Tag: Joe Corvo


Sens shakeup: Conacher, Corvo put on waivers


Ottawa has stirred things up one day prior to the NHL’s trade deadline, putting forward Cory Conacher and veteran defenseman Joe Corvo on waivers.

The most surprising decision was Conacher, the 24-year-old who finished sixth in Calder voting last season as the league’s top rookie. The diminutive winger has played 59 games this year, scoring four goals and 20 points, but his ice time has dipped to 12:20 per game, an indication he’s struggled to find his niche in the Sens lineup.

Conacher is best known as the piece Ottawa acquired at last year’s deadline in exchange for Ben Bishop. To say the trade has been lopsided is an understatement — Bishop has turned in a Vezina-caliber year in Tampa Bay, ranking among the league leaders in shutouts (four), wins (29), GAA (2.05) and save percentage (.932).

Conacher’s in the last year of a deal that carries a modest $871,250 cap hit.

As for Corvo, the 36-year-old rearguard’s struggled for a regular spot in the Ottawa lineup, but has scored 10 points in just 25 appearances this season, showing a decent offensive pop. He’s on a $900,000 deal that expires at year’s end, so he could be a depth pickup for a club wanting veteran d-man experience come playoff time.

Sens GM shoots down Spezza trade rumors


Bryan Murray has quieted the Jason Spezza rumblings.

“I think the thing that really bothers me — I’ve got all kinds of calls and texts and questions on that now — some guy that I don’t know, put it out on Twitter that we’re shopping Jason Spezza, and everybody in the world now, every other media guy, grabs that and goes … I had one guy ask me if I wanted to comment to quiet the rumors, I said no,” Murray explained, per the Ottawa Citizen.

“I’m not going to … the more I say about it, the more it’s going to be played over and over the next couple days, so I’ll just say that we have not talked, at this point in time, about Jason Spezza.”

Murray was speaking in response to a variety of reports — including one from TSN’s Darren Dreger — which suggested Ottawa had been exploring interest in the 30-year-old.

Spezza, who inherited the Sens’ captaincy from Daniel Alfredsson this year, has rebounded from an injury-plagued ’13 campaign to post solid numbers (15 goals, 46 points in 56 games.) He’d be a significant offensive pickup for any playoff-bound team but, that said, his minus-24 rating is one of the worst in the league — assuming you care about plus-minus.

Spezza deal or no Spezza deal, Ottawa is definitely a team to watch as Wednesday’s deadline draws near. Veteran d-man Chris Phillips is a pending UFA and there hasn’t been much to report about a new contract, while fellow veteran UFAs Milan Michalek and Joe Corvo have uncertain futures as well.

It’s also still unclear what the Sens plan to do at the deadline — they’re right in the thick of the playoff chase, but would have to leapfrog three teams just to get into the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.

Ceci to stick with Sens, blueline remains crowded


Twenty games was enough for Cody Ceci to show he deserved to be in the NHL.

On Tuesday, Ottawa informed Ceci that he’d be sticking with the team for the remainder of the season, a decision that could have a ripple effect as the trade deadline draws near.

Here’s more, from the Ottawa Citizen:

Since Ceci has arrived, the Senators have gone 9-4-2 and, as owner Eugene Melnyk said Monday, the desperate, league wide search for a defenceman with offensive instincts has been put on hold. In fact, the Senators are now dealing with the new math problem — that eight defenceman is more than enough. The next move could be subtraction rather than addition.

During Ceci’s stint with the Senators, Patrick Wiercioch has had a stretch of being a healthy scratch for eight of 10 games. Eric Gryba has sat out eight of 13 games. Joe Corvo has missed six of 10 games.

Even veteran Marc Methot hasn’t been safe. The 28-year-old rearguard has been a healthy scratch on a few occasions this season, despite being a vital contributor last season (11 points in 47 games while averaging 22:14 TOI per night) and earning an invite to Team Canada’s Olympic orientation camp this summer.

Ottawa is rumored to be in the market for a scoring winger to play alongside Jason Spezza, and could very well move a defenseman — or, defensemen — to get it done.

Ceci won’t be going anywhere, though. Despite only turning 20 in December, the former OHL Ottawa star has played beyond his years and has five points in his first 20 NHL contests, averaging over 18 minutes per game.

Sens make Methot a healthy scratch

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The Ottawa Senators have taken a drastic course of action with defenseman Marc Methot, making him a healthy scratch for tonight’s game in New Jersey.

Methot, who sat out Monday’s 3-2 OT win over St. Louis with the flu, is back to full health and ready to rejoin the lineup. The only catch? Sens head coach Paul MacLean was pleased with how the team played against the Blues — rookie d-man Cody Ceci played 21 minutes and scored his first NHL goal in the extra session — so MacLean is prepared to employ the if-it-ain’t-broke-don’t-fix-it approach.

As such, the Sens will continue to roll with Ceci, Joe Corvo, Jared Cowen, Chris Phillips, Erik Karlsson and Patrick Wiercioch as their six defensemen tonight. Methot said he’s “okay” with the decision but, according to the Ottawa Sun, isn’t happy with this latest turn of events.

The 28-year-old rearguard was a vital contributor for Ottawa during the lockout-shortened ’13 campaign, scoring 11 points in 47 games while averaging 22:14 TOI per night. His steadying presence in the absence of Karlsson earned him high praise, enough to warrant an invite to Team Canada’s Olympic orientation camp this summer.

Methot has two goals and five assists through 31 games this year, averaging 21:28 per.

Under Pressure: Carolina’s blue line


“Under Pressure” is a preseason series we’ll be running on PHT. For each team in the NHL, we’ll pick one player, coach, GM, mascot or whatever that everyone will be watching closely this season. Feel free to play the song as you read along. Also feel free to go to the comment section and tell us we picked poorly.

For the Carolina Hurricanes, we pick…. their defense.

All of it.

The ‘Canes are one of the league’s most uniquely constructed teams. GM Jim Rutherford has built a quality top-six forward group — Eric Staal, Jordan Staal, Alex Semin, Jeff Skinner, Tuomo Ruutu and Jiri Tlusty — and locked up goalie Cam Ward (though to be fair, Ward could easily be Carolina’s candidate for Under Pressure this season).

Then, there’s the blue line.

It’s arguably one of the weakest and thinnest in the league and is now without its best asset in Joni Pitkanen, gone for the season after suffering a serious heel fracture.

As a stopgap measure, the ‘Canes inked veteran Ron Hainsey to a one-year, $2 million deal last week. While it’s not a bad signing (and decent value, given Hainsey made $22.5 million on his old contract) it was reflective of a larger theme — Carolina relying on guys with question marks.

Like, for example, Mike Komisarek. He barely played in Toronto last year, got bought out, then signed with Carolina and was pegged as a potential solution to the team’s penalty kill (ranked 28th last year, at 77 percent) by head coach Kirk Muller.

“All he has to do is worry about playing hockey, helping the penalty kill. He can play physical against teams we’re going to have to play against, bring his experience and attitude,” Muller told NHL.com. “I think [Komisarek’s] going to fit in great. He’s going to bring so much fun energy to the room that I think that’s going to be awesome.”

Another issue is Carolina’s lack of offense from the back end. Last year’s leading d-man scorer, Joe Corvo, walked in free agency. (Corvo set a dubious distinction in 2013 by leading with just 17 points. Only Colorado’s Tyson Barrie, with 13 points, led his team’s blueliners with fewer.)

With Pitkanen gone, there’s hope 21-year-old Justin Faulk can emerge as a 35-40 point guy, but he’s never scored more than 22 in a season.

In analyzing the D, we’d be remiss without mentioning Carolina’s longest-serving defenseman, Tim Gleason, who has been a good foot solider but might’ve already played his best hockey. Gleason, who’s been with the team since ’06, has seen his minutes dropped steadily over the last few years. Last season marked the first time since 2009 he averaged less than 20 minutes per night.

All this said, the ‘Canes do have some bright spots.

One is Ryan Murphy. The 20-year-old, taken 12th overall at the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, is one of the most highly-touted prospects from a coveted defensive class that included New Jersey’s Adam Larsson, Boston’s Dougie Hamilton, Minnesota’s Jonas Brodin and Dallas’ Jamie Oleksiak.

Murphy actually made the ‘Canes out of his first NHL training camp, but failed to appear in a game before Carolina re-assigned him to OHL Kitchener.

From there, Murphy suffered a serious concussion while playing for the Rangers, but recovered sufficiently enough to be named Kitchener’s captain, earn a spot on Team Canada for the 2013 World Junior tournament and play four games for the ‘Canes last season, averaging over 21 minutes per.

For the ‘Canes D to succeed this year, Murphy will need to play beyond his years. They’ll also need their offseason pickups — Hainsey, Komisarek and ex-Sabre Andrej Sekera — to improve upon their 3.31 goals per game allowed last season, second-worst in the NHL.

Asking a lot? Probably. But that’s likely what it’ll take for the ‘Canes to get back to the postseason for the first time in four years.