Hello everybody and thank you for reading once again. It has been a couple months since I've had a chance to write, but exams ended just in time for me to trek back home to Ottawa for games 3 & 4. I just arrived home from the second OT loss in a row, and I cannot tell if I am more heartbroken or angry.
Game Summed Up:
For the third game in a row the Sens started with a lead. Very impressive, and extremely important. Side note, throughout the streak that got the Sens in the playoffs it seemed more often we went down by a couple in the first half of the game and became more focussed and driven in the second half. Not tonight, as it seems early leads are the Senators weakness. Luckily down 3-0 in the series should be enough of a hole to give them the pressure to wake up and get to work.
The Senators played great the first period. Neil immediately made multiple bit hits, we were playing very physically, really kicking the Habs asses. And man, that MacArthur goal couldn't have been more satisfying. In that one shift, Subban fakes an injury like a punk, than in his own zone tries to injure Karlsson with a dirty hit, but because of his lack of focus on the puck by the time he turned his back on Karlsson MacArthur had had multiple seconds alone on Subbans side of the ice in front of Price, and scored a beauty. Price couldn't do much given that amount of time alone for MacArthur, and it was Subbans fault. Great moment to be a Sens fan.
And then the period ended, and simultaneously, the game.
Yes, the Senators kept the game close right till the end... But outside of that first period we were barely playing. Really poor effort, but I don't blame any player. Not even a group of players. Now, I beg of you, let me tell you why:
Dave Cameron f*cked the f*ck up
Dave Cameron f*cked up before this game even began, regardless of how the first period went. Why Lazarbeam?? You couldn't possibly be blaming the loss on Anderson! Cameron choosing Anderson over Hammond wasn't a (frank) up! You are right, the goalie change was not where Cameron went wrong. Cameron went wrong when he decided to keep his lines the exact same as they were the game before besides swapping Chiasson for Neil on the 4th line RW.
Four line game
The Senators have a great group of forwards - that is why they were able to score so much through the passed 30 games. If it wasn't the Turris line, it could have been the Zbad line, the Pageau line or even the Legwand line. Some lines more often than others, but they all could be relied on to play well even if they didn't score.
Tonight, the Senators played a two line game and it showed. By the second period this team was already looking tired. They stopped hitting. The passes seemed rushed. Only a few players were generating anything. Every shift was in our own end. No matter how good a line is, you need every line to play well every night if you want to win, especially in the playoffs.
This could have been avoided. As a matter of fact, check the SensChirp comments on his pre game article - every fan agreed that Ryan should be playing significantly less and Hoffman significantly more. Hoffman played the least of anyone on this team tonight besides Neil. Even less than Legwand. Our leading goal scorer - the rookie. Less than Legwand. If you know what Cameron was thinking, please, explain it in the comments. What? Because he's not good enough defensively? Give me a f*cking break. That doesn't even deserve the typing required to detail how ridiculous it is. Playing Hoffman that little doesn't deserve any typing unless it's angry typing. This is angry typing. DAVE CAMERON WHY.
Look - I'm going to jump to the chase and cut the poop - simultaneously.
Cameron gave too many minutes to a few lines and way too few to the others. But really, the lines needed to be changed to get every line in the game. The Turris and Pageau lines played too much, but were spectacular as always, the Zbad line played a normal amount and were pretty bad, and the Legwand line barely played.
Now let me tell you why I'm right.
Bobby Ryan: SlumpMaster 3000 Deluxe the Sequel. Look, I am beyond happy to have this guy on my team - he's a star but as well a leader, role player, veteran, dangler, power forward and a finisher. But when a guy's off his game, stop trying to force it. He may be injured, I'm sure we'll find out eventually, but he is *noticeably* slower than a month ago - maybe more. And we're not talking about a cold streak here, Dave. We're talking like 40 games with points in like 3 of them. I don't have time to confirm this stuff but I've gotta be pretty close. It'd be easier to confirm if there were better stat websites out there so one day I'll have to make one - I digress. When a guy is injured or on a 'slump' likes Ryans, you don't goddam expect him to break out of it in a must-win game like this, Dave! DAVE. Come on. His lack of confidence, productivity and speed have straight-up killed that second line. Pity Hoffman and Zbad, whose stats have taken a huge dip since.
Dave Cameron: "Alright Lazarbeam, tell me what to do please"
Sure Dave, anything for you buddy.
Well lets talk this through, Dave, that way you'll understand and it won't happen again, right? RIGHT?
OK Dave, just grazing through your stats I see Hoffman lead the team in goals pretty much all year. I also see he wasn't averaging much ice time, typical of a rookie, but only making his scoring ability more impressive. Where do you have him playing tonight, coach?
"Fourth line playing with Neil and Legwand. Coach's decision. Come on Lazarbeam I thought you knew your sh*t"
HOLD UP speedy gonzalez. I don't think you're going to get much offence from your top goal scorer playing with Neil at 10 mins a night. Lets try to get him playing 15+ mins a night, maybe on a line that can help him score. Duly noted. Moving on.
So what are you gonna do about Ryan, coach? It's been a long slump, somethings gotta give.
DC: "Well I can tell you I'm not going to reduce his minutes - then he *definitely* won't score! So I figure I better mix up his line mates. I'm thinking, lets take our top goal scorer off his line for someone else. Anyone else. Zack Smith for a while even. That should get him going. Eventually. Whatever it's not like this is my job. Wait, it is? Karlsson make the lines. I'm a great coach. Yes."
Well what the hell do you know. Our top goal scorer stopped scoring when you put him on our fourth line and Ryan still isn't scoring. Strike one right? WRONG. YOU F*CKED UP DAVE.
Not that anyone wants my opinion, but I would have expected Ryan to move to the fourth line. The only reason I can imagine Cameron hasn't done this is to maintain his promise to "play a 30-goal scorer like a 30-goal scorer". A noble cause indeed. But hey, my man, dude hasn't even come close to 30 in two seasons in Ottawa. But hey, that isn't good enough, there were circumstances. But my man, he's not going to hit 30 goals tonight so please play the player who are playing the best the most - is that too much to freaking ask?
Hey - Ryan on the fourth line - depth at least right? Maybe he'll be playing little enough to save up energy to play at 100% when he does play. That's just a theory, but I think a theory worth trying if not a must try theory at this point.
That's all I'm going to get into tonight, folks. If you want *my* lineup with explanations (my specialty), I'll write something before game 4 - which I will also be attending. If you can't wait, ask in the comments! Sneak Peak: I'd play Pageau with Chiasson to get the French energy going - Yes, splitting up the Pageau line! Send that man to jail! Hey, when your lineup is as solid as ours you can afford to try different combos.
Thanks for reading, I hope you found this interesting, satisfying and humorous. Sometimes hockey anger brings out my funny side, or obnoxious side, depending on who you are. If you're a Sens fan you're my bro, so I hope its the former. This is Lazarbeam signing off, in Ottawa, Ontario. Good night and good talk, my friends.