Free Lee: Thursday Grab Bag

In front of a conglomerate of friends and family, Brian Lee will escape purgatory and make his highly anticipated return to the lineup for the first time in 25 games tonight against the Minnesota Wild. According to the beat writers who cover the Senators, the friends and family angle played a part in Cory Clouston’s decision to give Lee an opportunity to play. I only wish I had known of this decision prior to picking the Sens to win as part of James Gordon’s Prediction Panel

Over in a post at The Universal Cynic, Erin Nicks discusses two items that she has heard from sources and as she put it, Oh my, Ottawa – this is the stuff of your worst nightmares. It can be inferred from her article that Pierre McGuire and Ken Hitchcock are some of the names associated with the GM and head coaching positions respectively in the event that Bryan Murray and Cory Clouston get canned. If these Old Boys Network hires ever come to fruition, I will be pissed. The Hitchcock/Ottawa angle at first, doesn’t seem to be an ideal fit. Especially when you consider Hitchcock’s reputation as a guy who never plays the kids and Ottawa’s status as a team that needs to retool with a youth movement. In regards to McGuire, I don’t know if I’d be comfortable having a General Manager who could foreseeably take the podium at the NHL Entry Draft and say, “With the fourth overall pick, the Ottawa Senators are proud to select from the Kitchener Rangers, a real MONSTER!! Gabriel Landeskog!!!”

Over at his blog at the Toronto Sun, Steve Simmons went on a hilarious rant concerning the Leafs inability to win games and make the ascent up the Eastern Conference standings. Despite some bad math (Sorry Steve, 33 wins in 53 games doesn’t equal a 20 games over .500 record.),  Simmons has a point, the OT/SO point awarding system has watered down the standings and with Ottawa as a Northeast Division rival to the Bruins and Leafs, I’d love to see Toronto improve to the point where Boston doesn’t get another lottery pick out of the Phil Kessel trade.

If you’ve been listening to many of the recent episodes of The 6th Sens podcast, you will likely be familiar with the parallels that Francois, Tim and I have drawn between some of the teams in the American League East and the direction that we would like to see the Ottawa Senators go in. In an article for the Ottawa Citizen, someone brought up this same point. While the Alex Anthopolous vision for the Blue Jays is one that is worthy of discussion, I would include Andrew Friedman’s vision of the Tampa Bay Rays as well. As nice as it is to go young, I’m often reminded of Friedman’s quote from the Jim Rome show in which he says that  it’s equally as important to recognize that complacency sets in and that the circumstances surrounding a championship caliber team from one year to the next.

Last night was a tough night for the Senators, even though they did not play. Everyone in the vicinity of them, save the Florida Panthers, picked up some points. With a few games in hand on seemingly every team in the Eastern Conference, Ottawa’s in tough. SportsClubStats has updated their playoff chance to 2.7-percent. Here’s a look at the updated Eastern Conference standings:

Eastern Conference

Team GP Pts
1. Philadelphia 33 47
2. Washington 33 40
3. Montreal 31 38
4. Pittsburgh 33 44
5. NY Rangers 33 39
6. Tampa Bay 31 38
7. Atlanta 32 38
8. Boston 29 36
9. Carolina 29 30
10. Buffalo 31 30
11. Ottawa 32 29
12. Toronto 30 28
13. Florida 29 26
14. New Jersey 30 20
15. NY Islanders 28 15

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