Friday, June 08, 2007

Why the Sens Lost: How they Can Win in 2008

I have studied the game tapes and crunched the numbers.

I have looked at ESG+, ESS-, TOI, shift charts, specialty teams, built databases and read tea leaves and I have come to a startling conclusion.

I know why the Senators lost the Stanley Cup.

As a Leaf fan, it’s a secret I’m not sure that I should share with our supposed rivals from the town that fun forgot.

It could be the key that brings the Cup back to Canada.

But, in the spirit of sportsmanship and in deference to so many of my poor, sad friends who sold out their previous teams to cheer for the Sens, I am prepared to share that secret with you now.

Beards.


That’s right, as anyone can tell you facial follicles separate the men from the boys.


As the Blue Jays have found out, the arrival of Sal Fasano’s fu man chu has the club approaching the .500 mark for the first time this season. Talk of releasing Fasano has seen the team lose two in a row to the lowly Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Imagine if Sal had the power of a full beard.

Still don’t believe me?

Look at last year’s miracle run by the Oilers. You don’t really think that team should have been in the finals do you? But Google any images from last year’s playoffs and you’ll get a sea of beards among the blue, copper and white.

Biggest disappearing act in the playoffs by an impending free agent? Daniel Briere. Why? Because he can’t grow a beard – Briere grows facial hair like he’s the daughter of the bearded lady at the circus.

Calder cup winners? The Bulldogs – here’s the wire photo:
Carey Price will haunt the Leafs one day

Now, look at this year’s Stanley Cup match-up.

The winners:
beards everywhere

And the losers:
spot the beard

It couldn’t be more obvious.

Who had the best beard on the Ducks?

Scott Niedermayer

Who won the Conn Smythe?

Scott Niedermayer.

Who was suspended twice?

Pronger.

Who was clean shaven?

Pronger.

I’m starting to see a trend here.

Hands down, the most consistent Senators in the finals - the guy that coach Murray said he wished he had a dozen of?

Mike Fisher.

Which Sen had the best playoff beard?

Mike Fisher.

Coincidence? I think not.

Even Teemu Selanne’s father (or father in-law) grew a beard:
Finnish Flash

Consider this: Heatley and Spezza didn’t grow beards for the finals. A search party is still looking for them.

Want to know something really spooky?

J.S. Giguere didn’t let in a single really bad goal. Challenged for the Conn Smythe trophy and gets his name engraved on the Stanley Cup. Everything seemed to go his way.

He had a beard.

The goalie at the other end of the ice? Well, he ran into some pretty bad karma in game six – scoring on his own net to kill any momentum Alfredsson’s short-handed goal might have brought. In fact, many would argue that Emery had his worst run of games in the Stanely Cup final. Why? What was the cause of his poor play?

The man is named Razor.

Think about that for a moment.

The Sens goalie is the anti-beard.

Alfredsson, an early favorite for the Conn Smythe, shows up in the finals clean shaven and it’s like some type of madness hits him. He ends up shooting the puck right at who? That’s right, the Duck with the biggest beard.

As the Sens and their fans spend the summer trying to figure out what went wrong and how they can bounce back next year, it’s pretty clear to me that they don’t need to re-build, they don’t need to change this line-up to threaten for the cup.

This team needs to embrace the beard.

The Sens need to throw away their lady philishaves, get rid of those pink venus razors, home waxing kits and their disposable Gillette Daisy Plus - whatever they’re training staff put out in the clubhouse - and they need to get on the beard bandwagon.

Next year, a few months after the Leafs have failed to qualify for the playoffs (about the same time that MLSE offers JFJ a lifetime contract) each and every Senator should look like they could house a family of rare birds in their facial hair - then, and only then, will they sip from the Cup.

8 comments:

  1. they need to get on the beard bandwagon...

    Would that be the "beardwagon"?

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  2. Would it help the Leafs to institute a no-shaving policy all season?

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  3. Beardwagon sounds somewhat dirty as in, "I'll give you a ride on the old..."

    As for the power of beards transcending the regular season, I have my doubts. I think they're strictly a playof thing - that said, the Leafs will need all the help they can get next season so full-on facial hair might be required.

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  4. I think this is the most brilliant post I've read about that entire series.

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  5. You have hit it dead on.

    Beards=playoff success.

    Last year's Conn Smythe winner? The kid with the beautiful beard, Cam Ward.

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  6. Sorry man, but you're way off.

    Niedermayer had the greatest playoff beard I've ever seen, granted - he looked all set to part the Dead Sea after the first round.

    How do you explain Jason Allison, then? He had the greatest follicle skills I've seen of any Leaf player, but it did nothing for his play.

    I have another theory, one that was booed heartily by my buddies.

    The reason the Ducks won the Cup? Three words: Hall of Fame.

    Throw a dart at ANY Cup winner since 1917. Any winner, I triple-dog dare you: all of them had at least one bonafide Hall of Fame player on its roster. Even the Victoria Cougars and old Montreal Maroons teams. After the 50's, most teams had a half-dozen of them! Don't even bother looking at any Canadiens team after that date; or the Oilers, or Islanders, or Bruins...all of them were stacked with the greatest who ever played.

    Anaheim, had their airplane gone down in flames three weeks ago, had at least two players on the roster who are first-ballot Hall of Fame players: Selanne and Niedermayer. And possibly Pronger. No need to even project the careers of Getzlaf, Perry, or anyone else at this point. They're covered.

    What about Carolina, you whine? They had Rod the Bod, who with his legendary leadership qualities, Selke tropies, and 1,000 points, is a sure winner. And you only have to lean on him if Recchi doesn't make it.

    Tampa? Andreychuk. And I tentatively include Lecavalier. He's well on the way to 1,000+ career points, and he's already added some important hardware to his bathroom shelf.

    But the Senators? The closest Hall candidate is Alfredsson, who with 700 some-odd career points at age 34 doesn't cut it. Even if he makes 1,000 points for his career, he's never been a top player in the league, and the only tropy in his cabinet is the Calder. Spezza, Heatley? Don't make me laugh.

    No boys, the Cup Connection is made through the brawny arms of Hall of Famers.

    That's why Anaheim won.

    (P.S. - Toronto's greatest chance for a Cup in recent years? Could it be 2004, when they had potential Hall candidates Sundin, Leetch, Roberts, Nieuwendyk, and Belfour? Too bad they couldn't stay healthy, or else they might have run away with it...)

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  7. Anonymous10:41 pm

    I totally get the ha ha in your post, and I laughed my @$$ off. This is classic!!One of the best posts I've read..and yes, I'm a sens fan, but I can look at both sides of any story. I thought when I started to read it, was because Alfie touch the Prince of Wales trophy, and the ducks wanted nothing to do with theres. Humm wonder what would happen if Sid the Kid goes to the Finals, They are screwed by your claims. Great post!!Oh and GO SENS GO!!

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