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Robert Kraft Sale Debunked, Chris Phillips Retiring and San Jose Sharks Floundering

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News, notes and links from the past weekend.

2016 NHL Winter Classic Photo by Brian Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images

The weekend wasn’t so kind to the Ottawa Senators, dropping their second game of the season to the New York Rangers. But there’s been plenty of news around the league from this past weekend, which will all be covered here!

  • If there’s anything we’ve learned about the Senators these last two years, it’s that there always seems to be another wild story right around the corner. This week was no exception, at is was rumoured that Robert Kraft, billionaire and owner of the New England Patriots, would be buying the Sens. This all stemmed from an alleged post on Snapchat from someone named Kathryn Kraft, who was said to be Robert’s granddaughter. The post contained cryptic emojis that hinted at a sale being in the works. To Sens fans’ dismay, however, Robert Kraft doesn’t even have a granddaughter named Kathryn, and any rumours of his involvement in sale negotiations were completely bogus.
  • In case you missed it, the Senators will be retiring Chris Phillips’ #4 in February, as announced right before the home opener. He shared a few quotes regarding the honour:

“To be up there beside [Daniel Alfredsson], and we played together for a long time, and just have that same recognition means a lot. What I did I was very proud of, but now to be mentioned in that same group as him, who’s revered as a superstar in this town, and to be right alongside, that makes me feel pretty good about it.

“Being in a shutdown role isn’t something that sells tickets or there’s not stardom that typically goes with those accolades. For that to be recognized, I’m proud of that accomplishment and proud that, down the line, other people can say that was a great career and something to be noticed.”

  • One team Sens fans will certainly be paying attention to this season is the San Jose Sharks, since Ottawa owns their 1st round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft. Fortunately, they haven’t been off to a hot start, losing their first three games in a row. They’ve been outscored 12-3, with two of those games against the powerful Vegas Golden Knights. If the losses continue, a second lottery pick would be huge for the Sens to acquire another blue-chip prospect.
  • In some fantastic Sharks-related news, Erik and Melinda Karlsson welcomed their baby daughter to the world this past week, Harlow Rain Karlsson! Congratulations to the family!
  • This next bit may be slightly unnecessary, but I can’t help but point out how many former Senators are succeeding early in the season. Mika Zibanejad leads the NHL with eight points in two games, Matt Duchene has five assists in two games, Mike Hoffman has four goals in two games after his hat trick on Saturday, and Mark Stone also has four points in two games. It cuts deep.
  • Also around the NHL, Josh Ho-Sang has requested a trade, after clearing waivers before the New York Islanders’ season opener. The young and skilled forward has posted fantastic on-ice results in his short-lived NHL career, although it’s hard to imagine the Islanders finding a trade partner if nobody wanted him for free a week ago. At least it tells us one thing: there is another first round selection who’s been met with even more resistance from the club which drafted him.
  • Back to the Sens, the attendance at the home opener was quieter than usual, with only 15,135 people in the stands. That’s the lowest home opener attendance recorded in team history (tracking started in 1997), and slightly down from last year’s record-breaking 15,858. Early reviews from the in-game experience say it left a lot to be desired.
  • The New York Post published a scathing editorial piece this week on the Senators, calling for the NHL to step in to what’s devolved into a whirlwind of lawsuits surrounding Eugene Melnyk. It’s what Sens fans have been calling for for years, but now gaining even more international attention.
  • And finally, my favourite read this month has been Hockey Brunch, a new Sens-centred fanzine “writing from the boundaries of hockey culture”. It’s weird, it’s beautiful, and every article/journal/poem is very well-written.