OTTAWA - I thought the Senators were going win Games 3 and 4 on home ice. They've held up one-half of that prediction Â– and now that Chris Pronger brain-cramped his way out of the lineup for Monday's game, the Sens have no excuses not to even this series at two games apiece and carry the momentum with them back to Anaheim for Game 5 Wednesday.
Â• So Nikolai Zherdev wants out of Columbus, does he?
For a couple reasons, I don't think the Blue Jackets winger should be packing his belongings just yet. First, he didn't exactly provide full value in the first year of his expensive new contract (10 goals and 32 points in 71 games); second, he'll be dealing with a new GM who will be very cautious before making any deals, especially one involving one of his best young players.
Â• Actual conversation outside an east-end Ottawa watering hole Sunday night:
Extremely inebriated gentleman: Â“Hey, I think I recognize you. You're the guy from The Hockey News, right?Â”
Extremely inebriated gentleman: Â“You know, I like that Mike Brophy a lot. The rest of you have your heads up your a#$@* 90 per cent of the time.Â”
Me: Â“UmÂ…thanks very much.Â”
Â• As a major fan of the type of uncomfortable humor best seen on The Office, I was in stitches watching Manny Fernandez and Niklas Backstrom pose on either side of the William H. Jennings Trophy over the weekend.
The awkward smiles, the cheap small talk, the stiff body language Â– if you didn't know any better, you would've thought they were a divorced couple playing nice for the sake of the kids.
Fortunately for Fernandez, most people think the official divorce (read: trade) is coming sooner than later.
Why is everyone so quick to presume that Ottawa will win game 4 because Pronger is suspended? Anaheim played better in game 4 against Detroit (the game Pronger missed). If I were the Sen's, I would rather Pronger play because now it means more ice time for the more mobile defensemen (Beauchemin and Niedermayer). Even if the Sen's do win, Anaheim still has home ice advantage.
- Patrick Kerr