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Five Thoughts For Friday

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With no games to talk about, let’s discuss contract rumours, All-Stars, and off-ice stuff!

NHL: Colorado Avalanche at Ottawa Senators Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

The Sens have played exactly zero games since last Friday, so it’s time to get creative with some off-ice talk.

The Duchene situation

Look. I don’t want to catastrophize too much here. I know there’s still time for the Sens to come to an agreement with Matt Duchene, and that the guy’s probably pretty busy at the moment, what with having a new baby at home and just recovering from injury. Still, as a Sens fan, it’s easy to look at the way negotiations are progressing - or not progressing - and see a familiar pattern.

The contract Ottawa reportedly offered Duchene - 8x8 - looked perfectly reasonable. Many people even considered it a bit of an overpayment. You would think that if the guy was really eager to stay, he would have signed by now.

The big problem is that if Ottawa doesn’t sort out this situation before the trade deadline, they’re going to risk losing him for nothing, which would be awful for them, especially considering what they gave up to get him.

The organization is on the thinnest ice imaginable, and if Duchene doesn’t sign an extension with them, it’s going to look very bad. It would suggest that either Melnyk wasn’t willing to fork over the money he deserves, or that he just doesn’t believe in the direction of the team.

I wouldn’t blame him at all for leaving, but you have to wonder if there’s any limit to the number of players Melnyk can drive away before something changes.

Drake Batherson: AHL All-Star

In better news, Drake Batherson is killing it in the AHL! His reassignment to Belleville was slightly controversial in the fanbase, as the guy had been crushing it in the big league before being sent down. While I miss watching him play with Matt Duchene, he’s now second on the B-Sens in points, with 31, which puts him at exactly a point per game.

He also participated in the AHL All-Star weekend, and was named MVP! There’s a tiny sliver of hope for the future of this franchise!

Thomas Chabot: NHL All-Star

Of course, that brings us to the only current Senator who has played hockey in the last week, and that is our favourite son Thomas Chabot, who got to spend the weekend hanging out with the best players in the league (and his +1, Colin White).

It was really nice to see Chabot get national recognition for the weekend, as we all know people tend to forget the Sens exist. It was especially cool to see everyone fawn over this amazing move of his in the skills competition:

He’s pretty good.

Kicking off Hockey Is For Everyone Month

Today marks the start of the NHL’s official “Hockey Is For Everyone” month, a month dedicated to promoting inclusion in hockey. I’ve been quite critical of the execution of this initiative in the past, but it’s a good message, and I’m curious to see what the Sens end up doing.

They haven’t officially announced anything yet, and the NHL hasn’t said anything either, but I expect that to change soon (possibly right after this goes up). The Sens have never done much for this month, but I’m optimistic that we’ll see a bit more from them this year. Aimee Deziel hinted at plans for the month on Sens Callups, and I won’t pretend to be an insider but I’ve talked about inclusion in hockey with a few Sens executives and it definitely sounds like there’s a lot of interest, at least on the marketing side of things, in doing better than they have in the past. Will we see an actual pride night? A ladies’ night? Acknowledgement of women’s hockey? It’ll be interested to see what the organization comes up with.

Why are these old Sens ads better than the modern ones?

Okay, this is silly and irrelevant, I know, but there hasn’t been any hockey to talk about and this made me laugh yesterday so I thought I’d share it with you guys.

My friend Poppy found a hockey magazine from 1992, and on top of being a cool throwback (for people who were alive during that time, which neither I nor Poppy were), it also features merchandise that’s arguably much cooler than the stuff the team sells in 2019. What happened?

Also, for anyone curious about Spartacat’s origins, which I’m sure you all are, he used to have a scene kid haircut, he was creatively named “The Lion,” and he was available for personal appearances. I don’t know about you guys, but I would definitely pay for Spartacat to appear at my birthday party. I feel like this would be a great way for Eugene to make a bit of extra cash.

And finally, did you know that there used to be a whole line of muppet-themed hockey cards, including these.

Honestly, the Sens don’t even need to come up with new merch. If they went back to the 1992 stuff, I would be fully on board.