Kukla's Korner


Amidst Goalie Doubts, Sens Gain Military Perspective

The Senators gain perspective on things at CFB Petawawa, and a former Senator experiences the wild west of the KHL, but first. . .

From the Ottawa Citizen (and OS), on the continued doubts surrounding Ottawa’s tandem,

“There were some very good things we saw from the goaltenders, but there were also a lot of inconsistencies in little areas that they really have to clean up. [...] “We didn’t get that, but we’re still confident we can have at least one guy ready to go to start the season.”
“I’m not saying we’re going to have (a rotation), but when you look around the league, there are a number of teams that don’t have a legitimate go-to guy,” said Clouston.

“There are maybe seven or eight teams over the last five to six years that have had that type of goaltender. [...] But there are a lot of guys just starting to become that goaltender and we think we have a couple of guys who are in that situation. One of those guys can and will step up. If they don’t, then we know we hopefully have another guy who can pick up the slack.”
“During training camp, teams are trying stuff, trying new things, and getting used to a whole bunch of new players,” [said Leclaire.]

“So it’s not the same. But as long as you feel good and you feel ready to go, I think we all know what we have to do when the season starts, and that’s the main thing”

It never ends in Ottawa, does it?

Both goalies sport outrageous pre-season numbers, but it remains that there was nothing consistent about the teams they faced, even in situations like their home and home series with the Rangers. Nor was there consistency in the roster in front of them, the lines and combinations employed, or even a steady respect for the systems Clouston was working to employ. At this stage, every goalie in the League has flawless regular season numbers. Today, the lasting regular and post season memories could be of Leclaire’s epic playoff games, or Elliott’s efforts in the franchise’s record winning streak, or Brodeur’s part in starting it off. As the NHL’s slogan cheesily states, questions will be answered. Just not today.

From the Ottawa Citizen (and OS, SENS), the Senators experience the family and work lives of CFB Petawawa,

At 8 a.m. Monday morning, the Dalton family took their place at the front door of the Silver Dart Arena. They were the second family in line.
By the time the Ottawa Senators arrived at 9:10 a.m., dressed in military fatigues, to sign autographs, the line stretched around the front of the arena. That made the Daltons one of the lucky ones.

Because only 20 minutes had been allocated to sign autographs, there were maybe 100 or so people still in line when the Senators left to dress for practice, though captain Daniel Alfredsson made a valiant effort to sign as many hats and jerseys as he could by leaving his seat at the autograph tables and moving along the line that snaked out the door.
The autograph session and practice were part of the team’s two-day, team-building stay at Petawawa. Much like Canada’s junior team did two years ago, the Senators were put through various exercises on Sunday afternoon.

They rappelled off a 65-foot tower. They did a march. They did a race in which they pulled LAVs (light armoured vehicles). And they ran an obstacle course.

Time spent with fans can never be underestimated as a motivator for a team. After the boos that reportedly nearly drove Spezza to wit’s and Ottawa’s end, fans looking for nothing more than players to skate hard for them has to be the purest tonic, let alone fans whose families fight for the Senators even more than the Senators fight for them. Melnyk has previously brought hockey gear to Afghanistan to stage Canada-USA street hockey tournaments, and this continues a respect for those who work for something bigger than themselves, an excellent example to give to these Senators before their season begins.

That, and distractions seem to be an established tonic for this team. After disappointing results, the Senators took to an outdoor skate in New York, setting off their franchise record winning streak. Not quite the same situation here, season or setting wise, but within a week any renewed focus will become apparent.

From the Ottawa Citizen, on Bell’s rude Russian awakening,

Brendan Bell is back from Russia — without love.

The Ottawa native and former Ottawa Senators and Ottawa 67’s defenceman is looking for work again after his plans to spend the season with Avangard Omsk of the Kontinental Hockey League came to an abrupt end last week.
Everything was going fine, according to Bell, until the regular season began and he didn’t play. It’s believed Omsk was trying to force him out while pursuing another import (non-Russian) forward to take his spot on the roster. In his lone regular season game, Bell played 21 minutes and had two assists in a 4-3 shootout victory over Ufa, one of the KHL’s top teams.

“I’m sour on it now, obviously,” he said of his Russian experience. “But it wasn’t awful. It’s just sort of like the Wild, Wild West. There are no guarantees, no players’ union.”

While he never was able to cement himself on Ottawa’s blue line, the harsher life outside the NHL needs to be laid bare. Sympathy for Bell, not having the protections that our NHL rosters enjoy, and a reminder to the players as they consider the approach of a new CBA, of just how much they already do have.

Filed in: NHL News, NHL Teams, Ottawa Senators, | SENShobo | Permalink


Da lil Guy's avatar

One is forced to wonder if Bell would be preferable to Hale - though I think the recent practice lines featuring Hale and Carkner while Lee filled in for injuries at forward probably indicates that Clouston is looking for a more defensively minded pair. This makes sense given the possible difficiencies on the PK you’d called attention to earlier.

Taking training camp to Pettawawa is a nice idea, but I don’t think you can read more into it in terms of having a drastic effect on the ice.

As for goaltending - it does, in fact, never end. Leclaire can talk about the pre-season being different, but it’s just words unless he can prove it’s all behind him once the real season starts. Having seen some of the things he (and Elliott) were guilty of in the pre-season, though, it becomes more difficult to accept that it was purely because teams were ‘trying stuff’. A bad goal is a bad goal whenever it happens.

That said, you can’t blame them for trying to put it in the past and build up a conceptual wall between then and now. Hopefully one of them will successfully hit the reset button and find some consistent form.

Posted by Da lil Guy from Guelph, Ontario on 10/05/10 at 12:49 PM ET

Da lil Guy's avatar

Hale now apparently waived by the Senators.

Also reports coming in that Lehner has not yet reported to Bingo.

Posted by Da lil Guy from Guelph, Ontario on 10/05/10 at 02:51 PM ET

SENShobo's avatar

Lehner is dealing with paperwork, as is Wick; they have only been in Canada so far, not America.

The Hale waive was surprising, but with six defence men still, with Lee looking not terrible and needing to show that he belongs or has trade value, and with Murray wanting every penny of cap space for his deadline day deals, only a little surprising in the end.

Posted by SENShobo from Waterloo, ON on 10/05/10 at 03:26 PM ET

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About SENShobo

Native of Northern California.  Hockey fan since 1998... sort of... there's a hiatus in there that I still can't explain.

I want to know about anything and everything related to the sport and the spectacle.  I watch, I react, I write it down.

My interest in the Sharks was initially a matter of geographic convenience and regional loyalty because that seemed to be how it worked.  I had no prior interest (at all-- AT ALL) in professional sports of any kind.  When I met hockey, it might have set off a chain reaction of general sports fandom.  It hasn't, I don't think it will.  At all.

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I started blogging a couple years ago on wordpress. I still occasionally put things there that I don't think fit here because they are not about the Sharks. Wherever my words wander, here on Kuklas Korner, they will (usually) hang on to a teal thread.

I can be found in cyberspace on Twitter @petshark47, or emailed at talkingstick@petshark.net