The Ottawa Senators and Boston Bruins should take a lesson from the Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers on how to set up a playoff series. The Senators and Bruins will probably play each other in the first round, but don’t expect Thursday’s game to offer much insight into how that series will go.
As we previously reported, Boston has already decided to rest three core players in Tim Thomas, Zdeno Chara, and Patrice Bergeron. Now the Ottawa Senators have followed suit by giving backup goaltender Ben Bishop his first start since he left a game on March 24 with a lower body injury.
“It’s fine. Every team probably says the same thing: You want to have healthy and fresh bodies going into the playoffs,” said captain Daniel Alfredsson in regards to the Bruins decision.
Ottawa’s decision to start Bishop probably has a little less to do with resting Craig Anderson and more to do with giving Bishop some playing time in case they need him in the postseason.
There’s still a chance that Ottawa will finish the season in eighth place, but in order for that to happen, they would have to lose both of their last two games and the Capitals would need to win both of theirs. The more likely scenario is that the Senators open the playoffs against the Bruins. Just not the Bruins team that they’ll face on Thursday.
For the second time in his career, Ryan Kesler is wearing an “A.”
On Thursday, the Anaheim Ducks announced that Kesler would serve as one of the club’s alternate captains this season, taking over for Francois Beauchemin, who signed in Colorado this summer.
With the move, Kesler joins Anaheim’s existing leadership group of captain Ryan Getzlaf, and alternate Corey Perry.
“It’s an honor,” Kesler said, per the Ducks. “It’s special. I’m going to wear it with pride and lead by example.”
As mentioned earlier, Kesler has some experience as an alternate — he wore an “A” in Vancouver from 2008-13, but had it removed prior to the start of the ’13-14 campaign.
It’s not surprising Anaheim went in this direction. GM Bob Murray made a huge investment in Kesler this summer by inking the 31-year-old to a six-year, $41.25M extension.
Could Raphael Diaz be on his way back to Switzerland?
We’ll know in a month.
Diaz, who lost out on the Rangers’ final blueline spot in training camp, has reported to the club’s AHL affiliate in Hartford but doesn’t seem pleased with his current situation, per the Post:
The 29-year-old Diaz, who cleared waivers last Saturday after the Blueshirts opted to keep rookie Dylan McIlrath as the club’s seventh on the blue line, is interested in the European option if he is not in the NHL.
The Blueshirts have told Diaz they will revisit the situation at the end of October, but have not promised to release him or assign him to a European team at that point.
If Diaz, a Swiss native who represented Switzerland in the 2014 Olympics, does play in Europe during the season, he would have to go through waivers in order to return to the NHL.
Diaz’s agent, Ritch Winter, told the Post that Diaz signed a one-year, $700,000 deal with the Rangers “to play with the Rangers.”
And it’s understandable if Diaz — a journeyman offensive defenseman — isn’t happy with this situation.
While some believe McIlrath earned his roster spot on merit, some think it’s because of his contract status. McIlrath, who’s only 23 and a former first-round pick, would’ve needed to clear waivers to go back to Hartford, and it’s believed he would’ve been claimed by another club.