Nothing left to say about Dany Heatley: Sens' coach Cory Clouston
By: The Canadian Press
Jul 23, 2009
OTTAWA - While Cory Clouston introduced the newest member of his staff Thursday, talk turned to what's becoming an old story for the Ottawa Senators coach: what to do about Dany Heatley.
Clouston, speaking on a conference call after the Senators announced the hiring of former NHLer Brad Lauer as an assistant coach, said he's yet to speak with his disgruntled star. It's Heatley's unhappiness over his diminished role and ice time since Clouston took over as head coach that's been cited as the reason for the left-winger requesting a trade out of Ottawa this spring.
"I'm more than willing to listen and talk to anybody, but nothing's changed at all," said Clouston, who was "surprised" at Heatley's request.
Clouston, who took over after Craig Hartsburg was fired on Feb. 2 and led the Senators to a 19-11-4 record down the stretch, has previously only spoken briefly with reporters at the NHL draft in June about the situation. Since then, the Senators have seen a proposed deal that would have sent Heatley to the Edmonton Oilers vetoed by the player. Clouston remains disappointed with the development.
"I really don't know what else to say," he continued. "(But) whatever cards we're dealt, I'll work with them. That's with or without Dany."
Earlier this week, the Senators welcomed talented-but-enigmatic forward Alex Kovalev to Ottawa for the first time since he signed a two-year, US $10-million deal as a free agent earlier this month.
Despite a reputation as not necessarily being the easiest player to work with for a coach - a label the Senators and Kovalev himself don't feel is fair - Clouston is thrilled about the addition of a player with talent to burn, especially if forced to enter the season without Heatley's offence.
"My first reaction was I was just very excited for the organization," Clouston said. "Alex brings something into the mix who can change a game in and of itself.
"Obviously, there's been a lot of negativity surrounding the organization (over Heatley). It's like a breath of fresh air."
The addition of Lauer, a native of Humboldt, Sask., is also a welcome addition to Clouston. Lauer, 42, served as Clouston's assistant for five seasons with the Western Hockey League's Kootenay Ice from 2002-03 to 2006-07.
"I relied on Brad's experience as a player over the five years we worked together," said Clouston, who never played in the NHL. "This is another step forward for the organization."
Lauer was a second-round pick of the New York Islanders (34th overall) in 1985 and the hard-working forward went on to play 16 professional seasons. In 323 career NHL games that included stops on Long Island, in Ottawa, Chicago and Pittsburgh, he recorded 44 goals and 67 assists for 111 points.
He played 30 games with the Senators during the 1993-94 season when Ottawa was a team still struggling to get away from its expansion days.
"It was a young organization and obviously going through some growing pains in terms of wins and losses," said Lauer, who joins Greg Carvel as the team's other assistant.
Meanwhile, former blue-liner Luke Richardson, who retired early last season to become an assistant coach, will remain with the club on a part-time basis, working with the team's defencemen in Ottawa and with the Senators' AHL affiliate in Binghamton, N.Y. Clouston said Richardson wasn't able to fully commit as a family/personal decision.
Lauer moved into coaching after finishing his playing career with the Sheffield Steelers of the British Super League in 2001-02. The past two seasons, he's been an assistant with the American Hockey League's Milwaukee Admirals.
"I appreciate the opportunity that (Clouston) has given me here," Lauer said. "I'm excited about it and I feel very comfortable making this next step.
"I've got to get to know the guys from the team. I know from watching the Senators play the last couple of years that they're an exciting team, they bring a lot of work ethic."
THN's 2016-17 NHL season preview: Carolina Hurricanes
By: The Hockey News
Sep 24, 2016
The Hurricanes are going in the right direction, but unless their youngsters step up and they get better goaltending, the playoffs are out of the question this year.
THN is rolling out its 2016-17 Team Previews daily, in reverse order of 2015-16 overall finish, until the start of the season.
THN's Prediction: 7th in Metro
Stanley Cup odds: 68-1
Key additions: Lee Stempniak, RW; Teuvo Teravainen, LW; Bryan Bickell, LW; Viktor Stalberg, LW
Key departures: James Wisniewski, D; Riley Nash, C; Nathan Gerbe, LW; Brad Malone, C
-Can the young defense keep it together? The Hurricanes found their form once rookie blueliners Noah Hanifin, Brett Pesce and Jaccob Slavin took on bigger roles last year, and they’ll need to continue their ascent if Carolina has any shot at the playoffs. Justin Faulk is still the main man on the back end, but all the Hurricanes’ young defensemen have a coach in Bill Peters who believes in them. They already played without a safety net once, so they’re bound to improve. Will there be hiccups along the way? For sure. But the Canes have more work to do up front, so the defense can grow organically without worrying about hurting the result.
-Does Cam Ward have anything left? Although he showed glimpses of his old self in 2015-16, Ward, 32, also got beat up on the scoreboard just as often, if not more. Taking a big pay cut may put his mindset in the right perspective, but there likely won’t be another NHL contract in Carolina for the veteran goaltender once his new two-year pact expires. If anything, he becomes a solid mentor once Alex Nedeljkovic gets a chance to see his first action in an NHL arena.
-Who will step up at center? Jordan Staal and Victor Rask are pencilled in, but the Hurricanes need a youngster to step up, too. Teuvo Teravainen, Elias Lindholm and Sebastian Aho have all played center and wing in their careers, so none can be considered a true NHL pivot just yet. Lindholm must get stronger first, while Aho hasn’t played a shift in the league, so give the inside track to Teravainen. He cut his teeth in Chicago and has the Stanley Cup ring (and scoring heroics) to prove his worth. If none works out, there’s always the 2017 draft class to check out.
Player projections are based off a three-year version of Game Score (which you can read about here) weighted by recency and repeatability and then translated to its approximate win value (Game Score Value Added or GSVA). Team strength was derived from the combined value of every player’s GSVA on a team. The season was then simulated 10,000 times factoring in team strength, opponent strength and rest.
From a statistical perspective, the Carolina Hurricanes are a very interesting team. Last season they finished 11th in score-and-venue adjusted Corsi with a mark of 51.4 percent, and 29th in PDO at 98.3.
Some people are optimistic about Carolina’s chances because of those numbers. The first suggests they do a good job at controlling play, a genuine sign of talent and potential future success, while the second suggests they were a bit unlucky in converting that territorial advantage into results.
While that may be true, it’s likely that the Hurricanes are one of the few exceptions to the rule. One look at their roster and you’ll see why, as this team is pretty low on scoring talent and goaltending ability.
In net is the biggest area of concern as the team inexplicably re-signed Cam Ward, whose .915 save percentabe ranks 49th of 52 goalies who have played 2,500 or more minutes over the last three seasons. That’s not good, and one of the biggest reasons the team has consistently low PDO.
Up front isn’t much better. Over the last three seasons, Carolina has been below seven percent shooting in each season. Their last three seasons rank 77th, 88th and 81st overall respectively. Other than Jeff Skinner, there really isn’t a pure goal scorer on this team and while shot volume is great, the puck needs to go in once in a while.
Only six players on the team have an above average shooting percentage relative to their position. Two of them, Lee Stempniak and Bryan Bickell, are new additions interestingly enough.
There’s some reason for optimism though. The aforementioned Skinner is still young, as are Elias Lindholm, Victor Rask, and Sebastian Aho, three kids with offensive potential ready to blossom. Newly acquired Teuvo Teravainen should greatly help the cause too.
The D is stock full of potential too with fifth overall pick Noah Hanifin as well as last season’s breakout defensive stalwart Jaccob Slavin. With the underrated Justin Faulk as the No. 1, and the young guys ready to step up, the D-corps should be very strong for years to come.
It’ll take time for this team to become one of the East’s best, but they’re on the right path. This year looks to be another difficult one unless the goaltending situation gets figured out, or the team solves it’s scoring woes. They’ve got a solid process down, it’s time to turn it into results.
Author: (Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images)
The 10 most overvalued fantasy players for 2016-17
By Matt Larkin
Sep 13, 2016
Which players will cost a pretty penny at the draft table and burn you with subpar production relative to expectations? Matt Larkin identifies 10 to avoid.
Picking sleepers is one of the most exciting aspects of fantasy hockey drafts. It makes us look smart. That's why I've offered up my favorite 10 for 2016-17 here. But as much as we like to think finding those late-round gems puts us over the top to win championships, something else matters much more: avoiding mistakes in the early to mid rounds.
And a "mistake" doesn't always mean picking a bust player who has a terrible season or gets injured. It can also mean taking a perfectly decent player way too early when many more effective guys are still available. I define overvalued fantasy picks as some combination of:
Players whose production won't match their average draft positions
Players being drafted ahead of players who will outperform them
Players with falsely inflated value because of real-life success, playing in popular markets or other emotional attachments
So here are my top 10 players to avoid in 2016-17 based on Yahoo average draft position (ADP) compared to my top 200 rankings, listed alphabetically. And remember, I'm not saying these players are bad…only that they are being drafted too early.
We have a bunch of Dean Lombardis at the fantasy draft table, apparently. It's no disrespect to Abdelkader, a scrappy and useful winger who can play on any line, but he's not a high-end scorer. He's 29, and his career highs in goals and points are 23 and 44, respectively. He's not getting any better than this. Even though he gets a boost in penalty minutes leagues, it's laughable to see him being drafted ahead of William Nylander, Sam Reinhart and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins in typical leagues.
Sergei Bobrovsky (THN rank: 200; Yahoo ADP: 139.2)
Some poolies cling to the idea of 'Bob' as a Vezina Trophy-winning world beater. He's a talented goaltender…when he plays. The soft-tissue injuries have become a yearly headache. Instead of taking on the Bobrovsky problem, why not grab the dirt-cheap and durable Cam Talbot, who goes 17 picks later on average?
Matt Murray (THN rank: 144; Yahoo ADP: 69.7)
This one stings, as I'm a huge Matt Murray backer. Have been for years, so much that I'm teased for my man-crush in the THN office. Listing Murray here has nothing to do with his talent, which is immense. It has everything to do with Marc-Andre Fleury. Murray is likely locked in a timeshare at best until Penguins GM Jim Rutherford trades Fleury, and no deal is imminent. Murray's Stanley Cup heroics have inflated his ranking to the point he's being drafted ahead of actual starters like Brian Elliott and Semyon Varlamov. That shouldn't be happening. It's a different story in keeper leagues, of course.
James Neal (THN rank: 116; Yahoo ADP: 37.7)
James Neal, top-40 fantasy player? Sheesh, that's steep. He's currently valued as if he's still ripping off 40-goal seasons like he did in his Pittsburgh days. Neal's fresh off a highly useful effort of 31 goals, 58 points and 65 penalty minutes. But it's just plain strange to see him picked in the fourth round on average, ahead of Blake Wheeler, the league's No. 6 scorer, and Jack Eichel, whose floor might be Neal's ceiling. Get a grip, drafters.
Jonathan Quick (THN rank: 53: Yahoo ADP: 18.6)
Quick's legendary playoff prowess puffs up his fantasy value every season. I concede he's valuable in pools weighting wins heavily, but he's finished 34th, 22nd, 17th and 19th in save percentage over his past four seasons. His rate stats are merely average. It's thus odd to see Quick the fourth goalie off the board, before Cory Schneider, Corey Crawford and Henrik Lundqvist.
Pekka Rinne (THN rank: 122; Yahoo ADP: 34.6)
Rinne is one of the most athletic goaltenders in the NHL, blessed with a lightning-quick glove hand, honed by playing a form of Finnish baseball. He's a fun guy to interview. Other goaltenders I've spoken to consider Rinne one of the best in the business. But it's harder every year to justify that status. The numbers just don't support it. Rinne has posted a save percentage of .910 or lower three times in his past four seasons, he turns 34 in November, and he's become the analytics crowd's whipping boy. Apparently, the stats get ugly if you look under the hood, as our guru Dom Luszczyszyn did last season. Like Quick, however, Rinne will still get enough starts to carry substantial worth in leagues that focus on volume stats like wins and shutouts. He's quite overvalued in rate-stat leagues, though.
Patrick Sharp (THN rank: 173: Yahoo ADP: 79.5)
Sharp going in the middle of the sixth round? Huh? He scored 34 goals in 82 games with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2013-14. Since then he has 36 goals in 144 games. There's no shame in it, as Sharp is simply in decline at 34, but he's now just a safe depth guy you grab in the late middle rounds to fill out your roster. He's still being drafted as a core player, ahead of Brandon Saad, Jonathan Huberdeau, Andrew Ladd, Tyler Toffoli, Jordan Eberle and Jakub Voracek. I don't know who the poolies are making these shameful picks, but I want in their leagues and I want to play them for money.
Andrew Shaw (THN rank: none; Yahoo ADP: 147.6)
Shaw, like Abdelkader, is admired in real life for his versatility and tenacity. But just because you're a fun player to own doesn't mean you're a good player to own in all but the deepest of leagues. Shaw will top out at 15 to 20 goals and 35 to 40 points. He should be on waiver wires in most pools.
Alexander Steen (THN rank: 110: Yahoo ADP: 77.9)
Steen is a productive player, one of the more underappreciated of his generation. He's typically been a great sneaky add around pick 100, but things have reversed. Now he's overvalued at 77.9 because he never gets through a full season. He's missed 12.3 games on average over his past three years. Major shoulder surgery in June knocked him out of the World Cup, and while he's optimistic about suiting up for the Blues next month, it's concerning that his health is already in question again.
Jimmy Vesey (THN rank: none; Yahoo ADP: 124.6)
Jimmy Vesey is being drafted ahead of Auston Matthews right now. There are no words. Matthews lit up a pro league in Switzerland, then flourished against NHLers at the worlds, and now he looks poised to make a statement with Team North America at the World Cup. Vesey won the Hobey Baker as college hockey's best player but has never played pro hockey. He should have a learning curve and is nowhere near a lock to make the Rangers. The hype train has veered off the rails and tumbled into a ditch.
THE BLACKHAWKS/KINGS PROBLEM
Chicago's and Los Angeles' "mini dynasty years" have inflated the ADPs of everything they touch, from current players to former players. They're all great real-life contributors, but they're presumed to be top-notch fantasy assets, which they aren't. I mentioned Quick, Sharp and Shaw already, but here are some more overpriced current and former Hawks and Kings:
Down Goes Brown: Five times a team avenged a round robin loss at the World Cup
By: Sean McIndoe
Sep 21, 2016
The history of the World and Canada Cup tournament is filled with surprising round robin results that ended up getting flipped, so don't worry just yet. Unless you're Team USA.
We're two games into the round robin portion of the World Cup, and we've already seen a handful of upsets, with favorites like Russia and the United States already tasting defeat, and in the case of the Americans, already being eliminated. With one game to go and some of the four playoff spots still up for grabs, fans around the world are no doubt panicking over the games their teams let get away.
But while the round robin is obviously important – you have to make the playoffs to win the whole thing – it's worth remembering that the results of individual games don't necessarily tell us much as much as we might think about what will happen in the playoff rounds.
In fact, the history of the World and Canada Cup tournament is filled with surprising round robin results that ended up getting flipped down the line. So in an effort to calm some nerves, here are five times that overreacting to a round robin result would have steered you wrong once the eliminations games began.
1976: Czechoslovakia 1 – Canada 0
In the first ever round robin game in Canada Cup history, Canada made a statement by crushing Finland 11-2. They went on the beat Sweden and the U.S., and they closed out the round with a win over their arch-rivals from the Soviet Union, winning those three games by a combined score of 11-3.
But in between, they dropped a surprising decision to Czechoslovakia. Vladimir Dzurilla outduelled Rogie Vachon at the Montreal Forum, turning aside all 29 shots he faced in a 1-0 win. The game was an instant classic, described at the time as one of the best ever played.
The two teams finished at the top of round robin standings, setting up a best-of-three final. But there was no repeat of Dzurilla's heroics – Team Canada blitzed him for four goals in the first period of the opening game, sending him to the bench and paving the way for a lopsided 6-0 win. Game 2 was more entertaining, with Canada jumping out to a 2-0 lead just three minutes in before a Czechoslovakian comeback set the stage for Darryl Sittler's tournament winner in overtime.
1981: Canada 7 – Soviet Union 3
By 1981, the Soviet Union was coming off a relatively rough stretch of international play. They'd won their usual Olympic gold in 1972 and 1976, but been upset by Team USA's Miracle on Ice squad in 1980, lost the 1972 Summit Series, and failed to even make the final of the 1976 Canada Cup.
When they met Canada in 1981 in the final game of the round robin, both teams were undefeated and battling for first place. The game was tied at 2-2 heading into the third, but Canada erupted for five straight goals in what ended up being a 7-3 laugher. Even with star goaltender Vladislav Tretiak sitting out due to illness, the result was an embarrassing one for the Soviets.
Both teams won their semifinal game to advance to a one-game winner-take-all final in Montreal. With Tretiak back in goal, most fans expected a closer game. Instead, they got an even bigger blowout. But this time, it was the Soviets who ran up the score, earning an 8-1 win and handing Canada what still stands to this day as its most embarrassing international loss.
1984: Soviet Union 6 – Canada 3
Three years after their impressive win, the Soviets looked even more dominant through the round robin portion of the 1984 tournament. Heading into a final game showdown against a struggling Team Canada, they were sporting a 4-0-0 record and looking to wrap up the tournament's top seed. They went on to smother their rivals in an impressive 6-3 win, finishing the round robin with a perfect record and dropping Canada down to fourth place.
That set up another meeting between the two nations in the tournament semi-final, held just three days later in Calgary. After being held to just 17 shots in the round robin, Canada exploded for 41 in the rematch. But Soviet goaltender Vladimir Myshkin stood on his head, and had his team in position to win with a 2-1 lead late in regulation. It took a late goal by Doug Wilson to set up overtime, where Paul Coffey's lunging breakup of a Soviet 2-on-1 set the stage of Mike Bossy's sudden death winner.
Canada went on to sweep Sweden in the final to claim the tournament. It marked the third straight time that the eventual Canada Cup champion had avenged a round robin loss on the way to their title.
1987: Czechoslovakia 4 – Canada 4; Sweden 5 – Soviet Union 3
The 1987 Canada Cup marked the first time that the eventual champion went undefeated through the round robin. That would be Canada, who beat the Soviets in a three-game classic punctuated by Mario Lemieux's historic winner.
But while Canada didn't have any losses to avenge on their way to the title, they weren't perfect in the round robin. And the first blemish came in their opening game, when a rusty Canadian squad blew a third period lead on their way to a 4-4 tie with Czechoslovakia. That was a disappointing result against a team that had gone 0-4-1 in the previous tournament, and raised questions as to whether Canada could defend their crown. Meanwhile, the tournament's other favorite had a disappointing opening of their own, as the Soviets gave up three goals in the first eight minutes while dropping a 5-3 decisions to Sweden.
Both powerhouses recovered well, with each winning three straight before facing each other in the round robin finale and skating to a 3-3 draw. That set up a pair of semifinal rematches, with Canada facing Czechoslovakia and the Soviets drawing Sweden.
This time, the favorites took care of business. Canada started slowly but pumped home four straight goals to take a 5-3 final, while the Soviets jumped out to an early 3-0 lead before eliminating Sweden by a 4-2 score. That set the stage for a final that still stands as perhaps the best international hockey series ever played.
As a side note, the Czechoslovakian goaltender for both of those games against Canada was a 22-year-old kid that most North Americans had never heard of. He eventually made it to the NHL three years later, and turned out to be pretty good. He even got some revenge against Canada at an international tournament over a decade later.
2004: Russia 3 – USA 1; Sweden 4 – Czech Republic 3
Canada didn't have to avenge any round robin losses on their way to the 1991 title, and the United States likewise was a perfect 3-0-0 under the new World Cup format before winning it all in 1996. Canada repeated that feat in 2004, making it four straight Canada/World Cups that have been won by a team that didn't suffer a loss during the round robin. Yes, that's right – it's now been 32 years and counting since a team lost a round robin game and still managed to win this tournament. Wait, this is supposed to be about giving teams that lost in the round robin hope. Forget everything I just mentioned.
But we can still find a couple of revenge games in the 2004 round robin, thanks to that year's, um, interesting format. The tournament featured eight teams, and the playoff round featured… eight teams. Yes, everyone made the playoffs in 2004, with the round robin settling the seeding and nothing else.
That format actually gave us a few interesting moments, like top-seeded Finland needing a goal in the dying minutes to edge winless Germany 2-1. And it also set up a pair of interesting rematches. In the round robin, the defending champion Team USA had dropped its first two games, to Canada and Russia. In the latter game, they fell 3-1 while being outshot 45-21. The 0-2 start didn't hurt their playoff hopes, because of the whole "everyone makes it" thing, but it certainly put a dent in their confidence.
Meanwhile, the Czechs dropped their opener 4-0 to Finland, then fell behind by the same score to Sweden. They came back to at least make that game a respectable 4-3 final, but other than running up the score on Germany in the finale, they didn't come out of the round robin with much room for optimism.
But in the opening round, both teams got a chance at payback, and both took it. The Czechs looked like a different team, shelling Mikael Tellqvist and Team Sweden in a 6-1 win. The Russia/Team USA rematch was a closer affair, with both teams going back and forth, but the Americans held on for a 5-3 win.
Both teams went on to lose in the semifinal, although the U.S. blew a late lead against Finland and the Czechs took Canada to overtime. Canada beat Finland in the one-game final, the year-long NHL lockout began the next day, and the World Cup hasn't been seen since. Twelve years later, we're finally getting another look at the tournament, and another chance to see a tough round robin loss avenged in the playoffs.
At least, that's what teams like Russia, Finland and North America are hoping.
Sean McIndoe has been writing about the NHL since 2008, most recently for ESPN and Grantland. He spends most of his time making jokes on twitter, where you may know him as @downgoesbrown. He appears weekly on TheHockeyNews.com.
Senators’ Lazar sidelined by mono, no timeline for his return to team
By: Jared Clinton
Sep 24, 2016
Curtis Lazar’s season isn’t starting the way he would have wanted, as he finds himself on the shelf indefinitely with a case of mononucleosis.
The Ottawa Senators want Curtis Lazar to participate in training camp and prepare for what could be the most important season of his career, but the 21-year-old is being kept away for the time being due to a bout of mononucleosis.
During the first skate of training camp Friday, Lazar was missing from practice, and when asked why the young pivot was missing from the skate, Senators coach Guy Boucher announced that Lazar has come down with mono. Because of the illness, Lazar isn’t taking part in skates with the team, and Boucher said there’s no current timeline for Lazar’s return to action.
“We were hoping that it wasn’t serious at first and we were hoping with the few days that we had it would be good enough,” Boucher said, according to Garrioch. “But it’s become a daily thing that we’re going to follow up and it’s going to be carefully monitored...As you know, mono could be done in four days from now and it could be done later. We want to be very cautious with that.”
And while there’s no telling exactly how long Lazar could be out, there are some recent cases of players battling through the illness that could give an estimation on how long he could be out of the lineup.
During the 2008 season, then-Pittsburgh Penguins winger Tyler Kennedy came down with mono and was put on the shelf indefinitely, but he was back into game action roughly four weeks later. All told, he missed eight games with the illness, but was sent back to the AHL while getting back into shape before returning to the Penguins.
Former Detroit Red Wings winger Todd Bertuzzi also dealt with mono ahead of the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season, but he was back with the team in less than two weeks’ time.
The most recent case, though, was Los Angeles Kings winger Tyler Toffoli. The 24-year-old came down with mono in January 2015 and was forced to sit out six games with the illness before returning to action. All told, he was on the shelf for 18 days.
If the timeline for Lazar’s return is anywhere close to Toffoli’s, that could mean the Senators are forced to go into the season without Lazar having suited up in any pre-season action. There are less than three weeks remaining until the start of the regular season, and Ottawa will be in action opening night against the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs.
Lazar had a somewhat disappointing sophomore season, and he’s looking to take a step forward in his third season with the Senators. He posted just six goals and 20 points in 76 games this season while skating bottom-six minutes, but he could be set to move up the lineup this coming season.