1) This team will not be as bad as people say.
It stands to reason that every single Senator cannot possibly have a new worst season of their career simultaneously. It’s just the law of averages. Even slight rebounds from Phillips, Kuba, Gonchar, Regin and Foligno, and some decent goaltending – it doesn’t have to be spectacular, just decent – and this team is much better than last year. Not playoffs better, but also not a lottery team.
2) Jared Cowen looks like a drunken bear out there.
In a good way. He looks NHL ready, not just scoring goals but hitting people all over the ice. They need this guy to fill the gap left by pretty much every single good defenceman the team has ever had leaving, and he looks up for it. I got a kick out of seeing Karlsson wearing the ‘A’ the other night, but I think the future of Ottawa’s D is Cowen-esque.
3) Karlsson just might be the new face of the franchise.
If Cowen is the defensive leader, Karlsson will be the little engine that could (drive the offense). Too early? Probably. But a 50 point defenceman in a terrible year has me salivating over what he might be capable of in a couple of seasons. When he’s playing with, uh, Alex Semin or something.
1) The old school mentality prevails.
Zenon Konopka, Francis Lessard, Matt Carkner, Chris Neil. This team has enough sandpaper already. Too bad they can barely play hockey. It seems as if Senators brass know that this year is going to be a tough one, so let’s nut up and get ready to show people that we go down swinging. I’m not exicted to watch all of these good old boys put up a good fight but go -79 on the year.
2) I just don’t think Rundblad is ready.
Not a knock on him, he’s going to be an amazing defenceman someday. But you can count on one hand the number of Swedish players who came over and made an impact in their first NHL season. The hype is huge, but needs to be dialed down a bit. There’s going to be an adjustment period here. He’s already looked a bit lost out there. It’s Cowen playing key situations, not Rundblad.
Gonchar, Alfie, and Spezza will each miss at least 20 games. Kuba might miss as many. Anderson too. If all of those guys go down at once….eeeeeeesh. We could be watching a lot of Alex Auld this year, backstopping a team led by a 21 year old defenceman who is 80lbs soaking wet.
4) Bonus (Breaking) Bad! Chris Phillips looks like a drunken bear out there.
In a bad way.
11th in the East. Top ten pick.
1. A blank canvas. What do these guys have to lose? I say embrace your bad-news-bearness and play with an attitude that belies your experience (belies as in refuses to acknowledge the lack there of)
2. Tantalizing youth. Not to get all Nabakov (the writer, not the goalie) on ya but the rare but dizzying highlights provided by the young core of this team should at least make for some euphoric, if not frustrating times at SBP. You know there will also be that game where they incredibly pull out an OT winner in the last game of a road swing against a team they don’t know they’re supposed to lose against (see point 1 and notice I didn’t provide the option to pluralize game).
3. The all-star game. Really looking forward to attending the draft (drunker than Conrad in a Winnipeg airport) of all star players. Who will be on Team Regin? Team Foligno?.. oh, uh…
1. No depth, zero, zilch, none. Sorry but this team lacks the reliability. It’s one thing to have bodies filling jerseys but there are so many guys in need of bounceback years (only 3 guys actually need a bounceback year, the proven contributers). Forget the notion of asking if they can improve or recover, lets ackowledge that maybe Peter Regin and Jesse Winchester and Nick Foligno have hit their ceilings? In my opinion there are more stories of guys coming from nowhere than there are stories of guys bouncing back (minus injuries or change of scenery) I’m not sold on the penultimate generation’s maturation process.
2. The last days of Chez Alfie. I don’t know if I’ll be able to stomach watching Alfie’s decline. God forbid but father time makes 3rd liner’s of us all. Barring injuries Alfie needs a decent year of production to protect my golden-hued warm fuzzies of his career (including the cross-checking of Gary Roberts, which is one of Carvaggio’s finest works if you ask me). Like the Carpenters once sang, “I need to be in love”.
3.The scenario where the leafs finally make the playoffs and the Sens don’t. We dodged a real bullet last year.
1. I can’t think of 5-10 teams that will be worse than Ottawa, gulp, maybe 4? Winnipeg, Colorado? Help me out here.
2. Ottawa fans will apathetically forget to stuff the ballot box for the all star game leading to a very awkward selection process
3. Zenon Konopka will see 2nd unit PP time as the faceoff winning net presence
1.Nikita Filatov will be this year’s Bobby the Butler Beefcake and then some. Will he have a minus rating? Probably. Will he be an “in his prime Guy Charbonneau” back checker? Probably (definitely) not. Is he going to electrify us AND drive us nuts. YES. Good lord yes. I urge us all to manage our expectations and get over it a little. Like the sands of the hour glass, these are the complaints of our fans. I mean, look, as a wee lad going to my first NHL games in the 1950’s, my grandpapaw (who turns 171 today! Happy Earthday Papaw!) taught me the importance of playing a responsible 3 way game and washing all of our hands before using the toilet. Not all players do this (wash their hands). For example, Erik Karlsson doesn’t really do it (play two ways on some Lidstrom shit) but he excels in other areas such as SCORING GAME WINNING GOALS or getting over 20 points on the power play. So, there’s a bit of trade off. I think Filatov will be similar. Oh, he may well be that player who nets those 20 goals that the fan base has (rightly) been griping for a while now but will likely leave the back checking to the Z. Smiths of the world. And people will kind of lovehate him for it.
Side note: I must say the chances of Filatov being injured are quite high. I am not at all against the crew of policemen that the Sens have put on the payroll to protect our developing little wood nymphs from the knee on knees and high hits courtesy of the Matt “Garbage Monster” Cooke’s of the world. Do I hate staged fighting? Yes. Do I like the idea of a guy like Dan Carcillo being at least a liiiiiiiiittle bit hesitant to cross check Alfie in the lower back? Absolutely. Get well soon already Nikita Filatov (gulp!).
2. Lack of depth and injury will prove to be a blessing in disguise. IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIt’s rebuild year there’s not a ton on the line and as such we must find new silver or even pewter linings on the season . Is Varada right about injuries? Yes, though my picks are slightly different. When some of these old mans go down with Rubella or Shingles in will come the inexperienced youth program. This will mean seeing stuff like Stephane Da Costa playing 2nd line centre FOR A WHILE or Mark Boroweikileaks getting top four time. How is this good? I never said it would be good I said it will be goodish. This mess will be usefull in weeding out who in the bullpen is the real deal going forward. Log jam at defense? Not so much when Sergei Gonchar or Chris Phillips go down with liver spot infections in November and we start taking from Bingo’s cupboard.
Will the Rundblads, Hoffmans and Lehners of our scrappy little world be able to keep up with the Ovechki (plural?), Charas and Pinkett-Smiths of the league? Well, at times it will be very ugly but I’m sorry Sens fans (we’re still fans at this point right?) A COUPLE of guys are going to work out. Last year Jason York made an interesting point on full time local advertisement stream / part time sports station TEAM 1200 about how we probably wouldn’t be so hard on Brian Lee if he was given the same power play time as Karlsson but since he doesn’t he’s left to redefine his game on the fly whilst dodging garbage thrown by those in pre-purchased Marc Staal/Anze Kopitar Sens footie pajamas. What am I on about? Remember what bottom six Bobby Butler looked like compared to top six Bobby Butler? I felt it was a little more of an honest look at the type of game he is supposed to play. We shall see a trial by fire what some of the new guys REALLY look like. Not just random one off call ups. Leave that for Corey Locke. Juuuuust kidding he wont be called up…man that’s gotta be irritating for him.
3. Erik Karlsson will make the All Star team again! Barring injury, The Sultan of Swede (sorry) will enjoy an outstanding season. Thinking about ice size less and ass kickery more will do worlds of good for our special little guy. This will bode especially well with what the French call “advantage numerique*”. Why? I don’t know, I just think making outlet passes to a group of guys trying to solidify a future in the league will pay more dividends than they did to Alexei “Toying with the idea of starting his own line of designer sunglasses instead of thinking about the game he’s in the middle of” Kovalev and – all due respect – Mike “RIPS A SHOT JUST WIIIIIIIIIIIIDE” Fisher. Karlsson’s future looks bright here “seriously considering getting a jersey of his” bright.
1.Heyyyy I get the advantage(?) of already having seen him go down once IN THE FIRST PRESEASON GAME but Milan Michalek will miss the majority of the season. He will be on the business end of some season/(NHL career?) ending injury early on and will sadly become a write off for the season. Pewter lining: He will take the Heatley curse / tease of his 20-30 goal potential with him. We’ll miss you Robot Knees. OH! And before I forget, I hope Heatley (who has ALREADY been traded to the Wild, B.T.M.Fing.W.!!!!) has a down year (he probably wont). Anyway, this is basically a specific way of saying some of the vets who had terrible years last year will bounce back, some will not.
2. Something mega embarrassing is going to happen this year during the All Star game festivities. As we all know, the most irritating thing about ENJOYING YOUR HOME TOWN’S NHL TEAM is that the majority of Francophone Ottawans risk disownment and dismemberment by family members by not cheering the habs and a lot of Anglophone people who’s dad liked the leafs feel compelled to like the leafs (imagine? blech). Anyway, these merry oops…miserable pranksters will likely do something like stuff the ballot box with the likes of former superstar Dionne “cool haircut bro!” Phenerf, Garbage Pail Kid turned NHL forward Phil Kessel or legit 1st line centre Scott Gomez. That or do something like boo any Sens that make the team. Well, if that happens…all’s stupid in love and maturity. We shall do our best to combat it. Anyway, I really just wanted to make fun of those players a bit. What is more likely is that the Sens promotional team will do a fine enough job helping our heads into our hands on some previous 3rd jersey level goof up. Already feeling great about that loud squad or whatever, I can just see it now, Loud Squad: “HEY BRO, WHY SO GLUM!?!” Me: “uhh…I’m just reading my program and waiting for the toilet here” Loud Squad: “AWWE C’MON BRAH WE COULD BE DANCING RIGHT NOW!!!!”
Anyway, BRING BACK NAKED GLADIATOR WHO REMEMBERS MOST OF HIS LINES! And that whole letting the fans pick the goal song? Ugh. What a disaster in the works that is. As fast as I change the station if “Song 2” by Blur comes on the radio I definitely enjoyed that it was one of the few traditions that our 20 year young team had going for it. OH WELL…now we can have a nicklebaque song about how many beers their dinks can drink. Man I love being a turtle.
3. People will lose patience with Paul MacLean. What I don’t mean here is that P Mac will do a bad job. No, what I mean is it is too much to ask to take a motley group of Xmas elves and band them together against the forces of …teams with their shit more established and quickly gel and look coherent a lot of the time. I think there will be some marked improvement in a couple of areas but those wacky line combos, occasional too many men penalties and numerous shootout losses wont completely disappear. May the power of consistent goaltending and secondary/any scoring protect you as you walk through the valley of the shadow of public discontent, oh Benevolent Mustachioed Leader.
Huh, what does that say? TALK TO THE AUDIENCE? ….about…PREDICTIONS?! …ohhhh this is always death.
10. Craig Anderson finishes season with more wins than Brian Elliot…oh a real one? I don’t know…Erik Karlsson enjoys career year in points.
9. Cowen makes the big club. Zibanejad starts paper route (kid is EIGHTEEN)
8. Filip Kuba and Sergei Gonchar BOTH finish the season with the Senators (unless of course the cap floor doesn’t exist this season)
7. Filatov to finish in the team’s top three in goals (not points but goals).
6. Sens finish ahead of the Buffalo Sabres. (Sorry, I just think they are the new Rangers…great goaltender and a bunch of money plugging holes in the lineup)
5. Chris Phillips to stink up joint again. The guy’s confidence just looks…gone.
4. Scotia Bank Beers to remain expensive but delicious.
3. New scoreboard will NOT be installed by the all star game if AT ALL this season
2. Good will prevail and that Black Keys song I haven’t heard (I only listen to wax cylinders) will be the new goal song.
1. Buttafuoco, Buttafuoco, Buttafuocoooooooooooooooooo *glass smashing sound effect* we’ll be right back! Stick around Christian Slater is here!
*To all those up in arms about the French shoulder patch on the new 3rd jersey…do you know what you guys sound like? Chill, god. Seriously, like, fucking relax a little.