First of all, I'd like to state that, contrary to another blogger's statement, Jason Spezza is NOT going anywhere. He is among the top 5 centermen in the league and unless there's a bigger deal in the works wherein someone like Crosby and Luongo comes back, it isn't happening.
OK, enough with that nonsense.
To me, this years' Sens have looked like a team with no direction and no identity. The team was assembled to be one thing yet played like another. New defense partnerships, new forward line combinations, new coaching strategy and so on. With their last game against the Sabres, the team played the way they were designed and built to play. They got solid if unspectacular goaltending from Alex Auld, they got points from their defense, they got secondary scoring from the fourth line and the big line dominated, especially Spezza. The team played an in your face, simple game that worked hard and took advantage of their opponents' errors.
What is up with Mike Fisher? OK, he stuck up for Alfie by jumping Weber, but how about, Mikey? $4.2million/season should be good for a decent 2nd line center. Mike is playing like a fourth line grunt who could be replaced for $3.5 million less by Cody Bass.
Speaking of guys with recent big contracts..... Antoine Vermette and Chris Kelly.....hello...... where are you guys? Although Vermette had a better game last time out, he needs to be used properly by the club and play a little tougher. Nice to see him knock someone off the puck to set up a goal. Keep it up. Don't let us regret taking you over Meszaros like we cried over choosing Redden over Chara.
I liked Schubert on defense. Please keep him there and let him develop. He does have some skills. Please, coach, give him till Christmas.
I also like Alex Picard. I know, I know, he s prone to defensive lapses, but come on, he is very young and adjusting to new teamates. He will be a solid 2 way defenseman in the future. Book it. Picard for Meszaros straight up seems like a decent move, but throw in Kuba and did Bryan Murray ever stick it to Tampa.
Speaking of Kuba, I know he has 8 points to start the season, but it really bugs me that a guy that big can be so soft physically. If he played up to his size, he'd be AWESOME.
Hats off to Chris Neil, taking a puck in the face only to return for his next shift to fight Buffalo heavyweight, Andrew Peters. Good on ya, Chris.
I knew the Sens were going to beat the Sabres as soon as Afinogenov was jumped for a shot at Auld after the whistle. A team that sticks up for each other is destined for great things. It shows a will to win. Same goes for Fisher defending Alfie.
Hopefully this game was a sign of things to come this season and the Sens have finally found their groove after an awkward start to the 2008-2009 season.
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