Bye Bye Ruutu

At this rate, who will be left to play out the rest of this miserable season?

Jarrko Ruutu has become the third Senator sent packing in less than a week. The winger was dealt to the Anaheim Ducks Thursday in exchange for a sixth-round pick as the Senators continue to clean house before the trade deadline. A looming unrestricted free agent on July 1, Ruutu has been dealt for the first first time in his career. He knew his days were numbered in Ottawa and was looking forward to the chance to play for a contender. Ruutu, 35, had two goals and eight assists this season in a limited role under coach Cory Clouston.

Anaheim GM Bob Murray was pleased to get Ruutu. The Ruutu move follows the trades of Chris Kelly to Boston Tuesday and Mike Fisher to Nashville last Thursday. Ruutu has spent the past three seasons in Ottawa, and has played for Pittsburgh and Vancouver over his 11 years in the league. Ruutu is earning $1.3 million this season in the last year of a three-year deal with the Senators. He is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. The Ducks said via Twitter on Thursday afternoon that Ruutu will not be able to join the Ducks until he receives a work visa.

Chris Kelly Traded To Bruins

The Ottawa Senators continue to clean house as they have traded forward Chris Kelly to the Boston Bruins in exchange for a second round draft pick in the upcoming 2011 NHL Entry Draft. The 30-year-old Kelly was held scoreless in just under 17 minutes of ice time in Ottawa’s 4-3 shootout loss to the New York Islanders on Tuesday.  He has 12 goals and 11 assists in 57 games this season. With the loss on Tuesday the Senators sit dead last in the Eastern Conference with 45 points and an 18-30-9 record.  They have won just once in their past 13 contests.  While Kelly knew the possibility existed that he would be dealt before the deadline, he admitted it was a surprise.

While he admitted that it being his first time, the trade is tough on him, Kelly spoke with Peter Chiarelli and he seemed excited to get an opportunity to play in the post-season and an opportunity to go late, hopefully, in the playoffs. The Toronto native, who is in his sixth NHL season, had spent his entire career with the Senators. Senators general manager Bryan Murray said how difficult it was to trade away Kelly in a hastily called press conference following the loss to the Isles. “I just traded one of the good guys and most respected players on this hockey team,” Murray told reporters.

While Murray admitted that there would likely be more moves to follow, he disagreed with the notion that the Senators were completely clearing the decks. Kelly has one more year remaining on a four-year deal worth $8.5 million that he signed prior to the 2008-09 season. He is scheduled to make $2 million next season, after which he will be an unrestricted free agent. Kelly, who was originally a third-round pick of the Senators in the 1999 draft, won’t need to wait long for his return to Ottawa as the Senators play host to the Bruins on Friday at Scotiabank Place. The departures of Kelly and Fisher have not only left a pair of significant holes in the Senators’ lineup, but also in the community where both players were very active.

Kelly is a solid two-way forward who excels on the penalty kill and should fit in as the Bruins’ third-line centre, which likely pushes rookie Tyler Seguin further down Boston’s depth chart.  The move became somewhat necessary after the team lost Marc Savard for the remainder of the season with a concussion.

Senators Say Goodbye To Fan Fav Fisher

The Ottawa Senators rebuild is in full swing as Mike Fisher is on his way to the Nashville Predators in exchange for Nashville’s first-round pick in the 2011 Entry Draft and a conditional pick in the 2012 Draft. Nashville are happy and stated that they are getting a top 6 forward and a player who plays playoff style hockey all year long.

The conditions of the 2012 draft pick are as follows.  The Senators will receive Nashville’s third rounder if the Preds win one playoff round.  That pick would then turn into a second-round pick in 2012 if the team wins two-or more rounds. The 30-year old Fisher has struggled this season with just 14 goals and 10 assists in 55 games but remains a strong two-way threat with great penalty killing abilities.

Fisher has spent all 10 of his NHL seasons in the Nation’s capital and helped lead the Sens to the Stanley Cup final in 2007. Originally a second round pick, 44th overall by the Senators in the 1998 NHL Entry Draft, Fisher has 166 goals and 178 assists in 667 career games. The Peterborough, Ontario native is married to country music superstar Carrie Underwood so the move to the ‘Music City’ should fit well with their lifestyle.

The Decline Of The Senators

While they are the second-lowest scoring team in the league, the Senators have now surrendered 157 goals — second most after Edmonton’s 159, before Saturday’s action.

Since my last update of the Senators they’ve had just 3 wins in 15 games! Yes it has been that bad. Out of 5 games between 18th of December till the 31st, Ottawa scored 2 wins and 3 loses, out of which 1 was in OT. So that’s 5 out of a possible 10 points.

Of the 10 games we’ve played so far in January, the only bright spot is a 6-4 win against the New York Islanders. We’ve lost all the other 9 games, 2 in OT i.e a miserly 4 points out of 20. The low points have been humiliating home loses to Toronto 1-5 and 1-7 to Montreal. At home! Also a 0-6 loss in Boston to the Bruins. This makes reaching the Stanley Cup playoffs a distant dream.

It’s time to rebuild and that is only possible by offloading current players. Who do they move?

The Senators are casting about to see what they can get for Mike Fisher. But with the 30-year-old armed with a no-movement clause and two years left on his contract carrying a cap hit of $4.2 million, two league executives seriously doubt he’ll be going anywhere anytime soon. He’s been with the Senators his whole professional career, having signed on in 1998. Similarly the three Chris-es have been with Ottawa for more than a decade – Philips since 96, Neil from 98 & Kelly since 99. They form a huge core of the team – do the Sens trade these guys?

Ottawa needs a better top class goalie and better defencemen. The goalie problem has been stated for a long time and we just can’t depend on Pascal Leclaire who has been injured most of his time in Ottawa. If he is 100% fit he is more than capable of being a top class goalie. Brian Elliot is at best a good deputy but he has been leaking goals of late. Robin Lehner is too young and too untested but seems to be a goalie for the future.

I would try to sell the following – Gonchar, Smith, Shannon, Foligno, Regin, Ruutu, Winchester, Kovalev, Elliot & Kuba and try to get some strong players if possible.

Sens Update, 18th Dec 2010

Ok this update starts off on a higher note. I’ve already upoaded the clip of Chris Kelly’s hattrick against the New York Rangers on 5th of December, which gave the Senators a 3-1 away win. But two days later a visit to nearby Montreal brought them down back to reality. Jeff Halpern, Brian Gionta and Roman Hamrlik scored third-period goals and Carey Price made 27 saves as Montreal beat the Ottawa Senators 4-1 on Tuesday night for their third straight win. Only Nick Foligno scored for Ottawa.

Then it was the turn of the Rangers to pay a visit back to Ottawa and extract revenge. Despite Mike Fisher’s two goals, sandwiched between a Jason Spezza goal, the Rangers came away with a 5-3 win. With the Senators having scored fewer than two goals in eight of their previous 12 games, we know where the problem is. The very next night, the Senators welcomed the New Jersey Devils and came up with a 3-2 win. Milan Michalek and Jarkko Ruutu scored 2:16 apart midway through the second, spoiling Martin Brodeur’s return to New Jersey’s lineup in Ottawa’s 3-2 victory Friday night. Erik Karlsson had a goal and an assist and Pascal Leclaire stopped 29 shots for the Senators. With both teams struggling for points it was a hard fought game as should be expected.

The Atlanta Thrashers came calling next and unfortunately we couldn’t get wins in a row. Daniel Alfredsson, Chris Neil & Spezza scored a goal each and the game went to extra time as both teams were tied at 3-3. Atlanta’s Bryan Little scored his second goal of the game 1:09 into overtime to give the Atlanta Thrashers a 4-3 win over the Senators on the 13th. The Senators needed to recoup and come back strong. A visit to St. Paul’s Minneapolis to play the wild was just what we needed.

Alfredsson, Foligno & Kelly each scored and the Senators took advantage of a disallowed goal to beat the Wild 3-1. A dozen of the Senators players’ fathers are on this two-game road trip and no doubt approved of their sons’ performances. Kyle Brodziak scored for the Wild and had another goal waved off because of too many men on the ice. The goal would have given Minnesota a 2-1 lead midway through the second period. Instead, Foligno scored nine seconds later and the Wild never recovered. Leclaire stopped 23 shots to help the Senators win for just the third time in their last seven games.

Sens Update, 4th Dec 2010

Things are not getting any easier for the Ottawa Senators. Goals aren’t coming by at all for the Sens and they are letting in pucks at the other end. On the 24th of November the Dallas Stars visited Ottawa and won 2-1 against the sens. Ryan Shannon had the solitary goal for Ottawa. 2 days later it was facing off against Crosby and the boys in Pittsburgh with the Senators losing by the same scoreline of 1-2. Jesse Winchester having the lone goal.

Where were the goals going to come from? How can we reverse this trend of losing? Well it a day late back in Ottawa and took a visit from Toronto to spark the Sens back to life. Mike Fisher scored two goals to follow Alexie Kovalev’s opener and grab a 3-0 win over their bitter provincial rivals. Brian Elliot made 29 saves to earned a shutout, his second of the season. Having just got off a great win, the Sens should have been on a high but they came crashing down after the Edmonton Oiler’s visit to the Canadian capital. Former Senator goalie Martin Gerber had a win over his former team, 4-1 with only Nick Foligno scoring for Ottawa.

December would prove to be of no respite for the Sens – Dany Heatley, booed throughout the game, might not have scored but his San Jose Sharks came off 4-0 winners on the 2nd of December. And then just last night the Sabres came a calling from Buffalo and although they didn’t score in the regulation time, they came off with a shoot-out win. Yes, Ottawa gets a point but where are we going to get the goals from? Tonight we face the Rangers and two days from that it’s Montreal.

Sens Update, 23rd Nov 2010

Not a good way to start an update but the Ottawa Senators went so far of the rails that they were in danger of getting lost in the race for the playoffs. Yes even this early in the season it is essential for us to get those wins. So far it has been an up & down season for the Sens and we need more wins.

The emotional strain of the death of former Senator & current Assistant Coach Luke Richardson’s daughter played heavily on the minds of the franchise. On the 15th the Sens traveled to Philadelphia and lost heavily to the Flyer, 1-5. Jason Spezza scored the lone goal for Ottawa. If you think that was just a bump, worse was to come! The Sens lost so heavily to Carolina in an embarrassing 1-7 loss to the Hurricanes. The one-sided outcome provided a difficult conclusion to an emotionally draining day for the Senators. The team delayed its trip to attend a memorial service earlier in the day in Ottawa for Daron Richardson, the 14-year-old daughter of Luke, who took her own life on Friday. The Senators didn’t arrive in Raleigh until Wednesday afternoon.

That was followed by a trip to St.Louis and a 2-5 loss to the Blues, losing for the fourth time in five games. Mike Fisher & Jesse Winchester scored for the Senators. Perhaps a return home will do the Senators a load of good. And that it did – the Scotiabank Place scoreboard clock fittingly read “10:00” as Alex Kovalev celebrated a stick-shattering goal that delivered his 1,000th point. Kovalev got his milestone point when he scored on a power play midway through the first period and assisted on Spezza’s go-ahead goal in the third for his 1,001st point to send the Ottawa Senators to a 3-2 win over the Los Angeles Kings on Monday night. Milan Michalek also scored a goal. He joined Sergei Fedorov and Alexander Mogilny as the third Russian player to reach the milestone.

Sens Update, 13th Nov 2010

Jason Spezza appears to be back to form after being slowed by a groin injury. Spezza, who mised 4 games,  had two goals and an assist Tuesday night as Ottawa extended its winning streak to four games with a 5-2 win over the Atlanta Thrashers. After struggling through the first month of the season, the Senators (8-6-1) seem to have found their game, and Ottawa coach Cory Clouston credits Spezza for helping the turnaround.Senators goalie Brian Elliott, making his 11th straight start, stopped 35 shots. Chris Neil and Jesse Winchester score their first goals of the season, and Sergei Gonchar also scored for Ottawa (8-6-1).

However the visit of the Vancouver Canucks would not go well for the Senators. Daniel Sedin and Alex Burrows each had a goal and an assist, and Henrik Sedin also had two points to lead Vancouver to a 6-2 win over the Senators on Thursday night. Peter Regin scored his first goal of the season and also assisted on Gonchar’s goal. The next game would be last night in Boston.

Elliott stopped 31 shots for his first shutout this season, and the Senators beat the Boston Bruins 2-0 on Saturday night to hand Tim Thomas his first loss. Erik Karlsson and Daniel Alfredsson scored for the Senators, who won for the seventh time in nine games and won their third straight game in Boston. Matt Carkner and Elliott each played their 100th career games.

However the night was marred by tragedy. Senators assistant coach Luke Richardson — a former teammate to many of the team’s players — and his wife Stephanie have tragically lost their 14-year-old daughter, Daron. The Senators confirmed in a statement late Saturday that Daron tried to take her own life by hanging herself at the family’s home. The club said she was rushed to hospital and succumbed to the injuries in ICU.

Sens Update, 7th Nov 2010

Ok, things would not go well immediately after my last update on the Senators. Ottawa welcomed the Boston Bruins and were such perfect hosts that they forgot to score against their opponents.  Tim Thomas made 29 saves for his second straight shutout and third of the season, improving to 6-0 with the Boston Bruins’ 4-0 victory over the Ottawa Senators on Saturday night. Thomas has 20 career NHL shutouts, five against the Senators. David Krejci, Tyler Seguin, Milan Lucic and Jordan Caron scored to help the Bruins raise their record to 6-2-0. Brian Elliott made 21 saves for Ottawa.

However the first week of November has been very good for us. First was a visit to Toronto – Sergei Gonchar and Erik Karlsson scored power-play goals 2:26 apart and the Senators beat the Maple Leafs 3-2 on Tuesday night in a game that also saw the Leafs lose captain Dion Phanuef to injury. Mike Fisher also scored a goal. Two days later back in Ottawa, Jason Spezza had a goal and three assists as his team beat the New York Islanders 4-1 Thursday night and handed New York its sixth straight loss. Spezza, held without a point in his first two games back from a groin injury, set up goals by defencemen Sergei Gonchar and David Hale before scoring his second of the season to put Ottawa up by three 6:17 into the second. He got his third assist when Chris Kelly scored into an empty net with 12.5 seconds remaining. Peter Regin had two assists.

That brings us to last night and a visit to Montreal to face the in form Canadiens. Alexi Kovalev scored twice for his 996th and 997th career points, and the Senators extended their winning streak to three with a 3-2 victory. Kovalev, who played for Montreal from 2003-09, opened the scoring late in the first period. He added his second goal of the game on a power play 6:42 into the third, a slap shot through traffic past Carey Price that restored Ottawa’s two-goal lead at 3-1. Zack Smith, who was recalled from Binghamton also scored.

Sens Update, 29th Oct 2010

Well we have had quite a few games played since the last update. The Ottawa Senators finally won their first game of the season when on the 14th they won 3-2 against the Carolina Hurricanes. Mike Fisher scored his first 2 goals of the season. Brian Elliott made 19 saves after taking over early in the first for injured Ottawa starter Pascal Leclaire, who left with a lower-body injury. That win should have fueled them for facing local rivals Montreal 2 days later but the Canadiens won 4-3. Milan Michalek scored 2 goals in that game along with one from Erik Karlsson.

On the 19th the Sens visited Pittsburgh and were convincingly beaten 5-2 by Sidney and his gang. Ottawa, a first-round playoff loser to Pittsburgh last season, is 1-4-1 — partly because of a power play that is only 2-of-24. That includes captain Daniel Alfredsson’s goal at 5:40 of the second period, his first this season. A 3 day rest proved to be good for the Sens as they traveled to Buffalo and Alfredsson had his eighth career hat trick and reached 1,000 career NHL points, and Elliott made 34 saves in the Senators’ 4-2 victory over the Sabres on Friday night.

The Senators then started a home stand the next day but promptly lost to Montreal, who are proving to be their boogey team this season. Carey Price made 19 saves for his first shutout in nearly two years and Andrei Kostitsyn scored twice in the Canadiens’ 3-0 victory over Senators on Saturday night. So what could the Phoenix Coyotes expect when they visited the Canadian capital? Unaware of his own record-breaking goal, Alex Kovalev was delighted to make Sergei Gonchar’s 1,000th game that much more memorable.Kovalev scored twice and added an assist, combining with Erik Karlsson for the fastest two goals in Ottawa history to lead the Senators past the Coyotes 5-2 on Tuesday night. Chris Kelly and Alfredsson also scored.

That brings us to last night where the Sens hosted the Florida Panther and got contributions from all over their lineup to light up what had been one of the NHL’s stingiest defenses. Michalek, Fisher and Alfredsson each had a goal and an assist to lead Ottawa to a 5-3 victory over the Panthers on Thursday night. Zack Smith and Kovalev also scored to help the Senators win consecutive games for the first time this season. Elliott stopped 28 shots in his sixth straight start for Ottawa (4-5-1).

Worst Start To A Season In 15 Years

The Senators are 0-2-1 after earning a point in a 3-2 overtime loss Monday at the Verizon Center. A chance to build on a decent performance against the Capitals — and put a halt to what is already their worst start in 15 years — presents itself Thursday when the Senators host the undefeated Carolina Hurricanes at Scotiabank Place. The Senators will have captain Daniel Alfredsson in the lineup against the ‘Canes, who are 2-0 after a couple of one-goal victories over Minnesota in Helsinki. Alfredsson left the Washington affair late in the third period, raising concerns of his availability for the second home game of the season.

Coach Cory Clouston said Brian Elliott will make his first start in goal, either against the Hurricanes or Saturday in Montreal. Pascal Leclaire played well in the first three games, but put a knot in Clouston’s shorts with the way he allowed Alex Ovechkin’s soft wrist shot to slip between his legs 32 seconds from a shootout. Otherwise, Clouston is feeling more comfortable than he did after the loses to Buffalo and Toronto. Although it is extremely early days, our power play, which, at 0-for-14, ranks last in the NHL. A couple of wins should get us back on track.

Sens Out Of Playoffs

So that’s it. The Ottawa Senators blow a 3 goal lead in game 6 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs against the defending champs the Pittsburgh Penguins and lose the series 2-4. The Sens go home and no doubt a few of them will probably still play some more hockey for the World Championships. And some of them will want to put the disappointment behind them and go to their summer homes and play golf or do other stuff.

Most of them will want to play more hockey and try and get over the bitter taste of loss and see if they can win gold with their national team. Ofcourse it’s not the same as winning the most difficult trophy there is to win in all of team sports. So there’s more playoff action in the weeks to come. With the exit of the Senators, I’m going to put all of my support behind the Vancouver Canucks. This looks like as good a year as any for the West Coast team.

Go Luongo!

Sens Trail Playoff Quaterfinal 1-2 VS Pens

After the first game in Pittsburgh which the Ottawa Senators won, the Penguins have stepped up and won the next two, putting the pressure squarely back on the collective shoulders of Alfredsson & co. The second game in Pittsburgh was won with a 2-1 victory. Then last night with the series shifting to the Senators’ home stadium, Scotiabank Place, the Pens upped their game to win 4-2.

With Evgeny Malkin & Sidney Crosby performing the way that they are, the Senators better have a different approach if they want to battle the series out and win it. Home crowd should help the side get a victory in game 4 and then if they can do that, then it’s anybody’s series. And we need more goals from Spezza, Fisher & Alfredsson. All I can say is GO SENS GO!

Senators 5 Penguins 4

Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Eastern Conference Quaterfinals. Ottawa Senators 5 Pittsburgh Penguins 4.

Led by an unlikely group of heroes, the Ottawa Senators delivered a shocking blow to the defending-champion Pittsburgh Penguins at Mellon Arena Wednesday night.

The line of Chris Kelly, Chris Neil and Jarkko Ruutu each scored a goal, combining for six points, while Erik Karlsson and Peter Regin had goals in their playoff debuts to give the Senators a 5-4 victory over Sidney Crosby and the Penguins in Game 1. Ottawa goalie Brian Elliott pick up his first post-season victory. He only had to make 17 saves, but it wasn’t easy.

Game 2 is on Friday.

Sens Update, 7th April 2010

On the 30th of March, The Senators went to Washington to face the Conference leading Capitals. In the clash of the two nations capital city’s teams, the Sens were victorious. The Senators, looking to be in top form for the postseason, won their fifth in a row Tuesday night, blowing an early lead before rallying to beat the Capitals 5-4 in overtime. Jason Spezza with two goals led the attack followed by goals by Peter Regin, Alexei Kovalev & Chris Campoli.

Two days later on the 1st of April, it was back home in Ottawa where they hosted the Carolina Hurricanes. The Sens needed a shootout to gain victory 4-3. Erik Karlsson had two goals, while Alexander Volchenkov also scored one. Kovalev had the shootout goal win.

The New York Islanders derailed the Ottawa train and stopped them from getting their 7th win in a row. At the Islanders home ice, Martin Biron had 28 saves to lead the New York Islanders to a 4-1 win over the Ottawa Senators on Saturday. Matt Cullen’s close-range goal late in the third ended Biron’s bid for his 27th career shutout.

And last night, on Daniel Alfredsson’s 1000th NHL game, Mike Fisher scored twice to help Ottawa beat the Florida Panthers 5-2 Tuesday night for their seventh win in eight games. Jarkko Ruutu, Karlsson and Chris Neil also got goals for Ottawa. Pascal Leclaire made 32 saves on a rare start for him.

Sens Update, 23rd March 2010

The Ottawa Senators have finally picked up their game and after the worst losing skid for the season, they now have 4 wins in a row.

It started on the 22nd with a 2-0 victory away at the Bell Center over the Montreal Canadiens. Brian Elliott made 29 saves for his fourth shutout and fifth of his career, Erik Karlsson had a goal and an assist, and Ottawa ended a five-game losing streak. Peter Regin scored his first goal in 10 games midway through the first and Daniel Alfredsson assisted on both goals.

Two days later again riding a huge goaltending effort from Elliot, the Sens were able to knock off an Eastern Conference playoff contender for a second night in a row. Elliott earned his second shutout in two days and Chris Kelly and Daniel Alfredsson scored to lead Ottawa to a 2-0 win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday night. Elliott stopped 26 shots – including a spectacular glove save on James van Riemsdyk with 3:55 remaining – for his fifth shutout of the season.

Friday the 26th saw the Sens visit Buffalo and get a 4-2 win over the Sabres. Jason Spezza, Alfredsson, and Kelly had a goal and assist each, Elliott made 41 saves as the short-handed Senators beat the Sabres for the ninth straight time. Regin also scored. Then last night the Senators captain scored his 20th goal of the season early in the third period and the Ottawa won its fourth straight, 3-2 over the Florida Panthers on Saturday night. Elliott made 20 saves, and Matt Cullen and Regin also scored for the Senators. Rookie defenceman Karlsson had three assists.

Senators Slumping

What has happened to the Ottawa Senators? They have fallen apart so badly post the Winter Olympic break that they are no languishing. With just 12 games left in the regular season, the Senators’ post-Olympic troubles hit a new low Tuesday night with an ugly 4-1 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs in front of 20,405 spectators at Scotiabank Place.

Ottawa’s record in its last seven games is now 1-5-1. That one win was against the league’s bottom team – The Edmonton Oilers. Nobody is sure what happened to the Senators team that reeled off 11 straight victories. Scoring is certainly an issue — the team has just nine goals in its last seven games. Goaltending is another source of concern. Brian Elliot seems to have established himself as the coach’s guy but he just isn’t top goalie material for a team that wants to win the Stanley Cup. Pascal Leclaire has failed to live up his his previous lofty expectations.