LONG READS: How Did This Get Made? A Colour Coded Guide to How the Current Roster Came to Be

how

Depth Chart (Artist’s Conception*) 

Forwards :
HoffmanTurrisRyan
MacArthur/Lazar – ZibanejadStone
MichalekPageauChiasson/McCormick
PrinceSmithNeil

Call ups: Puempel, Greening, Dzingle, *long sigh* Dziurzynski

Defense:
Methot/ClaessonKarlsson
Cowen/WierciochCeci
Borowiecki – Wideman/Phillips

Call ups: Kostka, Frozen Dinner

Goaltenders: 
Anderson / Hammond

Call ups: Dreidger / O’Connor

(*Look, the lines move around virtually every game so just let me rock with this config, K? I’m tryin’ to hit the Publish button at some point, my G. Thxu)

First impressions:
Wow, the current team was sure as hell constructed with Bryan Murray and Co’s hands. 13 of the 24 above listed players are Sens draft picks. Another 6 players acquired by Murray trades.
The team has hit the lotto once during The Bryan’s reign; the 2011 daft which they lost the NJ btw, and picked in the top 10 just one other time (2009) since taking Jason Spezza 2nd overall in 2001 [AKA when Thomas Chabot was 4 years old].

50% of the current top 6 and 75% of the top 4 of the defense are made up of draft picks. It’s worth mentioning that of the internally developed guys in the top 6 and top 2 there are a 2 time Norris winner & team captain, a Calder Nominee and last season’s [and the current] goal scoring leader. DEEC drafting tbh. Another thing that jumps out to me is that legacy Christophers Neil and Phillips are the only Non-Murray Regime picks drafted by Ottawa on the entire roster right now. For better or worse this team is almost completely Bryan Murray’s.

A Wee Bit of a Break Down: I’ve colour coded the team into 5 categories [YOU‘RE
WELCOME] using the 2011 Retool (shied away from the word Rebuild to avoid getting pelted with #ACTUALLYS) as a major milestone of the Murray Era.
I broke it down like this: Pre-2011 picks, 2011 picks and beyond, Pre-Bryan Murray picks, Players acquired by trade and finally free agent signings. Let’s do the damn thing shall we?

Pre-2011 Retool Draft Picks – Post-Cup Final Era AKA Wha’ Happen? (Green):

Forwards:
Mike Hoffman – Round 5 #130 overall, 2009 draft

Zack Smith – Round 3 #79 overall, 2008 draft

Mark Stone – Round 6 #178 overall, 2010 draft

Defenders:
Erik Karlsson – Round 1 #15 overall, 2008 draft

Patrick Wiercioch –  Round 2 #42 overall, 2008 draft

Mark Borowiecki – Round 5 #139 overall, 2008 draft

Jared Cowen – Round 1 #9 overall, 2009 draft

Chris Wideman – Round 4 #100 overall, 2009 draft

Smooth Jimmy’s Funalysis:
Using the 2011 Retool as a major milestone, looking back, it would seem that love or hate the current line up, some very important players were acquired before going fire sale and jettisoning most of the 2010-11 team for picks.
Up front, we have vital top 6 forwards Mike Hoffman and Mark Stone taken late in the ’09  and 2010 drafts. Two forwards most fans would consider untouchable. It’s nothing for both of these guys to play on the top line. Whether you consider these guys lucky breaks or seeing eye picks cant complain about these dudes.

On D things get more complicated. We, of course, have team captain/whole entire world Erik Karlsson famously taken mid-way through the first round of the 2008 draft. Easily the most important pick in franchise history since Daniel Alfredsson.
A quick aside: I was tripping out the other day thinking about how Erik Karlsson will be in the Hall of Fame one day. Brazy.
Now, that Chris Wideman seems to have established himself as a full-time roster player, it’s clear that it’s the guys who were selected pre-2011 that make up the majority of the current defense corps.
This isn’t exactly a good look if you’re one of the many among us who think the defense is the team’s weakest point. I’m sure opinions here will be mixed as we seem to have a split down the middle.
On one hand we have the beloved Karlsson and the welcome addition of the competent Chris Wideman. On the other, the hard working but much derided Mark Borowiecki and the wildly detested Jared Cowen. Serving as the creamy middle we have the Human Gotta Hear Both Sides Patrick Wiercioch. You take the good you take the bad you put em together and there you have *takes enormous hit off bong* … fuckiiiiin’ whatever.

Hmph. Weird this. Seems the pre-2011 draft classes have given this team:  The sublime (#65), the good (#61 and 68), the DEEC (#46), the bad (#74) and a young, healthy top 10 pick that I would trade for “future considerations** (Try and guess what player I’m talking about!)”
In conclusion, I forgot to mention Zack Smith and neither of us noticed.

**buy out.

 

2011 Retool & Post-Retool Draft Picks – Rebirth of a Nation’s Capital (Blue): 

Forwards:
Mika Zibanejad – Round 1 #6 overall, 2011 draft

Shane Prince – Round 2 #61 overall, 2011 draft

Jean Gabriel Pageau – Round 4, #96 overall, 2011 draft

Curtis Lazar – Round 1 #17 overall, 2013 draft

Defenders:
Freddie Claesson – Round 5 #126 overall, 2011 draft

Cody Ceci – Round 1 #15 overall, 2012 draft

Kibitzing Korner:
In 2011, Murray sold off heaps of the team’s veteran-laden roster and had 5 picks in the first two rounds. In a draft that Bryan and his team really needed to make count, a whopping 7 of the 10 players selected in 2011 have stepped on the ice for Ottawa in at least one game. Not counting Stephan Noesen who was moved. What’s interesting to me is the diversity of players they got from that draft. The line-up features ZBad as the ever important (and harshly criticized ) role of 2nd line centre, JG Pageau as 3rd line centre and Habs killer, heir apparent to Chris Neil’s Pest sash in McCormick, a raw like sushi but decent looking shut down D in Claesson and a couple of young scoring wingers still finding their way in Prince and Puempel. Fam. You know you had a good draft in 2011 when the “disappointment” so far is 22 years old and has already put up 30 goals in a season in the AHL and shown flashes of chemistry in the Sens top 6.

Though many forwards have made the jump in a pretty short period of time, it’s pretty clear that the only D man that’s been able to do the same since 2011 is 2012 1st rounder Cody Ceci. His play has been getting roasted of late but the pre-2011 picks show it takes time to develop on D. Way too early to tell what the 22 year old’s ceiling is but I don’t think its outlandish to think he could top out as a 3-4 defender.
It appears that not many quality D men have been picked since 2011 but it could be a bit early to call that as the Sens have drafted 11 other defensemen besides Ceci since 2011. Ceci just happened to make the leap very quickly. Many of the guys taken since the retool are too early in their development to judge quite yet. Claesson seems to be making a case for himself of late but I’m apprehensive to call him a roster player just yet and almost didn’t include him here as he’s played less than 10 NHL games. Harsh, I know but you knew I had a temper when you married me.

 

Pre-Murray Regime Picks – Dark Ages (Grey – see what I did there?):

Chris Philips – Round 1 #1 overall, 1978 draught (see what I did th–)

Chris Neil – Round 6 #161 overall, 1998 draft

Uhhh, I don’t know, prob skip this part:
Legacy players doing their legacy thing: Being hurt or playing on the 4th line.
I don’t know what to say here other than Neil has been fine so far in what might be his last season in Ottawa and Phillips won’t play professional hockey again. It’s hard to continually beat on Big Rig who’s best years were back when he was paired with Boaz in the Book of Ruth (ugh who am I Dennis Miller with this joke?). I realize it’s harsh to say his career is a wrap but remember last season how we were worried that Marc Methot might not have been able to keep up after missing half a season? Yeah. That guy was 29 at the time.
Pretty cool for Neil to go from NHL longshot to closing in on 1000 games. Good late round find, GM I’m too lazy to look up! Will Neil will get one more year here to reach the milestone or get the oil painting of Legwand in a Sens uniform treatment? Hard to say. What’s most important here is that our boy Andrew should be the one who paints it

After some ups and downs the past few seasons, neither player is hurting the team at the moment. Thx 2 U 4 Ur Serviss.

 

Players Acquired by Trading Assets/Picks (That Purp):

Milan Michalek (w/ junk) – Acquired in 2010 from San Jose for Dany Heatley

Craig Anderson – Acquired in 2011 from Colorado for Brian Elliot

Kyle Turris – Acquired from Phoenix in 2011 for David Rundblad, 2012 2nd round pick.

Marc Methot – Acquired from Columbus in 2012 for Nick Foligno

Bobby Ryan – Acquired in 2014 from Anaheim for Jakob Silfverberg, Stephane Noesen, 2014 1st round pick.

Alex Chiasson – Acquired in 2014 for Jason Spezza

Smobservations:
As much as the Sens are known for their ability to draft, the trades might be the most interesting part of this whole thing for me. Gawdbody Bryan catches much flack for his whiffs but it would appear that you gotta give the guy that he knocks many of his trades out of the park too.
Since 2011, he’s both wheeled and leaded to BLESS the Sens with a starting goaltender, a first line centre, a first line winger and a top pairing defenseman. Who do you miss from those exchanges? Jakob Silfverberg? (Guy JUST potted his 4th goal of the year…he’s a forward btw) All in all, pretty damn shrewd, dude. The big loser out of this bunch is Alex Chiasson and two prospects for Jason Spezza but meet me up in this tree for a second so we can meet in private about something:

K, Alex Chiasson is def turning out to be a Corey Conacher sitting on the shoulders of a another Corey Conacher but for all the talk of the lack of return for Spezza there’s one forgotten element of the return on that trade: Spezz’ impending FA status at the time. Though Dallas managed to re-sign him, mazel tov btw, Spezza was no guarantee to the teams he was being shopped to. A young NHL player with potential upside in Chiasson, a high pedigree prospect in Nick Paul [hey he’s off to a slow start in Bingo but my guy was playing on a line with Connor McDavid at the WJCs last year] and such and such (Forrest Guptil) is an alright if unspectacular return for a guy with one year left on his contract.
I invite you to make peace with Spezza’s departure like I did by considering this: Spezza was done here. He wanted out for years and it was time to deal him. What made trading him finally possible was that Turris had emerged as the first ever viable replacement for him.
Further, could you imagine our budget team being painted into the corner of Ottawa having to re-sign Spezza? An aging but still very good legacy player who was team captain? Yipes. I would much rather use that money to keep other, younger players.
As great as Spezza is, as Sens fans, we know he is on the back 9 of his career. He is a far better fit as second line centre on an elite Dallas team not a core piece of the Sens. Lowkey, we also know my dude is like, one back injury away from missing an entire season. Oh, also on some hater shit, Turris put up more points than him last year and has the vast majority of this year as well.

What happened? I just blacked out.

Goalie chat: It’s pretty telling that Brian Elliot’s won a Jennings and been in an All Star game since being dealt and not one Sens fan pines for him. Craig Anderson meanwhile is putting together a strong argument for the best goalie in franchise history who isn’t a dumb dickhead who played here for most one season…let me get you on scope in the streets Dominek Hasek. Ima suplex you through a pizza shop window. Anyway, beautiful trade.

AYYE, GOOD LOCAL BILINGUAL BOY MARC METHOT! Can you imagine our team without Marc Methot? Oh yeah I can, the first half of last year. We were terrible. Perfect trade this was. Both teams got a quality player they needed for a quality player they could do without. Don’t get used to these.

Bryan’s made his fair share of shitty trades over the years [see: every trade deadline deal of playoffs past] but I suppose at least as far as the current roster goes we aren’t stuck with any remnants from said bad trades. Well, okay, again, Alex Chiasson is that but he makes like 1M dollars and his contract is up at the end of the season. I also still hold fast that making the trade for him and clearing Spezza’s cap space is why we have Bobby Ryan. Look for Chiasson to be tipping shots from Corey Conacher on the 2nd power play unit in next year’s Spengler Cup.


Free Agent Signings – Rare Like Mr. Clean With Hair (Metallic Pumpkin):

Clarke MacArthur – Signed in 2013, extended in 2015

Andrew Hammond – Signed in 2013, Extended in 2015

Musings:
For a team that basically doesn’t “do” free agents Bryan Murray seems to have picked up  a couple of SLEEPAHS here. A top six winger and a backup goalie without breaking the bank for either? 2 for 2. Nuff said. Also, get well soon Clarkey.
As If This Fucking Thing Needed a Closing Thought:
A common criticism I come across on social media and even the mainstream media is that the Sens lack top flight talent in the minors.

With a relatively young and cheap top 6 and top pairing D everyone seems to be quite happy with, my question is who are we trying to replace sometime soon?
Injured Clarke MacArthur? Seems a bit rash. I guess in a few years MacArthur might be moved down the lineup to play more of a 3rd line role…again, in a few years. Not exactly an emergency. Zibanejad? The guy’s a bit inconsistent but he’s 22. Also, is anyone ever happy with a 2nd line centre? It’s one of those spots in the line up like 2nd paring D where it always seems like the guy could be better. Anyway, I suppose Craig Anderson will be getting up in years soon but his play doesn’t seem to be dropping off yet either.
I think it might appear that the cupboards are becoming bare for one big reason:

Most of the teams “top flight” prospects from several years of drafting have graduated to the Senators in a relatively short span of time. This is a very good thing.

Think about it. If you go back to the depth chart at the top of this post [plz come back, I’m almost done, I swear!] many of Ottawa’s newer players to the team had either been developing in Binghamton for a couple of years or made the team relatively quickly. Stone, Hoffman, Zibanejad, Pageau, Wiercioch, Cowen, Borowiecki, Ceci and Lazar are all draft picks who’ve have made the jump to the NHL the past few seasons. More recently, the additions of Wideman, Prince, McCormick and Claessson(ish) have further cleared out the Farm team’s roster. Different players, different positions, high picks, low picks, some top flight, some Mark Borowiecki. I’m just illustrating that nearly half the current Sens team were prospects not long ago. Calling up 13 players (14 if you count Hammond who was not a draft pick) will empty the stockpile some.
Essentially, there are no Mike Hoffmans left to call up at the moment because all the Mike Hoffmans are already on the team. Now is a time of hopefully temporary down swing in Binghamton. Be it via rebuild or injury, Ottawa has gutted that team of whatever NHL talent it had. I’d argue that the lack of prospects left to call up from the AHL is due to good drafting, not bad.

Honest question: Is an array of top flight talent waiting in the wings year upon year a thing most teams have? If so, follow-up question: Have they set a date for their attack?

Following the hype surrounding recent 1st round picks Thomas Chabot and Colin White I think more re-enforcements are on the way. Factor in that Andreas Englund, Marcus Hogberg and….maaayyyybe Mikael Wikstrand are still on the way, things are likely to balance out a bit soon.

Going forward, if the more hyped aforementioned players don’t necessarily work out that may not mean there’s no high end talent on the way either. For me, the most fun thing about following the Sens prospects is seeing afterthought players come out of the woodwork. Hoffman and Stone are proof of that. I still remember looking up Mark Stone out of boredom back in the day and seeing he was putting up over 100 points a year in the WHL. I thought, I’m going to keep an eye on this kid. It took him almost 5 years to establish himself but homie took himself from 6th rounder to untouchable top six player in the that time. Hockey is pretty cool sometimes (Note: most of the the time it’s shit, m8).
As much of a safe bet Colin White looks like, who knows if he’ll top out at the AHL level. Maybe it will be 6th rounder Francis Perron who rises to the top. Hey, as of the time of this writing he’s quietly put up 66 points in 33 games in the QMJHL. Yeah, I know, I know, kids stay putting up points in the Q but if we’re all salivating over Thomas Chabot I mean I’ma at least keep my eye on a kid who’s leading his entire team by 21 points.

Anywa—
You: James what was the point of all this?

Oh, thought you’d never ask! Sens need a second pairing defenseman. Thx 4 Reading.

 

 

Your Father and I Would Like to Talk to You About Patrick Wiercioch

WeirNation

Shown Here: Sens Twitter most of last season

Please press play on this before reading:

Hi honey. How was school today?

Just…okay?

Hey! Don’t you start sassing me you little fungus. I need you to unplug your Pono personal listening device™ from the wall for 5 minutes. We need to have a frank discussion about the Wiercioch boy you’ve been going to the ice cream social with of late.

In the spirit of keeping it 100, I should be up front about my feelings toward Wiercioch as a player before going into this thing:

 Patrick Aloysius Wiercioch is a human man who plays ice hockey. He is an excellent passer who reads the ice well. He possesses a deceptively good shot that he can keep quite low making it difficult for opposing goaltenders to track the puck through traffic.
He might also be the easiest 6 foot 5 200+ pound defenceperson to play against physically in the NHL. I mean I’m not one of those people that demands that our guys defend using The Scott Stevens Method™ (i.e. Legally giving someone brain damage) but your man is routinely soft as my chinchilla coat. I once saw Chad LaRose, whilst carrying the puck on the rush, give Patty the one arm shiver and put him on his ass while entering the Ottawa zone. Chad. La. Rose. One could say I have mixed emotions about him. He’s probably our 3rd best defender…but he plays defence for the Sens so…you know how that go.
This article about a defenceguy is a stub. You can help WTYKYpedia by expanding it…just kidding don’t talk to me. Do not TOUCH me…don’t talk to me.

Let’s get this right out there: Homie can move the puck. I think he’s very good at it. This season he’s also rocking an above team average Corsi…but again, he plays defence for the Ottawa Senators so that’s still well under 50% at the time of this writing. Interestingly he’s been well over 50% playing away from Cody Ceci so…celebrate the moments of our lives? Anyway, he’s steady carrying the puck. Area Man Does His Job. Good. This area of his game is fine and valuable.
So we’ve established that eye test-wise he doesn’t strike fear in the hearts of his opponents. Going by the numbers, however, we find that despite getting sonned off the puck, he seems to be carrying it out of the defensive zone. So I guess this just about wraps it up—WAIT, NOT SO FAST THERE, NUMBERS.

We still haven’t talked about one oh so important stat: Points

After nearly getting dealt by The BryBry, Wiercioch finished last season with a strong playoff round against Montreal with 4 points in 6 games. He then made Team Canada to play in whatever tournament that I’m going to pretend people give a shit about for the sake of letting him cook. Let’s call iiiit…The OTHER Spengler Cup. Good, good, nice and good.

This year has been different for him production-wise. Much different. I’ve never thought of Wiercioch as on offensive dynamo but I think its fair to say he’s been annual frontrunner for the Filip Kuba Memorial Award for Outstanding Acheivement in the Field of Being the Other Defenseman Besides Karlsson Who Puts Up SOME Points. How’s his season going? Well, compared to other players strugging on the scoresheet I present this visual aide:

JCPW

Once you stop screaming “WHAT ARE THOSE!?” at these stat lines we can unpack them a bit.

Okay I can’t wait that long so I’m going to just start talking again. Can we calmly discuss how Wiercioch went from guy who could put up decent double digit points (23 in 53 games two seasons ago) to sharing a stat line with human Pontiac Aztec Jared Cowen? Without hitting the easy target of how Cowen is dummying him in the plus minus department despite playing the on the PK regularly, to me, it’s most troubling that Wiercioch takes twice as many shots and is putting up the same numbers as JC. Shots are good but damn even Chris Neil’s been lighting the lamp more with the same amount of attempts (41). Further, Wiercioch hasn’t had a point in 15 games [Ed Note: Now 17 games]. Perspective: The Sens played 15 games during that entire December Death March. A secondary assist here or there would make me more feel at least a little less concerned.

Despite their shared stat line, Cowen’s not actually the guy I want to compare him to.
I be thinkin’ this reminds me of someone else: The lengthy stretches as a healthy scratch, that one strong playoff round, the drop off in production, the long pointless streak, soft on the puck but good at carrying it…this is all reminiscent of how you say….ah yes, Peter Regin.

*Dodges Internet garbage being hurled at me for even suggesting such a thing* 

PLEASE, ANGRY MOB, PUT DOWN YOUR FLAMING TORCHES! LET ME SPEAK…I’m trying to get fired here.

Look, I know they aren’t the same player. Hell, Regin is (was?) a center and Wiercioch a defender. I also think the circumstances surrounding their struggles are a bit different. Regin’s were spawned from from chronic injury which probably led to a lack of confidence and then Swiss league comes at you fast. For Wiercioch it might be lack of confidence from struggling to live up to high expectations.

As was the case with Regin before him I want to again point out that I actually like this player. I was happy when Patty W. seemed to bounce back and hit his stride under Dave Cameron. I remember thinking during that series against Montreal that #WierciochNation was right all this time. He IS the top 4 defenseman this team needed.
The truth is, however, that NHL can be a bit of “what have you done for me lately?” league and, honestly, I think he’s quietly been one of the most disappointing players on the team since October. For all the vitriol spewed at Cowen, Borowiecki and Chiasson, the difference, for me, between them and Wiercioch is I actually have pretty high expectations for PW. I think most fans do.
For instance, if I were to have predicted at the beginning of this season that in January of 2016, the offensively talented Patrick Dubya would be outscored by the entire fourth line AND every Defenseman save for Borowiecki (who only trails him by 2 points BTFingW) and Claesson who has played under 10 NHL games? I think I would have been deservedly laughed at. 3 points nearly halfway through the season. Damn. PW lover or PW hater that’s really disappointing. Dave Dziurzynski, the least exciting Sens prospect, seemingly put up 3 points in 12 games by accident! All of this is happening to our boy in an important contract year.

I bring all this up because of that last sentence there. A decision needs to be made on Patrick’s future with the organization. The way I see it, the options are:
1. Re-sign him for a SONG and gamble that he turns it around. He’s an RFA going into his next negotiation and is currently on pace for SEVEN points. I don’t expect a drop in his already modest 2 million dollar salary but surely he’s not entitled to a raise. Who is he, Jared Cowen? Ah, speaking of which…
2. Trade him and get something for him.

If I were the Sens GM [blech no THANKS], I would be moving heaven and Earf to free up money right now. Meet me up in this tree and I’ll tell you my stupid plan:
Accept selling low on Patrick Wiercioch and Jared Cowen and take a hit in what you get back. For Patty, I still think we could get something modestly good. An okay pick or maybe someone who could help the struggling B-Sens. In Cowen’s case, it’s a fucking wrap. Murray dealt Alex Kovalev for a conditional 7th round pick and that guy had a Cup ring and over 1000 points. I would do that deal for Cowen if it came up for Cowen, IDGAF. He cant even play on the 3rd pairing at this point. He’s a bust. IT HAPPENS. If there’s even one offer where you can shed some money, take it.
K, then, use the money you’ve just cleared to re-up RFAs Wideman and Claesson, send Neil to a contender at the deadline, transfer Chiasson to the Mexican Elite League and at season’s end Phillips finally comes off the books…NOW DO EVERYTHING IN YOUR POWER TO RE-SIGN MIKE HOFFMAN WITH WHAT MONEY IS LEFT.
In 2016, it’s basically all about freeing up Mike Hoffman’s money for this cowboy. I’m willing to sacrifice players both DEEC and terrible in an attempt to keep one clearly awesome player.

Could this year’s disappointing showing be an anomaly in the long run of Wiercioch’s career? Of course it’s possible. There’s risk involved in every trade. At just 25 years of age he could definitely turn it around. We’ve seen what he can do. But he was a trade candidate last year and, frankly, he’s a less valuable trade candidate again this year. Not a good sign.
Again, this reminds me of The Battle of Peter Regin on Social Media a few years ago. When the Sens parted ways with Regin, I figured they could be parting with a potentially good player but probably not one so good that the team would suffer greatly without him. I think similarly toward Wiercioch after the last two seasons. We gave him a shot as a 2nd pairing guy and I don’t think he’s really proven to the Sens that they should lock him up as that going forward. He had a chance and now I think it might be time to give Claesson that chance. I’m pushing the chips in early as hell but budgets favour the brave.
Either way, if a left side of Methot, Claesson, Borowiecki/Frozen Dinner doesn’t work out, yes, we still need that second pairing defenseman. But maybe by dealing Patty W along with making some of the other moves outlined, the team can save enough money to continue that search with Hoffman in the fold.

This post is dedicated to Left Handed, Puck Moving Defenceman Thomas Chabot. No pressure, my Boo. Angels soar high.

James Day Preview: Ottawa Visits Texa$ with a Dollar Sign (to borrow money)

 

Alert

Hey there hi there HO THERE. Whew, sorry, off to a bit of a rough start here. Let me regroup…Bob Cole style:

Hockey. Tonight. The Ottawa Sens. The Texas Stars. Captain Jaden Spenzza looks to get revenge on Captain Al Silfversson. OH! BABY!

Area Goaltender Proving Doubters Wrong Despite Years of Goodness:

Put your handerson in the handerson of the manderson who stopped the puck…derson.
Craig Anderson everybody! BAMBY! BAMBY! BAMBY! I don’t care who the opponents were, the bald headed beast has turned away the last 61 shots he’s faced and that’s the kind of momentum he needs going into a game against the high octane offense of 3 goal DYNAMO Ales Hemsky. Yo, shit is quiet for your man Hemsky.
Remember when letting him dip and keeping Michalek was a disaster? Heady days. I didn’t think I’d be saying “well at least Milo is a solid 3rd liner” when re-examining that turn of events. Yeah, we’re good for 4th liners who can put up a goal total that you can count on one hand here in Ottawa, thank you very much.
“I can’t really hurr…what Ales say because I have my 4 goals pluggings my ear” – Z. Smith, person who is currently outscoring Hemsky.

Heyyyyyyy, raise your hand if you would prefer Hemsky’s contract pushing fellow right winger Mark Stone down the lineup ‘til 2017? Me. Neither. Bullet dodged.

Gathered crowd in unison: “JAMES STOP HATING, STOP HATING…*sniffle* he’s already deaaaaaaad!”

(Exclusive Video: Me, hating)

BACK OFF, I still need to bring up when Alex Chiasson was a huge disappoint to us all last season and ended said season tied with Hemsky’s 11 goals. Imagine he made 4 million instead of  900K?  Or you can picture David Legwand but making an extra million bucks and signed for longer. Did we lose that Spezza trade? I don’t know, I guess but less we forget that Spezza put up fewer points than Turris last year…and currently does this year as well.  Don’t even get me started on how overlooked it is that Dallas somehow failed to make the playoffs. Must be nice playing in Texas where no one gives a shit about the quality of the team until further notice. Like Milli Vanilli said, “Blame it on the not having Patrick Sharp despite having the Art Ross winner last year” <– relatable problem.
I know, I know that was last year, this is this year and now they’re kicking everyone’s ass. *Slowest clap in human history*

EXTREE EXTREE Stacked Team Does Well.

The most heartwarming story since “LA Kings Overcome Adversity of Winning Cups and Find Way to Be Good Again”.
What was I saying? Oh yeah, fuck this stupid team. #Analysis

 *Looks up at heading* Whoa this started off being about Anderson? K. Tonight he will square of against Antti Niemi. Yes, the goaltender so good he wasn’t resigned by the team he just won the Cup with. Yeah, and if that’s not enough, SAN JOSE thought they were too good for him despite his getting a Vezina nod while playing for them. Round of applause for the Goalie Game Rodney Dangerfield. With only 4 regulation losses on the season, Niemi has been in net for 3 of them. That’s the start of the exact combination of Dallas playing down to the Sens and Ottawa being at their best that’s going to be needed for this thing to work.

 

Speaking of the Sens being at their best…

Please welcome back Colin Greening to the familiar confines of the healthy scratch ranks. We’re all still reeling trying to figure out what Matt Puempel did to deserve this demotion other than put up 1 goal in 17 games despite getting numerous chances to prove himself? I mean, Colin Greening got 26 games before being sent down to the AHL! *Rimshot*

If Prince and/or Puempel were making a strong case for themselves I’d be hot over this but in truth I can’t say that either player have done so. Maybe a bit more time in the AHL, where he recently scored 30 goals, can get Puemps going again.
In the meantime, hey,  Greening gets one game during this call up? I don’t know, I’d almost be curious to see if he was hungry enough to bite someone’s arm off to keep from riding the buses. If not. Well, business as usual. He goes back down to Binghamton until 2017 AKA Clarke Macarthur’s glorious return to the line up (Get well soon my sweet, sweet prince).

Do I have anything to say about the actual game? Hmmm.

With the majority of the high end players playing quite Zestily™ right now there’s not much to say in regards to them (thx 4 reading). Well, actually I should bring up Lindy Ruff’s pre-game comments where he said that you could swap Karlsson’s and John Klingberg’s jerseys and you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between them. *Needle skips off record, Internet goes DEAD silent, glass breaks in background* 
King Karl, you really gunna let this guy talk about you like that? You have two fucking Norris Trophies, my pal. You’re the current leader for a 3rd despite having to play with Mark Borowiecki when Marc Methot’s out of the line up. So some punk comes along and gets to make break out passes to Jamie Benn and failing that Tyler Seguin and failing that Patrick Sharp and failing that Jason Spezza? Go rip Antti Niemi’s still beating heart out of his chest protector. Klingberg wasn’t playing on a power play with CHRIS NEIL at the beginning of a Norris winning season. Fuck outta here. Go roof these guys in their own barn.

Wow, I just blacked out.

Since no one askesd, here are some of the lesser skaters I’d love to see have a good game:

Alex Chiasson – Boyo, you’re getting steady time on a good line. Quite literally could not pick a more perfect game for you to have a big night against the team who gave up on you…you know, so this team doesn’t give up on you.

Milan Michalek – You go out there and show em who the REAL overpaid bottom 6 Czech National with top 6 pedigree is!

Shane Prince – B, despite my tough talk earlier, don’t think I’m rootin’ against ya! I don’t ACTUALLY want to see Colin Greening get a chance. Now, go out there are HAVE SOME FUN! score a goal look like a much, much better option than Colin Greening.

Cowen-Ceci Pairing – Self-explanatory

ENJOY THE GAME…or else

 

James Day Preview: Ottawa Vs. I’m So Glad I Don’t Cheer for a Team Called The Predators (Yuck!)

Forgive me, I'm....working some stuff out today.

Forgive me, I’m….working some stuff out today.

Sens Gotta Get the Bats Goin’

What better time to see the Hoffman – Turris – Stone re-united than following a game where the team tried to rely on a cushion of 2 goals to 1 for most of a game against a team they just cannot beat in the Carolina (not the exact name of place where team is based) Hurricanes (Do they get hurricanes in the Carolinas often? I can’t be bothered to research that, WHO HAS TIME?…also why would you name your sports team after something that could potentially destroy the homes of or take the lives of its fans? Wow, this is truly the most I’ve ever sat and thought about this team and they won a Cup – I think, I cant be bothered to confirm. WHO HAS TIME?) WOW, what was I talking about? OH, right, skoaring golez!

Remember back in the goode olde days of less than a month ago when there were complaints of the Sens forward corps being too “Top Heavy” with that 68-7-61 first line? Man, it was such a pain in the ass seeing those guys putting up multi-point games night in and night out. Glad we got a break from that. Today it’s time to put the work boots on and deal with it again.

Bobby Ryan has gradually emerged in hot from his LEGENDARY struggle of a handful of games at the beginning of the year and has settled ‘er down with 7 points in his last 7 games (HALF THE GAMES SO FAR BTW). His middle man Mika Zibanejad could be better but I suppose I’d rather a guy putting up points (2 in his last 2 games, 10 overall) while finding his game than doing sweet, succulent fuck all during that process. Shane Prince is expected to start the game on the line with 6 and 93. Though blessed is the prospect who does not look out of place doing spot duty on both the first and second line, I’m sure I’m not the only fan hoping the Prince of Tides gets a goal tonight. Not to be too tough on a guy who only has a total 12 NHL games to his career so far but a player like Prince has always been a scorer and even though he’s looked great so far you’d hate to see his play deteriorate because he’s feeling snake bitten. Remember Shane, just go out there and have FUN hahahahahaa…ha seriously score a goal tonight or I will eat your pet turtle.

With Zack Smith looking like the odd man of the lineup tonight, a Puempel – Lazar – Neil fourth line is something I can get behind.  While I am not necessarily against rookies being patiently integrated into an NHL roster (AKA EARNIN’ IT AND EVERYTHINK LIKE THAT (Thumbs Up) I really feel for Puempel having to play with Smith and Neil. I thought it was particularly rough to watch them in the game against Winnipeg. Smith and Neil are true fourth line players and Puempel seems destined for a higher slot in the line up eventually.Whatever gotta start somwhere but man it’s gotta be tough for him to any make noise paired with those two. Smith and Neil work hard as hell out there but goddamn neither of them can hang on to the puck for a New York minute. This really hurts a pure sniper like Puempel to be saddled with two guys who have next to no chance of setting him up to do what he’s best at, score goals. It was actually the more versatile Prince, a player with experience as a centre, who could make that line work for him by setting up his linemates, which he did a couple of times.
Long story short, I think Puempel will get a better look with Lazar while Neil waits in the car. Great to see the potential for some fire power on the 4th line because the Sens gotta get the bats goin’ because our defense fucking sucks.
UPDATE (1:07PM) NEVER MIND IT’S PUEMPEL SITTING OUT NOT SMITH DISREGARD ALL POSITIVITY FROM LAST PARAGRAPH

Do I Have to Talk About Defence? GREAT!

Notes from practice: Jared Cowen has strangled to death and eaten a baby dolphin. He has been named Assistant Captain as a result. Turris will be stripped of his letter as the coaching staff sites “inability to set and example and demonstrate Baby Dolphin Murder and Eatfullness to the younger players.” FAIR IS FAIR!
But you know what? You have to respect the kind of power that Jared Cowen wields. Not even a rookie making an impact in a rare shot at playing can unseat him.
Also, whatever pictures of Dave Cameron Borowiecki possesses must be scandalous as HELL. I know we’re all ragging on these guys but goddamn what do either of these dudes have to do to get benched for ONE game? They have been just awful. Tonight they get yet another chance to turn it around.

Look, for all you Nerdlingers out there, despite the offensive boost he provided (#blessed)  Wideman didn’t exactly have strongest game possession-wise against one of the shittiest teams in the league :

Take it from KING of the Nerds

Take it from KING of the Nerds

BUT YOU KNOW WHAT?! If he was bad in that respect I think we’re all ready for at least a different KIND OF BAD. Goal scoring and defensively bad? I will take that over “When he makes one solid play it seems like a big deal” bad. We fans are “United in being ready for a new type of bad™” *Timpani, Danger Flutes*   

Silverish linings: The return of Cody Ceci to the lineup means the end of our municipal daymare of Mark Borowiecki as a top 4 defender…and the return of him as bottom pairing defender…playing on his wrong side. LETS MOVE ON.

Do Unto Andy
Greg Anderton starts in net tonight. He’s been his excellent self this season and is looking to string together his 3rd straight win. Andy has had a sub 2.00GAA in those last two starts against the habs and the jorts and was first star of both of those games. You can’t expect your goalie to carry you to that degree every night. Tonight would be a great time to start helpin’ a baldie out. Putting some points on the board against the defensively excellent (read: boring AF) Predators (again, eww) is absolutely crucial to taking this road game.

Notes on Nashville
I don’t know they are a stupid boring team that I don’t care about and I don’t feel like writing about so I won’t because this ain’t my real job, lady.

Thx 4 reading enjoy the game

GO SENS!

Your Father and I Would Like to Speak to You About Francis Perron

Salut, mes hateurz!

Salut, mes hateurz!

Now listen, this may not occur to you but your dad and I work very hard to put food on your back and clothes on the table. So if you want any of this delicious homemade hotdog stuffed crust pizza that your dear Nona gave me the family recipe for on her deathlay-z-boy, you’re going to sit there and hear what we have to tell you about your baby cousin Francis:

[Spotlight, please]
Hi, the other day I found myself checkin in on some of YOUR Ottawa Senators prospects for no reason other than having an extremely healthy relationship to the sport of hockey. Admittedly, I was sniffing around the cyberweb to see how the 3rd round pick who caught the attention of our very own Lunch Peristy at the rookie tournament, Gabriel Gagne was faring so far this season in the QMJHL.

To my surprise there was absolutely no statistical information for Gab Gagne for the 2015-16 season on both of the websites I looked on (IM NOT MADE OF wEb.SiTeS). Maybe he’s hurt, maybe he’s taken his talents to the Kontinental Hokki Leeg where due to a recent financial downturn for the major Russian crime syndicates, statistics and other record keeping (such as paystubs) have been postponed for the foreseeable future.

I don’t know. Frankly, I’m just a guy on the Internet™. If the prospect nerds don’t know what’s up I sure as hell aint going to find out *Thunderous applause, some heroes DO wear capes (me)*

My journey into the choppy waters of the weird world of dudes at computers talking about what teenage boy is going to dominate the other boys and grow into the body of a big strong man one fine day (See what I’m sayin: Imagine what a report for an OHL scout reads like? NSFW) was not without some interesting news. Since I was looking at a QMJHL player’s profile [with no stats], posted on the side of the screen was the Quebec League scoring race. Who should I see at the top of the table [AT THE TIME OF THIS WRITING PLEASE HOLD BACK ANY APPLICABLE ACTUALLYS, thank you] but one Francis Aloysius Perron of YOUR Rouyn-Noranda (???) Huskiiiies. I was blown away by the stats that were posted as I thought he was a defenseman…as I thought he was fellow 2014 3rd round pick, Miles Gendron:

Hi, I'm singer songwriter Miles Gendron and I like to keep it super duper casual.

Hi, I’m singer songwriter Miles Gendron and I like to keep it super duper casual.

What can I say, Fran P is just Miles G with way, WAY weirder hair…

Hair
(attends une minute avec le blowdryer, Franco-stein’s monster)

OH…and the eyes of a hatchet murderer.

Eyes
(It places the biscuit into the basket…it places the biscuit into the basket)

Wow, weird tangent…sorry

K, turns out Perron is a left winger but don’t get it Twiztid, that doesn’t make the numbers he’s posting any less impressive. Perron has put up 15 goals and 19 assists for 34 total points in …wait for it *timpani* 16 games. Yeah, G is currently operating at an over two point per game pace, not to mention just shy of sitting at a goal per game. He was also named the league’s first star last week (which is nice).
NOW, let’s be clear, the Q is a league notorious for an offense first, Patrick Roy’s dollar store Justin Timberlake of a son was a starting goaltender because his dad was a good goalie reputation. Seriously, name me a star NHL defenseman who cut his teeth in the Quebec league? *Gets bored of thinking* …………………………

Uhh, let’s hope Thomas Chabot is the first of his kind (yipes!)…LETS MOVE ON…

In the spirit of keeping it 100 for you, dear reader, I urge caution as when one examines the top 5 in the QMJHL scoring race [AT THE TIME OF THIS WRITING] the other four skaters, a bunch of French dudes I’ve never heard of, are sitting respectively at 33, 32, 31 and 30 points. So I would hazard that 4 other teams are probably thinking they have their own Francis Perron on the creep. After all, this is the same league that brought you a 98 points in 57 games rookie season from 1st round pick and current Italian ELITE league gawdbody Angelo Esposito (BTW Espo gunna put Cortina SG on his back this year and take his paesans all the way to Lord Boyardee’s Cup).

That said, it’s one thing to do well in an offense-first junior league but another to lead an offense first junior league in production overall. You gotta respect that people put up mad points in this league and for the time being he’s putting up the most.

As a seventh round pick, 190th overall, this guy has all the making of a classic Bryan Murray late round SLEEEPAH. But unlike other recent late round gems, Mark Stone (lack of skatefullness), Mike Hoffman (overagedness) and *sigh* I guess Brian Elliot (Swaggarlessness?) it’s a bit tougher to find a ton of info as to why Franny P was left on the board with only 20 selections remaining in the entire draft. All I can come up with “he doesn’t weigh much.” K.

Again, maybe a guy who went all the way to halfway down the 7th round of the draft wasn’t the most heavily scouted player to begin with but like Stone and Hoffman before him, putting up the numbers he’s putting up, I invite you to join me in keeping an eye on him this season. After all, it was after being drafted that Mark Stone dominated the WHL and became Canada’s Sweetheart at the World Juniors. Ditto Mike Hoffman winning the Antoine Vermette Memorial Trophy for QMJHL MVP as well as Q League Sportsman of the Year (also called the Antoine Vermette Memorial Trophy). I suppose Quebec league players are the easiest to doubt due to the leagues one dimensional reputation but that’s not fair considering the Q has produced a ton of quality NHL players forwards including our very own Michael Hoffman.
After making quite a strong showing at development camp as well as the rookie tournament, as a SEVENTH round pick, Perron’s development is like playing with free money. Think of him as a regular Emil Sanden but with actual goal scoring stuff going on. A 19 year old in his final Junior season, if  he can best his already impressive 76 points in 54 games from last year, he should at the very least be an intriguing addition to the Binghamton Senators forward corps going into 2016-17 season.

Bonne chance, Francis!

James Day Preview: The Ottawa Senators host Los Diablos del Nueva Yersey

321_Contact2

3-2-1 Contact

Hi there. How are you feeling about YOUR Oddawa Sennerders? I have to say, personally, they’re about where I pegged them to be at 3-2-1. So far they’ve…

Won some winnable games: Heyyy turns out the Toronto Vape O’ Leafs are not that good!

Lost some v. losable games: Sorry but slow start or not a rested Penguins team desperate for their first win of the season playing Ottawa coming off a cozy victory on a road trip back to back has Sens loss written all over it.

Such and such: Outplaying a good team like Nashville at home, only ever leading for 5 minutes in the 2nd period, going down [again], then heroically tying the game late in the 3rd to ultimately lose in the shootout…basically sounds like 70% of the Sens games I’ve attended at the Tires.com arena.

Though the performances themselves have been all over the place so far in this Yung C-son, the Sens have shown the ability to win some of the games that were theirs to win. This is good. Sure blah dee dee blah parity and blah dee blah anything can happen but damn girl, 4 days off and a home game against Los Diablos del Nueva Yersey? You gotta hack that bone. Let’s have a brief look at the cavalcade of stars that will be rolling into Ottawa 2nite!

Press play on this before reading this next bit:

Jordin Tootoo (1pt, already been fined this season)

Mike Cammelleri (Congrats being a first line player on this team despite your washed AF status. Remember when this guy getting traded qualified as shocking news? What a world.)

Lee Stempniak (8th NHL team is a charm for this 32 year old who I definitely knew was still playing in North America! Heyyyyyy also a top 6 player here!)

Adam Larsson – Lottery pick well spent!

Kyle Palmieri – ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Tuomo Ruutu – Injured!

Corey Schneider – Is he good? I can’t care!

Aaaaand the rest…A guy named Schlemko, a guy named Severson…both sound made up to me. No time to research, the game needs me. Let’s get to our major story lines:

Does Andrew Hammond play for this team still?
It’s a question I would have asked in a much less joking, more honest way in 2014. Seriously, I never thought I’d be rubbing my hands together like Birdman wondering “When’s ole hickory Hammond going to get a chance to start?” But it’s 2015 and 7 games into the season here we are.
After coming in Icy Hot™ with a groin strain suffered in training camp, the Hamburglar’s bathing suit area is all loosened up and he’s ready to follow up on a brief 26 game call up that went largely unnoticed last season.
Just a regular backup getting a regular first start of the year. No pressure little buddy! Just go out there and have some fun! Hahahahahaha…heh-heh…hmmm heh heh *sigh* [Seriously don’t fuck this up].

What? One of our best forwards AND best defenders have already suffered concussions? But it’s not even my birthday!
K, I feel like any fan when the team is missing some key players and looks like it needs a little boost from someone Young n’ Hungry™ n’ lookin to make an impression with the big club™. But now that we live in a Post #FreePrince and #FreeWideman paradigm, I think it’s starting to show that we’ve been a bit spoiled by instant impact debuts of the past like those of Mark Stone or Cody Ceci. Wideman and Prince have looked totally fine so far but have also shown that most call ups are going to be eased into an extended stay in the NHL instead of being expected to come in and lead. Which is smart. I mean, hey, don’t get me wrong, I’m certainly not opposed to someone wrecking shop right away. Shane Prince if you want to come thru tonight and knock out a hattrick in the first period be my guest (I saw him do it with the 67s!). But Prince playing with Smith and Neil and Wideman being paired with Cowen t’aint the problem here.
What the Senators need to take it up a notch or two is for several players that we already know are good to start looking like themselves. Talking about Bobby Ryan, Mika Zibanejad, Milan Michalek and Patrick Wiercioch here people (I’m positive I’m the first person to bring this up). You know, the guys who’ve earned millions of space bux from proving they are good at the hockeys. Again, not even asking [is it asking or aksing?] for them to be their absolute best like Turris, Hoffman and Stone have been so far. No, I’m just asking for them to look like themselves. That’s how super #Chi11 I am.

Zero-Chill Korner: Ima get a little controversial considering he’s over a point per game right now but am I the only one who thinks aside from that Columbus game we’ve not yet seen close to the Erik Karlsson we’ve grown to know and love and name unpopular blogs after? Not saying he’s been bad or even mediocre…no, just waiting for him put on that extra “we are witnessing one of the best players of his generation” sauce. Yes, I know he’s had a 4 point game. Yes, I am aware I’m an asshole. Let’s move on…
So, what I’m saying here is with MacArthur and Methot out and the team with a DEEC but not sterling record, it’s not up Prince and Wideman to just slide in and be top six or top 4 players, it’s up to the guys who basically already are that to you know…BE that. So I propose THIS powerful hashtag that is bound to influence Dave Cameron’s decisions:

#FreeSeveralEstablishedPlayersGenerallyBeingBetter

Join the movement!

Ahh, it’s working already! Borowiecki will stay paired with Karlsson.
Update: Turns out crackpipe will be paired with my lips until Methot returns.

Gentle Advice for Borowiecki: Just fuckiiiiiiiiiiiiin hold it down, skate as fast as you caaaaan and pass to Karlsson and kill anyone who goes near Karlsson. Get well Marc Methot we want you to get weeeeeeeeeeeeeeell but also don’t ruuuuushhh back from your heaaaad injuryyyyy.

The Importance of Hearing Both Sides   

Ahem, (spotlight please):

Tonight marks Chris Neil’s 900th career game, each of them performed in front of a live studio audience in an Ottawa Senators uniform. We’ve seen Neil morph over the past few years from Fan Favourite to a Fan Favourite / Maybe Most Divisive Player on Entire Team (I’ve admittedly been part of that!). But for a moment I invite you to join me and put whatever bad feelings you may have for him aside and recognize that tonight’s milestone is quite the accomplishment.

A complete afterthought at the 1998 draft, taken in the 6th round at 161st overall, Neil made the Sens by turning heads at training camp in 2001 despite that his highest pro point total up to then was 36 in the IHL. Even if you are not a fan of his hard hitting, face punching, roof raising style consider the amount of high end prospects, 1st round picks, basically more talented players who had a better shot who have exited the NHL in a fraction of the time that Neil has managed to stay employed.

He’s an enforcer, sure, there’s no denying that but if I credit Neiler (nickname I just came up with) with one thing is that he is precursor to what will become Toughguy 2.0 in the Hover Hockey League of the fantastic year 25, 000, 000. Neil has been a guy who’s built his identity as someone who will drop the gloves but he has always been able to take a shift as well. He even put up 16 goals and 33 points in his best season. Pretty damn solid numbers for a fourth line goon. Long gone are the mostly healthy scratched, 1 lucky point a year Matt Kassian enforcers of the world. Chris Neil still has a job at 36 and don’t rule out one more short deal either whether in Ottawa or elsewhere. Coming into camp 12 pounds lighter with zero PIMs so far the man’s certainly gunning for it.
Toughness will always exist in hockey and if taking punches as well as shifts is the new wave, I like to think Neil was a bit ahead of his time in this respect.

Even though it has admittedly felt that it’s been time to pass the torch in Ottawa for a while now; and we’ve been a little bit thirsty to move on from some of our older legacy players…..named Christopher, congratulations to a guy who was never supposed to make it on his 900th game. He went from Flesherton, Ontario (?) to seeing his bulldog face on banners, wearing a letter and has been a community ambassador to the city of Ottawa. Not to mention being a h_ck of a pitchman for express motor oil changes as well as a host of other automotive services as well. Hats off to a guy who’s been around for more than half of the Senators modern history. That’s a lot of our Sens memories. Here a few of my favorite Chris Neil moments:

Ugly, grimy OT playoff goal against  handsome, sparkly goaltender:

Stoner takes a huge hit (I am so, so sorry)

Hands of…Neil:

I couldn’t find that awesome break away goal from 2005 where he hung onto the crossbar after so you’ll have to settle for this:

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.

Next up, DAT DECEMBER THO.
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.