It's funny. I have a hard time watching hockey games when I already know the outcome. I enjoy watching hockey, but for some reason it just isn't the same when the outcome has already been decided. It's one thing to go back and re-watch a game I watched live. A certain Game 3 against a certain Canadiens squad is a favourite of mine to revisit, but the reason really is that I remember how fun it was to watch at the time. It's hard to connect emotionally with a game when it's already been decided. Why open the box when you know Schrödinger's cat is decidedly deadÉ
Ahem. Sorry for that bout of nerdiness. So it was that after a packed weekend (sorry also for the lack of Rank the Performances), I sat down to watch the Senators take on the Dallas Stars. It was hard to get involved when I already knew the outcome from the start. It was hard to get too excited about a first period in which the Sens were the better team but nobody scored. It was hard to get too excited when Zack Smith scored yet again off yet another beautiful Mark Stone feed in the second, because I knew the Stars were coming back. I did get a little excited to see Jason Spezza snipe one on the powerplay, because I hold nothing against the guy. Did you know that finally gave him at least one goal against each NHL team?
It also meant that in the third, I didn't get too excited when a Mike Hoffman-Chris Neil (say what?) two-on-one led to Curtis Lazar scoring, because my phone updates had let me know that the goal would be disallowed for offside. It was too bad because it was actually a pretty nice play, and a great deke by Lazar. And when Antoine Roussel buried the winner over a sprawling Andrew Hammond late in regulation, I didn't feel anything. Like I said, I already knew the outcome, so it just kind of happened. Yet another win after a loss, ensuring that the Sens will finish the season just barely out of the playoffs. The Brian Burke-era Maple Leafs zone, if you will.
Sens Hero: Zack Smith
Yet another goal for the unlikeliest of heroes. His line just seems to keep dominating possession, and I don't get it. Can't take anything away from the guy though.
Honourable Mention: Erik Karlsson
Played another half-hour game, was the best possession player yet again, had three shots on goal, but nothing to show for it. Hurts to see Jamie Benn pick up a point with Karlsson held scoreless.
I Don't Get It: Mike Kostka and Scott Gomez
I hope these guys are good in the room, because neither one looks good on the ice. There's a reason no one else was willing to play them in the NHL, and the reason is that their best days are behind them. When there are guys like Matt Puempel and Fredrik Claesson who could be part of the future sitting for these guys, I'm confused. Maybe the team needed veteran leadership. I think first they could use a good dose of critical player evaluation and competent coaching first though.
Sens Killer: Former Senators
Seriously, Spezza and Ales Hemsky get points? We're lucky Patrick Eaves was hurt.
(I guess the bright side about watching the game so late is that the highlights are actually up on NHL.com)