You know what doesn't help out a guy who's doped up on tryptophan after eating a huge Easter dinner? A boring-as-hell hockey game. And that's what we saw Saturday night, despite the fact that it was supposed to be a Battle of Ontario matchup. I guess we can't expect much from two teams with pretty much nothing to play for. I forgot to post an open game-thread (sorry about that), but you didn't miss much. Or anything.
Ottawa was never winning, but they did come back and tie the game 2-2 in the second. Jason Spezza and Chris Kelly scored for the Senators. But when you lose to a team with Martin Gerber in nets and lose 5-2 with Boyd Deveraux scoring a hat trick and Niklas Hagman adding the other two goals, it's been a pretty bad day. It was an unimpressive season finale for the Senators, and their only two goals were thanks to terrible Gerber puck-handling mis-cues. Surprisingly (or perhaps not), Gerber played alright against the Senators, who outshot the Leafs 39-30. No big highlight-reel saves, but he didn't really have to make any, either.
Ottawa's fourth line was re-jigged to start the game. With Daniel Alfredsson out for undisclosed reasons (either to watch the game with prospect Erik Karlsson or just because of accumulated minor injuries), Shean Donovan drew back into the lineup, and he played with Christoph Schubert and a far demoted Mike Comrie on that bottom line. It was ugly, and they were on for the Leafs' first goal and mid-line-change for their second one. Comrie doesn't look like he's a Cory Clouston-type player, and that doesn't play into his favour looking for a contract in the off-season. I'm also not sure what role Clouston sees for Donovan for next season, if he sees him in any role at all, but he is under contract for a cheap $600k deal.
Speaking of players looking for a contract for next season, CBC reported that Chris Neil was pretty much definitely poised to dip into free agency when July 1 rolls around. Sad, in a way, to see the end of an era as a career Senator goes out on pretty weak terms, but I haven't really seen much from Neil over the past two seasons. He does typically lead the team in hits, and did again Saturday with four, but his lack of speed is a liability when he commits to hits and it certainly doesn't help when he's on the offence. I'm looking forward to that open roster spot for next season.
And who needs an enforcer like Neil when you've got Brian Lee on the ice. At least over-the-hill NHL enforcer Brad May seems to think Lee is a fighter, because he went after the babyface forward twice for a clean (and pretty light) hit in the second period. For his trouble, May was assessed 18 minutes in penalties. Hell of a way to go out on your career; trying to fight someone who's 20 years younger than you and has one NHL fight to his credit. Terrific stuff, May. Terrific. Don Cherry felt it necessary to stand up for his boy May, too (here on YouTube, about 1:00 in), but he was as incomprehensible as ever.
Well, that does it for what was a regrettable season. I think we should strike it from the record books. On the plus side, there are reasons to be optimistic for next season, and we can look forward to those, at least. Next big event for the Senators will be the NHL entry draft lottery, where they will determine the ranking of the first 14 picks for the 2009 NHL Entry Draft--one of which will be Ottawa's. I'll post a live event-thread and (try to) live-blog the lottery, because it's just that ridiculous. I think if it's going to be televised, it can certainly be live-blogged.