-Yesterday’s blog failed to appear due to various weather-related issues; I h0pe everyone stayed safe on the roads and haven’t had to spend too many hours digging out of the snowy deluge.
-Ottawa faces Boston (12-2-2) tonight; the Bruins are lead by David Krejci (14 points) and backstopped by Tuukka Rask (10-1-2 1.89 .930). Robin Lehner will get the start.
-Here’s my look at the Sens at the 20-game mark.
–Scott has the scoring chances for the Montreal game 6/19, which looks about right.
–Bryan Murray was on The Fan 590 and Nichols has continued his transcription service:
I don’t think anyone [management] is that smart. No one ever expected that we would lose that calibre of player with Cowen and Karlsson on the blue line in particular. I think you see we don’t move the puck quite as well out of our own end as we probably will going forward. Losing Spezza, Michalek and Latendresse up front… Peter Regin’s back now. Anderson in goal (is injured too). It’s been a bit trying and I’m a nervous wreck every game but we’ve fortunately so far been able to find a way to compete every night, at any rate.
I like the humility Murray admits too here where clearly he’s surprised at how well the team has performed in the absence of so many good players.
Well, Marc first of all, we had to trade Nick Foligno to get him. We liked Nick a lot. We thought he had a really good future with the organization, but I had called about Marc Methot two or three times over the last couple of years. We liked his compete (level). We liked his size and skating. He was a perfect fit, we felt, for Erik Karlsson and now that Erik is out, Eric [Gryba] has come up from the minors and Marc has kind of taken him under his wing. The two of them have been more of a shutdown pair than they have been an offensive pair but (he was) a real good acquisition for us, there’s no question. And goaltending-wise, we’ve just been real blessed really having Anderson and then when he went down, getting Ben Bishop last year. And we’ve got (Robin) Lehner waiting in the wings to be a top goaltender in the league, so those are the areas that as we know…. Doug, you and I know that when we had (John) Vanbiesbrouck playing in Florida, we had a pretty good hockey team because he’d give you a chance to win every night.
Pretty basic message: great goaltending gives you a chance to win every night.
Well, the scouts have done a very good job – led by Pierre Dorion and Tim Murray. I think that we evaluate and do a good job, but the other part is, a couple of years ago, when we made the decision to move guys like Mike Fisher and Chris Kelly, they were very difficult decisions to make – to let that quality of person go. But we were able to get first round picks and other picks back. We had three first rounders that particular year, so the scouts had a chance to really good and work, and they’ve done that. The other part that we’ve worked very hard at is the player development part – where we have Randy Lee in charge of that (with) a variety of people doing a lot of work and (having) daily contact almost with the prospects. And I think when you do that, you send a loud and clear message to the players that you expect a commitment. If they’re going to ever be players, we want them to play in this organization and fortunately for us, some of them have really come up, played well and played hard for us. I think long-term, we’ll get better as a result of this.
I think the most interesting thing here is how much credit Randy Lee deservedly gets for helping round players out, particularly when it comes to the work the Sens do in improving players skating (Dziruzynski above, or Mark Stone, etc).
–Lyle Richardson briefly looks at Ben Bishop trade rumours and while I agree with him there’s no urgency in a move being made it seems much more likely that he will be traded than kept (given Lehner‘s performance in the AHL and Bishop‘s upcoming RFA status).
–NHL realignment is being proposed, but as it has not yet been accepted I won’t delve into it too much other than to say that it’s clear the promise made to Detroit years ago will be honoured by them moving into the Eastern conference.
-Ducks forward Kyle Palmieri notched a natural hat trick last night and I’m always reminded that he’s the first round pick Ottawa traded to the Islanders in the Chris Campoli deal.
This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)