How do the Sens stack up?

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:23 AM ET

TIM BAINES: Welcome to another season, boys. Should we bore the readers by talking about Donís Cincinnati Reds being in the playoffs, should we talk about ancient TV sitcoms or do we discuss the Senatorsí chances this season?

BRENNAN: Who the hell knows if the Senators are a playoff team? I mean, seriously. All us ďexpertsĒ are full of crap. Blah, blah, blah ... Iím about to do the same and make my predictions on our Off The Posts blog, which Bruce has unofficially dubbed a ďwar zoneĒ because of all the whackjobs it attracts. But there are only two teams that will suck badly in the East, and thatís the Florida Panthers and the New York Islanders, despite the presence of Zenon Konopka and John Tavares. And only three teams, Washington, Pittsburgh and Boston, are a lock to make the playoffs. That means 10 other teams will be in a dogfight for five other spots. Unless Iím schtupid and canít do math.

BRUCE GARRIOCH: A lot of people think weíre full of crap. But everybodyís an expert, so that means nothing. I do think theyíll be a playoff team. The question is: Can they return to being an elite team ó a team that is Top 3 in the Eastern Conference? That will be up to the goalies: Chocolate Leclaire and Brian Elliott.

DON BRENNAN: Letís just try to give the readers a little more entertainment in this spot this year, okay? That means you guys have to pick up your game. That means moving into the 21st century for you, Tim. Donít make me carry this page again all by my myself. Oh, and the Reds will beat the Phils in five.

BAINES: Now I donít really want to kick off the Digital Faceoff on a negative note. I want them to be a playoff team. But itís not going to be an easy ride to get there. Iím going to give playoff spots to New Jersey, Pittsburgh, Philly and Washington. Tampa and Boston will be better. Buffalo has Ryan Miller. Then thereís Montreal. Thatís eight teams. Are the Senators better than the bottom four? I guess we will find out ... and goaltending will be a factor. If the two-headed Leclaire-Elliott monster craps the bed, the Senators are dead. And as crazy as this sounds, the Senators might also have to worry about the Maple Leafs, maybe even the Rangers and Hurricanes.

GARRIOCH:: Donís back and throwing punches. I love it.

BAINES: Iíve absorbed his punches. His hands are like pillows. And heís got glass chins.

BRENNAN: I love when he makes fat jokes, Bruce. What are ya now, Baines, 260? At least 50 pounds more than me, anyway.

BAINES: As they say, itís all about scoreboard. Lifetime record: 2-0. Yours: 0-2.

BRENNAN: Tim, people donít care to know that you beat me up. The cops will, though, once I press charges. Thanks for the written evidence. Besides, the truth is, I probably get fired if I punch out my boss. Thatís why I just spit on you.

BAINES: Yeah, the readers donít need to know you spit on me, either. Show that to the cops, too. Any surprise teams in the NHL this year?

GARRIOCH: Man, we are all over the place on this TUESDAY. Did you notice I said Tuesday, Don? Thatís the biggest change we made over the summer. We used to say yesterday, today and tomorrow. Now, we say Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday. The biggest surprise this season: How much the Chicago Blackhawks are going to slip after being gutted.

BAINES: I donít think the Blackhawks slip back very much at all. What did they lose? Really. Theyíve got some great youngsters ready to step in. A repeat Stanley Cup performance is possible.

BRENNAN: Geez, our friend Howie wonít like reading that, Bruce. (Fans know him as the crazy who wears the Indian headdress, runs up and down the stairs and pounds on the glass at Scotiabank Place when the Hawks are in town). But if youíre right, he might get his first haircut since his team won the Cup. In the West, St. Louis and Los Angeles will continue to rise, Selfish Suckhole Heatley will continue to keep the Sharks from being as good as they should be and Vancouver will ultimately prevail. The Bruins and Leafs will be the surprise teams in the East. Boston, because the leagueís best goaltending tandem will lead it to a first-place finish over everybodyís first choice, the Caps, and Toronto because itíll make the playoffs. Watch out for Tampa, too.

BAINES: How has Jason Spezza been around the locker room? He didnít take too well to media criticism and booing from fans. Has it changed his demeanour?

BRENNAN: Spezza is all business.

GARRIOCH: I agree. He is a smart player. They just want him to be a consistent performer every night. I donít believe thatís the worst thing. Theyíre hoping a guy like Sergei Gonchar will be able to get him the puck more.

BAINES: All business is good if he puts up the numbers. Iím a Jason Spezza fan. Let him play his game. I hope he has a huge year.

BRENNAN: New Sun columnist Jason York thinks Spezza will be a Top 10 scorer in the league. I do, too. I say he hits the 100-point mark. Him and a couple of others on this team will need to, with the goaltending the way it is. Bring on more of those 8-5 games!

BAINES: Any advice on up-and-coming stars who might help out in a hockey pool?

GARRIOCH: Don took Alexei Kovalev in his pool, apparently. I advised my good friend Stacker to take John Carlson from Washington in his pool.

BRENNAN: Hereís a pool tip: None of Ovechkin, Crosby or a Sedin will be among the Top 3 in scoring. Iím saying itíll be Stamkos, Backstrom and Malkin.

GARRIOCH: Tim, please remind the readers that if they want to see a highlight of the shootout goal Kaspars Daugavins scored Sunday in a shootout for Binghamton, please go to the popular blog Off the Posts (aka The War Zone). If they want to see what Don and I really think about the upcoming season, go to www.ottawasun.com and check out the 90-second video that it took us 15 minutes to do with our good friend Tiana MacLeod at the wheel.

BRENNAN: Seriously, is there anybody who thinks My Name Is Earl is a funny TV show?

BAINES: We are out. I canít take any show called My Name is Earl seriously.


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