The Ottawa Shot Differential Vs. Blue Columbia Jackets

See what we did there?

See what we did there?

*Looks up from filling Bronson Ave Petro Canada bathroom sink with hot water to warm up pack of Ramen noodles I found*

Huh? Oh! Hello haters.*hides noodles in hat*  I didn’t see you there. Welcome to this web-site.

So I guess you heard about the game tonight huh? And you want me to talk about it..Let me just comb through these post it notes that I’ve been using as napkins (want not waste isn’t!). While I do that,  enjoy today’s HYYYYYYYYYYPE jam:

Sorry I’ll find a song where someone’s a little more fired up next time. Still worth checking out if only for his interesting takes on doing what you love and the importance of having extendos. *invests in company that makes tattoo removal equipment*

So the last game is an interesting example of the thin line the Sens have been walking so far and the season we might be in for. Recap: They gave up a ton of shots, took a bunch of penalties and great goaltending plus solid penalty killing kept the game flatteringly close. An impressive push in the third period almost saw Bobby Ryan net his now trademark late tying goal but here’s the thing: He t’aint gonna be able to do that every time. It’s amazing he’s already done it twice this year but it’s too much to expect on a regular basis.
If he puts that feed from Karlsson in, they probably come away with at least a point. In this case, he comes up short and they lose. I’m not the first to point this out but this is the great risk we are in for with the return of the Penske Sens (Penske: Official Moving Truck of WTYKY, visit Penske.net to book yours today!).
It will be interesting to see how this shakes out over time. The Sens losing 2-1 on the end of a back to back on the road to a team as good as Chicago? I can deal with that. Losing at home to average at best New Jersey who were themselves on a back to back playing their backup goaltender in a game that the Sens should have been fired up as FUCK to play? That smells a little too much like last year’s inability to get up for very winnable games to make me comfortable. Ottawa has struggled to put up the points to put teams away lately and I present to you a big reason why…

Will the real Michael Zibanejad please stand up score points.
For a guy who’s played in every game so far this season, my G’s stat line is looking similar to a few dudes who get scratched regularly…or, you know, worse. I wrote in the off season how I think to expect in one season for Zibanejad to jump from a 33 point promising young player to 50+ point solid second line stud is a bit much. Now, notice in the bold print I said points not even goals necessarily. To shuffler extraordinaire Paul MacLean’s credit, he’s been giving Mika steady time on the second line. Yes, Mika’s had the tough task of a lot of defensive zone starts (43% or 43.2% if you want to be a dick about it) but approaching the 10 game mark? I was expecting an assist or two. He’s played the majority of his games with Bobby Ryan and Alex Chiasson. So for their combined 8 points Mika doesn’t even have so much as a secondary helper?
*Mark Borowiecki puts on his Mr. Assisty Assist 2014-15 sash*
No bigs right? After all, as the greatish Alex Kovalev once said, “Comes ze shootingz, comes Z goals.” Well perhaps most concerning of all is Mika’s lack of shots. He currently has 7 in 7 games and 0 in his last 2. That’s good for 13th on the team behind snipers like Chris Phillips and Zack Smith.

“But James, sometimes Zibanejazz is all about listening for the shots he’s NOT taking.”
- Michael Jordan, Gambler, Probably Bad Father, Rayovac Renewal Rechargable Batteries Pitchman.

Shut the fuck up, Mike Jordans. For the amount of ice time he’s been getting and quality of players he’s been skating with, not to mention power play opportunity he’s had, 0 points and 7 shots is pretty unacceptable. He’s been doing well at the face off dot but goddamn if crappy old garbage me expects more from a second line centre, I’d imagine the coach does as well. What I’m worried most about here is that if this continues, it could lead to a confidence destroying trip to the pressbox. Seems crazy but if you think MacLeezy wont something tells me the coach wishes a motherfucker would. Remember they sent him to Binghamton just one year ago.
In all, I think Zibs can erase this panic pretty quickly by getting a few pucks on net because as a fan of his, I would say his greatest attribute is his shot. Homie can get the puck off his stick in a hurry. Channel your inner Lazar, Mika. Yeah that’s right I went there. So Pretty please with sugar on top…take some shots, score some goals or else the coach could get psychedelic with your ice time and no one wants less stability in this lineup. And…

This is the part where I talk about Jarrod Cowens
Aight. It’s already challenging as a fan to be patient with this whole new world/new exciting point of view that is the musical chairs of who gets scratched and who plays.
Sarcastic Aside: This is BELOVED by people who try to write game previews in a timely fashion!
The bad news for the foreseeable future is that four of the most frequent healthy scratches, Cowen, Wiercioch, Greening and Erik Condra make a combined $9, 000, 000.00 or to put it in yeoman’s terms, roughly 16% of the team’s overall  payroll. You can just simply throw “Best Players Play” out the window until scientists find a cure for whatever Marc Methot died of.
With the exception of maybe Condra’s $1.25 million, sitting these guys hasn’t exactly been putting Joe Corvo and his $900K in the pressbox indefinitely. Just to add some “fun” irony, the relatively cheap Condra has been the best off the bench performer of these four guys. Cowen who’s been sat the most makes the most too at 3.1 million. Couple in the fact that he’s still in that “Be patient, maybe he just needs a wake up call” phase of his career you can expect to see him more as the season goes on regardless of how he plays. Pains us all, probably MacLean most of all, but with an owner as spend averse as Melnyk, a player who makes that much is going to get some games. So here we are, this is one of them. You can probably thank the Sens hot start for giving MacLean enough wiggle room to sit Cowen as much as he has up to this point. Two losses in a row and here he comes. Perhaps most disappointing in this whole affair is that Patrick Wiercioch has not exactly made the strongest case to permanently bump him from the line up. A pretty big opportunity blown. Why have one disappointing young defender who’s failing to live up to what they were projected to be when you can have two?
At any rate, Cowen has been bad so far but I’d like to think he’s still capable of A good game. Is that crazy to ask? ONE good game from a guy who has over 150 under his belt? Columbus is playing the notoriously tough first game back home after a West Coast road trip. They’ve lost two straight and are playing their 4th game in 6 nights. Catch a sleepy Columbus forward in the trolley tracks. HACK THE BONE JERRY COWEN. Make a couple of nice passes or something. Just help make us all be less mad at you.

Lehner’d Skyn…nyrd….whatever, thanks for reading.
Coming off an extremely strong outing where Anderson graciously allowed only 2 goals on 45 shots (an insane 34 in the first 2 periods alone) Craig will get the night off. Incredible Hulk protégé Robin Lehner gets the start (a-doi). With the upcoming schedule busy as it is (HEYYYYYY would you look at that Ottawa gets to play Chicago AGAIN later this week #blessed), it’s good to be able to rest your starter and have another good goaltender play in their stead. ISN’T THAT RIGHT TEAMS WHO’VE BEEN PLAYING THEIR BACKUPS AGAINST US AND WINNING? Dare 2 Dreeme.
Ugh.
Anyway, I don’t have much negative to say about Lehner’s play so far this season. I think Anderson’s been far more positionally sound but you can’t teach Lehner’s brand of Highlander jazz.
The Lehner has given the team just as much of a chance to win as Anderson. To his credit, Lehner doesn’t even have one of those 3 goals on 6 shots in the first period nightmares like Andy does, so that’s nice(?).
I know it’s their team identity, and this is going to sound cray-zay, but to me, the big key to victory is for the team in front of the goalie to actually show up and play some defense in the second period.  Yes, I’m being unreasonable but in Lehner’s last start, New Jersey was limited to 7 shots in the first. Period ends, zero goals against. In the second, NJ’s shot count doubled to 14. The result? 2 goals, a lead going into the 3rd  and a serious momentum shift in the game  caused by bad babysitting which all ties into that whole thing about we can’t expect Ryan to tie things up with the saving of the bacon game after game.

Vezina winner Sergei Bobrovski was added to Columbus’ already hefty injured reserve list today. Fresh off the IR himself, Curtis McElhinney gets the start for the Jean Jackets. I’m not actually counting this as much of an opportunity as our beloved Sens have been unable to take advantage of this type of thing in a couple of recent games. Need to stop making backups and third stringers (ahhhh my liiiife) look good.

Lastly, a get well soon to Nick Foligno who was injured on a very scary collision in LA two nights ago. Glad it wasn’t more serious. We’re sending our healing vibewaves to you, homie. Here’s to making a full recovery, Nicky.

K, enjoy the game, eat your fries, eat em.

James Day Preview: Ottawa Vengaboys host the Colorado City Snow Hurricanes

Whaaat is the deal with my compete level of late!?

Whaaat is the deal with my compete level of late!?

First, let’s get HYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYPED: 

(seriously unlistenable after like 1 minute…and I LOVE terrible music)


Recap Re: Crap
Kind of a crazy terrible looking game against the city of  Florida. Thrilled to get the win but man that was a character building experience to sit through. Look, I know I’m coming in hotroversial here but I really think the arena crew down in Sunwater, Florida could stand to cut back to at least half the sand they are using in their slush/sand/ice mixture. The ice was pretty bad in Tampa too as evidenced by Steven Stojko losing the puck on his shootout attempt (salut les hateurs!).
I am very excited to watch the Senators play ON GOOD CANADIAN ICE (thumbs up) and complete more than four or five passes during the course of the game praise be to Jah, Lion of Judah for he makes all things possible *Takes huge hit of eucalyptus flavoured chemical mist from Vapegun™*

Phillips still in the game like Jack Lalanne (that’s an old guy, I know, it’s a terrific reference! Gracias quatro el reading!)
I’m just as concerned as the next “Joe Water Bottle Full of Silent Sam Vodka in My Desk Drawer at Work” about Chris Phillips getting over 25 minutes a night. Not only is it unsustainable but there should be I don’t know…SEVERAL guys who should be getting this assignment ahead of him but you know what? He’s looked great the past couple of games. He looks like the Phillips who just a handful of years ago you’d put out to neutralize players like Alex Ovechkin and could actually handle that assignment. Get well soon Marc Methot but pretty crazy that Phillips has been able to step in during this time of need. He will be in for quite a test against the speedy Avalanches but remember one thing my G…just pass it to Karlsson and if Karlsson’s not open, pass it to him anyway and Karlsson will figure it out…with his miiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiindlegs. I’m just kidding around Phillips doesn’t need to be told that. He would never try to carry the puck for more than 3 feet. Seriously, have fun watching for this tonight. It’s a game within the game (within the game within the game).

T’aint Misbehavin’
I know I’m jinxing this but Chris Neil has ZERO penalty minutes in three games. I gotta take my hat off to the guy. If the Sens are going to improve this year, staying out of the box is going to be right up there with the need for otherworldly goaltending and I think the former greatly helps to allow for the latter. Ottawa’s goaltending wasn’t stellar last season and it certainly didn’t  do Craiger and Robbie (peep the super duper casual first name basis) any favors that they had one less person helping them out constantly and often (that’s right C&O).
Don’t get it twisted, I still think Neil has some serrrrious flaws with his game that are worsening with age but, hey, I can get into Chris Neil keeping his nose clean. My expectations DONE been managed considering he once racked up a team-helping 144 PIMs in just 48 games the year of the lockout. Whatever fuck. The point is last year Chris Neil had his highest penalty minute total since his rookie season which HEYYYYYYYYYYYY was over a decade ago. You cant teach singlehandedly putting your team on the PK for an average of almost 3 minutes per game, that’s why they give you a letter. This ain’t fahntasy hockey. PIMs don’t help. Penalties happen, they’re always going to happen but on a team with as delicate a structure for success as this one you gotta avoid them. Keep doin’ what you’re doin’ white boy.

Wow, props to Christophers Phillips and Neil. Bizzarro season in full effect.

Craig Anderson gets the start in net. That’s right I’m saying it. I will no longer be a slave to the tyranny of Paul MacLean announcing the starting goaltender during the national anthem. I’m calling it. Babygirl has been the starter for years now and is coming off a shutout win. It’s gunna be Andy in goal tonight for the home opener and you know what– What’s that? The Coach announced that Anderson is the starter hours ago? Well looks like I was right. Hmph.

Craig will square off against Sam Varlamov who’s allowed 10 goals in 3 games to start the season so maybe Anderson will face him and Reto Berra. Reto Berra is definitely a player that we’ve both heard of. Also, the name Reto. Reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeetooooooooo.

Light a Mupdate (3:41pm): Varlarlmalarlov is a James Time decision. He hurt his dumb groin being stupid (probably)

Anything else about the Avalanche? They are a perfect 0% on the power play.

OH NO Greening and Cowen are healthy scratches! What are we supposed to complain about?
Oh good, Mike Hoffman is scratched too. That was close. Resume complaining but complain amongst yourselves if you don’t like it because I think it’s the right move. With over 600 players currently on the roster we are going to see dozens of people sit night in and night out. I thought Condra looked great against the Panthers.. He looked more dangerous than Hoffman did in the previous two games. Don’t hate Hoffy’s game or anything but Condra was a presence in his shot and I’m glad to see him rewarded for a strong game.
Courteous Lazar draws in to the line up on hat trick I MEAN hat trick I mean….managed expecthattricks.

Should be an exciting game as neither team plays defence.  Enjoy!

Don’t forget to tag all of your tweets Sens related or otherwise #DANGERFLUTES Not part of DANGERFLUTENATION but want to joint the movement? Learn more here.

James Day Preview: Ottawa Karlssons vs. Trashville Predadirts

legwand

Please to be clicking on this before you start reading:

*waits less than patiently for 5 seconds of Toyota Venza ad to pass* 

YEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

Let me be the first to formally say iBienvenidos a sus años del Carlosson! 

After one of the most exhilarating and optimistic off seasons in team herstory, we emerge from under a pile of melted plastic lawn furniture to cheer OUR Ottawa Senators and their actual playing of games! Now we’ll have some filler to enjoy betwixt arguing about the use or non-use of advanced stats, why we’re upset over Patrick Wiercioch’s lack of playing time or Marc Methot’s contract negotiations (Ed note: Hey dickhead, sign that goddamn contract, you’re being offered years of riding shotgun with one of the world’s best players who’ll probably help you get your next contract too…so, pretty please, STFU and go make millions of dollars already) and get down to some NHL Hockey: The Most SENSUAL Game On Earth’s Ice™. I really like the new slogan the league is going with.

Tonight we officially(?) enter a new era of the team. With Spezza having split, Karlsson at the kontrols, and a cornucopia of kidz on the roster, only one thing is certain going forward: That I remain committed to terrible and insufferable game previews.
COME AWAY WITH ME:

The Kids Are …on the team Alright.
I for one have been waiting for the torch to be passed to a new generation for quite some time now. I’d say since about the trade deadline in 2011 to be exact. It has been a less than smooth ride so far but here we are.
With greenhorns Courteous Lazar, Mark Stone, Alex Chiasson, Mika Zibanejad, Mike Hoffman, Cody Ceci and Mark Borowiecki making up about 40% of the starting lineup I am really getting what I wished for…and more (Borowiecki)
As exciting as new blood is, I am practicing the ancient art of managed expectations. Why? A few reasons:
– Despite making a serious bid for team captain, Lazar has never played an NHL game. There could be a few nerves under that steel.
– For all of our top 6 wishes and coke caviar dreams, Mark Stone will be playing only his 24th career regular season match tonight.
–  Mike Hoffman is a dynamic young player…who has 6 career NHL points btw.
WAIT WAIT COME BACK! I’M NOT TRYING TO BUM YOU OUT I’M TRYING TO LIGHT A FIRE UNDER YOU!
I actually love how the coach is handling this.
Lazar and Hoffman will start the game under the responsible and disciplined eye of Chris Neil on the fourth line. Meanwhile, Stone will play under the nurturing bosom (sorry, weird of me) of veterinarian center David Legwand (who I sincerely hope scores a goal tonight) and workhorse/clotheshorse Zachariah Smith.
Lazar and Hoffman get the chance to be a little creative while Neil creates penalties space and Stone gets to play shotmaker with a couple of hard working, rugged guys. If Smith and Legwand can crash and bang and get some pucks loose around the front of the net, hopefully Stone can do some of the precise garbage collecting that he’s made a name for himself with.

Gabbin About Tha Gawdz: Top Six Talk
The Platinum Angel express line of MacArthur – Turris – Ryan needs no introduction. Is anyone still adjusting to Clarke MacArthur being one of their favorite players? Me neither. Let’s move on.

The second line of Michalek – Zibanejad – Chiasson is the most intriguing to me. Zibanejad goes into this season with perhaps the most pressure on his Swedish shoulders of Persian-Finnish decent. Coach MacLean has spoken many times of the need to remove the adjective “young” when talking about certain players and he feels at just 120 games and 21 years of age that Zibanejad falls into that Boyz II Men crowd.
As a second line centre he’ll have to put up around 20 more points than he did last season to be considered a success. It’s a steep increase but if he gets the steady ice time that a 2nd line centre should and can play very consistently in that time, it’s possible. However if MacLean gets into his “Everyday I’m shufflin'” business, well, let’s try to keep in mind that he’s 21 and not be too mad at him. Patience. That’s what Legwands R 4.
Milan Michalek is a speedy, defensively sound top 6 winger who puts up around 20 goals or better per season. Lots of fans hate him because something-something injuries. I honestly can’t hate this guy. He’s not the flashiest player in the world but he’s certainly not a liability and has great potential if he can stay healthy. And before you pelt me for sticking up for him, let she/he/they/zhe who is without complaint that Ales Hemsky did not re-sign here cast the first rotten tomato.
Lastly, Alex Chiasson makes his debut to refreshingly little fanfare. I am not going to fan the hype flames either. I want to just let him rock and see what he can do. He is known for coming in…I forget how that goes, but he tends to start the season scoring goals which is exciting because we need those. Apparently Alex had a disappointing season last year by finishing with 33 points. That’s as many points as Zibanejad had to earn him a top 6 spot to start the season so…Either Dallas’ standards are high, the Sens are low or THIS.
I hope these guys can gel quickly because that is a fast, big line to have coming at you.

Cowen is on the first pairing. 
Lets pretend this isn’t happening! *takes 10 Zoloft* Ahhh. If there’s one player on the team who can possibly carry this guy it’s Erik Karlsson. God speed to BOTH OF YOU.

Phillips – Ceci…Over the hill old man balances out inexperienced rookie to make one awesome middle pairing defenseman? *freebases crack cocaine until further notice* 

Gryba – Borowiecki … Go out there, have fun, and don’t get suspended. Seriously, don’t get fucking suspended.

I have little to say about the defense tonight other than this will be a goddamn psychedelic rock ride. Good luck to each and every last one of us.

Greg Anderton gets the start in net, naturally. He currently sports a 1000 save percentage and 0.00 goals against average. Let’s hope he can maintain those numbers (past the first 10 shots of the game, which will likely come in the first 4 mins b/c see above). What else? His new mask is a different version of his old mask. Oh and his cat’s breath carries a hint of cat food smell.

Oh right about Nashville…lots of new faces here. Human jack-o-lantern Oli Jokinen, the NHL’s first half man – half Chihuahua Mike Ribeiro, Ottawa’s own Derek Roy, and the rest (James Neal, Anton Volchenkov). Damn these guys got up to some stuff in the off season. I’m basically hoping that they need a bit of time to adjust to each other and that our boys can take advantage of that. Olive Garden menu stalwart Pekka Rinne gets the start in net.

ENJOY THE GAME AND GO SENS GO!!!

30 Thoughts™ on Bobby Ryan’s 7 Year Extension

image

Ric Flair and it’s fuckin’ WOO!!! B. Ryan’s number 1 and his deal’s the number 2.

Guess who just rolled up to the spot? Oh, it’s us. We return with our LEGENDARY 30 Thoughts™ on Bobby Ryan’s contract extension. Forgive Varada for his brevity he is currently on vacation in beautiful Portland, Oregon and did his share on his phone like damn champion. I am my regular insufferable self so apologies in advance.

1) They get him for less than $8MM

Varada:
The way the market is headed, is anyone else surprised they could sign a 27 year old elite scorer headed to UFA status in a smallish town for less than what is considered elite money? Carolina has to give a guy like Eric Staal more than $8MM, and they drafted the guy. Truly elite guys like Toews and Kane are getting more than $10MM. Ottawa just signed a core player for what top six forwards are going to cost in a few years. In years 5-7 of this deal, Ryan will be an absolute steal.

James:
Oh, HELL YEAH, I brought up on our podcast that no one listens to that as a fan, I’d be okay with Ryan getting a straight up bad contract to keep him here. Anything to prevent another quality player for bolting. Aside from drafting them, elite players in their prime have to be traded heavily for or overpaid. Seeing as Murray did the former I figured might as well do the latter to make it worthwhile long term. And, hey sometimes a team needs to give their best player(s) a bad contract. Is PK Subban’s contract a good one? Nah, not really but it’s a pretty smart one considering the Habs rocky relationship with him up to there. To lose him over the price that he drove up his value to and some bad decisions (bridge contract) would be inexcusable for the Habs management. They ponied up and kept him the fold. Ditto Nashvillie matching the Philly offer sheet and paying Shea Weber an international airport per year. He’s their best player. Keep that guy.
Being cap smart in today’s leagues is essential but hey sometimes you just gotta be all:

Funny you mention how good this contract will look in 5 years but if he keeps producing like we know he can I think it could be a lot sooner than that. How about how good Karlsson’s deal looks just 2 seasons in. Great to see a team with limited money like Sens  being bullish with contract negotiations and getting in there quick before the price gets past the point they can afford. Sure that strategy didn’t work out with Greening. It sucks, but it’s worked well with Turris, Karlsson, hell, even Zack Smith. Smith’s deal is not as sexy but less than 2 million for a guy who can kill penalties, take faceoffs and put up nearly 15 goals in a year? Take a look at Benioit Pouliot’s deal to show it’s not just the Kane and Toews guys whose salaries are skyrocketing. What I’m getting at here is that with the chemistry he’s shown  with Turris and MacArthur and the ice time he’s likely going to get, I could see a 40 goal season as not out of the question. If they were to negotiate through the season and he were to put up a career high in goals, hey awesome short term for the Sens but I doubt we can afford him at that point and we lose him to the market.

2) They actually managed a limited NTC

Varada:
It’s hard for me to imagine the negotiations between Ryan and Ottawa being anything other than “we’ll give you everything to stay,” so it’s surprising to see Ryan conceding both money and total trade protection. We don’t know the details yet, but it’s probably something along the lines of “pick some teams we can’t trade you to.” Ottawa retains some leverage. Huge kudos to the negotiating team on that one.

James: 
This one I’m slightly ambivalent on…I mean…OH HELL YEAH! I’m not too concerned here. *puts on “I survived the Jason Spezza trade” shirt over “I survived the Danny Heatley drama” shirt which is over two “I survived all kinds of Alexei Yashin bologna” shirts* It’s, of course, ideal to have options but I think with a player of this caliber you can always get something nice back. It’s the Colin Greenings and Chris Neils of the world having NTCs that scares the shit out of me.

3) All of the negative shit from last week was way off

Varada:
I read my fair share of reputable hockey people saying all of the messages coming out of Ryan’s camp were bad signs for Ottawa and there was no way he was going to re-sign. You’ve got to love a deal then coming pretty much out of left field and proving everyone wrong. It turns out that when you ask random hockey executives about their competition they may have skewed perceptions and an interest in sewing discontent ;)

James:
OH HELL YEAH.  Any kind of contract situation…or frankly any sports situation is talked about to an insane degree. Worst of all in the off-season when there’s no actual hockey being played to break things up. Gone are the days of just opening the Sports section and seeing “Player signs new contract” or “Player made team captain.” Say there’s a 2 sentence sound bite about contract negotiations from a player or team management, then 8 days of silence passes before the next. For those next 8 fucking days there is an endless diarrhea stream of hottakes to fill the space between. It’s hard to know what’s credible and what’s a hottake after a while. Seeing as there’s been some ugly recent history, it’s easier to assume the worst. If I was a professional hockey pundit or whatever, I’d probably err on the side that might make me look the least dumb in the end too. I mean, Karlsson’s a garbage pick right? For the record, Dreger did indicate that he thought Ryan would re-sign.
Personally, I never really found Bobby’s remarks too troubling. When he said something along the lines of, “A long term deal is a big commitment and it might not happen overnight” I had to agree. It was just realistic. The guy was potentially signing into his mid-30s. The thing that gave me a bit of  a scare was the part about “Waiting and seeing what his role on the team will be.” I am not one of those who are ready to throw in the towel on Paul MacLean buuuuuuuuuuuuuut he kiiiiiiind of had a tendency to give 0.00 fux about giving his most skilled players the important ice time ice time last season. So that was scary but I more worried about MacLean’s actions ruining it than Ryan’s. If we went into the season with Ryan unsigned and I saw Chris Neil get just just one shift on one power play (Ed Note: THING THAT FUCKING HAPPENED MORE THAN ONCE LAST SEASON!!!) over Bobby I would have thrown up my hands like, “Welp, that’s the end of that chapter.” I thought the lead up to the signing was being a bit overdone but all’s well that … I forget how the rest of that goes.

4) It’s an endorsement of Ottawa 

Varada:
Narrative is a powerful thing, and people were starting to write their own stories about Ottawa. Alfredsson and Spezza leave and there’s almost nothing you can do to dissuade assumptions of a franchise in decline. Ryan could have gone anywhere and he chose Ottawa. He wants to raise a family here. Makes perfect sense to those of us who live here. Maybe it will send a similar message to the rest of the league.

James:
Heyyyyyyyyyyy, you don’t cheer for a team in a city divided in three with fans of your two biggest rivals who could not hate the Sens more without feeling kind of constantly uneasy about pretty much anything that happens. Some fanbases have a self depreciating culture and others have a prideful one. I think it’s clear what side of the coin we’re on by and large.
We talk about this all the time, in the NHL narrative is all relative. Marty St. Louis leaves the team he’s been with his entire career and one that’s considered a contender mid-season, not a big deal. Ownership changes hands in Nashville, they have owners? Good for them! We’re a sketchy franchise these days for sure but the team fails to re-sign the most beloved player in franchise history and some fans stay home out of protest and boom we’re going bankrupt. K. I remember the first Sens-Wings game in Detroit last season and the building looked three quarters full. But hey, HOCKEYTOWN right you’z guys. Have you ever heard anything about attendance issues in Detroit? I haven’t. Considering we’re in a city where a bunch of the people actually out and out HATE the team, it’s a pretty stable franchise as far as the every day business goes. Season ticket sales are up, we have one of the world’s best players, Ryan’s staying, Clarke MacArthur is a perfect hockey player, Lehner’s going to start more, Turris is going to wear a turtleneck with his chain this year (I can feel it!), and I will continue to drink tall cans on the long ass bus ride to the stadium. October 2nd 2014 was an awesome day to be a Sens fan. Here’s to hoping for more ahead and not freaking out too much on the bad days.

Thoughts 5 through 30 coming soon*! 

Bonus:
P.S. Karlsson is captain

Once again proving that our decision to name this blog after Karlsson instead of Bobby Butler was the right one.
KarlKarl

*Probably not.

Is Matt Puempel’s 30 Goal AHL Rookie Season Worth Getting Excited About?

"Guess who just got his second WTYKY post in a week? ....Oh, it's me." - M. Puempel

“Guess who just got his second WTYKY post in a week? ….Oh, it’s me.” – M. Puempel

Yeh, it is. THANK$ 4 READING! *Frazier ending theme song starts fading in*

I suppose I should back that up. After all, this is the Internet Age where accountability and sound arguments have never been more respected.

Part 2 of my 128 part series on Matt Puempel apparently.

2011 24th overall pick Matt Puempel got his first taste of professional hockey at the end of the 2011-12 season when he suited up for the Binghamton Senators’ last 9 games. He managed a goal. His next shot was late the following season when he was brought over from the OHL to bolster the Bingo lineup in time for their brief playoff run. He put up a noteworthy 2 goals in the 3 post season games he appeared in. It certainly got my attention that in the very limited action he’d seen at the pro level that Puempel had made a bit of noise. It’s never easy to be parachuted into new surroundings and make an impact in such a short period of time. Puempel seemed able to do that.  What’s an even greater challenge to a player, however, is to be able to sustain production over the long term. Could he make shit real and produce consistently in his first full season?

Not really. At first at least. In the first half of the season Puempel managed just 7 goals. Not unacceptable output for a rookie finding his way in the pros but considering he’d put up almost half that in the 14 combined AHL games he’d previously played, it seemed a bit tepid. Especially for a player who’d up to then been described as a natural goal scorer.

WELP, turns out it was just a slow start. I don’t know if it’s the “comes ze shooting, comes ze goals” talking or what but in the second half Puempel (TBH I’m getting tired of typing this name…ah, could be worse, could be zDzizuzrzyznzszkziz) and positively a’sploded scoring-wise. PumpittyPumpPump (new nickname!) more than tripled his scoring output and ended up finishing his 74 games with a smoove 30 goals. He even tied the team lead in goals with the King of Bingo, Micheal Seymour Hoffman. It should be noted that Hoffman got his 30 in just 51 games and had 19 more overall points. But you gotta hear both sides and It should also be noted that Hoffman is an AHL All Star who was in his fourth season with the club.
Point being, 30 goals in a season is not quite elite but breaches that nice-nice threshold that get’s you noticed as a standout player. The question on this piece of human garbage blogger’s mind is: Is it special to score 30 with Ottawa’s American Hockey League affiliate?
To investigate (Ed note: *Hand wanking motion*) I had a look back in time and discovered it is pretty special and more rare than I would have thought. Enter the lower fourth dimension with me as we embark on a spiritual journey and I share my findings and thoughts on Binghamton’s past few 30 goal scorers…

2007-08 Denis Hamel (32)
Aloysius (my imaginary grandson): Grandpa?
Me (fantasy grandpa): Yes, little Aloysius?
Aloysius: Why do only start your journey at 2007-08?
Me: Well, that’s because that’s the exact year we Senators fans started caring about our farm system.
Aloysius: Grandpa can we have Hungry Man frozen dinners for breakfast again?
Me: Quiet, grandpa’s trying to get drunk here.  

Denis Hamel, the long serving captain of the Bingo Sens, may be a familiar name to some of you. By 2007 he had already had played 7 successful seasons in the American Hockey League including a 56 goal 91 point year with Bingo back in 05-06 or as some of you may call that season, “Back when the Ottawa Senators were really good”. So now that I think about it, maybe he might not be a familiar name to you…
Why all that production from a guy who’s NHL career can be summed up in one youtube video? Well after a positively dominant junior career in the QMJHL and then building up his name in the AHL to make the bigs, Hamel suffered a terrible knee injury that hampered his speed significantly. He still had the hands to get on the score sheet but the wheels just weren’t there anymore for poor Denis. What you see here in 07-08 are the numbers of an AHL star and veteran in the midst of a long career.

2009-10 Ryan Keller (34) and Josh Hennessy (30)
Ahhhhh, 2009-10. Remember them days? Heatley had jumped ship, made it hurt on the way out and Ottawa was truly in the midst of a downward spiral from powerhouse of the East to eventual draft lottery participant. It was an awkward in between phase where after Erik Karlsson, who spent an hilarious in retrospect 12 games in the AHL before returning to the big club for good, the team did not exactly have many exciting young players developing in Bingo to reverse the suck. They did have a bunch of talented AHL lifers at the time…which is nice…for the fans in Binghamton.

Ryan Keller went undrafted by the NHL and bounced around the AHL eventually managing to carve out a solid career in the Finnish league. The scoring touch he had in Finland carried over to the American League where he led Bingo in goals in 09-10 with 34.
Just behind him in scoring with an even 30 that season was 2003 San Jose 2nd round pick, Josh Hennessy. One year younger than Keller, Henny seemed at that point to be on that same career trajectory of Junior star turned productive Minor-Pro who just can’t stick with an NHL club. 24 years old at the time, Hennessy wasn’t exactly ancient but had been given about 4 call ups to the big club at that point. 1 point in 20 games and scoring forwards like him typically find out it’s a cold, cold world. Hennessy has since moved on to the KHL.

2010-11 Ryan Keller (32)
Again with this Keller guy! Fully established as a veteran leader, Keller led the Binghamton Sens to a Calder Cup victory serving as captain. He also became the first Bingo player since the aforementioned AHL great Denis Hamel to put up 30 or more goals in back to back seasons. I feel it worth mentioning that he put up 25 points in 23 playoff games that year. Respect. He showed a lot of the younger players who are currently with the big club what it takes to win. R-Keller has since taken his talents to the Swiss League.

2013-14 Mike Hoffman (30)
It’s kind of surprising to me that a guy as hyped as Hoffman has only hit the 30 goal mark once in Bingo. Not even a dis really so much as it’s just a bit of a shock. I think it’s again worth mentioning that The Hoff hit the 30 goals in a remarkable 53 games. He had a team high 67 points at season’s end despite some of his teammates, including Puempel, getting to play in 20 or more games than him. Amazing stuff. His explosive season earned him an extended stay in Ottawa to finish the year and likely a roster spot on October 9th.
The down side to this is that Mike Hoffman turns 25 in a little over a month and if he doesn’t significantly improve on his 3 goals and 3 assists at the NHL level right quick, it could be curtains for his chances. Hoffman is an exciting player. A brilliant skater who can put the puck in the net. I’ll take that any day of the week over a guy who’s really tall or can punch really hard, but history shows Hoffy is hitting that age where a goal scorer like him is getting into that top 6 or bust territory.
He’ll have to go through waivers if he’s sent back to down but if he can’t make a strong impression in the first quarter of the season or so, something tells me that the Senators brass wont be too bothered by that.

FUNCLUSION
We’ve had lots and lots and lots of fun skimming through this thing, haven’t we? Well, I did at least. K, so what do we take out of this examination? I think the most obvious thing is that despite having some pretty good players in the system the past few seasons, many who’ve made the jump to the NHL, the only guys who seem able to put up 30 or more goals in Binghamton are established minor-league professionals who are in their mid 20s or older. The only slight exception is Hoffman who will likely get a longer look in the bigs than Keller or Hennessey ever did. As for Hamel, well, a severe injury basically ruined his shot so he’s a bit of a different case.
What makes Puempel’s 30 goal year special, is that despite struggling out of the gate offensively he still managed to reach this milestone in just his first full season with the club and at age 21 no less. I think acknowledging the words “full season” is important too. I’ve already mentioned that Hoffman did it 22 fewer games but had Jean Gabriel Pageau played more than 46 games for Bingo he’d have likely improved on his 20 goals. Ditto Mark Stone who had 15 in just 37 games.
Threatening 30 next year are Shane Prince and Cole Schneider who had 21 and 20 respectively last season. Scheneider is entering his mid 20s but Prince is probably Puempel’s closest rival so that should be interesting.

N-E-WAY, what’s exciting about this is that the majority of the guys I just mentioned are the players you want to see leading your farm team in points. It’s always great to have veteran leaders around the kids to show them the way but as a fan you want to see the guys with the highest pedigree and best shot at the big club heading the charge scoring-wise. To see a young, first round pick like Pumper(?) do it in his rookie year is worth getting…………..wait for it………………………………PUMPED about.

Sorry.

Here’s a song about Matt Puempel:

Risk Assessment: Matt Puempel, the Senators, Drafting, and the Worst Blog Post Title

pumpel

With the closing ceremonies of the rookie tournament long in the rear view, Newfoundland sleepaway training camp done and now main camp well underway, I’ve been thinking about Madagascar a lot lately. I’ve also been thinking about all of those li’l rookies who are camping.
Who’s the new hotness? Who are the “past their prime” 23 year old senior citizens, who are the DARKEST horsies? I’ve been thinking about a you and one camper in particular. His name is Max Math Puempel.

Ever since his draft day I’ve been very interested in Matt Puempel as a prospect. Call me a changed man since Garbage Pick™ Erik Karlsson™ was selected in the first round back in 20 ought-8. Seemed like a crazy choice at the time to (seemingly) gamble on an undersized player let alone defenseman that high in the draft but that event pretty much single handedly changed my view of player selection to this:
Get good players, yes, for the love of Jah get only good players, but don’t be afraid to think outside the bun in the pursuit of acquiring those good players, player.
God, I am so poetic. That would look really nice on a throw cushion.

The 2011 draft was the perfect storm for taking the Karlssonian type high risk high reward action I’m talking about. With the three picks in the first round alone, Bryan Murray took power forward in the mould of Corey Perry, Mika Zibanejad at 6th overall and power forward in the mould of Corey Perry, Stefan Noesen at 21 with his first two selections. He grabbed a couple of guys who fit the bill of hard charging goal scorer with a mean streak that Bryan Murray makes no secret is his ideal type of player. Good, do your thing baby, after all, it should be noted that Murray drafted the real Corey Perry in 2003 at a Jim O’Brienesque 28th overall (Ed note: good value!).
Having more or less played it safe up to that point and with one pick remaining in round 1, the record seems to indicate that B. Murray and Co. felt it was time to take a wee gamble. That gamble was their selection of Matt Puempel (I need to find out what the origin of last name that is btw. He’s like this century’s Todd Gak) at 24th.
As Sens fans well know, the 2011 draft was a special one. Ottawa had an awful season finishing 25th in the league (hi haters!) and sold off many long time players including some fan favorites for picks. As a result of the team’s poor play and the copious amount of selections they’d get in that draft, one plucky young go-getter (me) paid particular attention to that year’s draft class.
I remember an adorable young chipmunk named Matt Puempel being described as one of the best pure goal scorers available. Oh, but he came with a catch. On top of nagging back problems, he had suffered a bone chip in his hip (Ed note: Gross!) that required risky surgery to repair and caused the CHL Rookie of the Year’s value to drop significantly on draft day. Advantage: Team with nothing to lose and a whole world to gain (That’s us btw. I know that was a totally insane way to describe the Ottawa Senators but my backspace key is broken so here we are).
Since making a full recovery from his surgery, Pumper(?) continued his torrid scoring pace in the OHL and made the jump to AHL where he tied Mike Hoffman for the team lead in goals with an impressive 30 in his debut campaign.
Now, its still very early but it seems the Sens made a good move taking a chance on the talented young man. He arrived at training camp this year as one of the team’s best prospects and so far has not disappointed. Let’s see how some of the riskier picks over the past few seasons have fared for the team:

2008
I’ve already noted that Erik Karlsson was a bit of a risk at least as far as Bryan Murray’s draft tendencies go. B-Murr is pretty averse to selecting a forward under 6 feet tall let alone a defenseman. Admittedly I thought it was pretty wild to take him so high with productive forwards like Tyler Ennis or Jordon Eberle still on the board but hey, that’s why I get paid the big bucks to blog (in Doni Brennan’s mumma’s basement).

Risk Vs. Reward: Spending a First Round Pick on an undersized defenseman was a pretty big statement especially when the draft was in Ottawa. But contrary to early scepticism, Erik Karlsson is slowly but surely shaping up to be a competent bottom pairing NHL regular.

2009
Jerry Cowen. Now, a hulking shutdown defenseman from a Saskatchewanese town of less than 700 people seems, at first glance, to be the least risky player you could ever draft. Consider though that he had reconstructive knee surgery just months before being selected. That’s a pretty damn big gamble to take him with a top with a top 10 pick. Despite everyone currently hating his guts, it should be kept in mind that he was coming off another significant injury last season *tugs collar clean off shirt* and should be given a bit more time to see the real Jared Cowen stand up (and hopefully not be severely hurt in the process).

Risk Vs. Reward: Still too early to tell, in my opinion. Come see me at the end of the season and we can talk about our emotions. In the meantime I offer young Jared this olive branch:  

2010
Uhh…Mark Stone couldn’t skate fast?…So they took him way deep in the 6th round…then… heeeee improved his production by scoring 78 more points (!!!)  in the season after he was drafted and THEN he finished his final junior year with 123 points in 66 games on some production of a level that got Alex Daigle hyped as the next Mario Lemieux. Not bad for a guy who played in a tough junior league and was taken at 178th.
What was I talking about? Oh yeah, risk stuff.
K. So, in 2010 I suppose the biggest risk Ottawa took was trading away their 1st, 2nd and 5th round picks. The 2010-11 Sens team was terrible and after going on record saying that “Anyone who thinks we should blow the team up, should blow themselves” (slight paraphrase) owner Eugene Melnyk flip flopped and gave Bryan Murray the green light to ship out high priced veterans (a strategy Melnyk has since become addicted to) which lead to both a draft lotto finish and 2011’s big crop of picks.

Risk Vs. Reward: Ignoring the trading of 16th overall pick for David Rundblad for a second, 2010 was overall a fucking terrible draft. Murray n’ friendz couldn’t have played it safer by pretty much only taking big bodied wingers with the few picks Ottawa did have.
If Rundblad ended up the Joe Corvo level healthy scratch in Ottawa that he’s become since being traded (twice), this could have been one of the worst drafts in modern Sens history! Think grumbling over how Kopitar could have been taken instead of Brian Lee but change the names to Tarasenko and Rundbleezy.
Anyway, that whole Rundblad for Turris murky revisionist history aside, Murray and co. goddamn lucky all that chatter about Mark Stone’s lack of adequate foot speed was overdone and they ended up getting an NHL capable player out of him. None of the other guys who were taken in 2010 are even in the conversation as far as call up is concerned. 2010 had the potential to be their worst draft since the 2005 where they were lucky to end up with Colin Greening in round 7. Yeah you just read that shit right. That’s how poorly they drafted that year. LUCKY to get Colin Greening…in round SEVEN.

2011
As alluded to earlier, 2011 is the draft where Ottawa got to play with house money the most (Ed note to Casinos: Can I haz some of this House Money? Only got to gamble with own real money so far, thx). They got the luxury to take some risky picks along with some of your safer bets. Something-something Matt Puempel’s hip drama. Oh but there was a second in that class. Jean Gabriel Pageau.

You know you can’t trust Wikipedia (#staywoke) when they list JG at a generous 5 foot 9. He’s short. AKA The equivalent of the Bubonic plague to most pro-scouts. He’s not just undersized for an NHL player he’s undersized compared to most adult males. I’ve never actually seen dude in person but I have a feeling when I do I’ma step to him and it’s going to look a little something like this…

Still an amazing hockey player tho and it’s pretty foolish to discount that.

Risk Vs. Reward: Look, if there’s one thing GMs continuously front on it’s skilled players under 6 feet tall. There’s just boatloads of them out there up for grabs. Pageau has made it impossible for the big club to ignore him as anyone who’s watched him can see he is a speedy, surprisingly tough two way player with a great head for the game who can both set up and finish plays AND kill penalties. Sounds ideal…except for one thing…this:

But I ask this: Has his size ever really hindered Pageau on the ice? Not that I’ve seen.

With the exception of Karlsson, Bryan Murray rarely drafts players under 6 feet tall let alone a guy of Marty St. Louis-like stature. If Jean Gabriel never suits up for another game again it could be argued that rolling the dice on him has already paid off for that one playoff game alone. The fact that I don’t need to specify what game I’m talking about speaks for itself. I seriously hope JGP serves as a lesson to Murray and his staff that though they are still pretty rare, there are a number of smaller guys doing quite well in the league now and you could potentially buy pretty low on a very good player who other GMs were too conservative to take a chance on. Even if he can’t squeeze into the lineup full time he remains one of the best players in Binghamton and an extremely competent call up. I’ll take a guy with his potential upside over a safer Cody Bass in round 4 any day of the week. Gold star!

2012
Here we go, Jarrod Maidens! Now THIS kid is like the street cred Matt Puempel. Rumored to have the potential of a top five to ten pick before suffering a severe concussion, the Senators scooped J-Maids (?) up in the 3rd round at 82nd overall. If this kid works out we could have a horse SO DARK on our hands that — *Puts on reading glasses to check incoming Jarrod Maidens Ask Jeeves News Alert, starts reading under breath* “mumblemumble Senators prospect Jarrod Maidens mumble mumble suffers set back in recovery mumble mumble mumble hockey career likely over Senators release his rights…”
WELP you know how that go.

Risk Vs. Reward: Def lost out this one. Sincerely,  best wishes to Jarrod. Really feel for the guy.

2013
Uhh, I don’t know. P-solid draft, tbh. Thanks for reading!

2014
Uhh, I’ve got nothin’ so i’m just going to take this opportunity to type in the words Curtis Lazar to drive up hits. #CurtisLazar

Scotchcast Episode 7: Shout Out to Pretty Much Everything

Scotchcast

Your favourite Cyber Badboys are back in the latest, greates—uhh MOST RECENT episode of the Scotchcast.
Join them as they go on a spiritual journey and discuss edgy Senators-related topics of the day. In what has been described as their STEAMIEST (citation needed) episode yet, these legendary (citation needed) bloggers take on:
– Expectations for the team this season in the garbage dump East
– Their player picks for potential breakout seasons, flameout seasons or BOTH (Controversy, She Wrote!)
– Thoughts on the new Supporters Section at the Tires.com Arena
and of course they answer YOUR questions in the Talk To The Audience Segment (Special SexXxy Edition)

Oh, and a special mystery houseguest (It’s Uncle Euge)