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.
Remember when many were keeping an eye on Erik Karlsson after he was seemingly cramping up after logging more than 40 minutes in an OT contest against the Boston Bruins.
It’s possible he was also dealing with that sort of ailment, but he earned some “hockey tough” kudos on Sunday after word surfaced that the Ottawa Senators defenseman was dealing with hairline fractures in his left heel through the series.
Sportsnet’s Jason York refers to the issue as “two small fractures” while ESPN’s Joe McDonald went into specifics, noting that Karlsson explains that the injury happened on March 28 (and was why he missed some games late in the season).
There’s some optimism as the Senators ready for the New York Rangers, at least according to Karlsson.
Either way, that’s impressive stuff from the Senators defenseman, and the sort of information that usually only surfaces after a team has been eliminated. We’ll see if he’s hindered by such issues as the playoffs go along.
The NHL officially announced the nominees for the 2017 Lady Byng on Sunday, and they’re a star-studded bunch: Johnny Gaudreau, Mikael Granlund and Vladimir Tarasenko.
The PHWA determines “the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.”
(Did Tarasenko help eliminate Granlund’s team in a gentlemanly fashion?)
For more on the three finalists, click here.
It’s a feel-good story, especially if you can look beyond questions of officiating.
Clarke MacArthur could have very well never played another NHL game considering his lengthy battles with concussion symptoms. Instead, he drew a penalty on the Boston Bruins in overtime of Game 6 and then managed to score the series-clinching goal.
Now, this isn’t to say that MacArthur didn’t rightfully draw a penalty; it most clearly was. And, in the bigger picture, it’s one of those stories that almost makes you wonder if real-life sports actually do follow Hollywood scripts.
People just wonder about some other decisions during that overtime, in particular, making it frustrating for some Bruins fans to see the season end in such a way.
Whether they like it or not, that is the case, though.
The Senators took Game 6 by a score of 3-2 (OT), winning their series 4-2. They can breathe a sigh of relief in avoiding a Game 7, an especially valuable bonus since Erik Karlsson had been pushed hard lately, logging more than 40 minutes in a recent game.
Ottawa avoids a do-or-die contest. Instead, they’ll face the New York Rangers in the next round while the Bruins enter the summer following an up-and-down campaign.
Every game in this Senators – Bruins series has been decided by one goal, so why not send Game 6 to overtime?
Oh, and speaking of overtime, this contest going beyond regulation makes it 17 OT games, tying an NHL record for the most in a single round.
Ottawa appeared to take a “lazy change” with a 2-1 lead, and Patrice Bergeron made the Senators pay, putting in a rebound to collect the goal that eventually sent this contest to overtime.