2 March 2015

Welcome back: do you recognize these Ottawa Senators?

"A break unintended is a break nonetheless." Who said these wise words? Probably no one but myself, attempting to apologize for an unintended four-month break in blogging. Fortunately, the object of your and my mutual affections has undergone quite a few changes during that course of time; there remains yet a heap-tonne of items to discuss in regards to the 2014-15 Ottawa Senators.

Take, for example, the Ottawa Senators of this past week. Is there capacity in our collective minds to grasp the sheer goodness of a team that shuts out the two better California teams on a back-to-back, one day after jet lagging their way from the East Coast, and then finishes off with a comeback win over the last California team? Take a moment to bask in the five-game winning streak that's hotter than that one day in March where almost all the snow melts and temperatures hit positive digits... because, like the day after that, the streak will likely turn cold soon. Let's look at some of the aspects that have been pushing the Sens along.

31 October 2014

Pondering the Sens as a special teams team.

Forget being a high-event team: meet your 2014-15 Ottawa Senators, a high-special teams-event team. ...Okay, I take that back, that makes the club sound too much like a group of scantily-clad faux-firemen available for hire to flaunt their parts at special occasions. But look, the Sens spent an average of 17 minutes per game over the month of October playing in situations other than 5-on-5 (as calculated from war-on-ice.com game logs). League-wide, they're 6th in terms of time with the man-advantage and 23rd (or, inversely, 8th) in terms of time spent down a man. These measurements aren't quite precise, since teams evidently haven't played the exact same number of games. But combine it with the eye test and it seems reasonably safe to conclude that the Sens have been relying quite heavily on special teams for these first nine games.

17 October 2014

To think about: looking for chemistry & balance.

When Paul MacLean shifted Bobby Ryan to the second line somewhere in between the second and third game of the season, the rationale seemed, well, rational. In separating our lusciously fruitful most prominently productive scoring forward from the hot duo of Turris and MacArthur, the Sens would be able to roll at least two skill trios in a 1a/1b-type split against opponents. This would thus avoid the Turris-centred line being killed possession-wise (although the boys at hockey-graphs have speculated whether matching competition truly has an effect at the team level). So the new second-line became Ryan-Zibanejad-Chiasson, while Stone moved up to play with Turris and MacArthur. Seemed logical.

13 October 2014

Game n°3 preview: Sens stop by Sunrise, FLA for fall hockeying

Don't look now, but the Ottawa Senators are straddling a .500 average two games into a season that's presented them with yet another road trip to start (albeit one theoretically easier than last year's Opening Line-Up of Death). There's one last game to play down south before settling in for a two-week homestand, and it'll be one chez les Panthers.