Game could be postponed

- October 22nd, 2014

The Senators and Maple Leafs are still scheduled to play but that will likely change with officials leaning towards postponing the game.
A decision on whether the game is played is expected later today. The Senators are consulting with the RCMP, the Ottawa Police and the Mayor’s office.
Senators owner Eugene Melnyk, president Cyril Leeder and NHL officials at the headquarters in New York are monitoring the shooting incidents downtown and a decision will be made later today.
“It’s fairly fluid right now. Right now we’re in communication mode with the league and local police authorities,” Leeder told HockeyCentral at noon in Toronto.
“We’ve been in a controlled lockdown at Canadian Tire Centre. We’re doing everything we can that if the situation clears that we’re in a good situation.”
Coach Paul MacLean said his thoughts were with those involved.
“I have been (briefed). It’s close to home. It’s a tragic event that we don’t have all the details on,” said MacLean. “We’re just waiting like everybody else. All we can do is make sure our loved ones are okay. Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone involved.”
MacLean said he was still preparing his team to play.
“This is a significant event,” added MacLean. “Everyone is going to think a little bit deeper about things. At this point, we still have to prepare for the game.
“(Postponing) the game is the NHL’s business. If they feel it’s warrented I’m sure that what’s it’ll be. (President) Cyril Leeder will be talking to (owner) Eugene (Melnyk) and if they feel that’s the right thing to do that’s what they’ll do.”
Leeder added: “Safety and security is first and foremost.”
While the Maple Leafs didn’t skate this morning, they are staying downtown and a club official told the Toronto Sun’s Terry Koshan they have been told not to leave the building.​
Defenceman Chris Phillips said he would understand if the game is postponed.
“No question,” said Phillips.
Phillips added: “I think we all feel pretty safe and have a sense of security playing in Canada. You see it happen around the world and you never expect to happen in your own backyard. It’s pretty scary.”
Neither the Leafs or Senators are scheduled to play until Saturday.​ Toronto play-by-play man Joe Bowen told Sportsnet radio in Toronto the scene from his downtown hotel room was chaotic.
“I’m in my room and I’m hiding under the bed,” said Bowen. “It’s frightening. Everybody is being told just stay in room. I’m watching out the window and there is something going on (down) on the street.”
The Leafs had a meal and meeting at 11 a.m. They are waiting word on the game.

Back to Battle

- October 21st, 2014

The Battle of Ontario is back.
No it isn’t what it used to be in its heyday but a visit by the Toronto Maple Leafs is always a good night.
The Senators come into this one on a roll. They are also going to catch the Leafs on the back end of a back-to-back so Ottawa has to take advantage of this situation.
The Leafs will be tired. By the time they arrive at their hotel _ after clearing customs _ it will be 1 a.m. at the earliest. These are the ones the Senators can’t afford to give away the advantage.
The Senators have gotten off to a good start but there is plenty of work to be done. They have been living dangerously.
This team needs to put 60 minutes together. That hasn’t always been the case this year. The Senators can’t have Mika Zibanejad remain pointless much longer. He is being relied upon to be a second-line centre so they need him.
Just an update: There were no changes today and coach Paul MacLean wouldn’t name his starting goalie. I suspect it will be Craig Anderson. I also think it’s time to get Jared Cowen back in the lineup.

Sitting Cowen

- October 17th, 2014

You have to think this will end soon.
Jared Cowen was signed to be one of their top defencemen. He struggled in the first three games but he won’t sit forever.
It sure looked like he will sit Saturday but that won’t be decided until after the morning skate.
I know everybody here feels he should be dealt.
I don’t see that happening _ at least not right now.
My sense is the Senators want this guy to play big minutes every night. Trading him doesn’t seem like an option. It will certainly become one if he keeps struggling.
The plan is to get Cowen back on track. To do that, he has to play. Patrick Wiercioch had his moments of struggle against Colorado Thursday night.
By the way, there is no update on Marc Methot. He hasn’t skated and there is no timetable for him to skate with his back injury.
Do you think the Senators should deal Cowen?
I’d say not at this juncture.

Randomly Speaking

- October 14th, 2014

As the Senators approach the 1/20.5th (I think) mark of their schedule, I feel it’s about time to look at what they’ve done to this point and what their prospects (not just Curtis Lazar) look like going forward.
1) They have to be very happy with a 2-1 start – given all three games were on the road – even though one was against the Florida Panthers, who could challenge the Buffalo Sabres for best peewee team of the year. But if that was a free spot on the bingo card, facing Tampa wasn’t. And Nashville could be a playoff team. So gaining four out of a possible six points that has them third in the division and tied for third in the conference is more than decent.
2) Filling the skates of Jason Spezza as the team’s new No. 1 centre, Kyle Turris is the Senators top scorer (and tied for 28th in the league) with three points. His wrist shot for a goal in Nashville was as good as you’re going to see, and he made a pretty nifty setup for Clarke MacArthur to score the lone goal in Sunrise. All in all, a good start for Turris.
3) On the other hand, Bobby Ryan is not exactly jumping out of the gate. He had just one assist in the three games, and generally speaking seemed to lack jump in the first two. But I thought he did play much better against the Panthers, and while he was slow in trying to intercept a pass that turned into a power play goal against Nashville, he made up for it by diving on the back check to take one away from the Panthers. Ryan would be the first to tell you he needs to start shooting the puck more. He put just four pucks on net on the road trip.
4) Erik Karlsson is being Erik Karlsson, which is both good and bad. He is generating chances, but he is getting beat defensively. He was the pylon that led to a breakaway for the Panthers in the first, and a little later he was also caught up ice for a Florida odd-man rush that turned into a hit post. As I noted on Twitter last night, I wonder how hard it is for the Senators to grasp a simple concept – when Karlsson goes on a rush, somebody has to drop back and cover for him.
5) I nailed the goaltending rotation before the trip began, with Craig Anderson starting the opener, Robin Lehner getting Tampa, and the Senators going back to Anderson in Florida, where he used to play, still lives, and has a dominating record as the visiting goalie. With five goals against and a shutout thus far, it seems to be working. Note: Watch for Anderson to start Thursday against Colorado because a) it’s another one of his former teams, b) it’s the home opener and he is still officially ranked as the team’s No. 1 goalie and c) he did throw up that goose egg.
6) I think they should tell Curtis Lazar to get an apartment. He played well in his first two games and he’s only going to get better. If for nothing else, the Senators need his physical play up front. They don’t have enough guys who finish their check the way the 19-year old does.
7) Of the two veterans coming off the healthy scratch list to make their season debuts against Florida, Erik Condra was more effective than Colin Greening. Of the four forwards who have now seen press box time – Lazar, Mike Hoffman, Condra and Greening – Greening has to be low man on the totem pole, and not just for salary reasons. Still, I do like the way he at least occasionally throws his big body around, especially when they don’t have enough muscle up front. I still look at it this way – do you go with Lazar or Greening? And do you go with Hoffman over Condra. The latter is the tougher call.
8) Who do you use as the sixth defenceman against the Avalanche, Patrick Wiercioch or Jared Cowen? I don’t think Mark Borowiecki or Eric Gryba are moving from their starting posts, at least not at the moment. I still seem to be one of the few outside the organization who hasn’t given up on Cowen, although his performance in the Nashville game had me teetering the other way.
9) And finally (for now), Alex Chiasson was very impressive, especially against Florida. I like the way he works down low and can hold onto the puck. He also continues to exhibit good offensive skills. Did you hear Nick Paul scored a hat trick for North Bay the other night? That Spezza trade is going to be a good one for the Senators.

Sitting and waiting

- October 11th, 2014

TAMPA _ There are no changes Saturday night against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The sitting will have to sit and wait.
Colin Greening scratched. Erik Condra scratched. Patrick Wiercioch scratched. Younger players are getting a chance to play and that’s the way it will stay _ at least here against the Lightning.
The Senators just went through a three-week training camp. Making changes at this juncture would seem odd.
” I think for all the guys we’re talking about it’s patience, for myself, for the group, patience is an important part of our vocabulary this year. We have to make sure we are making decisions based on what’s best for the team,” said coach Paul MacLean this year.
Sooner or later, Greening will come into focus if he doesn’t start playing. He is in the first year of a three-year, $7.1 million extension. He’s not making that kind of money to sit. They have to get him going at some point or another.
The injury to Methot has taken some pressure off lineup decisions. It won’t be that way forever.
Enjoy the game. Don’t forget our live chat at ottawasun.com