The Ottawa Senators are well into training camp, having played 4 preseason games and already starting to trim the line up.
The preseason began with a split squad against the New York Islanders, where the Senators dropped both by scores of 3-2. While not an ideal beginning, at least the Sens increased their record by not only being the first team to lose to the Islanders twice in one day, but they are not the first to do it twice in two years.
Alex Chiasson scored in the first game. As one of the gets for the Jason Spezza trade, Sens fans are waiting to see what Chiasson can do offensively, and he wasted no time in demonstrating. The second Ottawa goal came from prospect Cole Schneider, while New York’s scoring was from Sebastien Collberg, Brock Nelson and Jack Skille. Newly signed Clarke MacArthur and star prospect Curtis Lazar scored the goals in the second game, with New York goals from Mikhail Grabovski and Josh Bailey. Cal Cutterbuck added the shootout winner.
On Tuesday, there were some changes made to the training camp line up. Two defencemen, Ben Harpur and Matt Murphy, and one forward, Nick Paul, were assigned to Binghamton, leaving 54 players in camp.
The next day, the Senators won their second set of split squad games against the Toronto Maple Leafs. In Toronto, the Sens came back from a third period deficit to beat the Leafs in a shootout. Chiasson scored again in this game, this time short-handed. Shane Prince and Ryan Dzingel had the other two goals in the game and Milan Michalek had the shootout winner.
In Ottawa, the Senators held the lead for most of the game and came away with a 3-2 victory. Bobby Ryan is trying to prove his worth to the team already after sitting out the first preseason match-up as a precaution after falling awkwardly in an intrasquad game. Ryan scored 2 goals, the first and the game winner. Matt Puempel scored the second goal, tipping a shot by Erik Karlsson past Antoine Bibeau.
A few players are sitting out right now with injuries, most notably Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Marc Methot. Paul MacLean has said that the injuries that came out of Wednesday’s games are not major, and that it is the coaching staff’s decision to keep the players out. Pageau may be back on the ice as early as today. Methot, on the other hand, is a slightly larger concern. He has not yet signed a contract extension and is reportedly suffered from the same injury that kept him out of the Worlds last year. Lingering back injuries have been a problem for the Senators year after year, first with Daniel Alfredsson, then with Jason Spezza. No update yet on when Methot might be back on the ice.
The next preseason game will be on Tuesday against the Winnipeg Jets. Between now and then, there may be more cuts as more players return from injury. We’re less than two weeks away from the regular season!
(Featured photo by Neil R)