Friday, March 26, 2004

The Method

How does a hockey team win the Stanley Cup?

1. They've got to have solid goaltending. No sleeping on the job. Every save counts and creates plays going in the other direction.

2. They've got to kill penalties. Hell, even better, avoid penalties altogether.

3. They've got to capitalize on powerplay opportunities. You've got an edge, move the puck around and use it.

3. They've got to be patient. On and off the ice. Just because the puck doesn't go in the first time, keep plugging away at it. The more times you shoot, the more times it will go in the net.

4. They've got to have more than one line that can score. Ideally, you should have three lines with enough firepower to tally at least a goal per game.

5. They've got to have chemistry. Sometimes it takes more than just stringing together a few players with talent. Sometimes certain players just click together.

6. They need a leader. The captain, the commandant, his job is to work hard, keep the team focussed on the prize and lead by example.

Last night, I think we saw all of that in the Ottawa Senators. Lalime played the best game I've seen him play since the 2003 playoffs. He was focussed, determined, and held the line against a powerful team. He looked like Brodeur last night. The new line of Alfie, Smolinski, and Bondra clicked, accounting for 3 goals, and I'm sure they'll be together again. Adding Spezza to Neil and Van Allen's line added a scoring punch to Ottawa's weakest line. Splitting up de Vries and Redden was the way to go. Last night, Ottawa looked like the Stanley Cup contender I know that they are.

If they keep playing like that, the Senators are ready for war. Bring 'em on!


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