I'm watching tonight's Ottawa/Toronto game dressed in all black.
No, I'm not wearing a new Senators third jersey -- I'll just wait until they choose a new one next month. I'm in mourning for a former rivalry, always over-rated but usually entertaining, that's now all-but-dead. It's shuffling down the hallway like zombie, occasionally bumping into Ryan Hollweg's career and Bryan Murray's reputation.
How bad is it? I honestly think you could combine these two teams into a single 20-man roster and still not beat most of the good teams in the NHL today.
Let's try it. What would Team Ontario look like? Here's my best guess:
Line #1: Heatley, Spezza, Blake
Line #2: Antropov, Vermette, Alfredsson
Line #3: Hagman, Stajan, Ponikarovsky
Checking: Moore, Fisher, Neil
Defence #1: Kaberle, Kubina
Defence #2: Phillips, Volchenkov
Defence #3: Schenn, Kuba
Starting goalie: Toskala
Backup goalie: Elliott
Now, could this roster beat a good NHL team in a seven-game series? Let's take an honest look:
- The goaltending is just bad.
- The defense won't score much and has only one puck mover. They'd be decent defensively and could probably do a solid job protecting a lead if they ever had one, which they wouldn't.
- There's no second line center.
- The forwards could score a little, but would also make a ton of lazy turnovers and would be easy to play against physically.
- There's no legitimate enforcer.
- As bad as this roster is, up to a third of it will be gone by the deadline. If I made this post next week, the resulting roster might lose to a good AAA team
A few notes:
- I put Blake on the first line instead of Alfredsson since all eleven coaches the Sens have had in the past few years seem to insist on splitting up the top line. I would of course reunite them immediately, split them up, reunite them again, split them up, and then wonder why my forwards couldn't seem to get in a groove.
- I had to shift Dominic Moore to the wing just to fill out a roster. The wingers on these teams are that bad.
- Brian Burke is GM, Ron Wilson is coach, Cory Clouston is assistant stickboy. Also, I want the Ottawa sports media, because they'd write articles about awesome this team was.
- I'm not sure where the games would be held, but Daniel Alfredsson would still be booed every time he touched the puck.
Other than that, they'd be in great shape.
Anyone want to borrow my black suit?