It’s been a packed week of news for the Ottawa Senators and for hockey around the world, to the point where I had to exclude a KHL political boycott for the sake of brevity (well, I guess it’s included now. Regardless, let’s jump into this Monday edition of Links, News and Notes.
- The Ottawa Senators have made their second player loan of the off-season, with Vitaly Abramov heading to Jukurit in Finland to get some playing time before NHL training camps open in November. To be perfectly clear, the expectation is that Abramov will be back in Ottawa before the season’s start, as is the case with Lassi Thomson who they loaned back to Ilves last month. It’s a tricky situation for some prospects given the obstacles of travelling in the current time mixed with lower pay in European leagues, hence why we aren’t seeing everybody take this route. But Dobber Prospects has compiled a list of all the loaned players to date belonging to NHL clubs, with the total up to 35.
- Anthony Duclair sat down with Postmedia’s Bruce Garrioch for a feature interview discussing his work with the Hockey Diversity Alliance and what it’s meant to him personally. It’s a fantastic read which really demonstrates the importance of what the HDA is doing, and it makes me proud to see a Sens player being as vocal as he is with these issues. It also makes it all the more disappointing to see the lack of support he’s received from the Senators, who have yet to acknowledge his efforts.
“We want to have a voice for the next generation, for the next kids coming up. We don’t want the next generation of kids to live through what we’ve been through. We’re doing for this them, we’re not doing this for us. You want to see things change and change for the better.”
- Further to this, the NHL announced their plan for combatting racism this week after consulting with the HDA and NHLPA. It includes four new committees, mandatory diversity training for players, and amplified ties to various charities and Black-run organizations. These are positive steps forward, but as Hemal Jhaveri points out on ForTheWin, it still falls very short of the HDA’s clear cut demands, with a suspect lack of specifics on some key steps. It’s miles ahead of where the NHL was even just a few months ago, but the bar was on the floor.
- The TSN trade bait board was released earlier this week, and as always the rumours and trade buzz quickly became rampant. Most notably is Pittsburgh goalie Matt Murray at the #1 spot, who has since been tied to Ottawa (among a handful of other teams) in trade rumours. While the price is unknown, my initial reaction is that it’s puzzling for a rebuilding team to presumably give up future assets for a goalie who’s been anything but consistent. For an in-depth look at the trade bait board I’d recommend this article from JFresh on Substack.
- For some news that came completely out of left field, Sens forward prospect Viktor Lodin was arrested this past weekend for suspected drug crimes. There are no more details past that, other than Lodin issuing a statement where he profusely apologizes and vows to participate in his team’s anti-drug use efforts in Sweden. Lodin was the Sens’ fourth round pick in the 2019 draft.
- The NHL has started to announce the 2020 NHL Awards winners, beginning with Matt Dumba winning the King Clancy Memorial Award! The trophy is given to the player who best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice, and I can’t think of a person who’s better exemplified that than Dumba. Between being one of the founders of the HDA, to playing a major role in the Rebuild Minnesota project following the police brutality protests, to historically being the first NHL player to kneel for the national anthem, Dumba deserves all the recognition and respect for everything he’s done and continues to do.
- The Arizona Coyoyes are looking for a general manager, and the Washington Capitals are looking for a head coach. A few names for both were mentioned in Saturday’s Headlines segment for Sportsnet, and to say some of them are questionable would be putting it lightly. The Coyotes have reportedly interviewed Pierre McGuire twice for the GM position, along with Penguins assistant general manager Jason Karmanos. As for the Capitals, Mike Babcock is reportedly a serious contender, along with Peter Laviolette and Gerard Gallant. McGuire and Babcock would respectively be two of the most clueless hires I’ve seen in recent memory, so who knows how long these rumblings will stick around for.
- Here’s an interesting photo that surfaced yesterday: a Fanatics jersey found in a Canadian Tire featuring the Sens 2D logo. It’s mostly in line with the reports we’ve seen so far, so there’s a chance we have an early peek at what the authentic ones might look like when officially revealed.
This was just posted on reddit and apparently comes from a Canadian Tire in Kemptville. It's a fanatics version so everything is a little off but it seems to mostly match up with what we've heard so far. pic.twitter.com/pgw869ncvm— SensChirp (@SensChirp) September 6, 2020
- My favourite series to follow for the past month has been The Ice Garden’s Top 25 Under 25, taking an in-depth look at the future of women’s hockey. It concluded earlier this week so you can already read about all 25 players plus some honourable mentions, even though I still disagree with some of the rankings (this was Élizabeth Giguere’s year to be #1 imo).
- Lastly, check out this song from Sens fan James Mellish. Click the play button and enjoy!
Here's that track I promised. I haven't used music production software in 6 yrs so I just made a parody of We Takin' Over so I wouldn't have to record an instrumental. I'm sort of an obsessive perfectionist and had issues with the production but I hope you enjoy it anyway! pic.twitter.com/U5zPnPXRvT— James Mellish (@SilverSeekerMTG) September 4, 2020