The Watch of Shame: Game 1

I’m just gonna steal images from the official Senators Instagram accounts for these.

As a Sens fan currently residing an ocean away from the hallowed largest parking lot in Eastern Ontario, keeping up with the Sens has been a struggle for the last year. Last season, I watched a few periods of whatever games I could, and they were always terrible because the team sucked, so it didn’t feel like I was missing much by being in bed at the hours of 1 AM to 4 AM. However, since the Senators are *takes out permanent marker and circles this word several times* ALLEGEDLY supposed to be good this year, to quote the philosopher Steven Tyler, I don’t want to miss a thing. To prove my dedication to the cause of Watching The Games, I have dropped the legally mandated 99 euros on an international NHL dot TV subscription so I can Watch The Games the morning after they air. The only problem with this otherwise perfect system is that I don’t have somewhere to write my every stupid thought about the game I’m watching. Twitter would usually function as my Mind Toilet here, but the game is over, everyone else is in bed, and the last thing I want to do is ruin everyone’s morning timeline with a 20-tweet thread of shit like “Wow Kyle Okposo really is the Sabres captain, huh? Is this how people feel when they play us?”. That’s Simmer’s job.

Which is why I’m introducing a new post format I’m calling The Watch of Shame, which is just where I’m gonna write all the stuff I would have tweeted if I’d been watching the game live. It’s like a recap, but without anything resembling structure, insight, or effort. Remember, I’m doing this for me, not you, so if it sucks or you don’t like it, no refunds. Ok, that’s enough. Let’s think some thoughts about last night’s game!

1st Period

  • Ottawa’s 3rd line of Motte-Pinto-Joseph is the most frisky-looking five minutes in. Everyone else just putting in Preseason With Extra Steps shifts.
  • Giroux tried to hit DeBrinky with cross-ice pass during an early powerplay and the Sabres sniffed it out immediately. It’s possible they ran that play too well in the pre-season.
Photo used under fair use of showing people some cool shit for educational purposes.
  • Jake Sando just made a between the legs pass under pressure in his own zone, and guess what, it was the perfect play! 10 minutes into his NHL career and he’s already showing more sauce than Cody Ceci has in his entire life.
  • Tkachuk just scored on a beautiful tee-up from Batherson. I love that people think Tkachuk can’t shoot. Keep giving him all that space, boys!
  • DeBrinky could have easily made it 2-0, but Craig Anderson came way out of the net to rush him and cut down the angle. Gotta give it up to Craig for still getting it done in the Big Show at 41. This guy is still pretty good when he’s on 127 days rest.
  • DeBrinky and Giroux can’t quite connect on a 2-on-1 pass. That’s the second time this period these guys have had a chance denied by a well-timed stick.
  • “Tyler Motte has been as advertised!” says the TSN play-by-play guy whose voice I don’t recognize. How was Tyler Motte advertised? A 3rd-line forward who doesn’t suck ass? Connor Brown without the swag? Anyway, agreed, he’s been as advertised.
  • The Sabres have really been going at Chabot when they’re coming into the zone with the puck this period, and unfortunately it pays off at the very end of the period as they draw a tripping penalty.

2nd Period

  • The best chances of the first minute of this Sabres powerplay have come from Ottawa, but Motte couldn’t score on a breakaway, and Sanderson couldn’t get a shot off on a 2-on-1 after DeBrinky’s pass was broken up AGAIN. *extremely pretending he doesn’t know the final score voice* OH I WONDER IF WE’LL REGRET NOT SCORING ON ALL THESE CHANCES.
  • Shots are 17-11 for the Sens right now, and that does seem right in terms of who has been carrying the play. I do wonder about some of the Sens’ D-zone play, though. Sens go from 0 to 5-alarm fire as soon as the structure breaks down even a little bit. Hopefully that’s something that just gets better as the season goes on.
  • Peterka scores after he and Cozens work the give-and-go against Sanderson on a 3-on-2. First time all game Sanderson’s looked out of place. Also I really need Ridly Greig to become the Brendan Gallagher we all know he can become, because I still kinda wish we’d drafted Peterka with that pick. DEUTSCHE SPIELER ÜBER ALLES.
  • Speaking of Deutsche Spieler, Andy just shut the door on a Stützle breakaway chance. Good for Craig. Again I am extremely Not Mad about this!
  • Man, Holden and Brannstrom just had a R O U G H shift and the puck ended up in the net behind Forsberg. Holden looked bad on the zone entries and Brannstrom looked rough by his own net. Tough to blame Forsberg on either of these goals against
  • At least the PK has been looking good? Don’t love that I’ve had so many two opportunities to watch it this period, though.
I’m thinking maybe this should have ended up in a goal?
  • Ok Sens clearly should have scored on the powerplay here, except Stützle fed it across to Norris at approximately Mach 7 and Norris whiffed on it. Levels of Not Mad increasing!
  • Tkachuk just whiffed on a one-timer in the exact middle of the slot on the 2-man advantage. I’ve never been so Not Mad in my life.
  • Stützle can’t convert on yet another breakaway. IS IT JUST ME OR SHOULD IT BE LIKE 5-1 FOR THE SENS RIGHT NOW?
  • Chabot going off for tripping again at the end of the 2nd. This is something to keep an eye on going forward, because the Sabres simply cannot wait to skate at Chabot and it’s paying off for them.
  • Forsberg has made some good glove saves in this PK. Really been enjoying having a goalie who uses his glove this game.

3rd Period

  • Sens starting this one on the powerplay. No good chances.
  • The boards are showing adds for Blue Moon. Does that mean that Labatt’s legendary trademark on beers with the word “Blue” in the name has finally expired? Not sure if you knew this, but in the rest of the world, Belgian Moon is called “Blue Moon” and the reason for that is because Labatt wouldn’t let any other “Blue” beer get sold. If you’re buying Blue Moon in beer stores now, let me know.
  • Other than the moments he’s looked bad, Brannstrom has actually looked pretty good, which I guess is just AKA “the experience of watching Erik Brannstrom”.
  • Tkachuk is shooting from absolutely everywhere tonight. Wonder if he made a bet with Timmy that he’ll have more goals this season.
  • Ok, when Craig Anderson is even gloving down the pucks that get tipped in front of the net, you know it’s just not your night.
  • Sens kill off their 4th penalty of the game. Can’t say the PK has been a complete vault this game, but 6.5 xG/60 from this game is definitely respectable PK defense.
  • Stützle denied by Anderson for the 3rd time in the game, this time with a wild poke check. Anderson’s got me yelling, “He’s just spinning the ball on his finger!” like Krusty watching the Washington Generals at this point.
  • Hard to believe this is still a one goal game. The Sens have failed to convert so many chances that it feels like they’re down by like 4 goals right now.
  • DeBrincat and Giroux have been pretty quiet this game from the 2nd period on, I gotta say. Giroux was in all alone against Anderson at the end of a shift with 3 minutes left and just fired it into the blocker, as if to prove my point.
  • Chabot giveaway at his own blue line with the net empty puts an exclamation point on a bit of a shaky game from him.
  • Just noticed that Victor Olafsson’s goal song is Gimme, Gimme, Gimme!. Good thing I love that song because I just got to hear it twice in 15 seconds.

The Wisdom

That wasn’t the worst Sens game I’ve ever watched. Nothing but love and respect to Craig Anderson. Let’s try scoring some goddamn goals against the Leafs on Saturday.

Here It Is, Your Moment of Salieri

TFW ur extremely Not Mad.

WTYKY Podcast: Episode 30 – Brad Allen….again!!

Yep, we’re still using this image.

Rain or shine, Brad Allen always delivers, and we’re happy to bring him one more time to you, the listener, even if we can’t bring you anything else. In this 2022 NHL Entry Draft Special a skeleton crew of Luke and Brad talk:

  • Slafkovsky vs. Wright
  • Marco Kasper
  • Lekkerimaki vs. Kemell
  • Matthew Savoie
  • Are Jake Sanderson and Ridly Grieg ready?
  • Who might be good value with the 39th overall pick?
  • And more!

Enjoy your long weekend!

WTYKY Podcast: Episode 29 – 2021 NHL Entry Draft Chat with Brad Allen


James and Luke welcome back returning champion Brad Allen to answer questions about the upcoming NHL entry draft. Questions like:

  • How are last year’s draftees going?
  • Is it completely ridiculous to take Jesper Wallstedt at 10th overall when Sebastian Cossa is right there?
  • Who has the edge between Cole Sillinger, Chaz Lucius, and Kent Johnson?
  • Who are some potential RD options at 10?
  • Who are this year’s darkhorses that could still be available in the 2nd and 3rd rounds?

WTYKY Podcast: Episode 27 – Talking Craigs: Stop Making Sens


James and Luke welcome back returning champion Brad Allen to answer questions about the upcoming NHL entry draft. Questions like:

  • How are last year’s draftees going?
  • Is it completely ridiculous to take Jesper Wallstedt at 10th overall when Sebastian Cossa is right there?
  • Who has the edge between Cole Sillinger, Chaz Lucius, and Kent Johnson?
  • Who are some potential RD options at 10?
  • Who are this year’s darkhorses that could still be available in the 2nd and 3rd rounds?

WTYKY Podcast: Episode 26 – Are the Sens TOO Sicko???


James and Luke welcome back returning champion Brad Allen to answer questions about the upcoming NHL entry draft. Questions like:

  • How are last year’s draftees going?
  • Is it completely ridiculous to take Jesper Wallstedt at 10th overall when Sebastian Cossa is right there?
  • Who has the edge between Cole Sillinger, Chaz Lucius, and Kent Johnson?
  • Who are some potential RD options at 10?
  • Who are this year’s darkhorses that could still be available in the 2nd and 3rd rounds?

Time for a Vibe Check or “Here’s why you’re mad!”

Sens Fans would literally rather read a blog post than go to therapy.

Hello, and welcome back to Hockey.

Remember Game 1 of the season? We were riding high! The Sens came into their first game in over 300 days and thoroughly dominated a heavily favoured Leafs team in the season opener. Thomas Chabot was on the ice for all five Senators goals (including scoring a beauty on the powerplay), Matthews and Thornton were on for three goals against, and I must admit: I got sucked in to the “Are the Sens TOO good?” discourse very fast. But could you blame me? Ottawa looked great against a Toronto team who are the prohibitive favourites in a Canadian Division that’s filled with more tomato cans than an Italian grocer. I declared then and there that if the Senators opened their season with two straight wins over Toronto, there was no reason they couldn’t be expected to make the playoffs. Who could stop them?

Well, in the ensuing five games, we have received the answer: the thing that could stop the Ottawa Senators is themselves. It has been a masterclass in Losing Hockey. We have seen defensive lapses, giveaways, blown leads, blowouts, bad penalties, bad skating, bad goaltending, bad coaching, which has resulted in a textbook case of Bad Team. It’s almost like most of these guys haven’t played consistently in nearly a year! Also, it’s a very short season so there’s very little time to make up ground in an ENTIRELY HYPOTHETICAL situation where you want the Senators to make the playoffs this year.

Ottawa suffering from yet another case of Bad Team was not unpredictable to anyone who had even a cursory interest in season projections. Not only that, but my colleague Varada said earlier today that the team hasn’t even been as bad as you think! Despite this, there are Sens fans and Sens adjacent individuals, and even Sens themselves, who are Mad Online at a level that hasn’t been seen in years. Players are mad, Blogs are mad, the Reddits are mad, the Twitters are mad, and the coach is mad. It’s been six games! What’s going on here? Haven’t any of you seen a bad team go on a five game losing streak before? Well, don’t worry; I’m here to explain everything. Simply lie down on my couch, and we can begin the session.

Continue reading

2020 Draft Grades

did you know that if you go on ottawa senators dot com, you can just download whatever pictures you see on there? pretty cool

Tim Stützle

Luke says: If there’s one thing I’ve realized while learning German, it’s that English tolerates differences between vowels sounds that make other languages a perceptual nightmare. English, in so many ways, is a linguistic wild west where everything’s made up and the structure doesn’t matter, but the vast variety of accents available to its native speakers play tricks with your mind in ways you don’t realize. Have you ever watched the Movie Accent Guy break down the differences between various Boston accents? It all sounds like imminent racism to me, but thank you for your service. Meanwhile, native German speakers have made fun of me for mis-hearing “gruselig” as “gröselig”. Make Google say those words to you and get back to me if you hear any difference whatsoever. Did you know Kafka wrote in German? I bring this up for no reason. The untrained monolingual anglophonic ear is simply not meant to discern such subtle differences between vowels when we interpret “n-EYE-ther” and “n-EE-ther” as legitimate pronunciations of “neither”. 

Anyway, after I texted all my German friends to tell them that Ottawa just drafted Timmy S., I received texts like this: 

Tough crowd! For the record, here’s how you say Stuetzle:

Keep practicing. You will get it one day. If you do it wrong, a German WILL appear from out of nowhere and correct you. They can’t help it.

Pick Grade: Zehn out of ten

Jake Sanderson

Luke Says: Depending on who you ask, Jake Sanderson was either the best defenseman available in this draft or scout bait with bigger bust potential than a late Roman emperor. The Sens have really nailed their player assessment colours to the mast in selecting Sanderson ahead of various offensively talented forwards like Marco Rossi, Cole Perfetti, and Alexander Holtz. No pressure on this kid who is already slated to be the human embodiment of the never-ending Scouts vs. Spreadsheets debate and will singlehandedly be responsible in answering the question “Do Dorion and co. really know what they’re doing at the draft?”, at least until the next moderately controversial draft pick comes along.

Anyway, what sort of advantages do you think you’d have in hockey if your dad was an NHL player? There’s the obvious financial and genetic leg-up you’d have over someone trying to make the show off the street, but also have you ever considered the emotional release you could get from firing up NHL06 and making Tie Domi beat up your dad in a video game because he grounded you after he caught you doing your art homework instead of practising your snap shots in the driveway? Think of all the extra hours you’d spend secretly sketching in your design notebook at the hockey camp that you got sent to over the architecture camp that you wanted to go to. Imagine all the hockey sticks you’d get for Christmas instead of a single Rotring 800 drafting pencil. If your dad was in the NHL, you couldn’t help but become a great hockey player instead of the next Zaha Hadid. You and I will never suckle of these sweet nectars.

Pick Grade: One Thousand Museum out of ten

Ridly Greig

Varada says: You know what they say: culture eats strategy for breakfast. This is at once a bit of MBA cookie-cutter wisdom and one of the foundations on which the analytics community built its Church of Latter Day Contempt for the Hockey Men who themselves act as arbiters of culture. And so there is some irony in the fact that the community of relatively young men and women who use spreadsheets to split the hairs of adolescents’ competitive arcs decided that having three picks in the first round, and one of those picks being 28th, meant that the Ottawa Senators were bound by some irresistible force or cosmic justice to take a higher risk player with a higher projected ceiling. And it was with selfsame contempt that the Grown Hockey Men of the Ottawa Senators’ emaciated front office looked upon the vast and fruitful landscape of the 2021 draft and said, “Lo, bring to me a boy man who has character and gumption.” He was delivered, faithfully: Ridly Greig is described as hard-working, a half-decent passer, and a pain in the ass. It’s true that Ottawa has roughly 50,000 players in their system that you could describe this way. So, when Dorion, iPad and super-supportive girlfriend like twin winds at his back, selected Greig to the Memorial Curtis Lazar Ring of Honor, it was unsurprising that the Blog Boys and Girls felt like the moral arc of the universe was both long and bending towards bullshit. 

Having assessed the letter grades issued by numerous hockey journalists who are legally obligated to produce said grades within 12 hours of the draft’s conclusion, only those who admit that having seven picks in the first two rounds means you physically can’t fuck up deigned to give the Senators a passing grade. Most simply cannot get over Leaving Skill on the Board. For this reason, grading the Greig pick is simultaneously fait accompli – one does not simply walk into the first round and draft grit – and entirely impossible, because the factors upon which the Ottawa Senators determined the degree to which they value Greig are those to which we have no access! We were not in the room with Greig during the interviews, we cannot absorb his potential contributions to the culture, even though culture eats strategy for breakfast. It says so, right at the top of this paragraph! Greig is the alpha and the omega, the beginning and end of any conversation about how we evaluate hockey skill. He exemplifies the failures of traditional hockey wisdom and also we don’t know what the fuck we’re talking about. Remember last year when everybody thought Josh Norris projected as a third-line center? Get out of here!

Pick grade: Ω out of ten

Roby Jarventie

Luke says: This was not the pick that I personally would have made with the 33rd overall pick (You should see the stuff I would have written about the German language if the Senators had picked John-Jason Peterka like I wanted), but I’m trying to get out of the habit of conflating “a pick I would not have made” with “a pick that is bad”. Jarventie is alleged by some to be a one-dimensional player but luckily that one dimension is scoring goals, which I guess is the scouting report equivalent of telling people that your job “pays the bills”. Roby Jarventie is exactly like a government job in Ottawa which requires an arduous commute to a hideous building in Gatineau where you work at a cubicle in a nearly windowless room for 38 hours a week and all you get in return is a mere $80,000 a year and job security. Prediction: he works out fine.

Pick Grade: Ottawa LRT Stage 2 out of ten

Tyler Kleven

Luke Says: There’s lots of things to know about Tyler Kleven; like a specialty clothing store he’s big AND tall, and he’s never met an opposing forward whose face he didn’t want to rearrange in a manner not in accordance with God’s plan. His most important characteristic to me, however, is being Jake Sanderson’s roommate. Apparently the Senators currently believe that drafting players who are already friends will unlock some sort of latent chemistry potential for the team. To assess this drafting strategy, I invite you, the reader, to imagine working your first summer job with your university roommate. In your imagination, would the presence of your peer and ostensible friend make you a more efficient worker, or make you someone who was more likely to slack off and spend your days speculating on how that summer’s season of Entourage was going to progress? I believe this pick is like Turtle losing his management deal with the rapper Saigon, but the Senators may yet metaphorically invest in Avion tequila before all is said and done.

Pick Grade: Kleven out of ten

Egor Sokolov

Luke says: Three minutes after Egor Sokolov was drafted, someone tweeted this CTV News story into my feed, and I became a Sokolover for life. Dude couldn’t get back to Russia to see his family, so he helped out in the community that became his second home. It’s a story that we simply love to see. Maybe it’s not a great sign that he had to consistently work to improve his skating just to get drafted in his 3rd year of eligibility, but your man’s got silky hands and a wicked shot, and all of these facts mean I will be transferring my unresolved Mark Stone feelings onto him instead of going to therapy.

Pick Grade: 61 out of ten

Leevi Merilainen

Luke says: Leevi Merilainen is a goalie. He plays in Finland. As far as I know, he was not on a single draft board other than Ottawa’s. I don’t believe he was on any prospect ranking list going into the draft, and I was not able to find a single scouting report on him in the public domain. I was, however, able to find his picture on elite prospects dot com.

I have no choice but to tip my hat to the Senators’ incredible display of goalie scouting hipsterism. There’s no way that the Senators needed to spend a draft pick on this guy, but they did any way just to call their shot, just so you know it’s not an accident. The Senators are a guy who corners you at a party, asks you which goalies you like, waits for you to mention Askarov, tells you Askarov was better two years ago before he went mainstream, and then says that he like some really great goalies out of Finland but you’ve probably never heard of them. Then you tell the Senators, well I’ve heard of a couple of Finnish goalies, try me, and the Senators say “Know Leevi Merilainen?” and you say “Is he that guy from Liiga-2?” and the Senators say “You mean Mestis? There’s no Liiga-2 it’s called Mestis. Also he plays for Karpat’s U20 team. I saw him live in Vaasa last year. Just me and three other guys there. It was incredible.” and then the Senators walk away and you’re like “Shit that guy did know goalies I’d never heard of. Fuck him.”

Pick Grade: [7.6] out of ten

Eric Engstrand

Eric was a pleasure to teach this year.

Pick Grade: Any of the complex zeros of the Riemann Zeta Function out of ten

Phillipe Daoust

Phillipe was a pleasure to teach this year.

Pick Grade: Sin(Spartacat) out of ten

Cole Reinhart

Cole was a pleasure to teach this year.

Pick Grade: The Fourier coefficients of the Steely Dan song “Peg” out of ten