Glen Andresen's Five Takeaways At Ottawa
Wednesday, 10.12.2011 / 12:36 AM CT / Minnesota Wild | Features
By Glen Andresen - Manager of Social Media
I’m pretty sure that after a helter skelter game that filled with scrums, huge momentum shifts, incessant booing by the home crowd, puzzling calls by officials and about 2,134 whistles, the Minnesota Wild fell to the Ottawa Senators in a shootout, 4-3. That’s what the scoresheet says, anyway.
The league should probably do itself a favor and not show the replay of this one on NHL Network anytime soon. There were just too many delays and too many head scratching moments, especially for the Wild.
Head Coach Mike Yeo is still trying to get his team to play the way it is capable of on every shift. The Wild just isn’t there yet with three games down, but it sure feels like it's not far off.
Tonight was the home opener for the Senators, who dropped their first two road games of the season. I’m sure some fans turned out to see the Sens honor their inaugural team from 1992-93, but they were all there to boo Dany Heatley. From the time he stepped on the ice for warmups to every time he touched the puck, the boos came cascading down from the rafters. There were several chants that are unprintable on a family friendly website such as Wild.com. The only cheer for him went up when Chris Neil shoved him to the ice after he dumped the puck in.
Give the Ottawa fans credit in that they are passionate about their team, and they apparently have memories like elephants. And I get that we in Minnesota still boo Todd Bertuzzi for things he did eight years ago. But he also never carried the Wild to within a game of winning the Stanley Cup, either.
Being at the game tonight, I wasn’t able to catch the broadcast, but from what I understand some microphones picked up some foul on-ice language from Cal Clutterbuck. I find it hard to believe because I’ve never heard Mr. Clutterbuck use profanity.
However, I do know the play that resulted at him hurling some verbal abuse at Milan Michalek. Michalek was playing the puck along the sideboards, and when he saw Clutterbuck coming at him out of the corner of his eye, he turned his back and faced the boards directly.
Clutterbuck immediately started screaming, and rightfully so. In this new era of heavy suspensions, a physical player like Clutterbuck has to be extremely mindful of how he hits players. When a skater turns his back in such an obvious manner, Clutterbuck has no recourse than to either peel off or risk a serious penalty.
Clutter didn’t let Michalek off two easily, however. Every time those two were on the ice together after that, Clutterbuck found him after the whistle and let him have an earful. The two later scrapped in the third with each getting minor penalties.
Clutterbuck and Brett Bulmer were both getting their nose dirties and aggravating the Senators tonight. But Ottawa has one of the best sandpaper players in the game in Chris Neil. The Sens tough guy was a force all night, as he pestered Heatley, destroyed Clayton Stoner with a clean hit (one of eight he doled out) and bagged a goal and an assist.
Matt Kassian (who had already pummeled Zenon Konopka earlier in the game) tried to goad Neil into a fight in the second period as Ottawa controlled the play, but Neil smartly held back. He was rolling, as was his team, and he wasn’t about to take himself out of the game for five minutes.
I can’t believe the Senators have only been in existence since 1992, because they’ve had more jersey changes than any of the teams in the League. And don’t get me wrong, I think the Sens have some of the coolest unis in the League, but as I surveyed the crowd tonight, I must have seen 12 different styles. And the Sens will roll out another one this year when they sport their heritage jerseys that will be worn12 times this season. Admit it. Those are cool.