Tag: Ottawa Senators

Tampa Bay Lightning v New York Rangers - Game Five

In defense of Yandle, who’s ‘trying to make some plays’


Keith Yandle tried to make a play.

Unfortunately, it ended up on the stick of Steven Stamkos, right in front of the Rangers’ net…


Thank goodness for Henrik Lundqvist.

But the fact no goal was scored didn’t stop reporters from asking Rangers coach Alain Vigneault what he’s seen from Yandle the past couple of games.

“He’s working extremely hard,” replied Vigneault. “He’s trying to make some plays. With the pressure sometimes our D are under, (it’s) a little bit more challenging to make the right play. But he’s got the right idea.”

Vigneault was then asked about the challenge of making the right play under pressure.

“It’s a big challenge,” he said. “It’s the biggest team that we’ve met this year, and not just when they have the puck, but when they don’t have it, they are quick to put pressure. You’ve got to have
your head up. You’ve got to be thinking a play ahead, and you’ve got to make the right plays.”

The fact is, puck-moving defensemen like Yandle are going to make the odd giveaway. P.K. Subban led the league in giveaways by defensemen during the regular season. Erik Karlsson and Drew Doughty were up there, too. Those players aren’t out there to clear it high off the glass, and give it right back to the opposition. They’re out there to make plays, with the intention of keeping possession and going on the attack.

On top of that, with more and more teams bringing their defensemen down the wall to pressure wingers on the breakout, more and more plays need to be made in the middle of the ice, right in the danger area. So get your stick on the ice, Kevin Hayes. Be ready for the pass.

That’s not to let Yandle off the hook entirely. When Stamkos is lurking, putting the puck in the danger area is a pretty big risk. There were probably better options available, like spinning off the forecheck and skating with the puck behind the net. But that’s easy to say in hindsight. Also, easier said than done. (“Oh, just spin off the forecheck next time.”)

Yandle had his struggles adjusting to a new system after joining the Rangers in a late-season trade from Arizona. It hasn’t been all struggles though. He had two points in Game 3 versus the Lightning and three more in Game 4.

“We need him tonight to find a way to get a couple more pucks to the net, and we’ll be in good shape,” said Vigneault.

‘Five or six teams have called’ on Sens goalies, says Murray

Boston Bruins v Ottawa Senators

In the wake of signing Andrew Hammond to a three-year deal — creating a three-headed goalie monster in the process — Ottawa GM Bryan Murray acknowledged on Monday that he’s already fielding calls for Robin Lehner and Craig Anderson.

“Five or six teams have called and there has been some discussion and there will continue to be,” Murray said, per the Ottawa Sun. “We’ll see what comes of it.”

Technically speaking, Ottawa has a four-headed goalie monster, having signed Boston University standout Matt O’Connor earlier this month, though O’Connor is expected to spend next season in AHL Binghamton. Regardless, Murray still needs to figure out what to do with Anderson, 33, who’s signed through 2018 at $4.2 million per and Lehner, 23, who has two more years left at $2.25M per.

It’s no surprise Murray’s already working the phones. This summer’s goalie market could have plenty of NHL-caliber netminders available with the likes of Antti Niemi, Karri Ramo, Michal Neuvirth and Thomas Greiss all possibly going unrestricted. The trade market could be flush as well; Vancouver has floated the idea of flipping Eddie Lack and there appears to be interest in Kings backup Martin Jones.

Stone reflects on ‘frustrating’ playoff injury from Subban slash

Mark Stone

Of all the pleasant surprising during the 2014-15 campaign, Mark Stone was one of the biggest. He tied for the rookie scoring title with 64 points, including 26 goals, in 80 games. If not for his efforts, Ottawa probably wouldn’t have been able to squeak into the playoffs.

His ability to help the Senators in their postseason series against Montreal was limited though by a microfracture in his right wrist he sustained from a slash by P.K. Subban in the second period of Game 1. Stone played through the injury, but needed to freeze his wrist before and sometimes again during each game.

“It was just frustrating not being able to feel parts of my wrist and parts of my fingers,” Stone told the Winnipeg Sun. “It definitely didn’t help my shot, but I was able to play through it.”

He still recorded four assists in the six-game series, but he was limited to nine shots on goal and didn’t find the back of the net.

The slash itself spark a controversy that intensified after Senators GM Bryan Murray claimed Subban had been threatening Stone, which is something the Montreal defenseman denied.

That all aside though, Stone can see the silver lining in Ottawa’s first round defeat.

“Going down 0-3, you don’t come out of that too often,” he said. “But we continued to push and everybody learned what it took to win a playoff series.”

The hope is that the Senators can apply that knowledge next season.

Hamburglar sticks: Sens ink Hammond to three-year, $4.05M extension


The Hamburglar has been rewarded.

On Wednesday, Ottawa announced that it re-upped with Andrew Hammond — aka “The Hamburglar” — on a three-year, $4.05 million contract, one that carries an average annual cap hit of $1.35M.

The annual salary breakdown:

Hammond, 27, was one of the NHL’s most unlikely success stories this year, if not the most unlikely. Never a star at the NCAA or AHL level, he came out of nowhere to go on a remarkable run — 20-1-2 down the stretch — to help the Sens rally for a playoff spot.

Hammond finished the year with a .941 save percentage and 1.79 GAA, and was Ottawa’s starter heading into its opening-round series against the Habs. But he ceded his starting position to Craig Anderson after two tough outings and, in light of that, it’ll be interesting to see how the Sens’ goalie situation plays out next year and beyond.

Anderson, 33, is signed through 2018 at $4.2 million per while Robin Lehner — who, after suffering a concussion in February, opened the door for Hammond to play — has two more years left at $2.225M per.

(As pointed out by sharp commenter dsawaia29, Ottawa also inked college free agent goalie Matt O’Connor out of Boston University.)

Sens GM Bryan Murray said he’ll look to deal one of his two netminders once Hammond was signed, so it’ll be interesting to see who’s on the move this summer as the available goalie market just got another experienced addition, to go along with Antti Niemi, Karri Ramo, Michal Neuvirth and, quite possibly, Eddie Lack.

Related: If Anderson is available, should the Oilers be interested?

McDavid wins OHL Player of the Year, sixth-youngest in league history


Another day, another accolade for Connor McDavid.

McDavid, the OHL Erie superstar and likely No. 1 pick at this year’s draft, captured the 2014-15 Red Tilson Trophy on Tuesday as the Ontario League’s Player of the Year.

“Obviously it’s amazing,” McDavid said, per NHL.com. “It’s such a special honor. It’s an award that’s really for a team. You wouldn’t be at this point without your teammates and all the coaches and everyone.

“I think it’s one of the most team-oriented awards there are. Obviously it means a lot getting your name on it, but at the same time I owe it all to the boys.”

McDavid, 18, also set some history upon winning the award, becoming the sixth-youngest player in OHL history to take home the Tilson. That puts him in some pretty elite company: 16-year-old John Tavares (Oshawa) was the youngest-ever winner in 2007, followed by Tyler Seguin of the Plymouth Whalers (2010), Plymouth’s David Legwand (1998), Eric Lindros of the Oshawa Generals (1991), and Jack Valiquette of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (1974).

McDavid captured this year’s award on the strength of 120 points in 47 regular-season games, the tearing apart the OHL playoffs — he currently leading all skaters with 45 points through 18 games.