We saw a few developments in Ottawa Senators land this week: a new player signed, bad news about Bryan Murray, and Spezza re-iterated a common theme. Here are the five hockey thoughts that I've been pondering over this past week.
1. The Human Side of Hockey
I was heartbroken on Monday when I heard the news of Bryan Murray's battle with cancer. As if the poor man didn't have enough on his plate these days. Anyways, Murray will be undergoing treatment but will still be involved with the Senators. For now, Pierre Dorion and Randy Lee will be doing the brunt of the general manager's work, so at least we know we're in good hands while Murray takes time away for treatment.
As someone who has lost very important people in my life to cancer, I cannot help but feel for Murray and his family. It is such a terrible disease and I hope his tenacity and Ottawa Valley toughness pull him through his treatment. We often tend to get so focused on the game side of hockey that we forget that the players, coaches, and people in management are human beings. People like the rest of us who have to deal with whatever life throws at them. Having support becomes all important in those times, so I think I speak for all of us here, staff and readers included, that we wish Bryan a full and speedy recovery.
2. Leaking News to the Public
I was annoyed that the news of Bryan Murray's health concerns was seemingly leaked before Murray or the Senators could release a formal statement about the general manager's health. Whether the news was shared because of good intentions or because of a race to be the first to put it out there, Bryan Murray's health concerns should not have been made public before the Senators and/or Murray announced it. By the look of my Twitter feed on Monday, I'm not the only one who feels this way.
Breaking news is great, but not at the expense of someone's privacy during a difficult time. This brings me back to my first point about getting too caught up in the game and, in this case, being the first with a news lead. Whether someone is in the public eye or not, they deserve to be treated as a person first, not as a story.
3. Jason Spezza Press Release
On Monday, Jason Spezza had his press release with the Dallas Stars. He re-iterated a lot of what has already been said, mainly that another team gives him a better chance to win the Cup: "Yeah, I think there's a lot of positives to this move for me. First and foremost, I think it gives me a chance to compete for the Stanley Cup and at this point in my career is all I'm looking for."
It appears, which I don’t think is a surprise to anyone, that the players are becoming frustrated by the lack of commitment to winning; that is, spending over the cap floor to make the team a legitimate contender. It’s also the reason why the Senators aren’t the ones who make a splash during free agent frenzy or make big trades unless a good chunk of salary is going the other way (except for the Bobby Ryan trade). All I can say is that as a fan, I am 100% frustrated with the narrative that seems to be played on loop over and over.
4. David Legwand: Signed, Sealed, Delivered
Despite the Senators lack of money, if that is truly what it is, the team did pick up a solid free agent in David Legwand. Not exactly a studmuffin signing, but a good one in my opinion. He’s definitely affordable as he signed a two-year, $6 million deal with the Senators, making $2.5M this year and $3.5M the next. Legwand is adds some much-needed depth to the centre position given the absence of Spezza. He's capable of putting up decent point totals (51 this year split between Nashville and Detroit) and he's a good two-way player. For what it's worth, he also seems pretty excited to come to Ottawa stating, "I think it'll be exciting being in a winter city and a cold city and a hockey market; I think it'll be pretty fun."
I personally like the signing because it means all four of the Senators centres can play in either end, making them stronger defensively. Legwand should also take some pressure off of Turris and Zibanejad. Altogether, those three can play between 1C and 3C dependent on the team's need in any given game. If Legwand can stay healthy, I think he can do some good things for the Senators.
5. The Log Jam
The Senators held their development camp over last week and weekend and we got a glimpse of the players who could, in the near future, be suiting up in the NHL. The Senators had 34 participants this year, including Curtis Lazar, Mark Stone, and Cody Ceci. Lazar, in fact, won the prestigious "Hardest Worker" for the camp.
As I've been scouring through reports and tweets about the development camp, I can't help but feel that the levee is going to break soon. Not only do the Senators have 11 forwards on one-way contracts, but they have players like Lazar, Hoffman, Stone, D. Grant, Puempel, Pageau, and Prince all knocking on the door and they'll have to be let in sooner than later. This makes a trade sound almost imminent as the Sens can't hold down those guys for too much longer. I expect that once the dust settles with Murray's health concerns, we may see that mystery trade we've been waiting for ever so patiently.
Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!