Hey all, I'm back here to talk the week that was for our Ottawa Senators, possible trade stuff, and World Juniors love. And if you're asking how I know the saying in the title, it's all on late-night poker, half-drunk.
So the Sens have been way up and down this season, and haven't won back-to-back games since that 4-game winning streak in early November. There have been bright spots, such as the play of Erik Karlsson, born and bred in the Land of Swedes. The offense has been top notch lately, but somehow the defense finds a way to mess it up and the less-than-solid play of Brian Elliott has figured into that. This phase into the season past Christmas is the most important part, if the Sens are going to make a run for the playoffs. They need to take the next three games over the Predators, Penguins, and especially the Hurricanes to figure in. They'll also need some lady luck from Western Conference teams, but right now Ottawa can control their own destiny. The last two games were theirs, but we screwed it up. Can't let that happen now.
You know, before the season I had money on the Florida Panthers finishing last in the league this season. They've surprised some with their mediocre play, including myself. But eventually they will collapse in my opinion, and it's something Ottawa can feast on. How about the availability of Stephen Weiss or even (knock on wood) Tomas Vokoun. Vokoun is something the Sens need more than anything else, stability in net. Look, Elliott-Leclaire, Leclaire-Elliott however you see it will never lead us to something important. I'd offer a package of Nick Foligno, a prospect (none of Rundblad/Cowen/Wiercioch/Gryba), Brian Lee, and a 1st or 2nd round pick for Tomas. It's a pirce we would have to pay to get rid of the goaltending graveyard known as Ottawa. The added bonus, he would be signed on for next season as well.
I'm sorry to say this, but the biggest things coming up right now is the World Junior Championship. I watch it every year on my television set, and every year Sweden comes oh so close, but not quite there. Last season was especially heart-breaking, it was a team I thought was gold-medal material. Now that Robin Lehner is the starting goaltender for this version of Team Sweden, I will be watching this with even more anticipation. It might be a coming-out party for Lehner, much like it was for Karlsson two years ago.
Three Senators prospects are in this tournament (to my knowledge). Lehner for Sweden, Jared Cowen for Canada, and Jakub Culek for the Czech Republic. All three are in the group of death B, and for sakes I hope all three advance, meaning those pesky Russians get eliminated. I'm especially interested in Culek, a guy who was the Sens' first pick in last year's draft, albeit in the third round.
As for predictions, this may be a bit-homerish, but Sweden beats Canada on New Year's Eve, and therefore wins Group B. Finland wins Group A, as I've been told they are a real dark-horse in this tournament. You Canadians pull off the victory over Slovakia, and then Finland in the semis. The defending champions Amerks beat the Czechs, and then lose to Sweden (see a pattern?). Canada-Sweden final for the third time in four years, anything can happen. I'll leave it at that, you can go on from there.
To end it off, anyone entertain the possibility of Tanking it for Couturier, or Nugent-Hopkins?