Desolation in Ottawa

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Only 9,204 spectators attended the Senators game last night at Canadian Tire Center.

Mathias Brunet
Mathias Brunet
The Press

There were 9075 for the opening game of the Rocket de Laval in the American League last weekend …

The defending Stanley Cup champions, the St. Louis Blues, were visiting Ottawa.

The stands were not full during the team's incredible spring run in 2017. Imagine then after a fire sale …

The Senators have some quality young players, Thomas Chabot, Erik Brannstrom and Brady Tkachuk, but there are also plenty of Bobby Ryan, Tyler Ennis and Connor Brown in training.

Colin White, 22, is asked a lot to fill the role of center after a season of 41 points.

Behind him are Chris Tierney and Artem Anisimov. Probably the weakest center line of the NHL. The rise of the rough Scott Sabourin, after seven years in the minors, is nice, but he will not sell tickets in the fourth line.

Not surprisingly, the Senators suffered their third setback in as many games yesterday, 6-4 against the Blues. They have now awarded 15 goals.

We understand fans to sulk at Canadian Tire Center. Not only do they not want to hit the heavy traffic of the 417 to get there, but have been chasing the stars for two years.

The tumble started after the Aces in 2017, when the management chose not to pay the captain Erik Karlsson at its fair value.

Karlsson spent the winter in Ottawa, but we all knew about time with the Senators. The quarrel between his wife and Mike Hoffman did not help.

Dion Phaneuf's decision hurt too. After the uplifting spring of 2017, he refused to lift his no-trade clause. It had to be protected in the repechage of the enlargement of the frames. Karlsson's partner, Marc Methot, was lost.

One year after almost competing in the Stanley Cup finals, the Senators ended at the 30the overall ranking.

Karlsson was going to be traded for hope Josh Norris, first and second round picks and a few players.

Mike Hoffman was dropped to the Sharks for a seventh round pick after a season of 56 points. He was going to be handed over to the Florida Panthers and get 70 points last year.

In this context, what is the interest for Matt Duchene and Mark Stone to make a long-term commitment to the club?

Even if it was incredible to think about it: the first six meters of the team in 2017-2018, Stone, Hoffman, Duchene, Karlsson, Dzingel and Brassard were already there in March 2019. In addition to Brassard, none had 30 years old at the time of being traded.

This transaction to acquire Brassard in 2016 did not benefit DG Pierre Dorion either. Brassard earned 39 points in his first year and was traded the next season for a third-round pick.

The Rangers got Mika Zibanejad in return. He has just turned 26 at his best career season with 74 points and he already has eight after two games.

Led by an avaricious owner, the Ottawa Senators have the lowest payroll in the NHL after the Columbus Blue Jackets at 73.3 million. They would get closer to the floor if they could get rid of Bobby Ryan's contract.

Nevertheless, Eugene Melnyk would still have support in the National League according to the chronicler of the Law, Sylvain St-Laurent.

Bill Daly has just come to the defense of Melnyk, says St-Laurent, after a columnist of New York Post had suggested to the NHL to force the Senators owner to sell the team to allow the Senators to extricate themselves from their miserable situation.

Sad to see the team in such a state. As would say New York Post, keenly a new owner …

To read

I remember this sentence from Jeff Petry, in the very accurate analysis of last night's game by colleague Jean-François Tremblay: "It concerns the importance of knowing where the players will be, and to make sure that the players are at a good place. When you raise your head and expect a player to be at a certain place, near the ramp for example, and he is not there, it takes another second to find a solution spare. In short, the solution must not only come from the defenders …



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