Your overlord hasn't yet introduced me yet but I am a new addition to this merry cast of characters and will be taking care of your Ottawa Senators coverage. You can find my usual spews and thoughts about the team over at Scarlett Ice.
So with the Ducks finishing off the Canucks last night in the second OT period, it looks like the Senators might need to get a bigger bandwagon as they are the last thread of hope for the cup returning to its home country since, oh...14 years ago. But you know, no pressure or anything.
The Senators can eliminate the Devils with a win tomorrow and advance to the conference finals. Then, they twiddle their thumbs and wait for the Buffalo Sabres and New York Rangers to beat up on each other to await their opponent. Still, it's important to take it one game at a time. Ain't over until the fat lady sings but maybe that's just me being nervous for no good reason. Yesterday, Martin Brodeur attempted to deflect attention away from the fact that he's let in a string of questionable goals by saying his counterpart down the ice Ray Emery, "wasn't very good":
"I think we finally proved to ourselves if we shoot the puck on Emery, he won't look too good," said Brodeur, after he himself had a shaky night in the Senators' 3-2 win to take a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.
"He was bobbling a lot of pucks and we could have got a lot more than we did. He played a good game, but I think we exposed him a little with his rebound control."
I think everybody was licking their chops at the salacious bitchiness of it all. I have to admit, when I first heard it I was all "Oh, no you di'nt!", myself. The general consensus I've been hearing is that most people think that Brodeur is just grasping at straws to 1) Deflect attention away from the fact that he hasn't been all that strong himself and 2) to rile his team up and get them fired up.
Now I don't have a problem with any of those things and if anybody can get away with saying stuff like that it's Marty Brodeur. I'm also not too concerned about Emery's play at all. He's never outplayed Brodeur in this series, but he's never had to. What Emery's been doing now works and on a team that clicks, everybody has a specific role to play and it's about accepting your job. Emery hasn't had to make particularly hard saves but it isn't necessarily about how difficult the save is, it's about the timing of the save. A lot of the goals Brodeur has let in, especially in the last game, were very deflating to the team and sapped the momentum from the Devils. Emery, on the other hand stood tall in the last minute of play when the Devils were desperately trying to tie it.
Watching these games, I have been at times been concerned with Emery's play though, I will admit. There are times at the start of games where he's looked shaky handling the puck. The biggest thing that people are harping on is his rebound control. However, none of them has lead to goals which can be attributed to the fact that there simply aren't enough Devils who are crashing the net. But also to the fact that Emery tends to kick his rebounds out to his defensemen so they can clear the zone. Whether or not this happens by accident or just part of his game plan, I don't know but if it works, it works.
Knowing Emery, this will just fire him up to play better. I've noticed from round 1 that Emery gets better with each game and he's shown that in this series as well. Emery's the fiercest competitor out there as evidenced when the Senators decided to sign Martin Gerber at the start of the season. He responded by improving his play and became the go-to guy for the Senators squad and they play with much more confidence in front of him.
All this being said, GO SENS GO!