Folks, I regret to inform you that once again we have no news to report from the Ottawa Senators. I imagine everyone reading has handled the suspense without any loss of sleep to speak of. Personally, I’ll keep riding the wave of the Filip Gustavsson signing and otherwise blissfully assume no news still equals good news around these parts. I won’t contribute to the rumour mill or offer any conjecture on what will transpire in Ottawa over the next few weeks. Your guess remains better than mine. Like most of you, I wouldn’t complain if we got, say, a Drake Batherson extension by week’s end though.
- In far more exciting international hockey news, the Canadian Women’s team defeated their arch nemeses in red, white, and blue as Marie-Philip Poulin scored in overtime in the gold medal game against the United States. Despite trailing 0-2 after the first period, the Canadian team stayed patient, and tied the game in the second while taking over the shot count. Neither team conceded much defensively in the third and both netminders stood tall when called upon, sending the game to sudden death. And three-on-three did not disappoint. It felt just that Poulin scored the game winner as she appeared all over the ice throughout the game (even if the officials didn’t initially see that puck go in the net!).
- In NHL news, the New York Islanders locked up a couple of key RFAs in Anthony Beauvillier and Ilya Sorokin, and UFAs Kyle Palmeiri and Casey Cizikas. Along with the Canucks and Sabres, I had the Islanders on my list of teams to watch as we await announcements from the Sens about Batherson and Brady Tkachuk. The list of key RFAs continues to shrink as camp approaches but our day will come yet. The Isles roster seems all but set at this point barring some last-minute salary cap manipulation from Lou Lamoriello.
- In the ECHL, the Cincinnati Cyclones (affiliate of the Sabres and Rochester Americans) have named Jason Payne their head coach, the only Black head coach in men’s North American professional hockey heading into the 2021-22 regular season. Coming from Toronto, Payne played 14 seasons of professional hockey, including stints in the AHL and ECHL. On top of his head coaching duties, Payne will also serve as director of hockey operations in Cincinnati.
Next season, @JasonPayne67 will be the only Black coach of a professional men's hockey team in North America. The GM who promoted him? The only woman serving as GM in the ECHL, AHL or NHL.— Emily Kaplan (@emilymkaplan) August 31, 2021
I talked to Jason for tonight's @SportsCenter pic.twitter.com/PAy7zCb2TE
- Over at the Hockey News, Adam Proteau has penned a heartfelt reflection on the crash that took the lives of the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl hockey team in 2011. 44 passengers lost their lives in that plane crash ten years ago including former Ottawa Senators defender Karel Rachunek.
It's nearly been 10 years since 44 people on Lokomotiv Yaroslavl's KHL hockey team were killed in a tragic plane crash.— The Hockey News (@TheHockeyNews) September 1, 2021
The memories of those lost will never be forgotten.@Proteautype recounts the horrible day:https://t.co/ZICtsnxvZE
- And finally, increasing their footprint in the hockey community in the Pacific Northwest, the Seattle Kraken contributed to fundraising efforts that raised over $3 million to revive the University of Alaska Anchorage hockey program. The team will have to re-start virtually from scratch as they currently lack a roster, coaching staff, and a division to play in in 2022-23. At the very least, the Seawolves will have the funds to cover two years of operating costs while they re-establish their program.