With the Ottawa Senators currently on what seems like an extra bye-week given to us by the NHL, along with a lack of traction on the Sens’ search for forward depth (thanks to Nick Paul and Logan Brown), much of your Halloween edition of Thursday Links, News and Notes is coming from outside the nation’s capital. “Outside the nation’s capital”, of course, includes the U.S. casino which Eugene Melnyk is currently in a legal battle with. Sigh.
- This is a hockey blog so I’ll be as brief as possible with respect to the off-ice shenanigans. Rick Westhead posted the objections and responses from Eugene Melnyk’s lawyers on Tuesday regarding his ongoing legal battle with the Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut. The tweet is linked here for anyone who cares about or is interested in that sort of thing, otherwise just keep moving along, nothing to see here.
- A much-talked about storyline going into Sunday’s game was Bobby Ryan being denied an opportunity to go Shark-fishing, instead watching from the press box. Ryan certainly isn’t our least-skilled forward; guys like Scott Sabourin, J.C. Beaudin and Tyler Ennis are inferior players. However, Ryan didn’t out-work any of them last week against the Isles. It’s encouraging to see that Ryan is motivated to get back into the lineup, according to Ken Warren’s article from Tuesday. Ryan’s offensive abilities have declined over the years but he’s still capable of performing in a bottom-six role. He’s not afraid to be physical and has already dropped the gloves once this season — we’ll see if D.J. Smith can light a fire under him. One thing I like about Smith’s lineup decisions is that whether we like them or not, they are not influenced by contract status.
- Two west coast juggernauts were bitten badly by the injury bug over the last few days. The St. Louis Blues will be without star winger Vladimir Tarasenko for at least five months after he underwent shoulder surgery on Tuesday. In addition, Gabriel Landeskog will be out indefinitely for the Colorado Avalanche with a lower-body injury. I know I speak for all Sens fans when I wish them a full and speedy recovery, for their sake, and also so their teams can keep those lowly Sharks from climbing back into the playoff race.
- One of our own injured players, Artem Anisimov, is nearing a return to the lineup. He skated on his own on Tuesday and could play Saturday in Boston, per the Athletic’s Hailey Salvian. I would expect to see either Beaudin or Filip Chlapik back up with the big club to play in case Anisimov isn’t at one-hundred percent. Both looked serviceable on the fourth line and in my opinion are better options than Josh Norris, who is on a roll in Belleville and should not be playing low minutes at this time.
- One of the biggest pending UFAs in the NHL was locked up Tuesday as Roman Josi signed an eight-year contract extension ($9.059M AAV) with the Nashville Predators. Preds fans are in for some quality trick-or-treating. The treat being the joy of watching a fan-favourite and elite defensemen for eight more years, and the trick being the cap crunch the Predators will be facing over the next few years. Look for the St. Louis Blues to lock up their star blueliner Alex Pietrangelo as well before the trade deadline. Looking at these deals that carry players through their mid-to-late-30s, it’s nice to know that we have at least 8 more seasons of watching our own superstar, Thomas Chabot in his prime, at a great price.