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After a few weeks off, the Think Tank is back:
Mercy...the Senators finally
broke their eight game losing streak last night, and extended the Anaheim Ducks losing streak to nine. It wasn’t easy though, as Bobby Ryan tied the game 1-1 in the third period, then Colin White got the game winner in overtime:
You can see the utter elation on all of the player's faces, as they finally got a win. It was obviously weighing on them pretty hard, and how could it not? It’s embarrassing to have a streak that long, and they knew it had to end at some point. Coming that close and then losing would have been devastating. He didn’t score the game winner, but it’s no surprise that Mark Stone set up the winner by making the pass to White for the tap-in. Is this the start of an eight-game win streak now?
Keep Wolanin in
Christian Wolanin was a healthy scratch last night, but I don’t understand why he isn’t playing every game. I think he’s clearly at worst
the Senators third best defenseman behind Thomas Chabot and perhaps Dylan DeMelo as well. Does he need to refine some aspects of his defensive game? Sure, but you can’t tell me that players like Ben Harpur, Mark Borowiecki, and Cody Ceci are phenomenal in their own zone either. Plus besides Chabot, Wolanin is easily the biggest positive in the offensive zone, meaning his overall contribution is going to be quite high.
With Chabot still hurt, it makes no sense to have a defense corps full of players who are defensive minded, because that makes it so much harder to break out of the defensive zone and have a good transition game. Even with Chabot healthy, it’s not as if having Wolanin in would be too much of an offensive overload. Through six games this season, he has one goal and two assists, and he looks like a legitimate threat when he is on the ice.
Out of all their young defensemen, he has the best chance to become a top-four defenseman, and there’s no reason why he shouldn’t be in the lineup every night.
Decision time is now
The trade deadline is on February 25th, and that will sneak up on us. That gives Pierre Dorion about a month and a half to decide what he is going to do with his three big UFA forwards, which isn’t really that long. He and the Senators need to decide what they are going to do with each of them right now, because the longer they wait, the less leverage they have with teams if they want to trade any of them.
It would be absolutely catastrophic if Ottawa couldn’t sign any of the three, but they need to be prepared for that possibility. Try as hard as possible to keep all three of them, but if none of them are willing to re-sign in Ottawa, then Dorion needs to act and look at the trade market. Tough decisions should be made as soon as possible.
Ben Harpur slotted into the lineup last night due to his size against a “tougher” team like the Anaheim Ducks:
To me, the baffling thing in regards to Harpur though is that he’s not even overly physical between the whistles. Sure, he leads the league with five fights, but it’s not as if he throws around lots of hits while he’s on the ice. In fact, I found this out yesterday:
That’s right, even on Ottawa he doesn’t stand out at all. He is a monster who stands at 6’6”, but that doesn’t mean he is more physical than other defensemen on the team, and even if he was, that wouldn’t necessarily make him a better player. It’s just such a strange narrative that he brings an edge to his game when in reality, Chris Wideman was hitting more often than him this season.
Duchene now a father
Matt Duchene will not be joining the Senators on their west coast road trip due to the birth of his first-born child. His wife Ashley gave birth to Beau David Newell Duchene last night:
It’s easy to forget that these players are people too who have families, and this is a huge moment in Duchene’s life. His life is about to be turned upside down, but I’m sure his family is ecstatic for the challenge. All the best to the Duchene’s!