Okay, be forewarned: if the Senators win this game, this is going to be one hell of a cranky game diary. Yes, Gentle Reader, it’s been that kind of day at stately IPB Manor (read: the fridge is still not working, so we knocked ourselves out with a round of cable cars this afternoon).
We hoped for a pre-game show tonight, but who are we kidding? We instead got Billy Graham. Really, NBC?
Oh, yay! Bill Clement excitedly tells us there was “no way [he] would leave [his] buddies Brett Hull and Ray Ferraro at 30 Rock.” Come on, Bill, at least tell us you tried.
We go into commercial with the promise of a Prongsie/Pierre Maguire interview on the flip side. You know what we love about Pierre Maguire (yes, there is actually something we love about him…)? We love that, while writing game diaries of games on VS can be a lot of work, when he’s doing the NBC games these things write themselves.
Holy crap — NBC actually believes this theory that Americans can’t enjoy a sporting event if they can’t locate the city it’s being played in on a map and gives us, honest to God, a brief glimpse of a map of Canada. Seriously, NBC, no one in the States could tell you where Green Bay is, but no one has a problem watching games from Lambeau.
The promised Pronger/Maguire chat finally arrives, and we both kind of expect Pierre to be wearing one of Chris Simpson’s outfits. We are vastly grateful that he is not.
Eddie and Doc tell us that Chris Kunitz will be back in the lineup tonight… does this means Baby CrunchyPickles’ day in the sun has ended? (Oh, and as they cut away to commercial again we get to hear a little bit of a Doc call, “He SCORES!” and Pookie whimpers, “I miss the regular season”.)
The crowd is really, really loud, and we can’t hear a word of what Pierre and Dany Heatley say during an on-ice interview. That, or we’re talking over the interview laughing that Pierre is going to ask, “Would you be able to hear me better, Dany, if my lips were on your lips?”
Canada should get to host the Stanley Cup Final every year, because they just do the anthems right. We’re too drunk to correctly spell the anthem singer’s name, but he actually makes the Star Spangled Banner sound cool. We like the giant Canadian flag unfurling over the crowd, but we’d be more impressed with the fans singing the “God keep our land” part of O Canada if we hadn’t heard the Oilers fans last year singing both anthems. But seriously, we love when the anthems are treated like this — as a show of mutual respect. Nicely done.
Before the drop of the puck Pookie says, “With Bryan Murray’s whole ‘we can’t be too hyper’ crap, I really hope Neil comes out and takes a stupid penalty on the first shift.”
19:18 After our complaining about VS not telling us the lineups, we fail to note that NBC is actually giving them to us tonight. We have no idea about Baby CrunchyPickles.
18:19 Giggy makes the first big save of the night.
17:58 Emery tops Giggy’s save, as the Perry/Penner/Getzis gets a great chance on some smooth passing. Pierre reports from between the benches that Comrie, that little bitch, spent his warmups yapping at Nieder. Pookie: “WHAT does Mike Comrie think he can say to Scott Niedermayer?”
16:09 Just as we complain that Teemu’s line isn’t the same without Baby CrunchyPickles, Kunitz draws a penalty on Redden in front of the net. Any old time the Ducks want to remember how to score with the man advantage would be great.
15:08 Nieder turns the puck over lazily at his own blue line on the PP. Pookie: “See, that’s Scott fucking Niedermayer for you. I just spent two minutes passionately defending him and then he goes and does that.”
14:21 WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!! Just as Doc, Pierre and Eddie tell us that the Ducks are going to be handcuffed by the unfamiliar boards here in Ottawa, Teemu finds McDonald all alone in the slot, and McDonald makes no mistake beating Emery, who is both way deep in his net and down on the ice far too early.
13:58 May gets called for pushing Schubert into Giggy. Just, you know, because we were all doubting, after a PP goal, if these guys really are the Anaheim Ducks.
12:52 After Pierre tells us Pronger “takes the temperature of the game” as well as any d-man in history, Pookie snarks, “Somewhere out there Bobby Orr is spinning in his grave.” Pause. “You don’t need to write that down.” (Yeah, BURN!)
11:08 The Senators fourth line gets some good pressure, and after a non-call on a highstick to Pronger’s face (go ahead and hit him there again, Neil!), Giggy deploys some incredibly mellow, fantastic lateral movement to make a huge save.
10:15 Nieder apparently feels sorry for Spezza and how craptacular he’s been in this series so far, because he kindly coughs the puck up in front to the young Sen. (Giggy just rolls his eyes and makes another staggeringly good save.)
9:31 Schnookie’s assessment so far of this game: “The Senators aren’t being dominated as much as the last two games. And that makes me sad.”
8:55 Eddie points out after a nice offensive sequence for the Senators that it was, by his estimation, the first time this series that Spezza was in front of the net. Because most of the time he’s been cowering in the corner crying after giving up the puck, we guess.
8:31 Moen and Fisher get called for coincidental minors, at the tail end of a sequence that involved Comrie’s pathetic attempts to bring some pain to Nieder. We can only hope Nieder skated away from the exchange obliviously saying to the little bitch, “I’m sorry kid, did you want an autograph?”
6:04 Marchant gets a tricky shot off through a screen that Emery shuts down. After the whistle the two teams jostle in front of the net and Pookie perks up, “I just thought our boyfriends were going to fight! But then I realized neither Preissing nor Getzlaf were on the ice.”
4:40 The crowd is losing their minds as the Senators fourth line has a prolonged, hard-fought shift deep in the Anaheim zone, but no good chances come of it.
3:50 After what seems like hours of offensive pressure and great skating by shift after shift after shift of Senators, stupid fucking Chris Neil manages to just beat Giggy on a really nice redirection to tie the game. That sucked. (We are underwhelmed by a report from Doc that Neil’s first kid was born yesterday. We still don’t like him.)
2:37 Baby Nieder is unable to score on a strangely-developing 2-on-1; this seems like the first time the Ducks have had the puck since they scored.
1:47 Penner blows. After Getzi deftly yoinks the puck from a Senator in the neutral zone, Penner promptly hands the puck right back over to the little bitch.
1:02 NBC gives us “Name That Squirt” and it’s Mario Lemieux. We are confused. He’s not playing in this game… why is he tonight’s squirt?
0:02 We get the vapors — NBC promises Himself, the one and only Sid Crosby, is on the set for intermission.
0:00 We hate, hate, hated this period. Hated. What was up with the Senators actually playing well? And the Ducks looking vastly overwhelmed? That bit.
It’s like all our dreams have been answered! We come back from commercial and Brett Hull has been replaced by His Sidness! His choice of tie is woeful. Our very favorite thing about how Sid does interviews is the way, while the question is being framed for him, he nods along, like “Uh huh, uh huh, uh huh,” then as soon as his answer starts he shakes his head and says, “No…” In this case it’s when he gives his pre-packaged response to Ray asking if there will be a difference between Cap’n Sid and Sid the “ordinary player”. We wish Sid had bristled and said, “Which part of what you’ve seen from me so far makes you think I’m ever an ordinary player?”
As much as we love Sid (and really, we do), if we were Ducks or Sens fans right now we’d be so pissed off that NBC is spending their intermission discussing the captaincy of the Penguins.
Sid’s commentary in the second segment of this intermission makes us miss Brett. (Can you believe it?) He is asked if he was surprised by how Ottawa went down early in this series and he looks panicky that he might have to criticize someone. Then he looks like he wants to slink off while no one’s paying attention as Bill and Ray laugh about Brett being on HNIC right now. (They ask Sid if he ever watched Coach’s Corner, and Sid chirps, “Oh for sure. It was like a religion. I used to stay up late, watch it, then go to bed.” We wish he had continued, “Then I would sleep, then wake up, then eat breakfast, then play hockey…”) We also admire Sid’s professionalism in saying nice things about Don Cherry (something we wouldn’t be able to do) despite Cherry’s history of unjustifiably attacking poor little Sid.
19:10 We are beginning to think Carlyle can’t handle the matchups tonight. Is it just us or has Brad May been on the ice for 90% of this game?
19:00 What is being managed well tonight? NBC’s use of Pierre “between the glass”. They are keeping his mic pretty well unplugged most of the time, and for that we give great thanks.
18:31 We get “Sounds Of The Game” and Pookie hopes it’s Sid weeping in the crowd. It’s actually Chris Kelly, a player who elicits this response from Pookie every time she hears his name, “There’s a guy in this game named Chris Kelly?” His mic’d up is devoid of anything of interest, other than that it runs long and makes us miss the set-up for Moen, that choking dog, shanking on a wide open net and ringing the puck off the pipe.
17:56 Spezza and Pahlsson get matching minors after having a spanking match at the benches that exposed Spezza’s tear-away stripper sweater.
16:35 We scream at Getzi to rip a huge shot as the Senators D completely backs off, giving him a wide-open look at the net. He decides instead to try to dandle around everyone dragging the puck with him… and nothing comes of it. Pierre chides our SCF boyfriend for not passing to Beauchemin as we watch the replay. Meanwhile, Spezza is allowed to sit in the penalty box in Eaves’ #44 sweater. Is that legal? Can this game be forfeited because of these shenanigans?
15:48 As Spezza returns to the bench, still wearing his illegal sweater, Doc, Eddie and Pierre all agree they’ve only ever seen this in the ECHL. Nice and bush-league, that’s the Senators. (And seriously, they don’t have a spare Spezza sweater? They pay their equipment trainers for this kind of shoddy work?)
14:40 WOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The Perry/Penner/Getzi line actually gets some contributions from Penner, who forces Phillips to turn the puck over, then Perry walks out from the corner and scores what can only be described as a “softie” on a completely unsuspecting Emery. (In Emery’s defense — yes, we’ll come to his defense — his D was standing around with their heads up their asses and he was really expecting a pass. Or some help from his D. Or he sucks. One of those things.)
14:13 BOOOOOO!!!!!!! Volchenkov scores from the point on a clean face-off win… and it turns out Getzi wasn’t even on the ice for the drop of that puck. Uh, does he not want to be our SCF boyfriend anymore? (Pookie: “I am going to assume that was a miscommunication by the coaching staff, and not Getzi’s fault.”)
12:40 Coming back from commercial, Eddie points out that Moen was the guy missing from his regular line on the Volchenkov goal, and Getzi was trying to be a hero by jumping on the ice, all heads-up. So there.
12:22 WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Redemption for our SCF boyfriend! Gorgeous puck control and passing by Perry, nice quick shot by Penner, typical craptastic rebound by Emery, and delicious follow-through by Getzi. Getzi doesn’t, it seems, like to be singled out as the goat, even if it wasn’t his fault.
10:21 Alfredsson and Heatley suddenly find themselves on a 2-on-1, and Giggy very calmly puts on a rebound-control clinic for Emery.
8:11 Moen deigns to get out on the ice with his linemates, and they find themselves pinned in by Schaefer hogging the puck behind the net.
7:18 Teemu’s line gets some nifty shots off, and we applaud that they are just tossing the puck at Emery whenever they get the chance.
6:16 Nieder gets called for, uh, skating near a Senator? (It is technically identified by the officials as “hooking”.) Neil is allowed to hit McDonald in the head with a flying crosscheck, and that puts the Ducks down a man?
5:31 Pierre: “When Pronger’s on the ice you never have the sense that Anaheim’s in trouble.” We think he just outdid himself there.
4:21 Giggy makes a great save on the near post on a delayed penalty for crosschecking by — say it with us, people — O’Donnell.
3:46 The puck bounces around the zone off a bunch of guys, and ends up in the net when it goes in off Alfredsson’s foot. It is immediately waved off. This, of course, launches the “distinct kicking motion” debate, and we have to say, there was definitely a follow-through kicking movement by Alfie. Furthermore, if Sid’s goal in the first round was waved off, this should be waved off. We hope Sid’s absolutely apoplectic somewhere in the building right now.
You have got to be fucking kidding us. This is called a goal. Mind you, we would love to see the stupid “no kicking” rule taken off the books, but this postseason has seen a vulgar inconsistency with the way the NHL has called this. Sid should be furious right now, and so should Rangers fans after whichever guy in whichever game that was against the Sabres had his goal called off. Oh, and it should be said here, “Thanks, O’Donnell. Are you happy now?”
3:12 Pahlsson just barely can’t reach another bad rebound by Emery off a Baby Nieder shot. While Pierre has assured us the Ducks are unfazed by the no-goal/goal reversal, we’re still fuming.
2:04 We’re informed (by Eddie, strangely, and not Mr. “I’m On The Benches! Hey Guys, I’m Right Here On The Benches!” Maguire) that Kunitz is not on the Ducks bench. We bet Carlyle’s sorry he didn’t dress Baby CrunchyPickles tonight.
1:26 We are vomiting in our own mouths as McAmmond gives the Senators the lead. You know, Pierre was right: when you’ve got Pronger on the ice the Ducks are never in trouble… except when he shoots the puck straight into his own net.
1:04 The Senators are apparently pissy that they got called for an icing they felt should have been waved off. Well, considering how you guys got a goal that shouldn’t have counted, perhaps you should cut your losses, assholes.
0:00 Well, as much as we hate, hate, hate that the Senators are winning, this continues to be some top-notch entertainment. You know, if you like teams that spent the first two games of the series bitching baselessly that they were getting shafted by the officiating getting a goal that shouldn’t have counted. If you’re into that, it’s been a great game.
Okay, it’s pretty funny to have Brett Hull of all people chastising the league for not enforcing their own rules during the Stanley Cup Final. But he and Ray are admirably and eloquently disgusted at the call on the Alfredsson goal. And we’ll just go on record again saying it’s bullshit. In case, Gentle Reader, you were still wondering. We are especially puzzled that the on-ice call was overturned on that one — why, then, have the official on the ice even making a call in the first place?
Oh, burn! Brett and Ray excoriate the Ducks for the bad change on the Volchenkov goal, and seem to absolve Getzi while laying the blame, respectively, on “the entire team” and Pahlsson.
We get an “isn’t the Stanley Cup great?” commercial featuring shots of captains kissing the Cup set to Bon Jovi music. Seriously, folks, we feel like Bon Jovi and the Stanley Cup go together like peas and carrots. What can we say? We’re from Jersey.
Hey, wait a minute. They were supposed to talk about “Penner’s awakening” during the intermission. What gives?
19:43 Still no Kunitz on the bench. Why, oh why, do injured guys try to come back early in Stanley Cup Final series in which their team is playing really well without them?
19:24 The crowd is ready to blow the roof off the building as Schaefer gets a breakaway on Giggy, but Nieder, falling over, is still faster than Schaefer and manages to force the suddenly panicking Sen to settle for an easily-stopped shot.
19:00 Brad May is mic’d up and we get to hear him getting the cold shoulder from Getzi after Getzi’s goal.
17:57 McAmmond is knocked out by a Pronger elbow straight to his face. For some bizarre reason, there is nothing called on this. After lying motionless at the boards for a few moments, McAmmond gets up and skates, with some help, off the ice.
What, exactly, does Chris Pronger have to do to stop getting praised to high heaven all the time by the hockey media guys? Pierre is still slurping him, despite his putting the puck in his own net in a tie game, and now this.
Klassy move by Murray putting Neil out on the ice right after that.
17:05 A melee breaks out in front of the benches after Getzi hits Neil gently from behind. Fisher goes after him, and some little scrums break out all over the place. The long and short of this is that the extra minor goes to the Ducks, and seriously, that’s a penalty, but Neil leaving his feet to crosscheck McDonald in the head, and Pronger knocking McAmmond out with an elbow to the face aren’t?
15:51 Emery makes a great save on a fantastic, hustling short-handed chance by Marchant.
14:17 The Ducks are coming completely unraveled, and May stupidtastically slew-foots a Senator in the offensive zone.
12:17 Wow. That was a pretty emphatic penalty kill.
11:38 Ugh. The Ottawa fourth line again dominates the Ducks, and Volchenkov scores on a nice feed from behind the net from Vermette. Pierre just explodes with delight at the contributions by Neil on that goal, prompting Pookie to grouse, “God, I feel like I’m watching the Pittsburgh series again, wondering why I’m supposed to be all excited about someone like Chris Neil.” (Pronger, clearly trying to keep a low profile for the rest of this game, helped Ottawa quite a bit on that shift with the way he was tiptoeing around his own zone.)
9:19 Schaefer interferes with Thornton, but could have been called for any number of things.
8:55 Getzi takes his team off the power play by pushing Kelly over while the two of them skate for a loose puck. That’s a penalty? Really? And elbowing a guy in the face isn’t? This game has really been unpleasant to watch, and not just because the Senators aren’t losing.
7:12 We get an excited Pierre feeding us some slurping highlights of the great Chris Neil. He overpraises his penchant for “getting physical” with various Ducks throughout the course of this game, including, hilariously, the call that he “got physical” with Getzlaf on a sequence where Getzi hit him from behind. Does it really count as hard hitting when you’re the guy getting hit? Apparently, back home on Planet Crack where Pierre lives, it does.
6:41 Doc assures us NBC is working valiantly to get word on McAmmond’s injury. Boomer: “Just tell us he has a broken foot.”
5:25 Giggy decides to pretend for a moment to be Emery and bobbles a rebound, but Alfredsson can’t get to it.
4:31 McDonald gets held coming out from behind the net, then Alfredsson slew-foots Nieder at the point, and McDonald gets called for goaltender interference after jostling Emery in the crease. To be fair, though, it’s a legit call against McDonald.
3:33 In a discussion about the likelihood of Pronger getting suspended (outlook: very likely), Pierre posits that perhaps Prongsie should get some leeway for being so much taller than McAmmond. Pookie: “Well, he’s only had his entire life to figure out how to compensate for that and not elbow guys in the face.”
1:43 Eddie and Pierre discuss how Carlyle would like to pull Giggy now, but the Ducks can’t get the puck in deep. We once attended a Ducks practice (don’t ask), and we can vouch for that. Giggy is a lot of things, but a fast skater is really not one of them.
0:18 We hope nothing interesting happens because we can’t see anything thanks to some asshole waving a Senators flag in front of the camera.
0:00 Well, that absolutely sucked. The part that is so maddening about this game (besides the whole “what in the fuck is the officiating crew even doing out there?” element) is that we had gotten very comfortable with cheering for the Ducks, and then they went and, led by one of the league’s most loathable players, reminded us of all the reasons why they’re really not that much of a feel-good story. But yeah, the Senators played much better, the Ducks looked like they had no idea how to comport themselves like a professional hockey team, and when the final buzzer sounded we just felt kind of dirty for having watched this. And the worst part is, this series was going so well. Games 1 and 2 were all about what is great about hockey, and today was all about everything that’s wrong with it.