<span class="vcard">Jason Brough</span>

Pittsburgh Penguins' Sidney Crosby (87) gets the puck behind Ottawa Senators goalie Craig Anderson (41) for a goal during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Ottawa Senators in Pittsburgh, Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2016. The Penguins won 6-5, with Crosby getting three goals. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
AP

These are interesting times for the Ottawa Senators

3 Comments

The Ottawa Senators are a bad defensive hockey team.

In fact, out of 30 NHL clubs, only one — the Columbus Blue Jackets — has given up more goals per game than the Sens have (3.08).

For head coach Dave Cameron, it’s a matter of pride.

“All the good teams take pride in their defensive play,” Cameron said, per TSN’s Brent Wallace. “We don’t.”

But for captain Erik Karlsson, there’s another reason to make a bigger commitment to defending.

Money.

“First off, we’re a budget team here,” Karlsson told the Ottawa Citizen last week. “We don’t have the same players as most teams do that are high-skilled and we’re not going to win games from a skill base. We’re not going to win games by scoring fancy goals and stuff like that. We have to realize we’re a grinding team.”

It’s comments like that that have many Sens fans wishing owner Eugene Melnyk would consider selling the team. Recently, Melnyk has been adamant about not doing that, despite the reported interest by the deep-pocketed group in competition with the Sens for building a new arena on LeBreton Flats:

Certainly, the precipitous decline of the Canadian dollar will not help the Sens in the revenue department. However, Melnyk believes that that particular “minefield will work out” in the end. For now, he’s focused on the arena project.

The Sens’ defensive issues were on full display last night in Pittsburgh, where they lost 6-5 while getting outshot 44-23.

With just one win in their last five, the Sens have fallen five points out of a playoff spot. They host the Oilers Thursday.

Report: Canucks ‘working on’ bringing KHL d-man Tryamkin to North America

3 Comments

The Vancouver Canucks are “working on” bringing Russian defenseman Nikita Tryamkin to North America when his KHL season ends, according to News 1130 Sports.

Tryamkin, 21, was the 66th overall pick in the 2014 draft. His contract with Yekaterinburg Automobilist apparently doesn’t expire until April 30, but with the Gagarin Cup playoffs set to begin in a couple of weeks, the Canucks are hoping he’ll be released as soon as his team is out. He would then report to AHL Utica.

Tryamkin is an intriguing prospect. He’s big (6-6, 220 lbs) and has been described as a late-bloomer. He told the Canucks he patterns himself after Zdeno Chara.

“He’s going to be a player,” an NHL scout told Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.

The Canucks sure hope so, given the blue line is arguably their most glaring weakness, with no blue-chip prospects to speak of.

Related: ‘In a perfect world,’ Canucks would like to take a D-man in first round

Rangers’ Klein out ‘indefinitely’ with fractured thumb

Sidney Crosby, Kevin Klein
AP
2 Comments

The New York Rangers have lost one of their most dependable defensemen “indefinitely.” The club announced today that Kevin Klein has a fractured thumb. There’s no timetable for his return.

Klein is averaging 20:01 of ice time, second on the team to Ryan McDonagh. The 31-year-old has already missed 12 games this season due to injury.

With Klein sidelined, expect to see more of big rookie Dylan McIlrath. Both players are right shots.

The Rangers host Minnesota Thursday.

The Wild are ‘finding different ways to lose hockey games’

New York Islanders center Anders Lee (27) celebrates after scoring a goal on Minnesota Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk (40) during the second period of an NHL hockey game in New York, Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2016. Wild's Mikael Granlund is at center. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
AP
18 Comments

The Minnesota Wild lost again last night, falling 5-3 to the Islanders in Brooklyn.

The latest defeat saw the Wild’s record fall to 3-8-3 in 2016, and it left head coach Mike Yeo bemoaning his team’s inability to make any “winning plays.”

“What’s concerning,” Yeo told reporters, “is we’re finding different ways to lose hockey games.”

For example, this defensive effort on the Isles’ third goal:

Thomas Vanek took responsibility for that one, calling it “on me.”

Hard to disagree there.

The Wild’s next game is Thursday against the Rangers at MSG.

Related: Yeo met with the Wild’s analytics guys, and it was ‘interesting’

Preds believe Vesey could ‘come in and play right away’

BOSTON, MA - FEBRUARY 23:  Jimmy Vesey #19 of the Harvard Crimson skates against Steve Santini #6 of the Boston College Eagles during the second period of the 2015 Beanpot Tournament consolation game at TD Garden on February 23, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Getty
3 Comments

The Nashville Predators aren’t sure when Jimmy Vesey’s Harvard season is going to end, but as soon as it does, they want the 22-year-old winger to come play for them.

“As we’ve told him all along, and including as recently as probably this past week, is we’ve got a spot for him,” Preds GM David Poile told 102.5 The Game radio in Nashville (audio).

“We truly believe that he could come in and play right away.”

Of course, before he’d play for the Preds he’d have to sign with them. The alternative for the NCAA star is to become a free agent this offseason, which has led to all sorts of speculation that he’ll do just that.

Hence, the aggressive pitch by the Preds.

“I could see him starting right out either on (Ryan) Johansen’s line or probably Mike Fisher’s line,” said Poile.

Vesey has 16 goals and 16 assists in 20 games for Harvard.

Related: Vesey says he has ‘great relationship’ with Preds