Welcome back, folks! Week one of the real NHL regular season starts today (yes, I know San Jose and Nashville already played in Europe) and in just three days we’ll have an actual Ottawa Senators gameday on our hands. We’ll have plenty of content to get you back in the groove this week but let’s start with the news. Most of it is bad and/or doesn’t pertain to the Sens but that won’t stop me from talking about it!
- Let’s start with our now-dashed collective pipedream of a Mackenzie Weegar homecoming. The reliable right-shot defender from Nepean has signed an eight-year, fifty-million dollar extension in Calgary. Good for him! Pretty much every NHL team, including those who already have a strong defence corps, could use a player like Weegar. I hope we can get another one of those soon in Ottawa.
- Speaking of the Flames, they extended head coach Darryl Sutter (terms unknown). He seems like a big grumpy man and I would probably hate working around him but his teams tend to play very well until they stop playing well (probably when they get tired of his constant grumpiness!) If Calgary wins a lot of games—great! If they lose a lot of games then you can always find a different coach—why even bother unpacking your suitcase?!
- Here in Ottawa, Ken Warren weighs in on the big choices facing Pierre Dorion and DJ Smith today. By the time you read this, we may already know if Derick Brassard has squeezed Mark Kastelic out of the opening night roster or if Nikita Zaitsev really has played his way out of the lineup in Ottawa. Obviously, we have a lot to distract us from the fourth line and the third pairing, but after weeks of training camp speculation, we’ll all appreciate some certainty.
- Staying local, happy 30th “Maybe Rome Was Built in a Day” day! Wayne Scanlan shares his thoughts three decades after the Senators officially returned to the NHL and adds some anecdotes courtesy of Cyril Leeder. In case anyone forgot, the Habs have always been the worst!* (Just not worse than Toronto)
- To shift tones completely, the Lightning have suspended Ian Cole as the defender now faces an investigation pertaining to reports of sexual abuse. Both the team and player (via his agent) have released the standard “cooperating but no further comment” statements.
- On a similar note, the Bakersfield Condors (AHL affiliate of the Oilers) have dismissed their head athletic trainer as he faces felony charges for a sex crime in California.
- And finally, in the ongoing Hockey Canada debacle, Andrea Skinner has stepped down from her role on the organization’s board of directors. It certainly screams patsy move to appoint a female chair in hopes of restoring your image only to use them as a scapegoat when your gambit fails* (purely conjecture!). Members of Parliament continue to pressure for more change atop the organization and financial support continues to dwindle for the once untouchable national institution. They might want to just pack it in (one individual’s opinion!).