As the Ottawa Senators prepare to welcome young additions from the 2020 NHL Draft, they say goodbye to two cherished veterans.
In a Zoom call with reporters, general manager Pierre Dorion confirmed what has long been suspected: the Senators are moving on from venerable goaltender Craig Anderson and the team’s hard-nosed defenceman, Mark Borowiecki. Both are expected to pursue free agency on Oct. 9.
Anderson, 39, was not offered a contract. Borowiecki, 31, a player Dorion once said he wanted to make a “Senator for life,” is leaving on his own terms. Dorion saluted them both on the way out the door.
“Craig should be given so much credit — it was one of the best trades (the late GM) Bryan Murray made,” Dorion said. “He’s the winningest goalie in this organization’s history, and I will go on the record as saying he’s the best performing goalie in this organization. The best goalie we’ve ever had.
“But it’s time for us to take another direction. And we thank him for everything he did.”
Anderson, who came to Ottawa in 2011 in a trade with Colorado for Brian Elliott, quite likely saved Murray from getting fired — so well did he play down the stretch that year, for a team headed to a rebuild. His Senators record: 202-168-46 with a .914 save percentage and 2.84 goals-against. Anderson is the franchise leader in games played by a goaltender (435), starts (422), wins (202) and save percentage. He’s second all-time in shutouts with 28, two behind Patrick Lalime.
Dorion called Anderson the “MVP” of the 2017 run to the Eastern Conference Final.
“It’s unfortunate we were unable to win a Cup with Craig but he did many wonderful things for this organization,” Dorion said.
Look for Anderson to be honoured in some way by the Senators next season. He’s a good fit for the Ring of Honour.
Borowiecki was that rarest of 30-year-olds in Ottawa, a Senators player who was drafted and stayed here for more than a decade. The Kanata native has been Boro-Cop on the ice and on the streets — breaking up a robbery in Vancouver this season — and a community role model off it, with deep ties to several charitable organizations.
Along with Anderson, Borowiecki has been a veteran leader for the Senators as the team got younger in recent years and the likes of Mark Stone, Kyle Turris, Erik Karlsson, Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Matt Duchene left via trade.
“Mark has been a great member of this team for many years,” Dorion said. “If he’s going to go to the free agent market, we thank him for everything he has done. I don’t think you will ever meet a better person… someone who has great values. He’s a great human being.
“But at the same time we have to respect a player’s wishes.”
They leave a big void. Bobby Ryan, 33, is the only long-standing veteran remaining. He joined the Senators in 2013 via trade from Anaheim.
Look to Dorion to shore up his veteran depth either through trades at the draft or free agency.
“We are not going with a team of all young players,” Dorion assured fans. “We will add key veterans to solidify the progress of our young players.”
Draft: Best player or match needs?
With picks at Nos. 3, 5 and 28 plus four more in the second round and 13 selections overall, Dorion and chief amateur scout Trent Mann will be overlooking one of the Senators’ most important drafts in just two weeks time.
While it’s expected Ottawa will take either Quinton Byfield or Tim Stutzle with their first pick, Dorion wasn’t going to tip his hand on the pick at five. There is a group of excellent forwards available, but also defenceman Jake Sanderson, who could be playing alongside Senators prospect Jacob Bernard-Docker at the University of North Dakota this season.
“We are going to draft the best player who is going to help us win as we move forward with this plan,” Dorion said, quite generically, although his eyes twinkled a little when he considered the question about Senators prospects playing together in college.
“We have a lot of needs, we’ve finished in 30th, 31st and 30th place over the last three years… we have a lot of prospects coming at multiple positions but we are going to draft who we feel are going to help us win in the near future and in the long term.”
Dorion said that general managers are doing a lot of talking before the draft, and admits he is open to swapping some of his picks to move up or acquire a player, but won’t “jump the steps required to make us a better team in the long term.”
From the Stanley Cup Qualifiers to the Stanley Cup Final, livestream every game of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs, blackout-free, on Sportsnet NOW.
Canadian scouts only
Just another 2020 oddity: the Senators won’t have their full complement of scouts together for the draft as COVID-19 travel restrictions make it too difficult for European and U.S. scouts to be in Ottawa. They will follow and contribute online.
Tkachuk deal has to wait: red flag or TBA?
In response to a question in French, Dorion said that it will take some time to sort out a long term deal with young forward star Brady Tkachuk because “the landscape of the NHL has changed and is going to be changing,” due to the pandemic and its impact on the NHL.
The Senators were able to sign Thomas Chabot last fall before the last year of his entry-level deal. Tkachuk’s ELC ends in 2021 when he becomes a restricted free agent. Ottawa’s rebuild will lose credibility if the club can’t extend Tkachuk long term.
Nilsson ‘should’ be ready
Dorion tried to sound optimistic about the health of goaltender Anders Nilsson, who suffered a concussion in mid-December, but admitted he won’t really know until teams are able to report to training camp.
“We think Anders will be ready when the season starts,” Dorion said. “He’s not been on the ice but he feels better. When he gets to Ottawa we should get a better indication of his recovery, his path.”
Pierre Groulx, the Senators’ goalie coach, has been in touch with Nilsson weekly.
The club’s level of confidence concerning Nilsson, pencilled in as the team’s starter, might dictate whether they seek help through trade or free agency to secure a veteran for the upcoming season, whenever it might begin. Marcus Hogberg is the other returning veteran, and he doesn’t have a lot of NHL experience.
In the pipeline, Dorion likes the “depth and quality at the goaltending position.”
In particular, Dorion said he was pleased with the progress of Joey Daccord in the ECHL and AHL last season, as well as Filip Gustavsson in Belleville, who has had “ups and downs” but whom Dorion sees as having a lot of upside.
Kevin Mandolese of the Cape Breton Eagles, signed to an entry-level deal in April, was the QMJHL goalie of the year.
“I would say there wasn’t a better goalie in junior in the second half of the season,” Dorion said.
At the last draft, Ottawa selected goalie Mads Sogaard in the second round and while he experienced some growing pains last season, Dorion and Groulx like his size (six-foot-seven) and lateral ability.
Sogaard will likely remain in Medicine Hat (WHL) this season, according to Dorion.
“We feel we have four quality prospects,” Dorion said.
Three of them will be at the pro level this season.
Naylor: David Braley symbolized the past 30 years of the CFL – TSN
How to sum up David Braley’s meaning to the Canadian Football League?
Braley, the Ontario-based businessman and former Senator who passed away Monday at the age of 79, was at various times the owner of three teams in a nine-team league, including the Toronto Argonauts in whom he held a secret ownership position at the same time he owned the BC Lions.
He served as the CFL’s chairman of the board and took on the commissioner’s role in 2003 after he led the charge to oust Michael Lysko in 2002.
And until recently, when poor health interfered with his ability to participate in the business of the CFL, he was a powerful presence among league governors, so much so that every commissioner had to be aware of where Braley stood on key issues and be prepared to deal with being on the opposite side.
It became a common refrain among people within the league that there would be no Canadian Football League without Braley. And yet, he was both loved and loathed by those within it. Some considered him the league’s biggest benefactor, while others considered him a ruthless profiteer.
Braley grew up in Hamilton, Ont., rooting for the Tiger-Cats. He had played football in high school and at McMaster University, and was a Tiger-Cat season ticket holder before, during and after his ownership of the team, which went from 1989 until he sold the team in 1992 over his opposition to the CFL’s plan to expand to the U.S.
He re-entered the CFL officially as the savior of the Lions in late 1996, one of three CFL franchises insolvent by the end of that season. Braley claimed a federal cabinet minister had warned him that the CBC would bail as a TV partner if the league couldn’t field a Vancouver franchise the next season, so he stepped up.
When the Toronto Argonauts went bankrupt in 2003 under the ownership of Sherwood Schwartz, Braley was front and centre in the search for new owners, trying to broker a deal with Toronto businessmen David Cynamon and Howard Sokolowski.
The pair balked at the losses they’d be inheriting with the Argonauts. So Braley offered to be their partner, an arrangement that was known only by then-commissioner Tom Wright and select others before it was revealed in a 2009 Globe and Mail story.
The league subsequently passed bylaws requiring internal disclosure of all financial arrangements between teams. Braley eventually took over full ownership of the Argos in 2010, then sold the team to Bell and Larry Tanenbaum in 2016.
In its darkest hours, the CFL could always count on Braley, or so it seemed. He was there when the Lions and Argos needed new ownership, but also at various times over the past three decades when teams found themselves short on cash.
It’s believed he loaned money to every team in the CFL at least once, except for the Edmonton Eskimos. That includes to the Tiger-Cats during the years after he sold them to a non-profit group when he would continue to quietly write cheques to help the team make payroll. Braley’s name may not have been on the franchise, but he remained its primary financial backer.
That kind of financial influence in such a small league granted him enormous power, and Braley was never shy about trying to wield his influence over the direction of the league.
He also appeared to be rewarded with a disproportionate number of occasions to host the Grey Cup, which, in most circumstances, is a surefire money-maker. The Braley-owned Lions or Argos hosted the game five times over a 10-year period from 2005 to 2014.
Braley had created his wealth from scratch, taking a loan to purchase an industrial distributing company from a former neighbour, then shifting its focus into becoming a global auto parts manufacturing giant.
He was a well-known for his frugality as his wealth, a pattern demonstrated when he purchased the Tiger-Cats from an ailing Harold Ballard for $500,000, financed with proceeds from the team’s five-year sponsorship agreement with Player’s Tobacco.
That frugality was legendary in the CFL. Despite his wealth, Braley was known to be reluctant to spend on what he considered unnecessary frills for his teams and the league.
His views on the business of the CFL were rooted in traditional approaches to marketing and selling tickets, and he privately railed against the league putting every game on television, favouring blackouts because he believed it would mean better business at the turnstiles.
He had waxed about selling the Lions for at least a decade, engaging with different groups of potential owners but always deciding either the timing or the group itself and what it was willing to pay for the team wasn’t right.
That seemed to do the franchise no favours as he continued to hang on as both his own health and that of his franchise was slipping.
Though the belief in Vancouver is that any Lions business turnaround has to start with new ownership, Braley’s ownership has been viewed as a safety net for the franchise during the pandemic, given his willingness to financially stabilize the franchise.
He was believed to be among the owners who were willing to play a shortened 2020 season, even without government support.
Braley in so many ways symbolized the past 30 years of the CFL: rooted in tradition, dependent on philanthropy and run by a powerful few.
There will never be another like him.
Edmonton Oilers dressing room icon Joey Moss dies
Article content continued
Gretzky’s call has been difficult the last two years with Alzheimer’s and the complications involving Down syndrome at this stage of Moss’ life and especially this year with his hip surgery and the isolations involving the hospital and the facility relating to the coronavirus pandemic.
COVID-19, however, was not a factor in his death.
“Janet & I are saddened to learn about the passing of Joey Moss. Not only was Joey a fixture in the Edmonton dressing room, he was someone I truly considered a friend. We will miss you Joey and you will always live on through our memories. Our thoughts are with Joey’s loved ones,” Gretzky said in a statement.
“On behalf of all the players who had the honour to get to know him, we are so saddened to hear the news of Joey’s passing. We were all lucky enough to be part of his life for a lot of years. His love for life always brought a smile to anyone who met him. Whether it was a coffee before practice or a big hug after a great win or a tough loss, he would put life in perspective. He will be missed but not forgotten, Once an Oiler always an Oiler. RIP Joe.”
There was almost certainly never a member of a sports franchise custodial staff so loved by a community or as famous as Joey Moss.
There are a lot of much less famous members of the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame than Moss, who was inducted in 2015.
Stafford, whenever asked about Joey Moss, always made the point:
“He’s not a locker room attendant to anyone who knows him and works with him. He’s part of the team. In a lot of ways he’s the face of the Oilers.”
Source: – Edmonton Sun
Longtime Oilers locker room attendant Joey Moss dies at 57 – Sportsnet.ca
EDMONTON — Joey Moss, a longtime Edmonton Oilers locker room attendant, died Monday at the age of 57.
— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) October 27, 2020
Moss was born in 1963 with Down Syndrome, the 12th of 13 children to Lloyd and Sophie Moss.
He became the Oilers’ locker-room attendant in 1984 when superstar Wayne Gretzky was dating his older sister, Vikki. Moss joined the Edmonton Football Team in 1986 and held roles with both organizations for over 30 years.
Heartbreaking to hear about Joey Moss passing away. He is the soul of the @EdmontonOilers. I’ll remember him singing the anthem w/pride, getting fired up about wrestling and always asking if I combed my hair with a pork chop. My deepest condolences to the Moss family. pic.twitter.com/Ssa0ZBcoSn
— Andrew Ference (@Ferknuckle) October 27, 2020
He worked with the CFL club from the opening of training camp in June until mid-August, at which time he headed over to the Oilers locker-room for the NHL season _ capturing the hearts of Edmonton sports fans along the way, particularly with his enthusiastic participation in the national anthem before the start of every hockey game.
Moss helped the training staff with such tasks as filling water bottles and equipment duties, but became more than an attendant over the years by providing inspiration to everyone in the locker-room.
Moss was awarded the NHL Alumni Association’s “Seventh Man Award” in 2003, for those “whose behind-the-scenes efforts make a difference in the lives of others.”
A little numb and horribly saddened by the news… but #yeg legend Joey Moss has passed away at the age of 57. Not even sure where to start… but condolences to the entire Moss, Eskimo & Oiler Families. He left a wonderful legacy & will be deeply missed by so many. #RIPJoeyMoss pic.twitter.com/GvyeqTFjiB
— Bryn Griffiths (@BrynMightyMouth) October 26, 2020
In October 2008, Moss was honoured with a mural in Edmonton for his service with both clubs. In 2012, he received a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medal honouring significant contributions and achievements by Canadians, and was inducted into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame in 2015.
Moss also inspired the Joey Moss Cup, a tournament held at the end of Oilers’ training camp.
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