Wow. Just like that, the Senators season is over. They bowed out in five games, falling 6-2 to Anaheim last night. It was party time in Anaheim. I hope that's champagne I'm looking at in the picture to the right.
In the Stages of Grief, I immediately moved into denial. The Sens didn’t really put three pucks into their own net. Antoine Vermette didn’t really fail to register a shot on goal in a penalty shot. Jason Spezza didn’t really miss an open net. This isn’t really happening.
Come to us, Stanley. Anaheim won't love you like we will.
Today, I move into stage two. Anger.
The Sens seemed completely out of gas in the final. The Ducks get plenty of credit for that. They earned everything they’re enjoying today. They were better in every way. But I’m left wondering if it would have been any different without the Senators’ 9 day layoff between rounds. You can scoff if you want but it's a debate you cannot win. We’ll never know, will we?
We constantly bleat on about how important momentum is in hockey. Remember the Florida Panthers’ cup run when they’d throw plastic rats on the ice after a goal? The announcers complained that the Panther fans were making a mistake because the delay to clean up the rats was killing the Panthers’ momentum in the game. Coaches often call time outs to slow down the other team’s momentum. We often talk about how teams that get hot and have big mo' at the right time can win it all. Good luck pulling that off when the NHL shuts down the burner for nine days before the biggest series of their lives.
The Sens had momentum. Then they lost it. Why? Who knows? Why did they start the year 7 and 11? But it’s another reason Anaheim deserves the Cup. They had a fairly long layoff too and they were able to keep it together. But this thing should have happened while both teams were peaking, at their best. Keys to victory shouldn't include points for the team that best gets off the couch.
Nine days off. For what? So that it’s convenient for NBC’s schedule? The Sens can’t even take solace in that. Saturday night’s game 3 was the lowest rated prime time show of any kind in NBC’s history. Sheeesh. Put on a Lingerie Bowl re-run. You'd get better numbers, it wouldn't screw up the Sens great playoff run and it would give us something to flick to during intermissions. Not that watching Don Cherry isn't riveting. Come on! Dump it in. I'm right. Remember when I was right? I'll show you. Let's watch the video.
I’ll let you know when I move into the next stages…depression and acceptance.