For a collective group of players who have flourished in lieu of expectations, now that their precarious grip on an Eastern Conference playoff spot is slipping away, the erosion of their once comfortable cushion has helped foster a climate of uncertainty and second guessing amongst the fans.
Are last year’s Binghamton graduates out of gas? Why are the veterans so snake bitten? Why would Paul MacLean opt to start a rusty Craig Anderson last night in the more winnable of this weekend’s games? Does the media put too much pressure on this team to win? What was it that made impending UFA Matt Gilroy such a sought commodity for management? (Surely it can’t be his penchant for being one of the first out of the defensive whenever there is a turnover.) Considering the implications of last night’s games, why are the league employees, who are charged with running the NHL’s war room, incompetent dicks? What the hell was the pestilent Pascal Leclaire doing at the Bell Centre last night and chatting up Craig Anderson no less? Seeing him on television last night was like seeing a sign of the apocalypse.
These are just a few of the glaring questions that fans have; frustrations mirroring the mounting pressures that their favorite hockey team is now faced with. Now tasked with winning an important game against a rested and dangerous Penguins team that is 9-0-1 in their last ten games played, the Senators could find themselves tied with their division rival Sabres by the end of the night. It’s the kind of result that could have fans looking back at that non-call on Marcus Foligno that led to Buffalo’s game-tying goal during their March 10th shootout victory and leave fans shaking their heads.
Fortunately, under such temultuous circumstances, the voice of reason during these times is… Eugene Melnyk?
Yes, the same owner who once told us to “Buckle up, we’re going all the way…” is trying to quell the panic in the nation’s capital.
Phew… I feel better already.
Other News of Pithy Importance
– Matt Gilroy is a healthy scratch tonight and Matt Carkner will draw into the lineup for the first time since the February 25th game against Boston. Carks only played 11 minutes and 12 seconds in that game and was a minus one.
– As alluded to in one of the first few paragraphs, Craig Anderson will not be getting the start tonight; instead, Ben Bishop gets the nod. Cue the goaltending controversy if Bishop gets the win.
– The last lineup note for tonight’s game, Kaspars Daugavins will replace Zenon Konopka.
– 2011 first round pick Matt Puempel will make his professional hockey debut this afternoon for the Binghamton Senators.
– The eight place Washington Capitals do not play tonight and will have a game in hand on Ottawa following tonight’s tilt with Pittsburgh. The ninth place Sabres will square off with Minnesota.
– Finally, here’s an updated look at Ottawa’s key forward production in their last 10 games played: