You think you know Silver Seven?
It's time to put up or shut up!
You all think you're so smart. You think you can identify which person wrote an article just by the first paragraph.
Well, now it's time to prove it. Below are paragraphs from each of our staff writers. And just to make things more complicated for you braggarts, it's not a 1:1 ratio, so process of elimination is out. That's right, there might be more than one paragraph from some people. So, let's get to it. And NO GOOGLING. If you Google, I'll know.
Oh, and one last thing: First one to get them all right wins a prize of my choosing. We'll leave this open for a week or so.
1) With the December trade of prospect David Rundblad, the expected departure of UFA Filip Kuba, and with a single season remaining on Sergei Gonchar's contract, the Sens need for a quality defenseman is acute. On Wednesday, Peter provided an excellent look at what it might take to acquire Calgary Flames defenseman Jay Bouwmeester and how he might fit into Ottawa's lineup. Today's installment of "coveting another team's defenseman" features Hawks rearguard Niklas Hjalmarsson.
2) The Ottawa Senators ended a five-game losing streak by beating the Philadelphia Flyers by a 3-1 score. Although many were calling for the removal of little-used enforcer Matt Kassian from the lineup, he stayed in--and, in fact, was promoted. And he was part of a line that, surprisingly, played a significant role in the win.
3) If you've noticed that a lot of Ottawa Senators games have been running long this season, there's a good reason for that: the Senators currently lead the league in overtime appearances with 13. In that time, they've actually compiled a very respectable overtime/shootout record, with 8 wins and 5 losses in extra time (including a 4-2 record in the shoot out).
4) I'm not sure why the All-Star Game voting system exists, but I imagine it's simply to give people the illusion that they have some sort of effect on the game. Otherwise, what's the point? It's not too hard to determine who the very best players (or the biggest stars) are in the NHL at a given time, and it's not as though fans are a better judge than the NHL itself.
5) The 2008 NHL Entry Draft will always be best remembered for Bryan Murray's "garbage pick" at 15th overall. However, a couple of rounds later, he made another pick that is panning out better than anyone could have expected: Zack Smith. Smith was selected in the third round, 79th overall during the 2008 Draft, and has proven to be a very shrewd pick by Murray. One has to remember that Smith was already in his third draft eligible year by 2008, and a full two years older than Erik Karlsson was during the 2008 Draft. It's usually hard to get excited about picking an overage grinder, but given the results Smith has already produced, one can't help but be impressed.
6) Yesterday we looked at what the Ottawa Senators might do at the upcoming draft. Today we will look at the strategy for the upcoming free agent period (brought to you by TSN). Looking at cap geek, the Senators have a ton of expiring contracts at the end of the season. Filip Kuba, Matt Carkner, Matt Gilroy, Zenon Konopka, Jesse Winchester, Alex Auld are all unrestricted free agents. Nick Foligno, Peter Regin, Jim O'Brien, Kaspars Daugavins, Rob Klinkhammer and of course Erik Karlsson are all restricted free agents. Nikita Filatov, Eric Gryba and Stéphane Da Costa also will be at the end of their entry level deals and be restricted free agents.
7) Ottawa's general manager is traditionally a stand-up guy. He traded Mike Fisher to Nashville, where he could be close to his wife. He traded Antoine Vermette to a place where he'd have the opportunity to be a true second-line player. He's shown a willingness to sign players from the region to help strengthen the team's ties to the community. Hell, he'll even give you a no-trade contract if you ask nicely (or even if you don't).
8) It won't stand up as the most memorable or exciting of games on the season, but Sunday's 2-1 overtime loss to the Vancouver Canucks was a hard-fought match that the Senators deserved at least the point they earned.
9) When the New Jersey Devils won the NHL's draft lottery, they moved from 8th to 4th, bumping the Senators to 6th overall -- about the most disappointing result possible considering fans were debating what they would do with the second overall pick at one point this season. Though it's not an ideal reward for a miserable season, it is far from a kiss of death. Keep in mind that just last year, All-Star and probably Calder Trophy candidate Jeff Skinner was selected 7th by Carolina. Quality talent is available outside of the top five.
10) Erik Karlsson has had a pretty good run lately. With 6 assists in his last 3 games, Karlsson has found himself third in rookie scoring amongst defencemen behind Michael Del Zotto of the New York Rangers and Tyler Myers of the Buffalo Sabres. Now that Karlsson seems to have found his stride, it's as good a time as any to look at how his rookie season compares to those of some of the best offensive defenders in the NHL.
11) When the NHL All-Star weekend wraps up Sunday night at Scotiabank Place, the Ottawa Senators will be facing the last 30 games of their season. They currently sit sixth in the Eastern Conference with 60 points. Toronto, Florida and New Jersey are all five points back of the Sens. However, Florida and Jersey have four games in hand and Toronto has three.
12) And so began a roller coaster relationship between Jason Spezza and the National Hockey League. A sensation in the Toronto area from a young age, Spezza had been in the spotlight for a long time by the time he was drafted and coming to an organization in Canada did not stop that spotlight. A funny thing about spotlights, if you are under one long enough, people are going to find something they don't like about you.
13) As Ottawa's highest-paid defenseman at $3.7M per year, Filip Kuba has sometimes drawn the ire of Senators fans, including myself. Yet another Czech player hurt in the Olympics, Kuba played just one game (and one third of another) for the Senators after the Olympic break before opting to have surgery for a herniated disc that rest was not healing well enough.
14) It's Hockey Day in Canada, where all six Canadian NHL teams face of against each other, and to start of this festive day, we get Ottawa against Edmonton, the battle for the number one pick. Ottawa, who for the first time in 11 seasons will play a game without Mike Fisher on the roster, has 42 points and hasn't won a game in a full month. The Senators will try to avoid coming closer to a franchise record 14 game losing streak (already at 11), while Edmonton will try to improve on their home record, which is 1-7-2 in the last ten games at the Rexall Place. The last five home games for Edmonton have been losses.
15) The Ottawa Senators 2011-2012 season felt, in many ways, like a fresh start. Paul MacLean's bristles had seized fans' focus, and his talk of a hard-skating and speed-focused game played on every part of the ice was music to Sens' fans ears. It was a refreshingly clear and well-communicated message of what the coach expected from his players, a departure from the philosophy that had evaded Sergei Gonchar and Alexei Kovalev. Away from the game itself, the Senators were going through a slight rebranding. In celebration of the twentieth anniversary with the league, the Senators had been rolling out a series of historically centered events reaching back to the perennially outstanding team of the early 20th century. Though there was some debate about the dubious legitimacy of laying claim to a different team's successes, the heritage aspect was still interesting and offered a means of celebrating the unique role of Ottawa in the growth and development of North American hockey. More importantly to many fans, and to the team's coffers, the celebration called for a swanky 20th anniversary crest. Gradually, the team began to leak out details of a new heritage jersey. Of course, the notion of a "new heritage" uniform is inherently oxymoronic, but that's beside the point. Unlike a collective bargaining offer, the Senators revealed only snippets of the jersey, building anticipation for the awesome garb that was eventually leaked by over-eager store clerks.
16) The problem so far for Ottawa hasn't necessarily been that the whole team playing poorly. In fact, there have been times when different players were all playing some of their best hockey ever--the problem, though, is that those periods rarely overlapped. While the goaltenders were at their best, the skaters offered no offensive support; other times, our goalies have been abysmal and the team's been downright obliterated.
Good luck, punks. You're gonna need it.
Update: Known jerk Donny1619 has ruined all of your fun after just one day. Be sure to congratulate him and check his profile, because it's pretty funny. The full solution with headlines and links is in the comments below.