Thursday, April 3, 2008

2007-08 Regular Season, Game 81

Senators 8, Leafs 2

SENATORS GAME RESULT: Ottawa 8, Toronto 2.
Game recap:

Ottawa scorers: Heatley (2), Spezza, Bass, Vermette (3), McAmmond.
Toronto scorers: Bell, Moore.

3 Stars: Vermette (Ott), Heatley (Ott), Spezza (Ott).
Honourable mention: Donovan (Ott).
Power play:
Ottawa 2-6, Toronto 1-6.
Shots on goal:
Ottawa 37, Toronto 28.
Attendance: 19,466 (18,819 cap.)

PRESIDENT’S 2 CENTS: They say revenge is a dish best served cold. And it was an ice-cold entrĂ©e of eight pucks that found their way behind an abandoned Vesa Toskala, in a game that saw Mark Bell deliver an elbow to Daniel Alfredsson that ever-so-slightly crossed the line. Bell, who’s already served a 25-game suspension for DUI and hit-and-run convictions (from his San Jose days) to start the year in Hogtown, seems to not know how to control himself on the ice. He’ll be serving four months in the crowbar motel for it this summer under a plea deal, and will have plenty of time there to think about the hit … Speaking of which, the revenge factor was somewhat of a disappointment, as Bell also took Wade Redden’s legs out from under him on an icing chase in the second period and escaped having to atone for both offences. There were two opportunities in the last part of the third period for the Sens to ring on the Bell, but they didn’t do it. When the captain goes down like that, Bell should be punished physically. Granted, Cody Bass, Marty Lapointe, and Shean Donovan answered the call toward the end of the first with pest Darcy Tucker (thrown out against the Heatley line) and the rest of the Leafs …

… The game itself was one the free-falling Sens obviously needed, one that was the first real 60-minute effort in a long time despite a season that has come to hang in the balance and behove desperation. And sportsmanship be damned after the Bell incidents, Bryan Murray stuck Dany Heatley and Jason Spezza on the ice with 8-2 on the scoreboard and the team up one man. Broken down into individual plays, it was a game where every man fought for one another, kept it simple, and kept it honest. A good example was the Sens’ fourth goal, where Wade Redden calmly broke up a 2-on-1, helped things get set up on the PP, but most importantly, passed up an open shot in favour of Christoph Schubert’s cannon. It, of course, found Antoine Vermette … Speaking of Mr. V, it was the first-ever hat trick for the hard-working two-wayer. His third was the most embarrassing, as the Leaf defenders allowed him to get three chips at the biscuit. Jiri “pixellate me” Tlusty, in particular, seemed to give Antoine a free pass … All in all, an inspired effort from a beleaguered bunch, who also were without Mike Fisher for most of this one …

… A solid effort from the fourth line exemplified the blue-collar effort on the night. Best example? Schubie, after Chris Neil’s initial charge to the net, shook off three defenders as he came to the blue line before dumping the puck back to the corner to Dean McAmmond, who nearly unlocked the side door. No goal on the play, but it was typical of the Sens on the night – trusting in one another and confident … Marty Lapointe was a horse in front of the net on the PP and an important agitator in Neil’s absence due to a 10-minute chirpconduct … And how about more unlikely playmakers? Vermette spins around Bryan McCabe to ignite a 4-on-2 on a penalty kill, setting up Chris Phillips. Big Rig then feathered a saucer (that would make UFOs jealous) pass over to Cody Bass, who popped it in. We’ll say this much – Big Rig’s a well-oiled machine …

FUNNY STUFF: Cody Bass, recently returned from injury, joined some exclusive company on the night, tying Gordie Howe’s career-high with his first Gordie Howe hat trick (goal, assist, fight). Kudos to a sharp Dean Brown for pointing that one out … Though the audio was missing from the Sens TV pay-per-view the entire first period, Dean still made sure to fill the airwaves with some priceless gems. “I wonder if Chris Phillips gets a piece of Dany Heatley’s Easton (stick) deal,” he wondered aloud after the Heater lent Big Rig his lumber for a penalty kill. And after Gord Wilson likened Leafs D Pavel Kubina’s stick-smash in frustration to something a pee-wee player would do, here’s the Line of the Night: “I just got a text message from a pee-wee player, who said they don’t slam their sticks like that, they’re too expensive,” retorted Dean. Good job on the mike, fellas … Two funny lip-reading sequences: firstly, McCabe saying “Oh (bad word)-off,” during a goals/hits montage; secondly, Chris Neil in the second period, spouting “(same bad word)-me,” in response to another penalty on him. Ever notice how these “miked-up” players are never chirpy ones? … Dumbest Song Choice of the Night: “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun,” blaring through the Air Canada Centre’s loudspeakers, smack in the middle of a chippy second period … The rotating advertising sign near the Sens’ bench first displayed ‘Canon,’ then ‘Viagra.’ Logical progression? …

… Interesting Stat Line of the Night: only one recorded giveaway for the Spezz Dispenser, who ended up with one goal, two helpers, three shots, two blocked, plus-2 and two penalty minutes … Congrats to our GO RED Facebook group’s Darth Gerber Fan Club VP, who won the Rivalry Train contest and took a friend of her and the Prez’s down to the ACC to take this one in … Last but not least: don’t forget to sign up at for Sens Army Central. The playoffs are coming (yes, keep the faith), and the Sens’ e-community is ready!

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