Thursday, April 19, 2007

Now Who Will They Talk About?

With all of the media attention and hype swirling around Sidney Crosby and his band of merry men, it was easy to forget about the Ottawa Senators. But watching their series-clinching performance tonight and in fact their performance all series long reminds us of exactly how dominating they can be, how deep they are...and how close our own Mike Vogel and Ted Leonsis may have been in their predictions.

It's really amazing to see what the Sens have accomplished since the start of the season. If you remember, back at the beginning of the year the Sens looked like their evil twins. Nothing was going right. They were fighting with Boston for the bottom spot in the Northeast Division. Their fans were wearing paper bags on their heads when they played the Caps.

Flash forward to December. The team is struggling through injuries to some of their key guys when something odd happens. They start winning. It's a strange phenomenon for a team to lose their starters and suddenly improve, but it all comes down to one thing - depth.

The Versus guys were pointing to the depth on this Ottawa squad all night long, showing the production the Sens were getting from their 3rd and 4th line. By contrast, you look at the measly 2 assists produced by Pittsburgh's 3rd and 4th lines and there is no question why the Penguins were unable to overcome the onslaught and ultimately fell in five games.

It's not that the Penguins weren't talented or didn't try hard. The fact is that they struggled because of the same problems that stymied the Caps - when the bulk of your offense comes from your top two lines, you may win games...but only in the regular season. Postseason requires all out efforts from all four lines, and both the Pens and the Caps have too much youth and potential talent instead of actual, NHL proven talent to succeed just yet.

But back to Ottawa. Tonight's game was just a massacre, a systematic destruction of everything the Penguins had going for them. Pittsburgh was simply unable to respond to the talented Senators' attack. Every Ottawa pass was on the tape, every check was finished, every penalty kill solid. The Sens worked every angle, took the body, played their positions spot on, and frankly looked more like a championship team than any other team I've seen thus far in the playoffs.

The question now becomes, can they shake the eternal choking dog collar that has held them down for so long? Will they be able to take their game to another level and meet the challenges of whatever team awaits them? If their showing in this first round is any indication, I'd say they're ready to shake that moniker for good.

Of course, this means that now NBC and Versus will have to find a new cover boy. It's a rough life.

10 comments:

Bethany said...

He's gone he's gone he's gone!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Victor said...

The ticker on NHL.com reads, "Ottawa finishes off Sid and the Pens
The Senators are moving on after they brought an end to Sidney Crosby's first postseason..." I'm sorry, but one talented little poof does not a league make.

And...*ahem*...Ottawa is my pick, too.

Victor said...

Dang. Forgot to include, "And one talented little poof does not a team make, because if it did, the flightless fowl wouldn't be heading for the golf course today."

Bleu, Blanc et Rouge said...

My dad and I had a bet, guess who won? :D

Tyler said...

C'est la vie...

But just wait for next year, and the year after, and the year after...

hockeygirl said...

Does this mean that the make-up ads during games will disappear?

The Wanderer said...

I can't believe that I am about to agree with a Caps fan on her Pens analysis, but I have to agree with you on our line strength issue. Hopefully the twits (um I mean commentators) on Versus will find someone else to prattle on about because even as a die hard Pens fan I was getting a little sick of it.

Bethany said...

haha I put a picture up of Crosby wallowing (is that the right word) in defeat.

Victor said...

I'm watching the Flames game...and NBC said they're going to have an update on the Pooftah during the first break! Jumpin' Jesus Christ on a pogo stick!!! Why don't they just....uh....pour poutine down his shorts and lick it offa him or something!

I...I'm speechless!!!

hockeygirl said...

Yay Victor is watching my boys! But yes, the update is that Crybaby has been playing with a broken left foot since March. Wah wah wah... Just like Dion last year.