A Quick Rant on Coaching Decisions

SensChirp October 31, 2013 161
A Quick Rant on Coaching Decisions

(UPDATE 6:14 PM)- In case you missed the news earlier this afternoon, the Ottawa Senators have demoted forward Jean Gabriel Pageau to Binghamton of the American Hockey League. Pageau was given a shot to prove himself out of training camp and early in the season but just couldn’t match his incredible production from the end of last season.  Pageau now has a chance to go to Binghamton, play big minutes in all situations, and work his way back into the Ottawa line up.

Twelve games into the NHL season and fans are already a little bit restless about the local hockey team.

The Senators are coming off three straight losses, all against teams playing their back up goalies and in the second game of a back to back.  Granted those games were against three of the best teams in the NHL but panic seems to be setting in here in the Nation’s Capital.

While some like to suggest that there are “major” issues with this team, I’m not sure that’s the case.  They still have a talented group of top six forwards and a great top defensive pair and two very capable starting goalies.  It’s after that there seems to be some question marks.  And again I’d argue that the personnel are there, just some guys have yet to reach the level the team expected of them heading into the season.

But there is one thing that’s a little troubling early in this season…

Now I really hesitate to question the decisions Paul MacLean makes game to game.  He’s an NHL Coach and I’m an anonymous hockey blogger.  Not only is he an NHL Head Coach, but the last time judgement was passed, it was ruled he was in fact the BEST coach in the top league in the world.

But the key minutes being given to the Chris’s (Neil and Phillips) is a little perplexing.  You won’t find me in the “Chris Neil is useless crowd” but I really think at this point in his career, he’s a quality fourth-line energy guy that provides a spark on the ice and in the locker room.  He has an A on his jersey and rightfully so.

That said, he should not be on the ice late in the game when the team needs a goal.  It just doesn’t make sense. That’s not his game.  Yes he goes to the net, yes he creates traffic out front, but I really believe any player (including more skilled guys than Neil) are capable of going to the net with the game on the line.

Now I’m sure there’s some sort of message being sent here and this is about MacLean looking down the bench and saying, “Well if you skilled guys won’t go to the net, I know who will” but with the losses starting to pile up, this really isn’t the time for message sending.

Same thing goes for Chris Phillips.  With the team down by a goal in Chicago, MacLean sent out Erik Karlsson and Phillips.  Just doesn’t add up for me.  Again, Chris Phillips is a crucial part of this team and an important leader but late in the game, offensive situations he is not the first name that comes to my mind.

Again, I’m sure MacLean has a reason for putting the guys on the ice that he does, but from where the comfort of my Mom’s basement, some of the decisions just aren’t adding up.

I’m a big fan of both Phillips and Neil.  Both guys can still be effective NHL players.  But the way MacLean is using them on the power play and late in games doesn’t make a lick of sense.  There. I feel better now.

Much like many of the issues in the early going this season, it’s pretty easy to brush it off with a quick “it’s early.”  And that is entirely true.  The Senators have worked their way through the toughest part of the schedule and finished with a 4-6-2 record.  Not great but certainly not reason to panic just yet.

A quick glance at the schedule to start November shows a bunch of seemingly winnable home games.  The Senators will play seven of their next eight games on home ice, beginning with a Friday night game against the New York Islanders and then a match up with the Dallas Stars on Sunday afternoon.

The Sens are on the ice for practice at 11:00 AM this morning.

The Daily Chirp- Let’s go back to the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.  It’s a topic that has been talked about a little bit recently with Nazem Kadri playing well and Jared Cowen off to a slow start.  There has always been a bit of a misconception that Bryan Murray somehow tricked Leafs GM Brian Burke during their short interaction on the Draft floor.  That really doesn’t add up based on what I’ve heard.  In fact, leading up to the draft that year, I was told the Sens were quite high on Kadri.  They likely would have taken him if he was still there at 9.

  • Al

    Also, the coach seems reluctant to pull the goalie… Feels like that could have made a difference a few times…

    • Sandy

      Maybe because the team is always turning over the puck…

  • Tooks

    Of course they would, thats what Murray said, he wasnt misleading Burke, he flat out told Burke, thats who we had as our selection. Burke told Murray they were taking him, so Murray had to go to his 2nd option, which was Cowen.

    Man I wish we had Kadri now instad of Cowen. Cowen has not impressed at all, and with major injuries already plaguing him, one has to wonder about his development being stunted. PW46 is slowly passing him by and by years end I believe PW46 will be the better player.

    • TookieIs100PercentRight

      Bang on Tooks!
      Having Kadri + Turris or Kadri + Mac would be killer. Kadri has great vision and he has that chippiness that we could use in some games, just agitate a little and get the other team off their game.
      We can hope that Cowern develops into Phil Chrissips err…Chris Phillips in a few years, wait and see and D-men take longer to develop.

      • SensChirp

        I think we need to address the fact that Tookie operates two accounts, one of which is used to support everything said by his other account.

        • Tooks

          Nope I dont have time to have 2 accounts, plus you can check the IP’s, That guy aint me but aint he a beauty!

          • SensChirp

            No time to have two accounts? Said the SC leader with more than 350 comments…

          • Doc

            Good god this kid won’t ever change. One of the reason I don’t post like I used to is because I’m tired to trying to talk hockey but ending up in these pissing contests with idiots like Tookie.

            The “I told you so” and the Captain Obvious shtick is getting old too.

            Which there was an ignore function on the new site… *hint hint*

          • Tooks

            A simple IP check would prove I dont have 2 accounts.

          • PraiseAlfie11

            PC has 1 IP, phone on bell would have another.

          • Doc

            You seem to lack knowledge, or you can’t read. Posting with your phone with one account, and posting from work (or Mom’s basement) with the other, would yield two different IPs. You saying you don’t have the time is laughable, but don’t use an IP check as an excuse.

          • Tooks

            Yes that could work, if I used my data to surf on SC? why would I use my phone when I got a PC infront of me. You really need to get out more, haha this conspiracy thing aint your strong suit, lol.

            Plus have you see the posts Tookieis100%Right puts out, they are long and well formed…that aint me! lol

          • Doc

            Why? Umm.. to use two accounts? You know, what we’ve been talking about? Reading is not your strong suit.

            You suck so much at trolling that you need to validate your comments with fake accounts. It’s sad more than anything else. But we shouldn’t expect anything less. Carry on little one.

          • Tooks

            Yes because using another account really validates my comments…LOL.

            Man you guys are funny, you should quite your day jobs.

          • Miguel

            tooks, if that is not you, then you have a stalker and I would be very concerned :-)

          • Tooks

            He’s not a stalker, he doesnt hound me, doesnt follow me (I think), just a random fan I suppose.

          • Doc

            Right, it’s very hard to use a phone to post, huh? Sad that you have to create other accounts to try and validate your ‘points’.

    • Miguel

      I am very concerned about Cowen’s play as well. Albiet not quite to the despair as you Tooks, but he is right now one of our worst performing d-man.
      My concern is that he is no where near the d-man he was in his rookie year, and the reason for that concerns me. He has lost all that mobility, and has even lost a step. Obviously the hip surgery was huge, but now this has taken place over a year ago, and he should be recovered, but his play has certainly not.
      I was his biggest fan in his rookie year, going as far as saying that in 5 years he will be our best overall d-man, but boy oh boy has he digressed, and lets hope it is something that is repairable

    • Sandy

      Do you not think it takes defensemen longer to develop in the NHL than a forward?

    • CUP 2014-15

      Agree on the struggle part but I believe that Cowen been baby sitting Patty all season. I know Patty was playing his off side and as of this morning has been moved back to the right side. We will see how he does playing with Methot. I still believe that Cowen will be a stud in this league.

      • Tooks

        Dont get what your saying… Patty was playing in the tougher scenario and still has outplayed Cowen, Cowen was playing on his good wing and didnt have to do much on offense…just play Def D..

        • CUP 2014-15

          Opinions can very as to whom has been playing worst, however in regards to sides, Patty has been out of control and unable to move the puck on his backhand. I believe that this is why the coaching staff now has him with Methot to try to protect him as MM is head and shoulders above Cowen. This puts Patty back on the left side. If he struggles tomorrow he will be back in the stands again.

  • The Apostle

    I always thought that the Murray fleecing Burke line was bullshit, but god bless our fan base for trying.

    I like Kadri as a player and I think Cowen will become a solid NHL guy for us but his injury issues are worrisome. It’s a good what might have been though because I’m sure with Kadri in the system we wouldn’t have gone for Turris. I guess the other possibility is that we still do the Turris deal but don’t pick Zbad.

    • Miguel

      the only reason I feel that Burke was ignorant and lost out on the deal was that all he had to do when Murray was approaching him was shut his mouth and listen.
      The pick was TO’s, for all we know perhaps BM wanted to secure Cowen, so wait for Murray to speak and make his request, for all we know he may have said, “we want Cowen”, then Burke could say, throw us a 4 th round pick and we will leave him for you, and he could have picked his pick Kadri and gotten something else for it. No?

      • The Apostle

        True. but I just don’t get the concept that Burke wouild change his mind about a player just because he thought Murray wanted him. “Ottawa want Kadri you say? Well I HAVE to take him even though I don’t actually want him.” That just doesn’t make any sense and doesn’t chime with what I think of Burke which is “I think the way I think and like who I like and I don’t give a fuck what you think.”

        I agree that Burke was stupid not to even listen, but I don’t think an offer of give us a 4th and we’ll leave Cowen on the table works. I’m not entirely convinced GM’s tell the truth to each other – shocking I know.

      • Tooks

        How did he lose out? and no deal was offered. Leafs got the better productive player right now.

  • boom

    I completely agree woth you Chrip, regarding Neil, but how can you question why Neil is on the ice late in the game, when we are down by a goal, and yet not mention Condra being on the ice, as well?

    Now i will see ll sorts of replies like “have you ever watched/played a game?”.

    Don’t other – I probably have socks older than most people on this site, so yeah, I have played and watched a few games in my time…

    Flipper had better hands than Condra.

    • my2sens

      Boom – I am one of the Condra fans, if you will.

      However, he is a PK specialist and seeing as he can’t hit the broad side of a barn, I would have to agree with you that using him in the last minutes is perplexing.

      We have plenty of players who are willing to get dirty in front of the net who can also score. Zbad, Grant, Pageau, CC89 to name a few.

      • Sandy

        He is good a puck possession.. he just can’t do anything with the puck around the net.. To have a chance to score near the end of the game.. you need to have the puck.. Maybe that is why he is out there. Neil stands in front of the goalie and takes the punishment to screen the goaltender..

  • Chris

    honestly think that it depends on how we play in the next 7 games where we play 6 of them at home. This is really the time where we have to step it up, i expect us to get 10 points minimum out of the next 7 games, its time to climb the standings.

    ps.I would like to see the Turris Spezza Karlsson MacArthur Ryan powerplay unit on again, they looked real good together against Chicago.

    GO SENS GO

  • shmuel benzaquen

    Personally I think Cowen will be next phillips. He sucks in the defensive zone. Uses his size a bit but never makes the smart play. He also thinks he is Spezza which is not the case at all. He thinks he can skate deep into the offensive zone and then when they get ten two on ones every game we’re surprised.

    I think that our playing does have issues but not our offense. We scored five goals recently against chicago. I think the problem is that we rely too much on our goalies. Last year we could do that because the goalies were really stellar every game but Anderson can’t do everything and we don’t have the ridiculous trio to rely on. Furthermore this year there aren’t as many injuries this year so not as many players feel the need to step up and that is a serious issue. Even more we can’t have conacher or greening in the top six we seriously need to get a proper winger for those lines. I wish we had gotten rid of Zib instead of silfverberg for Ryan. I think silfverberg would fit better on the second line than zib. 7 is a good skater and good shooter 16 is a great skater and if we put zib there we would have another pretty good skater skater with a mediocre shot. If we put silf there we would have a great shooter and an average skater. Just my thoughts on the team

    • Sandy

      Could it also be that the past 2 seasons there were no expectations for this team.. everyone predicted they would miss the playoffs.
      Now this season everyone predicts they will be a good team and challenge for the division.
      Is it too much pressure on this team now? Something most of them (the young players) really haven’t had to deal with?

      • CUP 2014-15

        you might be right on that point and if so, I have to say that is on the coaching staff. Every player in this league has been under pressure their whole career. Mental make-up is on the coaches.

  • T K

    Could age-ism be at play here? MacLean trusting his older players to not screw up vs. the unpredictable play of the younger players… (just speculating… don’t know if this is what’s on his mind)

  • my2sens

    The other perplexing thing with The Stache is his constant line changing. I understand that we are young into the season and are trying to win, but I think the Gents need some time to play together and develop chemistry.

    I would rather lose 5 in a row but have the same players together and have great chemistry for remaining of the year then a win here or there when he gets the ‘right’ combination.

    All that being said… there is a reason why The Stache was named the best, there is a reason why he is coaching and I am not.

    Always easier said than done.

    With that – the panic button I will leave for the Leafs fans when they get to game 7 in a playoff round.

    The Sens will rise and be victorious! GO SENS GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Jacques

    You know what we have D-men who have identity issues. Cowen runs around and pinches as if he has great wheels. His play is really suspect. Also I think that being a budget team and having Andy and Lehner is a bit of a waste. Look what Montreal did when they had the 2 goalies. I would call EDMONTON and offer Andy and Cowen for Eberle. Bring up BOR Cop who is a much more stable stay at home D-man to shore things up. Hell Boro is on a one way next year anyhow! Plus Ceci will be ready sometime this year!. Having Eberle will allow Zibby to play 3rd line center(lets let him develop in his natural position).
    If we have to sweeten the pot(maybe) then do it we have spare parts as well.
    Milo-Spezza-Eberle
    Macarthur-Turris-Ryan
    Zibby(line 3)
    This will insulate the team once a decision is made on Spezza next year. TO BE HONEST,and lets all be Honest – he will be gone Turris-Zibby-Lazar are the future down the middle. Lets let LEHNER carry the load – no good for him to sit! He can do the job.
    Helps both Ottawa and Edmonton IMHO.

    • Jacques

      I don’t see Eugene paying 8 Million a year for 7-8 years to keep Spezza. DO YOU??

    • spezzerman

      luckily management doesnt give up on players as easily as fans do. And trading Anderson right now and relying on the young Lehner to carry a team that is completely lost defensively would not be a wise strategy for making playoffs this year IMO. Need two good goalies right now.

      And the notion that BORO and CECI will improve our defense right now is downright ludicrous. No one is playing at their level defensively right now, it isnt only cowen.

      • Tooks

        If you dont think Boro would help then you have not watched a Sens game recently…Boro doesnt make defensive zone mistakes…We have a group of D’s that think they are the next thing since Bobby Orr, Cowen, Phillips, Karlsson, Gryba have all made numerous defensive zone mistakes.

        Like one poster mentioned PW46 playing badly cuz he clears the zone and doesnt make a pass to the wingers or centreman when in trouble. LMAO…

        Clearing the zone is paramount, making bad passes or turning the puck over in the Def zone while waiting for FW’s to get open is not GOOD!

        • Jacques

          Nice I agree Tookie.

  • TookieIs100PercentRight

    It’s great that Mac won the Jack Adams…LAST YEAR. He won it with Karlsson and Spezza out, so he could more easily get the group to buy into a chippy, aggressive system and it worked wonders. Now THIS YEAR he needs to deal with Spezza and Karlsson being back and their increased creativity and risk-taking. So he either needs to put a leash on them, sacrifice offence for defence, which leads to more offence, or he needs to provide Spezza with a two-way winger that can do the spadework that he and Michalek are reluctant to do.
    Either way, need to win tomorrow and Sunday. Losing either of those games is inexcusable!

  • Jeremy

    I am looking forward to playing some teams from our own conference. Our record is pretty good against those teams. In order to make the playoffs we need to deny points to the teams in our conference and that starts in earnest (minus the Dallas game) tomorrow night.

  • jasonontheoldsenschirp

    Finally, nice to see Chirp on a rant! I haven’t been impressed with Mac at all this season. He looks like he doesn’t know what he is doing. Check out the lines from practice this morning: Spezza with NEIL and Conacher.

    • Miguel

      WHAT!!!!! Please tell me that this is some kind of rude joke… PLEASE!!
      that or it is official PM has lost his mind!

  • thepez

    So according TSN1200, Pgeau sent to Bingo, Chris Neil skating on the Spezza line and Methot is with PW46 and EK65 with Phillips.

    • jasonontheoldsenschirp

      What is this man doing.

    • my2sens

      Is scratching my head….

    • Miguel

      it is official PM has lost his mind, he was seen this morning strolling the Queensway in his PJ’s talking to himself.
      if this is true our genius coach has lost his marbles…

    • Tooks

      Management said things would change, HERE WE GO!

  • Alcatraz

    Did Maclean create these lines out of anger after reading this post?

    • SensChirp

      Haha sure seemed that way

  • spezzerman

    I for one, still have faith that Cowen will be just fine. I think this latest streak is just what this team of youngsters needs – everything for the last two years has gone perfectly for the Sens. (injuries sucked obviously but the way the team responded did not)
    you can see how this young group would get comfortable expecting things to continue for them and have taken for granted the work ethic required to get you there, no matter how skilled your lineup is.
    Unfortunately this team has put itself in a position where this next little stretch of home games has become a little too important for games 12-20 of the season. I think they can respond. Essentially, they are going through what everyone thought they would the last couple years. They got comfortable, lazy and its killing them. You’re a fool if you think this is the best guys like Cowen, Greening, Condra, PW, etc can play. They have already shown they can, they just need to find it again and keep it.
    The year LA won the cup they one of the worst teams in the first two months, came on strong late, squeaked in and won the cup. It’s all about peaking at the right time and while it seems awful, bottoming out now is better than in Feb.

    • Doc

      Yep! Made the playoffs on the last game of the season. Of course it’s frustrating to watch, but I agree there’s no reason to hate on the team.

    • Tooks

      L.A. did struggle during the season but they are a playoff built team. Guys like Richards, Carter, Brown, Williams, Stoll, will be above avg during the year but lights out in the playoffs. We dont have guys of that caliber…we did, but got rid of him…

      Also without Richards & Carter, they dont win that Cup…just saying, they added KEY pieces to make a run. Something we cant do under a budget.

      • spezzerman

        LA isnt the only example. we made the playoffs last two years with a lesser lineup. I know your memory only extends the last two hours but its true, look it up.

        youre right, we have no chance, no hope. lets just give up.

        • Tooks

          But its the one you used and incorrectly to boot. I was just pointing out that we are nowhere like that L.A. team who added key pieces to make a run. We are still missing key pieces, like a top 6W & top 4D.

          And why be so pessimist, you dont think we will make the playoffs? Sure we will.

      • boom

        Who did they get rid of “of that caliber”? I’m drawing a blank…no comment required…

  • Robert Cyr

    I agree to some extent, with the rant by Chirp , vis-a-vis Coach MacLean’s decision
    to insert both Phillips and Neil near the end of Chicago game.

    Coach always said “best players play”, so he should have had:

    Michalek, Spezza, Ryan, Turris, Karlsson , and after pulling Anderson
    he could have inserted Zibanejad!

    Snoopy Senior

    • Tooks

      Bingo!
      Quoting the homers…Isnt it a great time to be a Sens fan!

  • Al

    Maybe we could get Philips to play forward… Then our top line could be the Old Line of Philips, Spezza, Neil… The old-timers…

    • Tooks

      Awesome!
      Stick Phillips and Neil infront of the net and let Spezza pick his spots!
      Genius!

  • PraiseAlfie11

    …”my moms basement”

    Haha…awesome!

    • Tooks

      Whats with your mom’s basement PA11?
      Did she get it renovated?

      • SensChirp

        I read all your damn comments, the least you could do is read my post.

        • Doc

          Time you’ll never get back, Chirp!

      • PraiseAlfie11

        I *think* it was an awesome dig at garrioch who complained about bloggers in their mom’s basement.

  • Tooks

    Sorry had to post this, funny if true…

    Renaud Lavoie ‏@LavoieRenaud 2h
    NYPOST on Red Sox win: 8 down…19 to go. #letsgoyankees

  • JBL11

    Wouldn’t mind seeing Paul give this a shot….

    Zib, Spezz, Bobby
    Mac, Turris, Milo
    Conacher, Smith, Neiler
    Greening, O’Brien, Condra

    Zib has been buzzing lately, and it’s pretty clear that Spezz and Bobby want a chance to play together (for more than just a few shifts or on the PP). And Milo hasn’t done a whole lot deserve a spot on that top line.

    • Millennium

      I actually don’t mind those lines, although Turris kinda gets screwed despite being out best forward so far this season. And I wish we had a better option than Obrien at 4C…

      • JBL11

        Grant for now I guess. Unless they call O’Brien up. I just figure that we’re paying him NHL money…might be time to try him again

        • Millennium

          Well lets put it this way: if our 4C is our biggest problem, we’ll be just fine :p

  • one gun mitty

    Trade Spezza

  • Tooks

    Turris with Andi P at 1pm on HNIC Hang Out.

    • Tooks

      LOL where did they place Turris…in a closet?!?! WTH!

  • Gordon Ramsli

    Since our coach is searching for lines that work I had this come to mind I know it’s a tad drastic

    Turris – Spezza – Ryan
    MacArthur -Zibanejad – Conacher
    Michalek – Smith – Greening
    Condra – Grant – Neil

    If the changes could work for the first line I think the chemistry would be there, all 3 have excellent shots, Good playmaking abilities & good hockey sense. Would give Zibanejad top 6 minutes, You could swap Conacher for Greening, even Michalek if he can play Right wing.. I like Smith with Michalek If we could add a young winger from the AHL it could be a good depth scoring line

    • Doc

      I see where you’re going with this, but Turris has been by far our best forward (and center for that matter), so why change the only variable that is actually working?

      I like JBL11′s top 6 from below:

      Zib-Spezz-Ryan
      Mac-Turris-Milo

      And for the the other 2 lines I’d go:

      Conacher-Grant-Condra
      Greening-Smith-Neil

  • senate19

    You know, it sounds crazy, but as Tuna said in Yost’s comments, you’ve got 89 and 25 that both drive to the net ALL THE TIME.

    It’s at least worth a shot. Spezza can get the puck to the net. I think Neil will surprise some people. Maclean’s just trying to find the best match for his guys.

    • Sensturion

      They tried Conacher on the top line. It didn’t work particularly well. Besides, Michalek usually tries to take the puck to the net and fails miserably.

      • senate19

        I thought from what I saw they played well together?

        • Alcatraz

          They did, Senturion is wrong, they played well together

        • hq8

          yea havent seen him take any dumb penalties this season yet or not too many. last playoffs he made that impression of taking stupid penalties at the net.

      • Doc

        Have to disagree on Conacher. Spezza’s best games were with Conacher up top. Kif has wheels and is not afraid of the dirty work, exactly what Spezza need.

      • Sensturion

        The more ice time Conacher gets, the more chances he has of taking dumb penalties. I don’t mind Conacher, especially his pest nature, but against the top players he always manages to get penalties

        • bishbosh

          Of the current regular foirwards on this team only Condra has fewer penalty minutes than Conacher this season.

        • Conor_smythe

          no

          • Conor_smythe

            also. last season, Conacher was number 1 on our team in “penalties drawn per 60 minutes”

            by a lot

    • Tooks

      I agree, the only 2 guys that create havoc around the net will be with Spezza who can fire it! When in trouble…simplify.

    • matsoukas45

      If you think Neil is a first liner,we are in trouble.

  • Sandy

    Kadri an offensive player… vs Cowen a defensive defenseman.
    I think it will take longer for Cowen to become a competent NHL defensemen than it did for Kadri to develop as a forward. Kadri also have more time in the AHL than Cowen did..
    It’s much easier to adjust as a forward.. than it is a defensemen. I think it’s hard to compare the two. Cowen seems to be a grounded individual where Kadri seems to be a pompous ass (fits well with the Leafs fan base).. who is playing very well. That’s just my opinion…
    But it’s not like the Leafs are dominating their games. They can score quite easily and that’s why they are winning. The let Calgary get 43 shots on net vs. about 25 or so for the Leafs…
    I don’t get the schuffles up front. This team hasn’t had too much trouble scoring goals — it’s keeping them out that is the issue.
    How can a team, that was 2nd overall last year in goals against.. be so poor this season.. when they lost Gonchar off the defense.

    One can argue that it is because they didn’t face the Western conference last year.. with a horrendous record of 1-6-1. They have a winning record against the East for all of 4 games played against them.
    Or is it that this team will not surprise anyone anymore.. and those teams are coming hard after the Sens D.. It’s almost like they are panicing back there.. and rushing plays.. instead of staying put on the game plan..

  • SensChirp

    Avs trade Steve Downie to the Flyers for Maxime Talbot.

    • Doc

      Weird trade. But I’d take Talbot over Downie any day.

    • Sandy

      I would prefer not to see Downie in the NHL at all.. He is a dangerous player. He may play well when he actually plays hockey.. but he is a loose cannon who one of these days will severely injure another player.
      Any news on John Scott suspension yet?

  • Millennium

    “Colorado Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov will be allowed out of jail and be able to travel with the team while prosecutors consider charging him in a domestic violence case.

    Varlamov is accused of assaulting his girlfriend, kicking her in the chest and dragging her by the hair.”

    Jesus.

    • Phil.

      I was hoping Chirpers would have enough class to avoid jokes about domestic abuse.

    • SensChirp

      Idiot

  • hq8

    top 10 reasons Maclean put Neil and Spezza on the same line:
    10. last season’s jack adams win was a fluke. this is his normal.
    9. he needs more than one mature babysitter for conacher.
    8. he is just too frustrated
    7. he is losing it and misses alfie now
    6. eugene melnyk saves money this way
    5. He wants to balance the giggles with the scowls
    4. He wants to send the opposing team’s goalie to the hospital next game.
    3. He wants to buck the trend of NOT taking too many stupid penalties – Neil, Conacher and goalies = the easiest whistle and hand-raise for a zebra.
    2. he wants to send a secret message
    1. He is the coach and he can do it.
    in seriousness, i dont think the indicators of the last game point towards Neil being defensively any better than whoever else was playing with Spezza. I guess the only way and literally the only way this works is if Neil and Conacher just go to the net and Spezza stays back and shoots repeatedly.
    on defense. i think the main thing causing all the issues is Cowen playing like an offensive d-man when really the intent is for him to play shutdown. if you look closely, he is really really bad at pinching, and this is not a new trait. i think Cowen and PW46 were put together in the same mold as Methot- Karlsson. A shutdown-type guy paired with an offensive guy. Well we all know how good at shutting down Patrick is. So maybe before they move Cowen around the d-pairings, a serious talk with him and benching would be better? no?
    i think the sens and cowen are doing to each other what the leafs did with luke schenn. its a highly relevant example (except for Cowen’s injury history). Schenn was supposed to be the leafs shutdown anchor, and he certainly came in with the credentials. but leafs coaching messed him up big time.
    with Cowen the question has always been if he is going to be Chara like or not i.e first a solid shutdown guy and then a good offensive d-man.
    anyways….the saga continues…..leafs are 10-4 btw…..wtf?
    in the very least, spezza ending up with Conacher and Neil as his wingers 12 games in, proves that the sens have absolutely shat on their season start and things are in very very dire straits.

  • boom

    @hq8

    “i think the main thing causing all the issues is Cowen playing like an offensive d-man when really the intent is for him to play shutdown”

    I said almost exactly the same thing to my wife in the 3rd period last game. She paid no attention, but i said it…

    • hq8

      hahaa

    • Conor_smythe

      Ya… except Cowen has always been Offensive

      just because he’s 6’5” doesn’t mean he’s automatically a Defensive Dman

      Cowen is playing to his strengths, and maybe some of you didn’t know this, but he is very gifted offensively

      Maybe the team wants him to play “shutdown”.. but if thats the case, they should have drafted a Shutdown Dman

      • hq8

        yes we all know that. thats why the Chara projection has always been there, but right now for him and for the team, he needs to focus on his shutdown game, because we already have Karlsson and PW46 making the offensive overtures and defensive miscues.

      • boom

        Yesh, except Chris Phillips was also an offensive defenseman, in JUNIOR. He quickly learned he is not nearly talented enough to be one in the NHL. I think Cowen will learn the same thing – i just hope it’s soon.

        • Tooks

          Holy fuck Boom, you are my hero!

          • boom

            Niot sure that’s a good sign for either of us :)

  • hq8

    so, for some more fun. with Maclean’s new lineup, sens $$$/forward line (using actual salaries from this season):
    Conman-Spezz-Neil: 8.025 mil
    MacArt-Turris-Ryan: 11.312 mil
    Milo-Smith-Zib : 8.425 mil
    greening-grant-condra: 2.81 mil
    after calming down a little though…..i kinda am ok with this setup. it makes for a more threatening 3rd line which could be either Spezza’s line (LOL) or Smith’s.

    • Alcatraz

      If your gunna do this bench someone on that 4th line and call up Hoffman/Stone and play them with Spezza

      Good Lord its crap no matter which way you slice it. And not that firm crap you hope your dog does on a walk. Its that sloppy, smelly, smushy shit that makes you pray it doesn’t go through the plastic bag

      • hq8

        yea as a whole it is that sloppy, smelly, smushy shit. but what can you do, the sens have stuck with Neil and Phillips for I dont know what reason. the leadership veteran stuff sounds lame now because Neil takes bad penalties and Phillips is just not a good player anymore. but there was Paul Maclean again today stumping for Neil and Phillips. apparently Neil goes to the net and Phillips ‘stabilizes’……..
        i think Neil will definitely fetch the sens a nice return at the deadline…..he is a fourth liner taking a third line spot. whether it be next to spezza or smith. other teams are playing younger more energetic and more effective players in those roles……..its not an old man’s game anymore unless you are alfie or selanne.

  • Alcatraz

    Sooooo Jared Cowen or Alexei Emelin? Basically same contract who would you prefer?

    Obviously Tookie will say Emelin, because he plays on a different team. Rest of you, who do you got!

    • Doc

      1 million difference (AAV) between the two, not the same. And Emelin’s contract is way too much if you ask me. Still think Cowen has more upside than Emelin, on top of having a bit of offensive touch.

    • Tooks

      Then whats the point if you think everyone will say Cowen… Strange. BTW I would take Cowen, I dont know much of Emelin. Big hitter is all.

      • Alcatraz

        I agree, just trying to paint a better picture for Cowen on our team now haha little positives is all we got right now

    • Phil.

      Not exactly the same contract, and Cowen is 5 years younger.
      Can I use one knee from each of them? If not, I’ll take Cowen.
      Emelin contract is high for a strictly defensive guy. It’s what Volchenkov got, and he was (at the time) better and more proven. Emelin is 27 yo with 105 games played in the NHL.

    • Jacques

      Of course Tookie would say that. Cowen more tools overall IMO.

  • Alcatraz

    So who got [big] raises this summer?

    Wiercioch, $2 million
    Cowen, $3.1 million
    Greening, 2.65 million

    Seems about right that they would all be struggling

    Oh hey, who else is super pumped Turris makes $3.5 for 4 more years after this haha

    • hq8

      actually, greening is still making his RFA salary. the new contract kicks in next year.

      • Alcatraz

        ya, but still its one less thing for him to worry about

    • Jacques

      That is an amazing signingTurris. You have to wonder about a Cap team signing greening and Condra when you can use bargain basement bingo guys who are just as good for much less.

  • Sandy

    Saw this comment on Hockeybuzz… One of the best I have seen… It’s about the line combos….

    “I wonder if the Paulrus isn’t trying to make a statement to Murray (and Melnyk): you gave me chicken poop on D, and I have run out of ways to make it look like chicken salad.”

  • Jacques

    Chirp, I know you didn’t like me comparing Toews compete level to our Captain’s compete level, but when you pay a guy 7plus million a year he has to give you offence and a consistent level of back check. I feel a little vindicated today seeing that Spezza has been demoted to the third line by coach Mac. It shows me that I’m seeing what these guys in the organization are seeing as well. 5 on 5 he’s MIA. The guys on TSN 1200 were saying the same thing that he’s on LINE 3 now and struggling to play a compete two way game. Love to start the debate who resigns Spezza 2 years from now? Should we be shopping him now? Can we get a Bobby Ryan type deal for him potentially down the road if we opt for the trade route.

    I mentioned when paulrus was asked about jason as captain he said that they have a great leadership group and that JASON was occupying the captaincy for the MOMENT. The choice of words was curious at the time????

    • boom

      In Spezza’s defence – you are comparing him to, arguably, the most complete player in the game.

      If you compare Spezza to some of the other high profile, offensively minded players in the league – and compare his compete level – he looks alot better. Also, he did fairly well when we played Detroit last week, and Datsyuk is looked at as one of the best two-way players in the game. Spezza went head-to-head with him, and came out on top.

      I will rail on Spezza from time to time, but he is not the issue, IMO.

      • Jacques

        On some nights he looks fine, Detroit he was great but since that game?? You pay him 7 million a year, he should be there every game. He has undeniable Talent and should dominate each game. Would you resign him again in two years long term for 7-8 years? I wouldn’t touch him, that’s my opinion of course.

        • Aaron 2.0

          I guess it really depends on the contract, and what the return might be in a trade. You’re probably right it’s not a guarantee that he gets re-signed. If that’s the case, I think we could still have some tough years ahead though.

  • Zachpraisetheswedes

    Spezza will not be traded or even shopped for the simple reason that he’s not the problem on our team. He’s also one of the biggest bargains we have. He makes 5million this year and 4 million next year. There will be no movement here!

  • Chris

    I really like how Mac shuffled the lines, i like the MM9-ZS15-MZ93 trio but i dont like spezz with neiler one bit, two completely different roles.

  • Will Samuel

    Just after the 2 minute mark, Burke asks Murray if he wants Kadri or not…. Murray says yup, Burke then says the Leafs are going to take him.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YwxqO6dQIPc

    Anyone who thought the Sens tricked the Leafs are a bit crazy. The team was looking into Kadri big time… And should have been here.

  • NickofTime

    Two down (SDC & Pageau) & two to go (Conacher & Condra) & I will feel much better about this team. While Conacher & Condra are somewhat effective players I just think there are better options in the organization.

    I disagree a little with you Chirp the way this team is playing now is the time to send some messages before we get to far into this season. I would think that losing would be enough to get guys to listen but they continue to make bad decision after bad decision on the ice. You can see it all the time with all of them & not just one or two guys. The defenceman goes back to get the puck, the obvious move is to go left & they decide to go right, they get checked & lose the puck. There is a guy wide open on the right side but instead they decide to go up the wall to the guy who has two guys on him. It’s bad decision after bad decision, make the easy pass, give it to the open man, stop trying to make the highlight reel play. They are still trying to be too cute with the puck.

    Any idea who BM/PM will call up next? I would say Stone but he still isn’t playing in Bingo, I’m guessing they will give him a few games before bringing him up. My guess is Hoffman, JOB or Robinson, I would have to think that management is just chumping at the bit to see if Buddy can fit into the Ottawa lineup. DD is another guy who might get another shot.

    • timwrx

      Robinson has a long way to go in the physicality department….been pretty much a meow cat so far this year.

    • Alcatraz

      Conacher has doen everything expected of him
      He’s one of our only players on our team that can play the sandpaper game while not looking out of place with our skilled guys
      No way he gets sent down

  • Conor_smythe

    “Pageau was given a shot”

    … Considering he was placed on the 4th line with Kassian/Condra/Neil, I would hardly qualify it as a shot. DaCosta got top-line minutes, that’s “a shot”.

    Pageau got thrown in the middle of the ocean with weights on his ankles

    • Righteous Smoke

      Did Pageau play on the top line last season? I don’t think so. Pretty sure he was even playing on the 4th line down in Bingo before he was called up last season. So yeah, he did get a shot to prove that what he did last season and in the playoffs wasn’t just a fluke, and he failed.

      • Chuck

        Right. He showed a lot of promise with very little last year so he got a little ice time with even less this year and was expected to light it up. You’re absolutely right, it was all a fluke.

        • aegiszx

          And how did Peter Regin, the playoff “performer” in what, 08? 09? turn out for us…

          Promise means nothing in this league… Butler, Noesen also showed promise…

  • Chuck

    So when exactly did pageau have a chance to prove himself? The handful of games he played where he was stuck with condra and kassian? What exactly was he supposed to do with those guys playing 8 minutes per game?

    And what about condra? He’s been brutal. Pageau should play ahead of him – at least he can hit the net and score on occasion.

    • Righteous Smoke

      Yes because playing with Condra and Kassian MUST be the reason JGP is like 28% on faceoffs!!! Also, playing on the first line, would mean he would be playing against less skilled centermen in the league right??? So his faceoff percentage would go up!!! YOU ARE SO SMART, GIVE CHUCK THE JACK ADAMS!

      • Chuck

        The whole team has sucked at face offs dumbass, should they demote everyone?

        I see more spark out of pageau then half the team. At least you know when he’s on the ice and he goes to the net.

        • Righteous Smoke

          Realllllyyyyy…..
          From nhl.com
          Spezza – 55.3% 11gp
          Grant – 52.4% 5gp
          Smith – 50.6% 12gp
          Turris – 44.5% 12gp
          Zbad – 35.3% 4gp
          DaCosta – 33.3% 4gp
          Pageau – 30.9% 8gp

          So the top 4 are the teams regular centers at the moment as you can see, that they are all doing a hell of a lot better than Pageau. Good Job Mr. Jack Adams!

          • Chuck

            With next to no ice time you don’t improve, and most if not all his games were on the road, where everyone sucked.

          • Righteous Smoke

            I give up, your right Pageau is the best player on the team and is being mishandled by the coach and management. He should be taking all the big faceoffs, and playing close to 20 mins a game. Im sure this is why the Sens have been losing.

  • timwrx

    Guys, just like Butler JGP has been scouted by teams now. He needs to evolve and develop his game to be a more effective player all around.
    Luke will do this, and I have no doubt he will return with great impact from down here.

    • Chuck

      If by scouting you mean other coaches tell their players to focus on him because the other players on his line are plugs then you’re probably right.

      • Righteous Smoke

        But he wasn’t on the top line, last season either, so what gives, his faceoff % was around 48% last season… Now it is shit, he doesn’t deserve to play in the bigs right now, not even close. And sorry to burst your bubble, but as long as Pageau is with the Senators he will never be centering the top 2 lines because he is not and will never be as good as Spezza or Turris or Zbad and right now he is being outplayed by Smith and Grant so what else do you expect BM and The Stache to do… Seriously, give it up.

        • Chuck

          This may come as a surprise to you but sometimes centres can play the wing too…

          • Righteous Smoke

            Sometimes a NHL veteran, a former asst. coach for a perennial contending team and now a Jack Adams winning head coach knows more about his players and where they are best suited to play than some douchebag, who sits at home playing GM mode on NHL14 thinking he’s God.

  • WaitingSince92

    Very easy to agree with your assessments on Neil and Phillips – they are roleplayers, not gamechangers.

    If I HAD to speculate (and I must) on what MacLean is thinking, he’s decided to insulate two “less reliable” (I’m being nice here) D with Karlsson, and Methot. It’s like choosing to have two half-capable pairings and a shitty third one instead of one capable pairing and two other shitty ones.

    Then, you have to deal with the tools you’ve been dealt, as a coach. Does Wiercioch, Gryba, Cowen, Phillips or Corvo take the top spot???!?!?! Pick your poison. PMac took Phillips. I might have picked Corvo instead (gasp). I take that back. Frig.

    The only thing I can fathom MacLean trying to do by putting Neil on Spezza’s line (or more accurately, Spezza on “Neil’s” line, if say “WAKE THE FUCK UP or the sniper you’ll be feeding passes to will be Chris Neil!”… or maybe he’s playing through an injury. I dunno. Frig. Just Frig.

    Re: daily chirp I always wondered how that misconception got
    started. From the video clip, it didn’t ever make any sense. It was
    pretty clearly some professional courtesy between two seasoned GMs.

  • Floridasensfan

    Great post Chirp, agree 100% about Neil and Phillips, crazy stuff.
    I like Neil a lot and don’t hate Phillips (other than when he is on the power play)
    Neil on a line with Spezza that is about as desperate as you can get.
    a few wins in a row will right the ship in a hurry.
    Way too early to panic.

    • s3nsfan

      I don’t think it’s desperate. Spezza shoots more Neil is not afraid to go to the net and Conacher is tenacious. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a hell of a night out of these 3.

  • hq8

    spezz needed a free oil change, thats why he got put with neil.

  • T K

    I had a similar thought to WS92. Maybe this is more about sending a message to Spezza than anything else. Work harder than everybody or else you won’t get the best line mates…

  • sprucesens

    not to keep chuck and righteous smokes’ banter going on…but..
    personally i don’t use faceoff % that much. It only really means something if its getting beat clean off the draw that really matters, and faceoff % doesn’t take that into account. If the wingers don’t get in and get the puck while you have the centerman tied up, and the other team does, its a lost faceoff. So just looking at stats only means so much. But yes, generally a lower percent means more clean losses as well.
    Bottom line is, we need scoring wingers, not small centermen right now. And pageau is still very young. Shouldn’t have even made the team yet. So its good for him to get more playing time in the minors, than spot duty in the bigs. Its likely a precursor move to bring up one of JOB, DD, Stone after he recovers, Hoffman or Robinson. Whoever coach Luke feels is best suited for the sens.
    I’m also thinking the D need to get things in order, or we could start seeing Claesson, Borowiecki, Ceci….

  • Guest

    I understand this is a shake up but I have never seen anything like this before and I’ll come back and apologize if we start to do well but until then no matter how poorly the team is performing, you just don’t put your best 1st line centre on the 3rd. It just doesn’t happen that way. As I said, I’m holding myself accountable for this statement and I will apologize if this becomes an improvement. Knowing MacLean, those lines will rejuggle once again.

    • Guest

      diminished size me think

  • SensFanInMTL

    I understand this is a shake up but I have never seen anything like this before and I’ll come back and apologize if we start to do well but until then no matter how poorly the team is performing, you just don’t put your best 1st line centre on the 3rd. It just doesn’t happen that way. As I said, I’m holding myself accountable for this statement and I will apologize if this becomes an improvement. Knowing MacLean, those lines will rejuggle once again.

    • s3nsfan

      So accountable you post annonymously lol

  • Aaron 2.0

    I’ve been as perplexed as you with player assignments, Chirp. I agree on Neil. He’s a hell of a guy, but unfortunately his age is catching up to him. He still should fill an important role on this team, but I don’t get why we’re seeing so much of him, and as you pointed out, in key situations. I think I understand why we’re seeing so much of Phillips. Right now, i’d peg him at # 3 on our depth chart, which is to say that the two young defensive studs are really, really struggling. I have no doubt that the skill is there. It might just be that we’re asking too much from Weircioch and Cowen (this early on in their careers). That sort of leaves Phillips in a really tough spot. He’s not really capable of playing that high up the depth chart anymore, but right now, there aren’t many other options. I actually feel really bad for Phillips. But, I still get your point 100% about there being better (offensive-minded) options at later stages in games (Corvo or Weircioch).

  • Aaron 2.0

    I don’t mind seeing Spezza on L3 to start on Friday. Yost had a nice write-up a few days ago about the problems this team is fighting through right now, one being how badly out-shot and out-chanced any line involving Spezza has been. A few posters pointed out it might be partially due to a lack of decent options to play up-front with him on L1. Whatever the case, I hope this experiment doesn’t last too long. We need Spezza owning puck possession, and he needs to play with our best if we’re going to have a good year.

  • ZibbyFan

    I really don’t care what combinations Paul and gang put on the ice as long as something works. I believe in patience, yea, sure — but I’d really rather be winning. The sick part about this is that the leaf fans have won the cup already, so why even bother try to develop a winning combination?

  • Millennium

    Anyone else feel like the downtime between games seems exponentially longer when the team is struggling and we really just want to see them back out there?

    Even worse, I don’t think I’ll be able to catch the game tonight, so I’m stuck waiting until Sunday!

  • Doc

    Off topic, but is anyone in the WebSimHockey SCHL league? We’ve been waiting on Toronto (of course) to pick for almost a day now. Still haven’t finished first round yet.

    Just wanted to know if that GM was from the blog.

    • Tooks

      There is another topic on that very subject, please follow the rules and post in the appropriate thread.

      • Doc

        Can you point me to said rules?

        Thanks in advance. xox

  • Tooks

    Alot of fans dont understand these lines, its ok, not everyone see’s the role everyone plays.
    I wouldnt be surprised if Spezza Neil and CC do well tonight, Spezza plays best with CC and Neil will do the grunt work and give Spezza much needed time and space.

    Those lines dont and shouldnt mean much as they will probably change some tonight. 1 guy to watch and will probably struggle is Turris, IF he plays 1C minutes, thats gonna be real tough for him vs better comp…(Vanek, Tavares)

    • Aaron 2.0

      I’d be surprised if he struggled too much. His possession numbers will likely come down a little if the lines stay this way for a while, but I think he’s made some strides since last year. It’ll be fun to see how he does seeing top competition again.