Five Thoughts For Friday

Thoughts on the prospect tournament, and a few recent news stories from around the hockey world.

Five Thoughts For Friday
Photo by chris robert / Unsplash

The prospect tournament begins

In the past, the Sens’ prospect tournament has been must-watch for any diehard Sens fans, with big names in attendance and real roster spots up for grabs. This year is a different story, though. With the NHL roster pretty much set, prospects will really have to impress if they want to push established players out. The tournament will probably be to determine the Belleville roster more than anything, but there are some interesting names to watch, especially with the Sens’ bottom six not completely set in stone.

At forward, I’m sure we’re all expecting big things from Ridly Greig, who looked great with the Sens last year. We’re also approaching “now or never” time for Roby Jarventie. I was also going to say that it’ll be interesting to see if Tyler Boucher, the most polarizing player in the Sens’ organization, establishes himself as a top prospect and earns a spot in Belleville, but I forgot that he is made of glass and of course couldn’t even make it through the first practice yesterday without tweaking something.

It’s interesting to see some new names on defense, with Lassi Thomson and Jacob Bernard-Docker no longer considered prospects, I guess. Tyler Kleven is the only one that stands out as a player with some NHL experience. We’ll see how he measures up against Belleville’s blueline.

It’s a real luxury to not have to look at prospect tournament rosters and worry about how the players will shoulder the burden of the future of the franchise.

Bold Predictions

After being laughed at many, many times for getting a little too enthusiastic when talking about his team, Pierre Dorion has been making a real effort not to be too bold in his predictions. He talked about that after the Chychrun trade, and he said the same thing at rookie camp yesterday. I am now putting in writing my formal request for Pierre Dorion to send me all his bold predictions so that I can at least read them even if he doesn’t want them to be public. I love his bold predictions.

Jake Sanderson apparently doesn’t have the same reservations, as he basically announced that the Sens are winning the cup when he signed his contract extension. I know these types of declarations can provide material for your haters, but Dorion should consider that they’re also funny as hell, and we should not let our fear of getting dunked on stop us from talking shit. I support people employed by the Ottawa Senators organization making bold predictions about the team.


As we approach the finish line for the Sens' ownership saga, debate has reignited (if it ever really stopped) about how much longer DJ Smith will last in Ottawa. At the same time, concerning allegations have surfaced about Blue Jackets coach Mike Babcock (from just about the least credible source in the entire hockey world, the spittin' chiclets podcast, so take that with a grain of salt). Rumour has it that Babcock has been asking to see the photos on players' phones, as a way to get a sense of their character. Regardless of whether these specific allegations end up being true, the discussion this incident sparked about Mike Babcock's history is a reminder of how much worse things can be in terms of hockey coaches.

DJ Smith's time in Ottawa may be running out, but I'm always going to appreciate him for being a coach that genuinely seems to care about his players' well-being. He was the right coach for the rebuild, unquestionably.

No updates on the Hockey Canada sexual assault case

We were assured during the offseason that the results of the NHL’s investigation into the alleged sexual assault by members of the 2018 Canadian World Juniors team would be released during the summer, and here we are approaching the start of another season with no more information than we had when the story first broke. Even the Hockey Canada summit that took place last week didn’t give us any updates.

Insiders have reported that the NHL is waiting on the results of the police investigation, but I don’t see why that is necessary - surely the NHL must have enough information about what happened to decide whether to suspend players. They are not bound by the decisions of criminal courts, and frankly should not be looking to those courts to determine their own actions. It’s entirely possible that most if not all of the players implicated in the alleged assault played in the NHL last season, and it’s starting to look like they might get to play in this coming season as well without any further resolution. I know the league doesn't have any control over the actual criminal case, but they are free to suspend these players or to terminate their contracts if that was deemed an appropriate punishment based on their own internal investigation. It’s awful that this has dragged on for so long, and shows a real lack of concern for the victim and generally for the severity of the crime alleged. It’s really disappointing to still see no action on the part of the NHL to address this, and I hope the whole thing gets sorted out soon.

PWHL draft eligibility list released

The early days of the Professional Women’s Hockey League (PWHL) have been chaotic, to say the least. With such a quick turnaround, information has been coming very quickly with very little warning about when what will be announced. I’ll admit that I was pleasantly surprised to see the league release the list of players that have declared for the draft several days before said draft.

I’ll have a proper preview up on the day of the draft, don’t worry, but one thing that struck me when reading through the names was how many of them there were, and how many were about to be out of jobs.

Just under a third of the eligible players will actually end up being drafted, and without the PHF, the rest won’t have any way to play professional hockey. The PHF may not have been financially viable, and maybe this was the way things could have gone, but it’s always sobering to see how few development opportunities there are in women’s hockey. Those who follow Team Canada closely might have noticed that there’s very little turnover in the roster. That’s great in some ways - we get to grow attached to the players - but it happens because the best place to develop in women’s hockey is with the National teams. Those who don’t get discovered out of college just don’t have the opportunity to work their way up to the top. Having six full teams in the PWHL is a step forward, but losing the PHF as an option is awful. Hopefully the coming years see more investment in the women’s game and more opportunities for people to play women’s hockey professionally.

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