The odds are stacked against the eighth seed Ottawa Senators in their first round series against the New York Rangers, but that’s okay. Sure, the Senators will play to win just like everyone else and they aren’t going to let a little thing like the Rangers superior record, all-star goaltending, intimidating top line, or their impressive depth stop them from giving it their all. Taking a step back though, this is a rebuilding season for the Senators and, on that level, just getting some playoff experience is a victory.
Only, for Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson, this season isn’t about laying the ground work for a future Stanley Cup bid. At the age of 39, this might very well be it for him.
“I look at it as, it could be my last playoffs,” Alfredsson said. “I’m going to treat it as such, too. Who knows, even if I play next year, if we get back in the playoffs. You just want to make sure you enjoy it, and make the most of it.”
It’s worth noting that Alfredsson is signed through the 2012-13 campaign, but he might decide to hang up his skates this summer. He’s spent his entire career with the Ottawa Senators and has never won a Stanley Cup. You can expect him to play with a lot of passion as the Senators attempt to upset the top seeded Rangers.
Well, the NHL’s two new initiatives for ’15-16 seem to be going swimmingly.
Not long after Ottawa successfully made the second-ever coach’s challenge, fans got their first look at 3-on-3 overtime.
And what a look it was.
In the span of 137 seconds, the Tampa Bay Lightning and Philadelphia Flyers combined for eight shots on goal, a few breakaways, some tremendous saves — including one on a penalty shot — and, finally, Jason Garrison‘s game-winning goal on a breakaway from center, giving the Bolts a 3-2 win.
It was, in a word, fun.
Lots of fun.
A quick sampling of reviews:
Of course, not everybody was a fan:
Now, to temper things a bit — this was the first time we’ve seen 3-on-3 with something on the line, so there was a novelty factor at play. There’s also no guaranteeing future OT sessions will be as exciting as this.
But none of that takes away from the fact 3-on-3 made for appointment viewing, and immense entertainment value. The prospect of future games like this? That’s pretty exciting.
Didn’t take long for Alex Burmistrov to make his presence felt — though not in a good way.
Burmistrov, playing in his first game for the Jets after a two-year stint in Russia, delivered a questionable elbow to the head of Boston’s Patrice Bergeron late in the first period of Thursday’s season-opener:
Burmistrov received a two-minute minor for an illegal check to the head, while Bergeron received a matching minor for roughing (retaliating for the elbow, specifically).
The Bruins went into the intermission leading 1-0, and have yet to update Bergeron’s status.
Update: Bergeron stayed in the game, but B’s head coach Claude Julien was none too pleased with the hit. Following the game, he called for the NHL’s Department of Player Safety to look at it…