Memorial Archives

Let's Play Shinny - Senators Beat The Oilers
posted Jan 15, 2006 at 01:34AM

I guess any game you win on the road is a good win. Ottawa scored 4 goals on 16 shots and put in a spirited effort to take the game.

I have to tell you I have no clue over our team's philosophy when it comes to line combinations. I am not a communist. I do not see players as interchangeable parts.

The reality is some players are better than others. Some players play better when with some players, and worse when with others.

Smolinski is not a top line center, but there he was. Varada is not a top six forward but there he was on the second line. Heatley is not a third line player, playing alongside call-ups. Vermette is not a fourth line utility player. When you are two men short, Kelly is not the guy you put on the ice.

When you have a two man advantage, putting Smolinski on with Varada and Neil, while leaving Schaeffer and Fisher on the bench (Alfredson was off getting stitched up), is just not putting your best foot forward.

That was the first period

After that, lines were being changed even on an intra-shift basis. People were playing with different players every time they got on the ice. Obviously Murray did not trust McGrattan in a close game, and he and Schubert were out of the game from then on. The remainder were basically tossed out there will all the care of an informal shinny game.

Happy to see Vermette bury one on a nice pass from McGrattan. Basically Vermette has to score within 30 seconds of hitting the ice, other wise his shift ends. He remains the most mismanaged player on the team. For a while he was with Fisher and Heatley, which was interesting, but on at least two occasions he got pulled off early even as the line was driving into the Edmonton zone.

I have no doubt that unless something drastically changes before the end of the season, that Vermette will be instructing his agent to find greener pastures. You know any team that understanding that being able to skate real fast, shoot, pass and win face-offs are good qualities to have in a hockey player.

Varada got two tap-in goals, on nice set-ups from Kelly and Fisher. His sacred cow status will probably be good for another two months. Never has whining from an agent done so much for a professional athlete.

The really good news is that Fisher is getting stronger and stronger with every game.

We got the two points. It was a very entertaining game. Everyone was skating well and had jump in their stride. The raw speed, talent and desire of the Senators is undeniable. But serious underlying problems in organizing this capability remain.

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