Heard on Episode 3.32 of AFITC
Even when the Senators beat the Maple Leafs, the Maple Leafs really still beat the Senators. With a playoff spot still very much in jeopardy when they came into Toronto to play their penultimate game of the regular season, the Senators responded with a convincing 8-2 trouncing of the Leafs, locking themselves into a playoff spot. In the playoffs, yes but after what they lost along the way, really not a hope of competing. Already reeling down the stretch, Mark Bell tagged both Mike Fisher and Daniel Alfredsson with clean hits that carried long term consequences. Clean hits, I should say, in the opinion of most people. Fans in Ottawa seem to prefer the hits of the dirty variety using elbows and high sticks care of Chris Neil.
With Alfredsson and Fisher in suits instead of hockey sweaters to start the playoffs, Spezza and Heatley have been asked to carry the load and so far they’ve been anything but impressive. Not to worry though, just look to the secondary scoring options. Oh that’s right, Bryan Murray never addressed that issue which became ever so apparent in last year’s Stanley Cup Final.
Against the Penguins, the Senators look simply over matched in all areas of the game. The 42 year old Gary Roberts is bringing back memories of better days in Leaf land when he would run rampant over the Senators in the playoffs. Wade Redden, don’t be afraid to battle for the puck behind your net. Where’s that toughness it was clear the Senators needed after last year? Yeah, didn’t get that addressed either. Chris Neil, yeah clearly not the answer…he doesn’t scare anybody who is actually tough.
So not to say that the Senators would beat the Penguins if Fisher and Alfredsson in the lineup, there are still clearly serious issues on this team that go far beyond the absence of Fisher and Alfredsson. Safe to say though, they’d be a bit more competitive with them. But hey, all that was just rigamarole.