Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Would you start Leclaire?

This picture: Relevance? None at all. Awesomeness? Directly proportionate to the mustache.

So last night's game saw the Sens suffer a complete ass-kicking at the hands of the Flyers. A couple of early tipped-in goals were all the goals Philly needed, but they kept pouring them on. Ottawa, meanwhile, looked sloppy in our defensive end. Our offence had no spark. Our shit-disturbers were taking more penalties than they were drawing. At the end of the day, it was just a miserable team effort.

The team is flying back to Ottawa today for Daron Richardson's funeral, which is definitely a class act, before heading to Raleigh for a game against the Hurricanes. Clouston can say they "
need a better-rounded game" all he wants, but after a game like that, changes have to be made. This is a team that won seven of their last nine games prior to last night, but a blowout like that kills so much momentum.

So why not shake things up by putting in Leclaire? After the game in Vancouver, Leclaire was scapegoat #1, despite the team not playing well in front of him. There were a few goals he should've had, yeah, but the same could be said about Elliott last night. Most people, myself included, seem to think that the Canucks were too much, too soon for the newly-healthy Leclaire. Why not play him against a weaker team and get his confidence back up? No disrespect to the Hurricanes, but they're not in the same class as the Canucks.

I'm no fan of the 'win-and-you're-in' methodology, don't get me wrong. But after the game in Carolina, the Sens go on to play the Blues, the Kings and the Stars, three great Western Conference teams. If not against Carolina, when does Leclaire get his next start? Pittsburgh? Too good of an offense. Toronto? Sure, why not throw him to the wolves if he stinks it up? If not Carolina, the next best option would probably be the lowly Oilers on November 29th. A goalie like Leclaire just doesn't do well if he sits on the bench for a long time between starts. Though, for that matter, Leclaire doesn't do well if he sits on the bench, period. Still, no pucks to the face this year yet.

The stats speak in Elliott's favour against the Hurricanes. He has a lifetime record of 4-1 and a 1.87 GAA against the 'Canes, compared to Leclaire's 1-3 record and 2.88 GAA. But y'know who else Elliott has a good record against? Philadelphia. And we all saw what went down last night.

Is playing Leclaire tomorrow the smartest move? Maybe, maybe not. But this team needs to be shown that efforts like last night's will result in change. It's only one game, so I'm not proposing trading everyone and their mothers. I'm just suggesting a minor shakeup. Besides, between a few bloated contracts and having Hale and Lee up, but not playing, it's not like we have much wiggle room to call up Zack Smith or Bobby Butler.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments section. Also, don't forget that you have until the end of the day tomorrow to get in your nickname ideas for Erik Karlsson to thebreakoutpass [at] live.ca. My favourite suggestion wins an Erik Karlsson jersey t-shirt, size large.


  1. It's been awhile since I've posted on Sens blogs anywhere so what the heck - yours needs a comment. Pretty good read Lewy, but tough to break into the blog scene when there is a mess of them out there. Barely get a chance to check out 6th Sens these days.

    I had the chance to go to 3 games - yotes, cats and isles - all sens victories and while I was glad the team won - I still had the nervous feeling they could drop the ball at any time during the game when they had 2 and 3 goal leads.

    While those teams were equal to weaker teams by most standards and ones the sens should be beating I felt the team played sloppy - yotes game for sure.

    The other two games were better, but the team still had some lucky breaks. Which is good, but still doesn't yield fan confidence.

    These past few games have been dismal performances. and despite the circumstances of tragedy the team still must play. The Flyers game - a few unlucky breaks - deflected ping pong shots that may have resulted in a different outcome or at the least a 2-1 or 3-1 loss ahd they not found net.

    My point is not that losing is great but don't lose in a way that makes it appear you mailed it in.

    It seems a broken record, repeated story with this team - flashy at times, streaky at times and downright horrible at times - little consistency. Zero to no secondary scoring. Our point leaders (if you can call them that) from last year are not contributing as they should and aren't even secondary scoring on most teams.

    While Alfie has held his status quo, Spezza starting to come on - there isn't enough support - and while Kovalev Spezza and Regin look like they could come together and be a scary dominant line, until they contribute 2 goals a night (from the their line not each :) and the others be consistent the team won't dominate.

    They've all shown they can score - there is depth right through the lineup they should be doing better. But maybe the chemistry isn't there. There is some element that is broken. I have always believed that with the right coach and system - if the players buy in - any of these NHL teams can win and go deep in the post season.

    To me there is no one answer. No one goalie to fix it - which leads me to your question. Yes start Leclaire. Give him three or four starts. It's better to lose 4 in row with one guy than piss around alternating and trying to fiddle - too much doubt. Leclaire will never get on a roll, never have a shot at doing what he was hired to do. If he loses 4 or 5 and fails to get on a roll and looks horrible go back to Elliott and stick with him.

    Expensive backup - but at this rate I think he is done. If he finishes the year above 3 GAA and below .900 he's only going to get work overseas or AHL.

    The pieces are there, the talent and skill is there but if the pieces don't fit together this group won't get very far.

    Maybe a poor outlook on my part, but on a positive there is still 60 games left, lots of hockey to play, improve and get consistent. They just better start soon, with 30 or 40 games left on the same roller coaster, things won't get easier.

    Happy Blogging!

  2. Thanks for the insightful comment, MOP! Appreciate the support, and while I agree that it may be hard to break into the blogging scene, it's perseverance that separates the average from the great.

    I think last night's game just goes to prove exactly what you said Thursday--apart from the first goal, the top two lines were invisible. We need more secondary scoring, sure, but primary scoring is a legitimate concern, too.

    Our goaltending situation is tricky and lackluster, as per usual. Elliott's shaky past few starts make starting Leclaire next game a near-must. I agree with your theory of letting goalies go on a roll, but Elliott's had plenty of time and no results. Time to give Snoopy another kick at the can.

    Thanks a lot for reading!