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Ottawa Senators Training Camp Check-in: Sept 30th

Well, that didn’t go as one might have hoped

NHL: Preseason-Toronto Maple Leafs at Ottawa Senators Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

If there ever was a game where the adage “If you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all” would apply, last night’s pre-season game against the Toronto Maple Leafs was it. A 4-0 drubbing might even be underselling how poor the Sens’ performance really was. If you want the gory details, here’s a recap of just how things went down:

  • One of the big storylines heading into last night’s game was the first look at how the presumed second pairing of Nikita Zaitsev and Michael Del Zotto would hold up. With the caveat that it was just one game, there weren’t too many positives to take from the performance. The pair had a hard time breaking the puck out at 5v5, and got badly crossed up on the fourth goal while short-handed. Is it early? Yes. Were a lot of our fears realized? Also yes. If DJ Smith wants the Thomas Chabot - Artem Zub pairing to stick, he desperately needs this second pair to work. Lots of time, but there’s lots to work on as well.
  • We also got our first look at Chris Tierney in the role of second line centre between Connor Brown and Tim Stützle. I regret to say that this also did not go too well, though Stützle did have a couple of the team’s only real chances at 5v5. Still, if the battle for second line centre is real then you’ve got to give Shane Pinto a sizable edge after the first couple of pre-season games.
  • There were a tonne of penalties in this one, with the teams combining for twelve power play opportunities: seven for the Leafs, five for the Sens. Unfortunately neither Ottawa’s power play nor their penalty kill looked particularly sharp. The power play struggles were somewhat to be expected with basically the entire first unit missing, but the penalty kill’s inability to stop the Leaf’s puck movement was a bit more disconcerting considering most of the players that are expected to play a key role were present and accounted for. Remember: it’s just the second game of the pre-season.
  • Maybe the only real bright spot on the night was Filip Gustavsson who made 22 saves on 25 shots through the first two periods and without whom this score line could have been really nasty.
  • DJ Smith also gave a shout-out to Parker Kelly, who was definitely energetic, but if your fourth line grinder is the one getting the plaudits, well, it probably wasn’t your night. Here’s the video of the coach’s availability:
  • Before the game, the Sens and Leafs stood together in a small ceremony ahead of tomorrow’s first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.