1. Mikael Wikstrand
The story that just never goes away, this time thanks to some poor comments from Randy Lee on TSN 1200. Luke Peristy has some much better thoughts than I can put together on this topic over at Welcome to you Karlsson Years. But here's the gist of it for me: maybe Wikstrand was wanting to go back to Sweden. Maybe he didn't think he was ready to move to North America. At the very least, an organization that tries to promote mental health through Do It For Daron could take his concerns seriously. And now, his brother has leukemia. That's a fact. Hockey takes a backseat as far as I'm concerned. I'd appreciate if Bryan Murray would even say that his line about how Wikstrand could be a grocery clerk was callous, in poor taste, something. Wikstrand may have handled things poorly, but he's also 22 years old and his brother was diagnosed with leukemia.
Like Luke said, leukemia isn't one factor in a PR battle. It's the big fact. This organization should take cancer seriously, with the GM having Stage IV and an assistant coach passing away last year from cancer. And yet they don't seem to in this case. I can't overlook how unfeeling Murray seems to have been just because he has cancer. The only way I can see the team being in the right here is if they know something serious we don't and has decided to take all the public blame so that Wikstrand can be in peace.
Maybe Wikstrand reneged on a promise. (Not like this organization's ever done that to anyone, eh Alfie?) Maybe he wanted to go back to Sweden. Maybe he handled the whole thing poorly. But now his brother has cancer and I have a hard time understanding why the GM who is literally dying of cancer has no sympathy.
2. Ottawa's prospect pipeline
There is a bit of an ulterior motive to point one: Ottawa's prospect pipeline is pretty thin. Looking at Binghamton right now, who do you see making the big show? Matt Puempel, Nick Paul, Tobias Lindberg all as maybes? I'd like to see Cole Schneider get a chance. Jeff is high on Max McCormick. But nothing that screams high potential. The defensive situation is even worse. Fredrik Claesson is really the only one I think with NHL potential.
Of course, Ottawa has some younger prospects who may contribute in the future. Francis Perron, plus the picks from this most recent draft: Thomas Chabot, Colin White, Gabriel Gagne, Filip Chlapik. But none are going to be ready for the NHL next year, or probably even the year after that. Ottawa's prospect cupboard is pretty bare, and is a lot barer with Wikstrand out of the picture.
3. Craig Anderson and fatigue
Anyone else think Andy might be overplayed? I started worrying about it in the game against the Coyotes where he looked done. In the two games since against the Flyers and Blackhawks, he's looked average or worse. He lost track of the puck on the third goal against the Hawks, a mistake I'm not used to watching Andy make. He's still rocking a .916 save percentage on the season, which is alright, and the Senators allow a tonne of shots so it's not unreasonable for him to be tired. But the stats of the last few years say that as he plays more, his play worsens. Right now he's on pace to play 66 games, and if Andrew Hammond doesn't get healthy soon, it could be more. It's not a good place to be if Ottawa only has two goalies they trust to play at the NHL level. (Hey, Jonathan Bernier might be available... yeah, I'm kidding)
4. Mike Hoffman
Alright, on a lighter note, how great is Hoffman?
I for one sure with the team had locked him up long-term for cheap this past summer. Or at least cheaper than he's going to command this summer.
5. Senators in the All-Star race
And here are your current top-25 Sens in the all-star fan vote:
So much going on here. Loving the votes for Phillips, Kostka, and Driedger. Before you laugh at Greening, let's not forget that he was once a Young Stars invite to the all-star game. (Some people were miffed Cowen didn't get invited that year - how times have changed.) Hammond ahead of Anderson seems a little funny, but Lazar ahead of Zibanejad? That's just weird. I saw Turris at 111 and figured my #TurrisASG campaign was working... then I saw that Neil wasn't far behind, and figured I probably wasn't having much of an effect. I wonder if Hoff's game last night gets him anymore votes?
Oh, and Mikkel Boedker is 217th and Anders Lindback is 492nd, so the 15 votes I've cast for each seem to have been well-spent.