1 down, 1 to go

Posted: 4th April 2008 by Luc "Sandman" G. in Hockey

The Ottawa Senators won a critical game last night, blowing the Leafs out of the water with a very decisive 8-2 victory. Scoring certainly wasn’t an issue last night unlike the previous 2 games. After being goalless in nearly 7 periods, the Sens dominated the scoreboard and the ice. This win however came at a cost, with both Mike Fisher and Daniel Alfredsson getting hurt with lower body injuries. The Sens winning means that they are still in the playoff race. They remain in 6th place in the Eastern conference with 94 points. They have not however guaranteed a playoff spot just yet. This can only come tonight with a tie or a win against the Boston Bruins, who are also fighting for a playoff spot in this year’s Stanley Cup run.

Regarding the Alfredsson hit, I’m still undecided whether or not it was legal. Looking at replays, it appears that Bell did indeed use his elbow on the hit, but unfortunately there appears to only be 1 camera angle of the incident. The angle shown is inconclusive either way, but in any case it was a very nasty hit with an obvious attempt to hurt. The league needs to implement an unsportsman like conduct penalty for hits such as this. The hit itself might be legal, but the intent to injure is so obvious. Its this intent to injure that should be investigated and the appropriate rules changed so that such things don’t happen in the future.

I was also very much turned off with how classless the Maple Leafs and their fans were in regards to the hit. Bell was shown smiling and smirking to his teammates after the hit, taking great pleasure in taking out Alfredsson in such a dirty manner. The fans at the Air Canada Centre cheered when Alfie went down and lay motionless on this ice. They booed him when he got up and left the ice. No class. Then again, I always said that to be a Leaf fan that you have to have an IQ under 80. The fans last night just keep on proving me right.

It was a little disturbing that the other Sens players didn’t retaliate. I understand that the game was still very close at that point, but when an opposing team takes out your captain in such a vicious way, the rest of the team has to respond to it. Taking a 2 minute penalty to show that you won’t allow yourself to be stepped on like that was needed. Send out one of the tough guys, rip Bell’s cage off his arrogant face and let your fists do the talking. I don’t care that the guy has a cage on due to breaking his jaw. If you go through with such a hit, then you have to expect some retaliation. Unfortunately it didn’t come. I guess in some way the Sens retaliated by lighting up the scoreboard, yet I’m afraid of the message that it sends out to the 29 teams out there: take out our captain or one of our high profile players, and we won’t fight back.

One can hope that from the nightmare of losing both Alfie and Fisher that the team will use that in a positive manner and it will give them a common cause to rally for. To touch on my previous blog post, I strongly hope that the Sens will use this predicament positively and it will galvanize or unite the team, giving them a reason to push hard during this last game of the regular season, and (hopefully) the playoffs.

Tonight’s game against Boston at Scotiabank Place should be a very exciting and interesting game to watch. Both teams are fighting for a playoff spot. Even though the Bruins have one game in hand, losing tonight’s game could push them out completely from the playoffs if Washington or Philly win their remaining games. This year’s playoff spots won’t be fully decided until Saturday where the Eastern Conference is concerned, and as a hockey fan it doesn’t get any better than this.

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