Though the Ottawa Senators find themselves mired in a nasty five game losing streak, the hockey world hasn’t stopped to wait for them to get themselves in order. There’s lots to cover from the weekend, so let’s get to it:
- On Friday, the Boston Bruins signed Mitchell Miller to an entry-level contract. Miller, you may recall, was drafted by the Arizona Coyotes in the fourth round of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft. You may also recall that the Coyotes dropped Miller shortly after drafting him when the public pressure against keeping Miller, who conducted a years-long campaign of racist abuse against a black classmate with developmental disabilities, became too intense.
His signing wasn’t exactly welcomed in many corners, with even Gary Bettman commenting that Miller was not eligible to play in the NHL — and that he may, in fact, never become eligible to play in the NHL. There has been some reporting that the league was extremely unhappy with the Bruins and made this known to Don Sweeney and Cam Neely.
On Sunday night, after enduring a weekend of withering criticism from almost all corners, including several of their own players, the Bruins announced that they, too, had parted ways with Miller. In a statement, Neely explained that “based on new information”, the Bruins had decided to reverse course. Your mileage may vary as to how credible you find this explanation to be, but regardless of the reason for signing him in the first place the whole saga is a massive embarrassment for the organization.
- In other news about player eligibility, Matthew Tkachuk and Josh Anderson both received two-game suspensions on Sunday for their actions in their respective Saturday night games. Tkachuk, a player some might describe as dirty, got the blade of his stick inside Jonathan Quick’s helmet in what can only be described as an attempt to injure. Anderson, who has less of a track record than Tkachuk, is fortunate Alex Pietrangelo didn’t suffer a more serious injury after the Canadiens forward ran him from behind.
- In happier news, Alex Ovechkin now holds the record for most goals scored by a player for a single team with 787 — passing Gordie Howe’s 786 with the Detroit Red Wings. Ovechkin has seven tallies in thirteen games to start the year, and with every goal his case for the title of greatest goal-scorer of all-time grows stronger.
- On the weekend, the staff at the Athletic asked the beat writers covering each team to comment on the biggest challenges facing the clubs a month into the season. Here’s what Ian Mendes had to say about the Sens on Saturday (note this was published before JBD was re-assigned to Belleville):
Lack of consistency from the defensive pairings: Heading into the season, we knew Ottawa’s biggest potential weakness was its blue line. Ten games into the season, those fears have come to fruition. The Senators have yet to find consistency in their defensive pairings, and the recent injury to Artem Zub has only magnified the issue. The Senators will need to address this issue soon if they don’t want the season to slip away. Recalling prospect Jacob Bernard-Docker on Friday is a potential internal solution, but that’s a lot of pressure to place on a young defender. Ottawa’s blue line will certainly be under the microscope over the next 10 games.
- Perhaps no player better embodies this current iteration of the St. Louis Blues than Ryan O’Reilly, but with the burly centre set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, it seems his time in the Show Me State could be coming to an end.
- Lastly, with the PHF kicking offer their eighth season over the weekend, now’s a great time to check out some high quality women’s hockey. Kristen Shilton had a good preview of what to expect this season over at ESPN, and Melissa Burgess did the same for the Victory Press.