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yave1964

The most pleasant surprise of the entire season

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  Ottawa finished well back and well beaten last year and did little to improve this season, trading malcontent Mika Zibenajad for former Malcontent Derrick Brassard and bringing Chris Kelly back for a farewell tour. That is it. Zibenajad started the season on the Rangers top line and on fire and it looked like a lopsided deal whereas Brassard started slow.

  New Coach Guy 'th?id=OIP.LThwWTZnes5RH4pGHvsJRQEdEd&w=1Zorro' Boucher took over a team with three legit NHL blueliners and if everything went right two top lines. Zack Smith was slow, Bobby Ryan was and is a mess, everyone knows the story of Craig Anderson and his time away from the team because of his wife having cancer. Chris Kelly is done, Chris Neil is rumored to be on the team but it is just a rumor. Defenseman Ceci, Methot and Boroweicki between the three of them have 3 goals and 23 assists.

  This sounds like a lottery team, instead they are on the heels of the Canadiens just one point behind the Habs with a game at hand.

 

  It started when Anderson went down and they traded a sixth rounder to the Penguins for Mike

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Condon who held the fort more than admirably the multiple times that Anderson has been out this season. Anderson is a brilliant 21-8 this year and Condon is right behind him at 18-12.

  Dion Phaneuf who was run out of Toronto because he was not a legit number one has settled in very nicely as a great number two with a snarl. Two players with as non descript names as there are in the game, Mike Hoffman th?id=OIP.ngoiOvDl7gwzEJdorWycKQEsC1&w=2and Mark Stone are toiling in obscurity but performing brilliantly.

  I do not like Brassard and I do not like Turris for the same reason, both underperformed andwhined their way off their original teams but both have been great within their role this season, Turris has matured into a true 1C and Brassard has unselfishly settled into the role nicely as a 2C without complaint Zack smith recovered from a wretched start to have another solid year as one of the leagues most dangerous penalty killers and top hitters and Pageau has outperformed expectations and shows signs of potentially being a force for years to come and may surpass Smith as the same type of player by the time it is done. They traded for Alexandre Burrows who appeared to be washed up in Vancouver but has been a shot in the arm to the middle six.

 The biggie however is th?id=OIP.rNe5NW9wHOu0OZocnf_NhAEsC9&w=2Erik Carlson who IMHO is having his best season to date and it is not even close.

 

  First the scoring, he has 63 points in 69 games, almost a point a game pace and if he were to take the rest of the season off he would still lead the team in scoring. Only Brett Burns among defenseman is ahead of him and he does not count because Burns is part Wookie.

Karlsson does it all, just under 27 minutes a night on the ice good for 5th in the league, top ten in power play points (3rd among all blueliners) he kills penalties playing in all situations. The big one to me that shows how he has met morphed from a brilliant star to a mega superstar is a largely overlooked stat, he leads all players in the game in blocked shots. Burns is likely a mortal lock for the Norris because he has a bit more offense but his team is a playoff team without him, without Karlsson the Senators are toast. With him playing with heart and passion on every single shift and looking as if he does it tirelessly he may be the most valuable defenseman in the game today looking at the overall package.

 

 

  So a team stuck with no identity and non descript wingers with talent who are largely unknown, a couple of previous crybaby centers, no depth on defense, a goalie fighting his wifes cancer and taking half the season off and picking up a scrub in Condon who failed miserably in Montreal last year. Adding worn out blood in Burrows. A coach who burned out in Tampa and who had to go to Switzerland to rediscover himself even

  Somehow it has all worked and I root for them whenever they are on and would love to see them come from literally nowhere and win the division.

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I honestly thought they would miss the playoffs this season. I had Detroit and Ottawa pegged as the two worst teams in the division. :blink[1]:

 

 

 

 

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14 hours ago, WordsOfWisdom said:

I honestly thought they would miss the playoffs this season. I had Detroit and Ottawa pegged as the two worst teams in the division. :blink[1]:

 

 

 

 

So did I (sadly).

Looks like I am going to have to pay up, I have a friend who is a Leaf fan and we made a bet of a dollar a point in the standings, right now the Leafs have 78 and the Wings 65 so I am down 13 bucks but it is all in fun.

  Yeah I never would have thought the Senators fighting for the division title especially with all of the adversity the team has had. I know the division is a bit topsy turvy this year but yeesh.

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2 hours ago, yave1964 said:

So did I (sadly).

Looks like I am going to have to pay up, I have a friend who is a Leaf fan and we made a bet of a dollar a point in the standings, right now the Leafs have 78 and the Wings 65 so I am down 13 bucks but it is all in fun.

  Yeah I never would have thought the Senators fighting for the division title especially with all of the adversity the team has had. I know the division is a bit topsy turvy this year but yeesh.

 

What irks me is that a team like the Sens can exceed all expectations and flourish, so why not the Leafs? Why can't the Leafs ever have a season like the Sens are having and just do better than everyone thought they would? 

 

If you compare these two teams, the Leafs have had everything go RIGHT for them (from a player standpoint). The rookies have exceeded all expectations in year one and have carried the team. The players have been healthy. The new look logo has been a hit with the fans. The team mended fences with Keon. They've done everything "right" except catch a d@mn break and win some games. Case in point: The Leafs shootout/OT record has been deplorable.

 

It feels like every other team in the NHL is capable of a dramatic and immediate turnaround, and has had a dramatic turnaround at some time or another -- except for Toronto. There has never been a season where the Leafs played better than everyone thought they would. If THN pencils them in at 11th in the conference, that's exactly where they finish. (Excuse the rant!) :)

 

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1 hour ago, WordsOfWisdom said:

 

What irks me is that a team like the Sens can exceed all expectations and flourish, so why not the Leafs? Why can't the Leafs ever have a season like the Sens are having and just do better than everyone thought they would? 

 

If you compare these two teams, the Leafs have had everything go RIGHT for them (from a player standpoint). The rookies have exceeded all expectations in year one and have carried the team. The players have been healthy. The new look logo has been a hit with the fans. The team mended fences with Keon. They've done everything "right" except catch a d@mn break and win some games. Case in point: The Leafs shootout/OT record has been deplorable.

 

It feels like every other team in the NHL is capable of a dramatic and immediate turnaround, and has had a dramatic turnaround at some time or another -- except for Toronto. There has never been a season where the Leafs played better than everyone thought they would. If THN pencils them in at 11th in the conference, that's exactly where they finish. (Excuse the rant!) :)

 

 

Didn't you guys used to always end up below the Sens, yet bounce them out of the playoffs?

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8 hours ago, flyercanuck said:

 

Didn't you guys used to always end up below the Sens, yet bounce them out of the playoffs?

 

Nope. The two teams were always virtually even in the standings. I think maybe towards the very end of the Leafs playoff years, the Sens were better on paper and the Leafs beat them because of Lalime or whoever it was giving up soft goals. :)

 

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This has definitely been a fun season. It feels like some things are finally falling into place. This is what I've been hoping for from this group.

 

I think that sometimes it's hard for guys in a small market to get attention, and that has a lot to do with your point on Stone and Hoffman. Stone is one of the best defensive forwards in the game and gets no recognition. I mean, the guy walked away with the takeaways stat last year and finished 18th in Selke voting........ Still, much more important is that the chemistry is forming.

 

I really want to see Anderson get the Masterton Trophy. He and his wife both deserve that honor. They and the team have done an outstanding job in a near-impossible balancing act. That's your feel-good story of the year, without a doubt.

 

And then Karlsson. I know that most on this board likely think that I hype him so much only because he's a Senator, but that's not the case. As big of a Senators fan as I am, I'm a bigger hockey fan, and when I look at him, I see something special, but fate seems to work against him getting the recognition he deserves. He plays the wrong position (only Bobby Orr has truly gotten the recognition really deserved by defensemen in the last 60 or so years), he plays in the wrong market (see size, and thus media attention), and he's not Canadian (see the recent Melnyk quote -- I feel quite confident much of the hockey media feels the same). Last year, he had an absolutely historic season and didn't win the Norris because he wasn't a "real" defenseman. This year, he's having an incredible defensive season, and is in a close points race with Burns, but Burns has already been coronated, strictly because of offense.

 

But again, while just like with Stone and Hoffman, I want to see him get the recognition he deserves, the important thing is, the production on the ice is there, and a guy that was already at the top of the sport is getting better, and the fruit is showing. You're dead on when you say that the Senators are toast without him. If the Hart Trophy were really based on what it should be, he'd be a lock as a finalist. I have a hard time thinking of anyone other than McDavid who has as big of an impact on his team's playoff chances.

 

While some of that might seem like I'm complaining, I'm not. All of that shows why I'm so happy with this team right now. There's not a lot of depth, and there's not a lot of recognition, but this is a group that wants to win, and the talent that is there, is proving it. Boucher wasn't the guy I wanted behind the bench, but they made the right hire. I think he should get the Jack Adams this year. I'm not predicting a Cup (that would shock me), but this is a team that can make a run. If things fall in place, I don't think a trip to the conference finals is out of the question. Whether it happens this year or not though, this is a group heading in a direction I really like at this moment.

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@ScottM

 

I have watched a fair amount of Senators games down the stretch as the Wings become nearly unwatchable and Karlsson has been brilliant a man among boys who dominates the game. Simply insane. I thought Weber was a lock for the Norris through the first half but the Canadiens are playing listless uninspired Hockey (except when they face your Senators) and he is not a serious part of the conversation anymore. It comes down to Burns/Karlsson and Karlsson being far and away the more complete player would get my nod.

 

  I would not give my vote to Boucher although I believe he has done an outstanding job, to me it is 1) Tortorella 2) Bruce Boudreau and 3) a distant third either Boucher or Babcock taking nothing away from what either has done.

 

Masterton Trophy is a no brainer for Anderson, any other vote should be tossed out as the vote of a deranged mind.

 

Stone and Hoffman are a delight to watch, both of them play hard every shift and never quit. Hoffman particular since Stone was injured has taken over as the heart of the forwards and deserves credit for finding his game. Stone is still relatively a kid and has a higher upside, Hoffman was a late bloomer as a prospect and without taking time to look it up I believe he is 28 already but he can play.

 

I still do not like your two centers, Turris and Brassard for the way they whined their way out of Arizona and Columbus respectively but both can play some.

 

Overall a satisfying season for you boys. A potential Leaf/Sens playoff matchup has all of Ontario in a lather.

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Just now, yave1964 said:

I still do not like your two centers, Turris and Brassard for the way they whined their way out of Arizona and Columbus respectively but both can play some.

 

Overall a satisfying season for you boys. A potential Leaf/Sens playoff matchup has all of Ontario in a lather.

 

Now that there have been some moves to at least somewhat shore up the defense, my main areas of concern are now left wing and center. We severely lack depth on the left side. It seems like every year MacArthur gets injured and there's then a scramble to figure out who to put over there.

 

At center, it's not ability, as you point out, but I don't think we have much toughness there. I like the ability of Turris and Brassard, but we need to add some grit, which is missing, as evidenced by the whining you spoke of.

 

Honestly though, while I've expressed frustration with the (lack of) moves made by the team, looking at it from where we are now, I'm starting to question if I'm frustrated that they're not making moves at all or that they're not making them as fast as I want. I say that because, while I can't pinpoint exactly where it happened, this team has gone from being an also-ran to being a real playoff team. Maybe I just need a bit more patience.

 

As for the Leafs series possibility... BRING IT ON! I have a lot of years of revenge I want to get. Lol

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On 3/18/2017 at 11:29 PM, WordsOfWisdom said:

 

Nope. The two teams were always virtually even in the standings. I think maybe towards the very end of the Leafs playoff years, the Sens were better on paper and the Leafs beat them because of Lalime or whoever it was giving up soft goals. :)

 

When I think Lalime, I immediately think of a goal he gave up where he did not drop to butterfly position, but just tried to do old standup.

 

2nd goal in this one

 

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@WordsOfWisdom @J0e Th0rnton With all the painful memories I have of those series, I can attest that it was more than just soft goaltending. It was softness in general. I remember one season that we were in the thick of the President's Trophy race, but I wanted to get the 2-seed in the East because Toronto was locked into the 7-seed and we were 5-0 against them that year. I got what I wanted, and we got swept. The Toronto "thugs" as I called them, like Tie Domi and Darcy Tucker and their physical play always seemed to be our kryptonite. The playoffs, as we all know, are a different game, and while we had the skill back then, sometimes, that's not enough.

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39 minutes ago, J0e Th0rnton said:

When I think Lalime, I immediately think of a goal he gave up where he did not drop to butterfly position, but just tried to do old standup.

 

2nd goal in this one

 

 

I remember watching that game (not knowing how it was going to go) and after I saw those goals I knew it was a win and the Leafs were moving on. It was like a weight lifting off the shoulders. :)

 

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37 minutes ago, ScottM said:

@WordsOfWisdom @J0e Th0rnton With all the painful memories I have of those series, I can attest that it was more than just soft goaltending. It was softness in general. I remember one season that we were in the thick of the President's Trophy race, but I wanted to get the 2-seed in the East because Toronto was locked into the 7-seed and we were 5-0 against them that year. I got what I wanted, and we got swept. The Toronto "thugs" as I called them, like Tie Domi and Darcy Tucker and their physical play always seemed to be our kryptonite. The playoffs, as we all know, are a different game, and while we had the skill back then, sometimes, that's not enough.

 

There might have been a year or two where it was lobsided on paper but the Leafs still won, but I seem to remember these teams finishing 4-5 in the standings and always being somewhere in the middle. :)

 

In the early 2000's, Toronto had some teams that were up around 100 points. The group with Sundin, Mogilny, Roberts, Domi, Nieuwendyk, Francis, et all were a final four team in 2002 and should have destroyed Carolina in the conference finals to face Detroit in the final but they choked against the Hurricanes (who were a crap team that overachieved that year). :(

 

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@WordsOfWisdom The positions in the standings weren't really what I was aiming at. I mentioned that one year, simply because it made the point that even if the Senators were a clear favorite, they just could not get past the Leafs back then. It didn't really matter how good either team was, the Leafs just seemed to have guys that thrived more in a playoff environment than Ottawa did, and it was most obvious when they played each other. In fact, I'd say that was the most important advantage Anaheim had in the 2007 Finals. Those just weren't good match ups, because outside of a couple of guys, we lacked the extra toughness

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32 minutes ago, ScottM said:

@WordsOfWisdom The positions in the standings weren't really what I was aiming at. I mentioned that one year, simply because it made the point that even if the Senators were a clear favorite, they just could not get past the Leafs back then. It didn't really matter how good either team was, the Leafs just seemed to have guys that thrived more in a playoff environment than Ottawa did, and it was most obvious when they played each other. In fact, I'd say that was the most important advantage Anaheim had in the 2007 Finals. Those just weren't good match ups, because outside of a couple of guys, we lacked the extra toughness

 

Agreed. I believe the term is "battle tested".   :)

 

Those Leafs teams had a who's who of guys that had won the Cup before and knew how to handle playoff pressure. 

 

 

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I put this as a response in the shoutbox to HJ's wondering how the Sens are where they are, but I think this thread is a perfect place to reiterate:

 

"Craig Anderson, despite hardships this season, has been very good, Mike Condon has done an admirable job when Anderson can't play, Erik Karlsson has been, well, Erik Karlsson, and the Sens have a bunch of forwards, that while no single one has been spectacular, as a group, have produced reasonably well, but also have all played the defensive side of the puck. On top of all that, head coach Guy Boucher has managed this group about as well as one could manage a team. He is a brilliant coach, with sometimes complicated schemes, but the Sens are buying in...all those are reasons why the Sens are where they are"

 

On top of the above, the defensive group of Karlsson, Phaneuf, Wideman, Methot, and Borowiecki has been surprisingly stout this season too.

 

Personally, I didn't think the Sens would be in the mix for a post season spot, much less challenging for the top spot, but when you have the above ingredients and the team is executing, anything is possible.

 

If the Bolts don't get into the playoffs, the Ottawa Senators will be the team I will be rooting for during the Eastern portion of the post season.

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      So did I (sadly). Looks like I am going to have to pay up, I have a friend who is a Leaf fan and we made a bet of a dollar a point in the standings, right now the Leafs have 78 and the Wings 65 so I am down 13 bucks but it is all in fun.   Yeah I never would have thought the Senators fighting for the division title especially with all of the adversity the team has had. I know the division is a bit topsy turvy this year but yeesh.
    • 1
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      This has definitely been a fun season. It feels like some things are finally falling into place. This is what I've been hoping for from this group.   I think that sometimes it's hard for guys in a small market to get attention, and that has a lot to do with your point on Stone and Hoffman. Stone is one of the best defensive forwards in the game and gets no recognition. I mean, the guy walked away with the takeaways stat last year and finished 18th in Selke voting........ Still, much mo
    • 1
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      When I think Lalime, I immediately think of a goal he gave up where he did not drop to butterfly position, but just tried to do old standup.   2nd goal in this one  
    • 1
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      @WordsOfWisdom @J0e Th0rnton With all the painful memories I have of those series, I can attest that it was more than just soft goaltending. It was softness in general. I remember one season that we were in the thick of the President's Trophy race, but I wanted to get the 2-seed in the East because Toronto was locked into the 7-seed and we were 5-0 against them that year. I got what I wanted, and we got swept. The Toronto "thugs" as I called them, like Tie Domi and Darcy Tucker and their physica
    • 1
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      @WordsOfWisdom The positions in the standings weren't really what I was aiming at. I mentioned that one year, simply because it made the point that even if the Senators were a clear favorite, they just could not get past the Leafs back then. It didn't really matter how good either team was, the Leafs just seemed to have guys that thrived more in a playoff environment than Ottawa did, and it was most obvious when they played each other. In fact, I'd say that was the most important advantage Anahe

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