Thursday, April 26, 2012
Today is a special day in the hockey world, it's a day with a game 7. It's a magical day for hockey fans to watch a game where one team is going home. I love to watch a game 7 as much as anyone. In fact, I thoroughly enjoyed the game 7 last night between Washington and Boston. Game 7's are at the top of the mountain as far as drama in sports go, which is why it's a severely different expereience to watch one when your team is invloved.
By now I'm sure you've heard all the stats, how Ottawa has never won a game 7 before, how the Rangers are 3-0 all time in game 7's at MSG and so on and so forth, but you know what, none of that matters when the puck drops shortly after 7pm tonight. If it was a Sens team from a few years ago I might be worried, but not with this bunch. They're a different breed altogether. They're the cardiac kids and they've shown they're more than capable of winning at The Garden.
Let's table the expectations here for a second and remember that the Senators were expected to be dead last in the conference and are the #8 seed in this matchup. Before the series began every one of us would have been thrilled to have the opportunity to be invoved in a game 7 tonight, especially if you were told Alfie would miss 3 and 1/2 of those games.
It's even more remarkable that we're in this position to take the series tonight when you look at the subpar performances from Ottawa's 2 offensive stars in Jason Spezza and Erik Karlsson. If we're to have any shot of taking game 7, these 2 will have to bring their A game, along with goalie Craig Anderson. Here's some good news heading into the do or die game tonight. Craig Anderson is 8-1 all time at MSG, including a massive 40+ save shutout performance in his last game in New York. For whatever reason Andy looks at home in The Garden. If he plays as good as he's capable of then we should be ok.
But this isn't meant to be a preview piece or a story full of stats, you can get that anywhere. This is how I head into watching this game with a new found appreciation of this team and without the nervousness of years past.
I used to be more relieved to win in the past than genuinely excited or content. With our powerhosue teams the expectations were massive and if we won it felt like big deal, we should have won. But if we lost it was crushing. That's no longer the case due to our underdog status, and youw know what? It feels pretty good. I know they're trying their best and we have limited talent. The fact that we're even in a game 7 against a 1 seed is a testament to the effort and heart the team has.
So whatever happens tonight I feel different than I ever have. I will be proud of the team who's a year ahead of schedule and has battled back when they were down all season. In a game 7 anything can happen. One of those anything's is an Ottawa team winning and knocking off a heavily favored team.
Nothing has ever happened before until it's happened. The Sens have been proving people wrong all year, why stop now.