Sunday, April 25, 2010

Sens go golfing

I'm no big hockey fan but I've watched some of the playoffs with my dad and my uncle over the last little while. They're from northern Ontario so their team is the Ottawa Senators. I kind of adopted the team for the playoffs for that reason (hey, it's not like the Leafs are ever gonna make the playoffs)... as well as the idea that it might be nice to see a Canadian team win the Stanley Cup once every million years or so.

Last night my folks called me and my dad reminded me the game was already on. The Sens were already winning 3-0. I would have tuned in even if it weren't so great, but to be honest, the idea of watching them coast to game 7 after being down 3-1 in the series had its appeal. Anyway, I tuned in.

Now, I don't know how the Ottawa Senators got three unanswered goals up on the Pittsburgh Penguins, because the team I saw from the middle of the second period on in couldn't have organized a peanut butter sandwich. One of them would have just hurt himself on the butter knife. There was no guts at all left in their play... whether that was due to complacency or simple weariness, I don't know; but their offence was lackluster and their stickhandling and passing were sloppy. They looked like a team that had given up. Even the one "goal" I did see them score, which ended up with more people than pucks in the net, was such a Keystone Kops blunderfest that the officials took ten minutes just deciding whether it was actually a goal or not (it wasn't.... and in my experience, The Disallowed Goal is usually the kiss of death for a team. It sure turned out to be this time.). None of them seemed to have any idea what to do in the rare occasion that they found themselves in control (and I use the term loosely) of the puck in Pittsburgh's end. I think everyone who's ever watched hockey knows that when you make it to the other end, you put a couple of guys in front of the opposition net; one right in front, and one deep on the other side in the hopes of catching a free puck and dumping it behind the goalie. I saw two or three chances for Ottawa to advance doing that, but every time, the puck just drifted by to the boards with no one there to stop it. It's like the Sens all decided it was someone else's responsibility or something.

On the other hand, the Penguins were all over these guys. Most of the remainder of the game was spent down in Ottawa's end with the Penguins pounding away at the Sens' goalie and the Sens getting more than a few defensive breaks. But, as it turned out, not nearly enough. The Penguins played circles around them, ate up the 'field goal' deficit, and forced the game into overtime, where they won it, 4-3. What can I say? I don't know what happened to the Senators; maybe some Penguins fan used a time machine to transport their hockey skills back to junior high school or something. Whatever it was, I just can't begrudge Pittsburgh advancing, much as I'd like to be petty. They fought bloody hard and they earned it. They deserved to win. And ultimately, geography and patriotism notwithstanding, even a fair-weather fan like me knows that's what the game is all about. Kudos to the Penguins. Sens: tee-off time's at 9; we wuz robbed, just wait'll next year, etc., etc.

P.S. I'm sure glad I wasn't in the same room with my dad last night. :)

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