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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.

Carolina: Coming in hot

- January 16th, 2015

Speaking big picture, the Hurricanes have had a sorry season. They are 28th overall with 14-24-5 record.
But their year hasn’t been bad at all.
The year we refer to is 2015, of course. Since Jan. 1, Carolina is 4-1-1. The only regulation time loss was a 3-2 final against the Nashville Predators – the best team in the league thus far.
So no, the notion that the Senators could be “taking the Hurricanes lightly” is absurd. Just as is the notion they could overlook any team in the league.
If the Senators are going to take a run at a playoff spot – and yes, I still believe they can – I think they need to win their three remaining games before the all-star break – Carolina, in New York to play the Rangers, and then back home to face the Maple Leafs. Two of the three would keep their pulse beating.
Stuff I’m working on now for the website/newspaper includes the Senators habit this years of losing after a big win, Erik Karlsson’s improved numbers under Dave Cameron, and the opinion that Craig Anderson needs to run with the ball.

Neil getting closer

- January 4th, 2015

Forgot to mention in Cheapseats that I wrote Sunday night – earlier in the day, Chris Neil practiced with teammates for the first time since suffering a knee injury Dec. 11.
It was originally expected that he would miss 4-6 weeks, and it’s looking like that timetable is holding.
“At times when you’re playing you catch it,” Neil said of his knee, “and when (the pain) goes away in 15 to 20 seconds you know you’re getting close to being ready. When it lingers around for a couple of minutes, you’ve still got a little bit of time to go.”
And is it lingering now?
“I’ve been feeling pretty good the last couple of days,” said Neil.

It’s as easy as A(not)BCD

- December 11th, 2014

Good day Off the Posts readers …

I’m going to try something new here. On Senators game days, I want to start making predictions on that night’s game and keep my record, just to show you all how smart I am.
I’ll call it the A(not)BCD record: After (not) Before Cameron Dave.
Clever eh? Even mildly?
Anyway, I’m going to try and add to this particular post as the day goes on and I sift through the interviews I’ve done in both dressing rooms, and with both coaches, throughout the morning.
But for tonight’s Ottawa-Los Angeles showdown (drum roll please) … I’m feeling a Senators 3, Kings 1 final.
Winning goal – Bobby Ryan.
I just think the coaching change will give the Senators an extra boost. They’re not nearly the team the Kings are, but L.A. is coming off a 1-0 loss in Buffalo and hasn’t scoring much lately, and the hosts are going to have to be on their best defensive responsibilities behaviour.
Now go ahead, discuss amongst yourselves.

Singin’ the Blues

- November 22nd, 2014

Perusing the St. Louis Post-Dispatch this morning, I see the Blues are not thrilled with the way the strength of their club, the defence, has played in back-to-back losses against Boston (2-0) and Montreal (4-1) on their current road trip.
This is not exactly good news for the Senators.
Ken Hitchcock will be demanding the strongest of performances from his Blues-liners, forwards and goalie this afternoon in Ottawa. St. Louis has not lost three in a row this season, and Hitch will be desperate to stop a slide before it gets out of control – like the one the Blues were on while losing their last six regular season games of the 2013-14 campaign.
All signs are pointing to Brian Elliott getting the start in goal for St. Louis. The ex-Senator has a 1-0-1 career record against his old team, including a .934 save percentage and 1.94 GAA.
Elliott stopped just 15 of 17 shots in his last outing, the loss at TD Garden Tuesday.
I see the Senators having a very difficult time scoring goals this afternoon … even Bobby Ryan, who has one in each of his last two games and 15 in 20 career games against St. Louis. Not so much because of Elliott, who once complained that the ice was too slippery (imagine that) at Canadian Tire Centre, but because the team will be determined to rebuild the wall it generally sets up in front of its net.
I see the Senators, who were 4-12-2 in afternoon games last season, starting this term’s schedule of matinees with a 0-1-0 record. In my opinion, the only way they don’t lose is if Robin Lehner plays the best game of his still young NHL career.

The Backup Plan

- November 20th, 2014

So the Senators are catching yet another break as their opponents once again have decided to start a backup goalie against them.
But how much of a break is it?
Granted, Pekka Rinne is one of the best ‘tenders in the world. Anytime you can avoid him, it’s a plus. But it’s not like Rinne has been lights out against Ottawa in the past. His lifetime record versus the Senators is 3-3-0, with a soft .895 save percentage and 2.99 goals against average.
Carter Hutton, who will start in goal for Nashville tonight, has never before faced the Senators. A 28-year old from Thunder Bay who was not drafted into the NHL, Hutton is 0-1 in two appearances this season. In his third NHL season, he owns a 20-13-0-5 record, a .911 save percentage and a 2.59 GAA.
As a backup making a rare appearance, Hutton will be geared up to show he’s worthy of his position. And the Predators might be inclined to bear down a little harder, knowing Rinne is not in their net.
Meanwhile, the Senators haven’t exactly taken advantage of backup goalies this season. Through their first 17 games, they have faced eight second stringers. Their record against them is 4-3-1.