Senators Ownership is Going to the Dogs

In case you have not heard, last night was a bizarre night on the interwebs as former Ottawa Citizen sports reporter Don Campbell tweeted a cryptic message about the Senators’ ownership situation.

Although Campbell never acknowledged where he got his information, Allen Panzeri, another former Ottawa Citizen scribe, tweeted a photo of an article written by Frank Magazine that claimed that Ferguslea Properties Inc. owner Dan Greenberg – a local businessman who’s within the Minto Homes Greenberg family and a staunch Senators supporter to boot – had invested in the organization and hinted at the possibility of him becoming the majority owner of the Senators down the road.

Frank Magazine’s obviously not the most trustworthy source for information. Much of its content is pertains to local gossip and the magazine itself is designed to be a satirical periodical. The Melnyk piece that Panzeri tweeted about was essentially a hit piece on the Senators owner, but for what it’s worth however, the publication also was the first to publicly acknowledge that Erik Karlsson had gone through a divorce – well before Karlsson’s exclusive interview with a Swedish reporter from Aftonbladet. Never afraid to take to the airwaves or social media, Melnyk was quick to downplay the validity of the rumours.

Well, if there’s always money in the banana stand, maybe Melnyk did his best George Oscar Bluth Sr. imitation and ensured that there’ll always be money in his doghouses. One can dream. Unfortunately, Melnyk was just using that patented sense of humour of his. It’s a shame too. Who wouldn’t want to see Senators owner meetings that look somewhat like this: The shitty part of last night’s news is that the fans took this news at face value and became incredibly excited at the prospect of potentially having a local majority owner with deep pockets who is a staunch Senators supporter and actually has his thumb on the pulse of Senators fans. I mean, who wouldn’t be excited by that possibility? Unfortunately, Greenberg himself dismissed the report as nothing more than rumours.

Instead, it’s the same old status quo, but I can’t help but wonder if it’s weird for the organization or for Eugene Melnyk when the Senators fan base gets re-invigorated and optimistic by what was essentially an unreliable and unfounded rumour about Senators ownership switching hands. Yeah, that’s not awkward at all…

Senators on the Radio

As the Senators have participated in their hometown tour for the past week, its participating players have been regularly featured on TSN 1200′s ‘The Drive’ program. In particular, the interviews with Zack Smith and Marc Methot have stood out so far.

Not surprisingly, much of the focus of Methot’s interview dealt with his contract situation and the likelihood that he and the Senators could come to terms on a new deal. (Note: you can listen to the Methot interview here.)

On whether he’d continue to negotiate a new contract during the season…

“Yeah, I don’t know. I think it’s just… it’s not a position I’ve ever been in before, so I’d obviously probably not want it to be a distraction during the year – especially with regards to my own game and being kind of an outside distraction to the team. If there’s ever a time to get anything done, it will probably be prior (to the start of the season), but then again, this is my first time doing this, right? So I don’t really know what’s the right answer given that off the top of my head, I don’t think… the one thing I will say is that I don’t want it to be a distraction. I’ll leave it at that.”

If the Senators backed the truck up for Methot during the season, I’m convinced that there’s no way he’d turn down the deal just so that he could hit unrestricted free agency. Now with that being said, if the Senators are insisting on a deal that is fair for both sides, maybe this drags out longer than it should.

On whether he thinks a deal is close…

“I think so. I don’t think we’re very far off to be honest, but we’re keeping it very professional. As far as negotiations go, we haven’t heard… it’s been a few weeks now (since) we’ve heard anything. So I’m just going about my business – training and skating and preparing for the year.”

Interestingly, his latter comments shed a more optimistic light than those of assistant general manager Pierre Dorion, who indicated in his own interview last week that he anticipated Methot’s negotiations to be the most difficult of the two remaining 2015 UFAs (ie. Methot and Bobby Ryan).

In Smith’s interview (that you can listen to here), he relayed the message that he wants to take on more of an offensive role with the Senators — which is essentially the political way of saying “Get me the fuck away from Colin Greening and Chris Neil.”

One of the ways that he acknowledged that this could happen was if he was receptive to the idea of playing the wing.

“Yeah, I think so. I played (the wing) a bit last season. I think three or four games. I played almost a full season in Binghamton on the wing one year. It’s not my natural position, but I don’t mind it at all. It takes a little bit to get used to and I think you have to be a little more disciplined. You can’t, in terms of not being able to, go everywhere (you want) on the ice. In year-end meetings last year with talking to Paul (MacLean), he mentioned that there was a chance throughout the year that I might spend some time on the wing, so I’m prepared for that. I don’t mind it at all. I think one of my strong suits as a center is faceoffs too. In playing the wing, you can still take draws depending on who you’re playing with.”

It’s this position flexibility that he believes gives him an advantage and judging by his comments below, he’s eyeing a left wing spot on a line with Mika Zibanejad.

“Yeah, exactly. Paul said that’s one thing. ‘If you want to move up, play a little bit more offensively, you have to be prepared to play the wing.’ I’m definitely willing to do that. The time that I did spend playing with Mika a bit, he’s a right-handed center and I’m a left-handed center, so one of the  advantages is that we can both take draws on our strong side.”

Milan Michalek spent a portion of last season playing with Mika Zibanejad, so he could potentially be one road block for Smith. Mind you, maybe Paul MacLean wants to try a veteran like Michalek with David Legwand so that he can employ them in a checking role against the opposition’s more skilled forwards? One forward who I would really like to see extensive time with Mika Zibanejad is Mike Hoffman — who I’ve already written about in great detail here.

Rookie Camp/Tournament

Today the Senators revealed their 24-man roster for this year’s rookie tournament in London, Ontario.

The tournament will take place over the September 13th-15th weekend, but for fans wanting to check the team’s prospects before they depart, the Senators are “scheduled to begin this year’s camp with a practice at the Bell Sensplex on Friday, Sept. 12, at 9 a.m. before leaving for the tournament.”

Here are the dates and times of Ottawa’s scheduled games:

  • Saturday, Sept. 13: Pittsburgh vs. Ottawa, 2 p.m
  • Sunday, Sept. 14: Ottawa vs. Toronto, 7 p.m.
  • Monday, Sept. 15: Chicago vs. Ottawa, 7 p.m.

And here is the roster:

Goaltenders: Chris Driedger (Calgary – WHL, Elmira – ECHL, Binghamton – AHL), Andrew Hammond(Binghamton – AHL, Ottawa – NHL).

Defencemen: Travis Brown (Moose Jaw – WHL, Victoria – WHL), Fredrik Claesson (Binghamton – AHL), Mitch Jones (Plymouth – OHL), Ben Harpur (Guelph – OHL), Stefan Leblanc (Sudbury – OHL, Mississauga – OHL), Alex Lepkowski (Oshawa – OHL, Greenville – ECHL, Rochester – AHL), Matt Murphy (Halifax – QMJHL), Troy Rutkowski(Elmira – ECHL, Binghamton – AHL).

Forwards: Jakub Culek (Elmira – ECHL, Binghamton – AHL), Vincent Dunn (Gatineau – QMJHL, Binghamton – AHL), Ryan Dzingel (Ohio State – Big Ten, Binghamton – AHL), Alex Guptill (Michigan – Big Ten, Texas – AHL),Darren Kramer (Binghamton – AHL), Curtis Lazar (Edmonton – WHL), Tobias Lindberg (Djurgardens – Swe-Jr., Djurgardens – Allsvenskan), Max McCormick (Ohio State – Big Ten), Nick Paul (North Bay – OHL), Francis Perron(Rouyn-Noranda – QMJHL), Shane Prince (Binghamton – AHL), Matt Puempel (Binghamton – AHL), Buddy Robinson (Elmira – ECHL, Binghamton – AHL), Garrett Thompson (Ferris State – WCHA, Binghamton – AHL).

At first glance, it seems like a relatively deep group of forwards, but their defence leaves something to be desired – with only Claesson, Harpur and Rutkowski having any real affiliation to the Senators. The others were simply invited on a tryout agreements.

Craig Anderson Deal a Reflection of Management’s Lack of Confidence in Lehner?

In the wake of the organization’s announcement that it had signed Craig Anderson to a new three-year contract extension, Sports Illustrated‘s Allan Muir penned a piece hypothesizing that the Anderson deal reflected Senators management’s lack of confidence in Robin Lehner.

“Three years says a lot. It says that Ottawa doesn’t believe that Lehner can get his game to where it needs to be this season, or perhaps next season too. Or maybe even the one after that.”

Muir would go on to cite Lehner’s fiery demeanour (or ability to lose his cool) when opponents crash the net and the isolated example of him being unable to hold the Senators’ 4-1 lead against Montreal as examples that questioned Lehner’s mental toughness.

Of course it’s all a bunch of cherry picked examples that serve to drive the ol’ goaltender controversy narrative that journalists love.

Cost Per Point T-Shirts Are Arriving!!!

Have you ordered yours yet? If not, you can do so by following this link. All profits are donated to the Sens Foundation. Do it. Do. It. Now.

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