Everything Else

It’s amazing how history can repeat itself.

Guy Boucher came into Tampa with a sterling reputation in 2010. He had won in the QMJHL, and then put up 115 points as the Hamilton Bulldogs coach, when they were the Canadiens AHL affiliate. Of course, being in the Canadiens system certainly led to a lot of press, and he was seen as the heir apparent to take over behind the bench in Montreal, be the homegrown coach who could finally charm their media, and lead the fucking torch to six straight Cups with Habs fans consider their birthright. All while not ever having to utter a word in English, as that’s what causes Montreal media to stain the sheets.

None of it happened. and it turns out one season in the AHL and getting a few children to play along with your system does not a prepped NHL coach make.

Boucher bored the shit out of everyone in Tampa, but rode a really hot Dwayne Roloson to a conference final Game 7. His 1-3-1 trap was never called that because the heir apparent in Montreal couldn’t just be trapping, and also he like, flipped which winger was involved in the trap which caused massive mud-losing amongst hockey media.

Then Boucher’s boring-as-shit ways led the Bolts nowhere the next two seasons because he didn’t have a goalie to bail them out of all the games they didn’t score. He was soon canned, and Jon Cooper took the same roster basically, stepped on the gas, and they’ve been one of the more consistently good teams in the league when not injured.

Boucher got a second chance, because everyone gets a second chance in the NHL. His boring-as-shit ways capped Erik Karlsson a bit, but a hot Craig Anderson and getting sweetheart matchups in the Bruins and Rangers saw them get to a conference final, which they also lost in a seventh game.

And now without that goaltending, the Senators are just as dogshit as the Lightning were under Boucher. Sure, there’s a talent-deficit, but he’s not making any of it better. The Sens are bad and hard to watch, which is a bad combination.

So please, let him take over the Canadiens one day. We’re dying for them to slip even more into irrelevance.

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 vs. 

RECORDS: Hawks 20-15-6   Senators  14-17-9

PUCK DROP: 6:30

TV: NBCSN Chicago

BULLSHIT BULLSHIT BULLSHIT: Brian 5or6

Well this seems like a momentous day for really weird reasons. We’ll get to that in a second. After getting to recalibrate their weapons by firing on the stationary target that is the Edmonton Oilers, the Hawks can double that up by doing so against the Eastern Conference version, the Ottawa Senators. And they may get to do it against a severely hampered Senators team, and believe me when I tell you this team didn’t have a lot to hamp. With the 2nd half of the season kicking off tonight, this would be a good way to get it started the right way. Then again, the Hawks couldn’t have started the first half off any better (TEN! TEN! TEN!), and look where that got them.

No reason to not start off with the biggest piece of news, and that is Brent Seabrook will be a healthy scratch tonight for the first time…well, ever. I don’t recall this happening in his rookie year, though it might have and we’ve just blocked most of that season from our memories. In fact, Seabrook has been something of a rock of durability, missing only 11 games in the ensuing 11 years since. But you can’t say that Seabrook hasn’t earned this, and the Hawks pairings would make a lot more sense if they looked something like:

Keith-Murphy

Forsling-Kempny

Oesterle-Rutta

Of course, that’s not what they’ll look like tonight as Oesterle will stay with Keith, the two kids together, and Kempny and Murphy returning to their natural sides on the second pairing. This way Q doesn’t have to rearrange three pairings. While Murphy took the blame for Friday’s loss unfairly, Seabrook has been this all season and now can’t even get the space to do the things he does well, i.e. shoot and pass. He’s been either slow or uncaring or both down low in his own zone, and that’s just not good enough. At the moment, he’s not one of the best six d-men the Hawks can send out there.

The hope is that this shows Seabrook that he’s not untouchable and has no guarantees. At almost 33, he’s never going to be what he was but he can certainly be more than he is. At that age he really should be able to handle third pairing or even sheltered second pairing minutes ok, and he hasn’t done that all season without Connor Murphy (CONNOR MURPHY!) saving his ass. Seabrook will draw back in soon, perhaps as soon as tomorrow, and there better be a fire under his ass when he does.

As for the rest of the lineup it looks like Tomas Jurco will be the forward scratched as the suddenly spiky Patrick Sharp sticks around.

None of this should matter of course, because the Senators are the NHL’s little league right fielder with the glove on his head twirling in a cirlce. They’re second-bottom in the East and three points adrift of the team above them, the Canadiens. And while this isn’t much of a roster outside Karlsson, it’s not helped by SUPER GENIUS Guy Boucher running a system suited for 1999 and boring the shit out of everyone involved. And the system doesn’t work when it’s not getting lights-out goaltending, and Craig Anderson is 36. This a team that doesn’t really have a top-liner anywhere unless you count Matt Duchene, and he’s basically a top line wing playing center and a really good rhythm guitarist at center instead of a lead.

Mark Stone and Mike Hoffman are great second line scoring wingers too, but now that Bobby Ryan is turning colors in the sun they need them to be first line scorers and that’s just not who they are. Karlsson can only do so much.

Making it even better for the Hawks tonight is that several Sens are either sick or hurt and gametime decisions. Duchene (you’re holdin’ up the show!), Oduya, Ceci, Brassard all might not make the bell tonight, though all could play as well. This is not a juggernaut. This team is bottom 10 in goals per game, goals against per game, and shot for per game. They do limit shots against them ok thanks to Boucher’s strangulation of anything interesting that might happen, but Anderson just hasn’t been up to the challenge of stopping the ones they do see. Again, 36.

No excuses here. The Hawks have to get this one, and they really have to sweep the week before the bye hits and teams pass or get farther away from them simply because they’re not playing. They’ve missed enough hanging curves of late with losses to Vancouver, blowing a lead against  Vegas when they had played the night before, and arguably missing the first 30 minutes against a wonky Calgary team. No more bullshit.

 

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We don’t know where exactly we found @Brian5or6. That’s the case with most of our friends. We just ended up this way. Anyway, you can read his stuff at Brian5or6.com. 

 

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It’s startling on how the feelings can change about a Game 7 in just one round. Just a couple weeks ago, we were all eagerly anticipating the Game 7 between the Capitals and Penguins, the culmination of a Mega Powers matchup that we’d been looking forward to since about November. Now tonight we have a Game 7 of a series that we pretty much just want to die and go away forever.

The constant argument over the Senators is an excellent example of how basically all sports coverage refuses to seen any nuance in any subject. The past couple weeks, or even months, have been one side screaming how boring the Senators are to watch at times, and the other screaming back that it’s not their job to be entertaining but to win.

Both of these things can be true.

Everything Else

The Senators took a 1-0 lead over what looked to be a very tired Penguins team, and one that was already beat up, and all anyone could talk about was how boring the Senators are. Apparently most everyone hadn’t watched the Sens all year or in the first two rounds, and I can’t really blame you if you didn’t because the Bruins and Rangers hardly  move the interest needle either. This is what Guy Boucher does. Maybe you didn’t pay attention to what he did in Tampa, and again I don’t blame you if you didn’t because it really wasn’t worth your time.

But Guy Boucher, and the Senators as a whole, don’t owe you anything.