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Five Thoughts for Friday

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Discussing some of this week's goings-on, including Lehner's play, Chiasson's promotion, and Methot's return.

Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

1. What's Going On With Robin Lehner?

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>"The boys played fine. I didn’t. We lost," said a frustrated Lehner. "I don’t know what’s going on. I’ve got to be better.&quot; <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Sens?src=hash">#Sens</a></p>&mdash; Bruce Garrioch (@SunGarrioch) <a href="https://twitter.com/SunGarrioch/status/555225955607007232">January 14, 2015</a></blockquote>

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Lehner has been going through a tough spell recently, giving up 17 goals in his last four games. Obviously not all of the goals are his fault, which was certainly the case in Dallas, but he's also 3-7-1 in his last 11 games. That's not a good record any way you spin it.  I think Lehner has all the tools to be a starter, but he has to polish his game more. His rebound control and puck control are still not where they should be and sometimes he loses his angle. Improvement in these areas will surely help him. I suspect, however, that not playing as frequently may be part of the problem. Lehner might be one of those goalies who has to play frequently to stay in a groove. Hopefully he gets a few more games and can get back on track. I think most of us can agree that he's definitely talented, but he has to bring that every night he plays.

2. Tim the Tankman Taylor

Tim Murray is obviously in the hunt for Connor McDavid.  Take a look at this graph, courtesy of Micah Blake McCurdy (@IneffectiveMath).  You can see that Buffalo's chance of choosing first overall is a lot higher than other teams.

murray tank

He's basically assembled a team (with the help of predecessor, Darcy Regier) that he knew wouldn't be competitive. I don't doubt that he wants to build this team into a contender the way that Pittsburgh and Los Angeles did. It makes total sense, really. Why try fixing a dilapidated old house when you can tear it down and start fresh? As someone married to a carpenter, I can tell you that rebuilding in this situation is the way to go (cc: Bryan Murray).

The idea of tanking, especially when it seems to be on purpose, really got me thinking about the players. Do the general managers like Tim Murray talk to their players about this rebuild and how the season might be a tough one to get through? Murray signed Brian Gionta and Matt Moulson in the off-season. When he was discussing their contracts with them, were they aware of how he planned for this season to unfold? I'm always curious about how the players react to this sort of thing. I haven't heard too many Buffalo players voice their displeasure, so I imagine they are aware of the situation and probably on-board with it. That also got me thinking about Ottawa. If management decides to accept a rebuild, how will the players react? They must know their chances are grim, so do they welcome it or does their competitive spirit make them push harder? I don't have the answers to these questions, but I find it interesting to think about.

3. I Think I Liked the Idea of Him Better

Alex Chiasson has once again found himself playing with Kyle Turris and Clarke MacArthur at the expense of Mark Stone. Stone has been playing on the bottom two lines for the past few games because of the Chiasson move, but I'm not sure this has much to do with Stone's production or a warranted promotion by Chiasson.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Alex Chiasson: 1G 3A in last 20GP&#10;Mark Stone: 5G 5A in last 20GP&#10;&#10;I think I know which of these 2 I want on a scoring line.</p>&mdash; Tyler Ray (@DefenseMinister) <a href="https://twitter.com/DefenseMinister/status/555061720461611008">January 13, 2015</a></blockquote>

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Chiasson has been snake-bitten for a dozen games, so I suspect the move is an attempt to get him scoring again. I don't think it's helping the team though. He wasn't suited to be on the top line when he was there the first time, let alone now. I think that trying to get a player to produce is fine, especially when the expectation of that player is to provide some offense, but putting him on the first line against high quality competition doesn't really make sense, especially when the player he replaced was playing fine and is more suited to that spot.  If the Sens really want to get Chiasson going, put Ryan on the first line and Chiasson on the second while against easier competition while Stone takes a turn with Pageau. This isn't ideal either, in my opinion, but if they're that hellbent on Chiasson, it's a better option. Underneath it all, I find this situation unfortunate because I don't think Stone should ultimately be punished for another player's shortcomings.

4. Welcome Back Marc Methot

It was pleasant seeing Methot back in action. Obviously he's going to be rusty for a little while, but he brings a stability to the blueline that is much needed on this team. I'm in the re-sign Methot camp, so I hope a deal is done soon. There are rumours going around that Los Angeles is interested, but I doubt their return is a first-rounder or top-4 defenseman, two things this team needs. I tweeted the other day that the club seemed to hand Milan Michalek $4M fairly easily, but seem to squawk when Methot asks for $5M. I know term is important in these deals, as well as whether Methot's back will be an issue in the future, but giving a player who was totally undeserving of a high-paying contract while letting your second-best defenseman walk is poor asset management in my opinion. I'm glad he's healthy again and I hope they can get a reasonable deal done. If they have to trade him, I hope they get a good return.

5. Fans Behaving Badly

There was one incident this week between fans that really bothered me. I saw someone call another Sens fan stupid (not jokingly) because he has a friend who cheers for the Oilers. I'm going to let you all in on a secret, I'm married to a Habs fan, one of my best friends is a Leafs fan and another is an Oilers fan. I must be pretty stupid to that guy.

Recently, I've seen quite a lot of people putting each other down on Facebook, Twitter, and comment sections (not so much on here, you folks are pretty much great). It's beginning to drive me a little bit bonkers, I have to say. I've seen people bullying others who don't share the same opinion and most of it has been between Senators fans. Calling someone a stupid moron because they think Robin Lehner isn't ready to be the starting goaltender doesn't make you look like you know a lot about hockey, it makes you look childish. Furthermore, what's ironic here is that a lot of these same fans complain about Montreal and Toronto fans and how rude they are.

I just want to take this time to remind everyone that people have different opinions and different likes/dislikes. Even if you think someone is wrong in their assessment of player X, for example, don't put them down for it. They have reasons for holding such an opinion and they're entitled to that. Having a discussion or even a disagreement is fine, but be respectful of others. You readers, in general, are pretty great for this and I appreciate the discussions we have here. Just remember, if you do get into an argument, "You win more bees with honey."

Thank you for reading and enjoy your weekend!