Welcome to the very irregular GrybaCap! As I said in the GDT this article will recap the game entirely (well, mostly) within the context of Gryba. I hope you enjoy it!
The camera follows several Senators as they skate around the ice. It focuses in on Marc Methot who looks sharply groomed for this evenings tussle. Gryba and his moustache are confident that he will best this pretty boy in this month's Movember contest.
The announcers discuss previous Senator's outings over clips of same. Gryba wonders why they bother to show highlights of the games he didn't play in as the Senators have not won this year without him in the line-up.
And the game begins! Methot & Borowiecki are paired together, which makes perfect sense because it allows Methot to play his wrong side. Despite this imbalance the two play pretty well together. Boro makes a very nice pass, exiting the defensive zone. Gryba simmers on the bench.
Several minutes into the game Gryba gets his second shift. On his first one he and his mates spent most of their time in their own zone but mostly limited the Blue Jackets to attempts from the outside. Not complacent with this and having seen Boro acquitting himself with aplomb, Gryba has something to prove. While shouting I'LL SHOW YOU BORO! he fires a bullet from the point (in the offensive zone) that rebounds far off the goalie's pads. This causes reverberations through the whole of the defensive corps as they all see that Gryba can hit the net from the point. Shortly thereafter, presumably in an attempt to make Gryba look good, Karlsson flips a weak wrister from the point that goes straight into McElhinney's glove. Curtis asks the referee if he can have the puck as a souvenir.
Not wanting to be left out of this whole defensemen shooting pucks at the net thingy Cowen makes an attempt during a Senator flurry. His shot misses and careens down to the Senators' end; he spends the remainder of the shift chasing the puck and Lehner has to be sharp. Gryba basks in Cowen's performance before remembering that it doesn't really matter how badly Cowbell plays,he was just signed to a 12 million dollar deal.
Again Borocop takes the ice with Methot and continues to look awesome. He seems to have a cool head compared to most all the other defenders. Gryba watches and mumbles to himself, C'mon Boro, you can score again.
The next time Gryba takes the ice he's with Phillips again. Gryba's partner gets possession behind the net and tries to make everyone forget about Boro's own goal by doing one of those one of those wrap-arounds that are so easy now with these shallower nets. After a solid save Lehner reminds Phillips that he is only to do that on the other teams goal.
Shortly thereafter player #17 on the Blue Jackets seems to take issue with Senator's players playing on his home ice. He screams THIS IS MY HOUSE while vehemently cross-checking Turris. Several players on the Senator bench take note of his number but the refs call no penalty on the play. Gryba considers jumping the boards for a moment but he is so used to sitting on the bench that staying put has become instinctive.
Gryba manages to get another shift and spends the time in his own zone taking several hacks at the puck and missing every one. Senators' fans all over the province wish that Gryba had followed his obvious second love: lumberjacking.
12 minutes into the game and Zack Smith takes a penalty for tripping. In what will be a recurring sight throughout the game Phillips and Cowen are the first pairing on the PK. Gryba, watching form the bench, shoulders his stick like a rifle and tries "shooting" the Columbus players. This has about as much effect as does the defensive tandem on the ice but somehow Lehner manages to preserve the zero-zero score.
Speaking of Zack Smith, despite his penalty taking, he is playing very well. He really attacks the opposition and, most importantly, doesn't seem to care about who he passes the puck to. On more than one occasion Zack exchanges passes with Gryba, thus refuting the idea that you should never pass the puck to Gryba. MacLean responds to this success by making sure that Smith shares the ice with anyone but Gryba.
In the last five minutes of the period Karlsson steals the puck from Columbus at their blue line and dashes into their zone and wrists the puck neatly into the corner of the net. 1-0 Senators despite the Blue Jackets having much of the play.
The game has already seen some chippy play and shortly after the goal Turris is crosschecked again, this time heavily into the boards from behind. No call is made but the zebras, in an attempt to make up for the missed call, quickly cite Kassian for a trip in the neutral zone. Maclean continues to run with Cowen & Phillips and it continues to be a bad decision as the Blue Jackets get plenty of opportunities to score. When Gryba finally does get a shift killing the penalty he gets the puck and rifles it around the boards and out of the zone. "Was that so hard?", he thinks; "No" says MacLean and Gryba is off the ice.
Nearing the end of the period Turris, MacArthur and Ryan get great pressure in the o-zone. Turris gets heavily manhandled but the line retains the puck and Ryan makes a nifty feed out to MacArthur in the slot with 4 seconds left in the period.
Score after one period 2-0 Sens.
SECOND & THIRD PERIODS
Methot & Borocop are the first pairing on the ice to start the second. Number 74 quickly plants a Columbus player on his back behind the Sen's net. Some other guy (honestly, I have no idea who anyone is on this team other than maybe the Vezina winner, who isn't playing, and Foligno) takes issue with this behaviour before finding out that Borocop likes punching things -- a lot. Sens fans who hated on Boro for his own goal start the healing process.
Karlsson & Cowen spend much time in their end and the Blue Jackets get plenty of chances. Lehner refutes their attempts as if it were easy. Cowen wonders how much of his new salary should be allocated for presents to his goalies.
Gryba sightings continue to be seldom but he is back playing behind the Zack Smith line and that line continues to play well so Gryba reaps the benefit of not having to spend all his ice-time in his own zone. Not only are they in the offensive zone they get some decent scoring chances; nothing too dramatic however.
Robin Lehner is also obviously on the Gryba bandwagon because he tries to handle the puck several times this period, showing that Gryba's own puck handling skills could be way, way worse. Gryba gets on the ice again and his line keeps the Jackets on the perimeter only able to take a long shot from the outside that is easily corralled by Lehner. Gryba wonders how this particularly effective shift will be rendered on the fancy stats sheet.
(As a bit of an aside this writer himself wonders how many times per game Conacher is given a face wash or a head shot. It seems as if every shift he is abused and he doesn't draw nearly as many calls as he should. By which I mean he draws the penalties but they don't get called. I continue to root for this small man.)
Over the final two periods the Senators get several power play opportunities. With this lethal new combo of Turris, MacArthur, Ryan, Spezza, and Karlsson you would expect fireworks but during one power pay they can't gain the o-zone with the puck. During another they are able to set up but can only get one shot off. Over three power plays the Sens manage three shots. Gryba has no idea if this is a good stat or not because he never gets any power play time.
Cowen must have noticed Gryba doing his Lumberjack impersonation earlier and figured that it was time to adopt roles because on one shift he goes full swashbuckler. Using his stick as a sword his carves "Cowen Wuz Here" into the ice but unfortunately he misses the puck with every stroke. Luckily no goals are scored against.
Shortly after Cowen goes full "Matey", Karlsson makes an offensive foray that dies on the vine. While backing checking the resulting scoring chance Karlsson is penalized. It is only 3 minutes into the 3rd when Columbus makes the score 2-1. Although Phillips is on the ice for this goal he could hardly be faulted because he was the only one playing hockey during the penalty kill. Perhaps Paulrus might've played Gryba, whose specialty is the PK, but, well, I guess that's one of those decisions that we all have to accept for some reason that is not apparent.
HOLEY MACKEREL! THERE GOES ZACK SMITH! He's up to full speed and charging the Columbus blue line -- the defence is back on its heels, this is going to be AWE-, oh wait -- never mind -- Chris Neil has decided this is the perfect time to have an irrelevant fight in the neutral zone. Way to make Gryba look like assistant captain material Chris!
And then something magical happens. Columbus sends the puck up to the Senator's blueline. Gryba gets there first. He banks the puck off the boards up to Spezza who calmly dishes it off to Neil who scores the goal that solidifies the win. Gryba gets the second assist but, strangely enough, is not on the ice when the goal is scored so his efforts are not positively reflected in his plus/minus. Thus, for ever and for always, plus/minus is proven an irrelevant stat.
In the last minutes of the game Karlsson scores an empty netter and the Sens win. Once again the Senators are the winning team when Gryba suits up. LONG PLAY GRYBA!