TIM BAINES: We are doing this before the Senators face off against the Atlanta Thrashers, but thereís been a much better effort lately. And, knock, on wood, Brian Elliott has been sharp in goal.
BRUCE GARRIOCH: The effort has been much better lately? Ya think. I guess. A heck of a lot better. Theyíre better at both ends of the ice. Erik Karlsson is playing a lot better. Iím not going to knock on wood for Brian Elliott, though.
DON BRENNAN: Sorry, Iím looking for some wood to knock on for Nick Foligno, a good guy, who needs a little luck. No goals, after 14 games ... nobody would have thunk it. Iím not sure what Nick is ó first-liner, fourth-liner, whatever ... Nobody knows, including him. All Iím sure about is heís a good guy. And good things are supposed to happen to good people.
GARRIOCH: Foligno needs to get back some of that puck luck he had in the pre-season. He was the best player. Heís going to have a tough time producing on the fourth line, but being with Ryan Shannon and Jesse Winchester wonít hurt. They work hard with the icetime they get. Might help Foligno a bit.
BRENNAN: I think before Tim starts getting all goofy about how well the Senators are playing and how good they are (honestly folks, is there a more fickle Maple Leafs fan in the world than my boss?), they show what they can do over the next five games. One at home against the team I pick to win the Cup this season (Canucks, of course) and then four on the road, starting with the team that should represent the Eastern Conference in the final (Boston, of course) and then to Philly, Carolina and St. Louis. If they win three of the five, they should be real happy.
GARRIOCH: Iíd say theyíd like to come out of this stretch with 4-of-6 victories. Puts them in good standing in the East. Theyíve climbed their way back into the playoff race. At some point, Filip Kuba is going to play. I donít expect him to be a saviour, but heíll help.
BRENNAN: Donít count the Thrashers game Bruce. It will already be over before this discussion hits the public. And we know the Senators win it because, well, because I picked them to in Fearless Forecasts on Off The Posts blog. If they win, I mean when they win, my record will be 7-0! That, my friends, is impressive.
BAINES: What about the NHLís decision to say no to a coachís challenge proposal. A good idea, but strict guidelines would have been needed to be put down. The last thing the game needs is a coach calling for a review just so he can rest his top players for a few minutes.
GARRIOCH: I felt bad for Dale Tallon. I mean, how embarrassing? He makes all this ruckus about a Coachís Challenge. Then itís dismissed within 15 minutes. Bryan Murray said they hardly talked about it. Letís face it, this was a dumb idea in the first place.
BAINES: Iím not sure it was a dumb idea. Anything that can reverse a bad decision which affects the result of a hockey game is good. But games donít need to be longer. Only allowing reviews under certain conditions may not have been bad.
BRENNAN: Yeah, best they continue to get things wrong, eh, Tim. It took the NFL to adopt instant replay and challenges for the world to know just how human officials are. Iím all for challenges, in some form. Donít ask me how they do it. Surely to God, there are people out there smarter than me to come up with the solutions.
BAINES: We agree on something, Don ... there are a lot of people smarter than you.
GARRIOCH: This was so much more fun when Don was pining for Cassie Campbell and asking her for advice.
BAINES: I hope (Cassieís husband) Brad Pascall punches Don right in the nose. Don, the charmer, was putting the moves on her over his BlackBerry in last Saturdayís Digital Faceoff.
BRENNAN: I was not putting my ďmovesĒ on Cassie Campbell. If I was, she would have stood no chance. Has Cassie had her baby yet, Bruce? She was awesome on the Digital Faceoff. What a sweetheart. I think we should replace Baines with a hot babe every Friday. Or with a poodle.
GARRIOCH: No baby yet from what I can tell. She is still twittering.
BAINES:: A poodle? A wimpy little yappy dog like that? Geez, at least we need to find a German shepherd or something like that.
GARRIOCH: They are going to have the captains choose the NHL all-star teams. I donít think it will make the game any better, but at least it will be interesting.
BAINES: I liked Ken Hollandís pitch to play eight minutes of overtime ó four minutes of 4-on-4, then four minutes of 3-on-3 to lessen the chances of the post-game skills challenge.
GARRIOCH: Daniel Alfredsson didnít think it would work. Said it would be novelty for the first couple of months and then teams would simply find a way not to give up scoring chances. Alfredsson said itís pretty much that way with OT right now. He suggested itís almost like teams want to get to a shootout because theyíre afraid to give up scoring chances.
BAINES: But it becomes tougher to control the number of scoring chances with less players on the ice. Three-on-three would be good.
BRENNAN: How about you guys continue to talk about coaches challenges and Iíll go on about pretty women. The readers will skip right over your drivel to get to mine. Geez, now I know how Jungle Jim Jerome feels. I mean, not literally, of course.
GARRIOCH: Iím sure thatís what the readers usually do anyway. ďI wonder what Don Brennan said today.Ē By the way, weíre sex symbols ourselves, Don. I keep getting e-mails from my friends telling us ďIím staring at you and Brennan on the back of a bus.Ē
BRENNAN: Yeah, me too. Had I known everybody was going to be staring, I would have undone a couple buttons on my shirt to show off my semi-hairy chest.
GARRIOCH: Even Publisher Gibbons digs us on the back of a bus.
BRENNAN: I know some people who would like to see me under one, but thatís another story. Bus, I meant. Not a pretty woman.
BAINES: Pretty women, eh? Who is the hottest actress right now?
BRENNAN: Iíll put a vote in for Katherine Heigl. Sheís got it go on.
BAINES: Megan Fox. And old school, Jodie Foster.