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Close, but not too close

Posted By Mika Oehling On Mar 1 2011 @ 10:17 pm In Ottawa Senators | No Comments

The Senators played a close one against the Boston Bruins in a 1-0 game that was close, but really not that close. Despite a lot of sloppy play by Boston and turnovers that resulted in chance after chance for the young, energetic Ottawa lines whose names most of us are still trying to learn (not to mention their numbers), Boston eked out a victory with Nathan Horton’s lone goal and a solid performance by Tuuka Rask. Boston was lucky that Rask was their best player, because there were many points where the game was almost stolen from them by sheer tenacity and effort.

Adding to this effort was Jason Spezza, Ottawa’s star Centre who is not always known for his work ethic or sense of responsibility. It’s been talked about widely in the media about Spezza being the future leader of this team and playing an increasingly important role, and while there are many fans in the city who will need some convincing on this front, there are others who will never be convinced on this front. It has to be said, though, that at the moment, it appears like Spezza is rising to the task, showing a lot of hustle and good effort in tonight’s game. He could be a role model, but it will take more than one good game for people to buy into him.

The Senator who has already convinced Ottawa fans is Craig Anderson. While he’s still new to the team and has only played 4 games so far, including an impressive win against the red hot Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday night, Anderson has shown great skill, control, communication and puck handling. He’s inspired confidence in the team and given the fans something to cheer about. The narrow victory of Boston tonight won’t change that, as Anderson was engaged in a duel of the goaltenders for a solid two periods before Horton’s goal.

Boston could have easily let this game slip between their fingers. They showed little hustle, lazy defense and turned over the puck several times in the first two periods. Rask saved the team from losing this one, but it’s clear that Ottawa couldn’t capitalize on their chances because of the rebuilding process. It’s obvious that communication is a major issue for this new, young team still trying to get its bearing.

Further proof of this point came in the form of a young new goaltender from Anaheim, fresh off the plane with no equipment, asking his new teammates what their nicknames were. You know a team is green when it looks like they’re more in need of a wine and cheese get together than a few more drills on the ice. Which may not be the worst idea, since this team needs to develop some communication skills and chemistry fast- and I’m sure by this point in the season, they could all use a drink.

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