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Hockey Central at Noon Panel Discusses the Senators - October 6, 2014

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Kypreos, MacLean and Millard talk about Bobby Ryan, the 2013-14 season expections, Erik Karlsson's captaincy and more.

Thank god we didn't have to listen to the other three.
Thank god we didn't have to listen to the other three.
Claus Andersen

The guys from Hockey Central at Noon (Sportsnet) had their brief segment to preview the Senators season on Tuesday. Here's what they had to say:

Darren Millard:

"For the Ottawa Senators, how much do you think the Bobby Ryan signing means, not to this year’s roster, but to the organization? After what they’ve been through the last couple of years."

Doug MacLean:

"I think it was big. I was talking to somebody yesterday and they said ‘Well maybe they didn’t have to give him the .25M to get it done’. Regardless of the money I think they had to get it done, I thought it was a good day for Bryan Murray and a good day for Ottawa to get it out of the way. This is a kid that could’ve played it out. Most guys are staying now with their teams, most teams are able to get these young guys signed on long term deals. Yeah you pay, but they could not afford to let him walk, they simply couldn’t. You got the Methot thing hanging over them, they’ve lost Spezza, they lost Alfredsson, well documented. I think it was a good day for the Sens and I think it was good to get him signed. There’s a change going over there with Karlsson as captain and it was a good day for them."

Nick Kypreos:

"For me, it’s all about what the expectations now of Bobby Ryan are. Is he a 40-goal scorer, a 30-goal scorer? What is he? He’s gotta at least be a point a game guy and if he’s not, then you gotta hope that the others around you are picking up some offence. I look at that roster right and I go Kyle Turris. Kyle Turris, in many ways, is going through what Bozak went through the last few years. Is he 2nd line centerman? A 3rd line? Is he in a pretend to be number 1 spot? Is he with Bobby Ryan? Who’s gonna set him up? Who’s gonna support that contract? I just look at maybe the pressures that may come with a 50 million dollar contract for Bobby Ryan and I don’t know whether or not that roster is deep enough for people to sit there and go ‘he’s earning it’

MacLean:

"I just think when you got a guy that had 23 goals last year in, if I’m not mistaking, 64 games he played. He’s gotta stay healthy number one and he’s gotta become a 30 to 35 goal guy. Is he gonna play with MacArthur and Turris? Is that gonna be their number 1 line? Does Zibanejad take a step that he can become a real centerman that can make plays for people?"

Kypreos:

"Don’t tell me that Karlsson is not gonna feel the pressure to jump up on a rush when Bobby is on the ice, and help support him and be that guy to say ‘Ok we gotta make sure this guy gets into that 30 plus range’."

MacLean:

"I think he gets 30 plus. I think Bobby gets 30 plus. It’s gotta be 30 plus. 30 goal scorers are tough to find. With Karlsson on the back end, their power play has looked pretty good at times, he scored a couple of nice goals on plays by Turris and Zibanejad and Karlsson. So I think he’ll get his power play goals, I really do."

Kypreos:

"And Anderson will have the same pressure as Bernier, or most goalies in Canada. (Anderson and Lehner) are gonna have to have career years."

MacLean:

"Anderson has been real good in camp. Lehner has been ok, he hasn’t done it. I think Anderson might have a big year, because he’s got his new deal he’s relaxed. It takes him basically until he’s 37 years of age. How good did he look in Montreal the other night?"

Kypreos:

"The other wildcard here is that we knew it was fairly ugly at the end of the season when it came to whether or not they were gonna keep Paul MacLean and whether or not coming off his great coach of the year status, what happened? The message was lost somewhere."

Millard:

"Well, the players want the ‘old Paul’ back."

MacLean:

"They didn’t play very well and I’ve talked to Bryan (Murray) a few times this summer and look they did not play very well as a team defensively last year. They’ve gotta be a lot better. They played a little bit like the leafs, guys, a lot of nights where they’re outshot, outplayed defensively, way too many scoring chances against. They’ve gotta tighten it up. Now we haven’t mentioned the new player they got for Spezza, but I can’t pronounce his name, because he’s changed his name. He used to be ‘Shee-a-son’. He gives them a little different look too. He can score the kid and Lazar is a good young player. So you know what, it’ll be an interesting year. Lots of pressure on Paul MacLean to get off to a good start here there’s no doubt about that."

Kypreos:

"You gotta be careful thought. Whether we’re talking about Kozun or Lazar, these guys are on day-to-day. There’s no finish line today for some of them. It’s just get to tomorrow, get to the next day. It’s a heck of an accomplishment being on an NHL roster to start the season, I will never take that away from anybody, but things can change in an awful hurry."

MacLean:

"Nick, they’ve got to have some young guys really come through for them for that team to make the playoffs and that’s not easy. That’s a lot of pressure. Bryan said it to me the other day ‘we need some young guys to step up and find a way’. They like their group but I’ll tell you what, they’re in a dogfight to make it. It’ll not be easy. I don’t have them in. I don’t have them making it. I hope I’m wrong.

Karlsson has had a great camp and the injury had a lingering effect last year. He looks stronger. I think he’s excited about the captaincy. I think he could have a tremendous year. I think he could get back into the Norris conversation very easily, he’s that good."

Kypreos:

"There’s a lot of guys that thought Chris Phillips should’ve been the captain. I’m for one that said Karlsson, he’s the present and the future and that’s the guy. What’s Phillips, 36 years old? We’ve seen it in the past where you give a guy a captaincy for a year or two just to bridge somebody, but that’s not the case here."

MacLean:

"I think giving it Karlsson energizes the group. I think young guys are energized by it. I like it. I think it was a good move. If you were on the inside and you felt Karlsson couldn’t handle it from a maturity standpoint, maybe you bridge it with Phillips but if he’s ready."

Thoughts:

Darren Millar usually serves as the show’s moderator and doesn’t comment too much on the topics that are discussed. He leaves most of the "expert analysis" to Kypreos and MacLean who usually make very opinionated statements.

We already know that Kypreos is very "leaf-oriented", so he lived up to that by making three, count ‘em, THREE Toronto mentions (Turris/Bozak, Anderson/Bernier, Lazar/Kozun) when talking about the Senators recent moves and expectations for the season. Every single time he has the opportunity to throw in a Leafs reference, he jumps on it, and I guess we shouldn’t be too surprised at this point. What jumped out to me is when he asked if Turris was a third line center, but again, nothing that comes out of his mouth should be shocking.

MacLean echoed the sentiment that has been felt across Sens Twitter, that signing Bobby Ryan to an extension was of prime importance for the organization and mentioned the cases of Spezza/Alfredsson, and the ongoing negotiations with Marc Methot. MacLean also predicted that Bobby Ryan would hit and possibly exceed the 30-goal plateau, which would make it the fifth time in his NHL career he's achieved that feat. I definitely expected him to surpass that in 2013-14 and had he been healthy he probably would have. This season if he can stay on the top line and get top minutes there’s no reason to believe that he can’t produce a career high for goals, which would be 35 or more. Another common opinion, MacLean has the Sens missing the playoffs in a "dogfight", unless of course everyone plays over and beyond our expectations.