September 27, 2007
McAmmond has been released from the hospital, but it will take time to know the extent of his concussion. Still waiting for the league to punish Downie on the hit.
The Senators got some good news on Dean McAmmond Wednesday.
The forward does not have any factures after being hit by Philadelphia’s Steve Downie in an exhibition game on Tuesday night.
The NHL is reviewing the incident but are not expected to take any action until they have a full report.
Meanwhile the best quotes on the incidents have come from an unlike source…the Leafs!
TORONTO (Sep. 26) — The league-wide repugnance towards Philadelphia’s Steve Downie for his obliteration last night of Ottawa’s Dean McAmmond spilled into the Maple Leafs’ dressing room after the club’s morning skate today. The Leafs host Buffalo in an exhibition game tonight at the Air Canada Centre.
Veteran Jason Blake had these comments about Downie: “I’ve got one thought… the kid should not be [allowed] to ever play in the league again. There’s no place in hockey for that. Our game is supposed to be fun, exciting, fast… and safe in the same breath. To watch that last night, it’s just unacceptable. Guys like [Downie] should either be suspended or kicked out of the league. To leave your point-man and run a guy all the way from the blueline… I mean, one day, a player is not going to get up. So, something needs to be done about hits of that nature.”
When asked about Downie’s claim that he has to play like that in order to crack the Flyers’ roster, Blake replied: “Has to play like what? That’s just a dumb comment from a kid that’s not going to make the Philadelphia Flyers. I mean, I watched the play over and over, and to see him hit Dean McAmmond with his head down, going full bore, and leaving his feet… [McAmmond] could have died last night. There’s absolutely no place in hockey for that and, if you ask me, [Downie] shouldn’t even be allowed to play hockey in the NHL again.”
The best quote came from Leafs enforcer Wade Belak, who certainly can not be considered a fan of the Senators.
Leafs’ enforcer Wade Belak plays the game close to the edge, and he incurred the wrath of the NHL in March, 2004 when he high-sticked Colorado defenceman Ossi Vaananen over the helmet, making a loud, cracking noise that echoed through the Air Canada Centre. He was handed an eight-game suspension for the incident, but Belak is not a head-hunter, and he also had harsh words for Downie.
“It was just a dirty hit, and I hope they really throw the book at him. You know, I did a stupid thing with that stick swinging, though it was unintentional. But, I’ve never taken a deliberate run at an opponent like that. Or blindly tried to hurt someone. I mean, he obviously tried to take [McAmmond’s] head off. But, the big problem is there is no fear factor in the game anymore, and there hasn’t been since the dumb instigator rule went in. I blame the league for that. When I came into the NHL, if I had done something like Downie, I think my own teammates would have slapped me around. If a guy does that, he SHOULD have 20 guys [from the other team] jumping over the boards and beating the crap out of him. He deserves it and it’s not going to happen again… he’ll think twice before he does it. Instead, you grab a player, try to get even for a teammate, and you get five [minutes], a game [misconduct] and other discipline… all for what? It’s a joke. I’m not the only player who will tell you this. We do need to police situations ourselves, to a degree. There has to be some sort of fear factor out there. Otherwise, first-year players like [Downie] can come in and hurt a veteran like McAmmond.”
Amen. Wade Belak for commissioner?
September 26, 2007
ThirtyFive has posted a translation of Nikulin’s latest blog entry on HFBoards. Seems like this might have been written in advance so does not include any mention of the Philly game and McAmmond’s injury. Best part of this entry is that Nikulin is committed to working through the farm (Bingo!) rather than returning home. Awesome! I asked ThirtyFive to give me some Russian sign ideas that my kids could make up for the first game. I’ll post them on here in case anyone else wants to make some signs.
September 26: Will be breaking through the farm.
After the Washington game eight more guys were sent down to the farm club. It’s strict. Now there are six units of five with the team. Still a lot, certainly. My new buddy Kaspars Daugavins left Ottawa. They sent him back to the juniors. Obviously, he was upset. He was counting on playing at least for the farm team. Well, it’s okay, he’ll try it again next season.
I heard the General Manager, Bryan Murray, said in the media that the contract they agreed upon with me allows me to return to the CSKA if I don’t get a roster spot on the main lineup. That is correct. But I have decided to remain in Canada even in case I’m sent down to the farm club. I’ll try breaking through from there.
But for now I don’t want to think about that. I’m enjoying working with a new team, learning, analyzing. By the way, my language problem is gradually, if very slowly, being solved. I’ve memorized a few phrases. Say some things myself. Greet my partners, ask them how they’re doing.
You can tell right away what hockey means to Canadians. It is astonishing! Montreal has a crazy area. I’ve never seen anything like that. They started making noise right from the pre-game warmup, and I even got so anxious the puck was sliding off my stick blade. Same thing in Ottawa. I was told people there read my blog and wish me luck. Thank you. Support of the fans means a lot to me.
Speaking of which, there are no fan sections here like there are in Russia. The whole arena yells, makes noise, chants. They wear the team’s jersey and support the team with such passion as if it’s the Finals. And it’s just pre-season games. But in our country, even if the arena is filled, they don’t root for their team like this.
After the game they wait for the players at the exit, ask for autographs. I’m rarely approached. But have already signed something. I have no idea where the person got my card from the world junior championship. Where did he find it?!
I’m not ready to speak with reporters yet. As soon as they hear I can’t speak English, they go away. But that’s all right, that will pass. I’ll be speaking no worse than others.
Although we played against teams with other Russian players, I didn’t communicate with them at all. Didn’t have a chance to talk, for instance, with Alexander Ovechkin. Also didn’t see Alexei Kovalev and Mikhail Grabovsky. I don’t know them personally, anyway.
I’d like to say a few words about our coach. John Paddock, it seems, has never raised his voice in his life. He’s always calm and kind.
After Kaspar’s departure, Anton Volchenkov helps me with translating. Or Ilja Zubov sometimes.
Ilja’s also coming along quite well. Plays with the team, looks good, tries hard. All the time between practices and games we spend together, obviously. A couple of days ago I bought a game console to pass the time. And we’re playing hockey. At least we can work on our shots there, if it’s not always possible to do that during games. By the way, Zubov plays hockey on the console better than me.
Games and the training process are organized on the highest level here. It’s enough to just say that we were given out schedules for every day until the regular season at the beginning of training camp. And everything is followed.
September 26, 2007
The Ottawa Senators today assigned six players to their American Hockey League affiliate, the Binghamton Senators. The Senators training camp roster, which numbered 48 on the opening day on Sept. 13, now stands at 29 players — two goaltenders, 10 defencemen and 17 forwards.Assigned to Binghamton today were forwards Cody Bass, Danny Bois, Justin Mapletoft and defenceman Matt Kinch. Goaltenders Brian Elliott and Jeff Glass were also assigned to the B-Sens.
Binghamton’s training camp opened Sunday, Sept. 23, at the Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena. The B-Sens have three pre-season games: Wednesday, Sept. 26, versus Hershey in Binghamton; Friday, Sept. 28, at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton; and Saturday, Sept. 29, against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in Binghamton. The Senators open the AHL regular season at home against the Albany River Rats on Saturday, Oct. 6.
September 25, 2007
Bad news for Ottawa and Binghamton. Dean McAmmond was injured during a preseason game vs Philly today and it looks like he could be out for some time with a concussion. Hopefully the injury isn’t as severe as it looked.
In the meantime, another slot has been opened on the Sens roster. If it looks like McAmmond could make it back this season than I expect the spot to be filled by a rookie who could be sent down without the need to clear waivers. So far Foligno has made the best impression in camp.
At the 2:39 mark of the second, moments after Downie had been checked into the glass from behind by Ottawa’s Christoph Schubert in the Senators’ zone, he skated the length of the ice and took a run at McAmmond, who had just released the puck while circling behind the Flyers’ net and was met by Downie coming around the other side. Downie also appeared to leave his feet as he flattened the veteran.
With McAmmond laying motionless on the ice, first Schubert, then McGrattan jumped Downie, with Philadelphia’s Jesse Boulerice joining in followed by the rest of the players.
Senators right-winger Patrick Eaves rushed to the far end of the rink to assist paramedics in getting a stretcher to McAmmond, who was knocked out by a hit from Anaheim’s Chris Pronger in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup final in June.
Under the watch of Senators team doctor Don Chow, McAmmond was taken off the ice and a team spokesman said he was taken to hospital for further examination.
Here is the video of the hit.
September 25, 2007
Another great translation from ThirtyFive on the HFBoards.
So I’ve played my first games for Ottawa. And even though it’s just exhibition, I still had an amazing experience. The first game was against Alexander Ovechkin’s Washington Capitals.
Can you imagine, a sellout crowd for an exhibition game! I’m playing on a line with Daniel Alfredsson! I had about 12 minutes of ice-time. So little because I wasn’t out to kill penalties. Had one shot on goal, but didn’t have any other scoring chances. Just had one moment and I tried scoring.
There was no setup for the game. And game assignments are not really common practice here (or discussing a game, we just talk for about 5-10 minutes). It’s pre-season training, so people are getting used to things, and so am I. And I had to get used to everything: the speed, the physical battles, faceoffs.
That last element needs serious work. It’s very tough to win a faceoff in the NHL. I’ve got to work on my arm strength, since they just tear the puck away from me, and that’s not good at all, obviously. As a result I sometimes didn’t even skate up to the dot, the wings took the faceoff.
But I think I’ve gotten used to the speed. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, your concentration here must be extremely high, you can’t let up for a second. Everyone’s very good at keeping the puck. I’d like to point how quickly teams switch from offence to defense. I have to work on that as well. As far as reaction time, I was on the same page as everyone.
I also have to tell you about Alfredsson. Obviously, I’ve never played with a partner like that. A hockey player of a tremendously high level. If you make a pass to him, you can always get it back. And he gets open very well, and invites a pass. Never noticed a mistake from him. And about Spezza I can also say only the most positive things. But really, all this is difficult to put into words, you’ve got to see it. There are no set defense pairings. They rotate, so it’s possible to play with any of the three pairs.
The second game was against Montreal, but I played very little in that, only nine and a half minutes. Again had one shot on goal. Seemingly was in a good position, we had a two-on-one, the goalie deflected it, and then there was havoc in front of the crease but we couldn’t stuff it in.
I’m told to shoot more, and I’m ready to do so. But what am I supposed to do, shoot from behind the net? I’m trying and will attack at every opportunity. But I have to be in a good position. And I still enter the zone like I was taught as a kid, not just dumping the puck in. Although, sometimes that’s better. There is no rule about that, you just have to act according to the situation with the best result in mind.
The second period of the Montreal game was especially good for me, I was often out on the ice. Against the Canadiens I was on a line with Chris Neil and Denis Hamel. Yes, linemates constantly change, but for me the most important thing is playing, being on the ice. It’s a bit early to start choosing partners.
Looking at the physical conditioning, everything’s noticeably improved. I think I’m on par with everyone. I take the body. But obviously there are true masters of a whole different level here. It’s felt in everything, in every episode.
To return to the faceoffs, what also hinders me is that I’m playing with the stick I had during the first pre-season game with CSKA. All others broke, this is the only one left. I mean I don’t have one with the same blade I’m used to. I’d take Spezza’s, but his grip is different. They said I should get some this week. If this last one breaks, I have no idea what I will play with. I’ll have to take somebody else’s, I guess, but that’s a bit uncomfortable.
But there’s no real pressure. Everyone had a friendly laugh at Anton Volchenkov during the Montreal game, for example. He took all the pucks, wasn’t very lucky. Blocked about seven shots.
I haven’t been penalized a minute yet. You can tell hockey is cleaner here. There’s little hooking and it’s called right away. Most penalties are for that, and also for slashing the arms or grabbing your opponent. Everyone hits and that’s allowed. But I didn’t really have many chances to break the rules. Didn’t take part in any fights either.
I must say we have amazing goaltenders, yet they say there’s no number one yet. I really liked Martin Gerber. He’s so calm. And Jeff Glass is just as good. Looks like there are no bad goalies here at all.
September 24, 2007
This is old news…had meant to post it last week, but must’ve gotten distracted by a shiny object.
Yablonski is getting lots of press in Ottawa for fighting Neil during one of the team scrimmages. Here’s a TSN video profile that includes the Neil fight and his only NHL.
September 24, 2007
Today’s PSB Sens article is all about Bobby Robins and his fight to get back on Binghamton’s roster. A year ago he was turning heads in Ottawa’s training camp by making a big hit on Danny Heatley. This year he is an AHL invite with no contract. I have mixed feeling abouts Robins. Part of me would love to see him storm back into the arena and raise some hell for opposing teams, but the other part of me wants to put as much distance as possible between this years B-Sens and last years horrific excuse for a hockey team. Whatever I think, the decision will be made by B-Sens head coach Corey Clouston and so far he is saying all the right things:
“He’s going to have to be very, very physical,” Clouston said. “He’s going to have to be smart and hard on the puck to have a chance to play here.”
My money says he doesn’t make the cut, but if he does I feel confident it will be because of his hard play and not his familiar name and fan support.
September 24, 2007
Serge Payer and Andrew Ebbett, two of the few B-Sens from last years horrid team to remain in North America this season, have both been assigned to AHL team. Ebbett was assigned to Portland by the Ducks and Payer to Houston by the Wild. I doubt Payer will get called up this year, but I’m hopeful Ebbett will put up even better numbers on a better team and get a call up this season. FYI - Ebbett is now ranked 17th on Anaheims prospect chart. Not bad for an undrafted free agent.
September 23, 2007
Josh Hennessy’s battle to make the Ottawa roster suffered a setback…
HENNESSY OUT: Senators C Josh Hennessy, who is battling for a roster spot, will be out for at least a week with what is thought to be a mild shoulder separation. Hennessy, trying to secure a spot on the fourth line or put himself in a position to get called up from Binghamton, was dealt to the Senators last season as part of the deal that sent Martin Havlat to Chicago. “It’s disappointing for us and it’s disappointing not to get him in for the next five games,” said Senators coach John Paddock. “It’s going to be at least a week before he can play and I don’t know what’s going to happen next weekend (when the final cuts are made).”
September 22, 2007
Whoa! Just discovered that the Ottawa Citizen incorrectly listed me as the translator for the Nikulin blog entries. Nice work by the Ottawa Citizen taking something on a blog and never contacting the person. I don’t speak any Russian. I grabbed the translations from the Sportsnet forums and didn’t see any credits so figured they had used Google translator or something.
Looks like the true translator is over at hfboards.
As for the Ottawa Citizen…nice to know they trust Google to identify their sources. Good work guys