James Day Preview: Ottawa West hosts Dallas East

Photo Courtesy of Spezza Family Collection

Photo Courtesy of Spezza Family Library and Archives

More like…Ales……*sigh* I don’t fuckin’ know……..Whatevsky. No wait I have a better one: Thanksforreadingsky
Super bummed out that Alex Hemsky recently broke out of the Jared Cowen scoring race…and has entered…the Ales Chiasson (no points in 100 games!) strata of production. Sure, it’s still pretty funny but it’s not Chris Neil/Jared Cowen funny. It is with a heavy heart that I hereby retire this joke (until further notice, Chris Neil gunna be back soon and will bribe his way back on that power play and come for the crown, babyfella).
On the real tho, it’s crazy to think about watching a guy who could not have looked more perfect playing with Jason Spezza, skip town to play for the same team as him, get bumped out of being on a line with him, and end up a healthy scratch for putting up Shutdown Defenseman-like numbers. LIfe comes at you fast. He has enjoyed a recent slight uptick. It should be noted that “recent slight uptick” took place nearly halfway through the season.
Hemsky has throughout his career been one of those players whose talent no one denies but doesn’t carry that same respect fellow high flying finesse players seem to enjoy. The criticism of Hemsky is in some cases unfair, “Gets hurt a lot” but others jabs are starting to make sense to me like, “talented but not really a difference maker.” This was the impression I got when I talked to a friend of mine who’s from Edmonton and a big Oilers fan (I am happy to report that as of the time of this writing he still has the strength to get out of bed in the morning!) when the trade happened. He wasn’t thrilled about it but seemed comfortable that if the Oilers were going to deal one of their more talented forwards, that Hemsky would have been his pick as well.
Now that the dust has settled on the off season, I must admit, I feel the same way. I was as salty as anyone when the Sens kept Milan Michalek for the exact same deal Hemsky got to play in Dallas alongside Spezza. But that was when I was having nightmares about Hemsky putting like 30+ goals, 70+ points in Texa$. To see him have a comparable season to Milo almost feels like an accidental little victory by the organization. I guess we got 1 Hemsky instead of 2? And our Hemsky has a respectable 2 way game and can kill penalties? Like I said, LITTLE victory. He’ll be playing on a line with Spezza tonight…which is kind of hilarious to think of as a special event not even a calendar year after they tore it up together here. Lost a Hemsky Retained a Michalek
Rating: Shrugging Emoticon Guy Made of Faberge Egg.

Matt Spezza & Associate
I wont spend too long on this because it’s been done to death but tonight we see the much anticipated(?) first clash with Matt Spezza’s brother. You know, I was not thrilled that Spezza was dealt but I was at peace with it by the time it went down. His trade was perhaps the centrepiece of a particularly rough off season. He’s one of the best players the Sens have ever had but it made sense to move him out. He was just never going to win over his detractors and be loved here. He wanted a change of scenery (y u accept captaincy then?) and was due for a new contract and we had just watched him miss an entire year due to an injury he has publicly admitted he will have for the rest of his playing career. I was okay with our penny pinching team not paying him big bux to stick around into his late 30s. Yes, I know that Dallas has resigned him to his mid-30s, but I think Spezza’s going to be a player who ages quickly. Also, that 4 year contract is something I strongly doubt a sentimental, career club in Ottawa could have pulled off. Especially with him serving as a newly minted captain. Without him on the payroll I think it left Bryan Murray with some rare money laying around to give Bobby Ryan his raise with some left over to use to keep our glut of pending RFA’s around. I’m still all in on the Sens passing the torch. Dealing Spezza was the cost of getting there. The rise of prospect Nick Paul who also came over as part of the trade helps ease the blow. Onward and……….you know, very much onward.

Basically, in the end, I’m feeling a touch #blessed with this whole mess because it’s afforded me the perfect hater-ass situation. We lose Spezza who didn’t want to be here and as such weren’t  pressured to re-sign him saving our broke ass team money. On top of this I get to be Mr. Cool Calm and Collected Guy Who Toooooooooootally has a healthy relationship to Professional Sports and be all, “I’m glad he’s doing well in Dallas!” then on some silky shit under my breath mumble “…but he’s not doing that good.” Plus he plays on a team that is basically Ottawa West. Grass remains yellow on both sides. Adequate luck in future endeavors, Jason.
“No jealousy required” – Phil Collins.

HEYYYYYYYY Sens are playing in another time zone so I have virtually no information about tonight’s lineup!
Sens are coming off a big win but you’d never know by the vibe among fans right now.
Hey, maybe it’s the -24 weather talking but it’s the halfway point and when you sit 8 points out of even a wild card birth it’s tough to watch a team that’s been .500ish all season long and be super hopeful.
On the converse, it’s just my opinion and you can take it or leave it but as Edmonton shoots for an all-time franchise worst 13th straight road loss tonight against the Blues and meanwhile the Hurricanes are becoming the street cred Sabres, I for one am doubtful for a lotto pick. Sorry, but Ottawa’s goaltending is just too good for a fall that far down the standings. Plus I don’t see the Sens getting worse with Marc Methot back in the lineup. Besides we all know the fix is in and the Las Vegas Panthers will get the no.1 ball in the lottery. For the balance of the season I recommend you take a page from our very own beloved Varada with his guide to the 2015 portion of things.

Update: Oy, story of my friggin’ life. I was just about to wrap things up and practice lines get released. Ugh, via TSM’s Bort Wallace:

MacArthur – Turris – Chiasson

Hoffman – Zibanejad – Ryan

Condra – Pageau – Lazar

Michaelek – Legwand – Stone

Warm Take:
Well, pretty cool of Cameron to give Chiasson a chance to get off the schnide against his former club. He’s our li’l Hemsky! Hopefully he can capitalize on Lehtonen’s weaknesses he’s learned from shooting on him in all those practices…uh…more than Spezza does on Lehner.

If you’re looking for a nickname for this Condra – Pageau – Lazar line I think the “Responsibility Trio” is still available. Could be interesting. These three look like they’d be equipped to cause a turnover or two and take advantage of it with their speed. I could see this combo sticking. Looking forward to seeing them play together.

And the rest! Seriously, shout out to Mark Stone. Good team player giving up his top line digs to slum it with these dudes. Stone might actually be the fastest dude on his line for once. So he’s got that going for him!

I don’t have time to wait around for the Defensive pairings.
Here’s all you need to know: Methot’s back, Borowiecki’s eating solid foods again, Phillips is playing like a shaky call up despite having over 1000 games experience, I’ve given up on waiting for Wiercioch to impress me, Gryba and Ceci are quietly decent and Karlsson is king.

Matt Spezza will start in goal for both teams.

Remember it’s a 2:45AM start tonight. Enjoy the game my little night owls!

Ottawa Senators at the Halfway Mark: “All that we are is the result of all that we have thought” – Buddha, 1976, New York

Hi lovers. It’s been a while; I’ve been away. Which is to say that I’ve been sitting cross-legged in a furnitureless apartment going on journeys in my mind. Which is to say that I’ve been squatting in strangers’ condos while they were away for the holidays. Anyway, I’m back at the library using somebody’s tablet while they’re in the bathroom.

THESIS STATEMENT: Turns out we were completely right about the Ottawa Senators. See you next year.

They’re a .500 team. They lose in OT or the shootout constantly. (They’re on track for 16 loser points, which is better/worse than last year’s 14 OT/shootout losses, which was tied for third worst in the league.) They’d be a lot worse without their goaltending, even now that new coach Dave Cameron seems to have somehow tamped down on the number of shots against. Milan Michalek, Chris Phillips and Chris Neil suck and make like $10MM against the cap. Erik Karlsson, Kyle Turris, Clarke MacArthur and Bobby Ryan rule.

All is right in Sensland, AKA the Sleep Country Canada parking lot where I construct a pyramid of shopping carts under which to store all of my things.

…AND YET:  as I noted on Twitter (@taylorswift13) I think I enjoy this non-playoff Sens team more than maybe any other non-playoff Sens team. Think about it: we’ve got some young and exciting players in Mike Hoffman, Mark Stone, Curtis Lazer, and Mika Zibanejad, all of whom have already shown that you can find your feet in the NHL and still score 120% more goals than Milan Michalek. Erik Karlsson is still an utter joy to watch, night in and night out. MacArthur is the perfect hockey player.

It’s not Picasso out there, but this is way, WAY better than those non-playoff versions of the Sens where Alex Kovalev showed Ryan Shannon that the key to consistent two-way hockey was to actively despise the team you’re playing for.

And the team doesn’t exactly stink. For all of the inescapability of the fact that they’re 8 points out of a wild card spot and their probability of a playoff spot sits at 12.7% as of today (tugs collar until I’m strangled to death), they’re as many points from the cellar as they are from the playoffs, have lost a ton of games in OT, and every single team in their division seems to be playing well.

Seriously, when Boston starts playing like Boston again, we’ll be looking at a situation where the Atlantic* (*an ocean at least 500kms away from Ottawa, if you liberally count the Fleuve Saint-Laurent) might send six out of eight teams to the playoffs. People in Toronto are losing their minds and Toronto was in a playoff spot up until recently. Florida is playing well, and are 11-6-6 on the road. Detroit might have built up enough of a lead to get over Jimmy Howard being stretchered off the ice. And my bold prediction that Tampa Bay would be overrated and not great was thankfully overlooked by every single person on the internet.

Ottawa’s PK ain’t bad. (9th.) Their goaltending is good, and there’s a succession plan in place with Lehner. The coaching change seems to have had a positive effect. I don’t know, man…in Japan there’s an expression, mono no aware, which translates roughly into “a pleasing sadness at the transience of beauty.” What do you want from me? We’re all going to die someday. Take a moment to enjoy some fucking hockey.

And Ottawa has the lowest payroll in the league. Has anyone mentioned that before? I don’t think so. I might have just broke that story just now. Lowest payroll in the league, right there. This isn’t a case of the Philadelphias. This isn’t a team that thought it was going to compete and spent like it, who traded away assets to get negotiating rights and then offered years and money up the wazoo to sign the players they just traded assets to get the negotiating rights to, as if they were doing all of these things in order to stink. Ottawa has nothing but bright futures, new arenas, ugly third jerseys and options.

What to expect in the second half? I’m going to go out on a limb here and say more of the same. They’ll finish either just inside or just outside the bottom ten in the league. They’ll sit around .500, with plenty of OT/shootout losses in the mix. Hopefully somewhere along the way they pick up some assets for Milo, Neil, Greening (ahahahahahahahaha), Condra (probably, though they shouldn’t) and Phillips (right). Anderson plays himself right into a deadline trade to St. Louis, though I hope not. Eric Gryba continues to have a mysteriously good +/- and no one will care about him.

Maybe in the draft they package their 2nd round pick with the 2nd rounder they got for Spezza and get another 1st, and then trade Anderson for a 1st, and then package those two 1sts with their own 1st to move up in the draft and get a real impact player.

Maybe Marc Methot was actually the thingy that stirred the drink all along and now that he’s back the team will gel in totally unforeseen ways and go on a winning streak unseen since the days of Cory Clouston and Brian Elliott (still in the league! As a starter on a good team!).

Maybe Ottawa finally, FINALLY makes that Chris Stewart trade, and they put him on a line with Todd Bertuzzi, and the team loses their next 22 games in a row and we don’t need to trade any picks to get an impact player in the draft.

Mono no aware. *lights beeswax candle*

James Day Preview: Ottawa Vs. Team Could Be Worse

So Who Even Plays for Philly These Days? *looks up roster* …OH, Everyone!
You know you’ve got an Island of Misfit Toys lookin ass roster when you start your season with Carlo Colaiacovo in the line up. Now there’s a player you could tell me was a periodic healthy scratch in the Italian League or a first pairing defender on the *yawwwn* Carolina Hurricanes and I’d believe you either way. Waat, they also have RJ Umberger? Wow, this team is chock full of guys who I’ve definitely heard of but could give 0.00 fucks about.

This Team Seems Oddly Phamillyar…
They have a well respected gamer of a captain who’s seemingly keeping this thing from becoming a complete shit show (Giroux), a washed up but once great 1000 point(ish) player getting way too much money on a bad contract (Lecavalier), sub-par goaltending tandem capable of frustratingly few flashes of greatness (Mason/Emery), an underappreciated dude racking up a ton of points (mostly assists) largely in losing efforts (Voracek), a solid, heart and soul assistant captain who’d be worth a ton in a trade (Simmonds), an aged veteran defensemen who despite nearing the end of his career is expected to be a linchpin and as a result can do no right in the fans eyes (Streit), and a talented but flawed young player that fans and management are just praying can take his development to the next level and help be a key to turn this thing around (Couturier (probably)). They also have a fairly inexperienced coach who after having a first full season behind the bench that saw a playoff birth, now seems a bit in over his head.  This year they boast a losing record and all the while under the watchful eye of a scrutinous media!

So what I’m saying is the Philadelphia Flyers are the 2010-11 Ottawa Senators *danger flutes*Good LUCK with that!

No seriously peep these understudies…OH and be sure to click the suggested background music as you read the list. Feel free to add your own players in the comment section!

Starring… As…
Claude Giroux Daniel Alfredsson
Vincent Lecavalier Alex Kovalev
Mason/Emery/Frozen Dinner LeClaire/Elliot/Frozen Dinner(s)
Jakub Voracek Jakub Spezza
Wayne Simmonds Mike Fisher
Mark Streit Sergei Gonchar
Sean Couturier I guess Erik Karlsson…whatver thx 4 reading
Jason Akeson Peter Regin (seriously one decent playoff round and ninja: VANISH for both these guys)
Brayden Schenn Nick Foligno
Michael Del Zotto Chris Campoli
And the rest! (remember Ryan Shannon and Marek Svatos?) Whew…look at the Flyers’ roster…this group is mostly “the rest.” Goddamn. Be thankful we only have one Colin Greening.

Like the Senators of 2010-11, here we have a team with a recentish enough Stanley Cup Final appearance and enough good pieces kicking around that management might still believe in them and fans are maybe still thirsty enough to get behind them. But be warned they appear to be on a decline of frightening proportions that could prove lengthy.

It’s not all bad Flyers fans who aren’t reading this, in fact, I have good news! I seened this movie before and I know how it ends: You’re off to the draft lottery! Which you’re going to lose to the fucking New Jersey Devils!
Being quite familiar with the 2010-11 Senators I can confidently say that tonight our beloved boys are facing an extremely beatable team that has the potential to surprise.

Bobby 4 Flyers Schmurda’er
I wonder if this is starting to become an obsessive thing with me but I’m going to write about it again and you’re going to float there and liste—WAIT WAIT WAIT DON’T CLOSE THE BROWSER I’LL BE QUICK, I PROMISE!

K, I am enamoured with the idea of players on our team becoming “[Insert team] Killers.”
It’s nice to have a bit of that swagger sauce going into another team’s building with the knowledge that one of your guys has a habit of tearing them up. You know, like how Johan Franzen must feel when having his pregame meal at Mucho Burrito at the Kanata Centrum (Voted Kanata’s worst designed Centrum every years running!). I suppose with the nail in the coffin goal in his last two games against Boston, that Bobby Ryan might be emerging as a bit of a Bruins killer…but having grown up a Flyers fan I’d love to see hi—

*Hologram version of me snatches microphone away, “Yo, me/you, Ima let me/you finish, I’m happy for me/you, Ima let me/you finish but Bobby Ryan emerging as an extremely effective player against a division rival that Ottawa’s struggled mightily against over the years like the Bruins is FAR more valuable to their playoff position of ALL TIME. OF ALL TIME.”*

As I was saying, considering that Bobby Ryan was a boyhood fan of the Flyers, it would be great to see him torch them in this season of weakness. No, seriously, they are worse than us. This is their first game on home ice in 19 days too. Hack the bone in front of friends and family, Bobby. HACK. THE. BONE.
Before I move on, while we’re still on this subject, all yall GTA born and raised ass guys on the Sens roster can become Leafs killers at ANY TIME NOW THANK YOU…which I guess…is just Mike Hoffman. Huh, well, I’m also counting you Clarke MacArthur*!

*You’re the best regardless tho, never leave us.

[Insert Weak Pageau-based Play On Words Here]
No secret around here but I’m a Pageau booster. Since a well earned call up Pager has been quiet but solid. In Sunday’s loss to the “Bolts” JGP was very, very good. He won 60% of his draws, took a team high 4 shots had 2 blocks and laid 5 hits, also a team high. Quiet about criticizing that hit stat before I rip up all your good Magic (tha gathering) cards and leave you with NOTHING but your mana pool. Nothing…but your stupid mana pool.
I for one don’t mind bottom 6 players who kill penalties taking the body. Most interesting of those numbers is that he led the team in shots. *tasteful pause for reflection* Yes, he had more shots than Erik Karlsson. Which I can’t tell if I’m happy about…because EK, who has 4, 564 shots in 38 games was outshot by an AHL call up who’s killing penalties.

Anyway, it’s tough to criticise Pageau in his 8 games so far. It can be hard to stand out in the bottom 6 where your job is being disciplined and structured. I think he’s exactly the kind of guy you want to call up in a jam. Such an upgrade from the Cody Bass days of yore. With a whole season sandwiched between his amazing playoff performance and now I suppose I am getting a bit worried that he might be falling into that Peter Regin (God bless the dead) place of making too strong a first impression and never being able to measure up as a result.
As a natural centre, he’s got time to make an impression as Zack Smith has just posted up on the top bunk of Marc Methot’s custom made hospital bed. Looking at last game’s numbers Pageau’s looking like he’s quietly trending in the right direction.

Giroux’s The Boss…and…he’s…not playing tonight. *pun: landed*
Something else I’ve harped on the past two season’s is how the Sens have a bit of a tough time taking advantage of fortunate circumstance. I think it’s great to watch them defeat a relatively healthy St. Louis Blues or Anaheim Ducks but don’t be afraid to throw in the odd win against a Claude Giroux-less Flyers. Sure, it’s on the road but hey, gotta win some of those road games too. Hahaha…ha…. seriously though, win the fucking game.

Anderson, who has a winning record (#blessed) gets his 25th start of the season (a season high for him!). He will square off against Frozen Dinner.

Enjoy the game. We have a 7pm start tonight so order your Bath Salts early!

Ottawa Senators Off-Ice Power Rankings – January 2015

Thanks for coming, everybody. Let’s get started.

1) Erik Condra

C’s first Christmas tree 💞🎄🎅🎁 He couldn’t be more excited!!!! 🙊 @econdra22

A photo posted by Ryan Condra (@ryan_r_condra) on Dec 12, 2014 at 1:34pm PST

Even though the power rankings have been gone for a few months, we’re rebooting them in the traditional way, which is with Erik Condra winning. I know what you’re saying; Chet, Erik Condra is from Michigan, there’s no way that’s his first Christmas tree. Yet so often we forget the sacrifices these men have to make to get to the NHL.

2) Dave Cameron

“Knock knock, Legwand!” “Who’s there?” “Killa Cam!” “Killa who?” “Killa Cam! Hustler! Grinder! Gorilla! True? You’re off the PP, by the way.”

You know how it is when you get a promotion. There’s just a little more spring in your step those first few days, a little more volume in your voice, a little extra twist in your coffee order. You’ve earned that nutmeg, buddy! Even at work, you look at the mess your predecessor left you only with optimism, like a half-assembled IKEA bed you’re convinced you can salvage. There’s a way to make those flimsy, disparate parts work together, and you’re going to figure it out.

After a month, is Dave Cameron still in this first stage? Or has he already transitioned into the second stage of being the maybe-interim coach a bubble team, where optimism gives way to weary resolve, and he starts showing up at press conferences with the drawn, far-eyed stare of a man who believes that if he can just crest that next hill, maybe he can roll forever? It’s the look you see on the face of aging gunslingers, and most dads.

In coaching’s circle of life, of course, eventually even that resolve is just replaced with a sarcastic twinkle, which is pretty much where Paul MacLean lived for the last year. But for now, never lose that feeling, Dave Cameron. Stay positive, stay hopeful, eyes and heart and mind opened as wide as you can, as long as you can, as long as they’ll let you. There will be a game in March, in Winnipeg, on the second half of a back-to-back, where every defensive assignment will be blown, every forward lazily caught offside, every player limping tiredly back to the dressing room, when you’ll be tempted to close them. At that moment, do your best to remember these days, Dave Cameron, driving home through Stittsville, CHEZ 106 just a little louder than usual, nutmeg in your cup.

3) Paul MacLean

No, that’s not my daughter. Let her cook, though.

You know how it is when you get fired. The last thing you want to do is give anyone the impression that your life isn’t an uninterrupted stream of success. So you put some new suits on your line of credit; you act like you’re on an important call when you see a former co-worker at Farm Boy; you actually start returning wine bottles so the neighbours don’t see how many are piling up in your blue box. Or, if you’re Paul MacLean, you say to hell with appearances and just keep showing up at the rink even though you’re being paid not to work, like any other disgruntled buyout, or the Edmonton Oilers.

Paul MacLean has made no secret of the fact that he thinks the Senators gave him a raw deal, and when he finds another job, which he will, he’s going to do everything he can to show them up, as he should. Because when he’s behind the bench next year in Columbus, or Phoenix, or Philadelphia and the Senators come to town, you don’t think his new team will be jumping over the boards a little quicker knowing they’re facing the team that thought their coach over-deployed Chris Neil? Yeah.

4) Erik Karlsson

Erik Karlsson used to win these rankings almost every month. But you know what? He’s the captain now, and if the media is to be believed, that means the goalposts have been moved a little. So in that context, let’s examine Erik Karlsson’s performance in the team’s annual Christmas video.

Well, it’s not great. His line readings are stiff, his mugging is a little over-the-top, and he never really sells the premise of Erik Karlsson, choosing to relax after a hard practice by watching Christmas movies, in a CTC lounge into which no one else is apparently allowed, in a universe where this is considered typical. In contrast, last year, Jason Spezza – former captain? Tall guy? Going bald? Anybody? – last year Jason Spezza sang, loudly and poorly, but in a way that made you believe no one could possibly have more Senators holiday spirit. And most people didn’t think much of him as a captain! Then you’ve got Karlsson running through this thing like he’s already late for his weekly pore mask.

I can make excuses for Karlsson here, trot out the usual defenses. He’s a creative playmaker being forced into a framework that stifles him; he’s being shackled to inferior talent; we’re taking for granted all the little mistakes he doesn’t make. Enough. The Senators did something they rarely do, which is take a small, measured risk, by making a young Swede captain over a few Canadian veterans in a town that’s likely to magnify every fault he has for years until it decides he’s a beloved, faultless icon sometime in his late 30s. That’s unfair, but it’s true. So you’re that young Swede, what do you do? You start by selling the hell out of the team Christmas video.

While we’re on the subject, the winners in this video are Phillips, Borowiecki, and Turris. The losers are Lazar, who for some reason has to take his shirt off; MacArthur, who doesn’t get an actual part but instead gets his head stretched in widescreen; and everyone trying to re-enact a music video that came out ten years before they were born, after it’s explained to them what a “music video” is. Condra’s a push, because despite the strong performance here, he’s still making up for this thing.

5) Curtis Lazar

Then you’ve got guys who can seemingly do no wrong from day one. I like Curtis Lazar, but we’re not asking him the tough questions yet. Questions like, “why do you need to drive a truck that looks like something used by the Ferguson police?” Why do we keep turning a blind eye to the ongoing militarization of our hockey players’ vehicles?

6) Cody Ceci

This picture is amazing. Here you’ve got long-time Senators favorite Jason York sweating, glowering, and staggering into this picture like he’s at the end of a four-day creep, clutching what appears to be a large stack of money, or possibly Uno cards, next to a bemused six-year-old hockey prodigy who’s already wearing sleeveless tees. And then a plastic Jean Coutu bag blows into the frame, reminding you there’s so much beauty in the world, sometimes your heart can’t take it.

Cody Ceci is a fan favorite, and it’s in part because pictures like this with York, or others with early Senators megastars like Brian Smolinski, Damian Rhodes, or this guy, form a kind of origin story. Remember that pretty much every NHL player, when he was growing up as a junior hockey star, was a fan of the local NHL team. In most cases, childhood pictures of them decked out in this team gear are little more than historical curiosities. But in the miniscule chance a player is good enough to make the NHL, and then, even more rarely, is actually drafted by his hometown team, and then his Mom gets on Twitter, well, it makes those pictures seem more like predestination, doesn’t it? Looking at this picture in 2015, that’s no longer sweat on Jason York’s brow . . . it’s the water of baptism. Hope you’re staying hydrated, Jason.

7) Bobby Ryan

A lot of this space used to be about parsing Bobby Ryan’s every move in an attempt to ascertain whether he, y’know, liked us. Sure, maybe it’s silly and a little sad when you lay it out like that, but who’s the one who’s already read this far?

Anyway, it’s over; we won. I know that news is months-old, but I just got back, and anyway, it sets up a larger point – what now? Bobby Ryan is, currently, the longest-signed, highest-paid player on the Senators roster. Is he still a Senator in 2022, at the age of 35? Is he somewhere else, by his own decision or by the team’s? Is he Dany Heatley?

Right now we’re still in the honeymoon period; Ryan isn’t even the highest-paid player on the team yet, and won’t be until late 2017 given the way Erik Karlsson’s deal is set up. But it’ll start before that – as a seven million-dollar man, is he enough of a leader? Is he an expensive luxury on a team that should be rebuilding? Is he too streaky? Too one-dimensional? Does he speak French yet?

You know what? It’s pointless worrying. We’re all streaky and one-dimensional, in our own ways, we can all be better leaders, and most of us aren’t anywhere near as personable in general, or as talented at anything, as Bobby Ryan is. And the occasional expensive luxury, even in a city as puritanical as Ottawa, provides a necessary bit of fun every now and then.

8) Chris Phillips

Pretty cool to find Big Rig in Washington DC. #fortheloveofbeer #longwayfromhome

A photo posted by @cphillipsfour on Dec 12, 2014 at 3:11pm PST

“Sir, you can take that beer to Washington with you, but it can’t be in your carry-on. It’s the rules, I’m sorry.”

9) Marc Methot

Has there ever been a period while Marc Methot has been an Ottawa Senator that we’ve known less about what’s going on with him? I don’t mean the mysterious on-again, off-again haunch injury no one’s prepared to speak to that has him playing one day and then out of practice for the next month. Nor do I mean the negotiating no-man’s land he and the team find themselves in as his contract year ticks down with no certainty about his health. No, I’m referring to the disappearance of the Methot we all grew to know and love these last two years, the one who took shirtless pictures with the mayor, live-tweeted his haircuts, and vigorously took on any and all Twitter chuckleheads.

Methot has entered an unusual period of social media silence while he’s been skulking around the edges of the Senators’ season, Cape Fear-style. He doesn’t tweet much, he set his Instagram to private, and whatever he’s up to, he’s keeping it to himself. He’s around, sure; he’s on the road trips, he’s skating alone after practice, and he’s even behind the bench “coaching” at the skills competition. But if that consists of bird-dogging the first few rows and offering Gryba a sip of whatever’s in his water bottle, he’s not letting on.

But would you? If you were trying to extract long-term money from a team that’s already rumoured not to love your attitude, and you had something going on, haunch-wise, that kept you from demonstrating your value on the ice, and there were further rumours about the team not loving your attitude vis-à-vis your commitment to working through whatever’s going on, haunch-wise, would that be a good environment in which to post last weekend’s pictures of you and seven other shirtless guys in the back of a stretch Hummer, empty bottles of NOS and Red Berry Cîroc littering the floor? What do you think?

So what’s to be done? Well, it’s not likely Methot will start putting the good stuff back online until he’s convinced the Senators to give him that safe-bet, long-term money, which won’t happen until he starts playing regularly again, which won’t happen until he’s healthy, which brings us back to whatever’s Methot’s got going on, haunch-wise. And when put in that context – when you consider that Methot’s mysterious haunch injury isn’t just affecting his future with the Senators, or the stability of the team’s defense, or even perhaps their status as a playoff contender this year, but also the quality of Methot’s social media branding – you realize how much is actually hanging on Methot’s haunches this year. Get well soon, buddy.

10) J-G Pageau

On the one hand, getting excited about a pallet of flavored coconut water would seem to throw into sharp relief the amenities gap between the AHL and NHL. On the other hand, is this demonstrating the kind of positive, team-first attitude that finally gets a guy called up? Sure, what the hell – see you next month!

NOT RANKED: Eugene Melnyk; wearing the same shirt everywhere; getting caught with a joint in your mouth; little dogs; big dogs; stealing other peoples’ jokes.

James Day Preview: Cruddy Area Team Takes On Somehow Worse Team.

Showin off my new ink!

Showin off my new ink!

Hey there, hi there, ho there,

How’s everyone do- – *skips formalities b/c life’s 2 $hort and I ain’t got much thyme*

K, so first off…I must address something here. Something I have coined “Connor Coke Dreams.”

Look, I’m not saying the Sens are just playing rope-a-dope and are poised to break out and suddenly be amazing but my G’s out there who are prepped to get hubristic 97s stitched onto their knockoff jerseys (IT HAPPENS) chill for minute.
A quick look at the standings shows there are currently NINE teams below Ottawa. Many by a small margin but still NINE. Les boys are coming off an extremely rough stretch of games where they played some of the league’s best teams and many of them on the road. Bad as they’ve been of late, they’ve still managed to collect 5 of  8 points in their last 4 games. Their 6 overtime losses also shows that even though they stink, they still manage to collect those Penske points that keep them in the mix in the toilet East. They’re down but I don’t know if they’re quite bottom 5 out just yet.
At times like this, you also have to show some respect the Shittiness GAWDS. You know where this is going…You think Ottawa’s got suck game? Edmonton has dropped 16 of their last 17 baby fella. Ima let that sink in. 16…of their last 17. They have almost half as many wins as Ottawa, almost twice as many losses and they play in the West where motherfuckers play for KEEPS. Context: The Sens next game is against the Devils…the Oilers get to play the Sharks IN San Jose tomorrow. God bless the dead.
Now, I’ve gotten some counter arguments about the Draft Lottery making McDavid pick a possiblity, but is that really what you want to pin your cokedreams to? The current 21st overall team hitting Draft Lottery and it’s not even the 2015 portion of the season yet? Plus draft lotteries are a form of snitching. Also, you know that shit’s rigged and Lord Bettman is going to make sure the Penguins or Blackhawks get the no. 1 pick so #staywoke!

HEYYYY Sens could definitely go in the turlet from here but that’s completely dismissing the possibility that they could play slightly better and string together a few wins and play themselves out of that top 10 between December 17th 2014 and draft day 2015.
You think I DON’T want Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel? I do, I do, 1000 times I do…but I’ma wait a few months before I start digging into the draft rankings (zzz) and I suggest you do too if you’re tempted to. It’s supposed to be a deep draft and if there’s one thing the Sens organization is good at (and it might actually only be one thing at the present moment) it’s drafting. Trust in our scouts and go easy on your soul. The Oilers have more than proven that they rule supreme at securing the no.1 draft spot. If you aim for the king, you best not miss. So until the Sens get on their dropping 16 of 17 grind, you gotta give up to the masters. Oh also, the Hurricaines are really, really, really fucking terrible as well.

Praise B 2 Jah Gabriel Pageau
A lot of Sens lineup fahntasies are coming true tonight. With the injuries to the lethargic Zack Smith and whatever Chris Neil is at this point…tonight we get to see some interesting changes to the lineup. I don’t know about you Eddy, and I don’t WISH injuries on anyone, but Zack Smith has not been himself this season and Neil I’ve just been watching for the past 25 years and just want to see him “bring grit to a contender” at this point in his career. I recognize he must have some INTENSE photos of someone on his phone and is unscratchable for it so I will take this as a great time to someone fill his fortress of a roster spot. I’m super excited for the chance to see some line up options we might not otherwise if both were healthy. Oh also, Greening is back in the pressbox, #blessed. He hasn’t been awful I guess but we already have Michalek who gets paid the big buxxx to fill the role “he hasn’t been awful I guess” thank you very much.

Coming off strong games from Stone, Chiasson and Courteous Lazar,  who btw showed that is even his Ned Flandesesque patience has its limits and he could no longer wait for Greening to score a goal before taking is turn and bagged his career first. Congrats to the Iron Toddler. Bless up.
We get to see more youth and, thankfully, speed injected into the lineup tonight with the debut of JG Pageau. After a blazing entry into the NHL, Pageau was quiet in his 28 game audition last season. I am literally first and only person who’s talked about this storyline thanks for reading. Seriously though, he’s one of my favourite prospects and I’m so pumped to get to see the little guy back, long overdue.  fldfksdfl;ksdjf

On the Real
I have been a proponent of the passing of the torch in Ottawa for more than a minute now. Seeing Turris and Ryan wearing letters has me thirsting for the futuristic year two thousand and please don’t give Neil and Phillips another contract but I’m so scared you will. Ryan especially has just been oozing leadership of late scoring opening goals, nailin’ ‘er shut (bud) in the shootout, flashing highlight reel biscuits and just generally being all over the ice; all the while playing with a busted finger. Good times, bad times, dude’s been such a gamer for the Sens and I commend the guy for it. Hope he can keep it going.

Getting’ Jiggy Unreasonable With It!
Lastly, tonight needs to be a big night for goaltending. Lehner and Anderson have been heaped with praise so far this season and rightly so. They were essentially mostly responsible for keeping Ottawa above .500 for the first couple months of the season. It was almost a situation where the more they were pelted with shots, they better they performed.
Toward the end of Paul MacLean’s tenure and so far under Dave Cam’Ron the team in front of them has managed to cut the shots down to a more reasonable amount but the wins just haven’t been there. Lights out goaltending’s got to put them over the edge if we want to see some W’s.
It almost seems unreasonable to ask more of the goaltenders but I’m an unreasonable person so let me cook. Anderson needs to go in there and straight up steal this one. We knew from game 1 it was going to have to be that kind of season and with Marc Methot now in officially in chryostasis, it remains so…more than ever. So, pretty please, with Splenda on top, steal his one, Andy.

Enjoy the game despite it starting at 7:00pm and being on the road against the Devils!