Re:Bort Cards: Goalers

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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.
K.
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

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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.
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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.

James Day Preview: James 4, Judgement Night™

Game 3

Hi,

So…welcome to this website.

First a song:

We’ve had lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of fun /
but now the time has come …to wiiiiiiiiin /
If this old clown is found dead in his bed tomorrow /
I’ll be in heaven… STILL WRITING THIS BLOOOOG.

It rhymes and everything!

Now a quote:

“This has been such an amazing ride to the playoffs, that no matter what happens I will be happy.” – Me, person, a couple of weeks ago.

Ah, I was so young and idealistic back then. Maybe it was the lost year away from post season play but I have been reminded how crushing post-season losses are. Uncle, you guys, uncle. I get it! I remember now. A li’l dose of vitamin W would be great…I don’t know…how about..sayyyyy 2NITE?

We’re getting Pageau’ed out there!

So that’s what it feels like to have some nobody coming out of the woodwork and lighting your team up. Worse when the MF looks like Terry from FUBAR.

Ugh.

We need to get some beauties on the score sheet and by beauties I mean beautiful young ladies comme ca:

Speaking of the Score Sheet, That last game tho: 

I’ma come CLEAN that last game is all on the forwards. Say what you will about Terry’s OT winner on Andy but a team that finished the season with five 20 goal scorers needs to put more than one biscuit on the board.
Sure, Carey Price is playing very well but he was not the difference that game. The difference was the Habs defenders keeping Ottawa’s attackers to the outside forcing them to the corner where they kept looking for the pass in front that simply was not there. Again and again. I don’t know about you, Eddie, but It was driving me bananas.

This rant brought to you by Uncle Clarkey’s Li’l Garbage Snipes. Li’l Garbage Snipes Official Goal of Game 3 and hopefully game 4, available at fine outlets like a foot in front of the net!:

http://video.nhl.com/videocenter/embed?playlist=2014030113-262-h&site=senators

Ottawa has everything to lose tonight. In the words of on again-off again WTYKY contributor Babycakes, “Be aggressive.”

Deathworld shit.

Speaking of being aggressive: The biggest piece of news for tonight is that Zack Smith will draw into the lineup in place of David Legwand. It’s hard to have much to say about this other than that I hope he can use his physicality to create some room for 27 goal scorer and fellow 4th liner Mike Hoffman to do his thing. After watching Ottawa lose 2-1 in overtime, I am among those puzzled as to why a player with as much scoring touch as The Hoff is not getting a few more looks on the line he excelled on with Ryan and Ziba. Good as he’s been, Michalek seems like he would be great in the bottom six considering how awesome he is defensively. Maybe a goal tonight could get Hoffman a promotion…………….?…………….I have no idea……………………………?????????????????????…thx 4 reading…………?

It’s just been confirmed, Andy is getting the start in net. Magical as Hammond’s run was, I think this is the right call. Anderson was unreal in Game 3 and the 2-1 score is very flattering when you take into account that 49 shots were surrendered … wow, does that sound like the beginning of the season or what?
Side Note: Time is a flat circle.

There’s so little info up for grabs during the playoffs that it makes writing game previews fun and easy.

Smooth Jimmy’s Lock of the Week: Feels like a Lazar goal night.

Please get this W boys, you deserve it.
Go Sens Go!

James Day Preview PLAYOFF EDITION: James 2, Sens at Habs

Game 2

Where else can one start other than…

No Matter How You Look At it, Away From the Play, PK Subban Delivered a Malicious Two Handed Slash to Mark Stone’s Fucking Wrist
OR
GottaHearBothSidesGate

Whether you’re a man or a woman or who knows what spice, there comes a time in every man’s life when she/he/zhe has to man up and BE A MAN. Part of being a man, is shrugging off a two handed hack to your bare wrist like nothing happened. You do it every day at your job. I do it every day here at the body painting studio I intern at. In a man’s (man’s man’s) world, there’s no place for any of this writhing in pain, “waah, waah my wrist has been fractured I am going to miss a large portion of the game because I’m ACTING” type acting. Now, a key part of acting is voluntarily leaving one of the most important games of your career for extended periods of time to fool the referees and opposition into THINKING you’re hurt. Now that Mark Stone might miss time or the rest of this series? Well, from the mouth of an expert:

“The plan worked. We’ve got them right where we want them now that Mark Stone may not be able to play well or at all.”
                                                                   – James Lipton, Inside the Actor’s Studio

Look, this all boils down to one harsh reality: The HERstorical tradition that is Playoff Brand™ Hockey. Every spring when we don our visorless helmets and sit on our futons to eat chips and drink beer in front of a television, we bravely put ourselves at risk. We know what we’re getting into and the players do too. They should know that when you LACE “M” UP that you do so with the knowledge that your opponent can and will flagrantly break the rules of the game and maliciously try to injure you. IT’S CALLED THE PLAYOFFS. Why would we want to watch the sport at its best when we can see it at its ugliest? Let’s injure the best players out of the way so we can finally get more of that David Legwand vs. Brian Flynn battle that we the fans so crave.

So I’m with the HNIC garbage panel. Mark Stone shouldn’t have gotten his wrist in the way of that stick and let justice be done though the heavens fall in his upcoming disciplinary hearing for his FAKE CT scan at some EURO hospital. Stone’s shady history certainly will not do him any favours.

The fallout of this, of course, is that Chris Neil could draw into the line up should Stone be too high on painkillers to play. It’s no secret that many of our contributors at WTYKY don’t think Neil is the player he used to be. Frankly, he’s got his work cut out for him jumping back into the line up against a speedy team after missing about 8 weeks, and into playoff hockey no less. I will say this though, it’s not like I’m rooting against the guy. This is the kind of situation where Ottawa needs him to be the best damn Chris Neil he can be. Ye olde Chris Neil that actually drew penalties and chipped in the grimiest of goals. He needs to do the running around hitting and distracting so the rest of the team can focus. Playoffs are where he can be his best. With his future in Ottawa in question this could potentially be a bit of a swan song for him. Love him or hate him, he was built for playoff hockey.

Lazar-Pageau-Condra Line Continues To Buzz All Game Long…HEYYY You Know Who Else I’d Like to See Buzz All Game Long? THE OTHER LINES.

I mean, you gotta hear both sides when all three of Ottawa’s goals came from –Markov-  Michalek, Turris and Zibanejad but am I alone in thinking that if the top had 6 played near the level of 27-44-22 on Wednesday that the Sens would have totally smothered the Habs?
I love having enough depth at forward that our 3rd line is a secret weapon but ehhh, top six, not exactly a bunch of chuds either. It was encouraging to see the ALLEGEDLY perfectly healthy Bobby Ryan who cant seem to be able to shoot anymore because he’s ALLEGEDLY perfectly healthy, adjusting and using his size to get all up in Carey Prix’s world. In my opinion, despite finishing with no points, he was a huge part of both Turris’ and Zibanejad’s goals.

Speaking of Goals…There Were a Lot of Those Last Game
Glad to see the lack of hand wringing over Hammond finishing with an uncharacteristic loss in Game 1. He did not look tremendous on a couple of goals but overall didn’t really seem shaky considering he was playing in the fucking AHL a couple of months ago.
Behind the Scenes Story: On Wednesday after a nice save I looked over at Varada *holds for 10 minutes of applause* and said, “Can you believe we’re watching Andrew Hammond as the undisputed starter in a playoff series?…Also, are you going to finish the rest of that tall can?” What a wild ride this continues to be.
Epilogue: He indeed finished the tall can.
Truth be told, Carey Price let in the biggest stinker of the game and it’s not as if he suddenly stinks (though that would be incredibly handy like it was in 2013). I think Hammond will also be fine. If he can play even just a bit a bit better I’m confident the Sens can outscore these schlubs. It was a fucked up game and I expect game 2 to be a clean slate for both of these goalies.

Overall, I think Ottawa could have played quite a bit better against a Paccioretty and Subban-free Canadiens. I can remember about 5 incomplete passes that could have put the game away pretty early had they connected. Hopefully the jitters are out of the system because if that’s what Montreal looks like in a win, this could be an interesting series.

Let’s get the tinfoil on under the wrist guards and split this fucker.

GO SENS GO! 

James Day Preview: Sens Take on Boston in the Weekly Biggest Game of the Year CLASSIC

Remember folks, it's R Kelly Night at the Tires.com Arena. That means everyone in the 300's gets an R Kelly Mask™, everyone in the 200s gets a camcorder and everyone in the 100s gets a rain poncho. Should be a fun night!

Remember folks, it’s R Kelly Night at the Tires.com Arena. That means everyone in the 300’s gets an R Kelly Mask™, everyone in the 200s gets a camcorder and everyone in the 100s gets a rain proof poncho. Should be a night of good clean fun!

Hi, it’s cold again!

How arrrrrrrrre uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu? Listen, shut up for a second its time for the hockey.

We Sens fans are being treated to one of the most unprecedented streaks in franchise history right now. We are witness to an historic time that we should try to appreciate every moment of while it lasts.
I am, of course, talking about the improbable run of two straight games against the Boston Bruins that are both highly anticipated and worth watching. Wow. What a time. Hockey is UN-PRE-DIC-TABLE.
Win or lose, just enjoy the excitement, for you don’t know what you’ve got til you’re dozing through a 1-0 afternoon game in Boston where they’re trapping up like they’re on the 8th game of a west coast trip after a garbage goal that banks in off Cowen’s skate credited to the swaggerless Dan Paille. Celebrate the moments of our lives.

Speaking of winning or losing and every game being the Biggest Game of the Year, to quote Bobby Ryan, “If we do finish a few points out, there are going to be a lot of games we’ll be thinking about in the off season.”
Yo. I feel you BR, I mean I’m not even ON the team (yet) and if that happens Ima STAY thinkin’ bout games liiiiike:

– Oct 25, 3-2 OTL to the Olde Mans of New Jersey at home
– Nov. 9,  5-3 L to Toronto (who are somehow worse than I thought they were) at home
– Nov. 28, 3-2 L to Florida City
– Jan. 29, 6-3 L to Dallas at home
– Feb. 7, 4-1 L to Columbia at home (with fuckin Curtis McElhinney in net TBFH)

Nnnnnnnnnow, I get that it’s easy for me to cherry pick all the “easy” games the Senators blew and get all, “Mike Brodeur woulda stopped that” but I think that’s what has been kind of frustrating for me this season. I knew that this team was better than they were the first half of it. I believe Ottawa did not stick in the McDavid lottery conversation because they simply aren’t bad enough to be a lottery team. Ottawa could finish the season with up to six 20 goal scorers. You want to know REAL suckage? Alex Chiasson would be 4th in team scoring on the Sabres. FOURTH. Perspective: I FORGET THAT GUY IS ON THE TEAM SOMETIMES.
Anyway, the Sens spotty record is still not as annoying as it was last year but there are some games I wish they could have taken so that now every game now wouldn’t be so do or die. Actually, you know what? Fuck it. Maybe that’s what’s fueling our beautiful babies night after night. Also, revisionist bologna is for losers. Zima™ is for closers and I’m a hot blooded man and I wants my fuckin ZIMA™. ARF ARF ARF!!!!!!

Mr. Grybachev….tear down these Bruins. (Shout out to all my fellow 70 year olds who holdin me down on that weak ass joke!!!!!!!)
Erik Gryba is in for Jared Cowen. I’m in favor of this move because Erik Gryba is better than Jared Cowen. So…that just about wraps this part up.

Dusted Hoffman
Heyyy, still playin great and everything. It’s a blessing on our house to have a rookie who was actually put on waivers last year emerge as a dynamic, top six scoring force, but our scoring dynamo hasnt put up a point in 5 games and Daddy (ew sorry) wants Hoffy to hit 30 this year. Tonight would be a fantastic night for our magnificent little G to get going again. Maybe it’s that there was some majik sherm in this old silk hat I found at the Greyhound station, but something tells me if Hoffman gets one they could come in bunches again. Goals in bunches are what the boys are going to need tonight against Tuukka Rask (who I haaaaaaaaaaate)…

I Hate Tuukka Rask Fun Korner
Look, he might look like an evil talking doll that’s not to be trusted but its not so much him I hate as the situation. Boston is led to a Stanley Cup win on the back of the Conn Smythe winner, frontiersman, Birth Certificate Truther and Confederate Patriot Tim Thomas. Fine fuck. He destroyed Ottawa basically every time they played during his tenure. Then he retires to focus on exposing that it’s the Knight’s Templar NOT The Priory of Sion controlling the Federal Reserve. GREAT! Praise be. We’re free. OH WHAT’S THIS? OH GOOD THE BACKUP REPLACING HIM IS A FUCKING VEZINA WINNING FINNISH NIGHTMARE.
Hopefully it will all come back around in the future when Erik Karlsson retires (at age 50) and just when the Montreal Canadiens breathe a sigh of relief, Ottawa calls up late round pick Paul Coffey Junior who goes on to win the The Erik Karlsson Trophy For Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Defense Even Though You’re Pretty Unfairly Criticized For What I Feel Is a Pretty Solid Element of Your Game Considering the Numbers You Manage to Put Up On a Yearly Basis Not to Mention the Minutes You Get (Formerly called The Norris Trophy).

What else?

OH, R. Kelly starts in goal for Ottawa. You don’t want to know what you’re supposed to let rain down on the ice if he gets first star.

ENJOY THE GAME!!!