Picture has relatively little to do with the topic of this post, per se, but both the boy and I thought it was very clever and rather brazen when we were at the game Thursday night, so it gets immortalized on the blog. At least Sharks fans are quiet and much less obnoxious than either Habs or Leafs fans, the latter which we'll have to face tonight at Scotiabank Place for the game against Toronto.
When it comes time to pick our games in July or so I always rather sentimentally choose a Leafs tilt, believing that since those are games that fully half the population of Ottawa would likely kill to go see, I have a solemn duty to take that opportunity. But then when it actually comes time for the game, I am considerably less pleased. I've been to probably 50 Leafs games in my years as a fan, and they never get any easier. Besides, it's fucking cold outside today, and I'm not exactly relishing freezing my ass off as the north wind whips around the arena. However, I am also a real fan, not a bandwagoner, so I consider it my duty to piss off all the Toronto fans by showing up in my Alfredsson jersey.
This is a very, very long-winded way of saying that things are hopefully back to normal here at Bleed Black & Red, after another busy week for your blogger and some computer trouble to boot. While I was away, the perfect record this blog had been maintaining (not a single regulation-time loss since its creation!) was unfortunately and predictably shattered. So too were our feeble dreams of perhaps making a last-minute playoff run. Being the eternal optimist that I am I wasn't totally willing to concede yet, but what I saw this past Thursday while duly in attendance in Section 205, Row E, Seat 4 pretty much convinced me.
We don't have it. Not this season at any rate. We can still eke out some dignity, maybe play spoiler to a few of those teams on the playoff bubble. But there are too many variables that can go all too wrong for us to preserve the streak for another year. Take the Sharks game just as an example. The Sens were cruising along great, matching San Jose stride for stride and with a 1-0 lead to show for their efforts. Then Brian Lee gets two successive penalties, the latter of which is turned into a double minor because he mouths off to the ref or gestures rudely at the ref or hell, I don't know what. Anyway, it's a four-minuter, and against the number-two powerplay in the League you know you're not getting out of this unscathed. And we didn't. Two goals, by Milan Michalek and Patrick Marleau respectively, was all it took. There was the game. You could've called it after the second period and there wouldn't have been any difference. As the postgame commentators later said, good teams find ways to win, and bad teams find ways to lose. It is, unfortunately, as simple as that.
I'm not going to complain about the refing, because I usually consider that rather pointless. Perhaps the penalty to Lee was unfair or perhaps it wasn't, but the fact remains that he has now been sent down to Binghamton and will, hopefully, learn from the mistake he made. He lost us the game and a lot of people were surprised at that, but I personally think that loss was just symptomatic of the much larger issue, the issue that's been going on since basically this time last year. We're better than we were at this time last year, in my humble opinion. We don't give up, and we are in almost every game right to the end since Cory Clouston took over. Nevertheless, it's not enough. Pure gumption does not suffice when you've worked your way into as big a hole as we have.
And for tonight? Geez, I don't know. I'm kind of going by the same axiom I've had for the last number of tilts: either it will be awesome, or it will be a massacre. Certainly the game will be exciting, but otherwise, who knows. I'd love to beat the Leafs, since Toronto losing always puts that little extra spring in my step. But if that doesn't happen, I will simply accept it as another bump in a season full of bumps. And I'll deal with the obnoxious Leafs fans. Goodness knows four straight years of playoff defeats - all of which I personally witnessed from Scotiabank Place - have trained me well.
Certainly SBP is a place I'll be seeing a lot of in the next week or so. I'll be at tonight's game, Tuesday's game and Thursday's game, and on Tuesday I'll be the season ticket holder of the game who gets to read out the attendance live on the big screen and win a nifty prize. I just hope my prize is better than the last one was - I really don't have room in my apartment for a couple of recliner chairs, thanks. All the same, I am of course grateful and excited for the opportunity!
We'll see. I feel like that should be the Senators' motto right now.