1. The Dion Phaneuf trade
I'm sure we're all sick of hearing another hot take about the trade at this point. Some people are big on it, some people are down on it, and lots of people are somewhere in between. There are clearly arguments on both sides. Nobody's opinion is going to change from yet another article. I know I'm happy to have seen Phaneuf get a couple points last night, because I think it will calm down talk about his immediate impact. Clearly he can be an impact player at this point in his career. In the end, this guy made the Ottawa Senators one of the 10 teams he'd accept a trade to, and that means he should get some leeway from fans. I'd like to see him given a chance to prove himself in a new market. After all, he's definitely no Alexei Kovalev.
2. Trading for Jonathan Drouin
Now one report has it that the Sens are the front-runners for Drouin. I'm a little skeptical of this report, since it seems to be based on drawing information from other reports, but it's still something interesting to think about. There are two questions to consider here. The first is, why would the Sens want Drouin? I'm not sure if the team thinks he'd be a top-six contributor now, given its reluctance to give the grittier and older (though far less pedigreed) Shane Prince any significant ice time. Since acquiring Phaneuf seems like a win-now move and trading for Drouin seems like a future-planning move, I don't know what the end-game would be here. Of course, it's possible there is no end-game, which would be on par with what the Sens have been doing for three or four seasons.
The other question is, what would the Sens give up for Drouin? Rumour has it the Lightning asked for Cody Ceci and the Sens balked. It seems unlikely they'd give up Thomas Chabot or Colin White. I expect the Sens are wanting to get rid of Patrick Wiercioch, but he wouldn't be a big enough piece at all to get Drouin. It would have to be Wiercioch + Lazar + a 1st at the bare minimum I expect. I don't think the Sens are willing to give up the pieces Steve Yzerman wants, which is why I have a hard time believing the Sens are a serious front-runner.
3. Top-six forward Alex Chiasson
So what was up with that last night? I don't understand a lot of Dave Cameron's choices, and this was yet another head-scratcher. Maybe returning Bobby Ryan to Mika Zibanejad's wing makes sense, but then why not give Ottawa's top centre a better player? Why not Curtis Lazar? Chiasson has proven over and over that he doesn't deserve a guaranteed NHL spot. Even Ryan Dzingel would be a better choice on that line for now.
Maybe Kyle Turris is still hurt, and so Dave Cameron planned not to play him very much (only 14:43 last night) so he gave him a poor winger. That's fair. Then why handcuff your top scorer Mike Hoffman by playing him with those two, limiting him to 13:43 on the night? If Turris is too injured to be a top-six player, Hoffman shouldn't be on his wing. If Hoffman is healthy, he shouldn't be stuck with Chiasson.
4. Negativity in the blogosphere
This conversation surfaced again last night. Some people were out in full force complaining against Sens management, and then more people surfaced complaining about how much complaining was going on, and then more people showed up complaining about the people who can't handle negativity. As you can see, this conversation gets very cyclical.
I think there's something to be said for people who don't want the negativity. Sports are entertainment. Sports are an escape. It's hard to experience that escape when all people do is complain. I respect people who just want to enjoy the game and not overthink. I would also recommend to those people not to follow certain accounts on Twitter. The reason being, for some people sports are a passion. Some people love to analyze. I'm pretty invested in this team, and I want to see them win and I don't see that happening anytime soon. This team is a weird mix of elite players in their prime and overrated poor players and underrated decent players and a goalie who is outperforming his years by a mile but could drop off at any moment. For every positive step this team takes, there seems to be at least one awful mistake. The team is spinning its tires aimlessly, pitching the motto that once you make the playoffs, anything can happen though we know there's no way this team beats someone like the Capitals.
Sometimes I get very down on the team, but I think there's a lot to frustrated with. This team has the worst shot differential in the league. It's gearing up to need another once-a-century miracle run to make the playoffs. It's looking more and more like the succession plan to GM Bryan Murray is to promote Pierre Dorion, which should mean more of the same. It's looking like Erik Karlsson's gonna go through his entire prime without ever having a real shot at a Stanley Cup.
If you want to watch the Sens without hearing the complaints, I respect that. I also think it should be fairly easy to avoid negative talk if that's your choice. For my part, I will continue to tell things as I see them, and I encourage all the writers on the site to do the same. I won't apologize for criticizing choices when criticism is very, very due.
5. Colin Greening in the Maple Leafs' top six
That last thought was a little heavy, so here's a happier thought. No images of Jared Cowen yet in a Leafs' jersey (which really should get an article of their own), but somehow this guy who couldn't crack the Sens' roster is one of the top six healthy forwards on Toronto:
Image credit: Perry Nelson - USA Today Sports
Greening had a few great moments as a member of the Sens. If this is how his NHL career ends, proving just how awful this year's Leafs are, it just makes one more great memory for Sens fans.