Tomas Tatar is swarmed by his Team Europe teammates.
Author: Chris Tanouye/Getty Images
Team Europe shocks Sweden in overtime, will meet Canada in World Cup final
By: Ken Campbell
Sep 25, 2016
Team Europe looked like an awful idea early on, but Ralph Krueger's group shocked Sweden -- and almost everyone else -- by battling their way to a berth in the World Cup final.
Organizers of the World Cup of Hockey might want to get some kind of anthem together for Team Europe. You know, just in case.
Chances are, even after Europe’s 3-2 overtime win over Sweden in the World Cup of Hockey semifinal Sunday afternoon, the team with no country will not be able to beat Team Canada twice to take the title next week. But given that almost nobody predicted it would get this far, well, you never know.
Who would have thought that eight days after the tournament began, Team Europe would be in the semifinal and Tomas Tatar would score at the 3:43 mark of overtime to send it to the final? Just shows that anything can happen in this game, and sometimes does.
Give Team Europe its due credit. It was taken to the woodshed by Team North America in its first pre-tournament game, then found itself behind 5-1 to the kids after the first period of its second pre-tournament game. But since then, Team Europe has been a consistent, if unspectacular, force in the proceedings.
Against Sweden, Team Europe played the way it had to in order to be successful. It played a cautious style, waiting for its opportunities to create offense off the transition. And it worked, with Marian Gaborik tying the score 1-1 in the second period, then Tatar scoring the winner just 12 seconds into the third period.
The Swedes, on the other hand, have no excuse for the way they played. This is a squad whose senior advisors are Mats Sundin, Daniel Alfredsson and Nicklas Lidstrom. It has some outstanding offensive talent and an explosive defense corps. And it played a style that was passive and boring and, ultimately, destined to fail. And when it happened, anyone who enjoys the more creative side of hockey should have cheered. Loudly.
During an intermission interview with Scott Oake of Hockey Night in Canada after the first period, Gabriel Landeskog summed up the Swedes’ approach to the game, along with pretty much everything that is wrong with hockey. “We kind of stood around waiting for each other,” he said. “But this is the semifinal of the World Cup of Hockey. You’re not going to give them anything just to play a beautiful game.”
It was anything but a beautiful game, but it was enough to send Team Europe to the final of a tournament and put itself in a position almost nobody thought it would be when the tournament started.
Oilers introduce first-ever mascot, and it’s a terrifying lynx who lived under Rogers Place
By: Jared Clinton
Sep 26, 2016
The Edmonton Oilers have their first mascot in franchise history, and kids seem to like Hunter, the Canadian lynx, despite the fact he has piercing cat eyes and fangs.
The Edmonton Oilers said goodbye to Rexall Place this past season, leaving behind 42 years of memories and tradition, but with the official NHL opening of Rogers Place only weeks away, the Oilers are looking to start some new traditions.
One of those new traditions includes the introduction of a mascot, the first-ever in franchise history. And while it’s all well and good that the Oilers are trying to get into the mascot game for the first time, the creation the team has introduced is more on the side of terrifying than cute and cuddly.
There are lynxes throughout the Edmonton River Valley, which is said to be where Hunter came from, but the origin story for the mascot goes well beyond him just showing up to work after making the trek to Rogers Place. It includes watching kids play hockey after coming out at night to hunt and him burrowing under Rogers Place until the building was ready.
“During the winter of 2013 I heard many shinny players talking about a new, world-class building that my beloved Oilers were going to play in. I was ecstatic, and knew right then and there that this was my chance to get in on the action,” Hunter’s origin story reads. “On the night before the first shovel hit the ground, I packed up my stuff and made my way to 104 Ave and 104 Street, where I built a secret den under the construction site, watching and waiting for this magnificent building to be completed. Just as the finishing touches were being made to the building, I revealed myself to the Oilers.”
What a pleasant surprise an almost seven-foot-tall lynx with piercing eyes must have been for those lucky few who first got to meet Hunter.
Hunter’s unveiling has been met with, uh, mixed reviews, we’ll say. A fair share have pointed out the connection between Hunter, a lynx, and the Oilers hitting the links early for the past decade, and the eyes and fangs haven’t helped make Hunter look that inviting a furry friend.
However, among the target audience and the people who really matter when it comes to the mascot, Hunter seems to be a hit. More than 2,000 kids were surveyed and Hunter was the most popular choice for the new mascot, and the kids seemed less frightened by his gaze than one would expect.
“Having that mascot character to do the things in the community, especially in the child-centric places, whether it’s festival, hospital or school visits, is going to be a nice piece to engage those future Oilers fans.”
Senators’ scrimmage turns ugly after MacArthur concussed by blindside hit
By: Jared Clinton
Sep 25, 2016
Clarke MacArthur’s career could be in jeopardy after he suffered another concussion, this time during a training camp scrimmage. MacArthur, 31, missed all but four games in 2015-16 while battling concussion symptoms.
Clarke MacArthur has spent nearly an entire year trying to fight back from concussion issues that have plagued him, and a blindside hit during a scrimmage at Ottawa Senators training camp could again be threatening his ability to lace up his skates this season.
During a Sunday scrimmage, the red team, which included MacArthur, was working the puck from out behind their goal when the play moved up along the boards. With the puck coming around to MacArthur’s side, he stripped an attacking player and was about to turn the puck up ice when defenseman Patrick Sieloff, who was acquired as part of the Alex Chiasson trade with the Calgary Flames, pinched down and crunched MacArthur into the boards.
The hit caught an unsuspecting MacArthur and, in a scary scene, left the veteran winger down in the corner. Senators winger Bobby Ryan immediately went after Sieloff, dropping the gloves and fighting the defenseman. Video of the hit and the aftermath can be seen below, via Sportsnet:
The fracas continued after Ryan and Sieloff were separated, and Chris Neil came after the blueliner shortly after he and Ryan had fought. According to Murray Pam, Senators development coach Shean Donovan asked Sieloff to leave the scrimmage, in what seemed to be hopes that order would be somewhat restored.
Following the scrimmage, Senators GM Pierre Dorion confirmed that MacArthur, 31, did suffer another concussion on the play, which is devastating news after he worked so hard to get healthy and return to action. Dorion said MacArthur was driven home from the arena.
“There’s a level of concern any time anyone has a concussion,” Dorion said in an interview provided by Murray Pam. “In Clarke’s case, he’s had a history. We held him out last year even though he was cleared just to make sure that he’d be OK for this camp…We’re at a point where we’re heartbroken here. It’s a human being, it’s his life and that should be the biggest and the foremost priority today.”
Dorion added that MacArthur would be re-evaluated Monday, and the Senators will continue to monitor his progress.
The concern is that another concussion for MacArthur could be enough to put an end to his career. His last NHL game came on Oct. 14, 2015 against the Columbus Blue Jackets, and MacArthur told the Ottawa Citizen’s Ken Warren in March that he had thought his career could be over.
“At one point in late November, early December, I was thinking I was done, maybe this is it,” MacArthur told Warren. “I had to get out of there. Every day you’re coming to the rink and you want to go on the ice. It’s like going to Disneyland. Everyone else goes on the rides and you’re outside the doors, watching.”
MacArthur signed a five-year, $23.25-million contract extension with the Senators in August 2014, but has played only four games of his new deal, which kicked in ahead of the 2015-16 season.
Belleville mayor Taso Christopher and Senators owner Eugene Melnyk
Author: via Ottawa Senators/Twitter
Senators officially announce AHL club is moving from Binghamton to Belleville
By: Jared Clinton
Sep 26, 2016
Eugene Melnyk has purchased the Binghamton Senators and is moving Ottawa’s AHL affiliate closer to home. Belleville’s arena is set to undergo some upgrades before welcoming pro hockey.
The 2015-16 campaign was the first since the 1980-81 season that Belleville went without its OHL Bulls, but the departure of the major junior franchise has opened the doors for minor pro hockey to make its way to the city.
After much speculation that the Ottawa Senators would be moving their AHL affiliate to Belleville in time for the 2017-18 season, the franchise and the City of Belleville made the move official Monday in an afternoon press conference. The franchise, which will maintain the Senators name in the move north of the border, has spent the past 14 years in Binghamton, N.Y., but the move to Belleville helps the Senators keep up with the growing trend of proximity between NHL and AHL clubs.
"Our city has a long a storied history with junior hockey but today we welcome professional hockey to Belleville and our soon to be renovated Yardmen Arena," said Belleville mayor Taso Christopher in a release. "Our city not only gets an AHL team but an incredible working partnership with the (NHL’s) Ottawa Senators and its long time owner Eugene Melnyk. Geographically, our relative proximity to the nation's capital makes this a tremendously exciting partnership that will undoubtedly bring our cities and our hockey fans together, United in Red."
As part of moving the team to Belleville, Melnyk has purchased the AHL franchise and agreed to an eight-year deal to keep the team in Belleville. The agreement includes $18.5 million in renovations to Yardmen Arena which the city will “immediately undertake” in order to prepare the building for its first venture into pro hockey.
"This community has truly earned the return of hockey and I am committed to making the Belleville Senators an integral part of the city,” Melnyk said in a release. “I want to personally thank the Mayor, Councillors and City staff for their hard work in helping bring the Senators to Belleville. This is the dawn of new era of hockey in Belleville and we are excited to be part of it.”
The Senators’ time in Binghamton has been rather up-and-down, especially over the past few seasons. The club has missed the playoffs in each of the past two seasons, and between 2005-06 and 2009-10 underwent a five-year post-season drought. However, the 2010-11 campaign signalled the end of that tailspin and marked the most successful season in franchise history.
That team, led by Corey Locke, Ryan Potulny and goaltender Robin Lehner and coached by Kurt Kleinendorst, won the Calder Cup, the first in franchise history.
Since that season, though, Binghamton has missed the playoffs three times and been eliminated twice in the first round, both times at the hands of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.