These are uncertain times for the Ottawa Senators. After making the playoffs in back-to-back campaigns, the Senators struggled without Daniel Alfredsson in 2013-14 and failed to earn a postseason berth. Then Jason Spezza demanded a trade and the Senators consequently lost their captain for the second time in two years.
Defenseman Patrick Wiercioch thinks that the Senators can remain competitive, but in order to do that they will have to return to the style that made them successful in the first place.
“I think first and foremost we’ve got to get back to playing hard,” Wiercioch told the Ottawa Sun. “We don’t want our fans to think that certain nights we’ve given up or anything. I think a couple of years ago we had that pesky mentality, and it almost rallied us in games we weren’t supposed to be in, it kept us in them. I think that’s the identify we’ve just got to try and form early on, and not wait so late in the season.”
As is the case with the team, the future is uncertain for Wiercioch. The 23-year-old offensive defenseman has a lot of potential, but he was a healthy scratch 29 times in 2013-14. The Senators have seven defensemen signed to one-way contracts, not including Cody Ceci, so it’s possible that he could be traded before the season starts.
Wiercioch acknowledged as much, although he certainly hopes that Ottawa will decide to keep him. For now though, all he can do is get ready for 2014-15 with the mindset that he will be part of the Senators’ attempt to bounce back.
In some ways, it really felt like their first-round series.
For all the talent on both ends of the rink with the Detroit Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning, each squad can really smother opponents defensively when things go that way.
Through two periods, the two teams were very quiet. Things really picked up when Justin Abdelkader unleashed a big hit, a moment that injected enough life into the proceedings for the Red Wings to eventually build a 3-1 win.
Maybe they’re slipping under the radar a bit compared to previous iterations of the team, but it’s interesting that the Red Wings are now undefeated in three games.
They’ve been impressive at times, too, outscoring opponents by a combined score of 11-4.
Call it a refreshing time after Mike Babcock or merely carryover from a subtly solid run last season, but either way, the Red Wings may just be able to keep up their end of a brewing rivalry.
Taking three games to score your first NHL goal isn’t a big deal, unless you’re someone like Connor McDavid.
The mega-hyped wunderkind must feel relieved to finally find the net, as he tied tonight’s Edmonton Oilers – Dallas Stars skirmish with a 2-2 deflection goal, which you can watch above this post’s headline.
To no surprise, there were plenty of reactions, including Pierre LeBrun’s tweet (which inspired part of this headline).
Of course, there were the inevitable Wayne Gretzky comparisons:
Interesting thing you might not consider: Stars fans will have to stomach this one even more frequently than that time Patrik Stefan biffed that empty-netter (also against the Oilers):
McDavid may have also delivered his first questionable check, too: