To say that the Ottawa Senators are in
third place in the Eastern Conference is surprising is an
understatement. Yet there they are, winners of 14 of their last 16 games
and playing the best hockey in Ottawa since 2008.
about their standing in the East stems mostly from the fact that the
Senators are the only team in the top 12 in the NHL to have a point
different in the negative (minus-1). They’re having some issues scoring
goals, sort of, but their defense and goaltending have been a bit a bit
suspect as well (amazingly, they are near the top in the NHL in shots
allowed per game). Yet the Senators are drastically thin on defense, and that’s where Aaron Ward might come in…
The Senators are gearing up for a playoff run
that is hopefully a bit more successful than their last attempt, and
currently have just six healthy defensemen on the roster, two of which
are on entry-level contracts. So it stands within reason that they’ll be
targeting a defensemen at the trade deadline. Of course, GM
Bryan Murray says they need to maintain team chemistry.
of the guys I’m talking to now — and I don’t know all of the
defencemen — I do know the personality of the defenceman, and I just
want to get a good guy,” Murray said. “He doesn’t have to be a star, he
just has to be able to play some games. Just don’t come and rock the
Could that player be the Hurricanes’ Aaron
Ward? He’ll be a free agent this summer, but he’ll certainly provide a
veteran presence on the blue line for the playoffs and he’s not
necessarily a guy who it going to ‘rock the boat’. What’s going to be
tough for Murray is that every team knows they need a defenseman; but if
he’s going to try and not oversell, while still fighting to keep the
feel of his team intact, then good on him.
Last night in Los Angeles, Kings forward Milan Lucic received a match penalty after skating the entire width of the ice to give San Jose’s Logan Couture a two-hand shove to the face.
Lucic didn’t hurt Couture, who had caught Lucic with an open-ice hit that Lucic didn’t like. Couture’s smiling, mocking face was good evidence that the Sharks’ forward was going to be OK.
This morning, Lucic was still in disbelief that he was penalized so harshly.
“I didn’t cross any line,” Lucic said, per Rich Hammond of the O.C. Register. “Believe me, if my intentions were to hurt him, I would have hurt him.”
While Lucic knew he deserved a penalty, he said after the game that he didn’t “know why it was called a match penalty.” His coach, Darryl Sutter, agreed, calling it “a borderline even roughing penalty.”
And though former NHL referee Kerry Fraser believes a match penalty was indeed warranted, Lucic said this morning that he hasn’t heard from the NHL about any possible supplemental discipline.
Nor for that matter has Dustin Brown, after his high hit on Couture in the first period.
In conclusion, it’s good to have hockey back.
Related: Sutter says Kings weren’t ‘interested’ in checking the Sharks
A statement from Raffi Torres:
“I accept the 41-game suspension handed down to me by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety. I worked extremely hard over the last two years following reconstructive knee surgery to resume my NHL career, and this is the last thing I wanted to happen. I am disappointed I have put myself in a position to be suspended again. I sincerely apologize to Jakob for the hit that led to this suspension, and I’m extremely thankful that he wasn’t seriously injured as a result of the play. I also want to apologize to my Sharks teammates and the organization.”
A statement from San Jose GM Doug Wilson:
“The Sharks organization fully supports the NHL’s supplementary discipline decision regarding Raffi. While we do not believe there was any malicious intent, this type of hit is unacceptable and has no place in our game. There is a difference between playing hard and crossing the line and there is no doubt, in this instance, Raffi crossed that line. We’re very thankful that Jakob was not seriously injured as a result of this play.”
Silfverberg says he expects to play Saturday when the Ducks open their regular season Saturday in San Jose.