FIVE QUICK THOUGHTS
-So can we get that Matt Duchene contract extension figured out er? It’s no secret that Pierre Dorion has been in regular contact with Duchene’s agent over the last couple months. They want to get something done and ideally in the not too distant future. From the team’s perspective, it’s probably because they can see the price tag rising with each passing game. Matt Duchene has been incredible lately including a ridiculous 12 point in his last six games. Last night’s 3 point efforts gives him 24 points on the year which has him tied for 9th in league scoring.? Pierre Dorion has taken a lot of heat for that deal over the last few months but if the Senators can hang around in the Wild Card race and he can find a way to lock up Duchene, then that trade is a win for Ottawa.? Matt Duchene and Mark Stone carried this team last night.
-Surely at some point there will be a night where I watch Brady Tkachuk and don’t spend most of the night in complete awe but we haven’t reached that point just yet.? Honestly, are we sure he’s actually only 19 years old? Has there ever been a 19 year old that plays the game the way he does? Is there another rookie that instantly commands the respect of the opposition the way he has? A rookie in the National Hockey League is expected to “pay their dues” but Brady Tkachuk has just walked in like he owns the place. Huge hit on his first shift, goal a couple shifts later, taking a run at Malkin and basically at the centre of every damn scrum. He needs to play a lot more.
-While I don’t spend a lot of time in other team’s online communities, I imagine complaining about the 4th line is common around the league. It makes sense, right? The fourth line is generally where you find a team’s worst players so it makes sense that fans would be less than thrilled with those guys.? But in defence of Ottawa’s fourth line, including Tom Pyatt, Zack Smith and Magnus Paajarvi, they did a hell of a job last night.? Guy Boucher had them matched up against the Penguins top line most of the night and they more than held their own. In fact, it was that trio that seemed to be generating the bulk of the chance and the advanced stats tell a similar story.? The ice time for all three guys was higher than you’d usually expect to see but they played well.
-After the way his first game in the National Hockey League went, everyone was waiting to see what Drake Batherson would do for an encore.? Two assists including a nifty little set-up on a huge third period goal by Matt Duchene ain’t bad, I suppose.? You could tell that Batherson was a lot more comfortable in his second game and you could see that combinations of skill and offensive awareness that makes him such a dangerous player.? Duchene called it that “it factor”, suggesting that Batherson has the tools to be an “elite player”. Going to be fun to watch his game progress over the course of the season. He shouldn’t start shopping for a new place in Ottawa just yet but it looks like he’s going to make it awfully tough to send him back to Belleville.
-Hey, you know who looks pretty good lately? Cody Ceci. Yes, that Cody Ceci. He has 4 goals in last 8 games and now has 7 points through 16 games. Not exactly an offensive juggernaut by any means but when you consider he had just 19 points all of last season, he’s trending in the right direction.? Scoring helps obviously but watching him in the last couple weeks especially, he just seems a little more relaxed out there, even cracking the odd smile from time to time.? I’ll avoid labelling it the “Cody Ceci Redemption Tour” again but the last couple weeks have been pretty encouraging.