretty nice too, I'm so glad they went back to their old colours. Some teams really downgraded (Edmonton, Florida) but Ottawa and Washington both have sweet jerseys right now, regardless of what they had in the past.

- The crowd was brutal tonight. Not one Go Sens Go chant all night. I know it's preseason, but wake up. Still, my little brother and I had a good time. I think it took until the 3-1 deficit for the big guys to wake up, and, once they did, the whole team was revived along side them. As usual, this team lives and dies by the Big Three.