What crazy fun to watch Karlsson last season! He was the epitome of hockey talent, leadership and intensity. In previous seasons, he often appeared too casual, rarely looked like he was hustling and, with his smirks and smiles after botched plays, he often looked like he didn’t care. Last season, he was pure beast, and the fact that he didn’t win the Norris throws the credibility of the trophy selection process into question along with the very stability of the entire hockey universe! You get my point. I hope he can get back to 100 percent because his play astonishes. His selfless and high-flying approach to the game inspires teammates and, may I say, breeds confidence and thrills in fans!
I like Dzingel, Pyatt, Pageau, Brassard, Borowiecki and Smith; they seem to put in an honest effort every shift. That was certainly the Chris Neil way. Nearly every game that we didn’t see him on the bench, my wife and I would wonder, “Where the heck is Chris Neil?” We missed him every game he wasn’t in the lineup and we’ll miss him more knowing he won’t be back in the lineup. I sent him a tweet thanking him for staying with the team his entire career. That kind of loyalty in a puck business that’s become more of a buck business, is a rare and much appreciated thing!
Burrows is a bust and while Duchene and his quick hands appears to be working hard, his lack of production does not justify his sniper’s salary. Move on, Matt. Former Leaf , ugh, Dion Phaneuf looks like he’s walking out there; even if his interviews are refreshingly cliché-free, let him walk lazily somewhere else. To me, Oduya and Dumont are downright disposable.
As coach, I would have told Bobby Ryan “just go out there and have fun Bobby, don’t worry about the goals, we already appreciate the big body checks you throw. Your assignment is to come back to the bench after every shift with a smile on your face.” I have a Senators T-shirt with Ryan’s name on the back and the number 6, before he switched to number 9. I’ve always rooted for Bobby, who is clearly a highly skilled hockey player, but the injuries and lack of confidence are getting old. It was nice to see him finally score one Wednesday night.
Use the money we save by getting rid of Phaneuf, Ryan, Duchene and Burrows to pay Karlsson more. It would be nice to keep other exciting and gifted players like Hoffman and Stone as well, but some of the more impatient Senators players must be thinking there’s gotta be more for me out there. Both Condon and Anderson have the potential to be far better than they are right now. We’ve all seen it. Both goalies can be brilliant, but their play has been as uninspired as the rest of the team.
I blame Guy Boucher. It’s all well and good to say the players are professionals and should play to their maximum every night. In an ideal world that happens, but even in our own jobs, the human beings we work with, for, and around; their attitudes, behavior and policies inevitably influence our work performance as human beings ourselves. It’s clear to me Boucher’s not saying the right things the right way. Happy players are confident players and, as the loop goes, confident players are productive, they get it done on the ice. The team looks lame, not as lame, mind you, as that Patrick Kane television commercial I keep seeing, but floundering atrociously. The players seem to be overpassing and choosing not to shoot when shots are obvious. There are even more turnovers than usual.
Speaking of turnover, batten down the hatches, the trade winds threaten to gust as ominous clouds loom.