It's your (delayed) edition of Five Thoughts for Friday!
The Senators have been quite a story lately, on an absurd 17-2-2 run that included a California road trip playing their third-string goalie. It's important to remember though that the Rangers have been amazing since the new year, and that for all of Andrew Hammond's impressiveness, Cam Talbot has been every more unbelievable filling in for world-beater Henrik Lundqvist. Hammond also looked clearly injured in last night's game before he was finally yanked after five goals against. All this to say that last night's loss wasn't pretty, but it's hardly the end of the world. The Sens were due for a stinker, and if all the regression got out in one game, that can only mean good things. Let's not overreact as a fanbase to the result of one game. The playoffs are still very much within reach.
2. Goaltender injuries
There was one big concern from last night though: Hammond is clearly hurt. This was further proved by morning tweets:
Hammond limps out of rink. Not looking good.— Wayne Scanlan (@HockeyScanner) March 27, 2015
Meanwhile, Craig Anderson has hardly improved in terms of his injury:
Anderson says he feels better but not sure about the weekend— Dean Brown (@PxPOttawa) March 27, 2015
Will go to Toronto but won't decide about dressing until after morning skate.— Dean Brown (@PxPOttawa) March 27, 2015
With Robin Lehner sidelined with a concussion, this leaves Chris Driedger (note: rhymes with meagre) as the only healthy goalie in the Sens' system. Marcus Hogberg is in Sweden and has not signed an ELC. How the Sens respond is anybody's guess. The team has reportedly been pursuing NCAA goalie Matt O'Connor. For a long time, the Sens looked unlikely to sign him because they couldn't offer him playing time this year with their goaltending logjam. Suddenly, the team could definitely offer him playing time this year because there is no one else to play in his spot.
3. Concussion protocol
Clarke MacArthur is skating, and eying a return to the lineup. With other injury issues affecting the team, this is positive news, yes?
MacArthur now wearing tinted visor to help with concussion symptoms.— Dean Brown (@PxPOttawa) March 27, 2015
Well, I'm no doctor, but that sounds awful. If you can't deal with the bright lights of skating, how are you going to play a competitive contact sport? Isn't that jeopardizing your health for the rest of your life? I don't think it's worth it.
I'm not a doctor, but if MacArthur needs a tinted visor to keep concussion symptoms at bay he probably shouldn't play anytime soon— Darren McLeod (@Darren_McLeod) March 27, 2015
Darren M agrees with me, so I must be right.
If you missed it, last night's game between the Buffalo Sabres and Arizona Coyotes was an all-tank matchup. These teams offloaded anyone of current value at the deadline, in an attempt to plummet to the bottom of the standings and win the best shot at Connor McDavid. It leads to a weird situation, in which the home fans (Buffalo) cheered taped Arizona logos on their Buffalo jerseys, cheered for Arizona goals, and gave the loudest cheer when Sam Gagner scored the OT winner for the 'Yotes. The best recap by far is by Colin Dabkowski (@colindabkowski), arts critic for the Buffalo News, who live-tweeted the whole thing as a post-modern performance art exhibition.
After the game, Mike Weber tore into the fans for cheering on the opposing team, calling it "a whole new low". At the same time, you have to understand the fans' perspective. They want their team to win, and after seeing what Sidney Crosby did in Pittsburgh, Alex Ovechkin did in Washington, and Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane did in Chicago, you have to see the value in tanking for an elite prospect. As Travis Yost of TSN fame points out, as long as there as a draft that favours the worst performers, tanking will be a reality.
If you missed the game, fear not: a scheduling quirk has them playing again on Monday in Arizona.
5. Turris and Stone
Earlier in the year, the line of MacArthur with Kyle Turris and Mark Stone looked great. Then, as Dave Cameron searched for answers by moving around MacArthur, and then when he got injured, Milan Michalek found himself with that pair and suddenly Milo looked like he was worth $4-million per year. Alex Chiasson looked great on the line against the Sharks. He should have had a hat-trick that night. All this led me to ask, is it just that Turris and Stone make their linemates look great? I think it's very possible that those two have very high hockey IQ, and as long as their winger can keep up, go to the net, and get shots off, the trio will look good. I think Turris and Stone (Turristone?) could use the old Ryan Getzlaf mantra: "Go to the net, and (we'll) make you rich."