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Five Thoughts For Friday

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Wideman playing forward, Duchene’s line-mates, Radko Gudas and more!

NHL: Pittsburgh Penguins at Ottawa Senators Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

*To the tune of Give Up the Funk*

We want the thoughts!

Gotta have the thoughts!

We want the thoughts!

Gotta have the thoughts!

Chris Wideman playing forward

A funny thing happened while the Sens were in Sweden: Chris Wideman started playing forward. Guy Boucher was somewhat forced into the move after Zack Smith dislocated his thumb, leaving Ottawa a man short up front and a continent away from their farm team. The Sens’ coach, however, was comlimentary of Wideman’s efforts up front, noting that he played a mistake-free game. Coming from a perfectionist like Boucher, that’s high praise indeed. Wideman may not be overly keen on the idea, but he’s taken the change in stride. His first intermission interview last night was the epitome of how to say the right thing, even if you don’t necessarily agree with the decision being made. Boucher’s rationale is basically that he values Wideman’s offensive contributions, but also worries about Wideman’s play in the defensive end. This used to manifest itself in Wideman playing a lot late in games that the Sens were trailing, but rarely at all late in games they were leading. Moving him up to forward is just the logical extension of that line of thinking. All this being said, the point might be a moot one if the injury he sustained last night is serious. Here’s to hoping he’s healthy enough to make his deployment a debate worth having.

Duchene-Dzingel chemistry

It’s still awfully early in his tenure with the team, but Matt Duchene’s play with Bobby Ryan and Ryan Dzingel caught my eye last night. In particular, his chemistry with Dzingel could be something to watch for going forward. Dzingel’s one of the only forwards who has the wheels to keep pace with Duchene, and his skill set might be more complimentary of Duchene’s than you might initially expect. Duchene and Dzingel both make good use of their speed to doggedly pursue loose pucks; on a couple of occasions in the first period alone last night, the Sens were able to extend time in the attacking zone because one of the twin burners hunted down a Penguins player that had control of the puck. There’s a long way to go, and I don’t doubt Duchene will get a chance with a lot of different players, but the early returns on the Duchene-Dzingel duo were promising.

Guy Boucher’s Blender

No one has ever accused Guy Boucher of being a conventional coach, and perhaps the way in which he most sets himself apart is his nearly incessant line juggling. There was an article over at the Athletic on the topic about a month ago, but Boucher really went to new levels even by his own standards in the third period of last night’s game. At one point, Boucher had Tom Pyatt up with Derick Brassard and Mark Stone on the first line, while Pageau was flanked by Dzingel and Nate Thompson when he scored the team’s only goal. The only one true constant of Boucher’s time in charge has been that when the going gets tough, expect to see Pageau, Hoffman, and Pyatt together. I’m not sure what exactly it is that Boucher sees in that trio, but they’ve earned his eternal trust. Otherwise, all that you can say for sure is that at some point Boucher will juggle his lines. Whether it’s an effective tactic or not, well, that’s a different, more complicated discussion for another day.

Department of Player Safety vs. Radko Gudas

When it was announced in the off-season that George Parros would be taking over as the head of the Department of Player Safety, the move was met with a fair number of raised eyebrows. There were some legitimate concerns that a former enforcer might not be as dedicated to adequately penalizing transgressors as some of his predecessors. Certainly his quotes about having a desire to “keep the physicality in the game”, made me a bit uneasy for one. It’ll be interesting, then, to see how he handles his first real test after Gudas’ obscene slash to the head of Mathieu Perreault last night:

Personally, I don’t see how anything but an extremely lengthy suspension is in order. Gudas is a repeat offender and this is an incredibly dangerous, unprovoked act. All eyes will be on Parros as he sets the course for his new regime with this one.

Duchene linemates:

We’ll wrap it up with a poll. It’s only been three games, but Boucher doesn’t seem to have settled on line-mates for the newest Senator. Who would you like to see Duchene line up with? Let’s hear some thoughts in the comments section, particularly if you’re going off the board!

Poll

Who should be Duchene’s line-mates?

This poll is closed

  • 63%
    Ryan and Dzingel
    (394 votes)
  • 23%
    Stone and Hoffman
    (146 votes)
  • 5%
    Smith and Ryan
    (32 votes)
  • 8%
    Other
    (51 votes)
623 votes total Vote Now