Senators News: December 21st

-The media collectively fell all over themselves in loving Kyle Turris‘ debut, from The Ottawa Sun‘s Bruce Garrioch (link) and Don Brennan (link) to The Ottawa Citizen‘s Wayne Scanlan (link) to Ken Warren using his name in the headline but barely writing about him (link).  The only interesting part in all the reporting was this quote from Turris in Scanlan’s article, “I loved my time (at Wisconsin). It was lots of fun, but no, I don’t regret the decision. When you have Phoenix and Wayne Gretzky telling you to come play for the team, it’s a dream come true, and I think what happened happened.”

-In Warren’s article (above) he focussed on the defensive boost provided by Kuba and Gonchar.

-ESPN’s Scott Burnside and Pierre LeBrun look at the surprises so far this NHL season (link), including the play of the Sens.  LeBrun says, “Hard to believe they’re sitting in a playoff spot as we speak today, tied with the rival (and fading) Maple Leafs with 36 points. Sens GM Bryan Murray made no bones in September about the fact he viewed this year as a retooling season, one that could have some short-term pain in order to gain long-term benefits of properly rebuilding the base in the hope of eventually cobbling together a contender. He would never admit it, of course, but I’m telling you he’d be as surprised as the rest of us to see the Sens’ immediate rise with so many young players playing crucial minutes. One of those young bucks is 20-year-old defenseman Jared Cowen. He’s playing top four minutes on the blue line and looks like he belongs. He’s a big reason, along with the offensive machine that is Erik Karlsson, that Murray felt comfortable dealing away David Rundblad in the Turris deal.”

Sports Illustrated‘s power rankings are posted (link) with Ottawa 21st and Adrian Dater unimpressed with Kyle Turris (“The big news was GM Bryan Murray’s acquisition of Kyle Turris. Sorry if I’m not  as electrified as some in the media seemed to be with their daily, breathless  updates of his previous situation in Phoenix. Yeah, he was the third pick in the  2007 draft. He also has 46 points in 137 career games and is minus-22. He’s one  of those “Herbert Hoover” players where prosperity is just around the corner.”)

-Joy Lindsay Tweets (link) that Mike McKenna will get the start.  Here are the projected forward lines: Hoffman-Da Costa-Parrish, Klinkhammer-Locke-Cowick, Dziurzynski-Cannone-Bartlett, Svendsen-Hamilton-Lessard.

-Rob Brodie writes about Mark Stone for the Sens website (link) who said, “Ottawa has been very supportive of me. They brought me down a couple of times in the summer to train with Marc Power (the team’s power skating coach). I’ve been working with (conditioning coach) Chris Schwarz off the ice. My skating is coming along and I’ve had so many good experiences in Ottawa so far. Now I’m just looking forward to this tournament and the rest of the season.”

-Stu Hackel from Sports Illustrated writes about possible solutions to the concussion epidemic in the NHL (link), exploring the dead letter that would be the re-introduction of the red line.  As Pierre McGuire says in the article, “If you want to slow the game down, or impede the game, put the red line back in, you’ll see. The 1-2-2 will be back and bigger than ever. You watch, because you can have a boundary you can use with the red line. I think the biggest argument against the red line going back, if there’s a lead established after 40 minutes, and the red line is in, if there’s a two- to three-goal lead, 95 percent of the time, the game’s over, which is not the case now. I don’t think, if you’re trying to lure paying customers, you want the last 20 minutes of their experience to be null and void.”  As interesting as the article is (and I recommend you read it in its entirety), I think Hackel misses the mark.  The missing redline is no longer the problem–the NHL has largely eliminated the tracking hits (ala Matt Cooke), which existed prior to the rule changes anyway.  The concussions we see now are from hits from behind, charging (eg, Lucic on Miller), or elbows to the head.  The irony is that all these plays are penalties and fully within the rules to punish and eliminate, but the NHL simply won’t penalize the infractions to the point where players will change their behaviour (eg Brendan Shanahan gave the green light to running goaltenders and now a steady stream are out with concussions (eg Al Montoya).

-In Brennan’s article (above) he has an amusing line from Steve Duchesne, “I’ve got a 16-year old girl and a 15-year old son … as long as my 16-year-old girl doesn’t meet a hockey player I’m really happy.”