Hard to believe that when the above photograph was taken, it'd be representative of Nikita Filatov's chances of playing under Paul MacLean. Anyways, here's the last few seconds of audio from this morning's media scrum.
So there you have it: Nikita Filatov had no chance of getting into tonight's lineup. In other words, nice knowing you Niki.
Of course the topic of how to handle Filatov properly has been a contentious one for Senators fans. On one hand, there's a belief that Filatov needs to earn his top six ice-time. On the other, there's a belief that he should be given an extended opportunity on a top line before we can write him off as a prospect and ship him off to Siberia.
Naturally, there are going to be some morons out there who will use this opportunity to unfairly shit on Filatov because this decision is obviously some heavy handed indictment of his attitude or work ethic. Acting like they actually have a thumb on the pulse of what's really going on behind the closed doors of that locker room.
Maybe he does or maybe he doesn't. A much simpler assertion could be that the team is trying to showcase its other forwards for a prospective trade. Or perhaps what's more likely is that thanks to the NHL's current points system and shootout gimmick that rewards teams for not being able to win a game in regulation or overtime, Ottawa's record is inflated and the team is tied with Washington for the eighth playoff seed in the East. (Note: Yesterday on Twitter, I published what the NHL standings would look like if they awarded no points for a loss and one point for a tie. Here's the photo here.) If the coach feels like the guys who are playing tonight give his team a better chance at winning now, then who can fault him for that?
Ovechkin Spears Neil
Looks like Ovechkin has learned the art of making something dirty look inadvertent from David Steckel. According to Sportsnet's Jeff Marek, there will be no fine/suspension for Ovechkin's spear last night on Chris Neil. Let the NHL's wheel of justice continue to spin...
In the absence of Filip Kuba...
... The Senators have gone 1-2-1. His regular defensive partner, Erik Karlsson, after a brief experiment with Chris Phillips has mercifully been paired Jared Cowen of late. This young defensive tandem has accumulated over 30-percent of the team's blueline even strength time-on-ice over the past three games.