The Ottawa Senators are 2-0, and look poised for a breakout....pre-season. Jokes aside, hockey’s back and we’ve got lots of interesting things to talk about so let’s get to it:
- You may have heard that Dustin Byfuglien has been granted a leave of absence from the Winnipeg Jets. There’s not much known about the situation, but Paul Maurice told the media there wasn’t anything “sinister” about it, and Bob McKenzie tweeted on Wednesday that Byfuglien might just be contemplating whether or not to continue his career. Byfuglien’s had a long, impressive stay in the NHL and at 34 he might simply have had enough. Byfuglien should absoltutely do whatever he needs to do. It’s also true that if he walks away the Jets are well and truly screwed.
- Travis Konecny, 6 years at $5.5M AAV, and Brock Boeser, 3 years at $5.875M AAV, finally signed contracts with the Philadelphia Flyers and Vancouver Cancuk respectively. We spent most of this summer waiting for the first domino to fall and for all of the RFAs to get signed. With a couple of notable exceptions (Patrik Laine and Mikko Rantanen chief among them), the NHL seems to be avoiding the protracted disputes that many were worried threatened to compromise the season. There’s no doubt that the RFA landscape has changed in recent years, but I’ll be surprised if it leads to more than a couple players missing the first few games of any season.
- On Tuesday, Chris Stevenson had a good piece over at the Athletic focusing on five things to watch for in the Sens pre-season. We’re only a couple games in, but I think his point about D.J Smith’s emphasis on speed is ringing true so far:
The pace at which coach D.J. Smith has conducted the training camp workouts has been impressive. It’s been a long time since the Senators have practiced at the pace they have been going at over the first three days at camp. It will be interesting now, given there has been token pressure in the drills, to see if they can carry that speed of execution over to game situations.
It is the constant emphasis.
“Full speed, full speed, full speed,” shouted Smith during one drill on Sunday.
“I want you flying through the neutral zone,” he yelled later.
There are some things that even bad teams can control, and the pace at which they play (and practice) is one of them. Smith should have a good skating team at his disposal, let’s see if he can get them really going when the games count.
- And last, but not least, it seems like Eugene Melnyk can’t go a week without getting himself into some sort of legal dispute over unpaid debts. I’ll let the CBC article do the talking:
According to court documents filed in July, Flightpath Charter Airways claimed it was owed $693,524.19 for the operation, maintenance and storage of the Bombardier Challenger 604 business jet belonging to Clean Beauty Collective — a company Melnyk owns.
I’m not really sure what else to say at this juncture, but it really doesn’t bode well for the Sens that hundreds of thousands of dollars in debts are cause for delinquency.