Just about 156 days until the Ottawa Senators play their next regular season game.
With Binghamton’s season ending prematurely and the Draft still a month and a half away, the long off season is officially upon us. And while the NHL playoffs provide some entertainment, it’s going to be a long stretch of Sens-less days around these parts. But as is so often the case in Senators land, there will still be no shortage of topics to keep the discussion going. A good example- the World Championships which get started this week in Belarus.
Some notes on that tournament and a few other topics of interest to get you through the Tuesday afternoon.
-Canada’s run at the World Championships gets started this evening with a pre-tournament game against the Swiss national team. Great opportunity for Sens centre Kyle Turris as he’ll start on the team’s top line with Colorado Avalanche star Nathan MacKinnon on his left side and Alex Burrows to his right. MacKinnon was incredible during that first round series against Minnesota and will certainly be fun to watch skating alongside Turris. The first televised game is on Friday morning, when Canada takes on Stephane Da Costa and Team France.
-Originally there were supposed to be two Senators players involved in the World Championships but that has been cut to one after defenceman Marc Methot left the tournament due to back injury. Methot missed the first couple of Team Canada practices so it was clear there was an injury of some kind. The injury is not believed to be overly serious but Methot will return to Ottawa to be evaluated by the team doctors. Braydon Coburn will take his spot on the Team Canada roster.
-Speaking of injuries, still not a whole lot of information about the strange incident involving Mika Zibanejad late in the regular season. He was not included on Sweden’s roster for the World Championships but it’s not really clear if that has anything to do with the late season injury. Both the team and player seemed to downplay the incident at the time and Zibanejad indicated he felt fine in the days after. People I spoke with did not seem overly concerned about the incident and all tests conducted seemed to come back positive. Seems strange that he couldn’t crack this roster.
-The Jason Spezza rumours are going to be an ongoing story this summer but if the Senators do decide to deal Spezza, they’ll have a difficult choice to make on who will be the next Captain of the Ottawa Senators. Chris Phillips was the other lead candidate last time around but you would think at this point the team is looking for a little stability in the Captain’s role and Phillips is obviously in the twilight of his career. Erik Karlsson and Kyle Turris both seem like strong candidates.
-It’s going to be really interesting to see what kind of contract Robin Lehner gets this summer. With Craig Anderson entering the final year of his deal, it would appear we are getting close to the point where Lehner is asked to take the ball and run with it. Murray has mentioned on a couple of occasions that he likes to have two capable goaltenders on the roster but it’s hard to imagine the team signing Anderson to a new contract after this coming season. Lehner is an RFA and looks like a candidate for a short term, bridge contract. Something in the two years/2.5 mil a season range.
-For the gamers among us, the first preview for NHL 15 was released yesterday along with the candidates for the cover of the next game. Ottawa Senators defenceman Erik Karlsson is among 8 players vying for a spot on this year’s cover. He’s matched up against Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron. Click here to cast a vote for Mr. Karlsson, won’t you?
-Despite an impressive regular season, the Binghamton Senators’ year came to a disappointing end over the weekend as the BSens lost their first round series to the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins. And while it wasn’t the kind of playoff run they were hoping for, there were still plenty of good stories that came out of Bingo this year. Tomorrow, we’ll have a guest post and season review from Joy Lindsay, who has covered the BSens this year. Keep an eye out for that post!