It’s Five Thoughts for Friday time...
- Chris DiDomenico
Dude for some reason was waived to make room for Gabriel Dumont (remember him?). Dumont was awful, and now that Dido’s back, he looks great again. He has three goals in his last four games. Sure, he’s not gonna shoot 27.3% forever, but the point is that he looks like an NHL player. You play him with decent linemates, and he looks even better. He should be on this team’s fourth line for the rest of this season. Unless we’re trying to lose, in which case play Mike Blunden and Alexandre Burrows and... Vincent Dunn? down there forever.
2. Letting “the kids” play
Guy Boucher has been very reluctant to give significant roles to young players not named Cody Ceci. In his interview after Colin White’s first career NHL goal, he referred to him as a “kid” at least a dozen times. However, Thomas Chabot seems to have slowly forced his hand by scoring and being generally good. His 5v5 Corsi relative (his share of 5v5 shot attempts compared to the team when he’s not on the ice) is up to +4.92%, behind only Erik Karlsson, Nick Paul, Magnus Paajarvi, and Chris Wideman. He’s been holding his own, more than most of this team has been able to do.
And now Colin White has started scoring, and it means he’s getting opportunities on the Matt Duchene line. I thought White was gearing up to be a defensively responsible middle-six centre, but seeing his puck skill and speed with those guys makes me wonder if he’s even better than that. I’m excited to see what he can do. It was only fitting too that White’s first goal came on a beauty pass from Thomas Chabot.
These guys look good together to my eyes. They have the speed and the puck skills to keep up with each other. Mike Hoffman has a deadly shot, Duchene is wonderful at protecting the puck, and White seems to have a knack for getting to the open space or finding an open man. It’s too bad it took injuries to Mark Stone and Bobby Ryan to get here, but at least we get to see what these three can do with significant minutes together. Of course, their 5v5 shot attempt share is 44.2%, so maybe that could be improved a little. But at least they’re fun!
4. The Alexandre Burrows suspension
So I’d like to come out and say that I think 10 games was fair. It was predatory, retaliatory, and so far removed from hockey that it needed to be hefty. Burrows also had already been fined this season, so he didn’t get any “clean record” benefit of the doubt. I’ve never liked Burrows, and I hated the trade that brought him to Ottawa. His playoff experience and veteran leadership may have been helpful with a deep playoff run last year, but the two-year extension didn’t make sense to me. I’m not down for paying him $2.5M next year again to watch him play five minutes a night and then throw cheap shots on opposing stars because he got caught with his head down.
I don’t think there was intent to injure on Burrows’ move. I think he was just mad about being hit and lost his cool completely. Which is embarrassing when a toddler does it, forget about a 36 year old. I also think though he may be lucky that he didn’t injure Taylor Hall. Remember when Shawn Thornton repeatedly beat Brook Orpik’s head into the ice and got 15 games? Thornton used his fist, but the way in which Orpik’s head bounced wasn’t that dissimilar to how Hall’s bounced. Concussions are fickle, and hey, I’ve injured myself doing things like sitting down and reading a book.
It also makes me wonder — what if Hall had been injured? How long would the suspension have been?
5. Our dear owner
Last night’s game brought the return of Kyle Turris, and with it, my question of what if we had an owner with deeper pockets. It’s not known for sure, but there are rumours that this team could’ve kept Turris and got Duchene. Imagine that centre depth. But with an owner who’s cut everything to the bare bones, we couldn’t acquire a guy like Duchene without shipping salary the other way. That’s why Andrew Hammond had to be part of the trade, and the Sens had to agree to keep him in Belleville for them to take on his salary.
And once again, I got frustrated, because I don’t think there’s any way this team becomes competitive in the near future with Melnyk as the owner unless there’s a lot of luck involved. Trading Erik Karlsson seems like a terrible idea for winning, but I’m not sure this team can win if they sign him for eight years, $12M, because the rest of the team will have to be under $2M to keep the owner happy. Firing the coach is nice in theory, but is do you think Melnyk’s gonna spend money on a coach that other teams might also want? Is there much point in trading Karlsson for draft picks when our own GM has to scout prospects in Europe because there aren’t enough scouts? I just don’t see this team being competitive as long as Eugene Melnyk is really, really reluctant to spend money. Spending money doesn’t guarantee you a Cup, but not spending money guarantees you won’t get one.
All of this came back to me last night with Kyle Turris coming to town. So I’m hoping to see him (and Mike Fisher!) bring one home this year. Sorry to end on such a bitter note, but even in the midst of winning streaks, it’s hard to forget what a lost season this is.