The Senators had the road trip nobody expected by going 4-0-1.
I can tell you with great certainty Don Brennan and I felt they’d make a playoff push if they could just get their act together and we’ve even talked about possible first round opponents. Don wanted me to book rooms in every Eastern Conference city at one point but I did hold off on that part of his request. It has happened but the Senators aren’t out of the woods by any stretch of the imagination.
Two points behind the Florida Panthers and four points behind the Boston Bruins heading into tonight the Senators still don’t control their own destiny. Yes, they can keep winning, but they need to the Bruins to keep losing and have two games in hand on the Panthers.
The Panthers have the same issue in net the Senators faced when Andrew Hammond went in the net last month against Montreal: Florida will essentially have to use two minor-leaguers because Roberto Luongo and Al Montoya are both out. Who says the Panthers won’t get the miraculous goaltending Ottawa has gotten?
Yes, Hammond is the flavour of the month and rightfully so. He has won and he keeps on winning. There is not a chance he should come out of the net. You ride the hot hand until the the heat is turned off. Plus, the whole scene with Craig Anderson was just bizarre Wednesday being named the starter and then not ready to play. I’m not sure how he stayed as the backup then.
The Senators were 14 points back of a playoff spot on Feb. 7. They were in 26th place in the league and it has taken seven straight wins to make up ground. I asked them that day they were 14 back if they were shocked at where they stood? I sure was and so was Brennan.
They are going in the right direction but unless Boston continues to falter then the Senators don’t have the upper hand here. The good thing is Boston has given everybody in the East hope because the Bruins keep on losing.
Hammond should stay in the net against the Buffalo Sabres.
He should play against the Flames Sunday if they win or if he has a good game and they lose.
Anderson must now play the waiting game to get back in the net and when he does go back of course he has to be ready. If he’s not comfortable, he’s not comfortable but I felt Dave Cameron was in an awkward position when he named Anderson the starter and then declared a few minutes later it would Hammond.
The Senators are back in the playoff hunt but they aren’t in the playoff picture yet. That still has to be achieved.
The naive hate when Don and I are right.
About "Bruce Garrioch"
Bruce Garrioch is an award-winning journalist and a must-read in the hockey community. A Day-Oner at the Ottawa Sun, Garrioch is one of the top sports journalists in the country, covering the Senators since their return to the NHL in 1992-93. A 2009 winner of an Ontario Newspaper Award for his coverage of the Dany Heatley saga, Garrioch has a strong ability to break news and brings inside information with his Sunday NHL column, one of the most popular in the country. It is read by GMs, players and coaches who want the inside scoop. Garrioch has covered the 2008 Stanley Cup final for Sun Media, the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City and 2006 Games in Turin, Italy. Mainly, Garrioch has the pulse of the Ottawa Senators. If people want to know what's happening they turn to him to get the info on contracts, negotiations, signings, trades and, of course, games.
The Senators had the road trip nobody expected by going 4-0-1.
Jared Cowen got the book thrown at him by the NHL.
The Senators’ defenceman won’t see any action in the Golden State after he was given a three-game suspension by the NHL’s department of player safety Monday for his hit on Florida Panthers forward Jussi Jokinen Saturday.
That means he won’t play Wednesday in Anaheim, Thursday in Los Angeles or Saturday in San Jose. Cowen, a repeat offender, was mystified by the decision.
“I’m disappointed. Three game is a bit much. I’m trying to be a physical player out there and do my job. If I don’t do that I’m not in the lineup. To do that, you’ve got to play on the edge. That’s what I was doing. I didn’t hurt anyone and I didn’t mean to hurt anyone. It’s a bit over the top but there’s nothing I can do about, said Cowen Monday.
Cowen said his previous suspension for a headshot on Buffalo’s Zemgus Girgensons came back to haunt him.
“Different season. I don’t think it should be related but that’s how they deal with it. There’s nothing I can do about it. They have their way of going about things and that’s just the way it is,” he said.
Cowen had a hearing with the department of player safety Monday and learned of the decision after practice. While Cowen was given a two-minute minor interference when the incident occurred, he did admit to making contact late.
“Goals scorers goals and there’s no repercussions for that but if I make hits sometimes I get suspended, lose money and don’t play for my team. If I do that then I don’t play,” Cowen said.
Marc Methot will be a stay-at-home defenceman.
The Senators confirmed Monday they’ve signed the veteran defenceman to a four-year contract extension worth an average of $4.9 million per-season. The deal includes a 10-team no-trade clause.
The decision to keep Methot means he won’t be dealt at the NHL trade deadline March 2 and keeps a reliable blueliner beside Erik Karlsson. The two have good chemistry and the Senators didn’t want him going anywhere.
Methot, an Ottawa native, told reporters last week he didn’t want to go anywhere. The two sides had a difficult time agreeing on term because Methot’s camp originally wanted a six-year deal and the Senators didn’t want to go further than four. They finally got down to brass tacks when Methot agreed to go to four years.
“When you look at Columbus, maybe not so much this season, they kind of had a big rebuild but a lot of their young guys had a great run last year,” said Methot last Tuesday.
“It’s no different here. We have a lot of good young players that are coming in and the team is growing. People need to be aware with guys like (Mike Hoffman, Mika Zibanejad, Curtis Lazar and Cody Ceci) that’s a good sign. At the same time, there’s a lot of growing pains and we’re going through that right now. Unfortunately, for them to get better, they have to play a lot. You go through these patches. You’d like to think our future looks bright.”
The future looks bright with Methot on the blueline.
The Senators have Sunday off.
I’m at the Binghamton-Toronto Marlies game at the Canadian Tire Centre as I write this. The Senators have some roster decisions to make, specifically with Chris Neil gone for about a month with a broken thumb.
That means a forward will be recalled after this game. It sure sounds like the plan is to leave Jean-Gabriel Pageau in Binghamton for awhile. Who know? He may even help Binghamton make the playoffs. They are in tough.
The Senators are in the midst of a five-game homestand that will go a long way in deciding what they do at the NHL trade deadline. They are working hard to sign defenceman Marc Methot and it sounds like progress is being made on that front. I think it’s important they keep him.
They want to keep the actual discussions quiet because we know they took a turn for the worse in September and if they can get this done under a cloak of silence without daily updates then everybody will be happy. As long as they keep talking then that’s good news.
A lot of rambling here today I know but I haven’t been here in awhile. Do you think they should sign Marc Methot? I do.
The Senators made a pitch for Evander Kane.
They were serious about trying to bring him in as a top six forward. There may be concerns but those exist about every player. The Senators liked the look of this one.
Kane has scored 30 goals in this league though it should be noted his production has gone down steadily since he did that and he had overstayed his welcome in Winnipeg.
The Sabres paid the price to get him and the reality is they didn’t have to give up a lot to get him. Tyler Myers was a big piece but Drew Stafford is an unrestricted free agent. The two prospects? Who knows they’ll work out.
The Senators weren’t big on giving up young players to make this deal work and they certainly didn’t have the draft picks to make this happen. Tim Murray had three picks in the first round to make this deal right.
You wonder what direction the Senators are going to take here. Are they going to sell off a lot of assets at the deadline? I doubt it. Teams don’t want to take players with a year left on their contracts.
By the way, I do think Dave Cameron will be back next year and I’m not convinced Bryan Murray is going anywhere. Unless his health won’t allow it, I think he wants to stay on the job. I really do. He’s at the office every day, he’s still working the phones and as I tell everyone he is doing well _ battling through every day.