It's winter, for sure--here in Ottawa we have approximately a dozen feet of snow and ice and slush to match. I think maybe the Sens have early-onset cabin fever, because they have been pretty hilariously inept lately. I was at the game against the Rangers yesterday and really, it's not even worth discussing. In fact, let's have a pop quiz:
Question: If your team is down three goals to none ten minutes into the first, what is the best course of action?
A: Just try and ride out the worst of it and take the break to get a grip and start over
B: Start a fight or two to get the dejected drunken fans back into the game
C: Start juggling your line combinations to inject some actual enthusiasm into the game
D: Check all the water bottles to see which of your players have apparently been drinking before and during the game
E: Give up when you notice your coach has been using the whiteboards to play hangman with the equipment guys.
The Sens actually chose Secret Option F, which was "Flail around madly for a while, then start taking penalties to really give the Rangers a sporting chance, in order to lull them into a false sense of security so you can come out swinging in the third and really show them what's what." It failed miserably. There weren't even any hilariously drunk fans by us up in the very last row of the stadium. Of course, it was a two o'clock start, so that may have had something to do with it. On the other hand, they were playing really really badly, so I wouldn't have judged anybody for starting their weekend festivities early.
But there are plenty of other teams that aren't having a six-game suckfest.
Teams Doing Surprisingly Well Going Into The Holiday Stretch:
Chicago: No, really. Havlat is back, thank goodness, and all their little-kiddy forwards are putting in highlight-reel performances every single night. In Chicago. CHICAGO. They are doing WELL. I am floored, but in the best possible way. Is it possible they're bringing back an Original Six franchise for good? God, I hope so.
Minnesota: As long as Gaborik and Demitra are not injuring their groins by slipping on ice or falling down the stairs or stretching weirdly while lying on the sofa or what ever it is that is causing them to go back and forth on the IR like a tag-team effort--as long as they're not doing that, Minnesota is doing surprisingly well. Too bad their defense and goaltending is just boring as all get-out.
Detroit: Well, no one is surprised by this, are they? Unless the entire team suddenly takes off on an all-expenses-paid all-inclusive six-day seven-night trip to Cancun, it looks like they will continue to be in good shape.
Philadelphia: Hork. Too bad I hate them, but they're doing really well. Thank goodness they play in the same division as Pittsburgh and can smack them down on a regular basis, that's all I have to say.
Ottawa: See Detroit, and for Cancun read "anywhere but here," because I tell you what, it is damn cold around here, and they would be grateful for anywhere not frozen over.
New York Rangers: Oh, Henrik Lundqvist, you are making a beautiful thing happen in Madison Square Garden. And in the game yesterday, one of those goals you totally had no chance on. Now if your forwards can get it together like they were doing against Ottawa--although let's face it, Ottawa was putting up very little fight--you would definitely be in the running.
And the converse, Teams Looking Like Death Warmed Over:
Calgary: Oh my goodness. Is there anything right with this team? Kiprusoff's GAA and save percentage is around fortieth. Fortieth. 40. IN THE LEAGUE. At this point Calgary management would be better served by going and standing outside a corner store for a bit, waiting to see who slips and falls on their way out and doesn't spill coffee all over them, and signing that person to a 2.5-million-dollar contract.
Anaheim: Excuse me while I laugh so hard I wrench something in my neck.
Buffalo: Ah, Ryan Miller, of "Two-man advantage: Instagoal!" fame, you're dragging the team down with you.
Florida: I feel bad for ripping on Florida because they're so pathetic, it's like making fun of a three-legged dog because it can't run as fast as the other dogs. Too bad it's so irresistible, because man, some of the plays they make are laughably awful. Do they have defensemen besides Jay Bouwmeester? Would it matter if they did?
Edmonton: What is in the water in Alberta? Is it something about the terrain?
New Jersey: More problems than you can shake a stick at, starting with Martin Brodeur, who is just now starting to get back into form. I think this is the beginning of the end for Brodeur--or not quite, really, because during the playoffs last year he was not looking like his usual sharp self, yet somehow walked away with the Vezina anyway. I think Brodeur is on his way out, and boy, is that going to be hard on New Jersey, because they are just riddled with problems from top to bottom.
Pittsburgh: Hahahahahahaha! I would love to see Sidney Crosby and Friends crash and burn as Pittsburgh management learns that one player--not Crosby or Gretzky or Jesus Christ back on earth and playing No. 1 forward--can carry a team.