Five Thoughts for Friday

While most would consider the middle of August a quiet time in the hockey world, Sens fans had a lot to talk about this week!

In what was supposed to be the quietest part of the NHL off season, the Ottawa Senators had a very busy week. Impending UFAs were signed, ice water was dumped on the heads of players and owners alike, and Sens fans had a lot to talk about. Finally!

1) All the signings!

The week began with the Senators signing defenceman Mark Borowiecki to a three-year contract extension. While Borowiecki has played a handful of NHL games in his short career, he has not seen a lot of time with the big club and still has a year remaining on his current contract. Many fans questioned why the organization felt the need to sign him now, rather than wait until later in the season.

Regardless of how he plays this season, the $1.1-million-per-year contract is certainly low risk. Where most fans are concerned is the roster spot that he occupies. Something tells me the Sens signed him so they could make a trade involving other defencemen in the lineup. Senators assistant GM Randy Lee quickly jumped on TSN 1200 to explain the rationale behind the signing.

With all due respect to Borowiecki, the big signing came in the middle of the week, when the Sens locked down Clarke MacArthur for five years at $4.65 million per year. Whatever frustration fans were feeling from the Borowiecki signing was eliminated upon hearing about this one. Given how many impending UFAs the Sens have on the roster right now, this was a much-needed piece of news for fans.

This deal benefits both sides; MacArthur gets a raise, and the Sens may have saved some money. On the open market, many feel that MacArthur would have received anywhere from $5-5.5 million per year, depending on his play this upcoming season. Both the term and money make the contract attractive to other teams, should the Sens look to trade him at some point in the future. Shortly after the announcement, Bryan Murray shared his thoughts on signing MacArthur.

With MacArthur signed, the organization can move on to negotiating with Bobby Ryan, Marc Methot and Craig Anderson. They certainly have their work cut out for them.

2) TSN to broadcast regional Sens games

Fans will no longer turn to Sportsnet for the majority of Sens games, as TSN and RDS now own the rights to all Senators regional games. This season, TSN5 will carry 53 regular-season Senators games, and a few pre-season games.

For fans who became accustomed to the voices of Denis Potvin and Dean Brown, this may be a little bit of an adjustment. Chris Cuthbert, Gord Miller, Ray Ferraro and Jamie McLennan will provide play-by-play and colour commentary throughout these broadcasts.

While we will also be able to watch certain games on Rogers stations and CBC, TSN5 will be where we turn for the majority of our Sens games. It's hard to complain about this kind of high-quality coverage. While there are many changes happening to the Canadian NHL broadcast scene, we can take comfort in knowing that our coverage is in good hands.

3) Significant community announcement

On Tuesday, Eugene Melnyk and the Ottawa Senators announced that the organization has contributed more than $100 million to the Ottawa area since its return in 1992. This was great news for the city of Ottawa, and all residents in the area. Of course, it was somewhat of a relief for most fans. Upon hearing that Eugene Melnyk and representatives from the municipal, provincial and federal government were all coming together for a "significant community announcement", fans began to worry, and speculate, and then worry some more.

Of course, there was nothing to worry about. This is great news for anyone who lives in the area or follows the team. There was, however, more in store than just an announcement.

4) Ice Bucket Challenge

After announcing this significant contribution, both Eugene Melnyk and Erik Karlsson accepted the #ALSIceBucketChallenge. After this, many other members of the team accepted the challenge as well, including Robin Lehner and Jared Cowen.

I could go on about the awareness and funds that this social media trend (phenomenon?) is raising, but that would take up an article on its own. Regardless of your celebrity status, or your social following, anyone can get involved in this and have fun while contributing to something worthy of our attention.

The Sens not only made a contribution, but showed us that no matter what your role on the team is, you can get involved, and get ice dumped on your head!

5) Hometown Tour

Knowing Thinking that the middle of August would be an unbearably quiet time for fans, the Senators took it upon themselves to give fans something to get excited about this week. They kicked off the inaugural Hometown Tour in the Ottawa area.

Fans in various cities will have the opportunity to meet players, play games and win tickets to Opening Night. If you live in the outskirts of the city, this is a pretty cool event. As someone who hails from the depths of the Ottawa Valley, I would have jumped at the opportunity to meet players from my favourite team when I was a kid.

The Hometown Tour has already visited Brockville, Cornwall, Kingston, Smiths Falls, Arnprior and Pembroke. Next, the tour heads to Rockland, Hawkesbury, Gatineau, Aylmer, Orleans and Barrhaven.

It's important for the Sens to get fans in the area excited for the upcoming season. Selling out games is the goal, and events like this are how you do it. For those of you attending the Hometown Tour events, have fun!

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