4 Things I’m Hmmmm Not So Much Looking Forward To This Season

Service. Selection. VALUE.

Service. Selection. VALUE. Fucking guy has gotten a million dollar raise every year. Who is this guy’s agent, Chris Phillips?

Wait For It…Wait For It…….*closes eyes, bites lip* Jared “JC” Cowen:
For all the “Murray loves his big boys afja;lskdjf ;fdsjbf;lksg kjhsfdgl s” endless trope, the fact I can’t ignore is that Murray just will not (cannot?) trade him and keeps going back to saying that Cowen’s been injured/recovering from injury for years and is finally healthy and will show his true ability this season. As you know, you gotta hear both sides and though he is far from my favorite player, I have to admit, Cowen’s injury troubles have coincided almost perfectly with the exaaaaaaaaact moment since we all started hating him.
It’s also undeniable that the injuries he’s suffered have been pretty significant. It’s at least feasible that he might have been well enough to play last year but only enough to perform as a shadow of the potential guy we say a couple years ago.
Before he even made it to the NHL, Cowen had reconstructive knee surgery and followed it with a quiet World Junior tournament and many people, including myself, were super low on him. Over time he got back to normal and came out the gate pretty strong as a rookie in Ottawa.
I remember the word out of Binghamton right before the hip labarum thing was that he was mercilessly pancaking everyone in sight. That he was looking quick, solid and strong; on the fast track to take the next step in his development. Then we fast forward through the awful hip thing and then this hernia thing. I can’t deny his mobility went from a non issue to a major one following those injuries. He’s come back from a major set back in the past. He is still quite young and could potentially do it again.
So, on one hand I’m thinking, it’s at least arguable that he’s not as bad as he’s been but on the OTHER I’m like, “Son gets injured…severely…a lot.” Alllllso, that season with all the potential spoken of earlier is getting pretty far in the rear view.
I’m not the first to say this but this is the last chance for JC to show and prove. But here’s the rub –Oh I’m sorry, you thought the rub already happened…nah Boo Boo, peep rub game: Even if Jared Cowen does bounce back, which again, I’m not ruling out, I think he’s going to top out as a 3rd pairing guy.
*Movie trailer voice* From the teaaaaaaam that brought you Eric Gryyyyba…comes….
                              Eric Gryba 2: Return of the More Expensive Gryba.
Where I’m at: I hope Cowen is at best a slightly better version of Gryba. It is very hard to  imagine him surpassing Wiercioch who outperformed him by a country mile last year in about as many games. That and Patty had a breakout performance in the playoffs instead of you know, being scratched the entire playoffs. So by this thinking, this bus stops at 3rd pairing on the left side.
So spoiler here: Even best case scenario we’re never going to be happy with him as he will always seems like a disappointment because of his pedigree and price tag. Oh, speaking of which and I don’t know about the last chance stuff I mentioned earlier. Believe the trade rumor chatter about him if you want (no one does) but this guy’s been pretty awful for a minute and stands to make 4,500,000 human dollars NEXT year. Yep, more than now ($3.7M). Another raise of nearly one million in as many years. He will make 400K less than Marc Methot next season. He aint going nowhere except maybe Binghamton. The only trade I could even entertain happening is one for a different kind of Cowen. Like Greenzo, he just makes too much for too long to trade him. We’re stuck with this guy. I guess we live in a world where Columbus managed to move Nathan Horton but in the mean time y’all are better off to pray with me that Jared Cowen is a decent 3rd pairing D man and not…nothing.

Cameron Gunna Do Some Stuff With the Lineup That’s Gonna Have Fans WILD Frustrated
I’m certainly not the first person to bring it up but even though he was pretty real talk about benching some players, DC did have the luxury of having some of the less skilled players on the injured reserve through most or all of the Sens glorious run to the playoffs. Smith, Cowen, Neil and Phillips were all out for the stretch run. MacArthur’s top six spot was up for grabs. Hell, he didnt even have to deal with the Anderson vs. Lehner politics through it. It’s undeniable that he even had a bit of that, “Whoa, where do you think you’re goin’ Neiler…can’t mess up this mojo” leeway going for him once players did get healthy again.
With the exception of Phillips, going into this season, he won’t have it that easy.
I am realistic to the idea that Chris Neil, who in addition to drawing ever nearer to the 1000 game milestone, will be playing for his very career this year and as such will draw into several games. Zack Smith is going to be given his chances too. In the case of Smith, it’s not all bad. My advice is to be patient. I think he will be given the Greening trade showcase special. Oh btw, don’t rule out some games for Greening again. Unlike Greening, however, I think Smith is one of the most tradeable bottom 6 players on the team. Smith is not as bad his 3 points in …38 games *gets very dizzy* indicates and his contract is excellent. Smith had a really rough start to last year adjusting to wing and he couldn’t bounce back from that horrible sounding wrist injury. Have you ever hurt your wrist? It’s gross. The shit takes like a YEAR to feel normal again. Anyway, he’s got over 300 games for the Sens, he’s going to be in the starting line up. At just $1.8M for a big, tough 4th line centre who’s had a 13 and 14 goal seasons, expect him to get moved at the deadline. Try not to lose your shit too much when he’s getting looks, guys like Smith are catnip for GMs. I all but guarantee he’ll be moved.
*Skips talking about Jared Cowen more*
Rookies like Shane Prince and Chris Wideman may not make it into every game either. I want them to get their shot as much as the next person but a gradual intro is how it often seems to go for rookies. From Mark Stone to Patrick Wiercioch to Erik Condra (god bless), most promising players coming up from the minors tend to get spot duty rather than just thrown into the shit full time. I’m not super stoked on it as being patient with development is not my strong suit (Me want Thomas Chabot NOW dammit) but I’m bracing myself for Shane Prince to potentially splitting some time with *30 second exhale through nose* Colin Greening. Wideman will have it even tougher with zero NHL games experience and 6 defenders ahead of him on the current depth chart. Lest we forget Chris Phillips shooting up adamantium in the shadows. Ugh, who knows what that will look like if Big Rig deems himself fit to play. Cross that bridge when we get there I guess. Heyyyyy at least the guys on the edge of roster are still exciting, skilled players.

Is “Bobby Ryan Needs to Score 30 Goals” the New “Jason Spezza Not a Good Baaackchecker Thooo”?
No, Bobby Ryan did not score as many goals as he was expected to last season. He went into a near quarter season slump (he also carried the team offensively for a couple of months as well but ima let this point cook for a minute).
Okay. I, like all fans, hope this guy has the best year of his career and everythink like that (thumbs up). I just also hope we can find it in ourselves to not treat this guy like he’s a disaster if he scores like 28 (or fewer) goals. I will TAKE him putting up betwixt 20 and 30 goals, especially if he’s playing well all around.
There’s no question that Ryan is a talented goal scorer. I understand that’s why The Bryan made a big play for him. It’s been his job his whole career. I just can’t get it out of the back of my head that when he put up a career high of 35 biscuits back in 2009-10, he was playing with Cup Winner/Olympian shlubs like Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf. Getzlaf posted an incredible 50 assists in just 66 games the 09/10 season. Perry had 49 helpers. That’s just two players dishing out 99 goals right there.
The following season, when Bobby Raw put up 34 goals, Perry and Getzlaf combined for 105 helpers. Getzlaf had 57 assists for 76 points in ONLY 67 games (soft). Perry en route to a Rocket Richard & Hart Trophy (selfish) dropped down to a pathetic 48 assists.  Good thing Tea-Moo Salami (of future First Ballot Hall of Fame fame) was there to pick up the slack with his 49 assists. Jesus, while were at it can we talk about how Lubomir Visnovsky (person) dropped 18 goals and 50 assists on some lowkey Erik Karlsson shit? How the fuck did these dickheads not win the Cup? OH, they got bounced in the 1st round you say? …man, I need to relax about losing to Pittsburgh as a low seed all those times. What was I talking about again? Oh yeah, what I have tried to outline here is Ryan played with some dudes who could put up some POOOOIIIINTS in Anaheim.
Perspective: Norris trophy winner, Erik Karlsson would have been 6th in scoring on that 2010 team just behind Visnovsky. FML. King Karl has led Ottawa in points the past two years he’s been healthy. He’s a defenseman. An all-world one…but a defenseman. Different Teams. Different Needs.
After the departure of Spezza with the exception of Karlsson, Turris and Stone (who just became a thing like 45 minutes ago), this team is not overloaded with elite playmakers like those Ducks teams were. Only Karlsson is on a comparable level. All this to say, on this Senators team Ryan is going to be relied upon to set his linemates up about as much as he is to put the puck in the net. It’s likely to come at the cost of some goals. His 36 assists last year could be indicative of that. That may not seem like a ton but it’s the second highest total of his career.
Real Talk Korner: Even if Bobby didn’t have that extended dry spell, I’m still not entirely sure he’d have hit the coveted 30 goal plateau. Going into this season, if he doesn’t have a slump I think a 25 goal, 65 point campaign is about what you should probably expect. If he’s making his teammates better, that’s not the worst thing in the world.

Ohhhh The “Schedule” Look at our Fancy Aristocratic Friend With His SCHEDULE! Ha! What’s that? What Do I Call It? A Game Quilt.
I’ma come CLEAN about the schedule. Like with referees or an opposing team’s broadcast play by play, for whatever reason I am always on some serious hater shit. I’m a tough audience, I admit it. I know this because every year the schedule is released I am bummed out about it. I don’t even know if it’s better or worse than other teams. WHO HAS TIME TO FIND OUT ANYTHING IN THIS WORK A DAY WORLD!? Again, I don’t know how it shakes out in comparison to others but there are a couple of things that I think are objectively rough about this year’s table.

First item of concern is that throughout the season, the Sens will play 28 games back to back (or 14 back to backs if you want to be a complete D about it). After his historic run of wins last season HAS ANYONE MENTIONED THIS RUN YET? back up goaltender Andrew Hammond will certainly get his share of starts based on the back to back games alone. Anderson loves the lion’s share of starts but he’s not exactly known for his durability either. More concern! You’re welcome :) Even though he seems content with his role as back up there will still be there will be a ton of pressure on Hammond to perform.
Like Robin Lehner before him, Hammy isn’t really an ordinary back up. Every time Lehner would get a start it would never have the feel of your average Alex Auld start against whatever visiting team in the midst of a long road trip. With Lehner every start would always have this air of “This is Lehner’s Big Chance at stealing the starting job from Anderson!” Not saying it will be that with Hammond but after the unicorn that was last season, I anticipate many of Hammond’s opportunities will have a “Is this guy the real deal? Did he deserve a 3 year(!) contract?” vibe surrounding them. Me? I’m pretty confident that Hammond is Curtis McElhinney good. I guess the 4 back to backs in the first two months and a sprinkling of additional starts we will start to find out early. I really hope he gets off to a solid start.

I’m just going to post this nightmarish image to speak for itself:

Game Quilt

What no west coast away game at high altitude against Colorado on Christmas eve at 4am? Lazy!

Let’s break it on down: We come in calienté with a home game against Philly. Not too bad, fine with that…Oh, then for the next four fucking weeks it’s relentlessly one day on, one day off (what is this baseball?) but don’t worry the entire second week is a road trip. Luckily, the Sens only have to face the Stanley Cup Champion Blackhawks, Presidents Trophy winning Rangers, Cup finalist Lightning (only twice, so it’s all good. Stamkos is in a contract year so…) and the only shitty by Western Conference standards Kings and Sharks. Toss in the Islanders, Habs and Caps just to make it zesty. They then get a luxurious four days off, two of which workers must have off BY LAW in this country. Then cap it off with a cozy little home and home with the Bruins that is glued to a back to back (theme) against the Devils. I would imagine the boys will celebrate New Year’s Eve by sleeping for the next 36 hours.

Last season, Paul MacLean was given the axe on December 8th. The month was obviously used by Bryan Murray as a fulcrum point to decide where his team was at. This year Cameron wont likely be under nearly as dire a situation but will have a razor thin margin of error for how he rests and uses his troops. He’s worked under a ton of pressure already in his young career as a head coach but regardless this is going to be a massive month in terms of how his sophomore season as coach goes.

Eh….Go Ativan Go, I mean, Sens!

Feeling like you’re getting an ulcer? Purify yourself in the waters of Lake Part One of This Series That is Far More Positive here.

4 Things I’m Looking Forward To This Season:

Remember Cecer...every goal this year...is like earning a new Jetski next year.

Remember Cecer…every goal this year…is like earning a new Jetski next year.

Welcome to part one this two part series that will run from today all the way to tomorrow or maybe the following day. Next up will be be the exciting conclusion “4 Things I’m Hmmmm Not So Much Looking Forward To This Season” 

Contract Years for Both Cody Ceci and Patrick Wiercioch

There’s a lot of talk on the Sensphere™ about the need for Bryan Murray to get out in these streets of rage and spend some money *tumbleweed wearing sunglasses rolls by* to get a free agent to shore up the second D pairing. Some would even argue he needs to improve the top pairing. I mean, Marc Methot has been nothing but excellent on the first pairing for an extremely reasonable price since he got here but I’ma let you people cook. Anyway, I don’t disagree that if one aspect of the team needs improvement it’s the defence and the second pairing in particular. That said, it’s my opinion that the defence is the last step in the rebuild that began in the spring of 2011 (Ed Note: Please hold your Actuallys until the end of the presentation, thank you). I’m serious, I think Ceci and Wiercioch could very well have a ceiling of top 4 defenders; they just haven’t quite reached it yet is all. Buying the services of an FA can no question help your team get better faster. But for a club (and fanbase) as concerned about spending cash wisely as Ottawa’s you gotta be careful. Lest we forget how quick it was brought up how Sergei Gonchar made an unreasonable 5.5 million dollars whenever he would have a couple of bad games in a row, which was sometimes! Remember, G was a Cup winner fresh off a 50 point season when he was signed here. You gotta outbid other teams for a guy like him I.E. You gotta overpay. Sometimes you get a Nick Leddy bargain but most of the time you get a Gonchar who can never “save the team” enough or live up to the money.

With Ceci and Wiercioch, especially the former talent (can we talk about how the 21 year old Ceci basically sidestepped the need to play in the AHL?), it remains to be seen if what we’re getting but I think we should remain patient and find out. If Erik Karlsson’s current contract shows something, it’s that if you’ve get a special home grown player to re-sign, you can save a boatload of cash with that RFA negotiating power and what seems to be some kind of Loyalty Rewards Card that Bryan Murray has mad points on.
If this team keeps trending up, I want the organization to have as much walking around money left over as possible to start adding final pieces. Hey, I told you to warn me if I stopped living in the now and got too far ahead of myself…

What we have here two young, obviously talented players with a lot of potential and offensive upside. With the two of them vying to get as big a raise as they can manage while trying to solidify their spots in the line up, it should be a lot of fun to watch.

Cokedreams Conclusion: Karlsson’s last contract year was the shiiiiit. He put up 78 points (!!?) and won a Norris. A broke ass version of that from either of these dudes would be a massive boost to the team.

Dave Cameron Not Having to Win Every Fucking Game to Stay Alive:

Peace to the hardly ever losing GAWD and all but Santa Maria did this guy have a slim margin of error to work with. Follow me: There was actually LESS pressure for him to win to stay alive after the team made the playoffs than before. Brazy.
Oh, and allow me be the first person to point out that the Sens are likely going to be unable to re-create their historic run *thunderous applause* ALRIGHT ALREADY. Thank you. That hottake just came to me so I went with it. I like how the unlikelihood of repeating a near two month long win streak is constantly pointed out like it’s something anyone expects. Hey, we’re Sens fans, we’re happy with a 3 game winning streak round here thank you very much. It was fun and very special but I, for one, am excited 2 move ON.

Cameron starting the season off with a clean sheet is an intriguing story line for me. I think it’s safe to say that majority of Sens fans initially doubted the hiring of Dave Cameron ESPECIALLY when BryBry hit us with the “this is not an interim hire” right out the gate. Little did we know homeboy would finish the season with a Quenvillian 32-15-8. Winning is great and we all like Cambo (…it’s like…a play on…Rambo BACK OFF IT’S PRESEASON FOR ALL OF US) but with a new contract signed, a 0-0-0 record and a healthy line up to start the 2015-16 season, we are about to see what this guy can really do with the controls.

Thus far we’ve seen that Killa Cam preaches a fitness-first, hard skating practice style for his fast transition game and a “best players play” real talk attitude toward the line up he ices. He also has a new man running our (seemingly always shitty) power play in new assistant coach Alain Tourignafdsfdgjrkgeegoni. So that’s…new.

Many coaches replacing a guy who lost the room often experience early success so here’s hoping he can keep it up. On a optimistic note, (Don’t worry, there will be a more negative Cameron thing in the next post just to keep it 100), according to Wiccanpedia, we’ve had 26 coaches in the nation’s capital since the gawdbody Bryan Murray stepped down in after the 2007 season…and came back for a minute after firing John Paddock less than a year after stepping down…anyway what was I talking about again? COACHES, we’ve HAD ‘em. One of these fuckers has to work out eventually right? Let’s hope we’ve finally found someone solid after about 7 seasons of searching in the desert.

Mercifully, We Seem to be More or Less Out tha Dave Dziurzynski Era of Call Ups

Call it part patience with development paying off, part having far more skilled prospects in the system, but the Sens have stayed calling up higher end players for the past couple of seasons now.

At the start of last season, I remember it was the same story as this year’s “only one spot up for grabs on the roster.” By Spring we’d seen Mike Hoffman, Mark Stone, Courteous Lazar, Matt Puempel and Shane Prince make it up to the NHL level in some capacity. For what it’s worth puck moving defenseman Chris Wideman even got a call up despite not getting the chance to play in a game.

This summer I’ve come across some moaning about the team not possessing any top flight prospects—I guess you don’t produce a Calder nominee, a rookie who lead the Sens in scoring, a 21 year old defenseman who only played about 30 AHL before making the club and a World Junior gold medal winning captain without the luxury of a lotto or even top 10 pick in the last 5 years without making a few enemies.
Sure, our playoff team (btw) doesn’t seem to have the next Tyler Seguin in the system at the moment but I will take what we currently have over the not so long ago classic “The Ottawa Senators have recalled Cody Bass from Binghamton” mess any day.

The fact is that many of the Sens best prospects have graduated to the big club in the last few seasons yet the cupboards are far from bare. There are still exciting prospects fighting for spots at both forward and defense and perhaps soon enough in goal as well. Keeping that internal competition zesty is great news for this fan. It wasn’t all that long ago when the only hope for legit help from the farm was Nick Foligno. Nothing against Foligno it’s just that it was either him or praying that Denis Hamel finally figured out how to travel back in time to kill Hitler (naturally) and avoid that knee injury he suffered in 2000 that ruined his shot at the bigs. Nothin else.

Hey, by the way, I’m as unnerved as anyone when I hear Bryan Murray and co. utter the name Dave Dziurzynski as a guy who as a “real shot” at getting some games this year. I mean, lord knows Ottawa could benefit from a dude who put up 4 goals and 14 points in the AHL last year but I’m hoping it’s just lip service to the guys who’ve been riding the bus for years now.
What’s most important is that this season, there are many far more talented players ahead of him on the depth chart. Hell, even Buddy Robinson seems like a version of him with more upside. Look, I’m dumping on this poor guy. What I ultimately mean to say here is that Dave D would be the first guy who’d get called up a few years ago. Now, it would be a slap in the face to guys like Shane Prince or Matt Puempel to not prioritize them. Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a couple of games from a youngster like Nick Paul this season. Young pups have developed nicely and earned shots and ultimately our eyes will be happier for it.

Ottawa Plays Toronto 4 Times This Season Instead of the Usual 5

In the Digital Age™ of tracking trends in the sport of Ice Hockey (that’s what we call it in Canada so we don’t confuse it with the other popular hockeys) one of my LEAST favourite trends to examine is Ottawa’s record vs. Toronto (the other is our success on the Power Play).

Seriously, what in the Hesus Christo happens when these teams get together? I’m like a broken record with this but feel me. Look, sure, I hate them, we’ll just get that out of the way, but there’s more to it than that. My problem is mainly this: Toronto is a shitty division rival who Ottawa just cannot beat consistently. Consider this, 2014-15 was Ottawa’s best season series against the leafs in 5 years…they went 2-1-2. *lets it s(t)ink in* That looks at first glance like Ottawa won more games than they lost. I see it as more of a glass half empty situation. Against the 4th worst team in the entire league, a 2-1-2 record is two points blown in OT or the shootout more than it’s two loser points salvaged.

The last three seasons, the Sens combined record against the loaves (thank you, Autocorrect) is a putrid 4-6-4. C’mon B, have a little pride, don’t you realize these guys suuuck? It was a lot easier to take when we we’re getting stonewalled by Tim Thomas year after year but you’re telling we can’t light up James fucking Reimer? That guy’s barely a starter!

As admittedly petty as this comes off, this is important to me because Ottawa is a team that typically either barely claws its way into the playoffs or just misses them. You gotta hack the BONE with the weaker teams in your division. Ottawa going 3-2-0 against the Bruins last season was the kind of subtle make or break stuff that helped get them into the post-season.

I’m an optimistic fan but for whatever reason year upon year Les Boys repeatedly struggle against these turds and I’m glad there’s one less goddamn game against them. Yep, that’s where I’m at, after watching the team go nearly unbeaten for like two months I am happy to avoid the lottery team that just traded away their best player.

Your Ottawa Senators…as Movies

A message from James:

Dear Reader, 

This summer I asked a WTYKY alumni and Hall of Famer to revive a post he did for our humble blog back in the day (Mom Slang for several years ago) where he compared our (mostly) BELOVED Ottawa Senators to popular movies. For those of you newish to our site his name is Pete. Despite his retirement from the glitz and glamour of a small market hockey team blog that actually loses money, he is still a MUST follow on twitter even though several of his jokes are 2 smart 4 me 2 understand. Find his criminally underfollowed account here. 
Get in there and become part of Pete’s Online Entourage early and often and one day when he’s throwing out the first puck at a Nepean Raiders Atom C House League tournament you can lean over to your friend B and be like, “B, I was THERE, I was on his wave before he was throwing out the first puck at his son’s house league tournament when he was just doin’ computer jokes. Also, B, when did they start ‘throwing out the first puck’ at these things?…Also, B…B! Are you listening to me? Yeah, do you think it’s weird that you and I are spending our Saturday watching an Atom C House League tournament at the Walter Baker Sports Centre when neither of us know any of these kids or their parents? We should be doing what REAL men do: Playing Call of Duty San Andreas on Xbox live getting called the N word by mega agro 14 year olds on our headsets. It’s our basic human right. That’s why our ancient ancestors gave The Kaiser what’s for back in the Great War.”   
……………..what in the Jesus Ekman-Christ was I on about? Oh yeah, Pete wrote a guest post, please enjoy it responsibly. 


Hey Sens fans, it’s time once again to look at this year’s projected roster and their cinematic comparisons. Join me won’t you? We’ve got Mike Holmes and Jackie Chan, the man who invented the Muppets, fake French movies, fake English movies, Scientology jokes and John Lithgow. (Kisses tips of fingers) “mmm perfection!” (then screams at tips of fingers) “Let’s goooooo!”

Disclaimer: Amount of fact checking done for this post: zero to little

Zack Smith, Mika Zibanejad, Colin Greening, Alex Chiasson, Cody Ceci, Mark Borowiecki, Patrick Wiercioch – Toy Soldiers
I also would have accepted The Lost Boys or Boys on the Side. Screw it we could make up a movie for the group, call it “The Unpronouncables: Featuring Zack Smith”. Have a script on the hood of my car by Monday, I hear Shannon Tweed is already attached.

Mike Hoffman – Payback
Only Mel Gibson is super chill and not at all upset that the Sens owe him money. He’s just bummed you guys haven’t gotten a chance to toss his sweet new bee around before an extended super smash bros sesh.
Booster Juice flavour that encapsulates Mike’s arbitration saga: A cardboard cut-out of Jose Bautista that has a crudely made speech balloon saying employees must wash hands.

Curtis Lazar – House Guest
God please tell me Phillips calls his house guest Curtis Lazar “Blazer”. Remember Sinbad? That man could act, he starred in 2008’s classic “Cuttin Da Mustard” (a real, no foolin movie) He doesn’t just get work, dude is work!
Favourite board game at the Phillips house: Fireball Island

Jean Gabriel Pageau – Le Film Jambon
One of those French movies that is only funny to French people (even after translation) It’s like French cinematic culture is either overwrought emotionally void psychodramas or nonsensical romps where a crazy ass Quebequois family/hockey team/group of erotic book store employees embark on a journey of self discovery before one of them dies. (Who just googled “Le Film Jambon”?)

Clark Macarthur – Holmes on Homes
Seriously, dude has a super kind face and those sick mitts would look good peeling away rancid vinyl siding to reveal that your fly by night contractors forgot to erect walls for your carport (why did you let them put siding on your car port? You are dumb and should be shamed publicly on a tv show that secures funding from the federal government… but old Grizz has you covered)
My reaction upon learning Holmes on Homes is not a movie but in fact a TV show: “Drama is drama son”

Milan Michalek – Capital Gains: The Movie
According to IMDB there is no movie in existence called Capital Gains. So my hastily cobbled together film production company/team of immigration lawyers are set to begin pre-production on the story of a lazy headline writer attempting the longest con of them all… love? (in this case the love shared between a man and a headline)
Player who should take the Capital Gains headline with them when they retire: Milan Michalek, fortunately dude is never retiring and mobile web programmers couldn’t be happier.

Bobby Ryan – Cool Runnings
The Olympic underdog story that just wasn’t meant to be. I can see the scene now where Brian Burke explains to Bobby that’ll take more than belly fire to make the American Olympic hockey team – In all honesty I’ve never seen Cool Runnings and rather than guess I substitute scenes from Simpsons episodes instead.
Memorable Dialogue: Doug E. Doug plays a character named Sanka Coffie and no one questions which is the more remarkable name? (Sees you can check dialogue on IMDB… meh)

Kyle Turris – Titanic
Why did old ass Rose throw the heart of the ocean overboard? There’s a stack overflow post about this somewhere. Why do I feel like Kyle Turris’ fascinating chain holds magical powers? Can we give him the nickname “The Talisman”?
Achewood column that references Titanic and not much else: This one

Mark Stone – Marked for Death
Lotsa layers here so keep up here my babies, “Mark-ed” as in being targeted. Sorry I suppose I should be giving you guys more credit. Speaking of not giving the audience credit, I think my favorite part of Segal movies is where each character he plays has some weird backstory where the movie from that point forward unfurls as a redemption quest. He was a chef that played by his own rules… That is exactly the type of chef I want making me dinner, those are the best chefs! Anthony Bourdain didn’t get where he is today by not bending an attackers arm completely in the other direction with the sound of a chicken bone breaking added in post. But why redeem? In this new age of reason, why does a steely eyed martial arts master, part Inuit former navy seal turned sous-chef turned Jim Henson imagine-a-torium employee need redemption at all? It’s like if elaborate plot points subtly revealed that Jackie Chan has a fear of intimacy? No, he’s just Jackie Damn Chan. Humanizing Steven Segal is in no one’s best interest.
Memorable Line: After killing the bad guy and his twin: “I hope they weren’t triplets” Daaaaaaam Son!

Jared Cowen – Harry and Hendersons 
Oh, gentle wood ape. Only someone with Lithgow-ian level thetans can understand you. What are the chances the Sens just walk Jared to the back of Rexall place and tell him to go. If John Lithgow shows up on the dad’s trip pretending to be Ermangandillo Prince (Shane’s Dad, btw) you know it’s going down. Also if this year’s Dad’s trip includes a stop in Edmonton, well that just sucks.

Craig Anderson – The Hand that Rocks the Cradle
If he had hair he’d cut it like Andrew Hammond. “Hey guys you like the Hamburglar but are you ready for the Chicken Hawk?” (Grilled, not fried). That is much funnier if I don’t have to explain the reference so I won’t.

Andrew Hammond – The Holy Mountain
Hockey is a strange sport, if the molecular properties of water don’t allow for less density when solid as opposed to liquid and the friction caused by a steel blade doesn’t create a thin layer of liquid thus allowing for rapid movement. Then we wouldn’t have a seemingly career minor leaguer set a record for consecutive non losses and find the team owner a new liver (seriously try and convince me that run didn’t literally save Euge’s life) Oh the movie, right… watch the trailer for this absurd masterpiece that does an expert job of capturing the essential human emotions of “huh?” “wha?” and “ew”.

Chris Phillips – Horizon, Mystery of Easter Island
A documentary on Netflix about the Moai of Rapa Nui. (They’re not heads and it’s not Easter Island) This is almost too easy, giant heads, slow, mysterious and have given tons of money to CHEO (ok don’t want to totally dump on the guy since he’s a good dude and puts his name on pretty good beer.

Chris Neil & Mark Methot – A Night at the Roxbury
Oh you wouldn’t watch a buddy comedy starring these two? Like fun you won’t! Neiler’s muffler franchise is on the rocks if he doesn’t make it big as a sports agent he’ll lose the respect of his father (Carla’s skeevy ex from Cheers) but his pursuit of success blinds him to the fact that his brother Marc almost made the Canadian Olympic team once.

Erik Karlsson – Karate Kid
Karate Kid feels like the easiest movie to reboot for these modern, more socially inclusive times. Let me just say I wholly support the premise of a golden-haired Swedish Elven God finding himself tormented by bullies and pushed too far. A metaphor for the deconstruction of cultural stereotypes in martial arts movies our hero goes on to learn patience and discipline at the feet of a Master Russian Sensei G. (Sergei rhymes with Sensei, fwiw).
Memorable Dialogue: When Samuel L Jackson says “Hang on to your butts” in Jurassic Park (does it have to be from the same movie?).

Summer Reading: Hi, this logo thing is a piece of shit.


Hi, if you follow my DELIGHTFUL garbage on twitter you may be aware of a running joke I dust off virtually every time the team trots out some new trope like “Young and Hungry” or “#FEARLESS” or infinity. My reaction to these…uhh…eventnnouncements is that I need to make some changes and get a job in the Sens PR department (thxu for favouriting and retweeting btw). Each time a say it I am joking less and less…frankly, I wasn’t really in the first place.

After hyping up a big announcement all weekend which turned out to be “Something something Canada am 2017 it’s the millenniums!” the organization decided to “sweeten the announcement pot” by revealing the Sens 25th anniversary patch pictured above. Yeah, that thing is going to be on the uniform. No, not just sometimes…apparently all year.
When they dropped this piece of dog shit on our heads…well, if you spend any time on twitter you’ll know people including myself were worked up over it. Now, getting worked up is not an unusual reaction for the Sensphere, of course, but this feels different than having a grouchy knee jerk take on a trade, free agent signing or draftee. Nah, this felt like the fans were just tired of being embarrassed by the organization with stuff like this.

Yes, I will admit I was I was excited to see it because my Karlsson heritage jersey still needs a captain “C” and I plan to get one this season (Yeah that’s right I was in on that ground floor with this Karlsson guy). Anyway, I thought maybe if the 25 year patch is nice enough that down the road, I’d get one put on there as well. Hey, after all, I paid extra to get the commemorative Heritage Classic game patch put on my Hertiage Classic jersey for no reason other than that it looked really nice. Turns out if the Sens design a nice thing I CANT WAIT TO GIVE THEM MY MONEY FOR IT.
BREAKING: Money is something the team is apparently greatly in need of.

The Heritage design by Le Collectif is so nice that the team basically hung a different colourway of it in front of me and I couldn’t resist it. Why are we not moving forward with it?

Sure, there was a time before the Heritage and, yes, I have a home red. A Daniel Alfredsson #11. I’ll always want something to wear to the game or out playing pick up. It is about repping my city and my team more than looking cool but here’s the thing. In the time since the Heritage jersey came out and I immediately copped one here’s how many times I’ve worn Old Red:

  • December 1, 2013: Daniel Alfredsson returns to CTC as a Detroit Red Wing
  • December 4, 2014: Daniel Alfredsson signs one day contract with Ottawa Senators, takes pre-game warm up

If this doesn’t prove I was wearing that thing more for the name on the back than the logo on the front I don’t know what to tell you.

The first time I pulled on the Heritage jersey, however, was way different. I felt truly proud. The logo, the colours, the shoulder patches, hell, every name and number combo looks good on it. Even Wiercioch’s dreadful 46. So many numbers on the current home and away just look weird. The heritage design was obviously inspired by the simplicity of original 6 teams and when it came out even hockey writers who typically love to go in on Ottawa’s follies had to admit it looked great. Ahh, the Goode Olde Days of the OG 6, it was a special time when you had to win 8 whole games and slip on a puddle of butterscotch to win a Stanley Cup and the simple design of those simpler times also allowed you to get away with a lot. Here’s what we’re competing with in our division alone:
Montreal Canadiens

The colours are admittedly great here. Ah, the red, white and blue of the Canadian flag. WHO KNEW THAT COMBO WOULD WORK!? But Ima call epic bullshit on this logo. We’re just used to it more than it’s at all nice. That C is stupid and weirdly stretched out in a way that would never fly if it wasn’t so old. Also, H? Can’t spell mHoHnHtHrHeHaHl cHaHnHaHdHiHeHnHs without it. OHhhhh, OHHHHHH my bad turns out it stands for “Club d’Hockey.” Oh, donc, je m’excuse! #ACTUELLEMENT THAT’S NOT THE NAME OF THE FUCKING TEAM.

Toronto Maple Leafs (sic)

It’s bad enough Montreal has a spelling error this one has a grammar error. Do not try to #actually me on that army squadron name thing. Just because some military guy made it up don’t mean it looks right. Isn’t that right, several borders drawn by European colonialists in the Middle East / Africa!? Also, very creative using the national symbol as a logo. Personally, I would have went with the Toronto Canadians…toss an “H” in the mix just to make it real.

Boston Bruins

It’s just a goddamn B with some spokes. You know what? It looks worlds better than pretty much any NHL logo designed in the 1990s or beyond. And it’s a goddamn B with some spokes. Room for improvement: Needs an “H” for the word Hockey.

Detroit Red Wings

K, this one isn’t fair. I’m not asking for the moon here. I’m of the opinion that a sports logo should be simple enough that a child could draw it but this one gets a pass. I don’t care if your kid is Michael Angelos or Leo Nardodelvinchi, they’d only capture but a whisper of the conceptual majik going on here. This is like the Nick Lidstrom of designs. Quietly destroying the opposition…Fuck you, Detroit. Their logo should be a horse shoe.

Follow the Major Legaue’s Basebulb model. The teams are so old that the league is just rich with amazing unis…and here’s the secret, they all tend to look pretty much the same and that is okay. Here, I’ll take a team that I’m not even a fan of and, as such, will make an unbiased case as a uniform done right:


See…it’s not that harrrrrrrrrrrrrrd.
Notice the wild variations on the hat…NONE. Look at all the piping, striping and funky accents: Not that much if any! Sure, the word SOCKS is spelled incorrectly but this thing is so clean (with just the tiniest bit of flare) that I’ma let it cook. Alright, maybe the red one’s a touch zesty for me. This design is so nice your team can trade one of the greatest players of all time to your hated rival and become a laughing stock in their wake for nearly a century and you can STILL not feel embarrassed by what you’re wearing to the ball yard for up to 86 years!
Heyyy speaking of embarrassment, even the Toronto Maple Leafs of baseball have a pretty damn tight kit they can at least be proud of:


See…its not that harrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrd.

Baseball: Just write the goddamn name of the city or team across the chest and put the first letter of the city and or team name on the cap and BOOM, stack paper.
But beware, even baseball has its horrid moments when a team tries to think outside the bun!
Just ask…


Now THIS is happening:


Real Talk: That pirate head is not exactly worlds away from our 3D logo guy.


In conclusion, I care so much about stuff like this because we as Sens fans have SO LITTLE to hang our collective hat on. The most our franchise has done in just over two decades is get destroyed in one Stanley Cup Final…against the motherfucking Mighty Ducks THE ONLY TEAM WE COULD ACTUALLY LOOK DOWN ON UP UNTIL THAT POINT.
This year our expansion sister franchise Tampa Bay nearly won their second Stanley Cup for their adoring legion of Canadian retirees who go to their games when wintering in Florida. If Ottawa was in the hunt for Cup number 2? Shit like this wouldn’t even be on my radar screen of things I care about. I would do 100 years of SNES garbage for one Cup in my lifetime. EVEN CAROLINA HAS ONE. See what I’m sayin?
Planting a team in between two of the oldest and most storied franchises like Montreal and sort of Toronto, surviving bankruptcy and currently navigating still more economically uncertain times, making it to 25 years is actually a big fucking deal to us as fans. How the the Senators design team and focus group (maybe?) thought that:
An even shinier version of our widely derided 3D logo (even if you like it, it’s undeniable that league-wide it ranks in the bottom 10 or even 5 of any rating you look up), stacked on  a font I’ve never seen connected to the team before, stacked on some out of place Wrestlemania lookin ass Roman numeral mess, stacked on dates that look more like an obituary than a celebration of legacy was acceptable is beyond me. Then again, they haven’t paid attention to how no one outside of our own fans thinks our current logo is at all good since the emergence of the Senagoth a decade ago. If we’re going to play like Cowen can we not at least look like Karlsson?
I thought with the heritage we were turning a corner but stuff like this makes me think it might have been an anomaly.
Yeah, I’ve heard it…the O looks like a zero for how many Cups the team’s won. Guess what: that’s true. Also, let me think of a way to fix that …hmmmmmmmmmmmm…mmm.

Until then, crap like this logo “celebrating” the Senators will continue be embarrassing to the legacy we are still trying to build around the team we so love.
Now that I think of it, the Heritage jersey design itself started as an online petition by a fan who was fed up with the team’s poor design choices….maybe we’ve still got 2 years to make this thing right.

Re:Bort Cards: Goalers


Goalers, right? Like dads say!

Look, Ima be str8 with you. It’s going to be pretty tough to write these without making them about much more than SCINTILLATING takes on who to keep and who to trade and how I learned to know who Andrew Hammond is.
I’ll save you a bunch of time and just summarize my plan: You trade Chris Dreiger for Yakupov and a 1st, open a bed & breakfast / detective agency called The Lehner n’ Hammy Arms and finally make Craig Anderson Editor in Chief of WTYKY which he will eventually turn into a very unsuccessful Corvette Modification Quarterly. That’s what we’re all thinking, correct? What’s that? It’s not even June and you’re looking for something to read between now and training camp?
Alright, it’s your funeral…

Goal’s Keep Letter Grade Teacher says…every take a blog brings, an a-hole gets his wings.
Greg Anderton A  Another super solid year for Andy. Rocking some of the leagues best numbers and playing the majority of your starts when the team is flirting with a lottery pick? Sounds like our Andy alright!
Actually, at this point in his tenure as a Senator, I am starting to develop a profound frustration. The frustration with his performance isn’t even negative toward him. No, for all the talk of taking advantage of young players in their so called prime years, I worry that we are squandering / have squandered #PEAK Anderson.
Guy has been one of the best goaltenders in the league on some lacklustre Ottawa teams for a couple of years now. All we have to show for it is one playoff round win. Turning 34 this summer, I wonder how much longer the kind of performances we are getting from Anderson can be expected. With all the debate of what goalie the organization should move forward with, I sometimes wonder if it’s time that we send Anderson some place where he can make a real run before his age starts catching up with him. You know, to repay him for that shutout win against the Leafs in his Sens debut back in 2011. That’s not to say I would be mad if he stayed. There are worse things that can happen than having a really good goaltender who, sure, is getting up there in pro athlete years. If he’s continues playing he has been? Can’t complain.
Throbbin Leather C So yeah. This might get emotional. Gentle reader, I know you skim WTYKY for my balanced approach to …covering(?) your Ottawa Senators. I must confess that I’m not sure I’m thinking straight about The Lehner. It might be a touch late to bring this up but I suppose this is as good a time as any to come clean about something serious: I am not, nor have I ever been, a professional hockey talent evaluator. Lehner has only solidified this fact the past two seasons. My beautiful thanx4reading and I would appreciate that you respect our privacy at this difficult time.
What is Robin Lehner? Is he amazing? Is he just kind of aight? Is he overrated because he is such an engaging personality with a style of play that  looks so awesome but isn’t overly effective? Is he starting to be somehow underrated because despite a lack of results he has a comparable development record to Carey Price? Is he a head case whose performance is all over the place? In the past 3 or 4 seasons that I’ve been watching him develop I have seen him be all of those things.
What’s important to keep in mind, and I’m far from the first person to point this out, is that despite being drafted way back in ’09, he’s closer in age to Zibanejad and Stone than he is to those “time for the next step” guys like Turris or Wiercioch. So for a guy who plays the extremely unforgiving position of goalie it should be noted that his learning curve has been kind of insane (like him!).
It seems to be that maybe because Lehner is so vocal about wanting the starting job so bad (good thing IMO) that it ends up making ME impatient for him to take it to the next level (bad thing).
A popular knock against Craig Anderson, especially going forward, is that he seems to suffer an injury of the long term variety every season. The result is that Lehner pretty much gets an annual opportunity to steal the starter spot…and…doesn’t. This season was no different.
Hammond, as once in a lifetime as his run was,  in an exaggerated way, proved if you make yourself the guy, coach will keep you as the guy. I mean, they gave Hammy the first two starts of a playoff series against a high seed with only 25 career NHL games under his belt. Think Lehner wouldn’t become starter if he just started wrecking shop? As the cheaper, younger option, the organisation probably
wants him to take over as starter.
The thing I have a hard time with is this: Another season in the books another losing record for Lehner. Granted he doesn’t have the best teams playing in front of him but neither does Andy and he’s managed to eek out more W’s than L’s every year. Now add into that Andrew “One Loss Larry” Hammond to make things start to look worse for Lehnny.
What’s troubling about being a fan and trying to stay patient with a developing prospect, is the last awesome thing I can remember Lehner doing was going on that 3 game unbeaten streak…which was all the way back in early November…of 2013. It’s not like he hasn’t had good games but you gotta throw us dat patience rewarding bone every now and then. Like how Condra DID score on a breakaway in the playoffs!I could just keep going back and forth on this forever. I totally support if Murray chooses Lehner going forward. We love Lehner. At this point I’m just not sure if I’m blinded a bit by that love. Sucks to see him get such a brutal injury to finish his season early but with a 9-12-3 record coupled with a 3.09GAA and .905 SV% and another blown chance at pulling away from Andy, I cant help but be disappointed. There’s still plenty of time for Lehner to redeem himself I’m just afraid he might not do it in a Sens uniform.
Andyrew Hamburgson A++ *Fills crack pipe with an orange Skittle, lights and smokes it…listen, it’s not as big a deal as it has to be… just to get some ideas going, you know?*
Where to start with this one. A story: Remember Bobby Butler? K, imagine he didn’t have the distinction of a Hobey Baker nomination or ever standing out in Binghamton or in any way…Hmmm wait, maybe this: Remember Tim HUSSEIN Thomas? K, only imagine he never had the distinction of being a two time NCAA All American or being drafted by an NHL club. What I’m saying here is, there are a lot of heart warming underdog stories in the NHL but damn G, Hammond’s college/pro career is MAD quiet in terms of accomplishments. Even the underdoggiest of all Martin St. Louis boasts an 85 points in 35 games year, 2 Hobey Baker noms and an ECAC championship in college. Finished his school’s all time leading scorer too. Now, that’s how you get overlooked PROPER-LIKE.
Hammond’s record in his first season in college? That would be a big 0-12-2…so…sure he won some team MVPs on some godawful Bolling Green teams where he finished with a stinkline adorned 30-68-13 record. His SV% indicated he played well enough on those teams but it’s not like we pump the tires of the best player on the Evansville Icemen; that shit is inconsequential until further notice. What I’m saying here is I’m amazed Andrew Hammond even made the American Hockey League. That’s almost what makes HamSNBC (nickname idea) hard to write about. Up until now, he has had a career of being passed over…That. Made. Sense.
St. Louis or Thomas were obviously good but their respective merits were ignored for whatever reasons. Hammond was traded in Junior A.
Nothing about his season makes any sense and I think I can speak for everyone by saying it’s awesome.
I think his recent signing has jarred some and why not? A few bulletproof months netted him the same extension term as Robin Lehner coming off his ELC and that was 5 years into his development. The way the last two off-seasons have gone, of course Hammond goes nearly undefeated for months and needs to be re-signed. Cant have so much as a year left on his deal just so we can be sure. Nope. Either way, 3 years is a lot after 27 NHL games but I think it’s not unreasonable that that Bryan Murray and Co. gambled that he’s at least CURTIS MCELHINNEY good. Much as we love having the Anderson-Lehner tandem, did any of us really think it was all that long for this world? A new fighter has entered the tournament and has taken the backup spot, for cheap. What I like about Hammond is that despite whomever is left and deemed the starter in October, I believe he will be breathing down their neck for their job, keeping them sharp whi—what’s that? I haven’t really touched on the Hamburglar’s actual performance? Oh…Andrew had a satisfactory season. He met some of the expectations I had of him at the beginning of the year.
Chrisp Diapers

(Ugh, what is this? Mad Magazine? I feel sorry for people who read this website. (Srry 2 U)

Participation Forgotten in this whole mix is Chris Driedger. Yes, he only played a little over a period but pretty cool that he stopped all 10 shots that he faced. If that doesn’t sound impressive, consider that up to that point he played that year on a team where a bunch of his teammates were roofers (great practice for the Sens where several roster players own other businesses outside the rink). Anyway, no joke, even though it was one period its still super impressive to go from the ECHL to holding the fort against a team as strong as the President’s Trophy winning Rangers. I would imagine Derek Stepan can shoot a bajillion times harder than *Doesn’t bother to look up who the best player in the ECHL is because who gives a damn*. It’s probably also worth mentioning that at 21 years of age, the only player on the roster younger than him is Curtis Lazar and he hasn’t even been born yet!
Driedger went undefeated in his 8 games in Binghamton which is nice. With the signing of hottt college prospect Matt O’Connor the spotlight is off Driegs to keep doing his thing in the shadows. I’ll keeping an eye on him, so you don’t have to.

Liked what you skimmed? Check out my SCORCHING hot evaluations of this season’s forward group and defense corps.

2014-2015 Retort Cards: Forwards


Due to overwhelming demand, I return with my flippant letter grade assessments of the performances of professional athletes all of whom, it should be noted, could beat the crap out of me before giving me a swirly.
WELP…it’s a spiritual journey of a read as turns out there are way more forwards on the team than defensemen…so let’s get started shall we?

Forwardsman Letter Grade Teacher says…every take a blog brings, an a-hole gets his wings.
Kyle Turris A Yo. On some admittedly petty shit, massive shout out to the kid for finishing the season with more points than Jason Spezza. I know I’m starting off on a hater tip but Turris doesn’t get to play in a top 6 with Jamie Benn, Tyler Segiun, and..is Ales Hemsky a top 6 player still? Anyway, KT continues to quietly get better and better and prove that he’s a quality 2 way centre at rock bottom prices.
Kyle Turris: Service, Selection, Value.
The best way to describe his game is with this question: Have you ever watched a Sens game and said, “Ah, goddamn it Turris what are you thinking?” He’s just such a smart, dependable player. He makes skating fast look hilariously easy and is continually proving himself a clutch performer.
He is the hockey player version of how he got traded to the Sens and sneakily was like, “Oh, the number 7 is available? Lemme just lowkey put that on my back.”
Mike Bananajazz A To go from starting last season in the AHL to getting extended looks on the top line and putting up a career high in both goals and assists (a 13 point jump) qualifies as a pretty damn impressive season. While I am unabashedly a Ziba fan, I will admit every time I heard Bryan Murray say that he saw Zibanejad’s ceiling as a first line centre, I had my doubts. Personally, I saw him topping out as a Mike Fisher type of rugged, dependable pivot who can put up around 40 to 50 points.
This season, especially when Dave Cameron took over, I felt I started to see the kind of top line potential in him Murray was talking about. Watching homeboy strong arm his way past defenders or shrug someone off his back who probably weighs 200lbs is pretty exciting considering this kid just turned 22 last month. Yes, he is younger than Mark Stone and JGP and aleady has 200 games and 3 playoff series under his belt.
The aspiring young Dubstep artist finished the year with a solid 20 goals and 46 points but what’s most exciting is I think he can do much, much better than that.
David Wandleg D+ I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, how this guy put up 51 points JUST LAST YEAR is a complete mystery to me. I want to see what that even looks like. Can someone please put together a supercut of that? Talk about a tease. When Leggz was signed as an FA I figured he would mentor Zibanejad while he continued to develop. What we got was 4th line centre who consistently makes the safe play. Which, hey, is fair…but you know who else was kind of that? Zenon Konopka who you can pay in Sub Club stamps.
Also, I remember hearing he was “fast.” Okay. Did my dude age considerably between May and October 2014? Thing is, I didn’t even think Legwand was particularly bad at his assignment. What is so disappointing is what his assignment ended up being. I guess I expected a lot more of someone with his career, paycheque, and hell, the numbers he had put up just one year earlier.
Jean Gabriel Pizza Hotline A What? You’re a 5 foot 8 call up and you beat Zack Smith out of the 3rd line centre job and I’m going to give you anything other than an A? That’s nothing against Zack Smith per se. I just think as far as most GMs seem to go, Z is basically the ideal candidate for 3rd line centre.  An agitator who plays with a physical edge and can get on the score sheet occasionally. Pageau is these things plus the team’s second best faceoff man, a frustratingly elusive skater and crack penalty killer. He was a key component of what might have been Ottawa’s best line through much of the 2nd half and playoffs. As Curtis Lazar gets more comfortable playing in the NHL, I expect Pageau’s production to make a decent jump. Should Erik Condra have to leave this summer, I expect JGP to become heir to King Condra’s throne as “guy on the PK you trust the buhjezuz out of with the puck.” Easily one of my favourite players on the team at this point.
Courteous Lazar B First, a round of applause to our fan base for keeping their cool and staying patient with Lazar as he had some ups and downs dealing with the massive learning curve of making the NHL straight from junior as a teen. He’s not the generational talent that most guys who make that kind of jump are so, I was proud to see everyone ready to accept some baby steps. A little more courteousness over killer instinct in the first half of the season but nothing to be concerned about. After the WJCs, Lazar noticeably had more confidence and played a very solid second half. The points are a bit quiet but not abnormal for a rookie with upside. Consider future Hart/Scoring title winner Corey Perry had a modest 25 points his first season. Not to compare them beyond that but some awesome players spend their first year just taking it in. What Lazar’s ceiling is, to me, is not of much concern at this point. Ima let him just cook. If the club’s most inexperienced player captained his junior team to a WHL championship and Memorial Cup as well as Canada to a gold medal (on home ice no less)…all in the last calendar year? Yeah, I think it’s safe to feel good about this kid’s ability to handle pressure and grow.
Zmith D- I’d imagine it was a very frustrating year for the Smith Treat (?). I don’t want to get this twisted that I’m dogging on a guy for missing nearly half the season with a very gross sounding injury. That kind of thing can’t be helped.
No, what’s really rough for Smith is that it became quite clear that he lost his place on the team this year. He was supposed to spend time on the wing and put up bigger numbers. He struggled mightily at that. His game isn’t about points per se but homie has shown the ability to put up 13 or 14 goals in the past. You cant be putting up the same sat line as Chris Philips (3 ponts!) in basically the same amount of games (37 to Phillie’s 36). Greening gunna get bought out for just 2 fewer points than that, girl!
The quintessential mythic “Bryan Murray type player” with his size and toughness, as I already mentioned, was beat out cleanly by the diminutive JGP. What’s worse, even Legwand, unspectacular as he was, held down the 4th line centre slot instead of Smith. He also got bounced in the playoffs for Neil, who up to that point wasn’t given the time of day by Dave Cameron.
Simply put, life came at this guy fast this year. I still think he’s a very useful player who’s a bit of a coach’s dream and has a very reasonable contract. And because of that I believe that he be used to sweeten a trade package in the off season. It happens.
Mark Stone A+++ Just a little taste of how when you write about hockey stuff, shit can change on a dime. A reading from Stoner’s player bio on TSN.ca: “Could use more work on his skating and play without the puck.” I feel you. You don’t top the league in takeaways as a rookie without making a couple of enemies.
K, enough nitpicking. Let’s get to the good stuff:
Mark Stone is what I’ve been waiting to happen to the Sens in the time since Erik Karlsson emerged. A super talent that pretty unexpectedly pulls away from the rest of the prospects. Before someone hits me with the #ACTUALLY about EK being a 1st round pick, remember his initial ceiling was possibly to be a “Brian Rafalsky type” Respect due to BR’s Cup winning ass but EK ended up more of a workaday “Up for his 2nd Norris trophy in 4 years and team captain at age 24” type. I think, like Karlsson, among Sens fans we were pretty confident Stone would eventually find a place on the team but a season like this? And so soon? Wow.
I could really drone on with what you already know about what an amazing year he had but I think it can best be summed up this way: When he was injured in game 1 of the playoffs, it hurt the Sens chances of winning the series significantly. The guy was healthy scratched at the beginning of the season BTFingW. At the risk of sounding over the top, if Stone’s game reminds me of another Sens player it’s Alfie. Those feelings were strengthened when his wrist was fractured and he still managed to put up 4 assists in 6 games. Like #11, even with the chips stacked heavily against him, he adjusted his play and just found a way to get it done.
Bobbito Ryan B This is a bit of a tough one. Bobby’s year reminds me of Craig Anderson’s last season. Obvious struggles that came at parts of the season where they would be most noticeable/memorable. But also, like Anderson in January of ’14, Bobby carried the fucking team at some points. Namely the Western road trip that helped kick off Ottawa’s playoff run.
His season was much like his playoffs. The story is that he was ice cold and sure he had a couple of weak games where he was in his head, but upon closer inspection he scored 2 goals in a big Ottawa win and played some pretty strong games in that series as well. If not for the outstanding play of Stone, Hoffman and Zibanejad during Ryan’s cold streak, this off season could have been one where much of the good he did would be completely overshadowed a bad stretch. With Ryan here for the long haul I am looking at this one big picture. In his two seasons here so far, he has yet to hit the 30 goal mark he routinely did while playing with the Ducks (actual team name). That’s too bad but watching him game in and game out I think Ryan might emerge as more of a playmaker and not just a sniper on this team. I guess what I’m saying is, it’s okay with me if he doesn’t put up 30 goals as long as he’s making his line better. Despite the cold snap, this was his most productive season since 2011-12. When he couldn’t find the back of the net I found he would routinely get on goalies doorstep. Even if he’s not scoring, goalies still have to respect him when he is in position to tap it in. I think this helped free up his linemates.
I also definitely appreciate how much he’s emerging as a leader on the team as we enter the next chapter of the franchise. I expect more next year mostly because I know he can provide more.
Alex Chiasson C (u l8r) The human Participation ribbon. What really can be said about Alex Chiasson’s season at this point? No, seriously, lil help here, it’s very hard to think of anything to say about this guy. There is understandable disappointment with him on the Sensphere given that he was the centrepiece of the Jason Spezza trade.
If this is your view, take my advice: Look at the removal Jason Spezza’s hefty salary and the pressure to resign him as the REAL centrepiece of that trade.
Look, as fans, we have a propensity to slot players into two categories: Goats and Golden Boys. Sure Chiasson is a goat but at the end of the day, it’s tough to sit here and say a guy who put up 11 goals and 26 points (more than fan favourites JGP and Condra) while spending much of the season on the 4th line a “failure.”  He was fine. I was hoping he would at least CHALLENGE the far less experienced Stone for a top six spot on the right side. At no point was that even a conversation.
In conclusion, I don’t hate the guy and at just 24 I could see room for him to grow still but if one RFA wasn’t extended, you’d be hard pressed to make an argument for anyone over him.
Erik Condra A Trying to think if there’s ever been a guy in Sens history who had a job as boring as penalty killer and also had as much trouble finishing a breakaway/in general as Condra who was more of a fan favourite. Im thinking maybe Antoine Vermette…but he had LADIES tho.
Regardless, there’s nobody on the team, aside from Karlsson, who I trust more with the puck than Condra. Just super smart and great at what he does. It will be a shame if he goes but every team seems to have to make these tough decisions once in a while in the cap world. The reality of budget indicates that despite getting paid relatively little by NHL standards, Condra might have to be sacrificed to move toward the future and retain young RFAs.
If he does go, I could not be happier that he went out like a boss making Carey Price his step-nephew on a beautiful goal in all alone. Look for Ottawa to have a significantly weaker penalty kill next year should they be without him.
Chris Neil C- Oh boy, here we go. K, this is going to sound a little over the top but I straight up think it was a pretty huge moment in the history of the franchise that after being given a clean bill of health Neiler was scratched for an extended period of time as the team went on their unprecedented march to a Wildcard spot.
In his 12 years in the capital, even on far better iterations of the team, the idea of a coach saying, “nah, we good” to Neil’s services is jaw dropping. The biggest part of it was that it was the right call to sit him. I highly doubt having him there to “keep the other team honest” was on many people’s minds during that final stretch of the season. Winning is winning and they did a lot of it while Neil, an Assistant Captain, had to watch from the press box.
I think he did an admirable job when he was plugged into the high intensity play of the post-season for two games after missing months. At his age that could not have been easy.
Bryan Murray indicated at the end of the season that some veteran players want to be moved. Much speculation is that the person is David Legwand and it probably is. But if I’m Neil and I’ve been with the team for 12 years and wear a letter and get sat for weeks on end because the team is doing so well without me? I might be wanting to head where my services are more in demand.
Mike Hoffman A You know Mark Stone is fuckin’ up the rookie game for everyone when you lead the entire team with 27 goals in your first full season and you’re not the breakout story of your team. Don’t even get me started on this Hammurderer guy. Talk about bad timing poor Hoff wasn’t even the second biggest breakout story on the Sens.
I will be very interested in his extension this summer as I find Hoffman’s regularly labelled as a guy who might have peaked but uh… it’s not like the Sens can’t use this guy’s kind of speed and scoring touch going forward. He spent a bit of time on the 4th line in the playoffs where one false move can cost a coach his job. That obviously shows he still needs to round out his game and asdsdkfjakdjfhsgrgg. Honestly, who DOESNT need to round out their game in this work a day world? (See below for answer).
Hoffman was eventually returned to the top 6 where he scored the most important goal of the series against the Habs.
Confession: I wasn’t completely sold on the guy at the beginning of the season and was concerned he was a little overhyped by fans and media. With 26 of his biscuits coming at even strength I will admit I was totally wrong. I feel like he could score 7 less next year and I wouldn’t sweat it. You cant have enough 20+ goal scorers who can skate like the wind.
Clarke MacArthur A- Even perfect hockey players go on dry streaks. Grizz had a pretty rough one this year. He suffered a scary head injury too. But you know how MacArthur-types respond to adversity like that? They come back like bosses that none of that shit happened to and help get the goddamn squad into the playoffs.
Additionally I thought he was a beast in the playoffs especially in games when no one else was. I was tempted to give him a B+ but as the only spark in a couple of those rough ass early playoff games against the Habs I gotta bump the boy up. Confident he will return to his normal self on October.
Milan Michalek B Poor Milo, he’s the kind of dude who can do something amazing like put up 35 goals (equal to B Ryan’s career high) and still have fans be all “Doze Spezza passes tho.”
Milo’s super underappreciated I find. This year was no exception. Blessed is the guy who you can plug into the top six one game and put him on the 4th line to kill penalties the next and receive quietly solid performance from each and no complaints from him on what is frankly a pretty harsh demotion. All you hear about Milo from players and staff is how he is a “good pro” and you know what? I believe it. Before he went down with a concussion, Michalek was absolutely flying for a good stretch of the season and when the Sens really needed it too. He’s the kind of player who would be totally reasonable at $4M per on other teams…but ours is broke so you know how that go. Would love to see a him hit the 40+ bracket in points but considering how good he is defensively having him around a point every other game is fine to me.
Matt Puempel Σ Great to see the kid get a couple goals in what ended up being a pretty short call up. What the end of season numbers don’t tell you is how close some of his scoring chances were. He showed in a short time he can be a pretty dangerous presence and i think think the team noticed that. A bounce here or an inch or two there and Pumps (sorry) might have had 4 or 5 goals.
I was super bummed out that just as seemed to get more comfortable his season ended with a high ankle sprain. It’s an injury I’ve had myself and know how frustratingly long the healing and rehabbing process is. Luckily, he’s got a great strength and conditioning staff looking after him unlike I did (thanks Obama).
Shane Prince µ Heyyyy speaking of “Thanks Obama” good to see my favourite right wing left winger Princey finally get a cup of coffee as he has been toiling away in Binghamton and improving every year since 2011. I have no idea if Prince ever gets a legit shot but at 22, as Hoffman has shown, he’s still a good amount of road ahead to prove himself an NHLer.
I’m sure its tough to get only 2 games. One was strong the other not so great but getting a nice assist is a good first step.
Have a great summer. Hit the gym hard and don’t get too distracted campaigning for Ted Cruz! He got this.
College Greening God bless Got paid $2, 650, 000.00 to score an empty net goal where he didn’t even shoot the puck on the play. Greening finished the year with the distinction of all time franchise leader in Cost Per Point. His salary increases next year and again the year after. Thanks for reading.
Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Reply

2014-2015 Retort Cards: Defense

Defenseperson Letter Grade Teacher says…every take a blog brings, an a-hole gets his wings.
Mark Borowiecki C+ If we’re gunna call Mark Stone a rookie, I guess it’s a rookie season for Boro too and that should be taken into account. He gets hated on a lot but sometimes I think that as a bottom pairing defenseman, part of your job is generally being disliked by fans. By sheer logic it follows that you’re the worst defenseman on the team. Who really is going to get behind that? Shouts to Christoph Schubert wherever you are. Anyway, for a 6th round pick rookie who makes very money little by NHL standards, he did okay. And by ‘did okay’ I mean he wasn’t great and it’s frustrating as hell at times to watch a player do his job when his job is basically taking a lot of penalties. I found I saw more good decision making and solid play when watching him in person. On TV, most of his camera time is him sitting in the box, spitting Gatorade through where his teeth should be.
Interesting that he managed to finish two points back of puck mover Patrick Wiercioch in only 7 more games played.
Room for improvement next season: Don’t take 2 penalties in one period in the playoffs, plz.
I am pretty confident his game can grow to the point that he’s not very noticeable outside of his physical game (a good thing). He sounds high AF when he laughs in interviews.
Jared Cowen A+ Just trying to build up my G’s trade value. Peter Chiarelli, if you’re reading this, Jared Cowen is like Erik Karlsson only faster, more skilled and better looking. He is like two Erik Karlssons.
Eric Gryba C I don’t know, fuck. Eric was a pleasant student to teach. Have a great summer shooting things.
Patrick Wiercioch C++ *gets pelted with scientific calculators* Listen nerds, I know this is your boy but I still ain’t going to pretend that I love every thing about his game yet. Does he carry the puck well? Yes. Does he have a deceptively good shot? Most def. Is he soft as a chinchilla to play against? Well, I haven’t seen a huge dude get strong armed that easily since Tom Jones was in court over a paternity suit. *bass guitar slide, audience howls at excellent 2015-friendly joke*
I believe in Wiercioch’s upside but you gotta here both sides on this season. I felt like it was clear why 2 different coaches had a hard time trusting him. Especially if you watch him in person. He drives possession fine but routinely does not effectively get in the way of attackers. I can’t ignore that after a promising first two seasons in the league this  overall was a down year for PW. As much as he was healthy scratched, he still played 3 more games than he did in ’13-14 and put up 10 fewer points. He was also dead last in blocked shots and hits for all defensemen, including Chris Phillips who played only 36 games. I don’t expect Wiercioch to be Chris Pronger but if he’s going to be the middle pairing defender we want him to be, he’ll need to do more than just “drive possession.”
He certainly turned it around in a noticeable way once he finally got a solid chance and finished strong with a great playoff round. If he can start playing that way he did in April from October on, his contract will be an absolute bargain next year at just 200K more than…
Chris Phillips D- At this point it’s hard to talk about Chris Phillips without feeling kind of mean. If you go back to the beginning of the season you can catch me shootin’ dice, praising Phillips for playing decently on the first pairing with Karlsson. Good times? Great times. All things must pass…to the point that I would take one solid or unnoticeable game from him as a gift. I guess it’s obvious now that at some point he suffered a chronic back injury but damn girl, his play fell off a cliff to the point that any discussion of him just immediately revolved around ways to trade him (LoLk, where/how?) or convince him to retire (Seat on the board of the Iris Street B.I.A?). So, you know, that…ain’t good. He broke Alfie’s record for games played as a Sen (#blessed?) and curiously sat the rest of the season after. As a fan, thanks 4 ur yrz of service and all but it is impossible for me to picture him helping the team should he return next season. To me, at this point, on the ice, there’s nothing he brings that Gryba or Borowiecki doesn’t (and for cheaper). Few people in the NHL are better prepared for retirement than the Big Rig. Huge question this off season is will he do it?
Cody Ceci A- Young Ceezy. Seemed like a bit of a quiet season I guess but I wonder if he came in too hot last season with his first NHL goal being an OT winner vs. -regular season only- powerhouse St. Louis .Maybe he got us all too expectant for moments like that. I try to keep in mind that he is only 21 years old *spit take* and has already earned a consistent assignment on the middle pairing. For a defender with offensive upside, 21 points may seem a little low but I try to remember that even Karlsson had 26 points in his first season.
Again if the points seem low it should be remembered that Ceci still finished 2nd among defenders in goals, assists, shots and handsomeness (you’ll never believe who came first). He was also first in blocked shots and just to melt your mind he  took only 6 minutes in penalties the whole season (zero in the post-season!). He had some shaky moments sure but, for a guy who hasn’t been 21 for 5 full months, he is progressing perfectly.
Marc Methot A Yo. Not since the Erik Karlsson incident of which we shall not speak has a player proved his worth to a team by being injured. Ima let the gawd Bryan Murray cook as the only person who doesn’t see the defense as the team’s biggest issue (who comes out of the current top 6 for that new guy tho, BM?) When Methot started the season on the IR and we were treated to a cavalcade of stars, Phillips/Cowen/Borowiecki getting paired with Golden Child Erik Karlsson, was it more evident how thin the left side is. As important as it was to sign Methot I have to admit my Memoires de Pascale Leclaire had me a bit shook at the idea of signing a player who was on the long term injured reserve. Luckily, once Methot jumped back into the line up full time, he was his old self: steady, hulking and very quick for his size. A bummer to hear he also finished the season hurt but kudos for it not showing in the slightest. Thrilled to have the guy signed. He took a bit of a discount to continue to play with one of the world’s best. I hear arguments that he’s a top 4 d man but to me, if you help Erik Karlsson to play better you’re a top guy. Seems to be emerging into a bit of a leader which is helpful should Phillips retire to focus on raising Curtis Lazar.
Erik Karlsson π Not. Known. For. His. Defensive. Game. Tho. Am. I. Right. ? I mean, maybe carrying/moving the puck out of the defensive zone more than anyone else on the team by a country mile counts as defensive play…I don’t know, who’s to say? Maybe you’re like me and watch pretty much every single game and find it clear he is easily the Sens best defensive player. Maybe criticizing a guy who plays half an hour a game and has the puck more than anyone turning it over or getting caught pinching a couple times a game is like blaming a goaltender for letting in two goals. Some reaching shit. Just a CONTROVERSIAL opinion of mine. ONLY TIME/NORRISESES WILL ABSOLVE MY JAZZY WAYS. It was good to see hockey experts panelists finally start acknowledging his play on both sides of the puck this year. Well, except for Steve Simmons who’s a fucking idiot. No seriously, he…does not seem like a very smart man. EK led all NHL defensemen in points and is up for the Norris again. Think of who he had to play with for half the season. Sink into that thought like it’s a nice hot bath. I feel lucky that I get to watch this guy play hockey.