Welcome to Senators’ Weekly, where you can catch up on the past week of the Ottawa Senators throughout the 2018-19 season. From trending topics to surging prospects to news and notes, this is your weekly roundup on all things Sens.
While the week’s biggest headlines for the Senators came off the ice with the leaked Uber video and the fallout, the team looked to bounce back where it matters — on the ice. They did just that with a 7-3 win over the New Jersey Devils, before falling to the Vegas Golden Knights 5-3 on a questionable and controversial goal-call. Heading down to face the Eastern Conference-leading Tampa Bay Lightning, the Senators surprised and came out with a 6-4 win, scoring four goals in the third period. Finally, Mike Hoffman and the Florida Panthers defeated the Sens 5-1. Hoffman had two assists in his first game against his former team.
The club is now 7-8-3, sitting just three points back of the last wild-card spot. More alarming is that they currently hold a minus-14 goal differential (fifth-worst in the NHL). With just two games this week, against the Detroit Red Wings and Pittsburgh Penguins, the Senators will need to take a hard look at defence moving forward. Here are the headlines and stories from the past week.
Leaked Uber Video Fallout
The Initial Video Leak
The Ottawa Citizen and Ottawa Senators appear to be squaring off against each other after the Postmedia newspaper found a leaked Uber video on social media showing seven Sens criticizing the team and their assistant coach, Marty Raymond. Matt Duchene, Thomas Chabot, Chris Wideman, Chris Tierney, Dylan DeMelo, Alex Formenton and Colin White were the seven players in the Uber as it was secretly recorded, all of whom have issued public apologies to the team and Raymond. (From: “Senators issue apologies to assistant coach Martin Raymond” – Ottawa Sun – 11/07/18).
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) November 6, 2018
In the video, Duchene is heard saying, “Marty Raymond, the only coach in NHL history to have the worst power play and the worst PK within a calendar year,” He continues, “Here’s the other thing, too. We don’t change anything, ever,” says Duchene. “So why do we even have a meeting? I haven’t paid attention in three weeks.”
The Fallout for the Senators
The Senators reportedly knew about the video before it’s public leak. Mark Stone commented on the issue, telling reporters, “It was dealt with internally, the way it should be, we’re going to move forward and grow from it… This is only going to make our team stronger moving forward.”
While the team knew about the video, they still didn’t have the seven players involved available for comment the first day after it’s leak. Wouldn’t they have them prepared for questions by then? The leak brings up other questions around the organization as well.
Duchene and Wideman are both currently in the last year of their contracts. If they feel this way about the club, it seems likely that they would test free agency in the summer. Now that management has heard this as well, perhaps they look to move them both ahead of the trade deadline.
The other alarming part is that Chabot, Formenton and White, perhaps even Tierney and DeMelo, could potentially form the core of this team moving forward. The Senators will need to change the culture and attitude in the dressing room if they ever stand a chance of getting back to the playoffs and building a winning club.
The Fallout for the Ottawa Citizen
If the leaked video wasn’t enough, new headlines around the topic popped up in the days following. The first was the Senators asking the Ottawa Citizen to take the video down, citing that the video violated their privacy under provincial law. The Citizen responded stating that they have no intentions of taking the video down.
— Ottawa Sun (@ottawasuncom) November 6, 2018
The Senators clapped back themselves, denying Citizen reporter Ken Warren on the team’s Charter to Tampa Bay. While all of the team’s fly charter, for the past several years only the Senators have allowed reporters to fly with the team. Not anymore.
Warren showed up at the airport, as he normally would, only to be told that the Citizen and Sun reporters will no longer be allowed to travel with the team. This move by the Senators has been controversial, with some stating that reporters shouldn’t be allowed on the charters anyway and some arguing that this was a “juvenile move” by the club. (From: “Sens ban Ottawa reporter from team’s flight after Uber-gate” – Toronto Sun – 11/10/18).
The Senators have had a year filled with drama, from former assistant general manager Randy Lee stepping down due to harassment allegations to the Mike Hoffman-Erik Karlsson harassment and cyber-bullying. The club needs to find it’s way out of the soap opera it’s stuck in order to mend the obviously still-broken culture in Ottawa.
Chabot in Historic Company
While the club deals with the off-ice issues of the Uber video, on the ice, Thomas Chabot has begun an incredible sophomore season. The 21-year-old currently has five goals and 22 points through the team’s first 18 games, collecting all 22 points in his first 16 games.
When looking at just how impressive this 1.22 point per game pace is, Chabot has joined some historic company. According to the NHL’s Public Relations, since it’s inception in the 1953-54 season, only five Norris Trophy winners have collected 22 points through their first 16 games. Those players are Bobby Orr (five times), Denis Potvin, Doug Wilson, Ray Bourque and Larry Robinson. That’s an impressive, Hall of Fame group.
Adding to this impressive start, Chabot currently has points in all but four of the Senators games. Maybe Senators fans won’t miss Karlsson as much as they thought after all.
Senators News and Notes
- Craig Anderson continues to defy his age. Through 18 games, the 37-year old has started 15 games, playing in 16 with a 7-5-3 record. While his numbers may not show it, he’s played well, keeping the team in most games. He has a 3.70 goals against average and a .905 save percentage. Considering he has the most games played by a goalie and the most shots against (578, the closest is Anaheim Ducks’ goaltender John Gibson with 503) in the NHL, he’s not doing too bad. That being said, he also has the most goals against — 55 compared to second-place Jake Allen with 41.
- Chabot is not the only Senators at or above a point per game so far this season. In 18 games, Mark Stone has seven goals and 20 points (in large part due to his five-point performance versus the Devils and a six-game point streak with 10 points over that span), Matt Duchene has six goals and 19 points. In the three games following the Uber leaking, Duchene has two goals, five assists and is plus-seven. Then, Brady Tkachuk, who just returned from injury in the games versus the Golden Knights, has four goals and eight points in his seven games played.
What are your thoughts on the Senators leaked Uber video? Are the Senators, the Citizen or the Uber driver at the most fault? Leave your comments below!
Starting out as an Ottawa Senators contributor for The Hockey Writers, Josh is now an editor and at-large contributor, focusing on prospects, the NHL Draft, hockey history, and breaking news stories.