21 May 2007

congrats to Ottawa

I didn't have time (ok, or the will) to post this weekend. A tight series of weird games marked by peaks of end-to-end action separated by long stretches of inconsistent hockey. By both teams.

For a cheap and easy review...Ottawa's best outplayed Buffalo's best, and Ray Emery was rarely tested. Depending on your point-of-view, that could either be offensive ineptitude on Buffalo's part or a fantastic defensive scheme on Ottawa's part. I'm tending to steer more towards Ottawa's play with a side-dash of Buffalo playing tight.

It is easy to point out that Ottawa's best players were better than Buffalo's best players. The Sens' Pizza Line ("they deliver") of Daniel Alfredsson, Jason Spezza, and Dany Heatley were markedly more effective than Daniel Briere, Chris Drury, and Thomas Vanek, not to mention Jason Pominville (despite meager offensive contributions, he did perform solid work in his own zone defensively) and Maxim Afinogenov.

As for flaws in Buffalo's game, the power-play is the obvious first answer as well as the correct one. Enough has been written about just how putrid it was, and not much effort would need to be made to argue that even an average man advantage unit in this series could have reversed the outcome. Although this was primarily Buffalo's problem, as their power-play was sub-par all season long, credit must be given to Ottawa who refused to deviate from their game plan. The Senators were content to let the Sabres (attempt to) set up at the blueline - Buffalo repeatedly tried to make the perfect play yet didn't ever move the puck often or creatively enough to get anything in the way of quality chances.

I'm finding myself a bit spent in terms of hockey and especially analysis. I think I'll be taking this week to relax and actually watch what's left of the Western finals before sitting down to further analyze the Eastern Finals. I'll have a post or two before my inevitable Cup Finals preview here (and at SportsGrumblings.com).


Unknown said...

It was a great run over the last two years, though.

Glad you were along for it, Rob.

Anonymous said...

You're "spent"?

Alright, I can understand. But I was looking forward to your take on the NHL's embarassing inability to get a major network to show overtime of a conference-final elimination game instead of the BS and pageantry before a stinkin' horse race. Whoever allowed that to happen (Bettman?) should be ... taken to the barn and shot.

Ricig said...

the biggest "inconvenience" i had while watching the game at my cuz' house was that we had to go from HD to "regular" - but yeah, i forget that not everyone gets VS.

outrageous, and for horse-racing. not even just horse-racing - but "pre-race" coverage.

apologies to those who like horse-racing, but it's (barely) glorified gambling, nothing else. call this one Barbaro's Revenge as it was the BUF/NYR game last series that knocked the pitiful Barbaro NBC special off the air due to OT.

as a number of people have noted, could Bettman be using this as future ammo to "prove" to the owners that they need the shootout in the playoffs? conspiracy theory to be sure. (although if it happens, i'm re-thinking my stance on gun control...) ;-)