With off-ice spending and the addition of popular players, the Ottawa Senators had a sunny summer than most Canadians.
So, until the NHL completes its investigation into the Hockey Canada scandal involving the 2018 Canadian World Junior Team, they will have to live with the fact that a dark and persistent cloud remains over them.
Eight players, including members of that team, have been accused of sexually assaulting a woman in London, Ontario after the 2018 Hockey Canada Gala. Her two players on that team, Alex Formenton and Drake Bazarson, are in the Senate organization. Bazarson was one of 59 players invited to his training camp and played on the ice on Thursday. In fact, he is a top-line winger.
Formenton, meanwhile, is yet to sign a contract as a restricted free agent.
Senators’ general manager Pierre Dorion told reporters at Wednesday’s pre-camp briefing that he could not speak to the situation until it was resolved.
Dorion said, “I think we’re all eager to get answers, but I can’t comment because the NHL investigation is pending.
Dorion said the organization has been having conversations with players about hockey culture and, as a parent and GM, “want to make sure everything is done the right way.”
The GM added that the investigation has not impacted his player contract deals (the inference is Formenton) and that various contract scenarios are being discussed with Formenton’s agent (Newport). contract negotiations last summer.
Later in the Q&A session, Dorion called Formenton and Tokachuk “the two main parts here.”
In the meantime, with camp starting tomorrow, expectations are high and there will be no Formenton at the rink.
Focus on defense
The funny thing about extending young stars Josh Norris and Tim Schutzl to long-term contracts while adding talents like Claude Giroud and Alex Devlincat up front is worry bluelines.
Head coach DJ Smith, who joined Dorion at a media briefing, talked about the fun problem of having too many scorers to fit in one powerplay unit (he’s considering a two-unit system like the St. Louis Blues ). He admitted that his camp’s focus is on defense forces.
“Where do people fit in the back end,” Smith said rhetorically. “He’s a step up from last year. It’s going to be exciting for me there.”
Dorion is still trying to improve his blue line and it’s no secret he’s looking to acquire Jakob Chiklung from Arizona.
As it stands, Thomas Chabot and Artem Zub are the top defensive pair. Rookie Jake Sanderson is penciled into the second pair with Travis Hamonic. Nick Holden, Nikita Zaitsev and Eric Branstrom now round out the group of seven remaining.
If teams and individuals are cut from last year, Smith plans to reduce ice time demands for his top players, including Chabot, who has been at or near the top of the TOI charts for the past few seasons. Part of developing into a competitive team is having different players play overtime on certain nights, depending on the circumstances. also means that you had to overplay Chabot.
Advice from Sanderson’s father
By the time players reach the NHL, their parents are usually sitting in the stands and quiet. But if the hockey dad is a former NHL player with 17 his seasons of experience in his NHL, it might get on the ears of an NHL coach. So was Jake Sanderson’s father, Jeff Sanderson, when he told Smith about his son Jake and the Senator’s rookie season coming up.
“For a guy who played a lot of games in the National Hockey League, one of the things he was worried about was having an older guy around his son to help him through the league, and I I totally understand that.”A guy like Hammer (Harmonic), a guy like Holden sitting near him (Jake) in a room and playing games with him and talking to him.” I think it will help him grow.”
Smith likes the idea of having Ottawa’s most experienced defenseman out there to guide the 20-year-old Sanderson, though he’s keeping the door open to a variety of defensive pairings.
1A and 1B in goal
Often lost in forward additions, Ottawa’s goaltending situation should prove to be a real source of strength for the club.Sens have moved the contract of injury-prone Matt Murray to Toronto. As well as acquiring Cam Talbot from Minnesota and forming a tandem with Anton Forsberg who remained. Smith likes the idea that he has one goalie he’s No. 1, but he feels he has two really good goalies at his disposal.
“This is as comfortable as I’ve felt about goalkeepers since I’ve been here,” Smith said.
Without naming his “1A” or “1B,” Smith feels how it’s shaped.
“We have some really big horses in the league who can play important minutes in a lot of games,” said Smith. “But what if he gets hurt? We need two people.”
different air of confidence
Smith believes the Senators are day and night different from the growing young group of the last few seasons. Now he more or less knows who the starters are and is focused on winning rather than developing players.
“I feel a different confidence in them,” Smith said.
Smith said the players believe they are poised to be one of the really good teams in the league and are out of the doormat stage. It’s one of the reasons I skate regularly, like skating early in the morning before a golf tournament.
“It’s clear they’re tired of losing night after night and tired of being at the bottom (of the standings),” Smith said.
“Some of the rebuilding has been ruined and we’ve had a lot of tough licks on many nights,” added Smith. Excited to fight, so are our coaching staff… on the golf course (Tuesday) people are coming (to me) and going into the season as excited as I’ve seen them doing.
To be one of the playoff teams, Smith says, the group must learn to be uniform in temperament even after they win or lose. Younger players can accept losing too much and go crazy after winning.
Smith says consistent play and approach will help them win, including a season start that has hurt Ottawa in recent years.
Dorion added that he expects the group to have meaningful matches until the end of the year.
Chef added: ‘Food is their fuel’
The little things don’t matter, so when several players spoke to management about improving the details of their day-to-day experience at the rink, the senator listened. Changes have been made to the player’s lounge. There are even better shower soaps! (File this under Details you don’t need to know).
Similarly, improvements have been made in the team’s gym, and a chef has been hired to cook for the players after the game.
“Food is their fuel,” Dorion said.
Norris wins fitness test
Smith said Norris won a fitness test at camp Wednesday, followed by Mark Castellik and Sanderson.
In another camp memo, forward Ridley Greig, who recently suffered a shoulder injury at the WJC in Edmonton, will skate in a no-contact jersey on Thursday. The team hopes he will be able to join his action in the game by his Sept. 30 game against the Leafs in Belleville.
Hockey Canada inquiry drags on as senators prepare for season with anticipation
Source link Hockey Canada inquiry drags on as senators prepare for season with anticipation