For the first time in a long time, it's an Ottawa Senators Game Day. The Senators are three days into training camp and already have the audacity to strut onto the ice and work out the rust in front of the Toronto faithful. It's another showcase for the promise of youth; a counterpoint for allowing fighting /enforcers in the NHL; and a soundboard for the cynics if Filatov and Regin fail to impress in their first action.
While it's been over five months since the Senators played their last regular season game, it has been even longer since they played their last meaningful one. Later this evening when the final score sheets are submitted we'll still be awaiting our first meaningful game. We could be waiting a while. Nonetheless, the pre-season is back along with all the fresh hopes and faces that a new season brings. Unfortunately with the likes of Francis Lessard and Zenon Konopka earning a regular shift tonight it's going to be hard to chalk this one up to anything but mildly entertaining fodder for the hockey starved fan.
While Bryan Murray has said the Senators, "Won't be pushed around" this year it's hard to imagine this team pushing for anything of consequence come April. Let the party begin.
The Battle of Two Teams That Had Their Jerseys Leaked By Terry Pegula
Ottawa Senators (0-0-0)
Toronto Maple Leafs (0-0-0)
Here are the lines according to TSN's Brent Wallace (@tsnwally):
Auld and Lehner***
* Apparently Mark Parrish has made the trip with the Senators and could draw into the lineup instead of Lessard. While that may be good news for Mike Hoffman - playing with those two would have been akin to playing with two ringette players - it could be the most recent example of Francis Lessard being buried in the NHL. (Note: While writing this, MacLean came out and said that Parrish will not be playing tonight. Lessard is in. Plan the parade.)
** Filip Kuba this healthy in the preseason? It must have something to do with that Phiten necklace that he's been wearing. Bestowed with its magical healing properties, expect
*** Paul MacLean has stated that Auld will play the first 30 minutes and Lehner will come in to close.
Things of Trivial Significance
Tonight's game will feature two experiments that emanated from the NHL's Research and Development Camp:
1) Shallower nets will be used to create more space behind the net for skaters.
2) A verification goal line will be implemented as well. To explain: in the case of a reviewed goal, if any part of a puck crosses the goal line and touches this second verification line, the puck is considered a goal.
Bad News For Winchester
Thanks to a shoulder injury that was sustained during the team's first on-ice training camp session, Jesse Winchester is not expected to play in any of the team's exhibition games.
According to Paul MacLean, “At this point in time, I don’t anticipate him back for any exhibition games and we’ll evaluate him at the end of training camp and see what progress he’s made, and what decision we’ll have to make then. I think he had to prove himself when he came in here. Any time you miss that opportunity in training camp, it’s a huge blow for your season. He’s a real fit guy and we’ll see where this injury takes him.”
For anyone who preferred to see Winchester beat out Zenon Konopka for the fourth line center role, this might affect things. In the event that Winchester misses all of camp, he'd probably be a candidate for a lengthy rehab assignment in Binghamton.
Center Ice Logo
As somewhat of a surprise, judging by this morning's team skate, it appears as though the Senators will be featuring their 20th Anniversary Logo at center ice at SBP. I had assumed that the team would be using the All-Star Game Logo.
Hockey Prospectus' Top 100 Prospects for 2011-12
Corey Pronman recently published his list over at Hockey Prospectus and the Senators are well represented. Cracking the list are: David Rundblad (17); Mika Zibanejad (21); Nikita Filatov (40); Stephane Da Costa (46); Jared Cowen (76); Jakob Silfverberg (85); and Patrick Weircioch (90). Robin Lehner was represented (4th) in a separate list for goaltenders.
While we can haggle over the individual placement of the prospects themselves, the real importance is that including Lehner, Ottawa tied the New York Islanders for being the most represented on the list - with 8 prospects each.
Senators Release Statement Regarding the 'Heritage' Jerseys
I was emailed this press release yesterday and wanted to pass it along.
OTTAWA - The Ottawa Senators today confirmed that their new heritage jersey was prematurely revealed at a retail outlet in Buffalo, N.Y. The jersey was mistakenly sent by Reebok to the retailer prior to its official release to other retail stores.
“While we are very disappointed to have our new jersey revealed in this manner, we are pleased to see the early comments from fans are extremely positive,” said Jeff Kyle, Senators vice-president of marketing. “We believe that this jersey will be a top seller in the National Hockey League this season, especially as fans learn the story behind how it was designed.
The heritage jersey pays tribute to the early Senators teams that won 11 Stanley Cups and was one the franchises that founded the NHL in 1917. The early Senators were considered the NHL’s first dynasty, with accomplishments so great that in 1950, sportswriters voted the Ottawa club as the team of the first half century in Canada.
“We have spent over two years developing this uniform and one of the most interesting aspects is that we did it in conjunction with a Senators fan,” added Kyle. “We look forward to telling the story of how a fan helped us develop a uniform that incorporates elements of the early Senators teams into what we feel will become a truly iconic symbol of Senators hockey.”
The complete uniform will be formally unveiled on Saturday, Oct. 1, at Puck Drop presented by Scotiabank, where fans will see Senators players wear it for the first time. The free open practice for fans will include interactive games for kids and a used equipment sale. The heritage jersey will available for purchase exclusively at all Sens Store locations beginning Oct. 1 at 11 a.m.
In talking with Tim, he wanted to pass along this thought on the new jersey:
Ottawa's Heritage jerseys are perfect. Here's hoping they can make some jersey-tees based on this uniform so I never have to buy a rec soccer jersey again. Instant pre-order.
I'm actually amazed that a store in Buffalo has merchandise worth over $100 on their shelves and accessible to shoplifters. Shouldn't they be locked up in a glass case or something like at Tiffany's? "
Detroit and Columbus to the Eastern Conference?
After reading an ESPN Insider report that referred to Columbus Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson’s plan for potential 2012-13 NHL realignment, the possibility that Detroit and Columbus could both move to the Eastern Conference next season is frightening. Working under the assumption that one or both of these teams could make the move, it only reaffirms the need to avoid the short-sighted moves and keep working towards the future.beloved