It’s been a slow week in the hockey world but most certainly not in the outside world. I hope all of you are having a wonderful holiday season so far and unlike me, still have some spending money after Boxing Day. Without any further delay, let’s get to the last five thoughts edition of 2019!
Watching where your team is in the standings is usually exciting and nerve wrecking as you count how many points they need for the coveted playoff spot. Watching the standings to see how many points you need to not gain is a whole other adventure, especially when you have two picks in the bottom seven. Both the Sens and Sharks have had somewhat surprising performances but in the opposite directions. Who would have thought that a team boasting Brent Burns, Erik Karlsson and Evander Kane would be in the bottom five? Who thought that the depleted Sens would actually be having a hard time making it into the bottom 3? As the season goes by, the battles will be harder and the injuries will surely start to play a bigger role but I am still happy that the Sens are giving us some entertaining hockey most nights. Which team’s performance has been more surprising so far, the Sens or Sharks?
The World Juniors
The most wonderful time of the year is also more exciting with the World Juniors, especially when it opens with a Canada vs USA game. With the Czech Republic upsetting Team Russia, the Canada-USA game was guaranteed to be exciting. After our very own Shane Pinto tied the game for the USA, the projected first overall pick, Alex Lafreniere, scored seven seconds later to put Canada ahead. We all know the clutch performances from the World Juniors last a lifetime. With Sweden beating Finland in overtime, it really proved to be a great opening day for the tournament. While I absolutely love watching Canada win every single game, it is refreshing to see a higher level of play from all the countries in these tournaments, especially for younger kids. This tournament is meaningless if it’s spent on endless predicted victories and overexaggerated confidence. That being said, I hope Canada crushes every game for the gold medal.
Anyone else worried? This should be an easier signing than that of Mark Stone but somehow it doesn’t feel like the Sens realize how important it is to lock him up soon. We are all seeing the transformational season the Duke is having and while we don't know how sustainable or consistent this performance will be, Duclair deserves a long look in Ottawa. We know at this point, JG Pageau may be as good as gone with the upcoming trade deadline looming and no contract signing in sight. The Duke however, is a younger and much more valuable asset and until I see the confirmed signing I will be worried that Dorion will mess this up.
Women of the Decade
CBC is running a women of the decade piece, listing a handful of women who have been extremely influential in the world of sports in the past decade including Hayley Wickenheiser, Serena Williams and Christine Sinclair. I think this is a fantastic piece that highlights some really great accomplishments in the past decade and it feels great that people get a chance to be reminded of and exposed to these amazing athletes. I personally would have loved to see Jamie Anderson on that list as well but there are so many worthy names that could have been there as well. Who else would you have liked to see on the list?
It’s been a crazy hockey decade but it’s been monumental. There has been so much done to grow the game, so much done to bring awareness to mental health and recently so much done to change the hockey culture for the better. There is still so much to be done in the hockey world but this past decade has given us hope that real change is happening and brought so many fans and communities together through online initiatives and through NHL activities. It was tough to see some players lost too early, tough to see what the Senators have gone through but I remain hopeful that the next decade for hockey will be even better and may be the best hockey decade yet to come. Maybe even a new era for the rise of Women’s hockey and the comeback of NHL Olympians!
On behalf of everyone on SilverSeven, I hope all of you have a great last days of 2019 and an amazing year ahead. The brighter Sens days are coming!