It was an interesting week for the Ottawa Senators. Having failed to qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs, players, coaches, management, and of course, owner Eugene Melnyk, met the media for one last time before heading their separate ways for the summer. As is common after a difficult and ultimately unsuccessful season, some interesting quotes surfaced. While much of the focus has been on Eugene Melnyk's personal plea for a PR agent, Bryan Murray had a few gems, including:
Matt Kassian's not in our plans and I don't think we're in his plans. I think he indicated to me yesterday that he wants to have a chance to go somewhere he might get a chance to play more often. He didn't feel he played a lot here, I'll have further conversation with him, but we need, as I said earlier, a harder forward that can play the game hard and stick up for teammates if necessary.
Kassian will be free to pursue other opportunities once free agency begins and while his departure leaves Ottawa without a designated fighter, the Senators don't exactly have a shortage of players willing to drop the gloves. Chris Neil fought 15 times this season. Mark Borowiecki has a one way deal next year and in his short NHL career already has five tilts to his name. Zack Smith was somewhat more reserved this season, but tied Neil for the team lead in fights with six during the lockout-shortened campaign. Murray seems to be indicating that he'd like to add someone like Smith or Neil. Both players can skate a regular shift at the NHL level and both are willing to drop the gloves. Murray was rumoured to be interested in Chris Stewart (or a player like him) at the trade deadline. Could this be who he has in mind to replace Kassian?
Maybe we're just reading too much into Murray's comments. Perhaps he'd like to bring on another fighter who is happy playing just a few minutes every few games.
What do you think?