FIVE QUICK THOUGHTS
-Character win. Great response. A statement victory.? Safe to say all those apply after a 7-3 trouncing of the New Jersey Devils.? Considering the way things have gone for this team lately, both on and off the ice, this felt like a moment where their season could really go off the rails. And when the Devils jumped out to a 2-0 lead, it felt like it was happening before our very eyes. And then, the team’s leaders stepped up. Then this team’s leaders flipped the narrative and at least for the time being, saved their season. Okay, I know that sounds a little bit dramatic but for so many reasons, this was a win they (and we) desperately needed.? With each twist and turn, whether it’s 7 goal loss in Buffalo or an off-ice “scandal”, the hockey world is so desperate to write off this year’s version of the Ottawa Senators. For now anyway, Mark Stone, Thomas Chabot and Matt Duchene have other ideas.? Stone in particular put this team on his back last night.
-Last year was full of adversity and listening to some of the stories at the end of the season, it’s clear that the team just wasn’t prepared to handle it. It’s early but this year feels a little bit different on that front. Despite the drama of the last 24 hours, it really sounds like as an organization and more importantly as a team, they’ve decided to confront issues head on. In the case of this video, they talked about it as a group rather than letting it fester. And while that doesn’t do much to alleviate the temporary embarrassment and hurt feelings, it puts the team in a better spot for the rest of the year. It ensures that those obvious bonds between the guys that they’ve worked so hard to build remain a defining characteristic of the group. And actually, it turns it into a moment that can actually bring them closer together. The players involved will each have to address the situation at some point (thought Matt Duchene’s comments last night were excellent) but in general, the response from the organization has been encouraging.
-Thomas Chabot is off to an incredible start this year but he may now find himself in some hot water with the league. Chabot viciously attacked the ankles of Devils forward Nico Hischier in the second period of last night’s game and the Department of Player Safety has to look at the play for intent to injure. You just hate to see that happen to a young player. But seriously, Thomas Chabot is going off right now. Three more points last night, moving into top spot in scoring among defenceman with 20 points through 15 games. Oh and he’s 2nd in assists and tied for 4th in league scoring. It’s been almost two decades since the league has seen an offensive start like this from a defenceman. He’s 21 years old by the way.
-One of the most pleasant surprises of the early part of this season has been the emergence of Colin White.? Coming into this season, he was sort of becoming the forgotten prospect in the Sens system and a player that many fans weren’t really sure about.? He didn’t really have much of an impact in his early NHL opportunities and the AHL game didn’t exactly come naturally to him either.? But from the moment the Senators told him he was sticking around for the rest of the year, White looks like a completely different player.? Not much was made about his skating prior to this season but he really can fly, which was on display during a goal-saving back-check in the first period. Oh and he’s not afraid to clean up the garbage in front of the net, as was demonstrated by him jamming home a rebound that bounced off a Devil’s face.
-This rant should probably be directed more towards Twitter but they don’t give me nearly enough characters on there so a post-game thought will have to do. First, I’ll preface it by saying I support a fan’s decision to stay home right now. It’s the most direct message you can send when you’re unhappy with your hockey team and ultimately, you should do what you want with your money. What I don’t understand is fans that think that the plummeting attendance is funny. Because it really, really isn’t. I understand that people take joy in the fact they may be hurting Melnyk’s bottom line but at the same time, there is permanent damage being done to this market that runs the risk of cancelling out all the progress this small-market team has made over the last 25 years. It may ultimately be the Owner’s fault but it has an impact on the franchise more than anything. The Ottawa market isn’t bulletproof. There is a breaking point. We are nowhere close to that right now but it’s something to keep in mind when you see all those empty seats.? A little over 12,000 in the rink last night.
-Bonus Thought- Both Craig Anderson and Bobby Ryan left the game in the third period last night and it had Sens fans holding their collective breath. Anderson’s injury in particular was concerning because it seemed like something in the lower body, which is always a bad sign for a goalie.? The good news is both guys left the game for precautionary reasons and according to Boucher are “fine”.? The Senators are back on the ice for practice at 12:00 PM today so perhaps we’ll find out more at that point. Although it wouldn’t be surprising to see Anderson take the day off anyway.