It’s been a strange week for the Ottawa Senators and their fans. They haven’t played since Sunday due to ten positive COVID cases, and it’s felt like a lifetime since then. Here are my five thoughts for this week:
3 Postponed Games
I find it a bit ludicrous that it took 10 positive COVID cases for the league to finally step in and postpone these three games. Obviously the 100% vaccination rate on the team makes it safer, but it was still able to spread and it almost certainly spread to opponents as well as family and friends. I saw some people question the efficacy of the vaccine due to this outbreak, but if anything, it shows how well the vaccines work. If 10 players had been infected a year ago and all of them were in close proximity, I’m sure every single person would have gotten it with even worse symptoms.
It’s unclear who has gotten it the worst, although Michael Del Zotto said that some have lost their sense of taste and smell:
I just hope everyone will be fully healthy after this because even if you are vaccinated, it can still be a scary experience. If the Senators do end up playing on Monday, it’ll be quite difficult getting back into the swing of things.
Shane Pinto’s Injury
Sigh...We still don’t know how long Pinto will be out, but he may have played his last game this season. He only suited up in five games this season and was going to be their second-line centre all season long. He missed nine games with a shoulder injury earlier on, and in his first game back he re-injured it on a harmless play off a faceoff:
That's not good.— Pesky Sickos (@PeskySickos) November 14, 2021
Shane Pinto's return to the lineup ends prematurely as he favors his shoulder again off of this faceoff. Looks like the same shoulder of the very injury he just came back from, I believe. #Sens #GoSensGo pic.twitter.com/VTMBfy1Gdi
Freak injuries happen of course, but you have to ask: was he actually 100% healthy? If he wasn’t, that might’ve cost him a good chunk of the season if not all of it. They really need to see what they’ve got with him, which is the worst part of seeing him gone. Here’s to a speedy and full recovery for Shane.
Lassi Thomson: the Real Deal?
It was a bit surprising to see on Tuesday that Lassi Thomson was not one of the players sent down to Belleville. Jacob Bernard-Docker, Maxence Guénette, and Dillon Heatherington were all sent down, but Thomson stayed up, which essentially puts him as the second defenseman to call-up (without factoring COVID) behind Erik Brännström. He looked quite competent in his three NHL games and perhaps Ottawa has him ahead of JBD on the depth chart right now.
His shot metrics early on aren’t dazzling, but he was able to make some nice passes with the puck and had some good defensive zone awareness, which cannot be said for several defensemen on the roster. I haven’t been too high on him in the past, but if he can just be a good second pairing mobile player, that will be huge for the team. I don’t expect him to play the majority of the games this season considering they only called him up because they had to, but he’s back on my radar again.
Jonathan Dahlen’s Comeback
I’m sure people don’t want to hear about this, but I think it’s fascinating. Dahlen has played his first 15 career NHL games with the San Jose Sharks this year and already has seven goals and two assists. Those seven goals would be tied for first in Ottawa with Drake Batherson. Now, I’m not going to say that if he had stayed in Ottawa this whole time that this would’ve been the same outcome. He took a very strange path in his career by lighting up the Allsvenskan in Sweden, then struggling quite hard in the AHL, then lighting up the Allsvenskan to a historic level, and then coming back to San Jose as a 23-year-old.
I can’t remember any other prospect following a similar path, so I can’t pretend like I saw this coming a few months ago. However, he was definitely hyped up by the fanbase (myself included) in his draft+1 year (2016-17) where he had 44 points in 45 Allsvenskan games, so we knew the talent was there. The Dahlen for Alex Burrows trade seemed dormant for a while and I felt pretty secure in the fact that they avoided a Forsberg for Erat situation, but it stings seeing him produce after all these years and it’s bad timing considering the lack of scoring options right now.
It does feel quite neat that he’s succeeding after so many people wrote him off though, so good for him on that front. I just pray that he only becomes a middle-six forward and not some 25+ goal scorer, I’m not sure if we’d be able to handle that.
Alfie for the Hall
The Hockey Hall of Fame 2021 Class was inducted this week, which featured our old friend Marian Hossa:
He’s certainly deserving of making the Hall, but I still think it’s wrong for him to get in before Daniel Alfredsson, and it’s even crazier that Alfie isn’t viewed as close yet. This stat from James Mirtle illustrates just how good Alfie was in his career:
Adjusted for era, he's 34th all time in points. Only one inactive players ahead of him that isn't in the Hall: Pierre Turgeon. https://t.co/NXv5jbl6F0— James Mirtle (@mirtle) November 17, 2021
34th in adjusted points. 34th! Yes, he never got the Stanley Cup and a guy like Hossa did (three times even), but we’re talking about individual accomplishments here, and hockey proclaims itself to be the ultimate team sport. Alfredsson was a fantastic leader for almost two decades and has the numbers to back it up as well.
What’s infuriating is that there seems to be no push from the organization to get him into the Hall, otherwise he might be talked about more often. I have no idea if there is still some bad blood between him and Eugene Melnyk, but everyone is doing him a massive disservice by not advocating for him. At the end of the day, I’m not losing sleep over this, but let’s be real: Alfredsson is just as good as Jarome Iginla, Marian Hossa, and so many other Hall-of-Famers.