The 2015 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs Begins

Or rather it starts on the 15th of April with the 16 teams who have qualified looking for the ultimate glory on ice. Thi season 5 Canadian teams have made it to the playoffs, finally having enough teams to account for the game usually dominated in numbers by Canadian players. Calgary, Winnipeg, Vancouver, Montreal and Ottawa qualified for the playoffs while Edmonton & Toronto sit on the sidelines.

As usual I will be supporting my team the Ottawa Senators and if they get beaten and the Jets are still in it I will be screaming for Winnipeg. Canadian teams all the way. I haven’t watched any live games since 2013 and haven’t even followed the league games this season at all but I will be keeping an eye on the playoffs. GO SENS GO!

Senators Calling For Football Style Cheering Section

According to news reports from the Canadian capital, the Ottawa Senators are looking to create a soccer (football)-style atmosphere at the Canadian Tire Centre this season. In order to boost the team and regular fans who haven’t had much to cheer in the last few seasons, the Sens are hoping this boisterous loud support will work to their advantage. Section 319 will be cordoned off for the Red Scarf Union – the team’s official fan group – for 10 games this season, according to Chris Hofley of the Ottawa Sun.

The “official supporters section” will allow standing, chanting, signage and supporters will be encouraged to generate as much noise (and maybe a little hatred toward the opposing team) as possible. Ottawa may be tip-toeing into the idea, but creativity appears necessary for the Senators; they are the only Canadian franchise that has experienced attendance issues over the past few seasons.

Well we do need something. With owner Eugene Melnyk unable to pump in enough money to buy or trade for top players who can score goals and letting go of some of our marquee names, the fans need something. Lean years are ahead!

Hello Hemsky

Not really the player I wanted to be traded to the Ottawa Senators but the Edmonton Oilers have traded forward Ales Hemsky to the Ottawa Senators in exchange for a 2015 third-round draft pick and a 2014 fifth-rounder. Edmonton is believed to be retaining half of Hemsky’s remaining 2013-14 salary to complete the deal.

In 55 games with the Oilers this season, Hemsky has scored nine goals and added 17 assists. Hemsky has long been a subject of trade rumours that had him moving on from the Oilers, who made him the 13th overall selection in the first round of the 2001 NHL Entry Draft. He is in the final year of a two-year, $10 million deal he signed with the Oilers prior to the 2012-13 season.

In 652 NHL games, Hemsky has scored 142 goals and 335 assists, he has also played in 30 playoff games during his career. The Pardubice, Czech Republic native has two 20-goal seasons in his career and also produced a career high 77 points during the 2005-06 season, helping lead the Oilers into the Stanley Cup Final where they were defeated by the Carolina Hurricanes.

The Ottawa Senators have agreed to a two-year contract extension worth $2.5 million per season with defenceman Chris Phillips. Phillips’ deal reportedly includes a no-trade clause. The 35-year-old has appeared in 52 games with the Senators this season, scoring one goal and 12 assists.

Ottawa Senators Update, 24th Oct 2013

After the emotional down of seeing longtime captain Daniel Alfredsson refusing to sign a new contract with Ottawa and leave for Detroit and sign with the Red Wings in who he thought had more chances of winning the Stanley Cup, this result could not have been any more justice to the Sens fans. Jason Spezza was tasked with taking over for Alfredsson as captain, and newly signed Bobby Ryan with filling the void as a scoring winger. In the Senators’ first game against Alfredsson and the Detroit Red Wings, Spezza and Ryan fittingly spearheaded an impressive offensive display in a 6-1 blowout at Joe Louis Arena. The only thing that could make the win sweater is if the game had been in Ottawa.

Those performances made it easier to forget about Alfredsson. While the players & coach Paul McLean might play down the significance of facing the former face of the franchise, the results are certainly welcome. Ottawa hasn’t had a great start to the season but seem ready to make a push to make the playoffs this season as well. After 9 games played the Senators have 10 points and sit in the 8th spot of the Eastern Conference. But they have 4 wins and 5 loses, 2 of which were in OT. I seem them slowly getting more wins and racking up the points and could easily finish 5th or 6th.

Last 9 games (latest game first)

6-1 vs Detroit Red Wings (away)

1-3 vs Edmonton Oilers (home)

5-2 vs New Jersey Devils (home)

4-3 vs Phoenix Coyotes (away)

1-4 vs Anaheim Ducks (away)

2-3 vs San Jose Sharks (away)

3-4 vs Los Angeles Kings (away)

4-5 vs Toronto Maple Leafs (away)

1-0 vs Buffalo Sabres (away)

Bye Bye Alfredsson, Hello Bobby & Clarke

I tweeted “Say it ain’t so Alfie” last evening hoping that the news wasn’t true. But it was and it hurt. After 17 years as a Senator the captain chose to go with a team who he thought had more chances of winning the Stanley Cup. The Daniel Alfredsson era in Ottawa came to an end after the Senators long-time captain agreed to a one-year, $5.5 million deal with the Detroit Red Wings. A few hours later, the Senators made another splash, landing star forward Bobby Ryan in a trade with the Anaheim Ducks. In exchange for Ryan, the Senators sent Jakob Silfverberg, forward prospect Stefan Noesen and a first round pick to Anaheim. Alfredsson had spent his entire 17-season NHL career with the Senators. He scored 10 goals and 16 assists in 47 games last regular season and added four goals and 10 points in 10 playoff games.

The native of Gothenburg, Sweden has spent his entire career with Ottawa, scoring 426 goals and adding 682 assists in 1,178 games. The 40-year-old veteran was originally selected in the sixth round by the Senators at the 1994 NHL Entry Draft. Ryan scored 11 goals and 19 assists for 30 points last season. The Senators also brought in free agent left-winger Clarke MacArthur, who signed a two-year, $6.5 million deal. MacArthur, who was originally drafted 73rd overall by Buffalo in 2003, scored eight goals and 20 points for the Toronto Maple Leafs last season.

Ottawa Senators Update, 10th Feb 2013

Ottawa has had an eventful 7 games since the last update. The Senators closed off January with 2 successive wins on successive nights – a 3-2 against Washinton & a 5-1 against Montreal. But February didn’t start on a good note as they lost 0-1 to the Carolina Hurricanes which was followed by a 1-2 loss to Montreal two days later. After those two away loses, the Sens players were grateful to come back home and score a 4-3 victory over the Buffalo Sabres. This respite was short-lived however because they welcomed the Hurricanes to the Scotiabank center and lost 3-2 in overtime two days later.

And then last night there was the 0-1 loss to the visiting Winnipeg Jets who will be happy for the revenge for the season opener loss. After 12 games player Ottawa have dropped two spots on the standings (since the last update) and now sit at 6th in the East just below hated Ontario rivals the Toronto Maple Leafs. Ottawa has 6 wins, 4 loses and two OTs for 14 points. In the East New Jersey leads the pack with 17 points and sit at the top but Chicago has 20 points, leading the Eest and the league. In two nights we pay the Sabres at home and the very next evening we travel to Pittsburgh to play the Penguins. With Spezza injured, Kyle Turris & Erik Karlsson lead the points tally for Ottawa with 10 & 9 points respectively. Guillame Lantandrese is also out injured so we need Alfredsson & Michalek to get more goals for us.

Go Sens Go!

Ottawa Senators Update, 28th Jan 2013

Time to take a look at the Ottawa Senators and the way their new season has been going. Well this half season since there was a lockout between the NHL & the NHLPA and therefore until a new deal could be agreed upon there were no games! Finally the shortened season started on January 19th and after 5 games played let’s look at the Senators, shall we?

On the 19th the Senators were in Winnipeg for the season opener with a 4-1 away win against the Jets who were celebrating their second season in the league after moving from Atlanta to Manitoba. Erik Karlsson had a goal and two assists as the Senators spoiled the Winnipeg Jets’ home opener and pleasing coach Paul McLean. Milan Michalek, Kyle Turris and Chris Neil scored Ottawa’s other goals. Dustin Byfuglien scored for the Jets. Craig Anderson stopped 27 shots for the Senators, while the Jets’ Ondrej Pavelec faced 37 shots in front of a sellout crowd of 15,004 at MTS Centre. Guillame Lantandrese made his debut for Ottawa. Two days later Kyle Turrisis was back and raring to go as he scored two goals, while Jim O’Brien and Jakob Silfverberg added two more as Ottawa beat the Florida Panthers 4-0 in front of a sellout crowd of 19,952 Monday night at Scotiabank Place. Turris now has three goals in two games, while Silfverberg’s goal was the first of his NHL career. 3 days later the Sens went to Florida and beat the Panthers 3-1. Anderson made 25 saves, and Chris Phillips and Erik Karlsson scored as the Senators improved to 3-0 while Jason Spezza added an empty netter.

The last two games haven’t gone their way at all though. Friday Jan 25th saw them go down to Tampa Bay 4-6. Eric Condra, Spezza, Karlsson & Turris scored and kept the Sens ahead 4 goals to 2 heading into the 3rd period but the Lightning struck back and won. And just last night they lost in a penalty shootout to the Pittsburgh Penguins which atleast sees them earn a point. Colin Greening had the lone goal for the Senators, who dropped to 3-1-1, cancelling the lead that James Neal had given the Pens. But the Pens came out victors in the shootout.

This leaves us 4th in the Eastern Conference with 7 points.

Alfie To Stay One More Year With Senators

Thirty-nine-year-old captain Daniel Alfredsson stopped the speculation Tuesday and confirmed he won’t be hanging up his skates. Instead, he’ll put on his No. 11 sweater and return for his 17th season with the Senators. Alfredsson confirmed an Ottawa Sun report last week that he’s been talking about an extension with GM Bryan Murray, but said he will play out the final year of his deal at his $1 million salary. That will make him one of the NHL’s best bargains. Alfredsson said he made the decision last week and his wife Bibbi along with his four kids are fully supportive.

Alfredsson said he needed to test himself in rigorous off-season training to see if his body could withstand another NHL campaign before deciding whether to return. The result was positive. Alfredsson will return for a 17th season with the only NHL team he has known and where he has been captain since 1999-2000.

The gifted playmaker and scorer has amassed 416 goals, 666 assists for 1,082 points in 1,131 games — all team records. He holds the same records in the playoffs, with 111 games, 47 goals, 43 assists and 90 points. He had suggested he might retire after last season, when he had 27 goals and 32 assists in 75 games and helped Ottawa reach the playoffs. The Senators lost in seven games in the first round to the New York Rangers. He also said staying on for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia did not factor into his decision as it was too far in the future to contemplate. Alfredsson won Olympic gold in 2006 with Sweden.

Alfredsson’s history goes back to the club’s early years. He was drafted 133rd overall in 1994 by Ottawa, and won the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year in 1996. The six-time all-star had a career-high 43 goals and 103 points in 2005-06.

Anderson Injures Hand; Out Indefinitely

The Ottawa Senators season was dealt a massive blow when Craig Anderson suffered a serious cut while preparing food at his home late Wednesday following a victory over the Washington Capitals. GM Bryan Murray could be forced to go shopping for a goalie — with Monday’s trade deadline fast approaching – after the club’s No. 1 netminder suffered his injury which could possibly put him out for several weeks.

While the Senators confirmed Anderson is out “indefinitely” but is expected to make a full recovery, sources told the Ottawa Sun he’ll be gone 10 days and possibly more, and has to be examined by a specialist. A source said the worst-case scenario for this type of injury is 6-8 weeks. A source said surgery was required on the 30-year-old Anderson, who was still in hospital Thursday. He was supposed to sign autographs at an Orleans car dealership Thursday night and didn’t show. The Senators are expected to recall goalie Robin Lehner from their AHL affiliate in Binghamton in time for practice Friday in Ottawa.

One of the NHL’s busiest goalies, he has played in 27 of the club’s past 28 games and 56 overall. A major part of the Senators’ success, Anderson has a 29-19-6 record with a 2.86 GAA and .913 save percentage. He’s also coming off a 32-save performance in the 5-2 victory over the Capitals. Backup Alex Auld, meanwhile, has started just seven games this season, going 2-3-2 with a 3.28 GAA and a .883 save percentage.

Lehner’s numbers with a young Binghamton team haven’t been sparkling, either. After helping the Baby Sens win the Calder Cup last spring, Lehner is 8-16-1 this season with 3.38 GAA and .905 save percentage. As the Senators prepare to face the Boston Bruins Saturday at home, Murray has to decide whether he’ll go get another goalie as insurance or stick it out with Auld and Lehner until Anderson is ready to return. The goalie market is thin – possible targets are Josh Harding, Evegni Nabakov or Antero Niittymaki.

Sens Update 21st Feb, 2012

The Ottawa Senators stands in 7th place in the Eastern Conference after 61 games played. They are at 70 points with 31 wins, 22 loses & 8 OTs with 185 goals scored against 180 goals conceded. That defence & goalkeeping need shoring up badly. But last night was a wonderful win for the Senators, 6-0 away against the New York Islanders.

Sens Update : Long Overdue

This season I haven’t posted much about both my favourite teams – in football Arsenal FC & in hockey the Ottawa Senators. In the case of Arsenal it has been majorly only because of the fact that I don’t get the two major sports channels for India, Espn & Star Sports, because of the stupid, lazy ass cable company Asianet’s unwilling to pay for getting those channels. Hence I haven’t watched a single game either live or recorded because my incompetent cable tv provider prefers to just keep showing idiotic Indian channels that have rehashes of the same kind of serials that bore the heck out of most of us.

But in the case of the Senators I have still watched the highlights of every game they’ve played this season (just like the last 2 seasons) online on the NHL’s official Youtube channel. So no excuse there, even if I haven’t watched a single full match. I dunno why but I just missed posting on them as these past 6 months I’ve concentrated more on movie & tv series reviews. Anyway, time to catch up on them. After struggling with a lineup squad that was predicted by most critics & experts to finish last in the league. And to be fair Ottawa are in a time of rebuilding, having sold off most of their bigger name & higher salary players. Fans were told to expect 2 or 3 seasons of finishing towards the bottom of the league while younger players & lesser known players take the time to gel and shape up. And as the season started that’s where we were headed towards. 1 win in their first 6 games.

Then things picked up with a 5 wins in a row streak. Then they started losing again and then slowly started being more consistent. Now with 40 games played, the Senators find themselves in 6th place out in the East with 20 wins, 15 loses and 5 overtime loses and a total of 45 points! Jason Spezza has 14 goals & 26 assists, while captain Daniel Alfredsson has 12 goals & 16 assists. Milan Michalek has 19 goals while contributions have come in from Nick Foligno, Zack Smith & Colin Greening. The goalie situation is our weakest link still as both Alex Auld & Craig Anderson do not inspire the stuff of legends.

Will we win the Stanley Cup this year? No but we will reach the playoffs. We need to keep rebuilding and sign one or two high skill goal scorers, maybe a top defender and a solid no.1 goalie. Still it’s very interesting at this stage. GO SENS GO!

Senators Season 2011-12 So Far

I do not know what to say about the Ottawa Senators this season. After unloading a whole lot of players last season, including crowd favourites, and signing up mostly players who fans of other teams have never heard of, it was no wonder that most critics & experts picked the team to finis last in the league come the end of the 2011-12 season. Let’s face it – after top line trio Daniel Alfredsson, Jason Spezza & Milan Michalek, who else did you expect to provide a steady stream of goals? So as I, like many other Sens fans I suppose, looked at a lot of star players being signed up by other teams and wondering when was it that my side was going to get 2 or 3 big name players, the Sens management signed 2nd & 3rd string players.

Doomed for this season? Playoff chances? Yes and None respectively were the answers that came up in my mind. So after the top 3 forwards our most known players are Chris Neil, defencemen Philip Kuba, Chris Philips & Sergie Gronchar. Two goalie who, let’s face it, are actually competent back goalies for any other team in Craig Anderson & Alex Auld. Not the stuff of champs! And when the season started it looked like exactly what it was – a solitary win in their first 6 games, which was a 4-3 win against the Minnesota Wild. 5 Loses to Detroit (3-5), Toronto (5-6), Colorado (1-7), Washington (1-2) & Philadelphia (2-7) were devastating but not unexpected. But then; things changed.

5 Wins in a row. 4-1 vs Winnipeg, 4-3 against Columbus, 3-2 against Carolina, 4-3 against Florida & a 5-4 win against New York Rangers. Admittedly things are tight as we are leaking goals and 4 of those games were won by a 1 goal margin. But we are also scoring goals. Spezza & Michalek have 7 goals each, Alfredsson with 4 and Colin Greening with 3. With 12 points after 11 games played, Ottawa should now crack the top 8 in the East and if they build on these wins, who knows what can happen this season. But it’s way too early to say as we have another 71 games to go. Go Sens Go!

Lalime Retires As Player, Will Be A Broadcaster

Former Ottawa Senators goaltender Patrick Lalime has retired from active hockey and will become an analyst on Ottawa Senators television broadcasts, the all-sports network RDS announced Wednesday on its website.

Lalime played 444 games for five teams over 12 NHL seasons, posting a 200-174-48 record with a career 2.58 goals-against average and .905 save percentage. The 37-year-old played seven games last season for the Buffalo Sabres. The St.Bonaventure, Que., native is best known for starting his career with a 16-game unbeaten run for the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1996-97, and for his five seasons with the Senators. His best campaign was in 2002-03, when he won a club-record 39 games and helped Ottawa reach the Eastern Conference final.  Lalime, who sits No. 1 on the franchise list of all-time wins (146), shutouts (30) and games between the pipes (283).

Lalime, who spent 5 years in Ottawa, will now settled down there with his wife and their 3 daughters. He also played in St. Louis and Chicago, and spent his last three seasons as Ryan Miller’s backup in Buffalo. However, in 2010-11, he only saw action in seven games — which helped him also see the writing on the wall.

Lalime was acquired by the Senators during the summer of 1999 to be Ron Tugnutt’s understudy, but he wound up playing 38 games that season and taking full control of the No. 1 role. The end for him in Ottawa came April 20, 2004, when his shaky play was the ugliest mark on a Game 7, first-round playoff loss to the Maple Leafs.

He played some great games for the Senators in between. Fans who sneer at that memory may forget that Lalime was also brilliant in the 2002 playoffs, when he allowed two goals in a five-game series win over the Flyers. Three consecutive shutouts have his name in the NHL record book.

Ottawa’s First Round Picks

Ottawa Senators picked Mika Zibanejad from Sweden 6th overall in the 2011 NHL Draft. Watch the video with some background of the young forward.

Ottawa Senators picked Stefab Neoson from Texas, USA 21st overall in the 2011 NHL Draft. Watch the video with some background of the young forward of the Plymouth Whalers of the OHL.

Ottawa Senators picked Matt Peumpel 24th overall in the 2011 NHL Draft. Watch the video with some background of the young forward from Essex, Ontario of the Peterborough Petes of the OHL.

Hope For Next Season

The Ottawa Senators may not be in the playoffs but their recent form gives us fans hope for the next season and beyond. If they can play this well and win games with this team that has a lot of call ups from Binghamton, imagine what they can do with a squad that is sure to get a few bigger name players next season! They were also assured a spot in the NHL draft lottery this spring.

A lot of the credit should go to goalie Craig Anderson, traded before the deadline a few weeks ago. Anderson has done a great job for the Senators and will surely look forward to being the starting goalie next season. On Friday night he recorded the 16th shutout of his career and his second in 12 games with Ottawa as he improved his record to 8-4-0 by blanking the Washington Capitals. The native of Park Ridge, Illinois had recently signed a 4 year contract extension with the Sens.

Because he is 29, I fully expect him to be a short term replacement maybe for Swedish youngster Robin Lerner. As the rebuilding process will see a lot of progress during the summer when the Senators use their picks in the draft and also look to shore up their ranks with a few signings, perhaps mostly on the unrestricted free agent side. There will be a few top caliber players available and perhaps looking for fresh starts at a different club. The Ottawa management will do their best and try to get a few younger players who can be folded into the rebuilding process and be long term answers for the Sens.

A few veteran players may also be looked at to provide the leadership for the next 2-3 years. A few names comes to mind as to who can do the job – Brad Richards, Jason Arnott and oh why not bring back Ottawa native & former Senator Todd White?

Kovalev Moves To Pittsburgh

Joining his former team mates in the exodus from Ottawa, Alexie Kovalev was the latest Senator to find a new team as he was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins for a 7th round conditional draft pick. Kovalev, who used to play with the Penguins for 5 seasons, said being involved again with a franchise run by Mario Lemieux made Pittsburgh a very attractive destination for him.

In the past month the Sens have shipped  veterans  Mike Fisher, Chris Kelly,  Jarkko  Ruutu and Brian Eliott out of town while receiving several draft picks but little in the way of actual players other than goalie Craig Anderson. An Olympic gold medalist with Russia in 1992, Kovalev has scored over 400 goals and recorded over 1000 points in his 18-year NHL career.

Earlier in the season Kovalev went public with his general unhappiness in Ottawa and openly complained about his role under head coach Cory Clouston who demoted Kovalev to the fourth line for a period of time.  Although Murray could not define exactly why Kovalev never quite seemed comfortable in Ottawa, but admitted that his relationship with Clouston may have been a factor.

It has been a disappointing tenure for Kovalev in Ottawa after signing a two-year, $10 million deal with the team as a free agent in 2009; however the enigmatic Russian sniper has turned up his game as of late.  He has 14 goals and 13 assists in 54 games this season.  He waived his the ‘no-trade’ clause in his contract in order to get the deal with the Penguins done. He said his biggest regret was being unable to help turn things around in Ottawa.

Ottawa Ends Home Loss Skid

A depleted Ottawa Senators still managed to win 5-1 against the Florida Panthers & stop a 10-game home losing skid in the process. Wednesday night at Scotiabank Place new goalie Craig Anderson made 21 stops, Jason Spezza had a three-point night, Bobby Butler scored twice and Milan Michalek and Ryan Shannon also scored as the Senators won for the first time at Scotiabank Place since Dec. 26. Only Florida’s Chris Higgins was able to beat Anderson, acquired from Colorado on Friday. It’s only the fourth time this season the Senators have back-to-back victories.

Butler has got 5 goals in his last 5 games. A Senators’ loss would have tied a franchise-worst record of 11 straight losses at home dating back to Dec, 1993 — the club’s second year. The Senators finished the game without rugged winger Chris Neil. He left with a lower-body injury he suffered in the second period when he ran into the boards. A subject of trade talks heading into Monday’s deadline and two Tampa scouts in the building, Neil went to throw a check and Keaton Ellerby moved. Neil ended up ramming himself into the boards.



Elliot Traded To Avalance; Hello Anderson

The Senators will have a new No. 1 in net. Goaltender Brian Elliott became the latest goalie sent to a new home when he was dealt to the Colorado Avalanche Friday in exchange for goaltender Craig Anderson. While Anderson will be a UFA on July 1, the Senators are expected to sign the eight-year NHL veteran to a contract extension once the dust settles on the deal in the coming weeks.

Senators GM Bryan Murray said Anderson will arrive just before puck drop and dress as the backup to Robin Lehner tonight when the Senators meet the Boston Bruins at Scotiabank Place. Murray said he wants to give Robin Lehner time to develop a bit, as the 19 year old has shown promise but needs more games & space in between to grow into what the Sens hope will be a franchise goalie.

Coach Cory Clouston said he is pleased with the move and stated that it would be good for Elliot to get a fresh start in a new organization as he has had too much pressure in Ottawa. This is the fourth trade in just over a week for the Senators, who dealt Mike Fisher to Nashville for a first-round and a conditional draft pick; Chris Kelly to Boston for a second-round pick; and Jarkko Ruutu to the Anaheim Ducks for a sixth-round pick.