- By not dressing Colton Orr, Ron Wilson deprived us of the opportunity to watch Orr vs Carkner XXVIII.
- If you're bored and can't wait until tonight's puck drop, check out Puck Daddy's 2010-11 Season Preview of the Ottawa Senators that was written by last week's The 6th Sens Podcast guest, Sean Leahy. (Ed. note: Didn't agree with the biggest flop risk in Alfredsson. Personally, I would have stuck any of Regin, Michalek, Kovalev or Spezza ahead of the captain. Let me know who you would have put there in the comment thread below.
- And if Puck Daddy's preview isn't enough to satiate your interest, check out this video of the Ottawa Sun's Earl McRae talking about hats. (Ed. note: hat tip to reader Mike O. for the find.) Why wouldn't Jason want to talk to a self-professed gigalo about maturity?
A few days after posting a commentary on how Jason Spezza now has to tread carefully with the media, one writer has taken exception to another incident involving Spezza's silence. Earl McRae, the Ottawa Sun's resident editorial axe grinding hack, accomplished what he set out to do: to portray Jason Spezza in a negative light.
McRae, who was part of a media scrum involving Spezza, wanted to ask the center a question about his state of mind that has been drawing the praise of his peers. However, before McRae could pose his question, Spezza ducked out of the scrum and returned to the locker room. Cuing an inevitable hatchet job from McRae:
Is this the rumoured new Jason Spezza, at 27, the artist as a young man, no longer going on 15 with the giggles, chuckles, goofy smiles, and innocent candour that made his personality so refreshingly likeable in the sporting era of mechanical robots?
This is his eighth season with the team, he’s well beyond the cosseting excuses that he’s still NHL embryonic, his unsettling gaffes on the ice understandable, give him time, he’ll mature. Jason Spezza, who now must rightfully be bequeathed that disturbing word in Sportsworld: Veteran.
Veteran implies maturity, not only as a player doing it right, but the mental and emotional feeder maturity as a person that will bring together all that is expected of him on the ice, and serve to dissuade the fans making him their favourite whipping boy as they so often do.
If he doesn’t know, he should, that when the season starts their whips will be at the ready again, but he should also know the genesis of their cat-calling anger is because they know how skilled and gifted a player he is when not succumbing to that of all artists to the manor born: The compulsion to display their out-of-the-box creativity.
In the case of Spezza, his behind-the-back or between-the-legs passes that result in giveaways, his slowness, or disinclination to hurry back into the play.
It didn’t help Spezza, or the Sens fans’ belief that for a big player who shies away from hitting or fighting — unlike the far more skilled and talented Alex Ovechkin — he’s an under-achieving, immature, emotionally fragile baby when after last season he complained to general manager Bryan Murray he was upset over the fans booing him and would not say no to a trade.
At Scotiabank Place, the artist answers the usual hockey questions, none related to a possible new Spezza. He doesn’t chuckle, giggle, or smile. A portent of a new maturity? I go to ask him. He cuts me off, turns, and bolts for the dressing room at a speed he should use when getting back into the play.
Isn't it a tad ironic that a journalist is criticizing a player for not talking and shying away from contact, when that same journalist said nothing to Spezza in person?
When Spezza's infamous exit interview with Bryan Murray occurred, maybe he mildly hinted around the truth by saying that he would not object to a trade if Murray could find a deal that was mutually beneficial. Maybe deep down, he desperately wants to escape the fishbowl atmosphere that comes from playing in a Canadian city. Only Jason and his inner circle truly know the answer.
I realize that many will look at Spezza's situation and say that if a player can sign a long-term extension and reap the benefits and limelight when the team is winning, he shouldn't look to jump the shark when the team experiences a setback. However, whether you're a proponent or critic, give credit where credit is due. If Jason wants out, he's done a great job of hiding his true feelings. Fortunately, he has said all of the right things and this hasn't escalated into another Heatley situation. By all accounts, Spezza seems content to remain in town. If he can put this behind him and move on, why can't the local media?
Or is everyone content to try and further their own agenda by helping push Ottawa's best offensive talent out the door?
(Ed. note: Starting with McRae's column, I'm going to keep a running tally of articles that cast Spezza in a negative light. If you happen to come across one, send me an email with the link.)
I'm probably the last to write this but now that defenceman Filip Kuba will miss a minimum of five to six weeks with a broken leg, Ottawa's depth at their weakest position is going to get tested early. For a team that many, like TSN, are predicting to be on the playoff bubble, Ottawa can ill afford to get off to a sluggish start. Fortunately, the injury did take place during training camp, so it will allow Kuba's replacement -- Brian Lee, Jared Cowen, Chris Campoli -- more time to get used to the system and his defensive partner than normal.
Are you a graphic designer who wants to have their work displayed and promoted on this website? Or are you friends with one? Well, we at The 6th Sens are looking for a unique banner. If you're interested in submitting your work, please email us at the6thsens (at) live dot com and we will give you the specs (ie. height and width) of the banner size.
Ottawa Citizen's Fancy New Toy
If you haven't heard, the Ottawa Citizen has unveiled a new website called Senators Extra that will be contributed to by all of their respective columnists. While this does signify the end of James Gordon's Hockey Capital blog, I'm hoping that it won't put an end to last season's enjoyable prediction panels.
Based off of some of the feedback that I have received from my last post, maybe it wouldn't be a bad idea to run a themed day for Friday. How do you readers feel about Photoshop Fridays in which you would submit Photoshopped images of the Senators/the opposition/whatever hockey theme is prevalent at the time. Let me know how you feel about this. I'll take any other suggestions while we're at it.
So after last night's podcast recording, Tim and I spent a fair bit of time discussing the website, the podcast and the direction that the site is going in. Granted, we're really happy with the way that things have developed for us over the course of the year, however, there are certain issues that we'd like to get addressed.
Simply put, the forums on this website aren't getting used at all. Secondly, for whatever reason, the comment threads are devoid of discussion amongst readers (aside from a few loyal readers who can be counted upon to leave something). I know that prominent discussion here is not an issue because of website traffic. Traffic levels have remained pretty steady over the course of the last while. So I ask of you, what is it? How can I make this website more conducive to discussion and part of your daily routine? Is it the comment system itself? Do you just enjoy coming hear to read only our opinion(s)? How can your experience here be made better?
2) The Live Blog Feed
I know for many of you, the live blog feed on the right-hand side of the page is a fantastic feature that alerts you as to whether or not the other Sens websites have updated their content. And frankly, it does allow you the opportunity to view someone's work of which, you may not be subjected to otherwise. However, although a number of you specifically use this feature as a launching point in your morning when you're looking for Senators news, I am starting to flirt with the idea that for the fellow Senators sites out who don't/refuse to use take advantage of this feature, I may just hardlink you on the sidebar instead with other resources like HFboards or Behind The Net. So let me know how you feel about this idea. Give me your feedback or do one better, encourage the rest of the Senators blogosphere to reciprocate with live feed links. (Note: For some of the sites that already do provide live links, thank you.)
First of all, I just wanted to thank s those who regularly email in with pictures/links/stories that Tim and I should be checking out. We do appreciate these emails. However, now that the season is almost upon us, we'd like to encourage readers to send in Photoshopped images, emails, opinions, anything to help make this website a more interactive place to visit.
As always, you can subscribe/download/stream the episode or entire catalogue of episodes from Itunes. Or you can download the file by right-clicking and saving this file. Or you can simply stream the episode below. We hope you enjoy it. If you have any questions or comments about the podcast, please leave us some feedback in the comment thread below. Thanks for listening, we hope you enjoy the show.Tracklist for the podcast: Japandroids Heart Sweats; Pavement Date With Ikea; Stone Temple Pilots Vasoline; and Paper Route Empty House.
Shortly after posting last night's grab bag, Bruce Garrioch threw up a short little piece that featured a conversation that he had with Eugene Melnyk. In it, Bruce discussed the prospect of the team investing in new scoreboard before the start of the 2011-12 season. Here's what was said on Off the Posts:
I did this for you Don.
The first question I asked once the dust settled and the microphones were gone, I took Senators owner Eugene Melnyk aside on the stage to see if the club would have a brand new scoreboard for the 2012 NHL all-star game.
I mean what a perfect way to welcome the best players to town. You know, with a brand new scoreboard and HD screen. The best one I’ve seen is in Montreal. To be honest, Buffalo has a pretty nice one as well. I’m sure Pittsburgh’s will be grand.
Don, here is the answer I got when I asked if there’d be a new scoreboard by Jan. 26-to-29, 2012.
“I couldn’t comment on that right now,” said Melnyk. “I don’t know the timelines.”
Is it something you are looking at?
“We are looking at it, but a lot of it has to do with the economics of it and what the fans are saying,” said Melnyk. “We poll our fans all the time and we ask the question, ‘Here’s your menu of what we can afford to do, what takes priority? The big priority over the last couple of years and going forward is food and beverage.”
So, there you go Don, I tried. I really did. Better food then better vision.
That doesn’t sound promising for the new scoreboard you so badly want.
I did what I could to get you an answer.
At first glace, it doesn't sound overly optimistic. Although, and maybe this is me reading way too much, nowhere in his comments does The Euge write off the possibility that a new scoreboard can't be in place by 2012. If anything, it looks as though the owner is playing coy and if he is, rightfully so. It's far easier to deal with the fans and media if promises of a new scoreboard by a certain timeframe go unfulfilled.
After re-Tweeting Garrioch's link last night, our friends over at Sens Nation passed along the link to a thread that they have on their messageboards. In it, they ask fans to vote on which NHL scoreboard they would like to see the Senators invest in, if the opportunity arose to replace the current version. The technological eye candy is worth the visit alone, so be sure to check it out.
Personally, this is what I'd love to see in Scotiabank Place, I hear it doesn't cost that much coin...
Here's your Wednesday night edition of what's kicking around the Interwebs. Enjoy.
For those of you who were hoping that the 2012 NHL All-Star Game announcement would be a precursor to the Senators getting a new scoreboard, this news is going to hit you like a bucket of cold water. Via Twitter, Bruce Garrioch (@SunGarrioch) has let it be knownst that Senators owner Eugene Melnyk indicated there won't be a new scoreboard at Scotiabank Place for the 2012 NHL all star game. Isn't it fitting that the organization spends more time and resources modernizing their jersey than they do on their scoreboard? Don't get me wrong. I can understand why. But at some point, will the organization stop preying upon those devout fans who exhibit a tendency to drop significant coin on any jersey that's new. At this point, I wish the team would follow Buffalo Sabres model by recognizing the errs of their ways and reintroduce the original uniforms.
Out of the rumo(u)r pages, Eklund is mentioning on Hockeybuzz that the Senators have held discussions with the Los Angeles Kings and that Spezza's name is at the forefront of many of the rumours. Personally, I believe that the Spezza rumours are without base. If he truly was on the way out of town, I doubt that he would have taken the time to attend today's Senators function at the Chateau Laurier. Albeit, it is often that I find that with Eklund and other rumo(u)r mongerers is that when they discuss some information, they may not have the names of the players right but they sometimes tend to have the correct teams named. Interestingly, Bryan Murray was conspicuously absent from today's events. Maybe he was working the phones? Regardless, I feel that if Ottawa was to make a move, it would be to trade some of their depth for a better individual talent.
As I noted earlier, the Senators revealed their official 50-man training camp roster today. While the Ottawa Sun also revealed the Senators camp roster, at quick glance it looked as though they neglected to mention Brian Lee. Fear not though Lee fans, he was included in the Sun article. However, his name simply wasn't given the same formatting as some of his peers, thereby making it look like he wasn't invited to camp.
Over at Off the Posts, Don Brennan rightfully asserts that although the All-Star Game confirmation is great news for the local economy, the game itself is fluff. In the piece, Don notes that the game itself is an insult to Canadian hockey fans who like more about the game than fancy stickhandling and nice passing. Or in other words, he doesn't like the game because it showcases the same skills that he demands from Alexei Kovalev on a nightly basis.
TSN is running a featured article on where Jared Cowen future lies for the 2010-11 season. In it, there are two interesting comments from Kurt Kleinendorst and Jon Klemm. First, here's Kleinendorst, "I think when you watch us play and you watch our blue-line, he is the one guy that just kind of jumps out at you. He's probably the closest to being ready (for the NHL), but is he ready? He's a young kid."
And here's Klemm, an assistant coach for the Spokane Chiefs who truly believes that Cowen won't be returned to the junior club, "He's a big, physical presence out there. He can change the game at any time with a big hit or a great defensive play. That's kind of the player he is. He handles himself very well not only on the ice but off the ice -- he's great in the locker-room, he works extremely hard. It was a pleasure to work with him last year."
When asked how he'd feel about playing another year of junior, Cowen responded with this,
"This is where I think I can improve the most," he said. "If I went back to junior, it would be a step back. If I stayed here, I'd obviously get a lot better and become a better player. Going back to junior, it would be a familiar spot -- Spokane's a nice place to play, I love the guys on the team, love the coaching staff and everything.
But this is a step forward. This is where I want to start."
In the past month, we've seen a number of mainstream media types weigh in on the battle between bloggers and journalists. Bruce Dowbiggin, of the Globe & Mail, is the latest to chime in on the issue. According to Dowbiggin, if NHL teams are going to begin the process of credentialing bloggers, it isn't enough of a deterrent to simply threaten bloggers with a loss of credentials or libel lawsuits, in fact, he recommends that bloggers post a $10,000 bond before being allowed in a pressbox. I shit you not. Anyways, without getting into the debate, the folks over at the Toronto Maple Leafs blog aptly named Pension Plan Puppets weigh in and it's a worthwhile read. So check it out.
Odds are, if you're a fan of the Ottawa Senators, you have an innate hatred for Darcy Tucker. Hell, even if you don't, this brilliant and original piece by SLC of Five For Smiting deserves to be read. What are you waiting for?! Read it now!
According to the Ottawa Citizen, Nick Foligno believes that he has the opportunity to grow and grab one of top six spots on one of Ottawa's first two lines. It's a bold statement and in fairness to Nick, I don't know how he's going to do it. If Peter Regin assumes the left-wing slot that he played alongside Jason Spezza during last spring's playoffs and Milan Michalek fills the second line left-wing spot, where does Nick Foligno fit in? Especially when you consider that the Ruutu - Kelly - Neil line will remain intact. Nick's not a fourth-line player, but with Ottawa's depth, where else does he fit?
The Ottawa Senators revealed their 50-man training camp roster today. Camp opens on Friday, September 17th with all of the players taking their physicals that morning.
Here is the roster:
Five goaltenders, 2009-10 team(s): Brian Elliott (Ottawa - NHL), Mike Brodeur (Binghamton - AHL, Ottawa - NHL), Pascal Leclaire (Ottawa - NHL), Barry Brust (Florida - ECHL, Houston - AHL), Robin Lehner (Sault Ste. Marie - OHL, Binghamton - AHL)
15 defencemen, 2009-10 team(s): Jared Cowen (Spokane - WHL, Ottawa - NHL), Chris Phillips (Ottawa - NHL), Brian Lee (Binghamton - AHL, Ottawa - NHL), Chris Campoli (Ottawa - NHL), Filip Kuba (Ottawa - NHL), David Hale (Tampa Bay - NHL, Norfolk - AHL), Matt Carkner (Ottawa - NHL), Patrick Wiercioch (Denver - WCHA), Andre Benoit (Hamilton - AHL), Derek Smith (Binghamton - AHL, Ottawa - NHL), Sergei Gonchar (Pittsburgh - NHL), Geoff Kinrade (Binghamton - AHL), Eric Gryba (Boston U. - HE, Binghamton - AHL), Craig Schira (Binghamton - AHL), Erik Karlsson (Binghamton - AHL, Ottawa - NHL)
30 forwards, 2009-10 team(s): Milan Michalek (Ottawa - NHL), Daniel Alfredsson (Ottawa - NHL), Mike Fisher (Ottawa - NHL), Peter Regin (Ottawa - NHL), Zack Smith (Binghamton - AHL, Ottawa - NHL), Bobby Butler (New Hampshire - HE, Ottawa - NHL), Jesse Winchester (Ottawa - NHL), Jason Spezza (Ottawa - NHL), Chris Kelly (Ottawa - NHL), Kaspars Daugavins (Binghamton - AHL, Mississauga - OHL), Chris Neil (Ottawa - NHL), Ryan Shannon (Ottawa - NHL), Alex Kovalev (Ottawa - NHL), Corey Locke (Hartford - AHL, NY Rangers - AHL), Erik Condra (Binghamton - AHL), Jason Bailey (Binghamton - AHL), Jim O’Brien (Binghamton - AHL, Ottawa - NHL), Roman Wick (Kloten - Switzerland), Ryan Keller (Binghamton - AHL, Ottawa - NHL), Francis Lessard (San Antonio - AHL), Jakub Culek (Rimouski - QMJHL), Colin Greening (Cornell - ECAC), Corey Cowick (Ottawa - OHL), Tim Spencer (Binghamton - AHL, Elmira - ECHL), Cody Bass (Binghamton - AHL), David Dziurzynski (Alberni Valley - BCHL), Mark Stone (Brandon - WHL), Mike Hoffman (Saint John - QMJHL), Nick Foligno (Ottawa - NHL), Jarkko Ruutu (Ottawa - NHL)
Last month, a few of the various Senators website writers came together for a roundtable to discuss and get different perspectives on some of the various hot button topics involving the Ottawa Senators. Considering how well the first one went, here is the second of our monthly SenShot, Peter Raaymakers from the Silver Seven, SLC from Five for Smiting and myself. Each month, one of these aforementioned people will choose five questions for the panelists to answer and this month, it was Peter's turn.blog roundtables featuring Tony Mendes from
1.seems to have the inside track, but which other prospects do you think have a good chance to make the NHL squad? ? ? ? Someone else?
Tony, SenShot: I thinkwill be a surprise in training camp and will start the season in Ottawa. He has been in the organization for awhile now and needs to prove he can handle the NHL. Seeing others such as Smith pass him on the depth chart, I think Bass will come into camp with a chip on his shoulder and will use his grit to earn a spot with the big club. The top six forward spots are spoken for and a third line of Ruutu-Kelly-Neil will be hard to break up. The Sens already have too many defensemen with one-way contracts, so the only spots possibly available are on the fourth line. Bass is a hard worker and great penalty killer and will use these assets to earn a spot.
Peter, Silver Seven: I think the Senators will have some prospects making strong statements in training camp, but looking at the number of players on one-way contracts, it's going to be difficult for anyone to really stick on the NHL squad. I'm pretty sure Z. Smith will continue to play as the fourth-line centre, withor as the healthy scratch, but I think we might be surprised on defence: Jared Cowen's got a decent shot. The losses of and have left a pretty big void in terms of physical, defensive defencemen. and are the obvious choices for penalty-killing, but where do we go after that? I don't think Cory Clouston would be too excited about both , , or killing penalties (and imagine if one of those four were in the sin bin... ), so Cowen will get every chance to make the team--including a nine-game tryout before the Sens have to decide what to do with him.
SLC, Five for Smiting: Bank it: Cowen will get a full nine game audition coming out of camp, especially if he brings the pain at the rookie tourney. Murray has shown he's not afraid to burn a year on an ELC if he thinks it will help the club (see file: Karlsson, E.) and Lord knows our StayPuft D will need all the bang it can get. In a perfect world, Cowen wins a spot outright, meaning The Bryan will be free to dump...er... "trade" the now entirely redundant Filip Kuba. This would make my pants very happy.
Graeme, The 6th Sens: Poor Brian Lee. From being passed on the depth chart, to losing his number fifty-five, to his exclusion from prospect discussion by the Senators blogosphere. Of all the names listed, I think they all stand a reasonable chance to play on the big club this upcoming season. Whether they all crack the roster at the end of the exhibition schedule remains to be seen. Obviously based on their experiences last season, Smith and Butler will probably get the first opportunity to play regular minutes up front. Wick will likely get recalled once he's earned a promotion and adapted to the North American style. Like SLC, I'm in agreement that Cowen will be given every opportunity to make the club. As was the case withlast season, his addition to the squad would help fill a void that the team lacks. However, if Cowen shows that he's not ready. I wouldn't be shocked to see him returned to junior for another year and see the Senators move a body or two to bring in a physical defenceman who can fill that void with guys like or filling in as injury replacements.
2. The final two games in the playoffs did a lot to restore's standing on the Senators, but which of Leclaire and do you think will begin the season as the number one goaltender?
Tony: I think Leclaire will begin the season as the starter as he is in the last year of his contract and Sens management want to know if he should be resigned. Sens brass also bought in Leclaire's old goalie coach from Columbus to help Leclaire regain his confidence. Leclaire has a larger upside then Elliott, however, he needs to prove he can stay healthy and be consistent. Leclaire's playoff performance has restored some faith in him, but he will be given a short leash as Clouston only cares about winning. I believe Leclaire will be the starter on opening night, but I am not as confident he will end the season as the undisputed number one.
Peter: In the crease, we're starting from scratch right now. Clouston's familiarity with Brian Elliott probably gives him a slight edge, but Pascal Leclaire seems to think his injury problems are behind him now (we can only hope), and he's got more pedigree as a starting goalie. In terms of pure skill, I have to give the advantage to Leclaire, but Elliott seems to have more physical and mental discipline. But right now, I don't think either of them can be classified as the starter.
SLC: Snoopy's salary guarantees he'll be the starter come October 8th. But he will be on a VERY short leash. It was fairly obvious last year that the Little General didn't trust him, and I don't think two decent games (one of which involved choking up a three goal lead, let us remember) six months ago will be enough to change that. This of course assumes that Snoop even makes it to camp and doesn't get hurt tying his skates.
Graeme: Since both goalies are headed towards free agency on July 1st, I believe that both are going to be given every opportunity to take hold of the number one gig and roll with it. Based on his salary and the way that last season ended, I would fully expect Cory Clouston to anoint Leclaire as the opening day starter. Mind you, ifhas a productive season in the AHL, all of our eyes will be looking towards the future.
3. With, a more experienced Erik Karlsson, and (hopefully) healthy returns for Filip Kuba, , and , the Senators' powerplay should be better than last year. But do you think the difference will be significant, in terms of PP efficiency and, ultimately, Ottawa's point totals in the standings?
Tony: I think Ottawa's powerplay will improve this year with the addition of Gonchar and healthier players. However, Ottawa has never really had a dominate powerplay that scared teams. I think the team this year will set the foundation for a good powerplay and maybe next season, their chemistry will be greater and lead to more success.
Peter: Ottawa's powerplay has got to be hugely more potent than it was last year, I don't think there's any question about that. And I do think that will translate into more points in the standings, especially when you consider all the one-goal losses become ties thanks to more powerplay efficiency. Improved goaltending consistency is the Senators' biggest area for improvement in the standings, but a better powerplay is a close second.
SLC: Unlike some of our esteemed coleagues *cough*Nichols*cough* I'm expecting a huge upgrade on the PP over last season, not that that would be a particularly tough trick to pull off. With Gonch, Karlsson and yes, even Kuba (whom I'm still totally willing to give away to a good home) feeding them, the forwards should actually be able to hit the zone with some speed instead of having to constantly come back to recover another cement handed flub from Carks or A-Train (RIP). All that remains is to convince the Zebras to actually give us a PP every now and then. Then we're golden, kids.
Graeme: Let me start by saying, I'm not sure why SLC singled me out as a believer that Ottawa's PP won't improve. I thought I've written a number of pieces indicating my belief that the addition of Gonchar and the maturity of Erik Karlsson can only help Alexei Kovalev and Ottawa's PP. Let's take a look at last year's numbers. In 290 PP opportunities, Ottawa scored 49 PP goals. Assuming that these defencemen can help revert just one player, like Kovalev, back to his career norms in terms of PP production the difference could be huge. Five to ten goals could have pushed Ottawa's PP into one of the ten best success ratings.
4. Although Matt Carkner,, , and even (one would assume) Zack Smith are expected to be in the Senators' lineup next year, do you guys expect tough guy to play much (or at all) for Ottawa this season?
Tony: I don't think Lessard will play any games in Ottawa this year. Along with the above mentioned players, there are many guys in the line-up that play with enough grit to keep teams honest. Fisher, Michalek and Foligno can all hold their own. Lessard is a fighter and is needed more in the AHL protecting the young kids then being a liability in the NHL.
Peter: I think there may be the odd game where Lessard plays, especially if we run into injuries at some point. Looking at the bruising lineup thehave, and the historic rivalry, I think those are a few obvious games that Lessard could be useful--especially since Carkner stands to be a more important part of our defence (at least defensively speaking), so we can't afford to lose him for five minutes at a time too often.
SLC: Saturday, November 27th, 2010. Game three against the Leafs, at home. Phaneuf can bang his rocks together in a truculent fashion from the infirmary.
Graeme: No. If I've noticed one thing from the Murray/Clouston regime, it's that they favour pugilists who can contribute in other facets of the game.
5. How do you want to see the defence pairings set up for next season
- Gonchar - Karlsson : This will give Karlsson a mentor on the ice who he can tailor his game after. Together they may be a defensive liability, but these two can move the puck so well that they can exit their zone quickly and push the offense, thus limiting opponent's chances.
- Phillips - Lee : This can be our new shut-down pairing. Phillips is as solid as a rock and is a great teacher. Lee needs to establish a role for himself to stick in the NHL. He can be the smooth skating defensive defensemen. It is now or never for Lee and I think this gives him his best chance to succeed.
- Kuba - Campoli : These two have tons of offensive talent, and by being the third pairing, they will go up against other teams third and fourth lines which can open up the ice for them. These two will also be the second powerplay unit and can work on building chemistry together.
- Carkner : Matt can be the seventh defensemen who can come in and play the physical shutdown role and/or the enforcer role. He can also fill in when injuries happen (and with three defensemen well into their thirties, injuries are bound to happen). Matt can also play on the fourth line if more toughness is needed. This is no slight to Matt, but the Sens' defense this year will be all about puck possession and pushing the offense, which is not exactly Matt's game.
- Cowen : I think Cowen will get a nine game audition with the big club before he is sent down to junior. This will be to see what Cowen's got and to see how far along he is in his development. He probably will be paired with Phillips as a safety net.
These pairings pair our younger defensemen with veterans to help them learn the game and to protect them too.
Peter: I seem to be one of few people condoning an absolutely stacked offensive first-pairing: Sergei Gonchar with Erik Karlsson. They'd play almost the entire span of just about every powerplay, take offensive-zone faceoffs, and basically get the sweet ice time for increased offensive production. I think the second pairing would be somewhat of a shutdown pairing, although Kuba's presence with Phillips makes it a little difficult to call it that (although I think without putting undue offensive pressure on Kuba, we might enable him to simplify his game and, ultimately, play a lot better). Third will be Carkner with either Lee or Campoli, whoever's playing better at the time, unless one of Cowen or even perhapsgets a shot as a defensive force on the blue line.
SLC: Gonchar - Karlsson (the softness terrifies me)
Big Rig - Campoli
Carks - Cowen (WE HAVE BECOME DEATH, DESTROYER OF WORLDS)
Kuba + Lee will make for a lovely gift basket. Just sayin...
Graeme: Like it or not, Chris Phillips has always been partnered with the team's best defenceman since he entered his prime. First it was, then it was Anton Volchenkov. Now, it's Sergei Gonchar's turn. Here's what I have: