As fans of the Ottawa Senators, we had enough reasons to feel good about the 2023 Global Series in Stockholm--not the least of which were the four points Ottawa gained in the standings (that they desperately needed to not squander). It also helps that they won a game against a division rival and that the team inched that much closer to a healthy roster touches earpiece I have just received word that Joonas Korpisalo left practice early yesterday.
Most importantly though, for the European-born players on the Sens roster, playing in Stockholm where family members could feasibly come watch them play NHL hockey seems pretty sweet. By this point you have probably figured out that I want to talk about Erik Brännström scoring his first goal of the season while playing in his home country in front of friends and family--oh and he had just came back from a terrifying injury. What kind of monster couldn't appreciate that level of Disney script-writing. And in the spirit of Brännström's storybook moment, I have five suggestions for Ottawa's next hater-ass goals of this season.
When the Senators last visited the Islanders on October 26th, we still had hopes that maybe we'd see Pinto sign his next contract before the Sens played against his hometown squad. I don't need to tell you what happened next. As luck would have it, the Sens will travel to Long Island March 16th by which point I can only hope Pinto has rejoined the team in full capacity. While maybe not quite as emotional as Bobby Ryan's hat trick in his return in 2020 (Ryan also had a five-for-fighting in that game?) I think we can all agree that we want to see a Pinto hat trick in game 65.
After a tumultuous 2022-23 campaign and an offseason spent on the trade-block, Joseph (with some shiny new line-mates) has rebounded through his first 15 games to the tune of 13 points. And not to pat myself too hard on the back here but, yes, some of us saw this coming. And you know what would really ice the goddamn cake? Lighting up those clowns in Joseph's hometown of Montreal sometime soon. To date, Joseph only has one goal against his hometown team, and it happened in Ottawa so let's get he monkey off this guy's back. The Sens only have one game (!) in Montreal this season so no pressure, but, Mat, you'll have to score a hat trick on January 23rd. I don't make the rules.
Our oversized son has had some modest success in his still young career against the team his dad once captained but by Brady Tkachuk standards, two goals against the Blues through seven games just doesn't seem like enough. I also find it puzzling that a guy who scores as many goals as Brady only has one hat trick so far in his career (against Tampa Bay of all teams). And while Tkachuk has at least scored one goal in the building his father once owned, we need to get that number up to Brady-sized standards. When the Sens roll into St. Louis on December 14th, they should be on a 12-game winning streak and seriously what better time for Tkachuk to achieve the second hat trick of his career.
Yeah I know and I can hear you already, "Josh Norris already has five goals in six games against Detroit" and "Josh Norris already had a hat trick against the Wings! What more do you want from the guy?!" Like Tkachuk, Norris has at least scored one goal in the arena he would have visited as a kid but after everything Norris has endured health-wise over the past year, he basically deserves the moon, okay? Luckily, the Sens have two games in Detroit over the balance of the season (the win in Stockholm went in the books as a home game for Ottawa). Between December 9th and January 31st I don't see why Norris can't double his career goal total against the Wings.
The Sens, between the roster and the prospect pool have a bunch of young players from western Canada and if the team had scheduled its annual trip to Alberta and BC for March then I would say a lot of guys might have a chance but with that road trip coming up in early January, I reckon players like Angus Crookshank, Zack Ostapchuk, and Cole Reinhardt probably have another year or so before they get to play NHL hockey in their home towns. I wouldn't, however, discount the possibility of Jacob Bernard-Docker scoring his first (career) goal when the Sens play in Calgary on January 9th. And if you think that's improbable then just remember that Tyler Boucher is from Phoenix and the Sens play the Coyotes on December 19th in Arizona--yeah, that's the galaxy brain shit.