If you haven't been reading Elliotte Friedman's weekly 30 thoughts column, you've been missing out on great NHL info. He had a couple of Sens-related thoughts this week which I'll briefly discuss below.
Some interesting quotes out of Ottawa about Paul MacLean and his relationship with the players. Both sides have talked a lot about how things went awry in 2013-14 and how everyone’s worked to make sure that does not happen again. “We’ve spent a lot of time defining roles,” the GM said. “Last year, no one seemed to understand where they stood. The relationship from the coach, to the captain [the now-traded Jason Spezza] on down, was not good, for whatever reason. We’ve addressed that properly this time. Everyone understands their role.” This kind of conversation was critical in Bobby Ryan’s re-signing.
I think that this keys in to the "old Paul; new Paul" talk we heard in the offseason. Role recognition is key, and I'll have an article later on that looks at this and the effect that it has on groups. This also confirms the Spezza-MacLean talk in the offseason where only one was going to stay, and maybe also one of the reasons why Erik Karlsson is the captain of this hockey club - MacLean has allowed him to play his style and is very conducive to offensive play.
16. Murray believes the best way for Ottawa to counter last year’s defensive zone nightmare is to aggressively forecheck and make sure the puck stays as far from the net as possible. Asked about his best at doing this, he answered with Clarke MacArthur, Mika Zibanejad, Milan Michalek and Curtis Lazar. Asked if Lazar is an 82-game player, he replied, “I believe he is. But we’re going to find out if he’s ready for that right now.”
One pivotal point to make here is that aggressively forechecking only works if a) the D are active (which they are) and b) when the D activate, the forwards are there for support. Hence the emphasis on two-way play, as Ottawa wouldn't be able to play the same system otherwise. We're still seeing the growing pains of this, and it's a little worrying that defensive zone coverage wasn't touched on (though I'm sure they're teaching it, especially with respect to breakouts).
- The Senators won their opener last night, and here are your recaps. [Silver Seven, Rank the Performances, NHL, SenShot, SensChirp, WTYKY, Ottawa Citizen, 6th Sens]
- With Curtis Lazar playing so well yesterday - an assist and led all players in CF% - should he stay up in the NHL this season? B_T investigates. [Silver Seven]
- A great column from the Citizen on the Senators success in home openers. A great historical perspective. [Ottawa Citizen]
- Wayne Scanlan has a column on the 'pesky Sens' moniker, which has been a talking point this season. [Ottawa Citizen]
- After the three-game road trip, Amelia, Travis, and Varada share their early season observations. [Silver Seven, SenShot, WTYKY]
- Lots of talk about the blueline below. Travis Yost, now on TSN, has a piece on zone exits and how Erik Karlsson (and Chris Phillips) are shouldering the load so far this season. [TSN]
- Nichols and Ian Mendes have articles on Jared Cowen and the blueline struggling so far this season. [6th Sens, TSN]
- Ken Warren also talks about Jared Cowen's struggles, and what it's meant for Mark Borowiecki. I wonder if the organization sees it as one or the other? [Ottawa Citizen]
- Joe from Bonk's Mullet has a funny piece on how players actually react to being scratched. [Bonk's Mullet]
- Your weekly update on the local junior teams from Sareon! [Silver Seven]
- Lastly, a podcast from SensCallups on the beginning of the season. I love these things. [SensCallups]/
- Hockey Reference has historical Corsi and Fenwick stats from 07-08. Detroit, LA, Chicago are at the top. [Hockey Reference]
- A look at how general managers can exceed their performance levels thanks to creative minds coming up with creative solutions. [The Economist]
- Daniel Alfredsson's career is up in the air due to lingering back problems. Sad story. [Detroit Free Press]
- A glimpse at the fantastic 2015 draft class [Sportsnet]/
Thanks for reading!