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Silver Nuggets: Black aces called up; Senators ready to go

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Can you believe the playoffs start tomorrow? I hardly can. Here are your Ottawa Senators headlines leading up to game one in Pittsburgh:

  • Ottawa knows Sidney Crosby well, and they have shut him down before; the challenging part will be doing it again. Chris Phillips has it down to a science. (TSN)
  • Anton Volchenkov is ready for the big challenge, too. (Sun)
  • The Sens have the black aces in tow for the places: Brian Lee and Zack Smith are already up, and Jonathan Cheechoo, Josh Hennessy, Ryan Keller, Derek Smith, Mike Brodeur, and Robin Lehner will be joining the on them taxi squad. (Sharp)
  • One thing that might give Ottawa an advantage? How stoked the whole team is just to be back in the playoffs, starting with Daniel Alfredsson and going right on down. (Citizen)
  • Of all the Eastern Conference teams, Ottawa had the third-best winning percentage against other playoff teams, at 54.7%. Pittsburgh ranks sixth, at 44%. (Bird Watchers Anonymous)
  • Neat translated blog post by Marc-Andre Fleury, in which he calls Alfredsson "one of the best players in the NHL." (Pensburgh)

(Read more... )

  • The Senators' X-Factor: Matt Cullen. He was brought in as a playoff warrior, and hopefully he's saved up all the scoring we were looking for for the playoffs. (Yahoo!)
  • For the regular season Ottawa Citizen prediction panel, I am proud to accept the bronze medal with the third-best prediction record, with 39 right compared to 32 wrong. I would also like to state that my percentage of correct predictions is better than second-place James Gordon (55%, compared to 54%). Stay tuned tomorrow for a compilation of series predictions. (Citizen)
  • Solid breakdown of the upcoming series; the meat: "Senators will win if... they continue playing the team game that enabled them to fashion a franchise-record 11-game winning streak at the end of the season." (NHL.com)
  • Duff looks back at the reasons he outlined to explain why the Senators wouldn't make the playoffs, and swallows his pride to explain how wrong he was. How joyously wrong. (AOSB)
  • Hockey's Future has a nice feature up on late-blooming Ottawa Senators prospect Mike Hoffman, who recently snagged the QMJHL's MVP and Most Sportsmanlike trophies, and is currently battling in the playoffs with his Saint John Sea Dogs (Hockey's Future)
  • Nazem Kadri = a class-B Jason Spezza. Enjoy, Leafs fans. (Battle of Ontario)
  • Tin-hattiness has been as ignored in Ottawa as it has been embraced (some) by Washington, Pittsburgh, and Philadelphia fans, but not anymore: The Mayor explains his conspiracy theory about the NHL's plans to keep the Sens down. (SENS Town)
  • The B-Sens series is over; Keller and Hennessy were the co-MVPs. And a bunch of other award winners... (Sharp)
  • The Ottawa 67's lost game seven of the OHL Eastern semi-final to Mississauga Monday night, so Sens prospect Corey Cowick and his teammates are done for the season.
  • Hoffman and the Saint John Sea Dogs begin their QMJHL semi-final against Victoriaville tonight.