• RSS

Strader's Blog: It's Ottawa vs. Anaheim

Tuesday, 05.29.2007 / 9:19 AM ET / News
Florida Panthers
Share with your Friends

Strader\'s Blog: It\'s Ottawa vs. Anaheim
Hello Panther fans….

I’m on another flight across the country to cover the 2007 Stanley Cup Final between the Ottawa Senators and the Anaheim Ducks. I’ll be working the NHL International telecast that goes out to more than 175 countries around the world. This will be the 10th time the NHL has produced a separate world feed and I’ve had the privilege of being there for all of them. My partner in the booth will be Joe Micheletti who just completed his first season as the analyst on NY Rangers’ telecasts after several seasons as the analyst on the NY Islanders’ telecasts. I’ve worked the last six Cup Finals with Joe and we both agree this will be an interesting matchup. 

Here are some of the storylines to watch for:

*  Didn’t meet in the regular season   With all the games on TV and the minute video breakdown that all coaching staffs go through, it’s hard to believe this will be much of an issue. But you never really know an opponent until you match up against them. I think back to the 1995 Final between New Jersey and Detroit following the lockout shortened regular season when each team played only 48 games all within their conference. The Red Wings just seemed to be everyone’s prohibitive favorite. Detroit would be too quick and talented for the defensive minded Devils…NOT! The Devils won that series in four straight. I remember talking to several of the Devils and they were apprehensive heading into Detroit for game one based on what they had seen on tape and based on all the media hype surrounding the Wings. But, about midway through the first period of game one, the Devils’ players realized they could skate with the Wings and Detroit couldn’t match their grit or power.

I have a feeling that Anaheim will be a team that is a whole lot harder to play against than what video can show. The line of Penner-Getzlaf-Perry is going to be a load for any matchup the Senators put out against them.

* Goaltending   The Ducks have J.S. Giguere who is not only on top of his game, but he already has a Conn Smythe Trophy (playoff MVP) to his credit. Giggy was the main reason that the 2003 “Mighty” Ducks went to the Final before losing to New Jersey in seven games. Consider these career playoff stats: 27-12 record, 1.92 GAA and .932 save percentage….and he’s even better in overtime! In 13 overtime decisions, Giguere is 12-1 and has stopped 101 0f 102 shots in just under 251 minutes of overtime play!!

Ray Emery has been quite a story as well for the Senators this season. He started the year as the backup goalie to Martin Gerber who was signed as a big money free agent from Carolina. Gerber struggled early, Emery got his chance and now Ray has a chance to do what Cam Ward did last year in Carolina: take the starting job from Gerber and win the Cup. And let’s not forget that Emery has posted a shutout in each series: Pittsburgh, New Jersey and Buffalo.

* Matchups    The Ducks checking line of Pahlsson-Moen-R. Niedermayer will face their greatest challenge against the dynamic trio of Spezza-Heatley-Alfredsson. It will be nearly impossible to keep the Sens’ big line off the board…the key will be to minimize their effectiveness. The fact that Ducks’ coach Randy Carlyle can put Chris Pronger or Scott Niedermayer or Francois Beauchemin on the ice behind that checking line is a huge advantage.

Senators’ coach Bryan Murray has a decision to make with regards to his shutdown defense pair of Phillips-Volchenkov as well as the checking unit of Neil-Vermette-Kelly…does he put them against Getzlaf’s line or McDonald’s line (with Teemu Selanne)? The first period of game one may tell us a lot about how this will unfold.

* Depth   Randy Carlyle isn’t going to let the stat sheet fool him into thinking that the Senators are a one line team. Spezza-Heatley-Alfredsson have been so prolific that other potential offensive threats could easily be overlooked. Players like Fisher (22 goals), Comrie (20 goals) and Vermette (19 goals) are capable of scoring. The Senators also can get production from their fourth line of McAmmod-Eaves-Schubert….something the Ducks haven’t gotten (and haven’t needed to this point) from their little used fourth unit.

On the back end, with all the talk of Anaheim’s big three, Ottawa has the tremendous top two pairings of Redden-Meszaros and Phillips-Volchenkov. The emergence of Joe Corvo has also been a big boost on the blueline for the Sens’ power play.

Prediction   Two of the referees for the Final are on my flight (Paul Devorski and Dan O’Halloran). I really think that the way this series is called will be a factor. If the Ducks can be as physical as they were against the Red Wings, Ottawa will have a tough time establishing their forecheck. The games in the West have looked a lot harder in terms of finding space than the games in the East. If the Senators do a better job of drawing penalties and get on the power play, it could be a different story.

I look for the Ducks to win in six games.
* Miscellaneous    A couple of other nuggets to leave you with: 1) If the Senators win, Daniel Alfredsson would be the first European captain of a Stanley Cup champion. Derian Hatcher (Dallas- 1999, U.S. born) is the only non-Canadian captain of a Stanley Cup winner. In fact, Alfredsson is the first European captain to reach the Final. 2) Ottawa is the birthplace of the Stanley Cup and the last time a team from that city competed for the Cup was 1927! 3) Anaheim is attempting to become the first champion from the west coast since NHL clubs began exclusively competing for the Stanley Cup, also in 1927. 4) Rob and Scott Niedermayer are trying to become the first brothers to get their names on the Cup in the same year since Brett and Duane Sutter with the 1983 Islanders. My partner Denis Potvin also shared that great honor with his brother Jean twice during the Islander dynasty.

I hope you enjoy the series and remember games one and two are on Versus…games three through seven will be on NBC…NHL Radio (XM 204) has all the games. If you’re going to be traveling in Europe, Asia, South America (just about anywhere in the world) ask where to find our telecast. If you see any of the games, send an email to the Panthers and let them know. I’ve heard from people in the past that saw our show in Japan, South Africa….even Singapore!

I’ll be back when the series shifts to Ottawa.




1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69


J. Jagr 79 27 39 23 66
J. Jokinen 81 18 42 25 60
A. Barkov 66 28 31 18 59
J. Huberdeau 76 20 39 17 59
V. Trocheck 76 25 28 15 53
R. Smith 82 25 25 19 50
A. Ekblad 78 15 21 18 36
N. Bjugstad 67 15 19 -8 34
B. Campbell 82 6 25 31 31
B. Pirri 52 11 13 -4 24
R. Luongo 35 19 6 .922 2.35
A. Montoya 12 7 3 .919 2.18

FloridaPanthers.com is the official Web site of the Florida Panthers. Florida Panthers and floridapanthers.com are trademarks of the Florida Panthers Hockey Club, Ltd. NHL, the NHL Shield, the word mark and image of the Stanley Cup and NHL Conference logos are registered trademarks and NHL Draft name and logo are trademarks of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 1999-2016 Florida Panthers Hockey Club, Ltd and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.