Look, it happens.
Preseason is messy. Nobody’s playing their best lineup. In some cases, teams have even split their lineup into two groups, playing two games at the same time.
And sometimes the team playing a split squad game completely destroys the team playing a mostly NHL lineup.
Tonight was a very special night, as the residents of O’Leary PEI, aka Hockeyville, won the incredible privilege of hosting and attending a meaningless 8-1 blowout between the Boring Ottawa Senators and the Boring New Jersey Devils. I’m sure this was entirely worth it and that nobody regrets buying a ticket at all. I definitely don’t regret sitting through the entire game when I had much more important things to do.
(I should, however, point out that the fans in O’Leary failed to boo Gary Bettman when he walked onto the ice, which officially makes them a Fake Hockey Town. Look, if not knowing every bit of irrelevant hockey trivia a guy throws at me makes me a Fake Fan, this disqualifies them from being Hockeyville. I didn’t make up the rules.)
But because I love Prince Edward Island, I will give them a pass, and celebrate their wonderful culture by beginning each section of this recap with an Anne of Green Gables Quote.
The First Period: “My life is a perfect graveyard of buried hopes.”
Because, you see, I had hoped that the Sens would manage not to embarrass themselves, and possibly show some potential in the preseason. And yet, as always, they disappointed me.
Right from the start, is was all New Jersey. The Devils scored an early goal when a pass from Fredrik Claesson to Mark Borowiecki failed to connect, and very nearly capitalized on another turnover only a few minutes later. Good scoring chances for the Senators squad were few and far between, as the Devils peppered them with shots and took advantage of every mistake they made.
Through a combination of powerplays, lucky bounces and just being a whole lot better than their opposition, the Devils found themselves ahead by an incredible five goals by the end of the first frame. I would describe every goal, but 1) it’s preseason, and 2) do you really want me to put you through that?
The Second Period: “I can't cheer up — I don't want to cheer up. It's nicer to be miserable!”
Ottawa appeared to have a little bit more energy going into the second period, as they actually managed to keep up with the Devils’ skating, even though their structure was still off. Unfortunately, it was too little, too late, and New Jersey went ahead 6-0 with their third powerplay goal of the night. The score was 7-0 before the halfway point, and Mike Condon was pulled early, more out of pity than because of his performance (not that he was stellar, it’s just hard to blame the goalie when the team in front of him was playing so poorly).
Thus, Andrew Hammond got his first taste of NHL action since a 6-0 blowout at the hands of the St. Louis Blues in February. He didn’t look bad, and actually made a few good saves, but it’s safe to say this game didn’t go any better than the last one he played.
The only real Sens highlight of the game occurred toward the end of the second frame, when Thomas Chabot scored off a great feed from Logan Brown, giving us a glimpse at the wonderful future that awaits us once these two secure a regular spot in the lineup. Is it too early to declare Chabot one of my favourite Senators?
Third period: “Don't be very frightened, Marilla. I was walking the ridge-pole and I fell off. I suspect I have sprained my ankle. But, Marilla, I might have broken my neck. Let us look on the bright side of things.”
Shockingly, Chabot’s goal did not actually spark an Ottawa comeback.
New Jersey went ahead 8-1 almost immediately after the start of the frame, and while both teams got a number of chances, neither one managed to get the puck in the net. Chabot looked particularly good, but the young defenseman would finish the game with only one goal.
Mercifully, the clock ran out and the Sens went home without any injuries, aside from their collective pride.
Thomas Chabot was one of the few bright spots in an otherwise disappointing game.
Mark Borowiecki really should not be ahead of Thomas Chabot on the depth chart, and neither should Ben Harpur.
Kyle Turris looked good in his first game of the season.
Logan Brown definitely looks worthy of at least a few games in the NHL this season.
And finally, some closing thoughts, featuring more Anne of Green Gables quotes:
“It is ever so much easier to be good if your clothes are fashionable.”
You hear that, Tom Anselmi? Fashionable clothes = good hockey team. Rebrand = Stanley Cup. Maybe it was the jerseys that made the team play badly. You can’t argue with Anne Shirley’s logic.
“I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”
I am ready for preseason to end. Bring on the regular season. #IsItOctoberYet?
“Tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it... Yet.”
Up next: The Sens will attempt to redeem themselves on Wednesday when they play the Winnipeg Jets.