A Brief Thought on the Sens Player Usage

I’ve long been puzzled by the love affair the Sens organisation has had with Chris Phillips and Chris Neil (neither of whom I would have resigned–either recently or previously).  The latter fits the old school belief that a team needs tough guys, but I have no idea what Phillips has done in the post-05 lockout that warrants anything other than migraine-levels of frustration.  The same love for Neil seems to blanket poor Colin Greening, who (despite the evidence in analytics) I want to think can be a better player.  Why do these players receive so much ice time (19:42 for Phillips boggles the mind)?  The veterans never get scratched no matter how poorly they perform on the ice–what about accountability?  I really can’t explain it.  The love affair has lasted through different GM’s and a large rotation of coaches.  There are still NHL coaches who buy into “toughness” being relevant, which helps explain Neil, but I keep hoping someone out there will find some concrete reason why the Big Rig hits the ice with regularity.  Sure, Jared Cowen‘s usage also raises eyebrows, but he’s a young player and has had to endure the wrath of the fans all season (something that seems to have affected him), so I don’t see it as quite the same thing.  All I ever hear about #4 is leadership, but surely that’s not enough (and frankly, what leadership?).

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)