So I have good news and I have bad news.
We’ll start with the bad news. The bad news is the Sens play again tonight.? And now the good news- it’s not a road game so there’s actually a chance they might win!
The Senators return to the Canadian Tire Centre to host the surprisingly competent Vancouver Canucks.
To say that 2018 was unkind to the Senators would be an understatement. And now that 2019 is upon us, more uncertainty looms for a franchise that has had more than their fair share.
They sit dead-last in the National Hockey League and without a first round pick as a consolation prize. Attendance is plummeting and the team’s best defenceman and starting goalie are both injured. If that’s not bad enough, three of their best forwards are barreling towards unrestricted free agency. Mark Stone, Matt Duchene and Ryan Dzingel all need new contracts this summer and there are legitimate concerns over whether or not the Senators will be able to provide them with those new deals.? At the same time, the LeBreton Flats deal that was supposed to represent the future of the franchise is seemingly on life-support.
Happy New Year, indeed.
Tonight’s opposition, the Vancouver Canucks, find themselves in a similar rebuilding phase, although they’ve had a better start to the year.? Elias Petersson is just 20 years old but already looks like one of the best young players in the game.? He has an incredible 19 goals and 39 points through 36 games and on many nights, is worth the price of admission on his own.
A game against the Canucks serves as a reminder of the one that got away in Jonathan Dahlen.? The Canucks basically burgled Dahlen from the Senators in a deal that is often referred to as one of the worst of all time. It looks that much worse when you see Dahlen’s NHL numbers to this point in his career. He’s humming a lot at a point-per-game pace, racking up zero points in zero NHL games. Electric.
Guy Boucher is back on the ice with the team this morning after missing yesterday’s practice to process the loss of Tom Pyatt. Sens will go with 11/7 again as Magnus Paajarvi draws back in and Nick Paul sits.? Here’s how he has ’em lined up.
Marcus Hogberg is expected to start for the Senators. Puck drop is scheduled for just after 7:30 PM.
It is with great sadness that I inform you that tonight’s game is available on Sportsnet. Stream if you must.
-Yesterday, the Ottawa Senators announced that they have placed veteran forward Tom Pyatt on waivers.? It’s a move that has been coming for some time now as Pyatt’s role has been steadily diminished this season. He has just two assists through 36 games and is a -16.? And his underlying numbers are actually worse.? While Pyatt has been a useful player in the past, it’s clear that his best days are behind him. At this point, there is no reason for him to be taking up a spot in the line up.? Pyatt is expected to clear waivers at noon today at which point he will likely be assigned to Belleville.? We’ll find out shortly after 12:00 PM today.
-As the calendar turns over to 2019, the speculation surrounding both Mark Stone and Matt Duchene is expected to ramp up.? Mark Stone commented on his situation yesterday suggesting that he believes contract talks are expected to take place in the next couple weeks.? It’s worth pointing out that the Senators could have (and should have) already reached out to Stone’s camp to discuss a new contract. They just couldn’t sign anything.? While Stone and General Manager Pierre Dorion are saying the right things publicly, fans should be concerned about where this is headed. Stone is going to want a bonus-heavy contract and the Senators have shown a reluctance to hand out those type of deals.? At the same time, both sides talked about a long-term deal this summer so Dorion knows exactly what it will take to get this done. The only difference is now Stone is five months closer to unrestricted free agency. If you’re not at least a little bit nervous about these negotiations, then you probably haven’t been paying attention.