Let's get one thing straight: Mark Stone is not part of the cavalry who's going to come in and "rescue" the Ottawa Senators, despite what The Province's headline writers might lead you to believe. He's a 20-year-old player who returned days ago from an injury that kept him off the ice for a month and a half and also isn't even scoring at a point-per-game rate in the American Hockey League.
It's possible that he could come in and lead this team offensively, yes, but it's more likely that Peter Regin does that. Or Kyle Turris. Or Zack Smith. Stone is a great and promising prospect, but he remains a prospect for the time being.
Speaking of Regin, he's expected to centre Stone tonight, which strikes me as a good idea. Jakob Silfverberg will round out the line, and they'll likely play in a second-line role behind the top like of Turris, Milan Michalek, and Daniel Alfredsson. That's good: Stone will play 12-16 minutes, in all likelihood, and won't face the top defenders from Toronto. It's a good spot for him to be in.
Michalek may be seen as a potential rescuer, but he's going to have to seriously step up his game if so. I can't recall a time when Michalek has been able to produce regularly without Jason Spezza alongside him; if he is capable of doing that, now would be a good time to start.
- Yesterday's 30 Thoughts features a brief mention of Kyle Turris. (CBC)
- Pierre LeBrun says the Sens need help scoring, but won't make any short-term deals in the lead-up to the trade deadline. He also sees Boston as the only realistic spot Daniel Alfredsson would go if he's traded. (ESPN)
- Lines in game-day skate: Michalek-Turris-Alfredsson; Dizzy-Zibanejad-Condra; Greening-Smith-Neil and Silfverberg-Regin-Stone. (Garrioch)
- Sounds like James Reimer will start for Toronto while Matt Frattin will be out due to injury. (Garrioch)