Welcome to part one this two part series that will run from today all the way to tomorrow or maybe the following day. Next up will be be the exciting conclusion “4 Things I’m Hmmmm Not So Much Looking Forward To This Season”
Contract Years for Both Cody Ceci and Patrick Wiercioch
There’s a lot of talk on the Sensphere™ about the need for Bryan Murray to get out in these streets of rage and spend some money *tumbleweed wearing sunglasses rolls by* to get a free agent to shore up the second D pairing. Some would even argue he needs to improve the top pairing. I mean, Marc Methot has been nothing but excellent on the first pairing for an extremely reasonable price since he got here but I’ma let you people cook. Anyway, I don’t disagree that if one aspect of the team needs improvement it’s the defence and the second pairing in particular. That said, it’s my opinion that the defence is the last step in the rebuild that began in the spring of 2011 (Ed Note: Please hold your Actuallys until the end of the presentation, thank you). I’m serious, I think Ceci and Wiercioch could very well have a ceiling of top 4 defenders; they just haven’t quite reached it yet is all. Buying the services of an FA can no question help your team get better faster. But for a club (and fanbase) as concerned about spending cash wisely as Ottawa’s you gotta be careful. Lest we forget how quick it was brought up how Sergei Gonchar made an unreasonable 5.5 million dollars whenever he would have a couple of bad games in a row, which was sometimes! Remember, G was a Cup winner fresh off a 50 point season when he was signed here. You gotta outbid other teams for a guy like him I.E. You gotta overpay. Sometimes you get a Nick Leddy bargain but most of the time you get a Gonchar who can never “save the team” enough or live up to the money.
With Ceci and Wiercioch, especially the former talent (can we talk about how the 21 year old Ceci basically sidestepped the need to play in the AHL?), it remains to be seen if what we’re getting but I think we should remain patient and find out. If Erik Karlsson’s current contract shows something, it’s that if you’ve get a special home grown player to re-sign, you can save a boatload of cash with that RFA negotiating power and what seems to be some kind of Loyalty Rewards Card that Bryan Murray has mad points on.
If this team keeps trending up, I want the organization to have as much walking around money left over as possible to start adding final pieces. Hey, I told you to warn me if I stopped living in the now and got too far ahead of myself…
What we have here two young, obviously talented players with a lot of potential and offensive upside. With the two of them vying to get as big a raise as they can manage while trying to solidify their spots in the line up, it should be a lot of fun to watch.
Cokedreams Conclusion: Karlsson’s last contract year was the shiiiiit. He put up 78 points (!!?) and won a Norris. A broke ass version of that from either of these dudes would be a massive boost to the team.
Dave Cameron Not Having to Win Every Fucking Game to Stay Alive:
Peace to the hardly ever losing GAWD and all but Santa Maria did this guy have a slim margin of error to work with. Follow me: There was actually LESS pressure for him to win to stay alive after the team made the playoffs than before. Brazy.
Oh, and allow me be the first person to point out that the Sens are likely going to be unable to re-create their historic run *thunderous applause* ALRIGHT ALREADY. Thank you. That hottake just came to me so I went with it. I like how the unlikelihood of repeating a near two month long win streak is constantly pointed out like it’s something anyone expects. Hey, we’re Sens fans, we’re happy with a 3 game winning streak round here thank you very much. It was fun and very special but I, for one, am excited 2 move ON.
Cameron starting the season off with a clean sheet is an intriguing story line for me. I think it’s safe to say that majority of Sens fans initially doubted the hiring of Dave Cameron ESPECIALLY when BryBry hit us with the “this is not an interim hire” right out the gate. Little did we know homeboy would finish the season with a Quenvillian 32-15-8. Winning is great and we all like Cambo (…it’s like…a play on…Rambo BACK OFF IT’S PRESEASON FOR ALL OF US) but with a new contract signed, a 0-0-0 record and a healthy line up to start the 2015-16 season, we are about to see what this guy can really do with the controls.
Thus far we’ve seen that Killa Cam preaches a fitness-first, hard skating practice style for his fast transition game and a “best players play” real talk attitude toward the line up he ices. He also has a new man running our (seemingly always shitty) power play in new assistant coach Alain Tourignafdsfdgjrkgeegoni. So that’s…new.
Many coaches replacing a guy who lost the room often experience early success so here’s hoping he can keep it up. On a optimistic note, (Don’t worry, there will be a more negative Cameron thing in the next post just to keep it 100), according to Wiccanpedia, we’ve had 26 coaches in the nation’s capital since the gawdbody Bryan Murray stepped down in after the 2007 season…and came back for a minute after firing John Paddock less than a year after stepping down…anyway what was I talking about again? COACHES, we’ve HAD ‘em. One of these fuckers has to work out eventually right? Let’s hope we’ve finally found someone solid after about 7 seasons of searching in the desert.
Mercifully, We Seem to be More or Less Out tha Dave Dziurzynski Era of Call Ups
Call it part patience with development paying off, part having far more skilled prospects in the system, but the Sens have stayed calling up higher end players for the past couple of seasons now.
At the start of last season, I remember it was the same story as this year’s “only one spot up for grabs on the roster.” By Spring we’d seen Mike Hoffman, Mark Stone, Courteous Lazar, Matt Puempel and Shane Prince make it up to the NHL level in some capacity. For what it’s worth puck moving defenseman Chris Wideman even got a call up despite not getting the chance to play in a game.
This summer I’ve come across some moaning about the team not possessing any top flight prospects—I guess you don’t produce a Calder nominee, a rookie who lead the Sens in scoring, a 21 year old defenseman who only played about 30 AHL before making the club and a World Junior gold medal winning captain without the luxury of a lotto or even top 10 pick in the last 5 years without making a few enemies.
Sure, our playoff team (btw) doesn’t seem to have the next Tyler Seguin in the system at the moment but I will take what we currently have over the not so long ago classic “The Ottawa Senators have recalled Cody Bass from Binghamton” mess any day.
The fact is that many of the Sens best prospects have graduated to the big club in the last few seasons yet the cupboards are far from bare. There are still exciting prospects fighting for spots at both forward and defense and perhaps soon enough in goal as well. Keeping that internal competition zesty is great news for this fan. It wasn’t all that long ago when the only hope for legit help from the farm was Nick Foligno. Nothing against Foligno it’s just that it was either him or praying that Denis Hamel finally figured out how to travel back in time to kill Hitler (naturally) and avoid that knee injury he suffered in 2000 that ruined his shot at the bigs. Nothin else.
Hey, by the way, I’m as unnerved as anyone when I hear Bryan Murray and co. utter the name Dave Dziurzynski as a guy who as a “real shot” at getting some games this year. I mean, lord knows Ottawa could benefit from a dude who put up 4 goals and 14 points in the AHL last year but I’m hoping it’s just lip service to the guys who’ve been riding the bus for years now.
What’s most important is that this season, there are many far more talented players ahead of him on the depth chart. Hell, even Buddy Robinson seems like a version of him with more upside. Look, I’m dumping on this poor guy. What I ultimately mean to say here is that Dave D would be the first guy who’d get called up a few years ago. Now, it would be a slap in the face to guys like Shane Prince or Matt Puempel to not prioritize them. Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a couple of games from a youngster like Nick Paul this season. Young pups have developed nicely and earned shots and ultimately our eyes will be happier for it.
Ottawa Plays Toronto 4 Times This Season Instead of the Usual 5
In the Digital Age™ of tracking trends in the sport of Ice Hockey (that’s what we call it in Canada so we don’t confuse it with the other popular hockeys) one of my LEAST favourite trends to examine is Ottawa’s record vs. Toronto (the other is our success on the Power Play).
Seriously, what in the Hesus Christo happens when these teams get together? I’m like a broken record with this but feel me. Look, sure, I hate them, we’ll just get that out of the way, but there’s more to it than that. My problem is mainly this: Toronto is a shitty division rival who Ottawa just cannot beat consistently. Consider this, 2014-15 was Ottawa’s best season series against the leafs in 5 years…they went 2-1-2. *lets it s(t)ink in* That looks at first glance like Ottawa won more games than they lost. I see it as more of a glass half empty situation. Against the 4th worst team in the entire league, a 2-1-2 record is two points blown in OT or the shootout more than it’s two loser points salvaged.
The last three seasons, the Sens combined record against the loaves (thank you, Autocorrect) is a putrid 4-6-4. C’mon B, have a little pride, don’t you realize these guys suuuck? It was a lot easier to take when we we’re getting stonewalled by Tim Thomas year after year but you’re telling we can’t light up James fucking Reimer? That guy’s barely a starter!
As admittedly petty as this comes off, this is important to me because Ottawa is a team that typically either barely claws its way into the playoffs or just misses them. You gotta hack the BONE with the weaker teams in your division. Ottawa going 3-2-0 against the Bruins last season was the kind of subtle make or break stuff that helped get them into the post-season.
I’m an optimistic fan but for whatever reason year upon year Les Boys repeatedly struggle against these turds and I’m glad there’s one less goddamn game against them. Yep, that’s where I’m at, after watching the team go nearly unbeaten for like two months I am happy to avoid the lottery team that just traded away their best player.