The Ottawa Senators will go into tonight's game 5, hoping to stave off elimination, with just one player above the age of 30 - their goaltender. That's not to say that the team doesn't have its veterans: Milan Michalek, Clarke MacArthur, and Marc Methot definitely fall into that category, as does Erik Karlsson, now in his 6th NHL season.
It certainly speaks to the quality of the rest of the lineup if Dave Cameron is changing the lineup even though they put together the best game of the series in Game 4. I believe it's the right move though. With Chris Neil out for Alex Chiasson, the Senators are turning their back on the 'old guard' one last time and if they lose, they're going out on the backs of the players who will make up the core of this team for the foreseeable future - the young players.
In the press box for tonight's game, with cap info from NHLNumbers: Jared Cowen (two more years at $3.7M, $4.5M), David Legwand (one more year at $3.5M), Chris Neil (one more year at $1.5M), Colin Greening (two more years at $2.75M, $3.2M). What's the trend here? These players were depth players, and with the exception of Neil, were valued as being able to produce more than they've currently given. The term given to some of these players with the expectation that they were going to improve is atrocious, and the fact that they're consistently out of the lineup in the most meaningful games of the year speaks to the poor evaluation on the part of the Senators hockey ops group.
Thankfully, it doesn't appear that Dave Cameron (and by association, the Senators hockey ops group) is content with letting these mistakes affect their current group now, and for that reason, I'm completely zen about how this game will go. In my mind, they're dressing the best possible lineup for the most pivotal game of the season. They're trying their best.
From the amazing Capital_Gains65:
- There's only a Game 5 because Ottawa won Game 4! Here's your recaps from Wednesday night's fun-filled affair. [Silver Seven, Rank the Performances, Email Hotstove, WTYKY, Ottawa Citizen, SensChirp, SenShot]
- The other big news in Sens land is that Mark Stone was nominated for the Calder! Maybe Alfie will get to keep his after all. [Silver Seven, Ottawa Citizen]
- As always, Varada says what a lot of us are thinking. This time, he talks about the Sens third pairing's costly play this series. [WTYKY]
- Trevor has a column on the players in the press box, and how, when you add them up, they make a significant amount of money. [SenShot]
- Amelia looked at some numbers from the first three games and pointed out some trends. The Sens got better in a lot of the categories in Game 4, and need that to continue if they want to win the series. [Silver Seven]
- Two cool fanposts to feature! First comes from ek65, who made an awesome 'roster map' of the Senators. A cool tidbit to note is that the Sens game 5 roster will only feature ONE player above 30, Craig Anderson. The second fanpost comes from ajtoth, who talks about how the Sens community helped make him a Sens fan. Awww shucks. [Silver Seven Fanpost - Roster Map by ek65, Silver Seven Fanpost - Sens community by ajtoth]
- For some prospect talk, Peter Levi has his year-in-review for the Binghamton Senators. [Eye on the Sens]
- Your end-of-Nuggets audio comes from Ross, who was on the Habs Ice Level podcast to give a Sens perspective! [Soundcloud]
- The Bolts tied the series against the Red Wings last night with a dramatic comeback victory. Here's a column from Craig Custance on the leader of that charge, Tyler Johnson. [ESPN]
- Jon Steitzer, over at Leafs Nation, has a great post on the U18 world championships and a couple of the draft eligible prospects participating. [Leafs Nation]
- Grantland had a feature video on enforcers + analytics. The folks over at Hockey Graphs links the video, and have some great thoughts on it. [Hockey Graphs]
- Hayley Wickenheiser and Daniel Carcillo have important pieces at the Players Tribune about athlete mental health. [The Players Tribune - Wickenheiser; Carcillo]