Senators News (December 14th)

Hot chocolate and battling Red Templars apparently gets my blogging juices going.  Before we get into the various things that caught my eye, a tip of the hat to the new head coach for scratching Corsi fatality Chris Phillips against Boston (a 3-2 SO win).  I wouldn’t expect the Big Rig to sit too often, but even once is an improvement.

Results weren’t as positive for the B-Sens, as they got rocked by Hershey 5-2 on Friday (Tim Spencer is back in the AHL?), albeit they beat the Phantoms 3-1 the night before.  In the ECHL, Evansville lost back-to-back games as they slip towards the bottom of the standings.

Mrs. O wrote about coaching in relation to the departed Paul MacLean, providing a detailed breakdown on what can potentially go wrong under the theory that he lost the room (as Bryan Murray has claimed).  There’s a lot to sink your teeth into, with the four-points mentioned being: favouritism, limiting opportunities for success, instilling a fear of failure, and communicating poorly.  Throughout MacLean’s I felt he favoured veterans more than was warranted, no doubt remembering the sour end to his own NHL career.  Intermixed with that is favouritism, a common crutch for coaches, but too much coddling of particular players makes it impossible to truly reward good play and punish the bad.

On the same theme, Sheer Craziness looked at the firing and the part of the article that struck me was this:

I struggled to understand a lot of MacLean’s moves. Why Alex Chiasson got top-line minutes before Mark Stone or Mike Hoffman made it off the fourth line is beyond me. Why Neil ever played on the powerplay or in the last minute of games is baffling. Why he thought Phillips was capable of career-high minutes is mind-boggling. But to say that removing MacLean fixes the problem simplifies the problem a lot. MacLean was one loose gear in the pile of broken parts that is this team.

This is exactly the frustration of fans (and likely the players).  I think along with MacLean’s aforementioned love of veterans believed in size, which can be seen in his prior love affair with Greening or his more lingering one with Zack Smith.  Whatever the truth might be, there’s simply no justifying some of his player usage and he really did have to go.  As for MacLean’s future, well….


Jen LC takes a lengthy look at the value of a draft pick with the 2005 draft as the focus, specifically in relation to Michael E. Schuckers study from 2011.  It’s an interesting article, although I think comparative data from that point forward would have offered even more insight (for example).  She doesn’t speculate on the whys of the misses (although you can see my thoughts on what’s missed here), but does point out that many of the mid-to late round forwards who see spot duty in the NHL are so-called “energy” forwards or gritty defensemen.

I still await the eulogies for Brian Lee now that he’s retired (injury-related to his knee, suffered in the AHL two years ago).  It’s not Lee‘s fault the John Muckler thought “scouting” was a four-letter word and picked him ninth overall in 2005, but it is the kind of ignominious ending one would have imagined for such a boondoggle.  The fact that Ottawa got Matt Gilroy in return for him is just the icing on the cake.

More Sens trivia because I can:
Jim O’Brien, yet another awful first-rounder one can foist on Muckler, has been let go by his KHL team
Derek Smith, who somehow squeezed three years of NHL service in Calgary (!), is having an awful season with Roman Wick‘s Swiss team
Geoff Kinrade, whose rights the Sens retained when he left, has made the move to the KHL after three years in Switzerland
Mat Robinson, who had a cup of coffee with the team in 09-10, has managed to become a decent KHL blueliner

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)


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