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About "Don Brennan"

Don Brennan is a Day 1 employee of the Ottawa Sun. He has spent the majority of his 23 years as a sports reporter/columnist, covering the Senators since their return to the NHL in 1992, and prior to that writing about the Rough Riders, 67's and other sports. Brennan also wrote a Page 6 column in the Sun for nine months. A native of North Bay, Brennan moved to attend Centennial College in 1978. He remained in Toronto for a decade, working first as a freelancer, than an editor with the Toronto Sun. Brennan has lived in Ottawa full time ever since.

Dionne Warwick

- February 27th, 2015

Of course you all knew that “Do you know the way to San Jose?” was a 1968 hit sung by Dionne Warwick and written by Burt Bacharach (music) and Hal David (lyrics), but were you also aware that the Sharks are 0-for-February?
That’s right, they have lost all seven games at the Shark Tank this month, although they did salvage a point in two of them.
We’re flying to San Jose in a couple of hours, but I just wanted to update folks of that, and also say this is an off-day (other than the travel) for the Senators.
Also wanted to mention that at Staples Center Thursday night we saw former Kings owner (and ex-jailbird) Bruce McNall, and outside the building following the game we walked alongside porn king Ron Jeremy, who we later spotted “interviewing” a couple of dazzling young ladies outside of our hotel.
Oh, and did I mention that yours truly correctly predicted the Senators would win both their games in SoCal? There is audio proof from a TSN1200 pre-game show.
But I did not expect they would shut out the Ducks and the Kings.
Welcome to Hamburglar Mania. More coverage to follow.

The department of player safety …. and hypocrites

- February 24th, 2015

Jared Cowen gets a three-game suspension which also costs him $113,000, which is a lot of money for anybody, because his timing was a LITTLE off when he hit Jussi Jokinen. It was not a shot to the head, which the league itself admitted, and he was only doing his job by laying a check on a player as he crosses the blue line. Jokinen, who was not injured on the play, would have avoided the contact altogether had he not been admiring his own pass, and been skating with his head up, as we were all taught to do as kids.
But the league is looking out for player’s safety, and therefore needs to punish Cowen, who was guilty only of being a second late with the check he is supposed to make.
Meanwhile …….
Jamie Benn punches Henrik Zetterberg in the side of the head not once, but twice, off a face-off in the Dallas-Detroit game the other night. When you punch somebody in the head, the intention is pretty clear.
Benn gets a two minute penalty and nothing more. And Zetterberg is out of the lineup with a concussion.
Where is the concern for safety here?

Cheering for the story

- February 21st, 2015

Beat reporters and columnists hate nothing worse than being called a homer.
If you’re a homer, you can not be trusted to give an unbiased opinion. As a fan of the Chicago Bears, I want an unbiased opinion from columnists at the Chicago Sun Times. I care what the fans say, but some fans (not the ones who read Off The Posts, of course!) tend to overlook weaknesses of their favourite players. They see their teams through rose-coloured glasses. That’s all well and fine, but as a fan of the Bears, I want a true and accurate account of what’s going on with my team, the negatives as well as the positives. If a particular player is to blame for a touchdown against my team, and I didn’t notice the missed assignment, I want to be able to read it was his fault.
I want to know Joe Schmo is Joe Schmuck, if that’s who he really is.
As a beat reporter and columnist, you sometimes have to walk a fine line.
If a particular player gives you inside stuff, if he helps you do your job, you don’t want to torch him in the papers. That’s how you lose your source. Better to overlook his particular shortcomings, if it’s possible.
A beat reporter and columnist will cheer for a particular player or somebody with the team, if he develops a relationship with that person, because it’s impossible not to wish good things for people you like.
But you can’t cheer for the team. It’s not professional. It’s not cool.
Personally, and most of the beat reporters and columnists I know share this mindset, I cheer for my stories. I want them to be interesting and accurate. As Cheap Trick used to sing, “I want you to want me” … as your provider of news and views regarding your team.
I also want to write stories about the unlikely, because I find them entertaining to cover as much as to read.
All of this rambling is to say I think there would be no more interesting and entertaining story to write and read than if the Senators made a miraculous run to a playoff spot right now – with 27-year-old “journeyman” Andrew Hammond leading the charge.
Is it going to happen? Logic says no. Everybody says no. But that’s not a very good story, right? The expected finish to the season actually playing out? How boring.
But what a great story if it did.
For the most part, everybody thinks the last wild card spot winner will need about 96 points. To get there, the Senators would require 40 more points, or a record of 20-6 down the stretch. For a team that hasn’t won two in a row since Dec. 29-Jan.3 – and hasn’t won more than two in a row since the first week of the season – that is highly improbable. But still, not impossible.
Rather than look at the TPN (total points needed), let’s break down the task the Senators face.
As of this moment, they are nine points behind the Bruins, who sit in the final wild card spot. That’s a lot, but better than the 14 back they were a couple of weeks ago – and they haven’t made a move as much as Boston has by falling back.
Let’s say they somehow win the two games in hand they have on the Bruins. That would leave them five back. They also play Boston twice more at Canadian Tire Centre, on March 10 and March 19. Win those and they would be one point back, right? Suddenly, there would be real hope.
Now I know there are other teams involved in this race. But only the Florida Panthers and Philadelphia Flyers are between the Senators and Bruins, and they have played one and two more games than Ottawa, respectively.
And they ARE the Panthers and Flyers.
Columbus and New Jersey are one point behind the Senators, but this is no time to be looking in the rear view mirror.
Again, none of this is likely to happen. It makes more sense to look at the Senators prospects to see what kind of team they’ll have in the future, or hope they slip down the standings to improve their draft position.
But that’s not much of a story, and I’m cheering for the story.
At the very least, I’d like to see the Senators go on a winning streak – God knows they’re due – just to make things interesting.
Tonight’s game against the Panthers is bigger than we are giving it credit. Imagine if they win this, and then somehow take their next three games before the trade deadline. Three in California, at that.
I’d like to see how many points they’d be back then, and count how many people start considering it possible they work themselves back into the playoff picture.
Go story go!

Pageau, Pageau, Pageau, Pageau

- February 17th, 2015

Jean-Gabriel Pageau will be recalled from Binghamton to fill Clarke MacArthur’s roster spot.

The Hamburglar, Big Mac and more…

- February 17th, 2015

Andrew “The Hamburglar” Hammond will make his first NHL start when the host the Montreal Canadiens Wednesday, but that’s only the main story I’m working on. Some pretty interesting sidebar stuff too.
The Senators made it official by calling up Chris Driedger to be his backup. I should say here that Driedger is being summoned because there are no other options. Craig Anderson continues to be sidelined by a hand bruise (it’s almost been a month now) and Robin Lehner is, well, being evaluated.
That’s the only update the Senators provided on Lehner and Clarke MacArthur, who collided and were injured in Monday’s loss to Carolina. The Senators refused to reveal the state secret that is the origin of their injuries, whether it be a shoulder or a knee or, especially with MacArthur, a possible concussion.
Driedger, a 20-year-old, third round pick of Ottawa’s in 2012, appears to be having a rough first season as a pro. With Evansville of the ECHL, he has a 8-25-2 record with a 3.75 GAA and .888 save percentage. Maybe the defence is lousy, I don’t know. But he’s the only other goalie the Senators available for an NHL contract, so “he’s next in the pecking order”, as Super Dave Cameron said.
The Senators have one other move to make, with Big Mac out, and this one might have already been announced by the time I hit send.
I think they’re going to call up Matt Puempel, a LW like MacArthur, and give him his first NHL chance. But that’s just my guess. They could also call up Cole Schneider, a right winger who is having a good season, or Jean-Gabriel Pageau (and move Curtis Lazar back to centre) or Colin Greening.
At first I thought it might be possible they’d just move Mark Borowiecki up and give him his first shot as a left winger. It has been discussed, apparently. But Super Dave said they were calling somebody up, so we’ll go with that.
I think it will be Puempel because it’s past time to look at the young prospects and see what they can do at this level. Puempel is my guess because he’s a left winger and a first rounder … Schneider, an undrafted 24-year old, has 16 goals and is tied with Puempel for third in B-Sens scoring, with 31 points.
Stay tuned.