Friday, November 5, 2010

What Does a Healthy Senators Team Look Like?

Let me first dust off the cobwebs in here. Its been a while, but its tough to write blogs in midterm season (even though its a tempting distraction), and the fact that the Senators didn't get off to the smoothest of starts made it tough to sit down and type something, because Sens fans provide enough negativity.

With that out of the way, let's conceptualize what a healthy Ottawa Senators team looks like.

Now, I understand injuries happen, and heading into the season, they were a big concern for Sens fans. Sure, this team has some talent, but as is beaten to death, that talent is either aging (Gonchar, Alfie, Kovalev, Phillips) or injury prone (Spezza, Michalek, Fisher, Kuba, Leclaire).

Looking closely at these names, you'll see they arent just names. They constitute 5/6 of our top six forwards and 3/4 of our top 4 defencemen, not to mention our "starting" goaltender.

That's nothing to sneeze at (and please, don't sneeze at Pascal, he's delicate). Due to these injuries, the Sens have had trouble finding chemistry and consistency (its no coincidence that our fans "favourite line", the Kelly line, has been together, without injury for most of the last year).

Now, on paper, a healthy Sens team should compete in the East, and finish in the 4-6 spot, or so I believe, but thats not what I want to debate. I just want to excite you with that paper line up. So here is how I see it shaking down when the gentlemen nursing injuries come back.


1) Regin--Spezza--Kovy

People have been calling for the Regin-Spezza combination all year, and in the last few games, Regin has started putting up points, which is positive for this team going forward. Kovy always plays better with Regin and has played quite well of late. Spezza is a player who is supposed to elevate those around him, if he can this line becomes crucial to this teams success, because it allows a second line of...

2) Michalek--Fisher--Alfie

While Spezza was out, this was our top line, and they played like it. They put up strong numbers, and I think Michaleks game is more suited to Fisher than to Spezza. (Oakes always says Michalek is the only 25 goal scorer in the league that can't take or make a pass). While the first line is all creativity, this line generates chances off the cycle, and through hard work. It is also a good line defensively. But this line produced against the top defensive assignment before, think of what they can do against second tier defence. Salivate. Repeat.

3) Ruutu--Kelly--Neil

The chemistry here is undeniable. They play well together, simple as that. This line brings consistency, hard work, physical play, zone time and occasionally some offence. They are the best third-and-a-half line in the NHL.

4) Foligno-Winchester-Shannon

Now, in the summer I advocated for Zach Smith, and in the preseason, this looked justified. He just hasn't played his game this year, and thats a shame. I'm hoping this line invokes shades of the famous Foligno-Fisher-Shannon line that got Cory Clouston a job. Winchester doesnt have the offensive skill-set of Fisher, but is a hard worker, north-south type of player. The FFS line were the masters of the cycle and generated off of it. If this line can do the same, this team can be a true 4 line team, which will hopefully minimize the injuries up front.


1) Phillips-Gonchar

I've loved Gonchar's game and Phillips has struggled, but these veterans know how to play, and they are our best. Keep them together and let Chris develop some chemistry. Gonchar played best in Pittsburgh with Brooks Orpik (in my mind a similar player to our Big Rig) so, here's hoping Phillips can learn to play with the offensive juggernaught (always wanted to use that word)

2) Karlsson-Kuba

Oh sweet Jesus I never thought I'd be so happy to see Kuba back. He is bashed for a lot of things, but he will help stabilize the defense, and hopefully will have a similar effect on Karlsson as Mr. Hale has. Speaking of King K, he is starting to round into form and I'm not worried about him one bit. Period

3) Carkner-Campoli

Really pleased with Campoli this season, and a fine point was made by a commenter on another blog. What if he was playing with someone other than Carkner and on the first unit PP? We would all be talking about him. As is, he is rounding into a fine defenceman. As for Carks, hopefully we'll see the steady Carks we saw last year when he is back playing more comfortable 3rd line minutes.


At this point its a crapshoot. Before Pascal went down he was a lone brightspot and Ells was awful. In the last few games, Ells is winning, and it seems, once again, that Pascal has lost the starting job due to injuries. As long as we aren't losing games because of our goaltending, I don't care who plays here anymore.

So, what do you think? Does this line up presented before you make you a little more excited? Or will you believe it when you see it?

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Captain #11, Daniel Alfredsson

There are no words that I can write to adequately honour this man. We are all blessed to have him leading our team. Congratulations sir.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

In Pascal, We Trust

Or at least some of us do.

As I'm sure many of you already have read, two (somewhat) contradictory things have come from Cory Clouston in the last two days regarding Pascal Leclaire;

1) To paraphrase, he was disappointed that Pascal didn't save what he viewed as a weak shot by Alex Ovechkin, that Ovie didn't get much behind the shot, and that it needed to be saved.

2) That Pascal will start his 4th straight game tonight against the Carolina Hurricanes.

Now, I love CiCi just as much as the next Sens fan (though he is starting to take some serious flack, over at The 6th Sens and SenSay) but I don't agree with one of those decisions.

And for me, it was throwing Pascal under the bus. I was at the opener against Buffalo (with Oakes) and we were sitting front row. The Sens did not play well (not as bad as they did against the Leafs, but not well). Pascal was shaky to start the game, but played very well as it went on. Watching the Caps game the other night, he again played very well, and for once, the consensus around this team is that he has been our best player.

So why throw him under the bus? He already felt terrible about the goal, and there are many other guys to blame for the game (Brian Lee wandering into Campoli's corner and leaving Semin WIDE OPEN?), so why do it?

I think it was heat of the moment. I think Cory thought we were thirty seconds away from a shootout where anything can happen and it was snatched away. That is why he deserves a round of applause for putting Pascal in tonight, and recognizing the importance of him getting into a groove.

The Sens have a chance tonight to get their first win, and Pascal has earned the right to be the goalie to get that first win.

Right now, I believe in Pascal.

Do you?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Ridiculous Excited

Now that the first round of cuts has been made by the Sens (which you can find here, if you haven't yet), things are starting to get a little more serious, and therefore a little more exciting.

With some of the guns in the line-up, we lit up the Habs, so with a roster that is by my estimation 75% of our starting line-up, I'm really excited to see how we play the Leafers tonight.

The game last night in Dundas was a cute idea, but I personally am glad we sent a Micky Mouse lineup. The ice surface was just too small, no room to move, and we just didnt need to risk having some of our top guys getting hurt in a game like that.

Now for tonight's game, the lineup, according to the Sens Twitter feed, looks like this




So what about this excites me? Well aside from this being the first game where we will see all of our top 6 in the same game, there are a few things that make me salivate a little bit.


This should excite every one of you. This is most likely our top d-pairing in the coming years. Cowen, if he plays his game, should provide a physical presence in front of the net, while Karlsson can move the puck with the best of them. What I like about this pairing is they cover off each other's weaknesses. Karlsson obviously isn't very physical, and most complaints about Cowen so far have been about his decisions with the puck. Also, in Spokane, Cowen played with a smaller, more offensive player.


In a dream world for me, this is my third line to start the season. I know I will be crucified, but I think Kelly's line could split equal time with this line depending on what the game calls for. If the Sens need an infusion of offence, a line like this is MUCH more likely to produce it when compared to Kelly's line or a line of Winchester-Smith-Regin/Foligno. Hopefully this line has an unreal game tonight giving Clouston something to think about.


We are playing the Leafs, so chances are, one or two penalties will be taken. When that happens, I'm excited to see the powerplay on a few levels. Every forward expected to see PP time this year is in the lineup tonight, in addition to QBs Karlsson and Gonchar. With Campoli and Weircoch (how unreal was that shot last night btw?) on the second unit, we could see a preview of how the Sens will win games this year tonight.


Leclaire for 60 minutes with a pretty decent lineup in front of him. Hopefully he can play better than Elliott did against these same Leafs last week.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Some Point Form Thoughts on the First Two Preseason Games

Now that the Sens (or the team we put on the ice and called the Sens) have played a couple games, both of which we have been able to watch on TV (seriously, preseason games on tv?! SO sweet), its time for what I have noticed!


--All eyes have been on the rookies; J-Cow, Wick, Butler, Weircoch, Hoffman and Lehner, and they have each performed to a different level.

--Wick seems a little tentative out there, and doesn't seem to be getting a ton of minutes. He did, however look quite good at the end of the last game on the powerplay with Regin, Karlsson et al.

--Butler seems like he needs a year in the AHL to polish off his game, but he looks like he has a real solid future for the Sens. He is not afraid to fire the puck, and hopefully some of those will go in soon.

--Lehner is making it exceptionally hard to NOT overhype him. In a market starving for a saviour between the pipes, he is making us drool.

--Jared Cowen looked average in the first game, but in the second game I thought was one of the Sens' best defenceman. Positionally he is excellent, he uses his size to win battles, blocks shots, and generally looks good, especially on a pairing with Karlsson. Only thing he needs to work on is making quicker decisions, and unfortunately, he can't learn that in the WHL.

--Weircoch looks dangerous on the powerplay. With him running the powerplay in Bingo this year, they should see some success.

--Hoffman looks a little overwhelmed out there, which is odd considering how well he played in the rookie tournament. He is a project (which isn't a slight against him, being a 5th rounder) and given time in the minors he may be a scorer for us some day, just not today.


--Simply put, Brian Elliott should NOT have let in the second or third goals last night, that essentially put the game away. Here's hoping he is just rusty, because that was bad.

--Chris Kelly looked excellent on Tuesday, as did Chris Neil. If they can pick up where they left off at the end of last year, that's excellent news for the Sens.

--Nick Foligno looks like a man possessed. Everyone has Peter Regin pencilled into the top 6, but Nicky is going to give him a run for his money.

--Zach Smith is a monster out there. He is totally confident and is playing very well. He is, in my mind, an absolute lock for the big club.

--Ryan Shannon (who took a BRUTAL elbow) doesn't look be to impressing me. He is really leaving the door open for Smith, Butler and Wick.

--Winchester looks much better than he has in previous years, but is in my opinion working from a more limited skill set than a guy like Zach Smith.

--Brian Lee sucks. Period. He doesn't do anything particularly well, loses battles, gives the puck away, its bad. I was hoping to see him step up and grab Kuba's spot, but God help us if it has to be him to fill it now.

--Guys like Hale and Benoit have played well and should really help an improved Bingo team this year.

--Karlsson is the man. He is so smooth and confident. I didn't like that he got beat to the outside by Kessel and Kulemin, but it was his first game, and those boys can flat out fly.

I think that's about all of my thoughts so far. Looking ahead, I'm excited to see some of the big boys play, and interested in seeing Gryba compared to Cowen, because to me, that's the battle for Kuba's spot right now.

What have you noticed? Who has impressed you?

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Bobby Mac, You've Earned My Respect

I cannot imagine that there is anyone who reads this blog that does NOT read or other places that this has been posted, but if you have not yet read this, please, do it.

Its a long read, but it is incredibly touching and well written, and for somebody that I felt seemed snobby when he was here for the Stanley Cup Finals, I have sure changed my opinion of him slightly.

So here is the link, Bob MacKenzie on Pat Burns.


More Sens tomorrow.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Remember That Hockey Thing? It's Right Around the Corner

That's right, the newest version of the Ottawa Senators will open their pre-season on the 21 of September against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

That's only five days away.

This has me, well, decidedly more excited than just about anything else in the world right now. For serious.

Pre-season is a fun time of year for me, because historically I've been someone who gets really excited about young players, and I like that they get mixed into the games along side veterans and give us a taste of what it will be like when they finally make it to the show.

Now for every Erik Karlsson, who had his highlight reel assist, banked off the boards from two zones away against the Bruins last year (which I couldn't find on youtube), there is a Brandon Bochenski. But at the end of the day, after watching the final game of the rookie tournament, I'm interested in seeing how those kids do on a line with Jason Spezza, or in a pairing with Chris Phillips.

The obvious ones that we will all be watching of course are Butler, Wick, Hoffman, Gryba, Weircoch and Cowen. But even a kid like Jakob Culek intrigues me, and I'd love to see how far off he is from being a professional, or if he will end up a professional at all.

Because the fact is, this is a league that has been taken over by young players. Every year the top 4 or 5 scorers are not over thirty, and many of them are closer to 25. This has become a league where one year you are playing major junior, and the next you are counted on to be a top contributor on a professional NHL team (like Tavares and Duchene of last year).

So watching how these young players fit in with the existing group of veterans and existing systems at the NHL level, even in pre-season is both interesting and important.

Me? I'm intrigued most by Roman Wick, so that's who I will be watching closest.

Who do you have your eye on in training camp?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

So Rookie Camps Are Fun, but Are There Any Spots?

As of this writing, the Ottawa Rookie Senators are currently winning 7-3 in the third period to Chicago's rookies. Yesterday, the Rookie Sens lost to Pittsburgh 5-3.

One very bright spot in the loss to Pittsburgh was the play of Bobby Butler, who picked up two goals and was all over the ice, having excellent chemistry with Mike Hoffman.


Bobby Butler, the Hobby Baker finalist and top NCAA player from last season is a player the management are very high on, and who looked quite promising in two games last year. Bryan Murray describes him as a very smart player who is "a goal scorer". We know he can put the puck in the net at the collegiate level with 29 goals in his last year, and appears to be able to put the puck in against his prospect-peers.

So the question is simple, can he do the same at the NHL level? Oakes did a sweet piece back when the Sens first signed him that can be found here, that talks about what we might be able to expect.


Another, exceedingly intriguing prospect is Roman Wick. A similar type of player to Butler in that he is an offensive winger (an area where the Sens are not so deep), Wick is a prospect from the past. He was brought back into the consciousness of the fanbase while playing for the Swiss at the Olympics. He is big, strong and could look good on a line with someone like Milan Michalek.

The question with him is, can he bring the success from the Swiss League, playing for the Kloten Flyers, to North America? And if he cannot right away, how long is he willing to stay here improving in the AHL?

Now I would say these are the two most NHL-ready forward prospects the Sens have (assuming, as I do, that Zach Smith is a lock for the 4th line, and is therefore not a prospect), and they are exciting because they offer at the chance for some offence. But is there even a roster spot for either of these gentlemen?

Well let's look at the roster. Under one-way forward contracts, the Sens currently have

Spezza, Kovalev, Alfie, Fisher, Michalek, Regin, Kelly, Ruutu, Neil, Winchester, Shannon, Foligno.

That's twelve, and technically, that's all you need. But if you remember, I said I believe Z. Smith is our fourth line centre, so now we are at 13, which is the number most teams carry. So let's look at line combos with these thirteen.


This is, in all likelihood, the most safe bet as to how the lines will start this season. I'm not Winchesters biggest fan, I think Z.Smith does everything Winchester does, only better and with more intensity. I'm also not a huge Shannon fan.

So in reality, in Training Camp, Wick or Butler only has to outplay Ryan Shannon for a roster spot.

Now there are pros and cons to this. Would Butler and Wick benefit from 4th line duty? Or is it better to give them more minutes at the AHL level and use them for injury call-ups (remembering that Locke and Keller will also be in line for call-ups)? In addition both players need new contracts after this year, and you want to keep them happy and around for the not-so-distant future when Kovalev and Alfie retire leaving huge holes in the top six for wingers.

So how do you handle these two young players?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Remember Us? Well Like Our Team, We've Got Something To Say

Remember us?

We're a little blog that started up in March of last year. Followed the team down the stretch and into the playoffs and like the Sens, after a little break for the summer, we are back and ridiculously pumped to see how this year's version of the Ottawa Senators tackles the NHL from Pre-Season until Post-Season.

I say UNTIL Post-Season because I am sure (like Dion Phaneuf about his Leafs, but better looking and probably smarter) that this year's team is as good if not significantly more dangerous than last season's version.

THN says 10th in the East. Tenth. From a leading hockey publication. Pre-season NHL power rankings over at TSN aren't complete but I'll put money that the Sens barely crack the top 20 in their esteemed opinion.

And yet there is optimism among Sens fans. Look over at SensChirp and he says second in the East. Yost? He thinks the Sens need Thomas Vokoun to do it, but predicts a second round appearance. Canucnik goes as far as to call the Sens the BEST TEAM IN THE EAST. "Bar none".

So how could there be such a divide between the "experts" and the true fans in the blogs and message boards? Homerism and Kool-Aid gone wild?


Or maybe because the Sens don't have the sexiest, most exciting team in the league, so most people don't bother to look twice at the talent assembled here.

We don't have a Crosby or Ovechkin. Hell we don't even have a Kovalchuk, Luongo, pair of Twins or a Stamkos.

We don't have highly touted young stars like Doughty, Toews, Kane, Duchene or Ryan.

We don't have a fancy exciting starting goalie like King Lundqvist, Miller or Halak.

But does this mean we aren't a talented team?

The exact opposite actually.

We instead have a 26 year old true point per game centre, the longest serving captain in the league (who is 3rd in points since the millennium), the 2008 NHL shutout leader, the leader in rookie scoring for the first round of the playoffs, and the 2nd highest scoring defenceman since the lock-out.

Not to mention the supporting cast.

Kovalev? One of the most skilled players around, his SKILL cannot be argued.

Regin? Couldn't be contained in the playoffs.

Michalek? Couldnt be contained at the beginning of the year before losing his centreman and his knee.

Fisher? A serious consideration for the Men's Olympic team playing with Kovy last year.

KellRuutNeil? A third line that gave the Penguins absolute fits.

The Big Rig? The better, more steady half of Philchenkov. How do you think Volchy was able to go out of position to block all those shots and make those hits?

Get the point yet?

Look, I'm not saying we have the best team in the East. I'm not even saying we will finish second. My honest opinion is 3rd or 4th. I think Gonchar frees up room for Kovy and Spezza on the PP, I think Leclaire has a career year knowing that if he doesn't his career is over and I think that Karlsson produces at the pace he did at the end of last year.

Or we could end up with injuries. But I think healthy, this is a fantastic, VERY dangerous team, and I'm actually starting to enjoy that everyone else doesn't notice.

It'll feel better when we rub it in their faces later. The high octane Sens are back, and we're back. Now let's get some hockey discussion going on here, and let's get this season started.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Here's the Deal on that Shocking Deal

I will start by saying one thing.

As much as we bleed red, black and gold and love our team, none of us has been in the NHL in SOME capacity for the better part of 3 decades.

Bryan Murray has.

The fact is, in a league with such short attention spans, and such changeover in management and coaching personnel, that is quite a feat. This leads me to believe he knows more about running an NHL team than I, or any person who frequents blogs and/or writes blogs does.

So let's look at this.

From his comments, The Bryan probably wanted Jaden Schwartz. The young talented USHL'er went much higher in the draft than many thought that he would go, but is the young forward that the Sens could very well have been targeting. Ironically the Blues picked him at the 14th spot, so Murray was Shit-Outta-Luck.

Now, with the prospects Murray has picked (trading up to get Karlsson when he was relatively unknown, getting Lehner and Weircoch second round, getting Hoffman 5th round) I tend to trust him and his scouting staff.

It is possible he saw Emmerson Etem and Austin Watson as nothing more than future third line NHL'ers, and while I love the Senators from the bottom of my heart, the Senators have more "bottom six" players than any team in the league, so picking another does not make sense.

It is also true that he was wary of taking Russians after the Sens have been royally screwed by Russian prospects in our recent history (Zubov, Kaigorodov, Nikulin etc, etc)

So he gets a call from the Blues. They have Pietrangelo, and a need for forwards. They already have a good, safe pick in Schwartz, but they are feeling risky and want to use another first round choice on Tarasenko (easily the best player still available, but one Murray is afraid of). So what does Murray do? He gets another FANTASTIC Swedish defenceman (and you know how much we liked the first one) who is one year farther in his development, has size and would have gone before the likes of Dylan McILRATH and Derek Forbert.

So what is everyone up in arms about?

I believe in Bryan Murray, and I believe that in a few years I will be looking at a top four D of:

Cowen (6'6) - Karlsson (5'11)
Weircoch (6'5) - Runblad (6'2)

That has great mobility, great offence from the back end and good size. I also believe that this means
Bryan thinks that Butler, Wick, Hoffman and Petersson are good offensive prospects or that
he has his eye on somebody later in the draft that nobody else has seen.

Either way, we look strong on D and in nets (Lehner) for the foreseeable future. With Jason Spezza,
Milan Michalek and Mike Fisher leading the next group of Sens forwards, I for one, am excited.

Aren't you?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Drafty Time-Emerson Etem

Well after weeks of mourning the loss of the Senators Season, I, like many of my blogosphere brethren, have come out of hibernation to start talking about the most exciting day in hockey (for me at least).

The Draft.

Now I say its the most exciting day in hockey because the playoffs are not just a day, they are months long, deadline day is always kind of disappointing, as is July 1st.

For me the draft is the most exciting because I love young players. I think they are exciting, I think they provide hope. Not to mention plenty of deals go down at draft day itself.

Thanks to the ridiculous run of the Jaro Halak's (might as well call them that), the Senators will in fact be picking 16th overall and the consensus is they will be looking for a forward.

Now, we could pretend that all GM's are idiots and that Nino Niederreiter or Mikael Granlund will still be around 6-8 spots AFTER they are projected to go, or we can start looking at some real possibilities. One that intrigues me is Emerson Etem.

Emerson is a 6'0 190lbs natural centre that can play the wing. He was born in SoCal, but played junior hockey in Medicine Hat. The Hockey News has him projected to go 17th overall.

According to their draft preview, Emerson has all world speed, and has offensive tools, he just needs to refine them. However, he DID score 37 goals as a rookie in the WHL this year. The hockey news says that he will translate into a good two-way forward in the future, but I think he has the capability to be a good offensive prospect for the Senators.

The Senators website has an excellent article you can find here that talks about him, and I will leave you with the Top Ten Goals scored by the medicine hat tigers this year, and keep an eye out for Etem in a few of them.

So, what do you think? Is he a good fit? I will be looking at other players, but he has caught my eye first.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Off Season Planning: If I was The Bryan!

Like I said, I submitted my thoughts on what ideally the Sens should do this offseason to The 6th Sens, and if you didnt get a chance to read it, DO it! Its awesome. For the few of you who do not get here by way of that beautiful site, this is what I had to say!

Here's how I see the summer unfolding for the sens. As a preface, Im not trading Spezza (the idea is ludicrous, you'd never get full value for him, and Ottawa won't support a bottom feeder for 5 years a la Pittsburgh/Chicago) and I'm not signing Volchenkov. I've made my opinions clear on his contract before, and I cannot bear the thought of him turning into the next Jay McKee.

So this is what I'd do:

1) Let Volchy walk, and go out and sign another, defensive minded defenceman who blocks shots but has slightly more offensive upside than Anton. The only person who comes to mind from this years crop is Zbynek Michalek. At 28 he is the same age as Anton and his career high in goals is nine, not 4. The other nice thing about Little Z as they call him is that he made 1.25 this year. I say sign him to 4 years, 3 mil per and move on with two Michaleks on the team. (NOTE: also would be open to signing Dennis Seidenberg, who is strong at both ends of the ice, but I feel he may be a touch more expensive)

2) Let Cheech play in the minors. The Euge has shown he is willing to do this in the past, and there is no sense having him count against the cap for two more seasons when he can be off the payroll after this year. Remember buyouts count against the cap for twice the remainder of the contract, and that hinders further moves.

3) Offer Matt Cullen what he made this year (2.8) for another 2 years. At his age, that's not bad, and the worst that can happen is he says no.

4) Sign Peter Regin, Nick Foligno and Chris Campoli. I KNOW. But Chris played a good playoffs and at this point he gets a tiny raise (to 0.7 mil) from us, or probably doesn't get a contract. Fact is, he is better than Brian Lee. Period. (Note: Peter Regin 3 year 1.4 mil, foligno 3 year 1.2 mil)

5) Pile all of our awesome Murray draft picks that are playing all over the place in one place: BINGO. Let them learn to play together and for them all to develop together. Give Cowen and Weircoch top minutes in all situations and let Mike Hoffman and Peterson et al play to their hearts content down there. Don't forget Lehner as the starter.

This leaves us with a similar but not same lineup as we finished with, but with some great prospects on the way. I'd like to see a forward selected first round who can also make the jump to the "A" but thats wishful thinking...


  • 1) Regin-Spezza-Alfie (why tinker with it, and check out the depth it gives)
  • 2A) Foligno-Fisher-Kovalev (or shannon til Kovy is healthy)
  • 2B) Michalek-Cullen-Butler
  • 4) Ruutu-Kelly-Neil
  • Phillips-Karlsson (the kid is the future, give him big minutes and let the big rig guide him)
  • Kuba-Michalek
  • Carkner-Campoli

The goalies are the same.

Cap is about 200k below cap. Beauty right? this summer isn't going to be one of huge changes, that's next year when all sorts of contracts come off the book. I love this forward line-up, its really deep and dynamic.

So there you have it! What would you do if you were The Bryan?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Off Season Time; If We Were the GM's

Sorry about not doing the other two parts to my season post mortem. The wound was too fresh, and less people were popping by now that the season was done. Fact is, I think the season was a success. I showed the experience reason.

The other two are quite simple. Beginning of the year, not much was expected of the team, with the loss of Heatley and coming off a poor year. And yet they made it to the 5th seed and gave the defending champs (who have a clear road to another final) all they could handle. SO based on preseason expectations, the team had a successful season, and as long as they keep moving on up, I'll continue to feel that way.

The last way is also simple. Character. With the types of injuries the team was faced with this season, their finish was remarkable. Every key player on this team was injured for some stretch this year, with the exception of maybe Mike Fisher. ( NOTE: Chris Phillips also would be counted, but then we found out he is having surgery, so he was playing hurt)

Spezza for 20 games, Alfie for 20 games, Kuba half the season, Volchenkov 10 games, Kovalev AND Michalek for 10 games plus playoffs, Leclaire, Foligno, Karlsson.... The list goes on. Fact is through all that we made the best of it, and Im proud of them.

So for me the season was a success, what about the offseason?

The Sixth Sens (where many of you come from to get here) have a great idea to get offseason plans from around the blogosphere and put them all together. I think it's awesome, and I submitted mine tonight! So keep an eye out for that, and feel free to leave your plan in the comments section here, or at the Sixth Sens!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Post Mortem Part I: Experience

The picture above can be found on the home page of the Ottawa Senators homepage, a salute to fans for supporting the team this year. I also want to say, to the few of you who have started to come by, thank you so much, and I hope you are enjoying what you see here. I plan on posting things periodically in the summer, some stop by when you are in need of a sens fix!! Now, on to business....

The year is over, the series is over. While many are quick to call the Ottawa Senators "chokers" (Im looking at you Allen Panzieri) I am going to make the argument that this year was a success. I will use three points over the next three days (so that it isnt too long all at once); experience, expectations, and character.


No coach comes in in their first year and wins the Stanley Cup (unless you take over a team with Crosby and Malkin, but seriously, I could coach those guys). Cory Clouston, since taking over this team, has begun to put his stamp on the organization. He is a no-nonsense guy who is loyal to his players and his system. Was he perfect this year? Absolutely not. He made mistakes. His love for Ryan Shannon, and his throwing Pascal under the bus too many times come to mind, but overall, he did a great job, and now that he has been to the post season with this group, and played the champs, he should have an idea of what he needs to change for next year.

In addition, the playoffs were a coming out party for some rookies who will have a very important place on this team for years. I have said before on this site that going forward, the most important player on this team is Erik Karlsson. He played 40 minutes of play in game 5 in addition to leading the team in average ice time for the playoffs with 25 minutes a game. His 6 points led all rookies in points in the first round, while tying him for second in defenceman points. All of this will aid his development going forward and I expect him to play very well next year after finishing the season strong.

Peter Regin showed Sens fans there is hope on the top line left wing spot. He showed not only can he play, and play very well, with Alfie and Spezza, but that he has the ability to rise up in the big games and play with a tenaciousness we have not seen in a forward with hands like his, probably ever. At 24 years old, this restricted free agent will be signed at a bargain next season, and the Sens can look forward to a whole year of him on that top line with Spezza and Alfie. He finished second in rookie scoring for the first round (behind Karlsson, his best friend), and now that he has a taste for playing on the top line, expect him to work hard this summer to keep that spot.

Brian Elliott did not play well in this series, and Pascal Leclaire played better, but his rust was evident in the rebound trouble he had. However, neither had ever played in the playoffs before this series, and I expect two things to happen; Elliott to get hungry to prove he can play in the playoffs, and Leclaire to challenge for the number one spot that he knows he is talented enough to have. Leclaire shone in the playoffs, and now that he knows he can do it, looking to next year, I feel good about our goaltending, despite how poor it was in the playoffs.

Lastly, Zach Smith, showed at times, he can be a very good third/fourth line player for this team with how well he played in these playoffs. For a player who didnt play at the NHL level for more than 10-15 games this year, his jam was very impressive in the playoffs. However, with the theme being experience, Zach being on for both the Pens go-ahead goal in game five (his last shift in that game) AND the game winner in game 6, expect him to have some serious focus to prove to Clouston he is good enough to play with the team next season.

Which of these playoff experience stories do you see as most important. More importantly, do you think these stories can be used to justify this season as a success?

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Miracle - 2

Why deviate from the formula below.  I am highly superstitious so this game day preview will be almost identical to the previous.

First we start with a Photoshop from the Goose
-> Pascal! - can't talk enough about how solid you were.  Just keep that up and the Sens will be fine.
-> The Great Dane - I love you
-> Cullen - The trade is looking better and better every playoff game

Don't let this be the last game!

Predictions for Tonight?

2 - 1 Ottawa (Alfie, Regin)

Friday, April 23, 2010

Die Another Day

Wow. No words right now.

Wrap up tomorrow.


Thursday, April 22, 2010


Photoshop Cred: The Goose

We have to believe.

-> I expect Donovan to have a big game.  This man is built for the playoffs.
-> Pascal I hope you play like you did before you got hit in the face.  At the beginning of the year I remember being amazed with your quickness around the net.
-> Foligno according to the lines at practice it looks like you are getting a chance... break out the "jump" when you score the game winner.

Don't let this be the last game!

Predictions for Tonight?

3 -2 Ottawa (goals from alfie, foligno and Campoli)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Monday, April 19, 2010

Well Hello There, Chicken Little


That sucked.

Running around the Sens Blogosphere this morning, I noticed a common trend.

A total lack of swagger, and in some case, hope.

Coming out of the gate, the Sens took one from the Big Bad Crosby's....Ummm I mean Penguins (I get confused when the media acts like they only have one player)

Where was I? Ah yes, we took a game from them. In their barn, without Kovy, without Kuba, in the first game in the playoffs for a lot of our rookies.

And Sens fans believed. We had swagger. In this very blog I titled a blog called Eat It Experts. That's cockiness.

And since then, we lost the second one in Pittsburgh, despite leading for the Majority of the game and Hockey Jesus pulling the win off the goal line, and last night, lost a game where nothing went right.



I am with many of the blogs in thinking that last night may have been a recipe for the most painful/upsetting/frustrating game to possibly watch as a fan. Let's look at the checklist, shall we?

  • Disallowed goal (right call, but was still unlucky that no stick touched it): CHECK
  • Missing of Open Nets (looking at you Cullen) : CHECK
  • Awful Reffing. Just. Awful. : CHECK
  • Dominating play for 30 seconds, the puck goes the other way once and it goes in: CHECK
  • Missed Goaltender interference call on game winner : CHECK
  • Extra frustrating because it's Crosby goal, so no one talks about it : CHECK, CHECK
  • Second game in a row puck gets pulled off the goal line : CHECK
  • Captain gets sat on his ass by the only hit Crosby will ever make : CHECK
  • Forcing plays where there aren't any: CHECK
  • Demoralizingly AWFUL goal allowed less than 2 minutes in: CHECK
  • Fact that McKee was more effective than Leopold : CHECK
  • Fact that Sutton WASN'T because he looked afraid: CHECK
Most importantly, that we lost home ice advantage, just like that. CHECK.

And now, we have no swagger. People are just expecting us to lose. The thing is, without half the list above, the Pens are down 2-1 not up 2-1.

We are due to get some bounces.

So chin up, cheer up Sens fans, the sky isn't falling. Not yet at least.

NOTE: I only could write something like this the day after. If I had done it last night, this would have looked different.

QUESTION: What was the most frustrating part of last night's game? Feel free to let out a rant here.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Best Assist Ever.....? C'mon

I will be the first to admit that the display of skill and determination to keep the puck from Jason Spezza was very impressive, but was it "the best assist I have ever seen" [Bob Mackenzie], no it certainly was not.

Lets take a look at the BEST ASSIST EVER.......

Spezza did a great job, refusing to allow Crosby to get to the net.  87 was 100% contained and eventually had to pass it off to the point....seems pretty standard.  The Great Dane had a mind lapse in going to the front of the net where there were already three other Senators. He left the point wide open and allowed Letang to float the one through.  I don't want to be too hard on the Prince cause he did prevent Crosby from walking out of the corner and may have stopped the "best GOAL ever" from happening.

I will however allow myself to deem this "the best working of the corner" I have seen in along time.
AND yes that does include you  Jiri Tulusty.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Really TSN?

I usually respect and enjoy what is written on the TSN website, but this is probably the worst and most inaccurate article I have read by such a respected establishment.  We are going to go 6th Sens style where the article is in bold and our thoughts are in Italics.  The link to the article can be found here.

PITTSBURGH - Pittsburgh Penguins defenceman Jordan Leopold lay on the ice for several minutes after being levelled by an elbow hit from Ottawa defenceman Andy Sutton late in the first period of their playoff game Friday night, but got up before being helped to the locker room.

...... not an elbow.  When a teammate (Orpik), says it was a clean hit ... wait that doesn't mean much he probably thought his hit on Eric Cole was clean.  But seriously watch the video.... no elbow. 
Several??? really??? more like two minutes.  I don't have several testicles I have a couple.
Leopold was skating along the boards when Sutton upended him with a raised left elbow at 17:41, causing Leopold's helmet to fly off as he left his feet. Sutton's momentum carried him into one of the penalty boxes.

Again with the elbow... it didn't happen, the elbow was tucked in.  Leopold's Helmet stayed on.... And lastly, Sutton only left his feet AFTER contact.
Several Penguins players immediately started shoving Sutton, but no fight resulted. Sutton was not penalized on the play, resulting in loud booing from the Mellon Arena crowd for several minutes.  After the period ended, Penguins forward Mike Rupp shoved Senators forward Zach Smith as Smith was entering a runway leading off the ice. Smith returned to the ice and fought briefly with Penguins forward Max Talbot.

Where the linesman broke up the fight way too soon as it appeared Smith had finally gotten a hand free.
After the period ended, the Penguins said Leopold would not return to the game.  Sutton, then with the Islanders, drew a two-game suspension for ramming Penguins forward Pascal Dupuis into the boards Jan. 19 in Pittsburgh. Dupuis missed one game with facial injuries.

Now that one was dirty.

Thoughts on the hit?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Eat It Experts

Pens in 4? I think not.

No more home-ice advantage.

Playoff-experience meant shit.

Kelly-Ruutu-Neil are goal scorers, get used to it.

My man-crush on the King continues to grow.

Sidney Who?

Alright. Now that my craziness has been tempered, WHAT UP OTTAWA!??! Talk about a wild one last night. Back and fourth, down to the wire, bangin' speedin' playoff hockey. Philly and New Jersey should take notes, because THAT'S what playoff hockey looks like.


Foligno-Winchester-Smith, welcome to the playoffs boys! You banged and crashed all night and made the most of your playing time. It was my second key to victory and you did NOT disappoint.

Christopher! While many have criticized the Bryan's decision to acquire you last year, you played a phenomenal game. The assist was bologna, but you had several blocked shots, took/gave hits and played well when the match-up wasn't there for Crosbaby vs Philchenkov.


The Aforementioned Philchenkov. Sure you guys were on the ice when Malkin scored both powerplay goals, but we will learn. The reason you sit in this category is because I turned to Oakes at the end of the second period and said "Have you noticed Crosby at ALL? He's been a total non-factor". Keep up the good work Gents.


Well you may be the most "overpaid" third/fourth line in the league, but you guys sure showed your worth tonight. Banging bodies, creating chances on the cycle and WINNING THIS GAME for us. If you bring this intensity on a nightly basis, you give us a chance to go home happy. So thank-you Ruutu-Kelly-Neil, you are both gentlemen and scholars.

The King. Do you understand the term "Rookie"? You are supposed to shit the bed, make us doubt your ability to do it because you've never done it before. Like the Pens when we kicked their asses in '07 (heyo!). But a clutch goal, assist and saved goal, not to mention calm carry-ins on the powerplay? By the end of this series, and possibly the playoffs in general, I expect you to have a few more fans

Well there you have it, the crazy/excited ramblings of a usually rather composed blogger. Can the boys do it again on Friday? Well there is room for improvement. Ells needs to be better, and the top end guys need to do a little more, but if we play a similar game, but with better goaltending Friday I have faith. Expect the Pens to come out with something to prove though.

So, my question to you, WHO WERE THE SENS 3 STARS LAST NIGHT?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Game One Tonight...Keys to the Upset

You have no doubt read amazingly in-depth series previews all over the place. I would recommend a personal favourite of mine, Nichols, who gives you everything from Forwards to Jerseys to media. Its a fun read, if not a short one.

SO rather than do my customary thing and do a crazy breakdown of everything, I will do something I'm not sure I'm capable of. Short and Sweet.

I can identify THREE KEYS to upsetting the defending champs. They look like this:

1) Brian Elliott Cannot Play Like a 9th Round Draft Selection Who Has Never Played in the Playoffs: This one is simple, you live or die by your playoff goaltending. Let's hope he's a little more Cam Ward and a little less Roman Chechmanek.

2) Set the Tone Early: Let's Kick the Crap Out of Them: Physical play is one of the only advantages we decidedly have over them. Neiler, Fish, Smitty, Winny, Volchy and of course Sutts, I'm looking at you.

3) Second Line Scoring In the Absence of L'Enigma; Fast Chemistry Between 9MM & the Fish: No doubt this is crucial. Clouston has decided loading up a second line with Cullen Fish AND Michalek is the way to go. We'll see. Either way this line needs to be effective or this is going to be a reeeeeal short trip.

So, what do you think, anything to add to my list? Which of these three is most important? And Lastly, do you think the Sens stand a chance, even with these?

Gametime bitches, let's get to it.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Let's Do This Dance...On One Leg?

Well, this is a tough time of year to be a University Student/Hockey fan blogger. Final exams are upon Oakes and I, which seem to take up all our time, yet this is the time of year we want to be blogging 9 times a day.

Needless to say its been tough to keep this place up and bumpin, but I have some time now, so let's look at what's going down in Sens land.

Firstly, Alex Kovalev's up and down season has ended a little prematurely. This saddens me, and this is why.

1) Secondary scoring: 49 points on the year put Kovy in fourth on the team in points, and that cannot be understated. On a team with a minus goal differential, the guys putting pucks in the net are very important.

2) The Kovy Effect: He is a talented, albeit confusing player, but he DEMANDS respect, of that there is no doubt. He opens up room for guys on the second line.

3) Second Line Chemistry: All year long Fisher-Kovy has been a fixture in the line up with the hopes of creating second line chemistry. Now, with no time for failed experiments, Clouston must find a second line that can be effective.

Number three for me, is the thing nobody is talking about, but is the biggest problem. This is a team exceptionally strong down the middle, and pretty decent on the left side, but on the right side, the team is not deep.

So what do you do with the second line? Be careful, if it doesn't work, there isn't too much time to let it struggle.

First, at centre, there is a near certain chance Mike Fisher will be the guy.

On the left side, I think they might go with either Matt Cullen, who has played exceptionally well thus far as a Sen, but might be better used as a centreman on the third line. The other option is Peg-Leg, AKA Milan Michalek. Its obvious Milan is not at 100%, playing essentially on one leg, but we need him to give everything he's got for us to be successful. Plus him and Fisher are bang-crash speed guys that might find some magic.


On the right side, there are some options, and at this point none of them are really attractive.

You cold play Nicky Foligno out of position on the right side, but he's having enough trouble this year without playing out of position.

Ryan Shannon has played sparingly down the stretch, not even playing when Donovan got to play Saturday. He has had a disappointing season, and his game doesnt seem suited to the playoffs. However, he did look good on Fisher's right side at the end of last year.

Jesse Winchester is good at faceoffs and hitting people. But he has scored 5 career NHL goals in almost 130 games. Not really a Kovy replacement.

Zach Smith seems perfect for the playoffs, but on a third or fourth line.

So have I depressed you yet? I don't intend to, and it shouldn't. Cory has shown that he is more creative than any of us when it comes to line combos, so Im not as much concerned as I am curious.

But bottom line is, Kovalev is an important player, and even though some Sens fans have played the Ship-off-Kovalev's-Ass trumpet, its hard to deny. (Like I said Here)

So what say you, Sens fans that traverse the interweb nation? What does your line-up look like, specifically the second line heading in to this big dance?

I think with little room for error we might see Foligno-Fisher-Shannon tried out, but that's just me.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Quick Game Day Preview: Second Last Game!

Hey there! Sorry about infrequency of posts, everything is super busy at University for the both of us. Quick Game Day Post? Why not!

Tampa is pretty bad but they have some players to watch:

--Obviously Super Sophomore Steve Stamkos (I think he's doing awesome so that alliteration can exist) is the top player on this team, and is making Edmonton and Toron....I mean Boston very excited about the upcoming draft.

--Mighty Mouse: the guy still has it with 90 points this year! (It shocked me too). He has great vision and agility and seems to be reborn playing with Stevie.

--Hedman: Got crushed by Neiler last time, but I'm interested to see if he has as much impact on the game as our little Swedish rookie. Sometimes hype isn't everything.

On the Ottawa Side, I'm Watching

--Spezz: He's on fire, so he should tear up the porous defence and goaltending, but mostly, Im hoping for another one of those giggles. Those are ridiculous.

--Alfie: The Captain never gets old it seems. I feel bad about not doing a tribute, but Nichols had that covered. Seriously, go read it. Unreal

--King K: I just want him to show up Hedman. Period.

--J-Cow: See if the kid is doing any better than at the WJC. He's got a long summer ahead of him (like Butler), so it will be good for him to see where he is at and give himself some extra motivation.

--9MM: See how that knee is doing. Note: try not to crash into the net, just til you are feeling good again atleast.

Hopefully the boys put in a pile of goals like they did against Florida and they get some good momentum heading into the playoffs.


5-3 Sens: Tampa has a good powerplay, so we must be more disciplined than we were against Florida. Stamkos will get one from the same spot he gets almost all of them, and I think Milan will get one in his return.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Let's Check Out the Defence, Ya Dig?

Well then... *dusts off the cobwebs*

It's been a few days now hasn't it!! Both Oakes and I went home to O-Town for the Easter weekend and we're the first to admit we slacked a little bit. Looks like our boys decided to take some time off too eh? ZING.

Jokes aside, it would make me cry to come here and ramble on about the pathetic effort Saturday afternoon in a meaningless game. The bright side is, the Sens have shown an ability to play to the level of their opponents this year, as evidenced by the awful record against non-playoff teams and excellent record against playoff teams losing only 4 times to playoff teams (as it stands now playoff teams at least) SINCE JANUARY. Wild eh?

THIS JUST IN: Apparently only playoff teams play in the playoffs!!!

Phew. Guess we can hope the trend continues.

But now that we are talking about the playoffs, let's look at something that came up in conversation on the way back to Kingston; The Senators' defence corps.

Much has been made about the fantastic depth the Sens have up front with Spezza and Alfie, who carried us to the Finals not too long ago, on the top line. The second line has wizard (with good playoff numbers) Kovy, Fish (who's game is meant for the dance) and likely Foligno (who's cycle game will be good for the playoffs). The Third line has Cullen (cup winner), Michalek (one of the only Sharks who didnt TOTALLY suck it in the postseason) and probably Shannon (let's face it, I'm not sold on him in the playoffs). The Fourth line is made up of grizzled vets who get it, and who will help us win at least one series (as the internet junkies say... book it).

Much has also been made about the fact that neither Spazzy or our Saviour Elliott have ever even sniffed the playoffs.

But NOBODY, and I mean nobody, is talking about the fact that outside of Volchy and Phillips, CHRIS CAMPOLI IS THE MOST EXPERIENCED POSTSEASON D-MAN ON THE TEAM.



Have you wiped the mess you just made on your seat up yet?

Good. Now, let's chat.

Assuming Filip Kuba really IS out for the year (and it's looking like that) the D will look like this in the playoffs

Chris Phillips: 91 postseason games, cup finalist, general badass. I'm not worried about the rig. He is having a career year and I expect him to do his thing and step up as he always does come mid-april.

Android Volchenkov: 55 playoff games, cup finalist, russian cyborg. Again, not worried about our Russian bear. These may be the last games he plays in a colour that will hide the blood from he blocked shots, but he is having a career year too, expect him to amp it in the playoffs to ensure he cashes in hard this summer.

Chris Campoli: 5 games postseason play, first round exit, floundering midget. When confident and determined, as in the last few games, Campoli is actually kind of a useful player. When he gets complacent and assumes he has a roster spot, he shits the bed. Right now he is fighting for a contract. Let's pray he gives us good third pairing minutes and some quality PP time.

Mount Sutton: 4 playoff games, first round sweep, literally looks like bigfoot. I would never say this to his face, but as awesome as Sutton is, he is as big a question mark as anyone else that comes after him on this list. However, it can be argued (and possibly rightly, I know I would) that his game suits the playoffs, and that, at 35, he should be hungry to give all he's got in his chance at the dance.

The Kid: (Yes! HIMYM reference!) 0 playoff games, only 57 regular season games, awe-inspiring rookie. King Karlsson was rightly fellated on this site for his play recently and rewarded me by putting in two huge goals to secure the playoffs the next game. However, upon my boasting, he shit the bed last game. He is just a rookie and he has played well, but he can either help the Sens win a game (like Thursday) or he can serve up some turnovers (like Saturday). Jury is out, but for the Sens to have success, the Kid must be the King.

Carks: 0 playoff games, only 78 games regular season, one ear. So this should be interesting. I think that even though at the beginning of the year Carks was a feel good story, his first year in the NHL, and that many fights and PK minutes took a toll on him and he seems tired. He would be my bet should Kuba make a return to come out, but to spot in should the series require some toughness.

So there you have it, hope I haven't scared you too much. As much as this is an unknown group, I have confidence. You have to start somewhere right?

Which playoff virgin (or at least prude) are you most interested in seeing in playoff action?

Friday, April 2, 2010

Post Game - Canes

Rookie Bobby celebrates his first game in the NHL on the streets of downtown Ottawa.

Another impressive performance as the Ottawa Senators take down one of the leagues best since January. Despite a couple of lucky goals from the Canes, Ottawa persevered with a late goal from the King himself and an amazing shootout winner from Spezza.

I had the pleasure of going to the game as I am home from Kingston for Easter and I must say it did not disappoint. I don't know if it was just me, but the building seemed very loud and the few people that didn't leave early to beat the traffic went into a frenzy when Karl potted the late goal. I must hand it to Young as he wrote a great article on why we should all hail the King. The arguments he made were only confirmed by the play of the 20 year-old as he has tallied 7 points in the last 3 games...let the hailing begin. If you think that is impressive look no further to Spezza, who has 11 points in the last four games. Not only has Spezza been unreal, his infamous giggle has also returned. The post game interview on this mornings Sportscenter provoked the best one yet as Jason recalled his new shootout move.

The collegiate player out of New Hampshire also has a great game. He played half decent minutes and even drew an important penalty with little time remaining. He surely would have scored a goal on a 2 on 1 if Foligno could have hit him with the pass.

LASTLY, welcome to the playoffs!!! It was tough last year when we were not invited to the big dance, but I like our chances to bring the home the prettiest girl... or at least her hot friend.

New Jersey or Pitt ? Who would you rather face?


Wednesday, March 31, 2010

All Hail the King

Sorry for the late post here today folks. Taking the time to watch the Sens game last night left me rather behind on my studying. I have some time now, so let's talk some puck.

First, thanks to everyone who has started to take some time to visit this little site. We are really enjoying it, and love your feedback.

Instead of doing the traditional postgame summary, which you undoubtably don't need due to the abundance of excellent ones (short and sweet? The Sixth Sens.... in depth and beautiful? Silver Seven).

Instead, I hope that each game inspires me to write a blog that you will enjoy and that will illicit your viewing and opinions!

Last night's game, and the game before that, lead me to want to write about my man-crush... Erik Karlsson. Or as he is affectionately known as... King Karlsson.

Karlsson, who turned 20 today, is a 5'11 175 lbs defenceman drafted 15th overall by the Senators in 2008 (I WAS THERE WHEN THEY TRADED UP FOR HIM!).

And this kid, he's a beauty. With two more assists against the Capitals, and a whopping twenty-four and a half minutes on ice, Karlsson is quickly becoming the integral cog to this team that everyone only could have hoped he would be. The two assists last night (as one was rightly given back to the Captain... more on him in a minute) give him 23 points on the year with several other great chances and posts.

But the most impressive feat? How about the 11 points in 14 games since the Olympic break? Yea, you read that correctly. 11 in 14 games to go along with his 33 shots over that period. That's nearly a point-per-game for a 19 year old toothpick of a defenceman.

Talk about filling the role of top offensive d-man nicely for this team. In addition to the 23 points, (which puts him second on the team in points for a defenceman) he has scored 14 of those points in the third period, to go with another two in overtime. Talk about clutch.

But its not just the kid's stats that are turning heads. With his play he could easily have more points than that this year. Its Karlsson's swagger. Its his guts. Its his instincts.

That is why, going forward, with all of this talk of signing A-Train to a massive new contract, I think that Erik Karlsson is the Senators most important player. Period.

On a team starved for a legit puck moving d-man since the days Wade Redden gave a shit, Erik fills that role. But more importantly, he provides that spunk, that creativity, that flair for the dramatic that you can argue the Sens have never had in a defenceman. That sort of thing cannot be taught, and it certainly cannot be underestimated. Think about it, even as a 19 year old, undersized player, I can think of at least three games where he has made plays, brilliant, unreal plays, that have won the game

Exhibit A:

As stated in the video it was an amazing move by Fisher, but without that perfect pass... that might be a game the Sens do not win.

Exhibit B:

That heads up play for an easy one occurs with ONE minute left in a tied, divisional game.

Exhibit C:

Of Course this was just last night, and again, that creativity is essential in yet another win.

I'm looking forward to many years with the young King, and as Sens fans, I think you should too.
Hopefully he continues on his current path and before we know it, is a
star in this league, because another Swede we like won't be around forever.

Question: Honest opinion, what did you expect from Karlsson going into training camp this year?