Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Don Brennan of the Ottawa Sun,
Exactly one month ago, they were down to a prayer and a miracle.
The Senators had more points than just two teams in the entire conference, and they trailed the Boston Bruins by 14 in the wild-card standings.
Impossible ground to make up, almost everyone agreed. Ottawa was going to miss the playoffs in consecutive springs for the first time since 1996....
Then suddenly, the Bruins started to slip. From Feb. 8-20, Claude Julien's squad earned just one point while losing six games in a row.
Almost simultaneously, Dave Cameron's club rallied around The Hamburglar and began to work its way up the ladder.
Since losing to Carolina Feb. 16, the Senators have grabbed 17 of a possible 18 points and now trail the Bruins by five, with a game in hand.
And now there's one month left in the season, and no denying the magnitude of the B's visit to Canadian Tire Centre Tuesday night. "Up to this point, it's definitely our biggest game of the year ... it might end up being one of our biggest games all year," defenceman Mark Borowiecki said after Monday's optional practice.
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
Hey, it's a nice story the Ottawa Senators jumping back into the playoff fray with a cadre of talented young players. And it's been fun to watch the plucky Florida Panthers continue to nip at the heels of the Boston Bruins. And while it's become an interesting storyline, it's highly unlikely to become anything more than that for the Panthers, because we're talking about the Boston Bruins here.
The Bs are 4-0-1 in their last five and have points in seven of their last 10 games after an emphatic 5-3 win over the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday, a score that flattered Detroit given that Boston was up comfortably 4-1 after the second period.
The Bruins have 17 games left, and if they went a pedestrian 8-8-1 that would give them 93 points and mean that Florida would have to come up with 22 points in their last 16 games (10-4-2?) while Ottawa would need 23 points in their last 18 games (11-6-1?) to jump ahead of the Bruins. In short, unless the Bruins go off the deep end again the notion of a playoff race is really only theoretical, even with a big game looming between Ottawa and Boston on Tuesday.
continue for more from the ESPN hockey bunch including Pierre LeBrun on the Flames...
Ottawa Senators goaltender Craig Anderson talks about playing through pain and the frustration of not being able to play.
More on Anderson from Ken Warren of the Ottawa Citizen.
from Katie Strang of ESPN,
Granted, it's been a small sample size, but Andrew Hammond has certainly emerged as a very promising goaltender for the Ottawa Senators organization. Hammond, who was thrust into NHL action for Ottawa last month after injuries to both Craig Anderson and Robin Lehner, made his seventh consecutive start Wednesday night and led the surging Sens to a 3-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets.
Hammond is now 6-0-1 with a .957 save percentage and a 1.35 goals against average for Ottawa, making for a mighty interesting scenario when both Anderson and Lehner return. Ottawa will have some interesting decisions to make this summer, and Hammond has played well enough to give the Sens something to think about when it comes to the club's future between the pipes.
continue for Burnside on the Sens, Custance on the Rangers, LeBrun on Habs/Ducks and MacDonald on the Bruins...
Here is the video explanation...
Below, watch Cowen on the suspension.
Two minutes for interference.
from Jeffrey Simpson of the Globe and Mail,
While the “national” hockey media shoot fish in a barrel reporting obsessively on the collapse of the Toronto Maple Leafs, up the road in Ottawa, a franchise has been in slow decline.
The bombastic and debt-laden owner, Eugene Melnyk, and general manager, Bryan Murray, have presided over the Ottawa Senator’s slide to out-of-the-playoffs mediocrity. The Senators stand 11th in the Eastern Conference, nine points from the wild-card playoff position, and 22nd overall, a far cry from where they used to be a decade ago. Next week, the Senators start a hard five-game road trip against Western Conference teams, all of which are better than Ottawa.
Melnyk, who has recently sold his stables and horses to raise money, used to brag about being willing to spend to the NHL salary cap in quest of a winning team. Now, Melnyk boasts about having imposed one of the league’s lowest salary caps on the Senators, claiming other owners are blowing money on bad deals. The result is obvious on the ice and in the organization. The Senators cannot compete against teams with much higher salaries. The co-relation is not exact (see the Leafs), but larger-spending teams do tend to finish higher up in the standing.
Melnyk remains defiant, insisting in December, “I’m not in the least embarrassed about us spending at the bottom. I’m happy about it because we’ll be able to spend more in the future and some can’t. Some are stuck.”
from Wayne Scanlan of the Ottawa Citizen,
Bryan Murray doesn’t expect to be overly busy at the NHL trade deadline March 2. Yet, he is making it known he has veteran players available.
“I’ve talked to a number of teams about different things, but there’s nothing that anybody’s really asking about in a definite manner,” Murray said.
“Around the league, there are a number of injuries – and defencemen in particular hurting, that there might be a call or two made. But nothing is happening at this point.”
continue for more on the Senators...
Neil suffered the injury today, watch the fight below...
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.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
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