The NHL announced Thursday the three finalists for this season’s Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, awarded to the player best exemplifying “the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey”: Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang, Minnesota Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk, and Ottawa Senators netminder Andrew Hammond. Read more
As more NHL teams are eliminated from the opening round of the 2015 Stanley Cup playoffs, there’s growing speculation over possible off-season moves for those clubs.
Finding cap room to re-sign key free agents could force the Ottawa Senators to make some significant moves.The Ottawa Citizen’s Ken Warren reports budding stars like Mika Zibanejad, Mike Hoffman, Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Alex Chiasson and Calder Trophy nominee Mark Stone are restricted free agents. Zibanejad, Hoffman and Stone are in line for significant raises.
Warren also notes the Senators must decide what to do with veterans Chris Neil, David Legwand and Colin Greening, who have term remaining on their contracts. Given the rise of the Senators’ young forwards this season, the trio could be dealt or bought out to free up cap space to be invested in those youngsters. Read more
The Ottawa Senators’ season came to an end Sunday when the Montreal Canadiens eliminated them from the first round of the playoffs in six games. It was a valiant run by the Sens just to make it to the post-season, and after nearly being swept, they fought tooth-and-nail to extend the series an additional two games. But in the end, they ran out of teeth and nails, and now the focus must turn to their summer plans to get better.
Almost certainly, Ottawa’s off-season will include the trading of a goalie. The late emergence of Andrew “The Hamburglar” Hammond has crowded the picture in the Sens’ net, and one of the three netminders with NHL experience on the roster will be moved to address the franchise’s needs. The goaltender they deal may be veteran Craig Anderson – who replaced Hammond in the Canadiens series and showed why he’s still got three years and $12.6 million left on his contract – or it may be 23-year-old Swede Robin Lehner, signed for another two years at a salary cap hit of $2.25 million. Heck, it could be the 27-year-old Hammond (an unrestricted free agent) they wind up shipping out. But at a time when many teams (including Edmonton and perhaps St. Louis, among others) are looking for a new option in net, it would be foolish for Ottawa to bring all three back and not get as much as they can for one of them.
And when they do trade one of their goalies, the Sens need the return to help improve their blueline corps, which, despite the presence of Norris Trophy finalist Erik Karlsson, still needs a ton of work. Read more
The NHL announced its three finalists in Norris Trophy voting this season - Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson, Montreal’s P.K. Subban and Los Angeles’ Drew Doughty – and the fact none of the three were finalists in 2013-14 says something about the calibre of defenseman currently working in hockey’s top league. Read more
If there was anyone left wondering why exactly Carey Price is being considered not only for the Vezina Trophy as the league’s best netminder but also for the Hart Trophy as the NHL’s MVP, you need look no further than Montreal’s Game 6 victory.
As he has done all season, when the Canadiens needed Price to come up huge and steal a game for them, he did exactly that. After Montreal had dropped two straight to Ottawa, nearly erasing the 3-0 series lead they had opened up to begin the first round, Price turned aside all 43 shots he faced Sunday night, including 30 in the second and third periods combined, to send the Canadiens to the second round with a 2-0 victory. Read more
Montreal’s Brendan Gallagher has been a thorn in the side of the Ottawa Senators throughout the entire first round, so leave it to him to score the series-winning goal in spectacular fashion.
There was no score through nearly the entire first period, but with little more than 6:30 left in the frame, Gallagher drove the net, was hit with a shot then, with the puck just above his waste, he batted it out of midair while spinning away from the net: Read more
This is starting to get interesting.
Thanks to the Senators’ convincing 5-1 win over the Canadiens in Game 5 Friday, the first-round series between Montreal and Ottawa that was on the verge Sunday of being a Habs sweep is now very much a battle that could end with either side emerging victorious. Sure, it was clearly an off-night for Canadiens star goalie Carey Price, who allowed five goals on 25 shots; and sure, Montreal dominated the shot-counter, outshooting the Sens 46-25. But Ottawa goalie Craig Anderson was once again superb between the pipes, and the Senators got big contributions from some their two highest-paid players – Bobby Ryan had a pair of goals, and superstar defenseman Erik Karlsson added his first goal of the 2015 post-season – to beat the Habs in Montreal, something they couldn’t do in Games 1 or 2.
So now we have a Game 6, early Sunday evening before what promises to be a delirious crowd of Sens fans at Canadian Tire Centre. And if Ottawa can manage to pull off their third straight win, we’ll have a seventh and deciding showdown back at the Bell Centre. And anyone who has been following the Sens since they began their miraculous drive from the basement of the league to a playoff spot should see the way this series is playing out as a perfect representation of what GM Bryan Murray’s team is all about: they don’t take the easy route to success, but they also don’t quit in the face of long odds and the brink of failure. Read more
Senators right winger Bobby Ryan had a tough regular season – his 18 goals are the lowest number in a full year since his first one in 2008-09 – and he failed to register a point in Ottawa’s first four first-round playoff games against Montreal. But in Game 5, with the Sens again facing elimination, Ryan scored his first post-season goal Friday on a low-odds shot to give his team the game’s first lead.
The Sens and Canadiens were approaching the halfway point of the first period when Ottawa winger Mark Hoffman carried the puck into Montreal’s zone and passed it to Ryan. He fired a wrist shot from near the top of the circle at Habs star goalie Carey Price – and because of the traffic in front of Price, it snuck by him: Read more