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Five Thoughts For Friday

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Duchene, goaltending, injuries and more in this week’s Five Thoughts!

Arizona Coyotes v Ottawa Senators Photo by Francois Laplante/FreestylePhoto/Getty Images

It’s been a tough week. There’s no denying that. Nothing is going right for the Sens right now, and there’s a lot to discuss.

So here are some thoughts. Five of them.

Injuries on Defense

This past week saw significant, most likely long-term injuries to two members of the Senators’ defense corps. First, Chris Wideman went down with an injured hamstring, and it was announced that he would be out months. It’s entirely possible he could miss the remainder of the season.

Then, Mark Borowiecki was knocked out cold by Brendan Smith in an extremely scary moment during the game against the New York Rangers. Given the obvious severity of the injury, and considering everything that happened with Clarke MacArthur in the last few years, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Sens kept him out for a significant amount of time.

This is a big problem for the team, obviously, because Chris Wideman is an asset on the blueline and Boro has actually been playing very well this year, but it’s also an opportunity for a few young guys to come in. Ben Harpur has already appeared in a few games. And of course, in much more exciting news, Thomas Chabot got lots of icetime against the Capitals.

Boucher has made it pretty clear that Chabot will have to fight tooth and nail for a spot on the roster, and that even that might not be enough, but it’s still very cool to see him play a few games.

It always sucks to lose players to injuries, especially when the games actually matter, but at least Chabot is a nice silver lining.

Duchene’s pointless streak

Matt Duchene has been an interesting player to watch these last few games. On the one hand, he definitely looks like one of the best forwards on the team, getting lots of quality scoring chances. In the six games he’s played with the Sens, Natural Stat Trick has him leading in every offensive stat that isn’t related to goals or assists. He’s doing everything right.

And yet, he still has yet to record a single point for the team.

A player’s first goal with his new team is always a big deal, and if it doesn’t come right away, people start panicking. Remember the saga of Curtis Lazar’s first NHL goal from a few years ago?

So what is the problem? Does he not have good enough linemates? Is he struggling to adjust to The System? Is the fact that he hasn’t scored yet getting to his head? Or is he just experiencing an ill-timed run of bad luck and we’re all making this out to be a much bigger deal than it has to be? I’m guessing it’s a combination of all of the above.

Whatever the reason, I am very eager for Duchene to finally score a goal so that we can all stop freaking out about this.

At what point should we start to worry about our goaltending situation?

I don’t want to alarm you all, but Craig Anderson is rocking a .896% save percentage right now. And Mike Condon hasn’t exactly wowed anyone in his few appearances.

No, the rest of the team hasn’t been great, but it’s still pretty concerning. A team needs good goaltending in order to compete, and so far the Sens’ netminders have been merely passable. At least one of them will have to step up their game before the midseason mark if the team wants to be competitive.

It’s also a stark reminder that Anderson is getting old, and Ottawa doesn’t have much depth at the position. Goalies are weird, and it’s very hard to know what you’re getting with them, but it should be a little worrying that the Sens don’t have any particularly exciting talent knocking at the door.

Starting to turn on Boucher?

Look, I will be the first to admit that I am a huge fan of Guy Boucher. I have been his #1 fan since the day he was hired and gave that amazing interview that restored my faith in the entire team. I had 1-3-1 painted on my face during a playoff game last year. I still think he’s an above average coach.

Still, even I have to admit that he had a pretty rough week.

The constant line juggling can’t be helping Matt Duchene adjust to his new team. The comment Chabot being in Ottawa purely because of the Boro injury and not at all on his own merit was excessive, especially since the young defenseman has given him plenty of reason to believe he’d be a good fit on the team. And then there was the team picking up yet another Boucher-coached player in Gabriel Dumont. Add in the fact that the special teams have been awful these last few games, and we should all hope he redeems himself soon before people start to turn on him for real.

Congrats, Erik and Melinda!

And now for a bit of good news to wrap up a pretty disappointing week.

If you weren’t on social media on Wednesday, you may have missed the announcement that Erik Karlsson and his wife Melinda are expecting a baby!

This has absolutely no bearing on the Ottawa Senators as a hockey team (or at least it won’t until the heir to the Karlsson throne becomes eligible for the draft in eighteen years), but it’s nice to see Karlsson settling down and starting a family. I look forward to many cute baby pictures.

Also, if you’re in the process of typing a joke about Karlsson being “literally due” right now, just know that it’s been made plenty of times already on Twitter.