Tag: Erik Karlsson

Alex Chiasson Mike Hoffman

Surging Sens proving importance of youth


Andrew Hammond may be a great story, and he definitely has a great nickname. But the Ottawa Senators’ playoff push is about way more than a  goalie coming out of nowhere to salvage a once-lost season.

As the Globe and Mail’s James Mirtle writes, the Sens’ comeback is just as much a story of a new coach, Dave Cameron, “turning over ice time and responsibility to younger, skilled players and watching them flourish”:

At this point, with Chris Neil, Chris Phillips and Clarke MacArthur out of the lineup, the Sens have by far the youngest team pushing for a playoff spot (average age 25.9).

The biggest beneficiaries of the coaching change back in December, meanwhile, have been Mark Stone, Mike Hoffman, Mika Zibanejad, Curtis Lazar, Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Patrick Wiercioch – all of whom fall in the 25-and-under category. And Phillips and David Legwand, the Senators’ two greybeards, are down the most in ice time.

And let’s not forget that Kyle Turris, the NHL’s second star of the week, is only 25 himself, while star defenseman Erik Karlsson is still just 24.

The Sens have in some ways been forced to go with a younger lineup. They’re not a big-budget franchise that’s been in the running for all the top free agents, which is actually something they’ve tried to spin in their favor. (Owner Eugene Melnyk famously said back in 2012 that “any idiot” could spend to the cap.)

Melnyk has promised that the Sens’ payroll will “skyrocket” once all the club’s young players get new contracts. We’ll see to what degree. In the meantime, all that youthful energy and enthusiasm is providing great bang for the buck.

Sens’ drafting and developing, beyond the first round

Wiercioch (42nd overall in 2008)
Hoffman (130th overall in 2009)
Stone (178th overall in 2010)
Pageau (96th overall in 2011)

Related: Why are the Oilers still bad? Look at their drafting

Video: Doughty won’t ‘do anything different’ to try and win the Norris

2014 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Five

Drew Doughty is undeniably one of the best defensemen in hockey. Just 25 years old, he’s already hoisted the Stanley Cup twice and won a pair of Olympic gold medals.

But one thing he hasn’t won is the Norris Trophy.

Why is that anyway?

Well, one possibility is that he hasn’t deserved to yet.

Or, maybe he has, but playing in Los Angeles has hurt his chances with Eastern-based voters.

Or, maybe he’d have a better shot if he scored more points, like recent winners Erik Karlsson, P.K. Subban and Duncan Keith.

Regardless, while he’d love to win the Norris one day (“there’s no doubt about it”), he’s “not going to do anything different to try” and win an individual award.

Related: Keith edges Weber, Chara for his second Norris Trophy

Hamburglar wins again, ties 76-year-old record

Andrew Hammond

Andrew Hammond made 35 saves as the Ottawa Senators edged the Carolina Hurricanes 2-1 in overtime Tuesday night.

With the win, Hammond improves to 11-0-1 tying Hall of Famer Frank Brimsek’s record by starting his career with 12 straight games allowing fewer than three goals.

Brimsek reached the milestone with the Boston Bruins during the 1938-39 season.

Sens’ forward Kyle Turris set up Mark Stone for the game-winner in highlight-reel fashion with less than a minute remaining in overtime.

Patrick Wiercioch had the other Sens’ goal while captain Erik Karlsson had two assists.

Ottawa has now won four straight and improved to 14-2-2 in its last 18 games. The Sens’ win coupled with the Bruins’ loss to the Sabres moves Ottawa four points back of Boston for the second wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.

The Senators and Bruins meet in Ottawa on Thursday.

Elias Lindholm had the lone Hurricanes’ goal.

Anton Khudobin made 31 saves in the loss.

Red Hot Sens continue to defy odds by beating Habs

Andrew Hammond Lars Eller

The Ottawa Senators chances of making the playoffs are slim, but it’s hard to rule them out entirely after they just recorded their ninth victory in 11 contests. Ottawa stayed sharp tonight with a 5-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens.

Max Pacioretty got Montreal off to a great start by finding the back of the net in power-play and shorthanded situations. However, rookie goaltender Andrew Hammond wouldn’t allow Montreal to beat him again. This was his 10th career game and he has never allowed more than two goals in a contest. With a 1.49 GAA and .952 save percentage, he’s the single biggest reason why Ottawa has been so effective lately. His strong start tonight has also made the goaltending situation in Ottawa more interesting as starter Craig Anderson is now healthy.

Ottawa defenseman Erik Karlsson also had a big game with two goals and an assist. That gives him 18 goals and 53 points in 66 contests, which is enough to lead all defensemen in the scoring race.

Under normal circumstances this might have been a night to forget for Sergei Gonchar, given that his Canadiens lost the game and he finished with a minus-two rating in 13:26 minutes of ice time. However, he became just the 57th player in NHL history to reach the 1,300-game milestone tonight.

Even after wining nine of its last 11 games, Ottawa is still seven points behind Boston in the battle for the second Wild Card spot, so the Senators will have to stay hot just to keep their hopes alive. By contrast Montreal is leading the Atlantic Division, although it has dropped five of its last six games.

DeKeyser earns high praise from Babcock

New York Islanders v Detroit Red Wings

If Danny DeKeyser were a car, he wouldn’t be flashy like a Ferrari or Lamborghini, or even that awesome car Homer built that played La Cucaracha with its horn.

Which is to say, DeKeyser isn’t P.K. Subban or Erik Karlsson, two past Norris Trophy winners with the ability to both put up points and bring the crowd to its feet. (Nor is he a defenseman that sings La Cucaracha.)

That said, DeKeyser will get you from A to B, and he’ll do it with the minimum amount of hassle.

And as with cars, there’s a lot to be said for reliability.

Per the Detroit Free Press, Wings coach Mike Babcock says DeKeyser “makes the least mistakes of anybody on our back end. He’s an elite skater, he’s got an elite mind, he’s ultra competitive, he comes every day ready to play.”

That’s high praise for a 24-year-old who wasn’t even drafted. DeKeyser, you’ll recall, signed with the Wings in March of 2013 as a free agent out of college.

In the short time since turning pro, DeKeyser has become yet another late-blooming d-man to make an impact in the NHL, joining the likes of current undrafted players Mark Giordano, Dan Boyle, Dan Girardi, Chris Tanev, and Torey Krug, as well as past stars like former Wing Brian Rafalski.

Related: Undrafted Giordano has some draft advice for NHL GMs