Erik Karlsson

Sens’ Karlsson will accept captaincy if offered

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It’s pretty clear Erik Karlsson is the best player the Ottawa Senators currently have.

He led the team in points last season and he won the Norris Trophy in 2012 as the league’s best defenseman at the age of 21.

Now that he’s a regular veteran at 24 years old and the Senators are in need of a new captain with Jason Spezza now in Dallas, many think it’s time for Karlsson to assume that role. As NHL.com shared, he said take the “C” if he’s offered it, but he won’t go out of his way to campaign to get it.

“Obviously it’s something I wouldn’t say no to [but] it’s not something I’m going to ask for,” Karlsson said Monday. “I think whoever takes that decision is going to make the right one and whether it’s me or someone else I think it’s going to be good for the team and good for the organization.”

In translation: “Don’t pick me… Yet.”

Truth is, there aren’t too many other logical candidates if it’s not Karlsson.

Fellow blue liner Chris Phillips is 35 and has been with the team since they took him first overall in 1996. He’s also worn an “A” as the alternate captain for some time now. Of course, so has antagonist forward Chris Neil and that doesn’t seem like he’d win too many other teams over if he was picked.

Defenseman Marc Methot could be a candidate except he’s working on getting an extension done with the team and the Sens have already seen two captains leave town in consecutive years. Add to it that Methot is relatively new to Ottawa (he’s played two seasons there) and we’re back to square one.

It’s either going to be the young guy in Karlsson or the older guy in Phillips.

Wild must overcome Alex Ovechkin’s 14th career hat trick

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Death, taxes and Alex Ovechkin winning the Maurice Richard Trophy.

OK, the third thing on that list isn’t technically inevitable. It just feels that way lately in the NHL.

It’s unclear if the Washington Capitals can hold on against the Minnesota Wild, but we know for certain that Ovechkin already has a hat trick, the 14th of his high-scoring career.

This propels Ovechkin to the goals lead as of this writing, as he already has 34. As impressive as Patrick Kane has been, No. 8 is heating up, and may just edge No. 88 if Ovechkin can remain healthy.

One has to feel a little sympathy for the struggling Wild. They played well but lost against the Dallas Stars earlier this week and now must deal with Ovechkin and the just-as-hot Capitals.

Bylsma believes league will look at Gudas’ hit on Catenacci

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Rugged Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Radko Gudas may get in trouble with the league once again.

At least, it will be that way if Buffalo Sabres head coach Dan Bylsma has his way regarding Gudas’ five-minute charging major hit on Daniel Catenacci.

“I think there’s no question it’s head hit,” Bylsma said, according to the Buffalo News’ John Vogl. ” … I know the league will look at that hit and deal with it.”

As far as the injury portion of possible suspension considerations go:

Marcus Foligno‘s analysis of Gudas was … well just check it out.

The Flyers ended up winning 5-1. Gudas was a busy man overall, racking up 17 penalty minutes.

Fight video: Patrice Bergeron vs. Blake Wheeler (seriously)

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Regular Selke winner Patrice Bergeron can do it all on the ice, it seems. Apparently that means he’ll even drop the gloves.

That was the unlikely scene during Thursday’s Boston Bruins – Winnipeg Jets skirmish, as Bergeron fought fellow finesse forward Blake Wheeler.

Perhaps unusual feisty behavior was just in the air, as Tyler Myers squared off with Matt Beleskey.

(Not as unlikely, but still.)

Video: Dion Phaneuf’s assist is his first point with Senators

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Dion Phaneuf‘s first home game as a member of the Ottawa Senators is going more smoothly than his debut did on Wednesday.

Ottawa fell 3-1 to the Detroit Red Wings last night, and they need another goal to tie up the Colorado Avalanche. Still, Phaneuf’s making a bigger impact on Thursday, collecting two assists … his first two points in a Sens’ sweater.

You can see his crowd-pleasing first helper above.

Here’s his second assist for good measure:

Update: The Avalanche held on, taking a 4-3 edge. Even so, Phaneuf’s getting a warm welcome in his new hockey city.