Monday News and Notes

SensChirp October 21, 2013 121
Monday News and Notes

Through the first 8 games of the NHL season, and with a date with Daniel Alfredsson and the Detroit Red Wings next on the agenda, things aren’t exactly rosy in the Nation’s Capital.

There have been flashes where they looked like the team everyone was expecting to see this season but in general, they have been falling short of expectations created by consecutive playoff seasons. And while it’s extremely early and there’s no reason to panic just yet, there are some issues in their game right now that Paul MacLean and his Coaching staff need to address.

The Senators have a couple days of practice to figure out some of the issues plaguing this team. Sloppy defensive coverage and a sputtering power play should be at the top of the agenda.

The schedule to close out the month of October is going to be downright cruel for the Senators as they’ll play games against Detroit, Anaheim, San Jose and Chicago. You would be hard pressed to draw up a tougher stretch of games and for a team that is still searching for an identity; it’s going to be a real challenge.

First up- Daniel Alfredsson and the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday night.

  • -Oilers fans were upset following Saturday’s game for what they felt was a suspension worthy “knee” by Eric Gryba on Taylor Hall. Completely ridiculous, if you ask me. Yes their knees collided and it’s unfortunate Hall was injured on the play but it certainly wasn’t a malicious hit by Gryba. The league was expected to look at the play over the weekend but that’s where it will end. No suspension or fine required. Sorry Oilers fans.
  • -Speaking of the Oilers, rumours persist about their search for a goalie. Dubnyk has been solid in his last couple outings but it sounds like they’ll continue to search to see what’s out there. You can be certain the Senators are one of the teams they’ll call but unless MacTavish is willing to significantly overpay, Bryan Murray isn’t really interested in making a move right now.
  • -Erik Karlsson is playing more than 27 minutes a night which puts him third in the league behind Ryan Suter and Dennis Widemanl. Coming into this season there was concern about his skating ability but from what I have seen over the first stretch of games; his skating is fine and getting close to where it was before the injury. The only I see issue right now is in his decision making. He just doesn’t seem to be making plays as quickly as he did before the injury although I think that’s normal early in the season.
  • -On Sunday morning, I asked Twitter followers who they were most impressed with and most disappointed by during the first eight games of the season. Kyle Turris was the runaway winner for most impressive with Bobby Ryan also receiving a bunch of votes. Not surprisingly, they were a wide range of answers for most disappointing with a couple defenceman getting multiple votes and the rest of the disappointment targeted towards bottom six forwards. Speaking of which….
  • -The bottom six forwards are frustrating to watch right now. Not only because they are struggling but because it really should be an area of strength for this hockey team. With Kassian and Grant in there on Saturday night, line three and four were pretty ineffective. I don’t know what the answer is and I know Paul MacLean is a smart hockey guy, but something needs to change. Zibanejad called up and Pageau in the lineup seems like a good place to start.
  • -Speaking of the bottom six, Mika Zibanejad racked up three points on Sunday and now has 7 points in his last six games, which puts him one point ahead of Mike Hoffman for the team lead. I’m willing to accept that Zibanejad had a sub-par training camp but I really feel like he can help this team win right now. And with the schedule as hard as it is, this seems like a good time to call him up. The BSens are 4-2-0 through their first six games.
  • -Wednesday night figures to be an emotional game as Daniel Alfredsson plays his first game against his former team but the real intrigue will come on December 1 when he makes his return to Ottawa. While watching the ovation Colts fans gave Manning on Sunday night, I tweeted that that’s how I would like to see Sens fans handle Alfie’s return. Montage and a standing ovation would be appropriate for Alfredsson. And as mad as you may be about the way he left, it really doesn’t change all the great things he did when he was here. As a fan you have every right to boo but as a fan I have the right to tell you that would be a stupid thing to do.

  • spezzerman

    I expect we see Zib and perhaps hoffman this week against Detroit. I could see the Org wanting Zib in those three games this weekend before bringing him back up. Send Pageau back for a few games, he shouldnt get a free pass for his play. His linemates arent causing his poor faceoffs or lack of intensity and losing puck battles. He just looks overwhelmed which is completely normal for an undersized 20 year old with 25 games experience.

    Kassian simply cannot play these next 4 games, too important. There is no excuse for dressing kassian against Detroit and none of Anaheim, San Jose or Chicago really have a Kassian type in their lineup either.

    Maybe the Sens will play their best hockey of the year since the expectations against these next four teams will be really low. They really seem to be forcing everything and I imagine they have those high expectations in mind.

    listening to the tsn1200 this morning sounds like Alfie will be getting booed on his return to Ottawa which would be sad. this from a sad sack fanbase that wont even show up to home games. leaving 2000 tickets on the table both games so far, including against an exciting young team like the Oilers on a SAturday afternoon is a joke. Ottawa loves their hockey as long as someone else pays for it.

    • LeafsSux

      I agree with some of this. Kassian should be a healthy scratch every game he just does not fit in to their scheme of things. As far as sad sack fan base I live in upstate NY and buy a 6 game pak every year. The place is always packed with both team fans which I see nothing wrong with that. Its hard for me to get excited for this team year after year when the ownership keeps trying to nickel and dime this team hoping for great results. They build a great farm team with their prospects but free agency sucks they just wont go after that big name. I know most on here will say what about Ryan or before that Heatley… Money buys Championships period… Hoffman needs to be called up not Grant. Rant over.. Go Sens Go!!!

  • Hax

    I thought we played a much better game Saturday than we had been playing. Much better in our own end and if it wasn’t for some bad puck luck we could have scored a few in the first period.

    Not that there isn’t a ton to work on of course – this team should be much crisper than they have been. But to me it’s more about building on how we played Saturday and continuing to improve.

    I’m actually glad we’re set to play some strong teams as I think we generally play better against good teams than bad ones. Plus it will force the team to work hard since if we don’t play solid we’ll get burned.

    It is October after all.

  • hq8

    SC:
    dont agree with your statement that the schedule is tough. you may call those teams formidable teams, but I dont think the sens are lacking, on-paper, in any department to not be able to go up against those teams. we finally got the top 6 winger we always wanted. we have two good 1C and 2C centremen, although the captain needs to up it just one notch. we have the goalies and we have enough d-men. this is one of the reasons, this early record is frustrating. not to mention, everyone is in good health to start.
    also, i dont see why you would still keep pageau up. as a winger maybe? but i think he sort of did not flourish as we were expecting under real pressure. last year was loosey goosey (yes quoting Don Cherry, dont hate me) and he ran with it. this year, there were expectations and i think it got to him. no doubt he is going to be a really good piece for the sens in the near future, but right now, he needs a little bit more gestation in the AHL.
    on Zib: i think there are, as many have said multiple issues here, one of which is does he play wing or does he play center going forward. I’m not sure how he is being positioned in Bingo. if sens want to play him 3C, then its easier to slot him in, although then you give Zack Smith a subpar winger in Matt Kassian. If they want to play him wing, then its more of a positioning issue because who will play 3C/4C. cant have pageau because of faceoff issues. which is where I think Derek Grant slots in.
    I think with Grant’s faceoff % he can stick play either 4C or wing on the 4th line – has to be better than Kassian. This way, the sens can leverage both Smith and Zib on the 3rd line with the added flex of putting Zib up on the 2nd line and bumping down Macarthur or Conacher if needed.

  • MethotToMyMadness

    I also think playing strong teams is the best way to help guide our younger guys and fuel our vets to push forward with a few wins. Nothing worse than play sub-par against bottom level teams or playing to the same intensity. Ottawa has always played better against better opposition, and in most cases, somewhat match the lower level teams. So I hope to see more intensity in the next 4 games.

    EK is skating very well, but I do think he needs to be a step quicker with his decision making. And I’d like to see him own his zone a little more, and get back to owning the PP. He has been the quarterback and he needs to rise up again. Spezza has shown some creativity and I’d like to see him spark that PP unit as well. Our 2nd line hasn’t had any problems, ES or PP, but I think the PP in general needs some help and it doesn’t hurt to get the lucky bounces either.

    I haven’t been too big into the push to get Mika back here just yet, because every game he plays in Bingo is just that much more of a push for him to succeed and win his job back. But I do agree that with the 4 games we have coming, he would be the best option to insert into the lineup, nothing against Grant. We really don’t need a bruiser like Kassian either, we just need our best against these guys. I have a sneaking suspicion Sens fan who have been tweeting freeMike may get their wish.

    Dec 1st I really do hope the Fans give Alfie a nice welcome back. It’s not needed at every game, just his 1st return. After that, it’s business as usual.

  • Hax

    On the Alfie front – I will be really disappointed if the fans in attendance boo him. It’s one thing for some boos when he touches the puck during play – not a big deal there as most times people are booing the fact that the player is gone (a la Chara) than booing the player himself. But when the Sens do the video montage and Stu says “let’s show our appreciation for 17 great years” there better be a standing O and one last Alfie chant.

    Show some class Sens fans (though I’m aware most that come to this blog are among the classy ones).

    • Go Sens Go

      I partially agree with you. I would not want to see boos from the fans for sure. Though doing the Alfie chant may be too much. We need to respect Alfie and clap and stuff but we may not need to start the Alfie chant. Though the chant may entice him to come back to Ottawa not as a player but in another capacity. Having him back will have value for the franchise for sure. So there I have contradicted myself which shows how mixed mine and many fan’s emotions are.

      • The Apostle

        The only thing that entices Alfredsson back to Ottawa is reparation of his relationship with Murray and Melnyk. Whether we chant his name or not won’t make a shred of difference if there is still animosity up top.

        I suspect they’ll be a couple of Alfie chants in the warm-up and he’ll get an incredible reaction when the montage goes up and it’s time for us to pay our respects.

        Most of the hatred towards him on here was for show and bluster and the the product of raw emotions. That will have dissipated by December – especially if we are playing better by then.

      • Hax

        Not suggesting an 11:11 chant – just an Alfie chant whenever they do the video tribute. Once the puck is dropped again he’s just another player on the opposition.

        I agree with Apostle that any return to the org post-retirement will come from Melnyk and Murray repairing whatever (if any) damage his exit caused. I expect his number in the rafters eventually – just might take a few years longer than had he retired a Sen.

        • Chris

          I purchased tickets to the game on Dec first to cheer for Alfie when the time comes. I want to drown out the flakes and those who can actually forget 17 good yrs. I did this despite the ridiculous price the charged me, even for the nosebleeds. That’s how important he was…

  • MethotToMyMadness

    A point I didn’t mention in my previous comment. While the Sens aren’t off the type of start most Fans were expecting, after all the hype leading into the new Season. We are holding a respectable 3-3-2 record with 8 points, sitting 8th in our Conference after a grueling West coast trip to start.

    We are ahead of some very good teams like the Caps, Rangers and I have to include the Islanders in the mix. And factor in that some teams are also far exceeding expectations, like the Leafs, Carolina and Tampa.

    If the playoffs started today, we’d be in. So there isn’t a panic situation yet, this is basically where we’ve been finding ourselves standings wise over the last few seasons. While there may be more hype and everyone expects more, looking at our conference, I do find it a little hard to see us any higher than 6th or 7th overall anyway.

    Patience is a big key for Fans right now. Our guys will find there way. Now if we were sitting in Philly’s position, I’d be much more worried.

    • Go Sens Go

      Yes the points do look respectable but my concern is the way sens played. On an average we are giving up too many shots and taking too many penalties. We need to stop these 2 things and the rest will fall into place. These days we can’t possibly keep giving up 35+ shots every game and expect to win.

    • spezzerman

      I get what you’re saying, but we wou;dnt be in. Montreal and tampa currently hold the wild card spots in the East. we would be on the bubble.

  • Conor_smythe

    I think we should fire one of our assistant coaches and bring up luke richardson

    • The Apostle

      I agree with the first part but I like what Richardson is doing with Bingo. He can stay there for another year or two.

      • Conor_smythe

        Can he? You dont think any other nhl team will want to hire him?

        • FBP

          Nobody was quick to hire Kurt K. after he coached the team to a championship.

        • The Apostle

          Well he’s under contract with the sens until the end of the 2014-15 season, so he isn’t even meant to be talking to anybody without our permission.

          Considering how highly Murray thinks of him I’m sure they have discussed the future at some length and he was happy to sign that contract extension which bodes well.

          I would hope he wouldn’t leave Bingo to be an assistant at the NHL level with a different organisation without at least seeing what the situation is with the sens. If somebody wants to offer him a head coaches job in the NHL from Bingo us saying but you can be MacLean’s assistant isn’t going to stop him and actually being one of our assistants probably isn’t either.

          Don’t we all hope MacLean is going to be our head coach for the foreseeable future anyway? If things go as we wish over the next 5 years, Richardson is, at best,going to be an assistant with the Sens. So with that in mind I’d like him to be where he can do the most good, and I think that’s more likely to be in Bingo than replacing Cameron (which is obviously what we are talking about).

    • Hax

      I don’t think Richardson is a special teams expert (the one area that’s been a problem the past two years). Our PK had been brilliant last year but that was due in large part to our goalies. I’m not suggesting a change is needed (we had a lot of players out last year that killed our PP) but that’s the one area we need help.

      Richardson is great but we need him where he is right now IMO.

      • Conor_smythe

        Last year our team was 50% callups. Richardson deserved the jack adams as much as maclean did

        • Hax

          All the more reason to keep him working with Ceci, Puemple and others. I get that other teams will soon be calling him for NHL asst coaching jobs – but there’s no rush to bring him to Ottawa just yet. If he gets an actual offer he’s considering taking then we can look to see if we can match to keep him with us.

          • hq8

            i would rather the sens demote their PP coach to go learn in the AHL and promote Richardson right now. lol

  • Alcatraz

    Pretty expensive game tonight for the Red wings. Tonight Alfredsson makes $2 million for suiting up

  • my2sens

    We need to fire our PP coach… hasn’t been effective for past few years. We should have one of the deadliest PP’s in the league…

    AND bring up Z-Bad.

    The rest will come with time this year.

    • Alcatraz

      The biggest issue with our powerplay is its easy for teams to focus on Karlsson, because we throw Conacher/Neil?greening in front of the net, and then our two other forwards basically sit on the goal line, so Karlsson really only has PW to pass to. Way to predictable. Because when karlsson does his thing and skates he can put puck low to Spezza then every knows he is trying to do cross crease pass ro back up to karlsson
      Really dumb set up

      • my2sens

        Every team seems to use the same guys on their PP and they can score. Although I agree that our PP is predictable, this falls on the PP coach to change the page… which clearly hasn’t happened.

      • The Apostle

        Compared to what we saw with SJ and the Ducks (terrible band name) our PP moves in slow motion.

    • Hax

      The PP needs to start producing for sure but last year can’t be part of the decision. With EK and Spezza out so long (not to mention Michalek) they never had a chance to really work with top talent.

      This year however there are no excuses to get it going before too long. I don’t hate Phillips out there but I have to think that Methot or Cowen would be better options. Not sure I’m behind EK playing the whole 2 minutes either but so far he hasn’t seemed out of place doing so.

  • my2sens

    And the other thing the Sens need to do is hit the net. I see too many pucks miss the net and then fly out of the zone giving possession to the other team or negating our pressure.

    I would rather a shot hit the goalie and have a rebound chance than the puck exit the zone.

    Even if the goalie stops the play with a save, better to have face-off in their end.

  • ReleaseTheKarlsson

    Whoever gets tickets for December 1st to boo Alfie needs to rethink their definition of a fan. They might say “well I support the team not the player, and Alfie left the team,” and that’s wrong, since I’m willing to bet most of these people were not there on Thursday or Saturday to support the team. Booing Alfie at all would be wrong. You can hate the decision he made or the situation that happened, but booing him looks worse on you, and the fan base.

    • Hax

      Agree. Even if people support the team and not the player, the TEAM will be paying tribute to him for helping the TEAM for 17 years. Join in if you really support the team.

      People who boo are likely just bitter that their hero left town when they didn’t expect it.

      • SensChirp

        Good to see the level headed responses in here. There were some replies to my tweet last night that made me a little worried the majority intended to boo.

        So much of the reaction that night will depend on how the organization handles it.

        • Mexican Baby Jesus

          If I were going, I would certainly cheer for Krusty

    • RUSH RLZ

      Does this mean Leafs fans will cheer him now?

    • beeblebrox

      Screw that. I hope there’s no montage, and Paul Maclean only refers to him as “Number 11″ in the post-game presser.

      /bitter

      • Hax

        PMac already used the “Player 11″ thing today on TSN1200.

  • hq8

    even if fans are indifferent to alfie’s career with the sens and his contributions, its silly to boo him because he left as a FA and didnt hurt the sens organization asset-wise in doing so. its a business. he has all the right after almost 20 yrs of playing to exercise his FA status, just as much as the sens had the right to offer him money they though was the right fit. in the end, he wanted more, they didnt want to pay him that much. looking back at it, it all looks really silly and dramatic now because it could have been a much more quieter easier exit.
    even still, i think you can see that the sens do miss his leadership and on-ice presence. i watched the COL – DET game and he still has the smarts and was playing on the wings top line. still makes me wonder what could have been if they retained him and still got Ryan. would have been some kind of possesion crazy line with alfie-turris-Ryan.

    • Hax

      I’m of the opinion that there was no situation where we could have had both. Unless Alfie had taken MacArthur money to stay which he clearly wasn’t interested in doing.

      But yeah, it would have been nice to have both guys in our top 6 this year.

      • hq8

        well….macarthur+corvo+zibby demotion+sdc waiver+increase ticket prices…im thinking like melnyk…

        • SensChops

          I still think a lot never got to Alfie until it was too late. Crappy agent meddling.

  • ZibbyFan

    Feeling a little uncomfortable about these guys again this year. We still can’t seem to score. We do have talent on the ice, but we’re still lacking the finish. The D is a wildcard — can’t seem to pinpoint what’s going on there other than stupid penalties (and a bunch of them really shouldn’t have been called because there wasn’t any substance (the refs seem to be against us again this season). Our tendering is fine. We had secondary scoring last year – so far these guys are not producing this year. I know we’re only 7 games in, but…

    As for Alfie – luved him in SENs colors and what he has done for this city. Boo or cheer for him as you feel, I support choice and understand both sentiments equally.

  • NickofTime

    If I recall the only line that scored against the Oilers was the 3rd line and Neil potting the goal. The problem with this team seems to be the lack of emotion, determination, heart and passion in their play. The biggest dissapointment so far this year has been the play of Spezza, even with the C on his jersey he continues to play the give away game. Ottawa must lead the league in penalties including 5 on 3s that they have to kill.

    With Da Costa in Bingo when will they send Pageau down and bring up Zibanejad? I would also like to see Robinson get a call up and Condra benched so that we can add more size to this lineup and be much harder to play against. No team is afraid to play the Sens right now, in fact, I would argue they would look forward to playing Ottawa. This team needs to develop a nasty edge and be much harder to play against so that teams fear coming to Ottawa. Toronto has that so why can’t we develop that?

    • Sandy

      He is not benching Condra. He’s the best defensive forward they have. He can’t score.. but then the last game.. no one else could either.

      • NickofTime

        Probably not, but I would argue that Grant IMO is every bit as good defensively as Condra, plus he is bigger & better offensively & can play C or RW & is also good at faceoffs. At some point we have to realize that we have better players in the organization & can improve on Condra. Stone, Puemple, Robinson & Grant IMO at some point will all be better than Condra for this organization. More Offence means playing less Defensively.

  • Aaron 2.0

    I’m easily most impressed with Turris. And, i’m actually least impressed with Ryan. I knew the guy could score, and he has. But, he hasn’t really looked like the great 2-way forward he was made out to be. His skating leaves something to be desired. He reminds me a lot of Heatly. Some of the other big names sort of get a pass at this point since they missed serious time last year. We know, eventually, what we will get from the likes of Spezza, Michalek, and Karlsson. The bottom six has been sort of disappointing, but I don’t really expect much from them the way they are being lined up right now.

    I don’t really see how I could applause # 11. If he would have been more honest about the circumstances that lead to his leaving, sure. But, I was, and remain, less than impressed with how the break-up was handled (by both sides). But, that’s just me. I probably wouldn’t boo him either …

    • Sandy

      The entire team looks out of sorts. At times very disorganized. The 3rd & 4th lines are basically the same as last season… so what is wrong?
      Is it facing the Western Conference teams they didn’t face last season. Has this team overachieved.. and what we see is what they are?
      There is room for so much more improvement. They have to get faster and get to the net for some dirty goals…
      If they don’t improve Zetterberg & Datsyuk are going to have a field day with the Sens defensive game..

      • Aaron 2.0

        I agree, there’s lot of room for improvement. Their game could be so much more structured, particularly defensively, and this would help a tonne. I also agree that this team over-achieved the last few years, and we could be expecting to much this year. The defense is particularly scary after Methot and Karlsson. Cowen and Weircioch are both very young to expect consistant top-4 performances from them on a regular basis. And, it sort of falls off from there. It’s not great having Karlsson already playing over 30 minutes a game, especially this early in his recovery.

  • hq8

    apparently there was a bag skate today. 83 minute session, apparently longest maclean has ever held. karlsson wore no visor at practice too. he was yelling “why arent we ready to go! let’s go!!” (from wayne scanlan tweet)
    the boss whippeth the minions…..

    now i feel better about wednesday’s game.

    • The Apostle

      I have a “didn’t grow up watching hockey question”.

      Why is it called a bag skate?

      • lbernier

        this would qualify as a bag skate
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bb-hWG3cHMQ

        • The Apostle

          Unfortunately you tube is not something I can enjoy whilst at work.

          • boom

            I’m sure the term bag skate refers to the bag you will feel like puking into, once it is finished.

          • FBP

            I always assumed they had to skate wearing weighted bags of some kind. Ha.

      • Conor_smythe

        urban dictionary – A hockey practice where players are forced to do repetitive skating drills until they are exhausted, or have “skated their bags off”

        • Conor_smythe

          hahahahahah

  • boom

    Ok, I promise that I’m not the re-incarnation of zipzaprap – or whatever his name was who had a hate on for Michalek – BUT has anyone noticed, or pointed out, that Michalek does not seem to have near the same speed as he used to?

    I really wonder whether this procedure he had during the summer really worked, at least in terms of getting anywhere close back to normal.

    Right now, he is not playing like a top six forward, and I think it is really hurting the team, in general, and Spezza, in particular.

    • Hax

      I disagree. He’s looked plenty quick to me – especially now that he’s got CoCo firing up the other wing. I think that line has real promise. 5 points in 8 games isn’t horrible either.

      • boom

        That’s good – maybe it is just me who thinks he has not looked good. I have been wrong before – just ask my wife…

        • MethotToMyMadness

          My view of Michalek has always been like a teeter totter, up and down, over and over. When he’s up, he’s up high and I would love to see Ottawa use him to get a deal done. When he’s down,it’s usually injury related and his stock falls. I do hope he stays healthy, at least healthy enough that the Sens can eventually get something for him.

          I will admit, being a passionate fan, there are always players on a team that get this view. Every Fan does it and every Fan has a few players on their list like this. For me, it’s always been 9MM since he has arrived in Ottawa. I don’t dislike him by any means. I actually think he plays a very straight forward, drive the net style of game. As a Fan, I appreciate every goal and every assist he puts on the board. But for whatever reason, he is the guy on my list that I’d like to see the Sens use to attempt an upgrade or quality draft pick when he does get rolling.

          Knowing we’ll never get a full season out of him is somewhat disheartening, so I think a lot of it has to do with his injury history. Maybe I feel as thought he has more to offer on a nightly basis and we just don’t see his full potential as often as we should. I can’t nail it down for sure.

          • The Apostle

            I get exactly what you mean. Whenever I see Michalek I always think he should produce more than he does. The other guy that gets me that way is Greening.

            They always seem “about” to do something really good.

          • iamwickid

            You put my thoughts into words! Perfecty said. I think many fans feel the same way about him. I mean even when he was injured last year no one seemed to really care that Michalek was not in the line-up. Media and fans focused on the obvious Spezza and Karlsson injuries but seemed like Michalek was always “forgotten.” Which is why I think we can do without him and shop him around.

    • Tooks

      Skating does look very labor intensive right now.

  • Senut

    first up send Grant back down and JGP can go with him
    second Zibby comes back up
    third waive Kassian
    fourth BM got to find a 4th line winger for Neil
    and Smith ,someone like Aaron Asham or Mike Rupp
    a player who can mix it up but not be a defensive liability

    Just my 2 cents

    hedpucker

    • Hax

      If Zibby has truly gotten the message already I’d be okay with that. Except waiving Kassian. Just ice a team that lets Kassian hang out in the pressbox most nights. I don’t like “professional fighters” but to me Kassian doesn’t hurt us when he’s in the lineup and having a deterrent to the MacLarens’ of the world is worth the roster spot.

      And hopefully Pageau going down and centering the top line in Bingo lets him continue to develop.

  • Hax

    PMac was on TSN1200 after 1pm and played down the “bag skate” angle. Basically saying they wanted to cover a lot of things and with the extra day before the next game went longer than usual but that the intensity was spread out. Their 12 minutes of hard skating was also broken up into 5min, 4min and 3min with some instruction/drills in between.

    Of course, he’s not the type to come out and say “we sucked so I skated them into the ground” but he seemed genuine. Even went on to say that he felt Saturday was their most complete game of the season. Still lots to work on and lots he doesn’t like but he felt they showed more consistency than previous games.

    Again, his style is to (publicly at least) focus on the positives and growing/learning etc so take it with a bit of a grain of salt.

    • Alcatraz

      He’s not wrong in thinking Saturday was our best game of the season. Maybe only next to the opener against Buffalo, but even in that one we could have easily let in 3-4 goals

      • The Apostle

        My concern is that we’ve seemed slow out of the game every time I’ve watched -granted i’ve only seen 7 of the 8 though. Even the games where we won we were crappy to start off with.

        This smacks of being poorly prepared, but that doesn’t seem like something MacLean would allow to happen.

        • Hax

          Not sure if it’s poorly prepared or just a team coasting through “meaningless” games after a thrilling playoff run. I think it’s more the latter and fully expect that PMac won’t let it continue.

  • Sensnation

    Too early in the season to be this concerned. With all the roster changes in the offseason and the growth this team is attempting to make, it will take a good 15 games until the chemistry comes together. The positives though is we see it getting better each game, our goaltending has been amazing, and the team will only get better once the Da Costa situation is over.

    Too much emphasis on a 4th line that can pound instead of having 4 lines that can roll right now. It’ll come though, have faith sens fans!

    GO SENS GO!!!

    • Hax

      Isn’t the Da Costa situation already over? He played for Bingo over the weekend and seems to be a good add for them.

  • GoSensGoEh

    Posted this as a reply to one of the earlier comments in this thread, figured I should repost it on it’s own. It’s a pretty decent writeup about the upcoming games.

    Scanlan: How the Sens might exact western revenge
    http://www.senatorsextra.com/main/scanlan-how-the-sens-might-exact-western-revenge

  • GoSensGoEh

    There was a point in this last game, during an Ottawa PP opportunity, that I cringed as to where the players were positioned. Karlsson took a pass, I’m pretty sure from Spezza, at the dot on the right, and had to spin with it because he is a right hand shot. It reminded me of all the one timers Alfie had near the left side dot, and he was in perfect position because he is a right hand shot. If Ottawa had a left hand shot there at this opportunity, it would have been an easy one timer and excellent scoring chance. I realize the players cycle to different positions, but this was a perfect play set up to the wrong handed player. I immediately forgot about it as I watched the rest of the game, and unfortunately I have deleted it from the DVR, but I’m pretty sure this is a regular spot for Karlsson when Spezza is at the left side blue line. Left to right should be Wiercioch passing to Michalek, right to left Karlsson passing to Spezza, as they cycle.

    • MoeDozer

      i know exactly the play you are speaking of. and yes karlsson usually sneaks in down the right wall. thats not the biggest issue with the PP imo. sure it would have been way better for a lefty to take that one timer.

      The way many successful NHL PPs are run now is using 4 forwards and only 1 Dman. I cant understand for the life of me why would you want a defensive player on a unit that is specifically out there to score?

      I know Detroit has Alfie play on the point and it works pretty well. the laffs used to have macarthur on the point and they were good. We insist on having phillips back there. not hating phillips, he is doing his best but he has never been an offensive Dman, and he is not about to start..

      We either start using both EK and corvo together on top unit. then EK and weirdo on 2nd unit since it seems EK plays both units now. or we use a forward with a good shot. ie macarthur, zibby, hoffman(played the point in bingo), or cowen. cowen has a lot of hidden offense that we see once in a while. he also has a very underrated slapshot imo.

      also enough with neil on the PP…i know we need a physical net presence but thats what greening zibby milo even conacher to an extent are built for.

      • Floridasensfan

        Not to hate on phillips either but I am with you, I want to close my eyes when Phillips is on the power play and the puck goes to him.
        Must be a reward for being on the team so long or something.
        Definitely not because of skill.
        Alfie I would not boo, he deserves a cheer on his return.
        One and done.
        I do hope we spank the Wings bad any time we meet with Alfie in the lineup, Starting this week. Go Sens Go.

        • Mexican Baby Jesus

          Phillips is brutal there is no sugar coating it. I’m sure he makes a difference in the locker room and tbh having him as 5-6th defencemen isnt the worst thing in the world.

  • A Train

    Not saying anyone should feel one way or the other about Alfredsson, but…..

    I get a little frustrated with all the talk of what fans “should” or “shouldn’t” do when it comes to booing or cheering. This isn’t church. There aren’t any rules.

    I also have trouble with the general concept that fans owe a player something “for all he did for the city etc”. If anything, a longtime franchise player who got rich and famous playing in one city owes the fans.

    • The Apostle

      Hockey is better than church. At least Alfie existed whilst he was being worshipped.

    • Mexican Baby Jesus

      Typical fan making 40-60,000 a year and paying 50$ to watch a game can boo or cheer any of the players making 40-60,000$ to come play the game.
      These are just a bunch of rich athletes. He stayed in Ottawa because it was comfortable and he had kids who would be awkward to move. Fans don’t owe players anything.
      That being said, Alfie was a class act and definitely did much more for the community than what is typically asked for (thats why I would cheer). But see your point.

    • Tooks

      Put it this way, we wouldnt be here talking in this blog if it wasnt for Daniel Aflredsson, our team would of picked up and left a long time ago.

      Thats how I see it. I dont owe him a standing ovation, I WANT to give him one, for giving me a team to watch and love.

  • Jacques

    Would love to see the Sens make a play for Shawn Matthias. can play 3rd line left wing or 3rd line center. Just more insurance if Spezza would go down to injury this year. The guy is 25 and can really skate with good hands.

    Give us a 3rd line and 4th line of
    Matthias-Zibby-Pageau
    Greening-Smith-Neil

    As you can see I haven’t given up on Pageau yet, he just needs to play with players and not plugs. Matthias would benefit from playing in a true hockey market. He’s 6-3 and can skate, exactly what hockey is about. Florida is looking to change things up. Would give us finally atop 9 that can compete.

  • hq8

    how does a team, dead last in the league last year (COL), with a new coach, with a defense headed by a guy who was in and out of the sens lineup (Benoit) go on a 7-1-0 run to start the season.
    while the sens suffer to a 3-3-2 start with arguably a much more vaunted D-lineup than COL, a better goalie tandem, a better forward corps based on the last two years record. not to mention the sens made the playoffs while missing four key pieces in spezza, karlsson, anderson and MM9. all those guys are back healthy this year along with bobby ryan. just how?

    it beats me……..

    • hq8

      and they just beat the penguins 1-0. yea…….

    • Tooks

      Well for one the COL Def is lead by Jack Johnson, not Benoit (yes he is playing well tho).

      Second of all we dont have a better forward corps, lol.

      Duchene
      Landeskog
      O’Reilly
      P.A. Parenteau
      Mackinnon
      Stastny
      Tanguay

      I mean come on, I love the Sens but we dont even come close to that.

      • the dude

        I think you mean Erik Johnson, Jack plays for Columbus.

  • hq8

    haha alfie in the shootout going second for detroit. tries the exact same move

  • MikeS

    That det/SJ game makes me mad. Guy im against in the pool this week has both niemi and howard. 2SO in a single game….. :(

    • hq8

      lol thats ridiculous

    • xN1Cx

      I know – actually the same thing happened to me too. I had no goalies playing…not a good start to the week.

  • hq8

    san jose just added mike brown for a 4th rounder to EDM. i guess that means kassian in the lineup when SJS visits CTC

  • hq8

    wow, flames just beat kings 3-2 in regulation.
    brrrr……………

    • Tooks

      And Monahan has 6 goals on the year!! LOL
      Love that kid!

  • Andersonfan40

    I would like to see Murray trade for Ales Hemsky at the trade deadline.
    Also I would like to see Murray fix the bottom six forwards.

    • Alcatraz

      Hemsky wont solve our bottom 6 issues therefore no need to trade for him. Conacher, macarthur, spezza, ryan, turris, michalek, zibanejad are all top 6, moving one to bototm 6. then throw in greening, condra, smith and neil who are staples there and we have a ful roster
      if anything moving one of those guys for a bottom 6 type guy would work well. I’m thinking along the likles of the aformentioned Mathias or a gregor campbell/Chris Kelly type player

  • SensChirp

    For those that don’t follow on Twitter, there are rumours that Mika Zibanejad could be called up today.

    • Alcatraz

      Whats Twitter?

      • SensChirp

        It’s useless. Don’t go to it. Stay here.

        • Alcatraz

          agreed

    • Alcatraz

      Also we may be calling up Petersson and/or Claesson while starting Lehner.

      We need to at least win the Swedish Battle vs the Detroit Red Swedes

      • Tooks

        Huge game, I think I dont even have to say that, its a given how important this game is. guys on here thought the Sens were ahead of the Red Wings, well Detroit stands 2nd in the Conference just behind PIT and seems to be the perennial Cup contender its always been.

        Sens win vs DET in DET would mean alot to this team. Prove to themselves they can play with the big boys.

  • Al

    Spezza versus Michalek… Who is more valuable to this team?

    Each have major weaknesses…

    Spezza lacks grit, and what i call honesty… He makes risky plays, but he doesn’t position himself to clean up the potential mess, he leaves that for someone else…

    Michalek is sort of one dimensional, north south… He lacks vision… On the top line with possession of the puck, he will dump it in, rather than pass to one of his quality linemates…

    If we had to choose just one it wouldn’t be easy because each have their own expectations…

    Michalek never gives up, tries hard, and would be considered Pesky… If that’s the identity this team is aiming for then Spezza is not the appropriate captain…

    • spezzerman

      eyeroll

      • SensChirp

        Yup. My eyes rolled so ferociously I tipped right over in my chair.

        • spezzerman

          Oh, that’s what that was?? I could feel the gravitational shift.

    • Tooks

      Wow this is an insanely hard question….Ummm gotta think real hard for this one….

      I think I’ll keep the PPG player…thx now never post again…

      • MrSkullhead

        Awesome.

    • Alcatraz

      ….. umm is this a serious and honest question? lol

      The use of the word “grit” diminishes your credibility all together. Grit is not quantified, and if you want Pesky, how about spezza natural Hattrick to bring us fro the grave against Phoenix?

      I ditto Tookies sentiments

    • Al

      I love Spezza, he’s the best, he gets lots and lots of points…

    • Al

      I’ll just continue on this thread, ignore or erase if you think appropriate…

      -coachability
      With Michalek, the coach can come up with a strategy and ask Michalek to follow it…
      With Spezza, the coach has to come up with a strategy specifically for him because he has lots of pros and cons…

      It was easy to coach the team last year with Spezza and Karlsson injured… The rest of the team just followed the plan… With Spezza and Karlsson back, the coach has to be super creative… It’s tough to plan ahead for the types of mistakes they make…

      • spezzerman

        tougher to replace their production

        • Al

          No doubt, Spezza gets more points, and generates a lot more points… I think for me it has to do with expectations…

          As the first line centre, i like the points Spezza generates, but i hate his liabilities…. Maybe as a second line centre the extra points he generates would negate his liabilities…

          I think both Michalek and Spezza have issues, and that might be why the coach has them playing together…

          As captain, i expect more than points… I expect him to represent us as a team… And at the moment i’m not satisfied with how he’s representing us…

  • RUSH RLZ

    Man… I had a negative reaction to the schedule when it first came out but little did I know how much it actually reeks. West coast road trips, afternoon tilts, spans of multiple days off… instead of getting right back on the horse after a tough stretch, it barely feels like the team has played or our season has started…

    Suck it NHL schedule makers!

    • spezzerman

      no different than any other team except we got the toughest road trip out of the way early and came out .500, not terrible, in fact an improvement on last years road record. I think people got too accustomed to a 48 game in 99 day Eastern conference only schedule. The rest between games is crucial to Kyle Turris maintaining his body weight ;)

      Its only a matter of time before things stabilize defensively. Can’t get any worse…can it?

    • Conor_smythe

      I just didn’t understand that Edmonton afternoon game. We get back from a western swing of late night games. back home for ONE game at the regular time – while the whole team is probably jetlagged. and then our next game is in the afternoon?

      it wasn’t even a cbc hockey day in canada, the game was on sportsnet

  • Cassidaus

    Zibby’s back!

  • Robert Cyr

    It’s on the Senators Website which confirms it officially !

    Snoopy Senior

  • SensChirp