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Proteau's Blog: World-beaters

Adam Proteau
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The Hockey News
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Proteau's Blog: World-beaters

Adam Proteau
By:
• Okay, after Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final, is there anyone who doesn't believe Ottawa should be the overwhelming favorite to win the Stanley Cup? I mean, with all due respect to the Red Wings and Ducks, the Senators are looking like they're in a class of their own.

First, they barely broke a sweat through the first two rounds against Pittsburgh and New Jersey; now, they've thoroughly demoralized an offensive powerhouse like the Sabres, to the point where Buffalo could manage only four shots on net in the first period Monday night.

I might as well get my championship prediction out of the way: Sens in six. Against anyone.

• As some of you know, I'm much more of a story guy than a stats guy. Which is why I'm not as interested in the fact Ray Emery shut out Buffalo Monday or that Daniel Alfredsson has scored in every game of the Eastern final, as I am that both players are shutting up their critics with inspired play.

It's also great to see those two players – renowned good guys who always came out to face the media in playoffs past, regardless of how badly their team had been whupped – succeed at the greatest levels of the game. Sometimes the hockey gods are righteous dudes.

• Now that I've said I'm not a stats guy, here's a stat from Game 3 that's very telling about the Sabres and Sens: Through the first two periods, the teams were dead-even in faceoff percentage (17-17). But in the third period, when sticks and sphincters get the hardest of squeezings, Ottawa beat Buffalo on 12-of-19 puck-drops.

That's a sign of one team gaining confidence with every passing minute – and another crumbling under the pressure. Talk about your role reversals from last post-season.

• One reason to hope for a Senators-Red Wings final: it would guarantee that a team with a European captain finally wins an NHL championship. And I could email back those indignant dogmatists who told me such a thing would never happen.


FEEDBACK:
You sure jumped ship quickly from Anaheim-Buffalo to Detroit-Ottawa.
- Josh L.

The reason why Ottawa hasn't broken a sweat so far (and good on them for doing so) is they have essentially been bullies - playing aggressive hockey against small teams (and Buffalo is a very small team). A big team like Anaheim that can both establish a forecheck AND keep the front of the net clear will be a much more difficult opponent for Ottawa ..... and I dare say the Sen's are in for an awful shock if they have to play the Ducks.
- Patrick James Kerr

If you think the ducks have a size advantage think again, they average 212 pounds, the sens 210, so you can throw that stat out the window. Like the ducks the sens hit everything in sight and use their physicallity to turnover pucks. The ducks led the league in fighting but that is a non issue in the playoffs. The sens have simply destroyed 3 teams all of whom would have given the ducks fits. From top to bottom (in these playoffs) no team has touched ottawa in any area of the game. Sorry, but a winner is a winner no matter what and there is no comparison between the sens and ducks. Sens in five, if the ducks can even fluke their way past detroit. Either way only a fool would lay their money on another team.
- dave
If the Sens learned anything from the Devils, it's that the less shots your goalie faces, the better your chances of winning. Ottawa's only weakness is their goaltending, because no one left in the playoffs leaves juicy rebounds like he does. The Ducks would be betters suited to take advantage of this than Buffalo (obviously) or Detroit, but I'd still pick the Sens over the Ducks in a 7 game series. Could the Cup finally be going home to Canada?
- Joe Willix

Just watching game three of the detroit, ducks series... Got to say that Brian Burke has a real nack for finding the biggest dumb, dumbs in hockey. Pronger is like a massive brain-fart on skates who is several generations removed from where the game is now. Some may call it passion, but the truth is that he along with the rest of his "scrappy" team are simply lacking brain power. It seems clear to me that from the coach on out they are going to "passion" their way right out of the playoffs. I guess Pronger was simply playing Bertuzzi style hockey... Say didnt Mr. Burke sighn Big bert as well? No pattern there I guess. All of this bodes well for Ottawa. Keep up the good work ducks! I'm looking forward to Brians snarky, arrogant speach when the feathers settle in the wake of his teams third round waddle out of the playoffs.
- dave wertwyn

The Senators will get "schooled" by the Red Wings and in fact Ottawa will be lucky to win a game. There is a pretty significant difference between Rounds 1-3 and the Cup Finals especially when talking about a young franchise that has never been to a Cup Finals and bunch of players who have zero Cup Finals experience. Still no respect for the Wings, that is okay all the so-called "experts", like Dobber who picked the Sharks in 4, out there who defiantly keep picking against Detroit will be stunned beyond belief.
- Andre
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Proteau's Blog: World-beaters