We’re now firmly in the part of the season where the Ottawa Senators don’t have a lot to gain from wins, at least if you’re looking at the standings. Everyone knows that they’re going to finish last in the division, the playoffs are almost completely out of reach, and I don’t think anyone in the fanbase is especially upset about it. The Sens are one of the only teams in the league already out of the playoff race, and that means it’s a whole lot of fun to mess with the teams still in the race. This is basically our brand right now.
The Calgary Flames went into this game desperately clinging to their last little bit of hope for a playoff spot, already in a funk and in dire need of a win to set things right. Past versions of the Ottawa Senators may have laid down and let the Flames walk all over them, serving as a confidence booster and a free spot on a bingo card. But not this one. No, this version of the Sens is all about causing problems for your team, even if it doesn’t exactly help us either.
Just don’t think too hard about who Calgary was trying to catch.
Ottawa had a good start to the game, forcing the Flames’ goaltender to make a few good stops before most fans had even finished eating dinner and sat down to watch. The play was high-paced and fun, and it was clear that the Sens were pushing for a goal right from the start – a nice change from what we’ve gotten used to. The Flames picked up the pace about seven minutes in, but Gustavsson turned them away.
Unfortunately, the Sens went to the penalty kill just under halfway through the period, when Colin White went to the box for boarding. The Flames failed to record a single shot on goal on the powerplay, but kept the momentum going after the two minutes had expired, with a few dangerous shots on goal.
There was a lot more back and forth after that, both teams looking amazing but failing to score despite several good chances. There were hardly any whistles at all during the first period. It’s like they were trying to embarrass the NHL by ending the game as soon as possible.
Dadonov got a breakaway with about three minutes left in the period, and while Dadonov didn’t score on the play, Brady Tkachuk did what he does best, by which I mean he drew an interference penalty while crashing into the net. The Senators headed to their first powerplay of the game. Unfortunately, the powerplay yielded no results, and the period ended tied at 0, only 30 minutes after puck drop.
The second period started with an interesting off-ice development: Kyle Dubas was in the building, presumably because he’s such a big Sens fan that he had to take the opportunity to attend a game for free.
Anyways, both teams started the second as well as they had ended the first. The play was fast and exciting, interrupted by very few whistles, but once again, neither team quite managed to get on the board.
Halfway through the game, Calgary got called for tripping. Ottawa actually spent quite a lot of time with the net empty, because we hate whistles in this game. The Sens failed to score with the empty net or on the powerplay, though, and very nearly gave up a shorthanded goal right at the end.
Just as it was starting to feel like a goal would never be scored, Mark Giordano got past Gustavsson to make the score 1-0 Calgary.
Despite the best efforts of the Norris line, Ottawa did not manage to even the score before the end of the second frame. Calgary for a powerplay right at the end, when Nikita Zaitsev went off for interference. The Flames did not score on the powerplay, though, at the Sens went into the second intermission down by just one goal.
The Senators started the third period on the penalty kill. Gustavsson was forced to make a really nice save early on, but Ottawa killed off the penalty.
Josh Norris evened the score just under five minutes in, one-timing an excellent pass from behind the net from Evgenii Dadonov. 1-1.
I don’t know what was up with these two teams tonight, but they were still buzzing, even in the third. Ottawa was now buzzing a lot more than Calgary was, though. At one point, Zub stayed on long enough that the broadcast put up a clock for his shift, which is really all I ever wanted out of this season. A Julia Robillard sighting immediately preceded an extended period of straight up dominance from the Senators, which ultimately resulted in a Tierney goal to put the Sens ahead. The goal came off a great rebound from a Chabot shot from the point, and it was well deserved after that amazing shift – probably the Sens’ best even-strength shift in recent memory. 2-1 Ottawa.
Ottawa went to the powerplay right at the end of the game when Tim Stützle was cross-checked in the neck.
Unfortunately, the powerplay ended early when Brady Tkachuk got called for interference. Not even the fun kind, either: I would’ve tolerated a penalty if he was, say, beating up the person who had just cross-checked his best friend in the neck, but alas, this was just a silly penalty. It was bad timing, and the refs had missed a few other things before that, but thankfully Nikita Zaitsev stopped the Flames from starting a comeback with an empty net goal to make the score 3-1 Ottawa.
The final buzzer sounded, “SICKO MODE” played at the Canadian Tire Centre while the Flames walked out in shame, and the Ottawa Senators continued to absolutely own the Calgary Flames for reasons I still do not understand.
- This was a full team effort, but don’t downplay the contributions of Filip Gustavsson. He was really solid in net tonight, and earned a well-deserve first star of the game. The future of the Sens’ goaltending might actually be looking pretty bright.
- Chris Tierney has been playing with some pretty good linemates lately, but I did think he held his own tonight, and obviously he scored the GWG.
- Nikita Zaitsev was noticeable all night, and it was nice to see him get the empty netter at the end.
- Zub is quickly replacing Mark Stone as the player I always throw on these lists because it’s always a safe bet that he had a good game. He is such a treat to watch.
Oilers Rookie Notebook: Dylan Holloway’s wrist injury a tough blow – Sportsnet.ca
EDMONTON — The first blow came even before Edmonton Oilers rookie camp had opened, with prized prospect Dylan Holloway going under the knife Tuesday to repair a broken scaphoid bone in his left wrist.
What made it even more disappointing was, after busting the bone in the NCAA playoffs with the University of Wisconsin, Holloway had surgery after Wisconsin’s season ended in late March in Chicago that was designed to have him ready to play hockey this fall. But that surgery failed.
Holloway, Edmonton’s first-round pick in 2020 (14th overall) lunched with Holland during a Calgary world junior camp in August, and the Oilers GM didn’t like what he heard.
“He was telling me that he couldn’t shoot, couldn’t take draws. He was getting frustrated,” Holland said. “We were five to six months down the road … and there was very little healing going on. Probably about 30 per cent. The decision was made: nothing was really happening, and we’d need to start the process all over again.”
Holloway is only 19, but can play in the American Hockey League. He was likely destined for Bakersfield this year, which is definitely where he will be assigned when he heals up sometime around the new year.
No Room At The Inn
The Oilers roster is pretty much set with veterans, with precious few (if any) spots for a youngster to worm his way into the NHL.
But two left shot defencemen who may have the best shot — along with left winger Tyler Benson — are both in town and ready to begin their North American transition in earnest. Dmitri Samorukov and Philip Broberg are at the Rookie Camp prep’ing for main camp, where it isn’t a total reach that one might be able to stick around.
“They’re both going to be in North America,” said Holland, who had good news when doctors cleared Samorukov for full contact after a January shoulder injury suffered in Moscow. “He was playing very well in the KHL, but hasn’t played hockey since January. Two years of pro — one in Bakersfield, one in (the KHL) — and I’m also excited to see where Broberg is at, like everybody else.
“Do they force their way onto the Edmonton Oilers roster? Or do they have to go down to the American League and continue their development into NHL defencemen? That’s what we’re trying to find out, but they are both here (in North America) to stay.”
Samorukov, 22, played a season in Bakersfield then went home to CSKA Moscow last year, the club where he was raised as a player. Broberg, 20, spent two developmental seasons in Sweden’s top league with Skelleftea, while limping through the 2021 World Junior here in Edmonton.
“I had a knee injury and a shoulder injury at the World Juniors. It was difficult,” said the defenceman, who played through the pain. “It is an honour to play for your country, especially at the World Juniors.”
Broberg said he was about “80 percent” when he returned to Skelleftea, and by season’s end, his minutes were down. Samorukov injured his shoulder in a January battle drill during practice and lost the back half of his KHL season, but says the last two seasons have him ready to challenge for a spot on an NHL blue line.
“When I first came to the AHL two years ago, it was really good for me. Learning how to be a pro player,” he said. “Then, the season in the KHL, I established myself as a pro player. Now, we’re trying to knock in the door. To do our best.”
Remember, Samorukov first came over as a 17-year-old to play three junior seasons for the Guelph Storm. He had 45 points in 59 games in his 19-year-old season and then nicely quarterbacked the Russian powerplay at the World Juniors in Vancouver-Victoria. But the 197-pounmder has settled on a less offensive game as a pro.
“Of course when you come from junior you have a lot of points. You think you might be something special,” he smiled. “Then you realize you have some guys who can really get points. (You learn) what kind of game you have to play. I know who I am right now.”
Samorukov was part of the ask by Arizona when they were peddling goalie Darcy Kuemper, a package considered too rich by Holland. Now, we’ll begin to get a closer look at the 2017 third-rounder, who moves a nice puck and stands six-foot-three.
“This rookie camp offers him a good chance to get up and running,” said Bakersfield head coach Jay Woodcroft, “so he’s feeling confident heading into main camp next week.”
Is this finally the year that Tyler Benson cracks the Oilers roster? It had better be — he is waiver eligible now, at age 23 years of age with four pro seasons under his belt.
With left wingers Zach Hyman, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Warren Foegele in town, it’s pretty clear that Benson will have to make the club as a fourth-line left-winger and try to move up from there. He’s in against Devin Shore and Brendan Perlini for that 4-LW spot, as a former candidate for exceptional status as a junior now finds himself in a utility role if he wants to get his NHL career off the ground.
“We came up with a plan to develop different areas of his game (in Bakersfield last season),” Woodcroft said. “For example, his board work. Introducing him to the penalty kill. Something he had minimal experience on, but something we felt provided a line of sight or a pathway to … make our parent club.
“Tyler was a point-per-game player last year and played on what I felt was the most dominant line in the Pacific Division of the AHL. He made plays,” his coach said. “The opportunity before him is obvious. He feels like he’s in top shape, mentally ready to go, and he’s excited about that opportunity.”
Edmonton’s recent first-round pick (22nd overall) Xavier Bourgault hit the gym hard this summer, putting on 10 lbs. He comes to camp at six feet tall and 172 pounds, so he has a ways to go.
Blue Jays optimistic Jose Berrios won’t miss next start after abdominal scare – Sportsnet.ca
After the Blue Jays’ 2-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays, the team reported that Berrios left the game due to abdominal tightness on his left side and received post-game treatment.
Berrios threw seven innings of one run ball Tuesday, striking out six and allowing only four hits.
“He’s doing fine,” Montoyo said. “He’s doing a lot better than we thought, which is great news. Actually, you might get to see him playing catch in a little bit to see how he’s doing. He did all the tests. Everything looks good.”
The right-handed pitcher who the Blue Jays acquired at the trade deadline is 11-8 on the season, with a 3.43 ERA in 173.1 innings pitched.
The Blue Jays wrap up their series with the Rays on Wednesday at 3:07 p.m. ET/ 12:07 p.m. PT on Sportsnet and SN Now.
France to open Billie Jean King Cup defence against Canada
Reigning champions France will kick off this year’s Billie Jean King Cup Finals in Prague against Canada on Nov. 1, with the final scheduled for Nov. 6, the International Tennis Federation said on Wednesday.
Formerly called the Fed Cup, the women’s team competition featuring 12 nations was originally scheduled to be held in Budapest in April last year before being postponed twice due to the pandemic.
France triumphed in the 2019 edition when a team featuring Kristina Mladenovic, Caroline Garcia and Pauline Parmentier defeated Australia.
This year, Belgium, the 2001 winners, will face 2017 runners-up Belarus on the opening day, while eleven-times winners Czech Republic will play on Nov. 1 and Nov. 4.
The competing nations will each play two group-stage ties to determine the winners of the four three-team groups, who will then progress to the semi-finals. Each tie will consist of two singles matches and a doubles match.
Germany, Spain, Slovakia, Australia, the U.S., Russia and Switzerland will be the other nations competing.
(Reporting by Anuron Kumar Mitra in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis)
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