If, dear reader, you would permit a brief personal digression before I jump into our regular feature? It feels profoundly silly to be writing up the Thursday edition of Links, News, and Notes as so many horrible things are happening in the world. We briefly took a pause this summer at the peak of the BLM protests, and the support of our community here was greatly appreciated. I don’t think it makes sense to take a break again, these are different times and different (if related) issues, but I also cannot shake the banality of the exercise right now. I love Ottawa Senators hockey; I’ve been writing about this team at this site for over 6.5 years now, and I can tell you that it is certainly not for the money. Still, as excited as I am for the upcoming season, for the distraction that is NHL hockey, I once again find myself feeling like this is a bit of a pointless exercise.
There’s no deeper point I’m trying to make, and maybe it’s a bit of navel-gazing to be so indulgent to put these words to (digital) paper, but I also couldn’t just pump out a regular LNN feature and pretend like a lot of shit isn’t messed up. Sorry about that. Any “news” round-up that pretended there wasn’t an armed insurrection in one of the league’s host countries would just be ignoring the elephant in the room.
So: what has happened with the Sens, and in the NHL, this week anyways?
- As most are probably aware, John Muckler passed away on Monday. The long-time NHL executive and coach was remembered fondly by a lot of people in and around hockey. Bruce Garrioch had a more Sens-focused retrospective here.
- As you’re also probably aware, Ian Mendes left TSN1200 to take on a role as Senior Writer for the Athletic. Ian has already dropped a couple of columns, and I thought his piece about the 10 biggest storylines to watch was particularly good.
- After navigating a tricky negotiation with Pierre-Luc Dubois, who it now seems may still want out of Columbus after all, the Blue Jackets signed Oliver Bjorkstrand to a 5 year, $27M deal on Wednesday. Bjorkstrand led the Blue Jackets with 21 goals last year, and is an excellent all-around player who has played a big part in Columbus’ recent success. The contract will take him through to age 30, so a tidy bit of business all around.
- After 14 (!) years with Boston, Zdeno Chara moved on to the Washington Capitals in the off-season and it sounds like getting used to his new team is a bit of a work in progress. That’s to be expected, I suppose.
- Colin Wilson, veteran of 11 NHL seasons, retired on Tuesday at age 31. The double hip surgery that he was forced to undergo in December 2019 seems to have been the nail in the proverbial coffin.
- And lastly, the Seattle Kraken have added two new members to their front office: former Buffalo GM Jason Botterill has joined as an Assistant GM, and former Sens defenseman Norm Maciver has been named Director of Player Personnel. Maciver has previously been an assistant coach at both the AHL and NHL levels.