Sens show true grit
Don Brennan, QMI Agency
|Sens goalie Craig Anderson makes a save against the Rangers Saturday night as Chris Phillips battles in front of the net. (Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - One thing watching the game off your living room TV in Orléans (rather than actually being among the wingbats at MSG) allows you is the opportunity to enjoy the outstanding Muse tune Uprising that Hockey Night in Canada used to pump up viewers in opening its telecast.
Here's some more musings ...
STARTS AND STOPS
Remember when the biggest knock on Ottawa teams, especially at this time of year, was the lack of grit? This group has plenty of it. As one friend said the other night, "this is not your Magnus Arvedson-led Senators." ... Mark Stone made a great pass on his second (or third) NHL shift, yes, but he also had a hit on his first. Maybe the 6-foot-3, 200-pounder is more than just a very soft pair of hands ... Shots on goal, before the game was even seven minutes old, were 9-3 in favour of the Rangers. The home side was up 14-9 by the intermission. The Senators could have been out of this one early, rather than ahead after 20 minutes, if not for the solid work of Craig Anderson ... Almost without fail, Jason Spezza scores as soon as the media starts to focus in on his troubles scoring ... April 21 should be regarded as the proudest night of the season for Ottawa's penalty killers. They were outstanding, keeping the Rangers to just seven shots on four power plays.
STUFF I THINK I THUNK
Giving Zenon Konopka the most trouble in the faceoff circles is the linesmen. Konopka led the NHL with a 68.6% success rate on draws taken by those with at least 35 to their credit heading into Game 5. On Saturday, when he wasn't getting tossed, Konopka improved his numbers with a 10-2 mark, including the win on a defensive zone faceoff a few moments before his hit on Marion Gaborik created a loose puck that Spezza picked up to score his second ... In this series, I'm liking Sergei Gonchar, the player. After two years, I still don't think anyone in the Ottawa media knows him as a person ... At the time he made it, Anderson's tremendous second-period leg save off Brandon Dubinsky was his biggest as a Senator. Eventually, Anderson would go on to post his most important in an Ottawa sweater. He was even better than Henrik Lundqvist was in Game 3 ... The Senators are still exacting revenge on Brian Boyle for his manhandling of Erik Karlsson in Game 1. Saturday night, it was with a bone-cruncher by Chris Neil.
A crowd of 15,000 attended a celebration in the Swedish city of Gavle after Brynas won the championship gold and colleague Andreas Karlstrom tells us "it was amazing to hear the roar, clearly the loudest of the day, for Jakob Silfverberg, the Senators' top prospect scheduled to arrive in Ottawa Sunday" ... Silferberg's dad, Jan-Erik, told Swedish reporters that Jakob had to be "a bit careful" about how much he celebrated, as he was on his way to another playoff series. After winning the title, it's said that Jakob changed his name to Guldberg (Goldberg) for one night ... Coaching Skelleftea, Brynas' opponent in the final, was Anders Forsberg, formerly a European scout for the Senators and actually the man who supposedly convinced the Senators to pick Silfverberg in the NHL draft. According to Jan-Erik, Forsberg had been updating the Senators about his son's performances in the Swedish playoffs ... It wasn't just the goalie who's still looking for the wrist shot Silfverberg used to score in his last game. It was so hard that apparently many of the witnesses missed it ... The NHL would never allow Silfverberg to wear his number with Brynas. It was 100.
THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO HMMM ...
All of a sudden, Senators fans should be paying even more attention to the Pittsburgh-Philadelphia series. If the Capitals beat the Bruins Sunday afternoon, the Senators are a victory away from likely meeting the champions of Pennsylvania in Round 2 -- that is, unless Florida beats New Jersey, in which case the Senators would draw a preferable matchup with the Panthers ... Ridiculous is the only word that sums up the 25-game suspension given Raffi Torres for his hit on Marian Hossa, and this is coming from someone who has been friends with Hossa for years. Once again, the player did not even get a two-minute minor for the check in the game. When is someone going to inform the referees of the rules? ... Stars of the little screen and the big screen (Sportsnet's Ian Mendes and film director Spike Lee) rode the same elevator in New York. What do you mean you don't care?