Who Cares? Habs 3, Senators 2
posted Apr 10, 2006 at 11:06PM
Over the next few days, we are going to start getting some key players back in the line-up so this game will go into the "it doesn't matter" file soon enough. In a way letting Montreal get the two points is bad for Toronto, so maybe there is a sunny side.
Although we lost, the overall performance of the team was much improved from our game with Buffalo. Despite the score, our forwards did have control of the puck, and the game, for large stretches of time. Only divine intervention kept the puck out of Montreal's net. Just a slight adjustment to the Universal Karma Fudge Factor, and we could have won this game going away. How many times are Spezza and Heatley going to miss wide open nets? Not that often I assure you. I can't count the times the puck just dribbled past the open net
Of special note: Fisher looked like his old self again, playing with speed and power. Alfredson was in great form. Indeed all of the forwards, for the most part, seemed to have good jump in their step. Arnason, despite a reasonable game, and more good chances, probably will not win any converts by going into brainlock for three seconds and failing to clear the puck even though he had ample time. The subsequent play resulted in a critical goal against us. Varada seems to be alternating between being "reasonable", and being an offensive liability. Tonight it was the latter. He could not complete a pass to save his life, and a lot of potential rushes were squandered by this.
On the defense side, the big plus is Volchenkov who is starting to put in the kind of hits that can change the momentum of the game. On the other side of scale, Norton, who tries valiantly, is just not of NHL calibre at this point. He is too slow a skater, and makes bad puck movement decisions. I am still of the mind that Schubert makes a better forward than a defenceman. He spent a lot of the game making spectacular "recoveries". Which is what you expect from a player with raw skill, but is still inexperienced and tentative.
Of the greatest concern to me is Emery. On no, he did not play badly, but to my eyes he is not playing at 100%. He seemed to be having trouble moving laterally, and looked very slow trying to come over on their first goal. Against the Canadians it did not show up too much, but against a team like say Tampa, who has more skilled players, and who can move the puck quickly from one side of the ice to the other, it certainly will be. I know everyone is talking like Hasek is going to be back soon, but there are no guarantees that we will be getting the old "Dominator" back. We are playing with fire here. Just ask how the players of the Nashville Predators feel right now
Eaves went down on a seemingly innocent play. I did not think it serious at first, but he did not come back for the third period. Obviously we do not need yet another injury, especially to Eaves who scores the kind of goals you expect to see in tight playoff hockey games.
I am sure you have all heard the news on Havlat. Like you I hope he can start in Thursday's game. Redden is due back soon and so is Chara. Phillips is ahead of schedule. Manna from heaven.