A handful of thoughts about solid veterans and sorry scapegoats
1. So it turns out Jared Cowen was not the only thing standing between the Ottawa Senators and a Stanley Cup. To be fair, I think most fans have have been clear that they consider Cowen to be one of the bigger problems with the Ottawa Senators this year, but rather clearly not the only problem. Still, Cowen has been scapegoated quite a bit over the course of the season, and last night we finally got to see what the team looked like without him. Unsurprisingly, the result was ... substantially similar.
Personally, I hope that Cowen gets a few more games in the press box, or even better, a stint in the AHL to go play thirty minutes a night and get his confidence back. That kid could play hockey once, and he is struggling to do so now. He needs a change of some sort, and he needs it now.
2. In the meantime, is anyone else wondering how it took so long to give Joe Corvo another shot? I mean, I get that the team is looking to develop its young defensive core, but that project has not exactly been going according to plan. Corvo brings a lot of the things that the team needs, including veteran calm and the ability to move the puck. He has his limitations, but that hardly makes him unique on the Senators' blueline. I think the team needs Corvo brings right now more than it can be hurt by his "Uh Oh Joe" moments.
Does anyone know where I can get a "I'm on Team Corvo" button? Does anyone still make buttons?
3. Speaking of veteran presence, Chris Phillips has quietly been having a very good season. The guy is doing yeoman's service on the busiest penalty kill in the league, and correct me if wrong here, Fancy Stats Brigade, but by the eye test he has been pretty solid and dependable all season. Given that our defence has not been especially solid or dependable in general, maybe we should all take a moment to appreciate the good work of a guy who has been somewhat inexplicably maligned by Ottawa fans at many points in his career (and particularly over the last couple years). Here's to you, Big Rig.
4. Craig Anderson is going to wish Jared Cowen had played last night. Without Cowen to play the role of the whipping boy, Anderson is unquestionably going to take the brunt of this one. Worse (and I really hate saying this), he almost certainly deserves it. The Senators' poor defence has not helped the goalies out too much this season, but Anderson has not done a lot to help out his defence either.
I think it is about time that MacLean has that difficult talk with Anderson about giving the Lehner a shot for a bit. It will be hard to do, no doubt, but giving Andy some time to get focussed is probably the best thing for both him and the team right now. Quick tangent: has anyone noticed that our goaltending situation exactly parallels the Cap Rooney/Steamin Willie Beaman situation in the movie Any Given Sunday? Just saying. 5. Amidst all of the negativity, I think it is worth pointing out that this has actually been a decent week for the Senators. The comeback against Washington was a big one, and the Senators actually played quite well against Vancouver, with goaltending being the real difference maker between the two teams. Assuming that the team can get a better than 82% save percentage from their netminder in most games, the Senators can probably expect more success if they continue playing like they have over the past week. It will be very interesting to see if this level of play can be maintained in what is sure to be a very emotional game against Detroit.
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