Without Volchenkov no less.
Ottawa Senators (40-31-5) Vs Washington Capitals (49-15-11) @ 7pm ET, Verizon Center Television: Sportsnet
Some of you may be wondering what's up with the Don Brennan still that adorns the top of this article. Well, I made the same face when I found out that Brian Lee was filling in on the blue line for tonight's game. Provided that both the Thrashers and Rangers fail to win tonight and Ottawa finds a way to beat the Capitals, the Senators will have clinched their first postseason berth since 2008. While that would be a small achievement for the organization, it didn't prevent me from picking against them as part of James Gordon's Prediction Panel for the Ottawa Citizen:
Senators 2, Capitals 4
Last time these two teams met, Anton Volchenkov blocked 11 Washington shots. Without him, I expect more Capitals shots to find their way into the back of the net (God I hope Volchenkov's agent, Jay Grossman, doesn't read this). At least with Volchenkov out of the lineup, we won't be subject to more photos of the A-Train fraternizing with the Capitals' Russian players. Without them, there will be less hysteria that Volchenkov will bolt on July 1st.
Brian Elliott gets the nod between the pipes tonight and here are the lines that were used in practice today:
- Regin - Spezza - Alfie
- Fisher - Cullen - Kovalev
- Ruutu - Kelly - Neil
- Foligno - Smith - Winchester
- Injured: Kuba, Michalek, Volchenkov
- Healthy Scratches: Butler, Donovan, Shannon.
Although the Senators haven't officially clinched a playoff spot yet, playoff tickets will go on sale Saturday, April 3rd at 10am at the Senators box office. Besides this announcement on the team's website, it appears as though the team has also released their new playoff slogan for the 2010 playoffs. The first 200 fans in line for tickets (at SBP) will receive Senators car flags, while all persons in attendance will receive a free All In, All Red window cling courtesy of Scotiabank.
All In, All Red? That sounds like a sex move that involves a menstral cycle. I'd love to see what mantras hit the cutting room floor. Here is our list of failed 2010 playoff suggestions:
- The Playoffs, Where Kovalev's Pay Matches His Work Ethic
- Hockey Hasn't Meant This Much... Since the Olympics
- You Can't Spell Winchester Without The W-I-N
- Rock the Red. (What do you mean the Capitals already did this?)
- Ride the A-Train Before It Leaves the Station
- Before things get messy can we just remind you we weren't even supposed to make the playoffs?
It's always fun when our Bloguin brethren, Five For Smiting, calls me out for my disdain in handing Volchenkov a blank cheque:
To any and all questioning whether A-Train should be signed for whatever the hell he wants to be paid (ahem...Nichols) should take a long hard look at Friday night's game. I'm with Jeremy on this one. Pay the man, Bryan, and cut elsewhere if need be. Keep him here. How many other guys on this team would take a puck in the face and not miss a shift?
Personally, for the money, I'd rather see the Senators fix the power play by offering Sergei Gonchar a 2-year, $10 million deal. Then re-sign Sutton and flip Kuba and Volchenkov's rights. A top four of Gonchar-Phillips, Karlsson - Sutton looks fine and well balanced.
Shannon Hits Clouston, Earns New Nickname
The big news coming out of practice this morning was Ryan Shannon's collision with Cory Clouston during one of the drills. Not only did Shannon put the Senators' coach on his ass, it also provoked this post-practice quip, “That’s what happens when you scratch a guy once, he runs the coach. I like that. It was a great hit. I didn’t think he would come at me, but he did. Little prick is pretty solid.”
Of course they bounced back. They're captained by Jared Cowen afterall. By winning 4-3 last night, the Spokane Chiefs staved off elimination against the Portland Winterhawks and forced a game seven that will be played on Wednesday night in Spokane.
Here's today's challenge:
When news broke that Roman Wick was likely coming into training camp next season to try and earn a spot on the roster, it was apparently just the tip of the iceberg. (Ed. note: Here's our link with a Jay Grossman's explanation of why Wick would still be classified as Senators property.)
Now that the Senators have officially confirmed the signing of Bobby Butler, there's been an influx of prospect news with the organization:
- As per TSN's Brent Wallace, Butler has signed a two year deal with the Senators and is expected to get into a game or two to get his feet wet. TSN has some quotes from Bryan Murray about his evaluation of Butler.
- With his Soo Greyhounds having been eliminated from the OHL playoffs, Robin Lehner has joined the Binghamton Senators. In other words, any confidence that Cheechoo has developed by practicing against the likes of Mike Brodeur, Andy Chiodo and Chris Holt is now gone.
- Boston University defenceman Eric Gryba has officially signed on with the Senators thereby ending his NCAA career. Like Lehner, Gryba will join the Baby Senators in Binghamton.
- And some guy named Brian Lee was called up from Binghamton because Anton Volchenkov doesn't look like he can go against the Washington Capitals tomorrow night.
- The Ottawa Citizen is reporting that Patrick Wiercioch has signed with the team and will report to the Senators. There's apparently no urgency to get Wiercioch or any of the other rookies into the lineup since their contracts will be triggered and the Senators will lose a year of eligibility. Instead, Wiercioch may get into some games in Binghamton. It's too bad really. I was already beginning to look forward to Brian Lee's first egregious turnover against the Capitals that will causally increase the amount of clamouring for Wiercioch to assume Lee's spot.
- The Spokane Chiefs, who are down 3-2 in their playoff series against the Seattle Thunderbirds Portland Winter Hawks, are playing their Game 6 tonight. Barring a loss, Jared Cowen will likely be the next Senators prospect to make the jump to the professional ranks.
As expected, Brian Elliott was named the NHL's first star of the week for posting a 4-0-0 record, two shutouts, a .967 save percentage and a GAA of 1.00. It was the third time this season that Elliott was awarded with this distinction.
Kaleta Out, Karma's a Bitch
The Winnipeg Free Press is reporting that Patrick Kaleta had thumb surgery and will likely miss the next two weeks recuperating from the procedure. Kaleta suffered the injury while diving into the end boards and embarrassing himself in the process. Since it was only a thumb injury and he now has all of this free time on his hands, Kaleta can now take up Mike Fisher's suggestion that he play soccer.
F*&@ Ryan Miller
If the Senators meet the Sabres in the playoffs this spring, you may want to keep this video in mind if you plan on attending the HSBC Arena. Don't heckle female Sabres fans. They're drunken pigs. (Ed. note: hat tip to RangerCrisis.com for the video.)
Welcome to day four of the Jared Cowen Autographed Jersey T-Shirt contest. In the past few days, we've challenged readers to:
- Add us to Twitter or plug the Cowen contest on a messageboard. Or both.
- Print off our website's logo and take some pictures of it in front of some landmarks or places of significance.
- Answer a small open book 5-question quiz correctly. (Wherein all of the answers can be found directly off of the website.)
(Ed. note: If you missed any of the aforementioned contest days, don't worry about it. To get involved in the contest, all of the tasks just need to be completed before Contest Day 14 is over.)
And here's your challenge for day four:
A few months ago, we ran a poll on the website asking our readers who they wanted to see most on a future edition of The 6th Sens Podcast. The overwhelming winner was the Ottawa Sun's Don Brennan whom we've never asked to appear on the program. So here's what we're going to do:
- Open up your email and create a new message.
- Address it to
and CC us on the recipient's list.
- Do your best to convince Don to come on a future episode of the podcast.
FriedmanHNIC Ottawa Senators closing in on Bobby Butler, who led NCAA with 27 goals. Think they will beat out NJ, VAN and PIT for him.
As you can tell by the above Twitter message by HNIC's Elliotte Friedman, the Ottawa Senators are apparently pursuing and are close to signing the University of New Hampshire's Bobby Butler. According to hockeydb.com, Butler's a 6'0", 180lb forward who totalled 29 goals, 24 assists and 53 points in 39 games. Born in 1987, Butler's only 22 and led the NCAA in scoring during the regular season with 27 goals.
On this third day of the Jared Cowen Autographed Jersey T-Shirt Contest (JCAJTC), we're running a small 5-question trivia quiz.
Here are the questions:
- In our most widely viewed article, what beer did we compare the Ottawa Senators to?
- On Hockey Central, Nick Kypreos' head should be replaced by what?
- Who was featured in our third episode of The 6th Sens Podcast?
- What was the name of the website before it became known as The 6th Sens?
- In one of our old featured interviews for the website, we interviewed Peter Regin's Swedish Elite League coach, Charles Berglund, who compared his ceiling to this current Los Angeles Kings forward?