Some quick thoughts on last night’s win over Ottawa:
- I’m still puzzled as to what the deal is with Tyler Seguin. This was supposed to be his breakout season, the season he went from 20 goals to 30+ and established himself as a top-flight NHL scorer. Not so much. It’s assumed that the larger ice sheet and contact-free game played over in Switzerland screwed up his game, but we’re 17 games into the season now; he should be acclimated at this point. If he’s not scoring and is still making plays, cool. However, he’s making some poor decisions up and down the ice. He continues to shy away from contact in the corners, and last night made a really curious (i.e. bad) play on a 3-on-2: he had Patrice Bergeron as the trailer on the rush, and he was open in the high slot. Rather than feed Bergeron immediately to give #37 more options, Seguin waited…and waited…and eventually made the pass. Patience is good, sure, but it’s better on a 2-on-1 than it is on a 3-on-2. Seguin seems to be in a bit of a fog right now, and the Europe excuse no longer holds water. He needs to wake up.
- Speaking of needing to wake up, I’m not sure what Milan Lucic’s issue was last night. He was extremely fired up, perhaps still upset about the non-calls (and the calls that were made) in that Florida game over the weekend. At one point, he was crosschecked (rather lightly) in the back by Sergei Gonchar after Robin Lehner covered the puck, and the standard “hey, get away from our goalie” scrum ensued, with Lucic taking a few more shots from Ottawa skaters. Lucic then turned to the refs and was picked up by the NESN cameras shouting “COME ON! WHAT DO I GOTTA DO?” I assume he was referring to how many shots does he have to take to draw a call, but it came off as a bit whiny. However, it’s usually a worthy trade-off, as he plays best (and the B’s do too) when he’s emotionally and physically engaged. Given the fact that he’s had some questionable hits on his record, however, he probably shouldn’t be pandering for roughing calls.
- Speaking of Lucic, fans were incensed on Twitter over the delay of game penalty he received (I believe it was later correctly changed to “closing his hand on the puck”) late in the third. At full speed, I didn’t think it was a great call either. However, after I saw it from a different angle (including the one the ref had), it was the right call: Lucic reached out, put his hand on top of the puck, pulled it towards his body, and then let it go. As per the new rule the NHL put in place this year, the call was 100% correct. Lucic is lucky the Sens didn’t score, as it was a pretty boneheaded play.
- The Sens don’t seem ready to lay down and die as many prognosticators predicted they would following the injuries of Erik Karlsson, Jason Spezza, and Craig Anderson. While those losses (Karlsson in particular) are huge, Paul MacLean has a scrappy, “never say die” bunch on his hands. Daniel Alfredsson isn’t going to let his team drift away under his watch, and if they can get Robin Lehner to consistently perform as he did last night, the Sens might actually hang around for a while.