Friday, October 06, 2006
Ahh, the home opener. A chance to show the fans what you’re all about. Your coming out party. You can be mediocre in the first half of the NHL regular season but not in your home opener. It’s like a sneak preview of a blockbuster film or the opening of a fine restaurant.
Well, for the Senators, it could have gone better last night. They not only got lit up 6-0 but their crown jewel free agent signing was not good. Worst of all, the trampling came at the boots of the despised enemy – the Blue Team.
The perfect storm.
Newcomer Martin Gerber allowed a very soft, shorthanded goal to Chad Kilger. From there, the Sens were on their heels. Gerber was an equal mix of jittery - wanting to impress his new fans - and unlucky – both Tucker goals, the Kilger goal and the Ponikarovsky tally were all seeing eye goals. Tucker and Kilger had nothing to shoot at but somehow the puck got through. Ponikarovsky had a bunt single just inside the line that Gerber couldn’t get to go foul.
But I’m not being a baby about Gerber - some strained strawberries would be delicious right now. Gerber isn’t what I’m worried about.
The Sens’ passing was weak. There was no crashing the net for rebounds. There seemed to be this prevailing attitude throughout the game that the Leafs would eventually start playing the way the pre season headlines said they would. The sentiment seemed to be, “Don’t knock yourself out, boys. It’s just the second game. It’s just the Leafs. Remember, we have three guys who’ll finish top ten in scoring this season. Where are we eating after the game?”
I’ve already heard the comments. It was only the second game of the year. One of 82. Relax, Steve. Don’t panic. Can you post a picture of your wife? The Sens will be fine. It’s nothing.
Well, I don’t agree. It was the home freaking opener. And it was the freaking Leafs. That makes it more than one game of 82. MUCH more. You don’t have to win it but you can’t be that brutal without shaking the faith of your fan base at least a little.
Posted by Steve Warne at 2:10 PM