Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Ken Warren of the Ottawa Citizen,
... with so little turnover from the squad that raced to the playoffs on a record-setting run last spring — the Senators traded Lehner to Buffalo and third-pair defenceman Eric Gryba to Edmonton and defensive specialist Erik Condra signed with Tampa as a free agent — there are high hopes.
“To see 20, 21 guys return is usually a rare occasion,” said goaltender Craig Anderson, who is expected to open the season busy, playing three games in four nights. “It shows the faith management has in the group we have here. It’s up to us to make good on the deal and prove to management they made the right decision by not bringing in extra players and moving guys out.”
Looking around the dressing room at all the familiar faces, Karlsson says, “It felt like we almost didn’t have a break.”
Ryan suggests the team has drawn from the positives of last spring. “The feeling carries over when you see that many faces coming back,” he said.
Senators coach Dave Cameron employed a serious, no-nonsense approach to his first camp as head coach, putting an “NHL group” in place after only a few days. As expected, his emphasis was on skating and more skating, and he came away generally satisfied with the effort and results.
“In our business, as coaches, we’re never completely happy,” Cameron said. “Overall, I have no real complaints. I have some individuals I’m pushing a little harder than others, but on the overall, I think it has been pretty good.”
from Joyanne Pursaga of the Winnipeg Sun,
Winnipeg Police Service Chief Devon Clunis said officers made the right call in providing a police escort to get an NHL team to MTS Centre on time.
Clunis told the Winnipeg Police Board Friday the Ottawa Senators paid for the escort after being delayed due to mechanical issues on a flight just prior to Tuesday's game. The decision involved no police overtime and occurred when resources were available, Clunis said.
"We are a city on the world stage. The NHL is a significant player. If we were not able to assist them to have the game occur on time for our citizens, for the national audience, I am certain we would have had a black eye in terms of the police service, the City of Winnipeg," Clunis told reporters after the meeting. "I thought it was the right decision for our city, for our citizens and it was at absolutely no cost to the city whatsoever."
According to the WPS website, police charge $825 plus tax per escort using one vehicle and two officers.
Coun. Ross Eadie (Mynarski) expressed concerns about the decision, given high demand for police resources. Eadie said he looks forward to reviewing the WPS policy on escorts.
from Ken Warren of the Ottawa Citizen,
Ottawa Senators General manager Bryan Murray really isn’t one to ever mince words so it was no surprise that he had a blunt take Friday on the departure of Swedish defenceman Mikael Wikstrand for home.
“I told him (Wikstrand) he can go home and be a grocery clerk and play in a beer league.”
The training camp competition between Matt Puempel and Shane Prince for a spot on the wing appears to have titled in Prince’s favour after Puempel left the ice with an injury to his left arm or shoulder. Prince already had an advantage in that he would have to clear waivers if returned to Binghamton.
Wikstrand too has suffered a shoulder injury and had yet to play in an exhibition game.
Watch Bryan Murray below as he talks about Wikstrand...
added 1:52pm, Well this changes things...
"We have to know that last year was an unbelievable run that doesn't happen very often in this league in particular. I think we'll end up having some carryover ... I'm hoping. There was some growth because of it. I think our team is going to be a real competitive team every night. Like a lot of teams it will be a battle to make the playoffs. That's gotta be the first objective. Lots of people aren't picking us there but I really think we're going to be a real serious contender for a playoff spot and then who knows?"
-Bryan Murray, GM of the Ottawa Senators. Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun has more from Murray.
from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,
The Senators are in the final stages of discussions with their former captain to bring him back in an off-ice role in hockey operations. What his title is going to be will be determined next month but the 42-year-old Alfredsson has told the Sun in the past he liked the role of senior VP that Steve Yzerman played in Detroit.
“Alfie can probably have whatever title he wants but the key is what he can bring to the table and he’s got a lot to learn,” said another league executive.
If Alfredsson wants to follow in the footsteps of Yzerman, who is headed into his sixth year as GM of the Lightning, then that isn’t going to happen overnight and the Super Swede will likely get a look at every aspect of the organization when he officially signs on with the Senators sometime before training camp.
At this point, Alfredsson is back in Detroit and there’s some belief his family may stay there this winter because the kids are enrolled in school and sports.
A move back to Ottawa may not happen until 2016-17 and at that point Alfredsson would be able to take on more of role.
from Chris Stevenson at NHL.com,
The Ottawa Senators will be an interesting team this season because the elements that made them the success story of the final two months of last season also present the biggest question marks.
Their charge to the Stanley Cup Playoffs was fueled by a rookie coach, a goaltender making his NHL debut, and a group of young players who successfully handled bigger roles and more responsibility.
Here are three questions the Senators face this season:
What will Bobby Ryan contribute? The 28-year-old is expected to be one of the Senators' offensive leaders, but he struggled down the stretch in 2014-15.
Ryan had 18 goals and 36 assists for 54 points, but after scoring in back-to-back games March 3 and 4, Ryan had one goal in the final 20 regular-season games. He did not have an assist in 17 of those games.
Ryan scored two goals in Game 5 of the six-game, Eastern Conference First Round loss to the Canadiens.
It's remarkable the Senators were capable of going on the run they did to make the playoffs with Ryan contributing so little. It says a lot about what they got from their emerging young talent.
There will be even more scrutiny on Ryan, who enters the first year of a seven-year, $50.75 million contract extension he signed on the eve of last season.
Hoffman was asking for $3.4M while the Senators offered $1.75M.
from Don Brennan of the Ottawa Sun,
So are the Senators, as is, good enough to go back to the post-season tournament next April?
Perhaps, as long as they don't screw around by winning only 17 of 41 games in the first half of the season again.
Other than Ottawa, the aging Detroit Red Wings and maybe the New York Islanders, it's difficult to imagine any of the Top 8 finishers from 2014-15 falling out.
Certainly not Tampa Bay, Montreal, the New York Rangers, Washington or Pittsburgh.
Of the teams that failed to qualify, the Columbus Blue Jackets appear to have the best chance at earning a playoff spot next season. They would have been there in 2014-15 if not for a rash of injuries seldom before seen with another franchise.
After them, the Philadelphia Flyers, Florida Panthers and Boston Bruins (despite their remodelling) are sure to make a strong push as well. Then there's the possibility New Jersey and Carolina are better than they look, while we have a sneaky suspicion Buffalo and yes, even Toronto, will surprise a lot of people.
more on the Senators...
Chiasson was asking for $2.475M while the team offered $1M.
added 7:31am, Ottawa press release is below...
from Wayne Scanlan of the Ottawa Citizen,
Bryan Murray, the Senators’ general manager, and Tim Murray, his counterpart with the Buffalo Sabres, got a lot of business done in and around the NHL draft, including a fascinating trade between their respective clubs: goaltender Robin Lehner, once considered a future cornerstone of the Senators, moving to Buffalo along with veteran centre David Legwand in exchange for a first-round draft pick. That pick was used to selected highly regarded American centre Colin White, 21st overall.
What a weekend it was for Tim, who cut his teeth working alongside his beloved uncle in Anaheim and Ottawa, and took bold steps in rebuilding the last-place Sabres, a team that now includes Jack Eichel, the second overall selection, centre Ryan O’Reilly, a two-way standout for the Colorado Avalanche, former 67’s forward Jamie McGinn, plus forwards Evander Kane (trade) and Sam Reinhart (2014 draft) from earlier transactions.
What a week it was for Bryan and the Senators, who stole the show at the NHL Awards — three nominations, Erik Karlsson winning his second Norris Trophy, and the entire organization shining brightly in the glow of Jonathan Pitre’s inspiring story, which was first told in the pages of the Citizen.
From the bright lights of Vegas to the beaches of Florida, Murray continued to make sensible moves to fine tune his Ottawa roster, including the trade of Eric Gryba to Edmonton, enabling the organization to pare down to seven defencemen (plus AHL Binghamton star Chris Wideman, who was re-signed to a one year, two-way deal Monday).
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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