Sunday, January 4, 2009

The Prattle of Ontario

Some observations from a Battle of Ontario debacle that may have finally shovelled dirt on this rivalry once and for all, not to mention broken my spirit as a hockey fan.

  • The Senators are terrible. I mean, the Leafs are terrible, and they still had a relatively easy time with Ottawa last night. Toronto is bad in a "well, maybe kind of sort of getting better" way. Ottawa is bad in an "abandon all hope ye who enter here" kind of way. Luckily, they have Buffalo next and you can always count on the Sabres to roll over and die in any post-Pominville game against a struggling Sens team.

  • Hey, you know what else is terrible? Leafs/Sens games. I'm seeing lots of stories in the papers and online today describing the game as "gritty". Really? That was gritty? A half dozen guys on each team all trying to play the agitator role, trying to get bumped into and then flopping to the ice and looking for a referee? We call that gritty now? Tie Domi is rolling over in his grave.

  • Word is Sidney Crosby wanted to play in last night's game but couldn't find anyone with two balls to punch.

  • Speaking of which... so Chris Neil thinks that even though the Sens dumped Brian McGrattan and signed Jarkko Ruutu, he should still try to be a "pest" who runs from Kimbo Hollweg but goes after Ian White? Really? He's thinks that's his ticket to sticking around in the NHL? OK, just checking.

  • It's official: Mike Fisher has entered the "golden boy" zone where announcers will refer to him as one of the best players on the ice no matter how awful he is. Yes, he threw some hits. He was also pointless, a minus, and lead both teams in giveaways. Also, he makes $4.2M/year. Through 2013. But he's scored three goals this season, so obviously none of this can be his fault.

  • Yes, Jason Spezza deserved a spearing major based on the rulebook, but he barely touched Dominic Moore and Moore's hunched-over attempt to sell an injury was embarassing. Remember when Toronto didn't do that stuff? At least against Ottawa?

  • And while I don't expect or want Tomas Kaberle to drop his gloves or even give Spezza so much as a girlish shove, wouldn't it be nice if his instinctive first reaction to seeing a teammate get speared wasn't to throw his arms in the air and look for a referee to whine to? Kaberle is the best player on the team, but sometimes he reminds you that he's the holdover from the old "leadership" core.

  • I'll admit, I get way too excited whenever a Leaf goalie tries to score a goal. Unfortunately, Toskala's effort ended up fluttering harmlessly into the air and was easily gloved aside by a defenceman. You know what that means: he could play on the third line of either of these teams!


  1. Fisher definitely got an E for effort, but it was pretty futile.

    Doesn't matter how hard you work if you're still useless!

    He did have a couple thundering hits, but Frogren still topped him in that dept.

  2. Hey eyebleaf, imagine the Sens and Leafs roles were reversed, and we were the ones with a bunch of ludicrously high paid guys with long tenure on a team 3 points away from last in the league. I can only imagine.

  3. Here's to hoping last night's game put a bullet right between the eyes of this so-called rivalry.

    Despite the sell job from the media, it's been nearly six years since there's been any heat between these two teams. Maybe it's just me, but it's hard to get your hate on when the real Battle of Ontario has been reduced to flopping, diving, face-washing and cheering for your team to maximize the number of lottery balls in play at the draft next June.

  4. I didn't think the game was that bad. The first half was messy but it better after the Moore goal. At least from a Leaf fan perspective. For the Sens it was mostly garbage.

    The referees weren't great right from the start. Not just the missed Spezza call, but the first 2 Leaf calls were a bit weak, the Gerber delay of game was bogus, .. those sorts of calls encourage more flopping and sucky behaviour. I'm not excusing it, just laying blame on the referees a little.

    I'm gonna defend Kaberle a bit. Spezza is a pussy too. There's no point trying to jump a girl-scout jabbing a spear at everybody's belly. Let the paid professionals take care of that ugliness. Unfortunately the refs can't be completely counted on.

    In a separate incident, I wonder if you noticed, near the end of the game when Neil jumped White, Kaberle was the first one to jump in when it looked like the fight was too one-sided, before the refs even. In fact he prevented it from even being a proper fight - Neil got 4 minutes and White got 2 and the Leafs went to the powerplay.

    What's happened to Fisher, eh? I thought he was good.

    "abandon all hope ye who enter here"

    How are people taking this in Ottawa? Are they demanding Alferdsson accept a trade to help them rebuild? Do they hate Spezza? Murray? Are they dillusional and think just a couple moves here and there should do the trick? Is anyone nostalgic for Emery? Or are they tuning it out completely and pretending it's not happening?


  5. What's happened to Fisher, eh? I thought he was good.

    He is what he is: a reasonably good defensive forward, a solid checker, a good fighter, and an occasional offensive threat. In other words, a third-liner.

    But for a while, the Senators were such complete pansies that Fisher stood out as the only guy who was even marginally tough on the team, so the fans decided to love him. Somewhere along the way everyone decided he was a great two-way threat who could score 25-30 goals a year, so they paid him that way. Oops.

    How are people taking this in Ottawa?

    The usual way Sens fans deal with failure: demanding an overhaul of the team, on the condition that nobody important be traded. Sens fans like to say things like "You have to keep Alfie, Heatley, Spezza, Phillips, Volchenkov, and every player under 28, but other than that they should blow this shit up real good!"

    Also, they're starting to turn on Spezza. It's tough times for him, it's gotten so bad he can barely giggle his way through an interview.

  6. The Sens are a fierce kind of bad. Of course, having gone through the Craig Hartsburg Experience here in Chicago, we could have told you this would happen, and that Spezza would wind up in his doghouse.

  7. DGB - Nail on the head. I think he's a decent third line defensive forward. not selke good, but decent.

    i don't fault the guy for getting paid what he is, anymore than i fault blake for making what he makes. If my boss came in tomorrow and offered me a 200% raise, i'd take it no questions asked. Guarantee that money for 5 years, and i'd have already said yes before the sentence was finished.

    that said. he would be a sign of "everything that's wrong with hockey" were he playing in a big market (yes Ottawa, you're a small market team, sorry.) Like eyebleaf said, stick him in blue and white and we'd never hear the end of it.

    great post though. crosby comment - gold!

  8. Word is Sidney Crosby wanted to play in last night's game but couldn't find anyone with two balls to punch.