Tonight the Senators will present their ninth annual Canadian Forces Appreciation night and depending on who you ask, this may be the only ‘presence’ the Senators will have in the building tonight when they take on the Penguins.
Although Paul MacLean has affirmed that there will be no lineup changes from Saturday night (meaning Matt Kassian will dress), Guillaume Latendresse told reporters after this morning’s skate that he is playing tonight. Either MacStache is trying to play some mind games and sucker Dan Bylsma into dressing a useless pugilist like Steve MacIntyre or Latendresse is confused here. It wouldn’t take much to convince me that either alternative is the correct one.
Fortunately for the Red Scarf Union, it appears as though Cooke will play tonight; meaning all of the hard work and preparation that has gone into the Matt Cooke Hatefest has not been for naught.
The Senators fan group will descend upon Scotiabank Place tonight to chant anti-Cooke songs and showcase their wanted posters that depict Cooke as the ‘dirtiest player in the NHL’.no comments
There was a point in this NHL season in which things looked bleaker than Ilya Zubov’s future with the Ottawa Senators organization. When Erik Karlsson joined Jason Spezza on the IR, fans in this city started writing this team off like we had time-warped back to 1994.
Fortunately for the organization however, supplementary players like Pat Elynuik were not walking through those dressing room doors.
Instead, at various points throughout the course of this abbreviated season, fourteen rookies have seamlessly transitioned themselves into the lineup and made contributions. You can thank management’s shrewd drafting and the stockpiling of assets for that. Throw in some equally important player development and the Senators have been able to stem the tide in the absence of their best players.
Now as we approach the playoffs, we’re casting a yearning eye at the team’s IR and probably for the first time since 2005/06, it felt like the Senators could do some significant damage in the postseason if the chips fell the team’s way and guys got healthy.no comments
I don't think I"m exaggerating to say the greater hockey world was eagerly anticipating Eugene Melnyk's next interview following this little number (which Graeme had some fun with here). Eugene talking into a microphone is pretty much always notable, but this instance went viral in ways past curious comments stayed a local footnote.
The above video was shot today by The Score's Daniel Slater as Eugene spoke to the media following his annual Skate For Kids charitable event. Can't be sure but it sounds like Brent Wallace is the questioner here, so credit to him if that's the case. Cooke stuff starts @ 1:59.
Q: You were very vocal after the Pittsburgh incident with Matt Cooke. Have you settled down knowing that Monday's the next game since then?
Melnyk: Are we talking about Matt Cooke?
Melnyk: We're not talking about Matt Cooke. Um, look it's got nothing to do with settling down, um, I've committed to not saying anything about it until we've completed everything we need to do...and speak to the league about it. Look, I'll do anything I have to do to protect my players, it's as simple as that. And um, that's exactly what I'm doing there, and after that I can't really comment. But it will take a couple of months before anything really comes out."
Probably says something about the organization's perspective that this question and answer was missing from the version posted on the Senators site.
What you can't appreciate in the text is the sly smile that begins to appear on Gene's face as the question is asked. I'm a little surprised he commented on this as much as he did, there was no dissuading people of the idea this forensic investigation is a real thing that is actually happening.
Will his interest in the "case" lose steam if Karlsson gets back into the lineup in the coming weeks? Will it drag on for years and years a la Heatley grievance?
A PTS appearance can't be far off, can it?no comments
For some time, we have known that Ann Arbour would host an outdoor game to make up for the lockout wiping out the one that was previously scheduled for this season. And while there have been rumblings of additional games in cities like Los Angeles, nothing really seemed certain until tonight's Insider Trading segment which discussed a prospective series of NHL games that would be played outdoors during the 2013/14 season.
Considering how much revenue these types of events generate, it's not a surprise to see the league try and profit on this venture. It is however somewhat surprising to see the Senators be mentioned as an opponent for the Vancouver Canucks in the Heritage Classic game on March 2nd, 2014.
There's been talk of the Canucks hosting an outdoor (indoor?) game at the newly refurbished BC Place for a few years now, and considering Ottawa and Vancouver are the only Canadian teams (save Winnipeg) yet to play outdoors, this matcup seemed a little inevitable. If not in Vancouver than maybe at a refurbished Landsdowne in 2017.
Of course the caveat here is that this schedule of events is subject to change, but man, it'd be fantastic if this came to fruition. Would we see special new/old sweaters from the Sens and Canucks, or would they just wear their "Heritage" and Millonaires duds?
Road trip, anyone?no comments
Having led his teammates through the morning stretch at practice today, Senators sophomore defenseman Jared Cowen announced to the media that he would be in the lineup versus Carolina.
Cowen, if you'll remember started the the locked out season playing in Binghamton. His stint with the B-Sens only lasted three games before a tear in his hip labrum necessitated surgery. With recovery pegged at 6-9 months the common belief was that his season was done.
Cowen: "From the time they told me I wasn’t going to play this year, I always had in the back of my mind, ‘Screw that – I want to play.’"— Ian Mendes (@ian_mendes) March 27, 2013
As awesome as it is to see Cowen back in the lineup ahead of schedule, one wonders and hopes that he hasn't rushed things and is 100%, or close to it.
Ottawa is fortunate to have Cowen back with seven games left in the regular season. Though he had been skating on his own and with the team these past few weeks, this number of games should be enough time for him to get back into game shape and hone his timing.
As a rookie, Cowen tallied 5 goals and 17 points in 82 games, playing on the team's second pairing with Sergei Gonchar. During today's practice, Paul MacLean had him paired with Eric Gryba -- an indication that the coaching staff is going to break him in slowly (or quickly, depending on what you think of Gryba and his limitations). But with Wiercioch's surprising emergence as a top four option, there's no guarantee Cowen winds up alongside his old partner.
Here are Gonchar's WOWY's (with or without you) with Wiercioch in 2012/13:
|GONCHAR + WIERCIOCH||259:33||57.1||57.9|
|GONCHAR - WIERCIOCH||340:06||44.4||47.2|
|WIERCIOCH - GONCHAR||175:00||60.0||52.9|
And with Cowen in 2011/12:
|GONCHAR + COWEN||648:18||38.3||50.4|
|GONCHAR - COWEN||563:06||57.5||51.0|
|COWEN - GONCHAR||175:00||52.1||53.2|
While Wiercicoh plays more on the power-play and Cowen more shorthanded, the interesting thing is that MacLean's usage of both players in their rookie season's 5on5 has been very similar as far as zonestarts and quality of competiton -- which makes this sort of comparison pretty fair. Gonchar and Wiercicoh has obviously produced great results here, which is not to say that Cowen-Gonchar is a bad option, especially if the coaching staff is looking for more "balance".
In any case Mac's got more options, which is a welcome change.no comments
As a head coach for a minor league affilitate, it has to be somewhat of a bittersweet feeling to help graduate so many prospects to the NHL, with Pageau the latest to look great in his debut.
On one hand, there has to be some personal gratification knowing that you had some hand in the development of the 14 rookies who have dressed for a game with the Ottawa Senators this season.
On the other, thanks to absurd number of injuries that have befallen many of Ottawa’s best players has created a steady movement of players between the parent organization and its affiliate. With so many of his best players being recalled to fill the ranks in Ottawa, one would not have blamed for Richardson for being a bit disappointed to see the talent level of his team diminish. But to his and his players’ credit, they have managed to stay competitive.
So it must be a foreign feeling for Luke Richardson as his roster is supplemented with CHL-products whose junior careers are now over.
Jakub Culek joined the B-Sens on March 27th after his season with Cape Breton came to an end. And this week, first rounders Matt Puempel and Cody Ceci will assuredly join the team now that their respective junior teams have been eliminated from the OHL playoffs.
The B-Sens do not play again until they play three games in three days starting this Friday versus Manchester, so that gives Puempel and Ceci an extra few days to get settled in Binghamton.no comments