What oh what to do for post #1,000? A short retrospective seems most appropriate, although the usual updates will follow below.
A lot has changed in the blogging world since my first effort nearly ten years ago. Back then there were relatively few blogs dedicated to the Sens and for a while it was essentially Jeremy Milks at Black Aces and The Silver Seven. Most of the coverage of the Sens for fans was from the traditional media which then (as now) does a middling to poor job (between The Ottawa Sun, The Ottawa Citizen, and TSN 1200 I think the Citizen does the best job at the moment). I started this blog back in 2011 and at the time there was still space for daily news coverage of the team. My driving motivation at the time was to have a single source that included all the vital news about the team and organisation. These days (and this is why I don’t do the daily posts anymore) I think Nichols at The Sixth Sens and Travis Yost over at HockeyBuzz cover that material better than anyone. I still think B-Sens coverage is lacking in general (hats off to Jeff Ulmer’s efforts), with prospect coverage an embarrassment (over the past ten years Hockey’s Future still hasn’t found a good writer for the Sens), and the draft coverage is bad to awful. It’s these latter categories that primarily keep me posting here–offering content where I can contribute to Sens coverage in a meaningful way.
So what have you, the readers, come here for? Going by the numbers I can take an educated guess (although given how WordPress originally computed views, there’s some ambiguity about the 2011 numbers):
1. My 2011 wrap-up of the Sens Development Camp – this was in the early days of the blog when I was still able to post links on HFboards
2. My look at Redline Report’s 2013 NHL Draft Guide – this guide is expensive and not widely available, so the opinions are something draft junkies are keen to read
3. My review of Ottawa’s 2011 Draft – the best Bryan Murray draft and also when I was able to link on HFBoards
4. My initial (2012) look at free agent college signings in the NHL – I still haven’t seen anyone else look at this and I think it (along with my update) are a valuable resource for those wanting to see how such players pan out
5. My initial (2012) look at undrafted success stories in the NHL – as above
I’m happiest with my work on the draft (both predictive as well as tracking how accurate scouts are), and the impact of undrafted free agents. I have the most fun with my draft work and I feel like in the next couple of years I’ll have enough data to make some conclusions draft itself. On the whole I’m someone interested in facts, data, and statistics, albeit I’m not great on Corsi/Fenwick–either due to age, stupidity, or having traditional stats drilled so deeply into my brain I go into a Don Brennanesque-stupor when I try to work with them.
One thing I’ve learned over the years is what referral-sites bring people to a small blog like this: links on a well-established hockey forum are a big boost, Twitter is terrible (but necessary), and Reddit is good. The quality of your material isn’t particularly important, nor really is the substance, although long-term both of those do matter. There are a lot of voices in the hockey blogging world, which makes it harder to be heard (as a comparable, I also blog about Dragon Age (the video game), and get over ten-times the views).
As for my favourite people covering the Sens, the two referenced above go without saying; I am also a big fan of Amelia’s pieces on The Silver Seven. I have no direct connection to any of these fine people and simply appreciate the quality of their work.
Enough reminiscing, back to news & notes.
The NHL has implemented rule changes which, as per usual, are a mixed bag of pointless, middling, and interesting. The push against diving is only going to piss people off and there’s little chance officials will call it consistently; the spin-o-rama change is pointless; otherwise the changes seem solid, albeit we’re stuck with the NHL’s awful officiating.
Ottawa’s training camp roster is out and there are some interesting forward PTOs on the docket (not that I expected any FA signings for the Sens): 31-year old Brad Mills (34 NHL games) and 25-year old Nick Palmieri (former Devil has 87 NHL games under his belt).
The Sens rookies went 2-1 during the rookie tournament with no particularly surprising performances.
The Sens announced a two-year agreement with Evansville, which replaces Elmira as their ECHL-affiliate and will alleviate the roster crunch in Binghamton. The former IHL franchise was formerly affiliated with Columbus and did not make the playoffs in either of those two seasons. The most interesting player currently on the Evansville roster is former Pittsburgh draft pick (4-120/08) Nathan Moon.
Bryan Murray admitted the obvious that the Sens defense corps wasn’t any good…and yet he’s brought back the exact same group. I’m not sure that the hope those players will improve this year is genius or stupidity, but time will tell. Whether or not the difficult trade talks with Marc Methot means he could be moved remains to be seen.
ESPN‘s assessment of the Sens as a franchise was predictably punishing, but doesn’t mean much other than Melnyk can’t use it as a prop to the franchise.
This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)