I meant to write this earlier, but my new job has kept incredibly busy. Now that I'm comfortably home and listening to The Get Fresh Crew enjoying some down time, I can share some thoughts from my experience watching front row as the Senators visited Vancouver. My brother and I had seats right behind the red line in the corner to Auld's right for two periods + Overtime.
Things I noticed:
-Auld looked great, old news, I know, but it's worth repeating.
-Daugavins is awesome. Hard working, smart player. He's really good at subtle stickwork that's enough to hurt and piss off players, but undetected by the refs. He drew the Alberts boarding penalty by getting tangled up with him off the face-off ending with him lying on top of Alberts, arm and armpit pinning Alberts' head to the ice. Shortly afterwards Alberts ran him.
-Karlsson vs Kesler. From where I was sitting, Karlsson and Kesler had a real battle going on in Ottawa's defensive end. Karlsson really did a great job covering Kesler when they were both on the ice. Several times I saw Karlsson lift Kesler's stick to prevent a scoring chance or just plain pick his pocket. I saw Kesler put a little extra hate in a shove he to keep Karlsson down after he had fallen while battling with Kesler.
-Karlsson is awesome. He is just amazing out there, it seemed like he was everywhere. Such a skater, magician with the puck, and really smart positionally. I think he's really underrated defensively. I know I know, but I think he's more of a defensive liability in the offense than he is in his D. By that I mean, his style of play offensively, like Spezza, is high risk/high reward, but when he's defending he can be outstanding. I'm also really impressed with the way he avoids injury by riding out the checks. Just getting a little ahead of the hit and absorbing the impact.
-Butler had some slick flashes, he seems to be getting his confidence back, and has been quite productive in his limited ice time since the game in Calgary.
-I'm sure everyone at home saw it plain and clear, but Schneider was crazy good.
-Finally, and most definitely not least, Spezza. I was impressed with some of his footwork with the puck. Just controlling it with his skates, he certainly seemed comfortable with it in his skates. But one stand out moment from the evening was around the 12 minute mark of the second period. With the face off to the right of Schneider (and right in front of me!) Spezza paused before lining up for the face off and said something to Karlsson. Karlsson, who was in position about half-way between the circles, moved to be more behind Spezza. Puck drops, Spezza wins it clean, putting it right on Karlsson's stick, kid didn't even have to move. This lead to a little over 2 minutes of sustained, powerplay-like domination of the Canucks.
So there are some of my thoughts from a game that happened over a week ago. Overall it was a great time, it would have been great to see the boys win in Vancouver, but this was the next best thing. Two pucks landed right at our feet after coming out of the meshing, we gave one to a little girl behind us, and promised a young boy the next one was his, sadly, no more came our way. It was a good crowd, there's no rivalry and there was a surprisingly large Sens fans contingent.
Also, I have Higgins in my pool. So that eased the sting of witnessing him score the OT winner.