With the NHL season rapidly approaching the quarter mark, we’re starting to learn a bit about which teams are the real contenders, and which teams are the pretenders. Unfortunately for the Ottawa Senators, their stinging defeat on Saturday against the New Jersey Devils, who look like real contenders, has many of us wondering if they are nothing but pretenders.
Who said it was easy being a Sens fan?
- Speaking of Sens fan hardship, coach DJ Smith announced yesterday that Jacob Bernard-Docker will be out at least a month with a high ankle sprain. Just when it seemed like the Ottawa blueline was maybe going to be fully healthy again, the injury bug strikes.
- Though the calls for Smith’s job have undoubtedly increased in volume since the start of the campaign, Brady Tkachuk remains firmly behind his bench boss and is tired of “all this negativity.”
- On Friday, Greg Wyshynski had a great, in-depth read on what’s got the Devils cooking so hot to start the year. It’s an insightful read on a team that’s playing some of the best, most entertaining hockey I can remember. They’re chugging along at a 62.76 xGF% at 5v5, which is totally bonkers, but also seems about right for just how much of a steamroller they are right now. Maybe DJ and his staff should have read the piece before the game on Saturday? Maybe it wouldn’t have mattered?
- In the latest edition of 32 Thoughts, Elliotte Friedman reports that Ryan Reynolds is meeting with various ownership groups that are interested in buying the Senators. This might actually be happening.
- On the same podcast, Friedman also reports that Pierre Dorion spoke with the Vancouver Canucks about a swap of Nikita Zaitsev for Tyler Myers. The trade didn’t happen so there’s no sense in me getting worked up about it, but I have to say that my eye did involuntarily twitch several times when I heard this was even being discussed.
- Evegni Malkin, one of the greatest players of his generation and a surefire hall-of-famer, reached the 1,000 games played plateau on Sunday night against Chicago. He even notched a goal for good measure.
- The Winnipeg Jets, off to a somewhat surprising 10-5-1 start to the season, announced on Saturday that star winger Nikolaj Ehlers will undergo sports hernia surgery and will be out long-term. This is bad news for the Jets, and also for my fantasy team.
- Over at ESPN.com, the Sens are 25th in Kristen Shilton’s power rankings — which seems about fair. Shilton names Jake Sanderson as the team’s early season MVP; I’m not sure I’d go quite that far, but there’s no denying he’s been impressive as a rookie. /