(UPDATE 2:08 PM)- The Sens are on the ice in Winnipeg and here is how MacLean has the forwards lined up, Michalek-Spezza-Silfverberg, Latendresse-Turris-Alfredsson, Greening-Smith-Neil, Regin-O'Brien-Condra. The defence pairings are as follows, Methot-Karlsson, Phillips-Gonchar, Wiercioch-Benoit
In the depths of the NHL lockout, with the NHL and the NHLPA at a compelete standstill, it was hard to imagine this day.
Yet here we sit, just over 24 hours away from the first game of the National Hockey League season. And to make it even better, it's a game that features our Ottawa Senators. Tomorrow in Winnipeg, the Sens officially drop the puck on the 2013 season.
Even with the game just a day away, there are still a couple unanswered questions facing Sens Head Coach Paul MacLean.
While the forward ranks seem to be all sorted out (Daugavins a likely healthy scratch) the coach has folks guessing when it comes to the six blueliners as well as the starting goalie.
On defence, it's either going to be Andre Benoit or Mark Borowiecki that grabs that sixth and final opening on the blueline. Patrick Wiercioch has carried over the good vibes of a strong start in Bingo and has impressed the club to the point where he'll be in the line up to start the season in Winnipeg.
As we discussed yesterday, Benoit likely has the inside track considering he has a little more experience and has played with Wiercioch most of the season.
The situation in net is a little more complex.
Craig Anderson is this team's number one goalie. Nobody can dispute that. But MacLean is faced with the dilemma of knowing both Lehner and Bishop having been playing actual hockey games for the last few months, and as a result, might be better suited to start right now. That's the argument anyway. I still think MacLean goes with Anderson in Winnipeg tomorrow.
We shall see.
The Sens are expected to skate in Winnipeg today. Stay tuned for updates from that practice.
- Just wanted to quickly say thanks to everyone that joined in either of the two SensChirp Drafts last night. As I mentioned to some, I'm going to work on tracking down a prize for each winner. Stay tuned for details on that front. Of course, I plan on winning both pools so the prize may just be a firm pat on the back.
- Bryan Murray can say he's comfortable with the blueline he has but that certainly hasn't stopped the Sens GM from searching the market to see what's available. Beyond his search for a trade, it's believed the team talked to a couple of guys about potentially coming in for a tryout. For now, they'll try to get the job done with Wiercioch/Benoit/Borowiecki but you can guarantee Murray will continue to look for help back there.
- Couple announcements from Sens President Cyril Leeder this morning. First off, the home opener is officially sold out! Also, each fan 19 and over who attends the opener will be receiving a voucher for a free beer, courtesy of Molson. Drink up, Sens fans!