It's the first Friday of the new year, and the Sens are back at it after a short break for the holidays. Here are some thoughts.
Farewell, Tom Pyatt!
I can’t say I’m going to miss him very much.
In case you missed this amazing, life-changing news, Tom Pyatt is no longer an Ottawa Senator, as he was sent to the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday, mere hours before the two teams faced off against each other. In 2018-19, Pyatt went from a somewhat serviceable bottom-six guy to someone who actively hurts his team offensively and defensively whenever he’s on the ice.
Pyatt’s play wouldn’t be so frustrating, however, if he wasn’t being given the ice time of a much more skilled player. He was one of Boucher’s favourite players for some mysterious reason, and the coach’s overreliance on him has been one of the most baffling aspects of his time in Ottawa. The fact that Dorion just traded him, and not for very much, suggests that maybe he and Boucher don’t see eye-to-eye about him.
I’m not going to get excited about a possible coaching change, because even if I trusted the Sens to pick a good coach I don’t think a change behind the bench would make much of a difference with this roster, but it is interesting and reassuring to see that the front office maybe doesn’t trust Boucher as much as they used to.
Chabot at the All-Star game
In possibly more exciting news, the All-Star rosters were released a few days ago, and Thomas Chabot is the Sens’ only representative. While it’s disappointing to see Mark Stone snubbed, at least from the initial roster, I’m sure Sens fans will have fun watching Chabot enjoy his first ever All-Star game.
Of course, he does have to come back from injury first, because if he doesn’t, the Sens are going to have to send another defenseman and while it would be absolutely hilarious to see Cody Ceci at the All-Star game, I think we’d all rather watch Chabot. I’m sure he’ll be ready to go by then, anyways.
Also, a bit of salt in the wound for Sens fans: the game is being held in San Jose this year, and naturally Karlsson will be there. That won’t be emotional at all.
Nick Paul: the most skilled Ottawa Senator
Another thing that happened recently was the annual Sens Skills competition, which as always was a lot of fun and gave players a chance to show off their personalities a bit more than usual.
I was at the event, and while it was fun, I couldn’t help noticing the very steep drop-off in skill compared to previous years. With Chabot injured and Batherson in the AHL, there were only a few players I was genuinely excited to watch.
Also, for some reason, Nick Paul was kind of amazing. He set a new Sens record in the hardest shot competition, and also won both the fastest skater competition and the puck control relay. I mostly see it as a funny reminder of how just bleak things are in the Sens organization that Nick Paul is the star of the skills competition, but maybe there’s something to this guy after all. If he’s good a puck control, he’s a fast skater, and he has a hard shot, but we’re not seeing any of that from him, maybe that’s a sign that he’s not being used properly.
Anders Nilsson and the gay agenda
Most of the conversation surrounding the recent trade has centered around the losses of Tom Pyatt and Mike McKenna, but today I want to draw attention to the guy we acquired: swedish goalie Anders Nilsson.
I’ll be surprised it Nilsson starts more than a handful of games in the NHL this season, and while I think he’s an upgrade on McKenna I don’t expect him to be spectacular between the pipes. However, I wanted to highlight something I found on social media after the trade: our newest goaltender is a very passionate advocate for the LGBTQ+ community.
According to this article from Sportsnet, he’s had a pride flag on his helmet since 2015-16, and is very passionate about making hockey more inclusive. He was even apparently named “Hetero of the Year” by a prominent Swedish LGBTQ+ magazine, and has spoken out frequently about how toxic and damaging hockey culture can be. I like him. And while I don’t like that most LGBTQ+ activism in hockey comes from straight men, and generally try not to center them in my activism, hockey is so ridiculously far behind the rest of the world that Nilsson’s opinions seem absolutely revolutionary.
Anyways, this got me thinking about the cultural difference between the Canucks and the Sens, and what Nilsson could potentially bring to this organization if they ever decide to listen to him, which I’m not confident they will.
The Canucks are a relatively LGBTQ+ friendly organization, by NHL standards, and it really looks like they’re making at least some effort to dismantle toxic masculinity in hockey culture. The Sens, on the other hand, have shown no interest in anything like that, and have made a habit of doing the absolute bare minimum to support the LGBTQ+ community. They’ve expressed interest in doing more, and Hockey Is For Everyone month is coming up, so maybe we’ll see some change?
Faces magazine awards!
And for the final thought, I’m going to plug something that might be of interest to some of our readers: voting for the faces magazine awards opens tomorrow, and you can vote for a Silver Seven writer this year!
Now, I’ll admit that I’ve always found the Faces awards kind of weird, but one thing I’ve always liked about them is that they have categories for “Favourite Ottawa Blogger” and for “Favourite Podcast,” which means that the Sens blogosphere usually gets a bit of love. It’s so rare that we bloggers get mainstream attention so it’s always cool to see our peers’ names on the list.
This year, Silver Seven’s own Colin Cudmore is up for favourite blogger, and the Cost Per Pointcast, which we host, is up for favourite podcast! Other names you might recognize from Sens fandom are Sens Chirp, who is competing against Colin for favourite blogger, and bRian5or6, who is up for favourite blogger, favourite podcast, and favourite entertainer.
Anyways, all three of those people are great, and as the self-appointed leader of Colin’s campaign, I urge you all to go vote for him tomorrow!