Newfoundland – a good choice for camp or a visit

- September 23rd, 2014

The Senators made a good call in picking St. John’s N.L. as the place to open their camp.
For one thing, it’s wise to get away to give the players a chance to bond. No wives, no girlfriends, no kids, no buddies, no real-life problems, no distractions. Where better to go than an Island for all that?
And Newfoundland, well, if you haven’t been there you don’t know what you’re missing. It’s true, “Newfies” are among the friendliest folks in the world. That alone puts everyone in a positive frame of mind.
The province is beautifully scenic. And being in St. John’s, it’s not like the young guys were completely isolated and were threatened by boredom in their down time.
The famous George St. is everything it’s billed to be. The line up of pubs and bars is reminiscent of the strip in Nashville – at least a smaller version of it. This is not to say the Senators were out drinking every night. But who doesn’t get a charge out of just walking up and down a street full of night time activity?
The players golfed, management and the support staff went on a day cruise and everybody enjoyed outstanding meals at the multitude of restaurants (nothing like fresh seafood).
And after attracting only a small gathering for Sunday’s intra-squad game, and a slightly larger one for Monday afternoon’s pre-season opener, Mile One Centre was packed and lively for the surprisingly fast-paced night game against the Islanders.
“Obviously the people love hockey,” noted new Senator Dave Legwand when asked his assessment of the trip. “It was fun.”
For the Senators to be competitive this season, for them to play the defence they need to play to have a shot at the playoffs, they need to adapt the one-for-all approach. There’s no doubt they became closer during four days in Newfoundland.

Back on the beat

- September 14th, 2014

LONDON _ The rookie tournament is underway at the Budweiser Gardens. Main camp opens Thursday. Team will have an on-ice test Friday and the head for Newfoundland.
The first on-ice session will be Saturday in Newfoundland. A Red and White game will be played Sunday followed by the doubleheader against the New York Islanders Monday.
Going to be a bit of a whirlwhind.
The Senators are looking forward to getting back to work.
Had a chance to sit down with Paul MacLean Saturday and I found his comments on the captain interesting. In my opinion, the organization is leaning towards giving it to Erik Karlsson but wants to make sure he’s ready.
That is fair.
Is he ready? Being the captain is a big responsibility.
Also MacLean talked a lot about improving their play defensively. That can’t happen with the flick of a switch. That is something that will have to take place from the first day of camp. I’m going to be interested to see if they can get it done. They’ve got some of the pieces here but there are guys who have to be much better than they were last year.
MacLean and I didn’t talk at all about goaltending but I think the goalies will be better if the club plays better in front of them. Craig Anderson and Robin Lehner’s numbers weren’t great last year but this club gave up Grade A chances.
Camp is just around the corner. Curtis Lazar looked good with Matt Puempel in the first game here. Lets of hockey left to be played before those decisions are close to being made.

Hello everybody

- September 2nd, 2014

Trust you had a nice summer.
I see Bobby is still driving everybody to the edge.
I’ve taken some time off. Refreshed, rested and ready. Played a lot of golf lately but not very well.
Training camp doesn’t open until Sept. 18.
Rookie camp goes around Sept. 12 I believe.
They have the tournament and then get underway here.
Been a different off-season for sure.
Jason Spezza is gone. Lots of other smaller changes.
So, where do you want to start here?
Spoke with Bobby Ryan today. He said he wants to stay. The organization wants to keep him. The two sides have held several talks and will continue to discuss.
I’m not sure anything will happen on that front quickly.
It is called negotiations.
Not sure if anything will happen with Marc Methot. Don’t even think the two sides are close on that one. Different ballparks.
In any case, nice to be back. Will try to come here often.

Lehner gets his deal

- July 31st, 2014

Robin Lehner has signed on the dotted line.
The Senators kept their last remaining restricted free agent in the fold by agreeing to terms on a three-year, $6.675 million deal Thursday morning.
The 23-year Lehner will make an average of $2.225 million over the course of the agreement. He will pull down $1.5 million next season, $2.025 million in 2015-16 and $3.15 million in 2016-17.
Lehner, who has been the club’s backup to Craig Anderson the last two seasons, finished with a 12-15-6 record in 36 appearances last season. He had a .913 save-percentage and a 3.06 GAA.
This deal sets up the Senators to make the Lehner the start down the road and also gives the club the flexibility to decide what they want to do with Anderson before the end of the season.
Anderson, who has been the club’s clear-cut No. 1, is heading into the final year of his contract. The Senators haven’t had any discussions on an extension.
Lehner is the last remaining restricted free agent the club has to sign. Senators GM Bryan Murray has intensified discussions with Newport Sports for wingers Bobby Ryan and Clarke MacArthur.
It’s believed at the same time the club agreed to terms with Lehner the Senators also held discussions on Ryan and MacArthur. All three are represented by Don Meehan, Mark Guy and Craig Oster, who are partners at Newport.

All eyes on P.K. with clock ticking

- July 30th, 2014

The arbitration hearing for P.K. Subban is set for Friday.
It won’t get there. It can’t get there. The guy has too much talent, he has too much heart and he has no shortage of desire. Subban is one of the guys the Habs should build their team around.
I think he’s a tremendous talent and a excellent player.
I don’t honestly believe the Montreal Canadiens want to go into an arbitration hearing with Subban they know they are going to lose.
The last guy to get awarded $7.5 million was Shea Weber.
Subban is going to get more. He will easily get $8 million and is seeking $8.5 million. On the open market, he’d be a $10 million player.
The Habs don’t need this battle. Their fanbase doesn’t want it.
My guess is he settles for an eight year deal worth $64 million.
I told Doug Hempstead if Subban doesn’t get that contract then I owe him a coffee. I just don’t see the Habs want to make this battle personal.
Get it done and get it done quickly. I really believe Habs’ GM Marc Bergevin will. That makes the most sense. Subban’s agent Don Meehan is a dealmaker.