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Howdy from the Nation's Capital. A brutal start followed by a period and a half of strong play, followed by a poor 3rd (didn't have a shot for 14 mins) equals to a 1-6-1 road trip for the Sens...I hope they took the first flight out of Bean town.

The 6-4 score line looks bad on both teams as it was a giveaway-fest all night for both teams...although Ottawa clearly 'won' that battle.

Daniel Alfredsson has struggled mightly of late (Big 3 = combined -10 tonight)...two giveaways that directly led to goals... I have never seen a player 'blow a tire' as often as Alfie has lately. Mike Milbury on the NESN feed suggests knee problems again for Alfie and then threw in a little jab at Murray for the deal he just gave our captin. Personally I see it as our leader trying way too hard to make plays, which is understandable concerning the teams recent slide...but two big time giveaways is one too many even for our Alfie.

Chris Kelly was 'johnny-on-the-puck' on the Sens second goal as for the second time Dennis Wideman coughed the puck up. Good on Vermette and Winchester for assists, but really it was an unforced error by the Bruins defensemen, not there doing. Vermette's late goal now has him on a 10-goal pace, here's hoping he gets hot. Also good to see Phillips get a goal. The former forward (remember that experiment?) has the skating ability to produce more offensively and maybe its time he is ignited more on the rush.

Chris Neil continues to fire this club up, fighting damn-near every game. The Thronton fight which he lost really rallied the boys mid-first period. That in part was a big reason the Sens finally had a strong overall period, though again brutal starts hurt the club tonight.

Congrats to Dany Heatley on his all-star nomination, Dean McAmmond for his 900th game and also to Matt Carkner on his second NHL game. The 6'4 native of Winchester, Ontario played all of 4 mins but could turn out to be a solid power forward something this team has never had. (Unless you're one of those people who thing Heater is a PWF)

Brendan Bell had a bad night defensively and a good night offensively...still not sold he is an NHL defensmen (couldnt crack Toronto or Phoenix).

Wheeler's goal was a perfect example of poor zone coverage as it was four Sens vs two Bruins as he cut right through the D and the Bruins even had a player behind Gerber on the rebound...weak. As for Gerber, he looks like a goalie with no confidence, but so does Auld...and can you blame them with the poor play and huge turnovers in front of them? Maybe it's time for Brian Elliot to get a game.

Folingo got thrown face-first into the end boards regards of Mark Stuart. Could have been a call there, but then again you have to have battles for the puck or it becomes ringette.

The Sens really miss Kuba, as the defense can't make a first pass for the life of them. Also we lost Brian Lee to injury very early in the game, more on that in the a.m.

Interesting stat - 34% of the Sens offence comes from the PP and the Big 3 are responsible for 50% of the 91 goals the team has scored thus far. However when both are struggling as they are now, you can understand why we are 13th in the conference.

All for now, will be back tomorrow with a mid-season report card. I suspect a few parents will be getting out the belt...

Colin Jeffrey - [email]colin_jeffrey@hotmail.com[/email]
Filed Under:   Ottawa Senators   NHL  
January 9, 2009 10:51 AM ET | Delete
I was only able to see the highlights and they didn't look good. I feel for Alfie but come on, the recent few games, the only shots of him I'm seeing are giveaways. If he's hurt, then rest. I know he's always played hurt because he's the captain and he fels responsible, but at his age he can't cover his mistakes up any more with grit and determination. Rest Alffy rest. Hartsburgh did not do himself any favours with his outspokeness after the game. You may feel like your stars let you down, but you DO NOT call them out publicly. Keep it in the room. If some of the guys weren't against him before, they are now. And if hes unhappy in Ottawa then maybe this was a veiled plea to get fired. WHo knows. But this rollercoaster get bumpier and bumpier.Good blog Colin
January 9, 2009 11:42 AM ET | Delete
It's about time Alfredson is called out. Where is all this accountablity they talked about in the summer.? Dumbing on Spezza won't get you anywhere, people have been dumping on Spezza since Jacques Martin called him a boy playing a mans game. Calling out Alfredson in the media, maybe that will wake up the team and take notice? If the team is really not going to make any changes then maybe it's time to put the pressure on the so called captains and leaders of this team (Alfredson, Phillips, Heatley, Fisher, Smith) Where is the character that these players are suppose to add? Where is the leadership?
January 9, 2009 12:45 PM ET | Delete
Lugs, Sens2006...both hit the nail on the head. Not a fan at all of Hartsburgh's comments...this isn't Toronto where you can do that sort of thing because they are rebuilding. But we maybe seeing a career junior coach feeling big time pressure in the best hockey league in the world. As for Spezza being whipping boy #1...to all the haters remember he is my age, 25, which is CRAZY young. He has way, WAY more hockey to play and mature. I would never trade him if I was currently the GM, especially not for what Eklund has rumoured (Regehr and Lombardi). Thanks guys (or gals?) for the comments.
January 9, 2009 12:50 PM ET | Delete
Alfie is not the problem. Spezza is not the problem. Alfie plays hard every night. He forechecks and he skates back hard on defense. He does not put he puck in the net as often as in the past but it is not for lack of trying. What you see with Spezza is what you get. He has never been able to or interested in playing a lick of defense, but he can move the puck, he is creative and can score goals when the spirit moves him. Dany Heatley is the real culprit. His game has regressed and is completely one dimentional. Skate down the ice, sit in the circles with you stick in the air. There in no sense is putting a body on him in the neutral zone because he no longer has any interest in carrying the puck or creating his own shot. Forechecking?, is that where I coast along the red line and waive my stick at a defense man and then peel off so that I don't have to expend much energy getting back on D? He is a loafer and gets a free pass in the media because he scores a lot for Canada. He should be stripped if his "A" as soon as possible because if his play is what is expected of a leader on this team then no wonder they sit where they do in the standings.
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