Aquick scan of the NHL schedule for 2019-20 indicates the Ottawa Senators will visit the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center on March 11. It will be the 70th game of the season for the Kings, the 71st for the Sens. Welp. Here’s how we see it going down, complete with a refresher course on the league’s new rule changes:
Dean Brown: Good evening everyone, Dean Brown here alongside Gord Wilson for Ottawa Senators hockey. We realize it’s late back home, and we appreciate you avoiding the temptation to stick knitting needles in your eyes to avoid watching this. This game could decide which team has the best chance of winning the draft lottery and getting Alexis Lafreniere. The Senators are looking forward to this year’s draft with their seven first-round picks and 42 total selections. With a 14-48-8 record, Ottawa is looking to eclipse its 1993-94 point total of 37, and Brady Tkachuk is looking to add to his team-leading 34 points. We’ve just listened to the dulcet tones of Paul LaDue, who sang the anthems, and we’re ready to start.
Gord Wilson: The Kings have lost 14 in a row, and Drew Doughty was telling us at the skate this morning that he has vowed not to shave or brush his tooth again until the Kings hit the win column. So here we go.
DB: Both teams going power-on-power here, with Tyler Ennis facing off against Mike Amadio. There’s a battle for the puck off the opening draw and Ennis gets his stick up. Oh, and Amadio is bleeding like a stuck pig, as we used to say on the farm. Looks like a double minor right off the bat.
GW: No, wait, Dean. Senators coach D.J. Smith is gesticulating and swearing. Looks like we might go to a review here, but it’s at the discretion of refs Wes McCauley and Eric Furlatt. They congregate by the penalty box and wave to Tom Hanks, who’s in the crowd and holding up a sign saying, “I lost a bet.” They’re going to the video for confirmation.
(Eight minutes pass and every angle of the play is displayed in Zapruder-like detail.)
DB: And, yes, it looks as though Amadio’s own stick hit him in the face when Ennis lifted it off the faceoff. No penalty. The good news is Amadio had time to go to the hospital and have facial surgery in the time it took to conduct the video review.
Later in the period…
DB: The Kings work it around the offensive zone, working the puck down low. Dustin Brown digs it out of the corner, out to Kopitar in front. One-timer…and he scores!
GW: Wait, Dean. We might have a coach’s challenge here. The Senators are arguing Alex Iafallo’s foot was over the line on the zone entry. (Many minutes of replays and discussions of breaking of planes and parallaxes.) And, yup, Dean, it turns out that Iafallo’s third cousin’s DNA was indeed over the blueline before the puck, and it’s offside.
DB: Don’t you mean offsides?
GW: No, offside.
DB: Drake Batherson gains the zone for the Sens and Doughty comes across the ice, and here comes the collision…oh, Batherson is down! Looks very badly hurt. And it’s a match penalty for charging to Doughty, who is out of the game. You know, Gord, it actually looked as though Doughty only breathed on Batherson. Might have something to do with that vow not to brush his tooth. Since the referees have to review every major penalty, they’ll have a look at this one.
(Twelve minutes pass, during which the Kings honor Marian Gaborik, who’s permanently on the long-term injured list and isn’t even at the game, with a tribute video for all his service to the organization.)
GW: The referees have reviewed their call and come to a conclusion. Just as we thought, no major to Doughty, but he will have to sit out two minutes for no penalty for reasons the league has never explained. Senators go to the power play.
DB: Thomas Chabot takes a shot that goes high and hits the top of the glass, then it bounces off Brady Tkachuk’s arm, it goes in the air and is tipped to Colin White, and he scores! Wait a minute, the veins in Kings coach Todd McLellan’s neck are bulging out, and he’s claiming the puck hit the spectator netting, then was hand-passed by Tkachuk and high-sticked out of the air before it went to White. He wants a review on all three.
GW: Kill me. Right now. Just kill me.
(A 34-minute review concludes the puck did not hit the netting, nor was it high-sticked out of the air, but it was hand-passed, so no goal for Ottawa. Because McLellan got two challenges wrong and one right, nobody seems to have any idea what to do.)
DB: The Kings work the puck around the zone and have a great chance…oh, what a save by Anderson! To take the heat off, Senators defenseman Ron Hainsey removes the net from its moorings. The Kings will get the faceoff and have sent Jeff Carter and Kopitar out. The two are discussing which dot they will choose. Carter is saying the left dot is his strong side and Kopitar is claiming the right. Oh, my goodness. They’re coming to blows over this, and Ilya Kovalchuk has been dispatched from the Kings’ bench to restore the peace. (Three minutes pass.) Kovalchuk has finally arrived and Kopitar and Carter have come to an understanding. Here we go.
Later in the period…
DB: Dustin Brown and Nikita Zaitsev are jockeying for position in front of the net, and Zaitsev’s helmet gets knocked off. That’s a roughing minor for Brown, but instead of going to the bench, Zaitsev plays the puck and is also called for a minor penalty. He’s speaking to the referee, saying, and I quote, “You must give me a reasonable opportunity to complete the play before either exiting the ice or retrieving and replacing my helmet. It says so in the rulebook.” Furlatt and McCauley are having none of it.
DB: Welcome to overtime, everybody. It’s now 1:30 a.m. and I’m delirious. There have been 43 successful coach’s challenges tonight. (Sighs.) Doughty makes a long pass to Kopitar, who is in on a breakaway. Stopped by Craig Anderson! Oh wait, it appears Anderson knocked the net off its moorings on Kopitar’s breakaway. If that’s the case, the Kings are awarded a goal and win 1-0. While the league reviews whether Anderson’s actions were deliberate, the Sens are demanding a pre-emptive review, saying Kopitar put himself offside. Looks like we’re going to be here a while longer…
GW: Lord, help us.